BEST CDS TO PICK UP THIS WEEK

BEST CD TO GET HIGH AND ZONED OUT TOStephen Malkmus & Jicks – Real Emotional Trashby David Shrevey Staff Writer

Lyrically, Stephen Malkmus possesses the brilliance of all those books you were supposed to read in English Lit. Instrumentally, Real Emotional Trash sounds like a solo attempt at resurrecting Woodstock.

Malkmus is the type of artist who can’t level on just one genre. His songs are usually brief or folky (take previous album Face the Truth as an example), or they will drone on through psychedelic guitar solos and muttered ramblings. Trash is the latter. The clue is in the first words he utters (well, mutters): “Of all my stoned digressions / some have mutated into the truth.”

Although mainstream radio requires songs to adhere to a three-and-a-half minute format, this guy deserves an exception. Songs like “Hopscotch Willie” and “Elmo Delmo” last nearly ten minutes and are full of guitar jamming, keyboard pounding nonsense. It doesn’t take a trained musical ear to hear that Malkmus is even off-key during his final track, “Wicked Wanda,” just before it fades out into yet another cosmic feast.

Despite all of this, the album works and begs to be played on repeat with the volume on max.

Buy it on Amazon.com.

BEST CD TO ROCK OUT TO Nine Inch Nails – Ghosts I – IVby Anthony A. Choman Contributor

Supposedly, imitation is the most sincere form of flattery. If so, then Nine Inch Nails frontman Trent Reznor must be madly in love with Radiohead’s outside-the-music-industry-box approach on their last album, In Rainbows.

Reznor’s latest NIN incarnation has further expounded upon what that quintet of witty-Brits did with their last record with the release of their sixth studio album, Ghosts I-IV.

Ghosts I – IV is a 36-track instrumental wunderkind that utilizes a Radiohead-inspired “free agent” type of marketing via the utilization of both the digital-downloading and user-generated eras. That means the first nine tracks are free on the album’s Web site, www.ghosts.nin.com.

What separates this album from the lot of would-be Radiohead followers out there is its unique soundscape and copyright. Ghosts writhes in industrial-rock and features absolutely no vocals, save for a few desolately well-placed pines and yelps from Reznor himself. And, the album isn’t copyrighted by standard copyright law, but rather a “Creative Commons license.” This latter type affords listeners the opportunity to share, rework and, in a sense, reinvent the album to their likings.

As Reznor himself explains on the album’s Web site, “I’ve been considering and wanting to make this kind of record for years, but by its very nature it wouldn’t have made sense until this point.”

Very true and very well said, Reznor.

BEST CD TO RE-LIVE THE GRUNGE-ROCK DAYSThe Vines – The Best of The Vines by Anthony A. Choman Contributor

The Vines, a band that brandishes Buzzcock-like buzz as though it were a chainsaw, were once touted as the new sound of rock. Along with bands such as The Strokes and The Hives, The Vines were expected to lead the mass exodus from the apathetic-wasteland known as grunge-rock.

Unfortunately, for reasons unknown, bands once placed onto pedestals of greatness tumble off quickly thereafter, sometimes faster even than their ascension. The Vines were no exception.

The band’s 2002 debut album, Highly Evolved, didn’t leave much to the imagination for the band’s direction and sound – which is a highly distorted, post-grunge/alt-rock mixture of Nirvana and Radiohead. It’s from Evolved that most of their notoriety was achieved, with such singles as “Get Free” and “Highly Evolved,” both of which feature on The Best of The Vines.

Other staples of The Vines’ sound, such as “Ride,” “Don’t Listen to The Radio” and “Fuck The World,” are also on this best-of compilation.

If you’re still longing for new material from this Australian quartet, you’ll have to keep your fingers crossed as a new album, sans title and release date, has been in the works for quite some time despite having 25 songs in the can. Much like a fine wine fermenting, The Best of The Vines ensures you’re fixed with just the right amount of distortion, perfectly-aged angst and notes of melancholia.