Road Tunes: New Music From Donald Fagen, GY!BE, Mika, etc.
New releases for the week of October 16, 2012
Web2Carz Senior Writer
Published: October 16th, 2012
he big news in music of course is that Rush has finally been nominated for induction into the Rock 'n' Roll Hall of Fame. This is excellent news for fans of pretentious, Ayn-Rand-inspired, Canadian prog, and for people who think that induction in to the Rock 'n Roll Hall of Fame means anything whatsoever. We kid Rush, of course: they're a very important band. We've been using them as a musical Mendoza line—a way to quickly suss out whether or not someone has decent taste—for years.
Donald Fagen / Sunken Condos
THEY SAY: Fourth solo album from Steely Dan singer Donald Fagen, and the first since completing his Nightfly trilogy.
WE SAY: Donald Fagen's latest solo outing is a lighter, breezier affair than his two previous solo albums. It shares a similar feel with Fagen's first solo album, as well as Steely Dan's Gaucho. In other words, Fagen isn't breaking any new ground. It's inoffensive, to be sure, and not entirely unpleasant, but there's only so much you can do with the same old sound.
Godspeed You! Black Emperor / Allelujah! Don't Bend! Ascend!
THEY SAY: Fourth studio album from Canadian experimental rock band Godspeed You! Black Emperor, and their first in 10 years.
WE SAY: It's hard to believe it's been 10 years since GY!BE went on their extended hiatus. Probably the most significant band to emerge out of the "post-rock" movement of the '90s, GY!BE's orchestral approach to instrumental rock was so unique that none was even able to copy it. With this new album they show that their musical sensibility is as relevant as ever.
Nusrat Fateh Ali Kahn / Musst Musst
THEY SAY: Reissue of the late Pakistani singer's 1990 collaboration with guitarist Michael Brook.
WE SAY: When it came out in 1990, Musst Musst was a revelation to many Western music lovers who were unfamiliar with Ali Khan, who was already a superstar in the Middle East. It's definitely a Westernized sound for the singer (Massive Attack remixed the title track and it was a huge club hit in the UK), but it still stands as a great album, and a perfect introduction for anyone unfamiliar with the singer, who Jeff Buckley referred to as "my Elvis."
Mika / Origin of Love
THEY SAY: Third album from British popster Mika, following his critically acclaimed 2009 album, The Boy Who Knew Too Much.
WE SAY: The super sugary pop of Mika is made even more twee on this new album, which has more of a generic American pop feel than its predecessors. This may help propel Mika to American stardom, but it's way too much for our liking.
Martha Wainwright / Come Home to Mama
THEY SAY: Third solo album from Martha Wainwright, sister of Rufus, and daughter of Loudon Wainwright and Kate McGarrigle.
WE SAY: Martha Wainwright's career has always been eclipsed by brother Rufus, which is a shame, because she's equally talented and, like everyone in her accomplished musical family, has her own unique style. Featuring guest turns from Wilco's Nels Cline, The Dirty Three's Jim White, and Sean Lennon, Come Home to Mama is a solid record from an artist who deserves more attention than she gets.