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Wed, Dec. 11

Hot MP3s: Queens of the Stone Age, Paul McCartney, and some Maytals

Courtesy image
This is another good album from Toots and the Maytals.

Courtesy image This is another good album from Toots and the Maytals.

Album and band: "Era Vulgaris", by Queens of the Stone Age, 2007 I always get excited when these come out with a new disc. Queens of the Stone emerged from the ashes of KYUSS – a highly popular underground metal band of the 90's. former KYUSS guitarist Josh Homme recruits a different lineup for every album with a wide range of characters including Screaming Trees' Mark Lannegan, Dave Grohl, Deen Ween and ZZ Top's Billy Gibbons. Extremely unique. First track from the newbie: "Turnin on the Screw."Review by Lorin Mclain, Scene reporter -----------------------------"Ooh Las Vegas" Gram Parsons Released: 1973 Rating 3 out of 4 stars  A true hippie cowboy. He and Michael Nesmith started the same musical race. It's never quite clear whether they lent country to psychedelic or psychedelic to country. Nine out of 10 critics will say Parsons paved the way for The Eagles, but I'm that 10th critic. By the time The Eagles got their hands on his style, they shook the earthy soul right off it and brought it back to country, passing off "country rock" as country music played on loud amplifiers with electric guitar. Parsons was onto something else. He was a thread in the texture of one of my personally-invented music genres: "Commune rock." Bring together anywhere from nine to 14 hippies from musically diverse backgrounds and let them ride the same sonic soundwaves on perfect time. The best examples are Delaney & Bonnie, Joe Cocker, George Harrison and, of course, The Grateful Dead -- the only to make it last for 30 years. Gram Parsons fits in there somewhere, neck-and-neck with Nesmith. He hung out with Mick Jagger and Keith Richards, made Bakersfield as hip as London in the early 70s, and died at 26. Review by Steve Stockmar, Sports Editor  ----------------------------- "Dance Tonight" Paul McCartney Released: 2007 Rating: 1/2 out of 4 stars  It pains me to downgrade any Beatle-related output, but Paul makes it sinfully easy. Paul pioneered the art of catchy melodies in his early 20s. Love him or not, no one can touch his track record for commercial pop. As with some of Paul's otherwise biggest commercial achievements, he manages on his latest effort to disregard feel for touch when it comes to his music. It's accessible to pick up and buy, but it leaves me empty. Forgetting about it 30 minutes after first listening makes Paul McCartney the Chinese food of rock. "Dance Tonight" is his newest record, already at No. 3 on the U.S. chart. However, like the best/worst of Paul, he plays it safe with little more than a commercial jingle. His plan is as as simple now as it was when he first hit No. 1 on the U.S. album charts 43 years ago ("Meet The Beatles"): to put a smile on your face. How can that be a bad thing? It's not, it's a wonderful thing. It's just not worth the 13 cents my mp3 supplier charges for it. Review by Steve Stockmar, Sports Editor ----------------------------- Band: Toots and the Maytals Tracks: "Funky Kingston," "Sweet and Dandy," "Monkey Man", "Pressure Drop", "Bam Bam" These dudes have been idolized by all kinds of groups, including The Clash. Toots Hibbert led this reggae/rock steady group with catchy hooks, and as Sarah Bardeen from Rhapsody.com puts it, "clipped, rich vocals." They fall into the reggae category, but I think Toots and his Maytals should also appeal to the R&B, soul, and jazz standards crowd. After all, "Monkey Man" and "Funky Kingston" are both classics which the average person can sing along to. "Bam Bam" is another track which some hip hop group has sampled, but I can't place the artist who sampled it. "Pressure Drop" has one of the catchiest hooks I've ever heard, which might just make waking up a little more pleasureable. But of course, everyone from Grand Theft Auto to vitamin-infused water companies have bought the rights to Toots and the Maytals hits, which is another reason why you'll know their songs. And despite what many say, I don't think commercials could ruin this groups' songs. Review by John P. Kamin, Web Editor  
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