School of Rock

Since this is the last installment of School of Rock before summer begins, I thought I’d take the opportunity to tell you about some really cool albums that will, whether you like it or not, become the soundtrack to your summer. Some are recent releases of the past few months that just need a little fun in the sun to catch on; others will be released in the next few weeks. Regardless of whether it’s been out for a while or it is still unheard, you should be excited. There are a lot of great bands and artists ready to make memories with you. For the sake of clarity, I’ll go through these geoalphabetichronologically by genre.

From across the pond, Bloc Party and The Futureheads have more 1980s new wave throwback rock that, despite being out for a while, hasn’t swept the Hamilton metropolitan area like The Killers have. If you like The Killers, and I know you still do, then hear me out. The Killers sound like New Order. Bloc Party sounds like New Order. I haven’t heard much from The Futureheads to be honest, but it’s likely they have a sound similar to New Order. Also from the United Kingdom, The Zutons’ recent debut album, Who Killed … The Zutons, is a mishmash of blues, rock, jazz and funk that will have you dancing, whether in your cubicle or on your lifeguard stand. Imagine that … a band from the U.K. that is not (yet) discovered to be a shameless throwback to something else.

And now for the Americana portion of the show. Bruce Springsteen has a new album due April 26th called Devils & Dust. The follow-up to 2002’s post 9-11 masterpiece, The Rising, this album has more of an organic, singer-songwriter feel. The E-Street Band is missing from the studio work as well as from the upcoming tour, and the closest comparison would be 1982’s Nebraska or 1995’s whispery The Ghost of Tom Joad. Ryan Adams, alternative country’s extremely reluctant poster boy, has shown just how reluctant he is by releasing an alternative country record, technically the first since his brilliant debut, Heartbreaker. A double-album due on May 3rd, Cold Roses, features songs that wouldn’t sound out of place on the Dead’s Workingman’s Dead, or behind a Toby Keith video on CMT’s rotation. The prolific songwriter also has plans to release two more full-length albums before the close of 2005. Those two, entitled 29 and September, should be out by mid-summer and September, respectively.

RAWK!!! The White Stripes will soon unveil their new album, Get Behind Me, Satan. Their first single, “Blue Orchid,” is available for purchase from the iTunes music store and sounds like 80s hair-metal. Lord knows what the rest of the album will sound like. Finally, Beck’s new release, Guero, is a return to the bizarro-folk-hip-hop of his Mellow Gold and Odelay days. Beck fans can finally return to being completely perplexed rather than sad and contemplative. That’s just a taste of some of the good stuff either released recently or soon to be released. Before I go, some CD’s to avoid spending money on include: Mariah Carey’s The Emancipation of Mimi, Will Smith’s Lost and Found, Lisa-Marie Presley’s Now What and Moby’s Hotel, but that’s all pretty self-explanatory – I hope.