Looking to cash in your iTunes gift card from the holidays? Soundbytes’ David Hyland has recommendations where to spend it.
Fame, fortune and the glory of forcing rival 50 Cent to cower in the bosom of tacky reality TV doesn’t appear to be enough for Kanye West anymore. His latest CD, “808s And Heartbreak,” is consumed by the emptiness of his former dreams and uses his formidable production acumen to simultaneously sell and shatter his erstwhile persona.
This Sunday, long-suffering Guns N’ Roses fans will finally have in their hands something that many probably thought they’d never see again: a brand-new album. Literally 15 years in the making, the often-ridiculed “Chinese Democracy” documents band leader Axl Rose’s transformation from the savage ringmaster of sleaze rock to the finicky maestro of overproduced epics.
The introspective, bearded singer-songwriter Ray LaMontagne has already attracted a dedicated audience despite a pronounced onstage shyness. In a recent concert in Madison, Wis., this support seemed to nudge him closer and closer to revealing the folk-rock soul man aching to get out.
With a new album hitting stores, New York art-rock combo TV on the Radio is presented with the unenviable task of wowing fans as they did with their much-praised, post-9/11 masterwork, “Return To Cookie Mountain.” But for the follow-up, the band skews heady expectations and instead throws a New Wave dance party.
As a performer, singer Neko Case is an intoxicating presence to be seen as well as heard. On Friday night’s concert in Madison, Wis., the country-rock songbird with the golden pipes mesmerized the audience whether it was with old favorites or the unfamiliar brand-new songs.
Free at last from the hits-only brainwashing of longtime producer Bob Rock, Metallica has recorded a new album that takes the metal icons back to the days when they were the reigning kings of high-octane thrash. So does this mean that they’ve rediscovered themselves? Or are they simply impersonating themselves?
The Roots and the Black Keys spearheaded an eclectic slate of underground acts at the SoCo Music Experience, a free-admission festival on Saturday in Madison, Wis. Despite the event’s birth as elaborate marketing ploy, the show exceeded expectations, attracting sonic connoisseurs and offering a lesson in musical appreciation.
Perhaps acting under the deluded belief that some of their fans have been hanging tough through their two-decade absence, ’80s boy band New Kids on the Block has reunited and cut a new album of mature, loverman-type songs. Find out if these former teen idols still have the right stuff to win them back.
Spurned by his former patrons, gangsta rapper the Game has carved out a musical niche that isn’t aligned with Dr. Dre’s West Coast or 50 Cent’s East Coast dominions. Unfortunately, this style, as exemplified on his new album, is little more than a star-sponsored imitation celebrating gangsta-rap’s golden age.