Features 24 bit remastering and comes with a mini-description. Great work by this legendary hard swinging band – an early 60s American album issued on Atlantic Records, in the years before the Clark Boland Band's legendary run on MPS! Despite the early date, the album's got all the core elements of the band's sound in place – soaring rhythms, sharp-edged frontlines, and some great solo work by players who include Benny Bailey, Derek Humble, Jimmy Woode, Shahib Shihab, Idrees Sulieman, and Fats Sadi – coming together in a brilliant trans-Atlantic meeting of jazz talents! Tracks include "Long Note Blues", "Speedy Reeds", "Sonor", and "Om Mani Padme Hum".
The Gossip close Music for Men with a song called "Spare Me from the Mold," but Beth Ditto, Nathan Paine, and Hannah Billie could never be accused of conforming. They were still a relatively underground group when Standing in the Way of Control's passionate mix of punk, soul, and disco became their breakthrough – and they sounded so confident on it, it felt like the mainstream was coming to them rather than vice versa. They've got their own piece of the pop (and pop culture) mainstream now, and Music for Men feels aboveground in the best possible way. Befitting its major-label debut, this is the band's most polished music yet, a balance of Control's ferocity and the sleek remixes of the album's singles, but it's still not slick. Most of Music for Men finds The Gossip sticking to their roots and using their success to get their messages out to as many people as possible. These songs are just as empowering as their earlier work, though they're more subtly defiant.
Those who liked the moodier, more atmospheric material on the last Mark Lanegan Band offering, 2004's Bubblegum, will find much to enjoy on Blues Funeral – an album that has little to do with blues as a musical form. Lanegan has been a busy man since Bubblegum. In the nearly eight ensuing years, he's issued three records with Isobel Campbell, joined Greg Dulli in the Gutter Twins, guested on albums by the Twilight Singers and UNKLE, and was the lead vocalist on most of the last two Soulsavers offerings. Produced by Eleven guitarist Alain Johannes (who also fulfills that role here as well as playing bass, keyboards, and percussion), Blues Funeral finds Lanegan in a musically ambitious place. His voice is deeper, smokier, but more restrained, even on the few straight-up rockers. The grain in his voice is more pronounced, offering a sense of coiled menace on each track, one that is ready at all points to explode the musical confines these songs erect, and to overwhelm them all. To his credit, he never does. While the album is sequenced seamlessly, with varying textures and dynamics, there are standouts.
If calling their fifteenth studio album The Latest doesn't exactly suggest enthusiasm on the part of Cheap Trick, keep in mind that the band has never shown much enthusiasm for album titles anyway, titling two albums after their band and one after their hometown of Rockford, IL. The Latest follows 2006's Rockford by three years and does indeed offer the latest spin on the band's classic power pop, flowing naturally from that quite excellent back-to-basics set, offering another collection of 13 guitar-heavy pop tunes. After the brief, ominous opener "Sleep Forever," a misleading slice of spacy, hazy, mood rock fades away, Cheap Trick tear into the overlooked Slade gem "When the Lights Are Out," suggesting that The Latest will be a high-octane rock-fest, but apart from a handful of other moments – including the raging "Sick Man of Europe" and the "Slow Down" revamp "California Girl" – a lot of the record consists of thick Beatlesque psychedelia, an appealing shift in tactics that makes this something a little bit different than yet another Cheap Trick record.