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New Music Tuesday: Cake, Steel Magnolia, Britney Spears

Posted by on January 11, 2011 at 5:06 PM EST

steel magnoliaCake, Steel Magnolia and John Lennon drop new albums and Britney Spears’ new single makes waves.

Things are slowly starting to pick back up in the new music releases this week. We have a couple of interesting things out as the record companies start recovering from their post-holiday surge. Britney Spears releases “Hold It Against Me” single, Jay-Z and Kanye West drop “H.A.M.” and new albums by Cake, Steel Magnolia and John Lennon.

First up is Cake’s Showroom of Compassion. This is the band’s first releases since 2004’s Pressure Chief and it brings more of what fans of this band have been waiting for. Cake have always had an eclectic sound as they mix horns and interesting percussions with rock guitar and driving rhythms. Add in John McCrea’s deadpan voice and you have the classic Cake sound, but this album has some noticeable differences. For starters this is the first time there has ever been a Cake album that has had reverb on a guitar. McCrea has always said that the felt reverb was over used by rock bands so they have always avoided it. This is also the first Cake album to feature songs with acoustic piano on them. In the past it has always been keyboards or piano with a sound effect. The lead single from the record “Sick of You” is a twisted lament about all the things that the band hates . . . including themselves. It is funny, interesting and exactly what Cake fans have come to expect from this band. The bottom line on this one is that if you are a Cake fan you should enjoy this album. If not, it might not be the best place to start. If you are new to Cake you might try out Fashion Nugget or Prolonging the Magic, they are a little more main stream and have some of the band’s biggest hits on them.

Steel Magnolia releases their self-titled debut album this week. This is a highly anticipated record for a lot of country music fans. Steel Magnolia has done very well on iTunes with their hit single “Keep on Lovin’ You”. That song is the second track on this record, but it may not be its best. Steel Magnolia is a duo that brings singers Meghan Linsey and Joshua Scott Jones together and while their voices are different, they find a great way to harmonize and mix the melody. Linsey’s smoking blues twinged powerhouse of a voice is a great compliment to Jones’ breathy country twang. “Bulletproof” let’s Linsey shine as a woman who is getting over a heartbreak by changing herself and embracing her anger while “Glass Houses” finds Jones showing off his soulful side in a haunting ballad about lost love. I tend to lean a little more rock n’ roll with the country music I like, but this album has enough edge and anger mixed with honesty and hope to really catch my eye. It is well worth a listen.

There are some cool other things worth mentioning this week as well. While it isn’t just music, a new documentary called Lennon NYC hits shelves. This is a fascinated look at John Lennon during the nine years he lived in New York as Lennon finds himself getting more and more political as well as his tumultuous relationship with Yoko. Of course we all know how it ends, but it is still a great look into a period in the life of one of the greatest songwriters that ever lived. There is also a new double album out called Blues by Jimi Hendrix. It is a great study of some of Hendrix more blues infused songs and sounds and shows off why Hendrix is considered by many as one of the best guitarists to ever walk the planet.

That about does it for this week in new music. See you next week and happy listening.



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