Quarters for the Jukebox

Album — Backwoods Barbie by Dolly Parton
February 28, 2008, 5:01 pm
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Dolly Parton
Dolly Parton returns with Backwoods Barbie … I’m just going to let that title sit out there for a bit. For its title-marketability-cuteness, the album is a nice contrast to some of the recent similarly titled efforts by younger artists in the industry (i.e., Hick Chicks, Redneck Woman). It’s no reckoning like the late, late Johnny Cash albums, but Dolly delivers here with her trusted conviction, along with some Dixie Stampede-sized doses of sincerity and substance. My only complaint is that there are a few brief moments where her transitional album back into mainstream country sounds like it belongs back on the “9 to 5″ soundtrack.

Quarters for the songs: She Drives Me Crazy (Fine Young Cannibals cover); Cologne; The Tracks of My Tears (Smokey Robinson cover).
Worth listening, if you like: Dolly Parton, duh.


Single — Love In This Club by Usher (and Young Jeezy)
February 28, 2008, 4:56 pm
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Usher is back with Young Jeezy for the single, Love In This Club — an ode to potential voyeurism and making love in public spaces … “I want to make love in this club, in this club, in this club, in this club … meet me in the bathroom … I don’t care who is watching … .” Usher is doing this “for the ladies,” and I imagine he’ll find some out on the Top 40 airwaves. The song has got a decent slow groove reminiscent of the recent smash-hit, “Apologize” (OneRepublic and Timbaland). Check for yourself. 

Worth a listen, if you like: R. Kelly, Justin Timberlake, previous Usher, etc.

EP — Get Dirty by Dabrye
February 28, 2008, 4:49 pm
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Dabrye (Tadd Mullinix) continues his disjointed hip-hop production with this EP of three songs, each mixed twice. Check for yourself.

Worth listening, if you: like avant garde stuff and don’t mind the absence of melodies and the standard construction of a song; Mouse on Mars; Enigma; Grey Area; Kill Memory Crash, etc.

Album — Ex-Aquarium by Kelpe
February 28, 2008, 4:40 pm
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Kelpe Ex-Aquarium 

Kelpe (artist Kel Mckeown) provides atmospheric sounds without words to the concept of his own seaweed-inspired name. As for tracks, Shipwreck is a good mix, blending in synths and ping pong balls, as well as Whirwound. Yet all in all, this LP is only for those who like their dance in a trance with “bedroom discotheque.” For fans of the genre, this is worth checking out. Check for yourself.

If it was in a movie: the whole album might as well be a movie soundtrack … a trippy, dreamy, watery movie …

Worth a listen, if you like: Cut Chemist, DJ Shadow, Quantic, etc.

Album — Never Going Back to OK by The Afters
February 28, 2008, 4:27 pm
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The Afters 

The Afters prompt me to ask the question, “Do you ever wonder if there are competing band names in correlation with each other?” For example, aside from The Afters, are there bands like The Befores, The Durings or The Latent Memories? With that said, The Afters arrive almost on time to be noticed within the current Christian pop radio soundscape (with songs like “Myspace Girl” and “Tonight”). With their production, haircuts and matching coats, these guys give the appearance of a group desperately trying to be on your radio. However, for what they are, if it’s your thing, you could do much worse than download this band. Check for yourself.

Worth a listen, if you like: The Fray; Switchfoot; Matthew West.

Song Highlights: Tonight.

Album — Punch by Punch Brothers
February 28, 2008, 4:22 pm
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Punch Brothers

Punch Brothers are a couple of fistfuls of indulgent modern bluegrass. Fronted by Nickel Creek band member Chris Thile, the band delves into what traditionalists call “experimental bluegrass,” treating the compositions like jazz and three act plays, at once. The group can boast one of the cleverer album covers I’ve seen in awhile, which is almost enough for me to like them no matter what. Be prepared for the indulgence though, as four of the songs alone account for about 40 minutes of the album. Check for yourself.

Worth a listen if you like: Nickel Creek, modern bluegrass, Blue Merle, etc.

Album — I Lost it All by Eric Durrance
February 28, 2008, 4:17 pm
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Eric Durrance 

Eric Durrance makes a run for most depressing album of the year. He attempts this by adhering strictly to the governance of the “yet-to-be-overdone” country music concepts of breaking up, hard luck (but being topped by Vietnam War veterans), suicide, familial death, job loss, car crashes, cancer, complete human misery, etc. One of his two “change of pace” songs adds a driving rhythm, but nonetheless, is about divorce — It’s All Over but the Crying. However, he at least sounds pretty good for all the bad he’s singing about. Check for yourself.

Worth listening, if you: want to commit suicide … or have your problems put into severe perspective … or really want some country songs about life being hard — that you can tap your toe to …