Always keep yer MB16 loaded and ready for action! • The Slackers — Close My Eyes (Hellcat) :: Closed my ears instead. • Loque — So Long (Lava) :: Low key, see ya. • Stroke 9 — All In (Records, Man!) :: Stupid band name. Smart rock album. • No Warning — Suffer, Survive (Machine Shop) :: Fair warning: delete, delight. • The Aeffect — Secrets and Lies (Hitchhiker) :: Gosh, I miss the Human League. • 7 Seconds — Take It Back, Take It On, Take It Over! (Side One Dummy) :: Ramones meet Badfinger and carry on bopping till tomorrow. • Court And Spark — Witch Season (Absolutely Kosher) :: The credits list 25 musicians who crafted this smart set of acoustic-based harmonious pop music, including the name of the guy who did the hand claps. Too bad they forgot to name any of the singers. • Kelly Clarkson — Breakaway (RCA) :: If legendary record producer Clive Davis honestly thinks that this puerile pap is what passes for a good female vocalist these days, then he oughtta have his head read. • Janis Joplin — Pearl (Columbia) :: With her dowdy looks and coarse voice, you just know she’d never get signed by fuddy-duddy Davis today. • Moody Bluegrass — A Nashville Tribute to the Moody Blues (Rounder) :: Finally, a banjo and fiddle version of “Nights In White Satin.” • The Trews — House Of Ill Fame (Epic) :: One of 2003’s unmitigated pop masterpieces is back on the racks with a bonus disc of new live tracks including their seismic extrapolation of “Hey Jude.” • SIZZLING PLATTER OF THE WEEK: Mark Dignam — Box Heart Man (Times Beach) :: Irish folk singer Dignam starts off his record with a classic George Harrison “Blue Jay Way” drone before abruptly shifting gears down into some of the strongest and most heartfelt pickin’ and singin’ I’ve heard in quite a while. • Be seeing you!Jeffrey Morgan is a freelance writer. Send comments to firstname.lastname@example.org
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