Summer Plugs

June 26, 2009


On a more trivial note, I suppose, I have to plug a few things. I haven’t posted on new albums and things in awhile, so I’ll take a few lines to spread the word on some notable releases.

First of all, if you’re a Drive By Truckers fan (and if you aren’t you should be), it’s a pretty good time to be one. Patterson Hood, co-founder and one of the lead singers/guitarists for DBT released his second solo album two weeks ago, “Murdering Oscar (and other love songs)” and CNN is already calling it the best record of the year so far. It’s a great album, backed by a full band on most tracks (unlike the at home solo recordings of Hood’s last non DBT outing). All are great sounding fully formed songs that are lyrical character studies of a wide range of humanity. Great music with good lyrics. Pick this one up the old-fashioned way (you know, at a record store), because the packaging is nice and the liner notes are very insightful. The record should hold you off until July’s CD/DVD combo release of DBT’s “Austin City Limits” live show and the upcoming fall release of a DBT B-sides, rarities and outtakes compilation

Also noteworthy recent music albums are the great power pop rock songs from French rockers Phoenix’ third album, “Wolfgang Amadeus Phoenix.” Also, for seriously bouncy perfect pop music check out “Manners” by the band “Passion Pit,” a throwback to 80s synth pop that remains sounding fresh. And, Morrissey’s latest album “Years of Refusal” may very well be the best and most cohesive work he’s put out since leaving the Smiths almost two decades ago.

In other mediums, if you are even a casual comic or graphic novel fan and you aren’t reading writer Jason Aaron and artist R.M. Guera’s excellent “Scalped” series from Vertigo/DC, you are sorely missing out. It’s available in 4 collected volumes (Indian Country, Casino Boogie, Dead Mothers, Gravel in Your Guts) and new single issues come out every month. It’s unlike anything you’ve ever read, a completely new and wholly American noir tale. The only thing giving “Scalped” a run for it’s money on intensity, depth and originality is the relatively new “Unknown Soldier,” another Vertigo title by writer Joshua Dysart and artist Alberto Ponticelli. “Soldier” is a thoroughly researched and eerily visceral take on Uganda and Congo political, war and civilian issues complete with child soldiers, violent civil wars and the re-imagining of the old DC character, the soldier clothed in full bandages. It’s available monthly, the first collected trade is scheduled to come out on September 1st, so mark your calendar and earmark your ten bucks because it’s more than worth it.

Last of all, with movies like “Star Trek,” “Wolverine,” “Angels and Demons,” “The Hangover” and “Transformers 2” raking in dough hand over fist, (good as some of them may be) it’s evident that the months of big, dumb, summer movies are upon us as the critical darlings are held back for the fall and winter. These big flicks are usually fun popcorn fare (Wolverine and Hangover were, I can’t speak for the others I haven’t yet seen them), but if you’re an indie, old-school horror or ‘80s underground film fan don’t forget to show director Sam Raimi a little love for “Drag Me to Hell,” his messy grand return to B horror schlock. I’m catching it this weekend hopefully, we owe him a bit of support for the “Evil Dead” films (even if he did drop the ball on a few aspects of the Spider Man films when he went big budget).

That’s all for now.


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