Friday, February 5, 2010

Reasons to Be Cheerful 001

I'm trying to figure out new ways of doing this blogging thing, so it doesn't feel so much like an obligation. Here's one I came up with: just a random sampling of things I'm excited about, which hopefully I will remember to write down as I'm hearing about them.

I used to mark dates on my cultural calendar as "reasons to stay alive," but I'm much less morbid these days, so I think I'll stick with my Ian Dury reference. So here's the first Reason to Be Cheerful: February 23.

If Feb. 23 isn't the greatest new release Tuesday of the year, we're in for a barnburner of a 2010. Here's what's coming our way in just a couple of weeks: Shearwater's new album The Golden Archipelago, completing the trilogy started with the gorgeous records Palo Santo and Rook; a two-CD team-up between David Byrne and Fatboy Slim called Here Lies Love, all about (get this) the life of Imelda Marcos; and new things from Balmorhea, High on Fire, and The Rocket Summer.

That'd be fine on its own, but I haven't even mentioned the good stuff yet. Feb. 23 will also bring Have One on Me, the third album from Joanna Newsom, and it's a two-hour triple-disc affair. Some thought I was kidding when I named Ys the best album of 2006, but I couldn't have been more serious. I'm out of my skin excited for this one.

To top it off, we get the final Johnny Cash album, American VI: Ain't No Grave. It's the last of the Rick Rubin sessions, recorded shortly before the Man in Black's death, and our last chance to hear That Voice sing something we've never heard it grace. Now that, ladies and gentlemen, is a new release Tuesday. That's how you do it.

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