THIS WEEK'S SINGLES
FALL OUT BOY
My Songs Know What You Did in the Dark (Light 'em Up) (Island Def Jam)
Continuing their trend of long, convoluted song titles, Fall Out Boy's first single since 2009, and the lead-off for their grandiosely-named Save Rock 'n Roll album, is a full-on pop-metal assault. One part Andrew WK, one part Adam Lambert, this crackles with undeniable energy and a hopelessly catchy chorus. 'Ö'Ö'Ö 1/2
Strictly 4 the Jeeps (VICE)
Taken from his forthcoming Saab Stories album, this raw, banging rap track sees the underground MC with the Ghostface Killah flow and the ODB bizarre factor borrowing from EPMD's classic Rampage while promising to "take you back to 5th grade and punch you in the face on picture day." All kinds of awesome. 'Ö'Ö'Ö'Ö
Rez (Bassnectar Remix) (Child's Play)
Rez is easily one of Underworld's most underrated tracks. Here, the Cowgirl B-side gets a modern day makeover courtesy of California producer Bassnectar, with a thunderous, tribal drum beat and glitchy digital effects, while still keeping enough of the original intact to give you shivers down your spine all over again. 'Ö'Ö'Ö'Ö
-- Reviewed by Steve Adams
óè POP & ROCK
Portage & Main
Never Had The Time (Knuckleduster Music Inc.)
VANCOUVER hipster folkies Portage & Main show their age on their quite listenable second album Never Had the Time, and by that we mean they sound ripe enough to know better. If musical bootlegging is a form of low flattery, the six-piece P&M is a genius band. The band offers a loose yet sincere interpretation of fourth-generation roots-rock and is practically faultless in getting that sound right; in fact, they get it too right. There is a sense as you track through these 10 songs that you may have heard this band before. Need a little Blue Rodeo earnestness? Check out the soaring steel guitar playing off the wide-eyed vocals of the title track. Is a ditty that recalls Neil Young in the early '70s, strumming cross-legged at the campfire, up your alley? As A Child kicks that coal right into the fire. It goes on and on, and after a few listens, it gets a bit irritating. Why does band with such obvious instrumental skill unashamedly ape the worshipped masters this way? Sweet Darlin' attempts to kick the album into higher gear but ends up sounding as clichéd as the rest of the songs. Right for the times, and not much else. 'Ö'Ö1/2
DOWNLOAD THIS: Better Man
-- Jeff Monk
Nick Cave & the Bad Seeds
Push the Sky Away (Bad Seed Ltd.)
AFTER the furious Dig!!! Lazarus Dig!!! and a pair of swaggering records from primal side project Grinderman, fans of Nick Cave may have expected another slab of guitar distortion and sex and death from the first Bad Seeds album in five years. Instead, Push the Sky Away delivers spare strings and electronic loops -- and sex and death.
The band's 15th album in nearly three decades finds Cave introspective again, reminiscent of 1997's brooding The Boatman's Call. This cohesive collection is built around the six-plus minute Jubilee Street, a meditation on pain and obsession featuring a beauty with a little black book, "and my name was written on every page."
Hannah Montana gets a shout out, along with Robert Johnson and Lucifer himself, in the haunting god particle dirge Higgs Boson Blues.
Push the Sky Away is yet another gem in a long string of fiercely literate offerings from the poet laureate of post-punk.
DOWNLOAD THIS: Push the Sky Away
-- Christopher Weber / The Associated Press
Aruán Ortiz and Michael Janisch Quintet
Banned in London (Whirlwind Recordings)
THIS a great blowing session by a band with international flavour, recorded live at the 2011 London Jazz Festival.
Cuban-born, New York-based pianist Aruán Ortiz and bassist Michael Janisch, a U.S. expat living in London, are joined by Americans Rudy Royston on drums and Greg Osby on alto saxophone, and French-born, Spanish-based trumpeter Raynald Colom over five extended workouts.
Janisch's dramatic bass solo starts the band rolling on his composition Precisely Now. Colom's fat, round tone is ideally suited to the band's version of Monk's Ask Me Now. Osby is lyrical on Jitterbug Waltz, even as he bends the Fats Waller piece out of shape. Royston's drumming is dynamic throughout, in ensemble and solo play. Ortiz backs the front line with taste and builds his own solos to an intense finish.
The Maestro, an Ortiz composition, is what this recording is all about -- a jam session feel with good solos all around. 'Ö'Ö'Ö'Ö
DOWNLOAD THIS: The Maestro
-- Chris Smith
Emmylou Harris & Rodney Crowell
Old Yellow Moon (Nonesuch/Warner)
OLD Yellow Moon reunites country legends and multiple Grammy winners Emmylou Harris and Rodney Crowell, who first worked together in Emmylou's Hot Band in 1975. Also returning is Harris's ex-husband, Nova Scotia-born producer Brian Ahern, who was behind the board for his soon-to-be wife's major-label debut, Pieces of the Sky, that year.
Both Harris and Crowell eventually moved on stylistically; she recorded the universally praised Wrecking Ball with Daniel Lanois (another Canadian), while Crowell traded his mainstream country career for critical acclaim on lyrically edgy roots-oriented fare, as showcased on the albums Fate's Right Hand and The Outsider.
Old Yellow Moon finds this talented trio effortlessly revisiting the carefree '70s, when the Eagles, Linda Ronstadt and Neil Young were blending traditional country with rock 'n' roll, creating what was dubbed "country rock" and resulting in Harris's albums Luxury Liner and Elite Hotel finding a home atop the Billboard chart. The threesome just might do it again. 'Ö'Ö'Ö 1/2 out of five
DOWNLOAD THIS: Black Caffeine
-- Bruce Leperre