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New Music Week of June 21st, 2009: NANA NA NA HEY HEY GOODBYE

D.O.A. (Death Of Auto- Tune) – Jay-Z
Why did he do this? So he can say Justin Timberlake beat him to the punch on the re-mix of “Can’t Believe It” ? Who is he aiming his vitriol at? It’s not Kanye West, sure not Lil Wayne or any ol “T” out there. What year is he living in? This might have been cutting edge in 2008 and would have been important in 2007 but in 2009? Puhleeze. But really, when was the last time Jay-Z was on top of the zeitgeist? Not since before his retirement. “Kingdom Come” was honest but boring. “American Gangster” a step backwards. What was the last great song he did? “Roc Boys” by my reckoning. Oh yeah, the song. The song is fabulous: love the horns, love the nanananas, always got to hand it to Jay-Z -the best rapper of all time, or definitely of the 90s.

Ink Stains – Regina Spektor
Dance Anthem Of the 80s – Regina Spektor
The Calculation – Regina Spektor
Folding Chair – Regina Spektor
Marie Lynn introduced me to Regina Spektor several years ago and she thinks the new album is a disappointment. “The live “Folding Chairs” is better than the jokey one on “Far”” she claims. “the studio version is overproduced. All the songs are overproduced as though Regina had handed over control of the album to someone else.” I will add that it is ridiculous Ms. Spektor’s potential best song “Ink Stains” (which I mistitled “All The Holocaust Deniers”) isn’t even on “Far”. However, Marie discovered a great Regina Spektor website and I am including the link for this incredible song . The other two new songs are excellent bringing to a total of 5 first rate songs on the new album (every song I’ve heard) plus best song of the year which is not on the album and second best moment at a concert (after Van Morrison performing “Slim Slow Slider” the first night at the Beacon in February) when she played “Ink Stains” last week.

Radio Radio – Brooke White
Just Ain’t Gonna Work Out – Mayer Hawthorne
Everybody’s Here – Brad Paisley
Get Involved – Ginuwine
Ahhhhhh, pop music. They just want to make me happy and all four of these do. Same ol G? Yeah, it’s all a little 2002 and being joined by Timbaland and Missy Elliot ain’t gonna make you any more modern. Still, it is G and Missy and Timbaland. None of these cats are slouches and this is a thrilla of a dance track. Falsetto Mayer Hawthorne is the new Robin Thicke -a blue eyed soul boy with a hip hop producer. I saw Brad Paisley open for Loretta Lynn a decade ago and he was very impressive, wowing a crowd who didn’t know him and didn’t want to. I bought “Who Needs Pictures” and loved it. But the one about the flea ticks is neither as well written nor as funny as the one about getting dumped in a bar and neither are as good as the one about being stuck in church on a sunny day. By now I wish he would shut up for awhile but having said that “Everybody’s Here” is a much better song than “Water” from earlier this year. Direct from Wipedia: Brooke White is the fifth place finalist in the seventh season of America Idol. I am no prude -don’t matter to me what a man does for a living- and “Radio Radio” is a great pop confection. She shoulda been third runner up.

Autumn Beds – Modest Mouse
Since We’ve Been Wrong – the Mars Volta
Imagination Blind – Dinosaur Jr.
Pale Horses – Moby
When ordinary songs happen to extraordinary bands: Modest Mouse’s follow up to their exciting and strange “Satellite Skin” is the very average, actually shockingly so, “Autumn Beds” -a soft folkie blues shuffle that doesn’t happen. Mars Volta’s “Since We’ve Been Wrong” is baffling in its simplicity and that would be fine -not every song has to be “Metatron” but it has to replace the discordant and speedy Volta sound with something at least as good and this doesn’t. There are those who love Dinosaur Jr. and I sometimes like them a lot but “Imagination Blind” is a little ordinary. My pal John Witt has been raving about the new Moby for a month now so I have been awaiting its release and am settling for this EP. After last years disappointing “Last Night” this is a satisfying return (return? reflection maybe).

Hey, That’s No Way To Say Goodbye – The Lemonheads
Layin‘ Up With Linda – The Lemonheads
Dimestore Diamond – Gossip
Evan Dando’s voice is getting lower and lower and is purely perfect for the Leonard Cohen cover (and Liv Tyler’s there too following in daddy’s footsteps, she is almost as good as Scarlett Johanssen ), the cover of the late deeply transgressive to put it mildly GG Allin’s “Layin‘ Up With Linda” is worthy of Nick Cave -the album “Varshons” might be worth a peek. My friend Steve Diamond swears by this strange indie band and on the strength of “Dimestore Diamond” -an electric swirl of rock he might be right and this is their best song with the exception of their gay rights anthem.

Johnny Cash Is Dead (And His House Burnt Down) – Larry Gaitlin and the Gaitlin bros.
Warpath – Dead Prez
Apparently Dead Prez failed to read my Mos Def post where I announced the revolution won. I have always enjoyed my political music extreme (I came of age with punk rock and have actually listened to KKK hardcore: though musically terrible it was so vicious it was fascinating) and this is as extreme as anybody is getting in the mainstream: “suppressor of the people, true evil, psychopathic…” The “Warpath” singalong chorus sounds like the Plastic Ono band chanting “Give Peace A Chance”. Gotta love it. “Johnny Cash Is Dead” is a great country-rock boogie that is onomatopoeic in that the house it claims is burnt down has no furniture and Gaitlin resurrects what the rest of the world has burnt to the ground.

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