Known Johnson

May 11, 2005

Overlooked Alternatives: new releases for May 10, 2005

Filed under: Uncategorized — Tom @ 6:53 am

I won’t even pretend to make an argument that Weezer’s new album, Make Believe is going to be even remotely overlooked this week. Reviews for the album, however, are very mixed, tending toward the negative, but I would take those with a grain of salt – Weezer fans have shown themselves to be an amazingly close-minded group that doesn’t want to see their favorite band change even slightly. I find it hard to take seriously anyone who can find serious faults with their third album, the second self-titled release (you know, that green one,) and a near perfect, totally logical follow-up to their first self-titled release (you know, that blue one. So when they complain about changes in Weezer’s sound on Make Believe (apparently “happier” and touches of keyboards here and there – OH NO!) I’m going to have to just let this album have a chance to be its own thing.

Slightly more overlooked, simply because people will write him off as a has-been, is Robert Plant’s new album with his band, Strange Sensation, Mighty Rearranger. Plant’s back after an excellent two-disc compilation, Sixty Six to Timbuktu, and it sounds like he’s having fun mixing up pretty much every style he’s ever flirted with on this new album. This could be the surprise sleeper of the week.

Spoon: Gimme Fiction – Spoon’s been suffering in relative obscurity for quite a while now, but this album might just be their big break-through. It seems every couple of years we need a straight-up, straight-ahead, driving rock-n-roll album to wake everyone up, and my bet’s are placed for this being this year’s surprise success story. If you like your rock raw and lean, with some nods towards the early Rolling Stones, Gimme Fiction should be a very fun listen for you.

Marillion: Marbles on the Road – Marillion turned out what might have been their finest album with last year’s Marbles and document the album, track-by-track, with this live DVD set. The performances are so tight and strong that they nearly perfectly mirror the polished studio versions, but the real treat here is finally being able to see front-man Steve Hogarth working the stage like the pro he’s become. Hogarth turns in a beautiful vocal peformance that is augmented by just the right amount of his own dramatic presence and projected visuals. The only complaint I can register is not getting to hear the entire song-cycle – this DVD is a performance of only the retail version of the album, which doesn’t include, among several other tracks, the must-hear emotional peak of the album that is the 17 minute “Ocean Cloud.” This amazing piece of work and several other shorter tracks are only available on the two-disc version of Marbles (available only at Marillion.com.) Don’t even bother wasting your money on the one-disc version. Check out Blogcritics’
Chris Beaumont’s fine review of Marbles on the Road for more detailed information.

And, because I care, a word of warning:

Einstrurzende Neubauten: Halber Mensch – This DVD is being released without the permission of the band and the band will receive no royalties. Some Bizarre, the label Neubauten and many other small bands were on in the 80s, has never followed through on giving these artists their monetary due, and continue to repackage and rerelease things in an effort to scam more money out of unknowing fans. I’ll just post what’s posted on the official Neubauten
webpage
:

  • Stevo (Some Bizarre) is releasing, without permission from the band, a DVD of this film by Sogo Ishii.
  • His release is under the Cherry Red label in Europe, and apparently in the US by Music Video Distributors (according to Amazon.com).
  • We have produced our own version of the DVD, which is currently available on the 25th Anniversary Tour — this DVD can be distinguished by the fact that the angel on the cover is silver, it is clearly labeled as the 25th Anniversary Tour Edition on the front, and there is a reference to http://www.neubauten.org on the back. Also: our version is region free.
  • We are in the process of making a future edition available to the wider public; more details will be available via this site as soon as we have them.
  • Please, if you are concerned about the wishes and welfare of the band, do NOT buy Stevo’s version.
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2 Comments »

  1. I bought “Make Believe” last night and am a little underwhelmed. A handful of the songs are just…blah. There are several very good songs, and overall it’s not a bad album, but at this point, I find it their weakest album yet. Who knows. Maybe it’ll grow on me.

    …and this is coming from a die-hard fan who actually welcomes the band implementing some changes.

    Comment by Chris — May 11, 2005 @ 8:47 am | Reply

  2. Well, I sadly have to agree, Chris. I feel pretty much exactly the same way – it’s not bad, it’s not great . . . it’s just not all that interesting. It starts off good and then it just kind of peters out about 4 songs in. “Hold Me” just kills it for me, and the album can’t seem to rebuild the momentum it had in the previous three songs. That said, “This is Such a Pity” is in my head at this moment and has been all day.

    But WOW – that Robert Plant is HIGHLY recommended. Check that out for a quick pick-me-up after being let down by Weezer.

    Comment by Tom — May 11, 2005 @ 9:43 pm | Reply


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