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CD Reviews:
LIstening Room: Daughtry, Dead Weather and more...

Of the Oakland Press

Posted: Monday, July 13, 2009

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Daughtry, “Leave This Town” (19 Recordings/RCA) **1/2

Not far into his sophomore album, Chris Daughtry sings that “all that I’m after is a life full of laughter” — and you can argue he’s the guy who’s had the last laugh by turning “American Idol” also-ran status into the multi-platinum triumph of his 2006 debut, which has sold five million copies worldwide. But there’s not a lot of chuckling going on in the dozen tracks of “Leave This Town,” another earnest set filled with bynumbers, post-grunge rockers and power ballads teeming with angst, romantic tumult, unrequited soul-searching and lyrics that remain a little too vague to convey much emotional heft. It’s certainly polished and well-crafted and not at all dissimilar from the “Daughtry” album, with the exception that the band he assembled after its release plays on the entirety of “Leave This Town.” Daughtry the man, meanwhile, continues to wear his influences on his sleeve and even works with some of them on “Leave This Town,” including: Nickelback’s Chad Kroeger, who co-wrote a break-up tune (“No Surprise”) and a love song (“Life After You”); and former Evanescence principle Ben Moody, who helps bring a dark ‘n’ gothy texture to the reunited-by-death paeon “Open Your Eyes.” Elsewhere Daughtry starts the album with the leaden lumber and angsty choruses of “You Don’t Belong,” explores poppier directions on “What I Meant to Say” and “Supernatural,” is one peddle steel away from a country song on “September” and then brings in the fiddle for “Tennessee Line.” Anyone who enjoyed “Daughtry” won’t feel a need to leave “...This Town,” but familiarity will likely breed contempt for the unconverted.


The Dead Weather, “Horehound” (Third Man) ***

Jack White became a mainstream rock star by accident, and after playing in that pool with the White Stripes and Raconteurs, he is steering in a somewhat darker and less immediately accessible direction — and playing drums instead of his usual guitar. Like the Raconteurs, the Dead Weather comes with all-star credentials, bringing together Ferndale’s Dean Fertita (Queens of the Stone Age, the Waxwings) on guitar and keyboards, singer Alison Mosshart of the Kills and bassist “Little” Jack Lawrence from the Raconteurs, the Greenhornes and Detroit’s Blanche for 11 tracks of mostly electric blues that straddle a line between rustic and psychedelic. The Dead Weather spends most of its time in the full-throttle mode of “I Cut Like a Buffalo,” “New Pony,” “60 Feet Tall,” “Rocking Horse” and “No Hassle Tonight,” but the group is just as effective when it brings the noise down for more subtle excursions such as the grooving instrumental “3 Birds” and the album-closing White-Mosshart duet “Will There Be Enough Water.” “Horehound may not sell quite like White’s other bands, but it’s a potent turn that certainly shores up his avant rock cred.

New & Noteworthy

Adelitas Way, “Adelitas Way” (Virgin): The hard rock quintet from Las Vegas already has some juice behind its debut thanks to the track “Invincible,” which is the theme for the weekly “WWE Superstars.”

Billy Talent, “Billy Talent III” (Atlantic): The Canadian “scream-o” rockers recorded their third album with producer Brendan O’Brien (Bruce Springsteen, Pearl Jam).

Olivia Broadfield, “Eyes Wide Open” (Vagrant): The

British indie-pop artist made a musical mark on TV (“The

Hills,” “The Real World”) and in movies (“The Eye”) even

before signing a recording contract.

Chico DeBarge, “Addiction: Reality Music” (Kedar): The younger DeBarge brother turns to music after a

five-year hiatus spent concentrating on acting.

Clutch, “Strange Cousins From the West” (Weathermaker Music): The Baltimore hard rockers’ ninth full-length is the quartet’s first for its own label.

DevilDriver, “Pray For Villains” (Roadrunner): Dez

Fafara and his headbanging compatriots enlisted former Machine Head and Soulfly guitarist Logan Mader to produce their fourth studio effort.

John Flynn, “America’s Waiting” (John Flynn/ Flying Stone): The singersongwriter left his usual

confines in New York behind to make his latest album in Nashville with a well-credentialed group of musicians.

David Garza, “Dream Delay” (Cosmica): The Texas singer-songwriter’s latest includes guests such as Fiona Apple, Ministry’s Al Jourgensen and Jim Ward from Sparta and Sleepercar.

Joe, “Signature” (563 Entertainment/Kedar): The second independent release from the R&B singer and hitmaker.

Judas Priest, “A Touch of Evil: Live” (Epic): The metal icons deliver a concert set of more obscure selections, recorded during its 2005 and 2008 tours.

La Coka Nostra, “A Band You Can Trust” (Suburban Noize): The debut full-length from the rap supergroup featuring members of House of Pain, Non Phixion, Special Teamz and Limp Bizkit, with guest appearances by Snoop Dogg, Cypress Hill, Bun B and more.

Marcy Playground, “Leaving Wonderland... in a fit of rage” (O2): John Wozniak and company are back for the first time in five years, with a new drummer and songs that, as the album title suggests, aren’t just about

“Sex and Candy.”

Miss Derringer, “Winter Hill” (Nickel and Dime/ Triple X): The Los Angeles quartet mixes punk, New Wave,

rockabilly and girl group vocal sensibilities on this loose concept album.

David Nail, “I’m About to Come Alive” (MCA Nashville): Coming seven years after his first single, this “new” country singer’s debut features songs by Kenny

Chesney and Rascal Flatts’ Gary LeVox and a guest shot by

Miranda Lambert.

Original Cast Recording, “9 to 5: The Musical” (Dolly

Records): You know some of the songs from the original film soundtrack, but Dolly Parton penned quite a bit of new material to flesh it out for the stage.

School of Seven Bells, “Alpinisms” (Ghostly International/Vagrant): The ambient rock trio’s ravedabout debut is re-released with a little more national muscle

behind it.

Edwin Sharpe & the Magnetic Zeros, “Edwin Sharpe & the Magnetic Zeros” (Community Music/ Fairfax Recording): The West Coast collective debuts on disc with a joyous hippie/gypsy kind of music, idiosyncratic

but wholly enjoyable.

Sick Puppies, “Tri-Polar” (RMR/Virgin/EMI): The Australian-formed rock trio deliver its first album

(third overall) since relocating to the U.S.

Soundtrack, “(500) Days of Summer” (Sire): The feature film debut by music video director Marc Webb taps songs by Feist, the Smiths, Wolfmother, Doves, Regina Spektor and more on this companion album.

Time and Distance, “Gravity” (Not Alone): The West Virginia pop-rock trio enlisted Hidden in Plain View’s Rob Freeman to produce its third album.

From The Vaults

Beastie Boys, “Ill Communication (Deluxe Edition)” (Grand Royal/ Capitol); Greg Brown, “Essential Recordings Vol. 2, 1997-2006” (Red House); The Grateful Dead, “Road Trips Vol. 2, No. 3 (Wall of Sound 1974)” (Rhino); Michael Jackson, “Hello World: The Motown Solo Collection” (Hip-O Select); the Rolling Stones, “Dirty Work,” “Steel Wheels,” “Voodoo Lounge,” “Bridges to Babylon,” “A Bigger Bang” (all Rolling Stones/UMe)

New Music DVDs

The Black Crowes, “Warpaint Live” (Eagle Rock)

Send your thoughts and comments to Gary Graff


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