This week almost marked our first ever completely hip-hop free installment of Weekly Release. It wouldn’t have been by choice, though. We just couldn’t find much to review. In fact, if this site and this site are to be believed, it’s going to be that way for the entire month. Thankfully, assistance arrived by way of the Good Doctor. Dr. Dre, that is.
As for the rest of the new music we found, this week is an indie rock heavy affair, with a remastered version of a classic album and a new album from a classic musician thrown in for good measure. Let’s get to it.
This is your Weekly Release for the first week of February, 2011.
1. Wanda Jackson – The Party Ain’t Over
Jack White continues his ascendancy to the throne of “Rick Rubin for the ladies” with Wanda Jackson’s The Party Ain’t Over. He started that off with his critically acclaimed and all around excellent collaboration with country legend Loretta Lynn on 2004′s Van Lear Rose. This time around, he teams up with 1950′s rockabilly legend Wanda Jackson with similarly awesome results.
Jackson’s voice, one of the most unique ever, works perfectly with Jack White’s production and legendarily raucous guitar work. The decision to have her take on Amy Winehouse’s “You Know I’m No Good” amounts to an absolute stroke of genius. Jackson’s growling vocal brings a whole new sense of dread and to the song. And given the fact that she was kind of the Amy Winehouse of her day, albeit far less terrifying to look at, it makes perfect sense for her to cover the song. She knows what she’s singing about, even if she didn’t write the words.
The rest of the album works equally well. Here’s hoping we hear more from the unlikely duo sometime in the near future.
2. The Go! Team – Rolling Blackouts
The Go! Team’s lead vocalist is a chick named Ninja. We can’t really fathom why you need to hear anything else to compel you to check them out, but we’ll go on anyway.
Rolling Blackouts, much like their two previous albums, is music for the Internet generation. There’s a little bit of everything thrown in the mix, it has the manic energy of an ADD riddled tween on a four day Red Bull bender and the songs are compact enough that before your attention starts to wane, they’ve moved on to the next song. If we were debating what one album should be sealed in a time capsule to perfectly represent the state of the world at the time, this would be a strong contender.
Despite the raucous energy and deluge of samples and instruments at work here, The Go! Team does a great job of keeping a strong pop sensibility going throughout the album. With this much activity taking place in such a small space, that’s no minor feat.
3. George Michael – Faith (Remastered)
Yeah, yeah, yeah, laugh it up, youngsters. George Michael has been the target of an endless array of bathroom sex jokes for years now. And his tendency to get high and fall asleep in his car or drive that car into a building hasn’t done much to help his credibility either. But none of that has anything to do with the music. Michael Jackson provided a lot of comedy material with his offstage antics in his day, but if you think any of that means Off the Wall or Thriller are anything less than stone fucking classics, you’re out of your goddamn mind.
The same applies to George Michael’s Faith. We’re talking about an album that has sold 25 million copies worldwide, cracked Rolling Stone’s list of the 500 Greatest Albums of All-Time, spawned six top-five singles and took home a Grammy for Album of the Year. An album doesn’t manage to do all that because it sucks. Faith is a damn pop music masterpiece.
This two-disc remastered version adds a outtakes, demos, live versions and audio from a highly entertaining on-air spat with Jonathan Ross. But none of that matters. The real prize is the remastered version of the original album. Don’t take our word for it, check it out for yourself if you’ve never given it a chance. It’s pretty fucking wonderful, kids.
4. The Kills – “Satellite” (single)
It’s been nearly three years since The Kills released their breakout album, Midnight Boom, in 2008. Not that the duo hasn’t been busy since then, of course. Alison Mosshart has been serving time as the front woman in Jack White Side Project #247, The Dead Weather, for example. And we might have had a new album from The Kills even sooner if the band’s other half, Jamie Hince, didn’t get his laptop (which reportedly contained six new songs) chucked in a swimming pool by his girlfriend, the always entertaining Kate Moss.
But thankfully, the wait is almost over. The Kills new album, Blood Pressures, hits stores April 5th. “Satellite” is the first single from the album and marks a bit of a departure from the stripped down, guitar and drum machine driven sounds of their previous efforts. There’s a whole lot going on in “Satellite,” but the new sound fits them nicely. Check it out below.
5. Fleet Foxes – “Helplessness Blues” (single)
Whereas The Kills seem to be reaching for a new sound on “Satellite,” the title track from Fleet Foxes upcoming Helplessness Blues sounds exactly like what you expect from the band. Harmonies, acoustic guitars, big choruses, it’s all there. And none of that is a bad thing. They’ve got a winning formula down thus far, why mess with it?
6. Dr. Dre featuring Eminem – “I Need a Doctor” (single)
Well look who finally decided to show up to work! Nice of you to take some time away from making headphones to grace us with your presence, Dr. Dre! Also, those headphones are THE SHIT!
Anyway, Dr. Dre’s long delayed Detox has long been considered the Chinese Democracy of rap albums, but Chinese Democracy was finally released awhile back, so now Detox is just the Detox of all albums. If you have no idea what we’re talking about, it all boils down to this…we’ve been hearing news and rumors about a new Dr. Dre album for almost a decade now. It’s been so long that most people assumed it would never see the light of day.
But now, it looks like we have some light at the end of the tunnel. Last year’s “Kush” featuring Snoop Dogg and, unfortunately, Akon was the first sign that we may see Detox on store shelves sometime in the near future. And now, we have “I Need a Doctor,” a new single featuring Eminem and Skylar Grey.
It’s definitely a step up in quality compared to “Kush,” with Eminem delivering a wildly entertaining lead-off verse that basically amounts to him badmouthing Dre for leaving everyone high and dry for the better part of ten years. It sounds a lot like a song that would have been right at home on last year’s Recovery album, but that’s not a knock by any stretch of the imagination. At this point, we’ll take whatever singles we can get, as long as it means Detox will actually drop sometime before we die.
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