Well, if you didn’t have any experience of the quirks in the UK weather before, last weekend must have come as quite a shock to the system. Friday saw us basking in sunshine thinking that Summer had come early, Saturday was a blustery and quite cold spring day, and Sunday, SNOW??? And So Cold… I am however warmed up by the quality, once again, of this weeks new releases;
Kooks – Konk
An album ingeniously named after the studio, owned by "Ray Davies" from "The Kinks" in which it was recorded. This album seems somewhat looser than it’s predecessor, as if they did not have to try so hard, but I’m not saying that in a bad way, it’s a good thing!
It is still full of the Indie undertones that you would expect, but somehow seems less Indie. If the lead single "Always Where I Need To Be" (video on YouTube), is anything to go by, this is a far cry from that "difficult" second album that so many bands suffer from. While perhaps most tracks on that first album were instant chart pop singles this album showcases a band that has subtly upgraded their game, and come out on top!
With a massive tour supporting the release taking in dates in the UK, Europe, America and some of the summers best festivals, the summer of 2008 may well belong to the Kooks.
Mariah Carey – E=MC2
So you thought the title was a physics reference? Not so my dear friends, I can give you the "official" explanation: E (Emancipation) = (of) MC (Mariah Carey) 2 (To the second power). Certainly more clever than Konk!
This album follows the smash hit 2004 album "Emancipation of Mimi" which was, it has to be said, chock-a-block full of hit singles. So much so that it might have to be re-named "Number 1′s" in the years to come! Her usual mixture of Pop, R&B and Hip Hop beats are here aplenty, but also this time experimentation with some Gospel and Reggae. I especially like the reggae influences in "Cruise Control".
The first single "Touch My Body" (official Video courtesy of YouTube) reached #6 in the UK chart and will be followed shortly by it’s follow up "Bye Bye". The song, possibly about the death of her Father, is for "anybody who has just lost somebody" according to the singer, and is almost a sequel to her long ago hit with Boyz II Men "One Sweet Day".
For me, the best song on the album is "Side Effects", full of reference to her ex-husband Tommy Mottola this is song writing at it’s best and must be a single release!
Elliot Minor – Elliot Minor
The name of this band, for those of you who did not attend public school, is derived from the fact that if your elder brother, surname "Elliot" is at the same school as you, you will become "Elliot Minor". I think.
I saw Elliot Minor in an instore earlier this week… until I was moved on by security as I was "In the way" that is. Like the band themselves, in their early twenties, the crowd were all very young, and eager. The musicians in Elliot Minor are all classically trained. In fact Alex and Ed met at school where they were both Music Scholars.
The result is a pleasing mixture of Rock, Pop and Classical music. Best described as "Driving Music", you know the sort of thing you have blasting in the car when you are driving through the country in the summer, the songs all bounce along at a nice speed and are instantly accessible. I particularly like the two singles "The White One Is Evil" and "Still Figuring Out". Here is a great "BBC Blog"
So, there you go then, these are my picks of the week. Check out our full list of New Release CDs and Pre-Release CDs at CD WOW!