n Foo Fighters, “Concrete and Gold” (RCA)
One thing that is consistent with all of the albums I really like is that they have a wide variety of songs. There’s nothing more boring than hearing one good song to begin with, and then nine more that are all trying to be that song. Foo Fighters seem to get that.
“Run” is a thrashing screamer, “The Sky is a Neighborhood” is a Beatlesque jam and “Dirty Water” is a soft, indie gem straight from the 1990s. My point being, no two of these 11 songs are so similar that they might be mistaken for one another. Another plus is Dave Grohl’s realization that his voice can do many things, both subtle and bombastic. Highly recommended.
n Fergie, “Double Dutchess” (BMG)
For all I know, this could be the most personal music Fergie has ever recorded. It’s hard to know, though, as its somewhat mechanical feel can keep the listener at arm’s length. “Like It Ain’t Nuttin’” begins with a nifty piano riff and then piles loop after loop on top of it. Sacrificing melody for repetition, a lot of these tracks don’t even sound like songs.
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There are moments when the real Fergie peeks through the production, though. “Save it Til Morning” is a pretty ballad, in which she stops putting on her faux-Brooklyn accent long enough to prove she can really sell a song. Unfortunately, these moments are few and far between.
n Randy Kaplan, “Trippin’ Round the Mitten” (Yellow Thing)
If Long Island native Randy Kaplan was having any more fun, he’d probably be arrested. Kaplan’s latest begins with “Honk Honk,” in which he implores everyone he meets to not squeeze his schnozzola. Blessed with a friendly voice that sounds like a cross between Cinderella’s mice and a 1940s film noir wise guy, just hearing Kaplan brings a smile to your face.
With songs like “Supernude,” a tribute to his son’s superhero alter ego, “On the Phone On the Toilet” and “Mr. Spaceman,” it’s easy to see that Kaplan’s love of music was formed years ago in kid-friendly novelty songs like “King Tut” and “Disco Duck.” Guaranteed smiles for every family.
Marilyn Manson/Heaven Upside Down (Loma Vista)
The Replacements/Live at Maxwell’s 1986 (Rhino)
Liam Gallagher/As You Were (Warner)
The Church/Man Woman Life Death Infinity (Unorthodox)
CDs provided by CD-DVD-Games-Warehouse, 3717 80th St., Kenosha, 262-942-9400.