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Pop Making Sense
by David Byrne with Tony Peregrin
2008-02-20

This article shared 3975 times since Wed Feb 20, 2008
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Pictured: Shelby Lynne, Janet Jackson.

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With her recent releases, there have been questions whether Janet Jackson would make a triumphant comeback. During this time, only Don't Stop stands out. Hopefully, a new label and a hit-making production team ( Jermaine Dupri, Ne-Yo, Stargate, Tricky Stewart and The-Dream ) will help Miss Jackson with her latest, Discipline. Pre-orders from iTunes grant buyers the new track Rock with U. Despite popular belief, it is not a cover of older brother Michael's post-disco hit—but a subtle sample is there. Don't fear, the youngest of the Jacksons proved she can redo something from the family vault with the 1993 B-side One More Chance. Discipline's first single, Feedback, has been remixed by Moto Blanco and Ralphi Rosario, and it's her best reworking since the Brothers in Rhythm added some magic to their mix of If. Expect the 41-year-old superstar to dominate the club charts with material from her new set. Also a standing ovation will be in order when Jackson will receive the Vanguard Award at the 19th Annual GLAAD Media Awards ceremony April 26.

Feedback may be Jackson's latest hit, but there's no feedback or distortion quite like what is heard on the eponymous titled outing by Liars, out now on Mute. Here, the trio steps out of the big shadow cast by crossover alternative pioneers Depeche Mode and Radiohead. Just check out the video for Plaster Casts of Everything. Here, Karen O from the Yeah Yeah Yeahs makes a cameo in this clip directed by Patrick Daughters. A headlining tour is wrapping now, but Liars previously opened for Interpol.

During this never-ending winter, X-press 2 provides warmth with its dance hit Give It, an ode using visuals to recount a summer ending prematurely. Best known for recruiting former Talking Heads frontman David Byrne for the surprise Ibiza anthem Lazy six years ago, X-press 2 has Lambchop's Kurt Wagner lending his southern styled vocals and poetic delivery on Give It. The flawless production perfectly fuses the irresistible grooves and the uplifting gospel choir, making Give It reminiscent of the classic Love Come Home by Our Tribe featuring Franke Pharoah and Kristine W. Give It can be found on X-press 2's album Makeshift Feelgood.

Critically acclaimed singer-songwriter Shelby Lynne makes heads turn with Just a Little Lovin' by resurrecting Dusty Springfield's catalog. Produced by Phil Ramone ( Aretha Franklin, Elton John ) , Lynne's latest is no 'identity crisis'—it reminds listeners why she won the Best New Artist Grammy in 2001. Ever the musical chameleon, she admits to having studied videos of Springfield before going into the studio to capture her essence. Lynne glides through Springfield's favorites such as The Look of Love and Breakfast in Bed effortlessly. No beehives were harmed in the process.

Many have tackled Springfield's songs, including Samantha Fox, the Puppini Sisters and Annie Lennox's former band, The Tourists. Add bright-eyed Broadway veteran Kelli O'Hara to the list. The beautiful songbird steps off the stage to remake Spooky along with James Taylor's Fire and Rain and Billy Joel's And So It Goes on her full-length Wonder of the World. Not only does Harry Connick, Jr., chime in the title track, but he also handles the arrangements for these compositions. O'Hara does not limit herself to covers, though; she also pens two of the numbers of her stellar jazzy debut. This two-time Tony Award nominee has been in Jekyll & Hyde, Follies, Sweet Smell of Success and Dracula.

There are some albums where it is clear the band had a lot of fun recording it. This is apparent on Clothes Minded Folk by Austin Atteberry and Friends. But Clothes Minded Folk is not just another soundtrack to excuse twenty-somethings getting festive, as heard on Party Tonight. The Chicago-based quintet wears authentic rock quite well on Letter of Three Words and Guitar Man. While the more carefree tunes Fish On and Jesse James may become crowd favorites, this noteworthy debut has a lot to quench music-thirsty fans.

Lightspeed Champion lands on his feet with Falling off the Lavender Bridge. The guitarist from the short-lived indie favorite Test Icicles, Dev Hynes, returns under this new moniker. Now on his own, Hynes cites multiple influences from country to alternative rock, but remains a crafty songwriter. The slide guitar compliments his quirky aching vocals throughout this bow. Windy City fans will be treated to an acoustic show on Sat., March 1 at Av-aerie, 2000 W. Fulton.

Pop-culture references run rampantly throughout electronic outfit Peachcake's work like on the cleverly titled tracks If I Were Superman You'd Be My Lois Lane, Did I Just Do That or Was It Jim Carrey? and I Fell in Love with You While Listening to My Favorite Morrissey Album. Just when it seems Peachcake could not get any sweeter, the pair is featured in the independent film Dreams Are Essential and volunteer for hotlines helping troubled teens. The duo is due to stop at The Beat Kitchen, 2100 W. Belmont, for the early show on Sat., Feb. 23.


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