This week sees new singles from Blake Lewis, who placed second to Jordin Sparks on American Idol season six and albums from some of your parents’ (or maybe your grandparents’) light-rock favorites Michael Bolton and Emmylou Harris. The 90s were back in a big way this week, as well, with a new single from LL Cool J and new albums from 10,000 Maniacs, KMFDM and The Mavericks. This week also sees the release of the soundtrack (movie score) of the upcoming film (released yesterday) Jack the Giant Slayer, and a new album from a new supergroup, along with a few other interesting choices that might be worth checking out.

Notable Singles & EPs

  • Blake LewisYour Touch – Far from my style of music, but, since he placed second on American Idol, I guess there are people out there that like it.
  • LL Cool JWhaddup – While it is cool to see LL putting out new music, and it’s awesome to hear Chuck D (legendary front-man for Public Enemy) back in the spotlight again, it’s kind of sad that D has been reduced to a hype man on this track. Regardless, it’s not a bad track. LL Cool J hasn’t lost a step in his rhymes or his rhythm.

Notable Albums

  • The MavericksIn Time
  • Emmylou Harris and Rodney CrowellOld Yellow Moon – I tried to listen to this, but just couldn’t get through it. I’ve never been a huge fan of Emmylou Harris, anyway, but she seems to have gone much more country on this album than I remember her being in the past.
  • Michael BoltonAin’t No Mountain High Enough: Tribute to Hitsville – This is a fairly bland re-hash of some of the classic rock songs of the 60s and 70s. It’s pretty typical Michael Bolton. If I had to choose between this album & Aaron Neville’s recent release of classic Doo-Wop songs; I’d definitely choose Neville’s album.
  • HillsongZion
  • 10,000 ManiacsMusic from the Motion Picture – I’ve never been a fan of 10,000 Maniacs; mainly because I’ve never liked Merchant’s voice. Her voice seems to have changed quite a bit, though, since the last time I heard her. This isn’t a terrible album, but still not something I’d pick up. I’m sure, though, that fans of the group will really enjoy it.
  • StratovariusNemesis – A decent, non-offensive, orchestral metal album. It’s a little bland, though, for its genre. When I’m in the mood for this style of music, I’m much more likely to throw on one of Dark Tranquillity’s albums than I am to throw on anything from Stratovarius.
  • KMFDMKunst – I honestly don’t know why, but I’ve never liked KMFDM, either. While I am a huge fan of many other artists in the industrial scene, KMFDM is not one that’s ever grabbed my attention. This album doesn’t really seem to be anything new. If you like KMFDM, you might like this album (or, you might just feel like listening to some of their classic stuff), but I doubt this album is going to pick up many new fans.
  • John OttmanJack the Giant Slayer: Original Motion Picture Soundtrack

Other Interesting Albums

  • DeathfixDeathfix – This is a truly interesting album. It’s been featured on NPR and on the CBC (Canadian Broadcasting Corporation). The group is made up of Brendan Canty (former drummer of Fugazi), Bob Mould’s former DJ partner Rich Morel and two former members of a group called Medications. They are being called a “DC Supergroup” by the Washington Post. The album itself is a cool, mellow, emo-type of release. Canty’s vocals are a little bit gruff and sweet, similar to the sounds Shawn Mullins or Pete Yorn have when singing.
  • KavinskyOutRun – This is a bit of a techno-hip-hop mix that seems to attempt to explain some sort of backstory behind the classic video game OutRun.
  • Within the RuinsElite – This is a decent metal-core (hardcore with metal elements) album with heavy, driving guitar and drum work, and a tiny bit of electronic sampling thrown in. While this album isn’t anything revolutionary, it’s a good, heavy and solid. I hadn’t heard of these guys prior to this release (apparently they’ve been releasing albums and LPs since 2009), but I will definitely be checking out some of their back-catalog based on this album.

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