By Jake Shenker
A special greatest hits package, a confusing 8-bit indie record, a fantastic modern jazz album, and Spinal Tap? No two things are alike on this bizarre New Release Tuesday.
Here’s what’s new this week:
Incubus — Monuments and Melodies (Epic)
What’s that, a new Incubus album? Think again. Monuments and Melodies is one of those irritating greatest hits albums that record companies release when a band is on hiatus. This 2-disc set, however, is pretty well put together. Disc 1 features the obvious radio singles and a couple of mediocre new tracks, but disc 2 is a compilation of b-sides, soundtrack cuts, and remixes that are mostly unreleased (or at least not readily available). While it won’t gain Incubus any new fans, this release will at least prevent Incubus fans, with their pea-sized attention spans, from forgetting about the band. Incubus are expected to release a proper new album in 2010.
Math the Band — Don’t Worry (Slanty Shanty)
This bizarre duo sound like your average indie band on acid, making music with an original Nintendo, and a drumset. Their music is fast and ridiculous, but somewhere in the frenzy of double-time programmed drums and 8-bit synth is a friendly, endearing quality that makes Math the Band’s newest record worth hearing. Frankly, Don’t Worry is a record that actually can’t be accurately described — visit their myspace and form your own opinion.
Spinal Tap — Back From the Dead (The Label Industry)
Has it really been 25 years since Spinal Tap, the immortal 80s hair band parody film? It has, and the hilarious Spinal Tap — comprised of actors/musicians Christopher Guest, Harry Shearer, and Michael McKean — are releasing this special package to commemorate the anniversary. Back From the Dead features re-recorded, remixed, and often rearranged versions of Spinal Tap songs, chronicling the fictional band’s entire career. For this disc, you’ll definitely need to crank your sound system to 11.
Christian McBride & Inside Straight — Kind of Brown (Mack Avenue)
One of the best modern bass players is back, and he brought some friends. Christian McBride has played with everyone from Chick Corea and John McLaughlin to Sting and DJ Logic, and he does it all with an unparalleled joy and finesse. Kind of Brown features McBride’s new quintet, Inside Straight, and explores just about every kind of jazz you can imagine. Vibraphonist Warren Wolf shines on the Modern Jazz Quartet-tinged “Brother Mister,” while the fast-paced, funky head of “Theme for Kareem” has a more modern sound. This is one of those rare new jazz releases that brings a new style to a very old genre, sounding alive and fresh while still respecting the foundations of jazz.