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The Crossing - Rocktober Edition

In the beginning....well, as far back as 1983 anyway, there was a small band that came out of a small Southern college town. They made rootsy, jangly songs with lyrics that made little if any sense and even if they were to make sense, they couldn’t be understood anyway because of a lead singer who had a penchant for mumbling. In later years, when the singer began to enunciate the words, it became clear to everyone who listened, that the songs made little if any sense. To a man, woman, child, cat and dog, everyone knew that this
band was very nearly nonsensical. Despite the fact that no-one knew what this band was singing about, people still listened. In 1992, however, a funny thing happened on the way to the opera. This little band, who by this time had become not entirely so little, released a song that exactly EVERYONE on the planet understood! When that song hit the airwaves, everyone to a man, woman, child, cat and dog thought to themselves, I’m fairly certain I know what these guys are talking about! This band speaks to me. And so it was. The band, of course, is Athens, Georgia’s very own R.E.M. and the song that everyone understood with great clarity was “Everybody Hurts”. I
write this borderline silliness because I often wondered over the years, from album to album, what is the appeal of R.E.M. and why did
they become one of the biggest bands on the planet? The answer, I believe, lies somewhere between the universal sentiment of “Everybody Hurts” and the seeming incoherence of a singer who devotes most of his lyric writing to stream-of-conscience rambling. But it’s not really true is it? Is it all nonsense or rather, is the seeming incoherence actually on a very real subliminal, subconscious level an attempt by one person (in this case the singer) to try and make sense of the human experience? Or, put another way, perhaps a
better way, just to cope with the human experience. To most of us, those who like the band, it’s the latter.  It strikes a primal chord in us and that’s why we relate to it. Well, these guys, making sense or not, 13 albums strong and 21 years down the line, who have 
influenced countless bands, have a new album out on October 5th to entertain us and have us collectively and universally wondering what they’re singing about. It’ll be fun trying to figure it out. Apparently it’s something political....

As for last month’s artist of the month, we had two.Like myself, you, the reader, may or may not have just picked these albums up for yourselves just a matter of days ago. These are only first impressions but here are some thoughts. Mark Knopfler turns in a collection that would be a perfect after operating hours, the bar is closed, all the patrons have gone home album. “Shangri-La” is very mellow but goes down like I imagine a fine wine would go down even though I don’t drink much. And as for the new Social Distortion entitled “Sex, Love and Rock ‘n' Roll”, I’ve gotta say I am a COMPLETE psychic! It totally rocks and it’s loaded with good vibes. A full-throttle album of machine gun riffs from a man who has found his feet. I’m really digging this album too. While one is mellow and one rocks, I feel both of these albums would be welcome in any good CD collection. So with those gems freshly welcomed into the fold, let’s take a look
now at what new musical discoveries await in October and beyond....

October ARTIST of the MONTH:

R.E.M. - “Around The Sun” (Available October 5th at all good music outlets.)

Recently released and not mentioned in last issue:

Julia Sets - “Yes-Wave” (a St. Louis band led by James Weber Jr. Check out for info.)
Bill Janovitz & Crown Victoria - “Fireworks On TV!”
(Buffalo Tom frontman with a side project backup band.)
Kevn Kinney - “Sun Tangled Angel Revival” (Sometime Drivin’ N’ Cryin’ frontman. His fifth solo album.)
The Devlins - “Waves” (Import. Fourth album from this Irish trio.)
Brian Wilson - “Smile” (Sitting on a shelf for a remarkable 37 years, the follow up to “Pet Sounds” finally gets released.)
Yonder Mountain String Band - “Mountain Tracks - Vol. 3” (2 CD live set)
Jack Ingram - “Live At Gruene Hall” (That’s in New Braunfels, Texas btw, located between Austin and San Antonio.)
Better Than Ezra - “Live In New Orleans At the House Of Blues” (a CD and a DVD sold separately. The CD includes two new studio tracks.) 
Meredith Brooks - “Shine” (features the Dr. Phil theme song!)
Los Lobos - “Covered”
Giant Sand - “Is All Over The Map”
Luka Bloom - “Before Sleep Comes” (official US release to retail.)
Michele Shocked - “Arkansas Traveler” (remastered w/ 7 bonus tracks.)
Split Lip Rayfield - “Should Have Seen It Coming”
Stray Cats - 15 live shows recorded in Europe 2003/04.Check for info.)
Ocean Colour Scene - “Live: One For The Road”
The Killers - “Hot Fuss”
Willie Nelson - “Outlaws & Angels” (live album w/ more than a few special guests.)
Townes Van Zandt - “Rear View Mirror 2”
John and Laurie Stirratt - “Arabella” (brother/sister team, John, a current member of Wilco and Laurie, a former member of Blue Mountain.)
The Mavericks - “Live in Austin, Texas”
Matt Wertz - “Twenty Three Places”
Joss Stone - “Mind, Body & Soul”
Long Ryders - “Best of the Long Ryders” (an overlooked '80’s Americana band.)
The Zombies - “As Far As I Can See” 
Various Artists - “13 Ways To Live” (a benefit album regarding the war in Iraq. Features artists Abra Moore, Alejandro Escoveda, Patty Griffin, Jack Ingram and more.)

New Releases: (Everything from here on down is completely and totally subject to change.)


Bob Dylan - “Lyrics: 1962-2002” (a 560 page hardcover book from the master. Published by Simon & Schuster. Not a bad way to kick off the month.)


