Quarters for the Jukebox

In the Jukebox — June 3

In the jukebox for this week (what’s new: alphabetically listed by artist):

  • Aimee Mann —@#%&*! Smilers: Melodic wordplay rock: classic Mann.
  • Ashanti — The Declaration: Ashanti is back, bronzed and Beyonce-er than ever (at least on the album cover).
  • be your own PET — Get Damaged: The deleted tracks from this Nashville punk rock foursome’s “Get Awkward” album are released as an EP. It’s brash and fun all at once. The track “Becky” is a delightfully violent take on breaking up with a friend.
  • Brendan James — The Day is Brave: American indie poetic-piano-pop, with a Damien Rice-esque voice … too bad the songs don’t match the Rice comparisons.
  • Gavin Rossdale — Wanderlust: Former Bush front man and current Gwen Stefani main man releases his debut solo effort, and it’s much softer than you might expect.
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EP — Heart is Long by Idiot Pilot

Idiot Pilot

Idiot Pilot produces moody, meandering indie rock. The acoustic “Last Chance” and (non-acoustic) “Mercury” are soft backdrops for Michael Harris’ engaging vocals, and then the EP shifts to the harder, muddled electronica rock of “Wolves.” The final song, “The Reigns,” is a complicated dose of reflection and might be the best of the bunch. Check for yourself.

Quarters for the songs: The Reigns; Last Chance.

Worth listening, if you like: Rufus Wainwright; Aqualung; Ed Harcourt; Death Cab for Cutie; Radiohead; Deftones; Sigur Ros, The Postal Service; Digital Shades; Nick Drake.

EP — Until That Day by Easy Star All-Stars

Easy Star All Stars 

Easy Star All-Stars have spent the past decade (or so), mostly known for their reggae interpretations of other’s songs. Backed by a rotating band cast, the duo’s past two albums, Dub Side of the Moon (Pink Floyd cover) and Radiodread (Radiohead cover of OK Computer), were actually very, very good. I’m not sure if it’s because the material might be a bit weaker, but this EP doesn’t quite measure up as well (composed of originals used during live shows, and an unreleased track from Radiodread). The opening track, Got to Get Away, made me think of an odd mixture of modern R&B with a loose backing of reggae struggling to work. The following tracks sound more like what you’d expect and get the album back on track … but unfortunately, never quite reach the standard this duo has established for themselves. If you’re in need of some new reggae, this group is still a good place to start. Check for yourself.

Quarters for the songs: Until That Day; Bed of Rose. 

Worth listening, if you like: Scientist; Augustus Pablo; Lee “Scratch” Perry; Slightly Stoopid; Toots & the Maytals; Dub Syndicate.