Just returned from a long trip from Canoga Park to Orange County (for the purpose of seeing OC poetry legend Leigh White read at Jennifer Donnell's monthly Neighborhood Cup reading in Aliso Viejo). While
in the car, I listened to a handful of new CDs:
THE FLAMING LIPS--THE DARK SIDE OF THE MOON (covered in its entirety). Wayne Coyne
and his band of Oklahomans bring the Pink Floyd warhorse into the 21st Century and make it their own
while respecting the lyrical-and-musical sensiblities of Waters, Gilmour, Mason and Wright.
THE LIKE--RELEASE ME. I never heard The Like's first album ARE YOU THINKING WHAT I'M THINKING? But it apparently undersold and the band (led by Tennessee Thomas, daughter of long-time
Elvis Costello drummer Pete Thomas) opted for a Britpop makeover (Alexa Ray Joel recently did the same thing, debuting a new Lily Allen/Kate Nash-influenced song on Howard Stern's show) with producer Mark Ronson (best known for his work on Amy Winehouse's BACK TO BLACK) giving the songs just the right blend of contemporary and retro sensibilites.
PAUL WELLER--WAKE UP THE NATION. One of the best concerts I've seen in recent years was Paul Weller (catching one night of a three-night stand promoting his career-spanning box set) at the Avalon (formerly Palace) in Hollywood. Having heard his ought-to-be-hits-packed latest (along with THE SOUND OF THE JAM, a good introduction for the Weller neophyte), I now need to buy tickets for Weller's Wiltern Theater show later this year--if any remain.
SHERYL CROW--100 MILES FROM MEMPHIS. Sheryl Crow, for the most part, appropriates the Stax/Hi Records Memphis sound (an Al Green-esque cover of Terrence Trent D'Arby's "Sign Your Name" is particularly memorable). And it's a better fit for Crow's talents than, say, Cyndi Lauper's MEMPHIS BLUES (well-meant but comes off somewhere between a museum piece and Lauper imitating Maria Muldaur).