Golden Smog, Helmet, Billy Ray Cyrus
Golden Smog may have started as nothing more than a Minneapolis scene in-joke – a chance for a Jayhawk, a Soul Asylum, and a guy from Run Westy Run to hook up and record a few covers. But, with the addition of Wilco's mainman Jeff Tweedy a decade ago, it's become something of a friendly refuge for all involved, and a way of regularly touching base every half decade or so. Actually, it's been eight years since the last Golden Smog disc, but Tweedy, Gary Louris (Jayhawks), Dan Murphy (Soul Asylum), and Kraig Johnson (the Run Westy Run character) have reunited for the new Another Fine Day (Lost Highway), a disc that also features a couple of welcome appearances by Louris' former Jayhawks partner Marc Perlman.
Helmet. Now there's a name you probably didn't think you'd ever hear again. But Page Hamilton is soldiering on with the band that brought him post-Nirvana fame and fortune in the '90s, albeit with a completely revamped group of backing musicians. The new disc is Monochrome, and it's probably not a great sign that it's on a label I've never heard of – Warcon.
As long as we're kicking around grizzled vets, might as well let you know that the king of the countripolitain mullet has resurfaced. Yes, nothing can keep Billy Ray Cyrus down. In fact, he scored some pretty impressive cameos for his new Wanna Be Your Joe (New Door/UME), including Jack White's favorite gal Loretta Lynn and the one and only George Jones.
But if it's hip, new, now, and hot that you're looking for, Jesse F. Keeler has everything you could ever want on his debut as MSTRKRFT. Keeler, whose name you may recognize from Death From Above 1979, gets very funky and even more Daft Punky with his side-project on The Looks (Last Gang). Take that all you Francophiles.
And, we might as well let you know that even though Capitol won't be releasing Brit ska-pop cutie Lily Allen's eagerly anticipated debut Alright Still in the US until September, it just came out in England. So, for those of you who just can't wait to get your hands on it, check the import bins at any hip record store or just go on line and pay the extra cash for the first salvo from England's answer to Gwen Stefani.
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