Robert Christgau — Christgau’s Consumer Guide (MSN) :: He’s the Leonard Maltin of music!
James King — Gardens in the Sky: The Bluegrass Gospel of James King (Rounder) :: Like heroin or Ernie Kovacs, religious bluegrass music is an acquired taste in that you have to be receptive to both the religion and the bluegrass to get into it. But seeing as how James King is the genre’s premier practitioner, this compilation consisting of mostly previously released tracks from his earlier albums is well worth the effort.
Tiesto — In Search of Sunrise 7: Asia (Black Hole) :: Points deducted for putting an Armani Exchange logo on the back cover.
Various Artists — Stax Goes the Beatles & Soulsville Sings Hitsville: Stax Sings the Songs of Motown Records (Stax) :: Hearing Issac Hayes melt "Something" into a sensual, 12-minute, soul-searing sermon is one thing; hearing the Bar-Kays turn "I Heard it Through the Grapevine" into a suspenseful, 12-minute, senses-shattering soul-noir session is another thing entirely.
Watermelon Slim — No Paid Holidays (Northern Blues) :: If I had a boil-burstin’ mug like his, I’d sing the blues too.
Stone Rider — Three Legs of Trouble (Trustkill) :: The album title says it all — but just in case you’re still on the nod, lemme spell it out for ya in simple words that even you can understand: This is loutishly loud ‘n’ distorted wah-wahified full throttle musical mayhem that’s custom made for some seriously savage stained mattress screwing. Yeah, I thought that might wake you up. And speaking of loose screws …
SIZZLING PLATTER OF THE WEEK: Chase Frank — Midnight Manor (self-released) :: Chase is a girl and, boy, can she ever write, sing and play a whole host of everything, from deep-sixed dirges ("Sad Song") and upbeat rockers ("Doubt") to decadent Euro-sautéed cabaret torch numbers ("Bipolar Belle"). I also get the feeling that’s she’s got a loose screw or two rattling around somewhere in that big beautiful brain of hers — always a plus in my book.