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The Good, the Bad & the Queen CD Review

The Good, the Bad & the Queen
The Good, the Bad & the Queen
Label: Virgin Records

The Good The Bad and The Queen is a new supergroup album featuring an odd lineup –  Damon Albarn (Blur/Gorillaz), Paul Simonon (The Clash), Tony Allen (Africa 70/Fela Kuti) and Simon Tong (The Verve).

Produced by Danger Mouse, the goulash of each member’s groove, Britpop, jazz, psychedelica and African roots is perfectly melded into a provocative LP.

At its heart, The Good, the Bad & the Queen is Gorillaz minus rap and beats, with lyrics ranging from spirited hope to smothering angst.

Stream the single, . . . → Read More: The Good, the Bad & the Queen CD Review

Contest: SHINOBI: Heart Under Blade

The SHINOBI: Heart Under Blade, the acclaimed Japanese ninjutsu/romance movie, will be released on DVD on Feb. 6, but here’s your chance to win a copy now!

Set in 1614, the story depicts the clash between two ninja clans and the ill-fated love between two young heirs. It’s like Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon meets Romeo & Juliet, but only like Romeo was a ninja and Juliet was a concubine (plus no Sampson biting his thumb all the time [very un-ninja-like behavior]).

Here’s the trailer (wmv)

What you can win:
SHINOBI: Heart Under Blade 2-disc DVD set

How to win:
Simply be the 10th person to . . . → Read More: Contest: SHINOBI: Heart Under Blade

Bright Eyes : Four Winds (EP)

Bright Eyes
Four Winds (EP)
Label: Saddle Creek
U.S. Release: March 6, 2007

Following the bipolar 2005 releases of the hard-hitting Digital Ash in a Digital Urn and the countrified I’m Wide Awake, It’s Morning, fans are on-edge to see which Conor Oberst is going to appear on April 10th’s upcoming LP, Cassadaga.

Until then, we’ll have to settle for a 6-track EP featuring the single — a country romp called “Four Winds” complete with a two-step fiddle.

The other five tracks are Cassadaga b-sides that mostly err on the I’m Wide Awake, It’s Morning side of the brain, ranging from full orchestra . . . → Read More: Bright Eyes : Four Winds (EP)

The Stooges release first single from "The Weirdness"

The Stooges have a new album coming out on March 6th – their first album in 33 years!

It’s a 12 track LP called The Weirdness, which features three of the four original band members – Iggy Pop, guitarist Ron Asheton and drummer Scott Asheton, and the ex-Minutemen and fIREHOSE bassist Mike Watt filling Dave Alexander’s spot.

If the single is any indication, the Stooges have definitely not aged very well. It’ll be interesting to see if — like this one — the other tracks simply repeat the same phrase over and over (“My idea of fun is killing everyone…”).

. . . → Read More: The Stooges release first single from "The Weirdness"

The Western States Motel CD Review

The Western States Motel
The Western States Motel
Label: Firebird Field Recordings

Monterey, California’s Carl Jordan knows the value of a day spent staring at the ocean, and perhaps more importantly, the trip to get there.

With his debut album, The Western States Motel, Jordan and friends paint an acoustic sunshine pop soundscape set to electronic beats and mid-tempo keys.

This is music — not for lazy people — but for those introspective souls who just aren’t in a big hurry. It’s about leaving a life worth leaving on summer road trip. It’s about traveling in a dusty ragtop with the . . . → Read More: The Western States Motel CD Review

Fujiya & Miyagi : Transparent Things

Fujiya & Miyagi
Transparent Things
Label: Deaf Dumb and Blind Recordings

Q: What does Big Ben, Karate Kid, your dad’s old record player and a boatload of irony have in common?

A: Celebrated U.K. DJ trio Fujiya & Miyagi and their third LP, Transparent Things, which dropped last week. The US release of the record has bonus track “Reeboks In Heaven,” and the group is playing three dates at SXSW (March 15, 16, 17).

Stream the . . . → Read More: Fujiya & Miyagi : Transparent Things

The Dark Romantics : Some Midnight Kissin

The Dark Romantics
Some Midnight Kissin
Label: Lujo Records
Release Date: February 13, 2007

Man is inherently evil, according to the beliefs of dark romanticism. Isn’t that sad? Talk about a glass half empty mentality.

To this end, gothic fiction writers such as Poe, Melville and Hawthorne made a miserable mark on society by focusing on the darkness of the human soul. By shining a spotlight on the existence of society’s sin, certain artists love to extol that wherever one find’s romantic hope, look for depressed loss close behind.

And while we acknowledge it can’t be all puppy dogs and the Shins all . . . → Read More: The Dark Romantics : Some Midnight Kissin

Eleni Mandell : Miracle of Five

Eleni Mandell
Miracle of Five
Label: Zedtone Records
Release Date: February 6, 2007

Leave the Tom Waits and PJ Harvey comparisons at the door, my fellow hipsters. Eleni Mandell’s 6th album shows a transgression from the rock and country albums of the past.

Miracle of Five features the conversational songwriting of Bille Holiday, the soulful, sultry jazz tempations of Nina Simone and the gentle, feminine breathiness of Aimee Mann.

Check out the single here:

Eleni Mandrell – “Girls”(mp3) . . . → Read More: Eleni Mandell : Miracle of Five

Josh Rouse and Paz Suay : She's Spanish I'm American

Josh Rouse and Paz Suay
She’s Spanish I’m American
Release Date: January 30, 2007

Singer/songwriter Josh Rouse has come far for a Nebraska boy. With residence to-date numbering 8 states and now Spain, it’s no wonder his writing style has a worldly feel.

Case in point, Subtitulo, Rouse’s last album, was a veritable small town soundtrack of soft acoustic ballads with sensitive vocals and gentle songwriting style weaving a somber tale following the end of his marriage and a new adventure.

That adventure, as Rouse told us in an interview in March of last year, was for a girl – Paz Suay. . . . → Read More: Josh Rouse and Paz Suay : She's Spanish I'm American

Albert Hammond, Jr. : Yours to Keep

Albert Hammond, Jr.
Yours to Keep
Label: New Line Records
Release Date: March 6, 2007

Before his solo debut has even been released, Strokes guitarist Albert Hammond, Jr. has faced luggage theft, a mattress fire in the tour bus, and now according to NME, Hamond was involved in a high speed police chase while leaving Texas:

“It turned out that the cops had been chasing a suspect in a pickup truck in a high speed chase a la OJ Simpson since the Texas state border. It seemed that the pickup was going to get away until he came into contact with youknowwho (us). . . . → Read More: Albert Hammond, Jr. : Yours to Keep