Monument to the Masses
I’d never heard of Ima Robot, but according to their publicist they were way ahead of their time when they released their first album three years ago. Their current one, though, sounds to me like The Killers or U2 — cool, but hardly ground-breaking. Favorite tracks? “The Beat,” “Creeps Me Out” (based on a band member’s crazy stalker girlfriend) and “Eskimo Ride.” It’s got a great pop-rock sound that makes you want to kick up your heels a little, plus it’s easy on the ears. It’s been in stores since September.
Talk about a beautiful voice. This jazz vocalist blew me away with her soft, supple, yet strong singing. A lot of the songs on this CD are vocal-bass duets. Unusual, but it works to create an incredible intimacy. There are Brazilian influences, bossa nova beats, and a Portuguese song, “Esperanza Perdida (I Was Just One More For You).” Expect some soulful, but not intense, music, with some great harmonic invention. Unfortunately, as of press time the album is available only on her website, www.ellenjohnson.net.
Black Label Society:
Shot to Hell
This album rocks like nothing else. Seriously. This is Zakk Wylde’s band. You know, the lead guitar player for Ozzy Osbourne? This guitar playing on this album is phenomenal, thanks to this guy, who is a legend in the rock world. The album has some hard rock mixed with some ballads — in Zakk’s words, “It’s a real cool mix of heavy sh-t and mellow sh-t.” I could go on and on about old-school blazing solos, but I’ll just finish by telling you it’s in stores now.