R.E.M. - “Around The Sun” (Their 13th album.)
Various Artists - “Brown Eyed Handsome Man” (Local St. Louis artists salute Chuck Berry. Features Jay Farrar, the Bottle Rockets, Earl, Trip Daddies and more. Note that Chuck Berry’s name is not mentioned on this CD. It’s all very weird.)
Robyn Hitchcock - “Spooked”
Tom Waits - “Real Gone”
Dream Theater - “Live at Budokan” (2 CD set)
Fates Warning - “FWX” (The Connecticut progressive metal band’s 10th album.)
Marillion - “Marbles” (US release...this is most likely only the single disc version. A two disc version is available at their website.)
Cake - “Pressure Chief”
Hem - “Eveningland”
Jay Bennett - “The Beloved Enemy” (former Wilco member.)
Jonathan Rundman - “Public Library”
Minnie Driver - “Everything I’ve Got In My Pocket” (Apparently she was a singer before becoming an actress.)
Peter Murphy - “Unshattered”
Matthew Sweet - “Kimi Ga Suki” (US reissue...initially released especially for the Japanese market.)
Barenaked Ladies - “Barenaked For The Holidays” (Features old classics and originals including an appearance by Sarah McLachlan.)
Suzzy & Maggie Roche - “Why The Long Face”
Hothouse Flowers - “Into Your Heart” 
Good Charlotte - “Chronicles Of Life & Death”
Kenny Wayne Shepherd - “Place You’re In”
Holly Williams - “The Ones We Never Knew” (daughter of
Hank Williams, Jr.)
Duran Duran - “Astronaut” (Their first album featuring all 5 original members in 19 years....may the hysteria begin!)


Camper Van Beethoven - “New Roman Times” (the band is back with David Lowery at the helm.)
Caedmon’s Call - “Share The Well” (features the debut of newest member Andrew Osenga formerly of the band The Normals.)
Bob Dylan - “Chronicles: Volume 1” (a 304 page autobiographical hardcover book. 1st in a planned 3 book series. Published by Simon & Schuster.)
Roger Waters - “The Wall: Live” (2 CD’s and 1 DVD.)
The Alarm - “Live In The Poppyfields” (DVD & CD)
No Doubt - “Everything In Time” (b-sides and rarities collection.)
Chris Thile - “Deceiver” (Nickel Creek member.)
North Mississippi Allstars - “Hill Country Revue: Live At Bonnaroo” (That’s in Tennessee.)
Trans-Siberian Orchestra - “Lost Xmas Eve” (Their 4th album, but this one completes the Christmas trilogy.)
Michael Knott - “Comotose Soul”
Richard Buckner - “Dents & Shells”
American Music Club - “Love Songs For Patriots”
Crash Test Dummies - “Songs Of The Unforgiven”
The Strokes - “Live At Alexandra Palace”
Frank Black Francis - “Self-titled” (leader of The Pixies.)
Joseph Arthur - “Our Shadows Will Remain”
Tom Paxton - “Outward Bound/Morning Again” (2 CD remastered reissue.)
Jeffrey Foskett - “Stars In The Sand” (Brian Wilson’s musical director and former Beach Boys member. Check out for info.)
Chris Isaak - “Xmas”


Warren Zevon - “Enjoy Every Sandwich” (various artists perform the songs of Warren Zevon including Bob Dylan, Bruce Springsteen, The Wallflowers, The Pixies and Jordan Zevon.)
Paul Weller - “Studio 150”
Freedy Johnston - “The Way I Were 1988-91” (a collection of early unreleased tracks.)
John Mellencamp - “Words & Music” (37 track, 2 CD best of including two new songs. Limited edition comes with a 5 song DVD.) 
Elliott Smith - “From A Basement On The Hill”
Roger McGuinn - “Cardiff Rose” (Leader of The 
Byrds...remastered reissue. A few more of his titles come out on this day too.)
John Wesley Harding - “It Happened One Night And It Never Happened At All”
Jimmy Eat World - “Futures”
Train - “Alive At Last” 
Neville Bros. - “Walkin’ In The Shadow Of Life”
Eddie From Ohio - “This Is Me”
Tom Jones and Jools Holland - “Self-Titled” (import)
Neal Casal - “Leaving Traces: Songs 1994-2004”
John Fahey - “Great Santa Barbara Oil Slick”
Jason Falkner - “Bliss Descending” EP


Lucinda Williams - “Live At The Fillmore West” (2 CD date.)
Willie Nelson - “It Will Always Be” (includes duets with Lucinda Williams and Norah Jones.)
Nick Cave - “Abattoir Blues/Lyre of Orpheus”
Casbah Club - “Eastworld” (live CD recorded in the UK in April of this year. Featuring former members of The Silencers, The Jam and Big Country. They are currently at work on a new album.)
Evanescence - “Live” (1 CD and 1 DVD)
The Donnas - “Gold Medal”
Sixpence None The Richer - “The Best of Sixpence None The Richer” (18 tracks includes three new songs and a few rarities from throughout their career.)
Creed - “Greatest Hits”
Unkle - “Never, Neverland”

Also in October:

Doug Pinnick/Jeff Ament - “Montana” (Tentative title...side project from the bass players of King’s X and Pearl Jam; also features Mike McCready of Pearl Jam on guitar; Doug Pinnick shares the vocals with drummer Richard Stuverud formerly of Green River.)
Manic Street Preachers - “Life Blood”
Jason Truby - “String Theory (P.O.D. guitarist’s solo album)


King’s X - “Live All Over The Place” (2 CD set)
Iris DeMent - “Life Line” (Yea! Iris is back! Her first new album since 1996.)
Woven Hand - “Consider The Birds” (Official US release.)
Live - “The Best Of Live - Awake” (One CD and One DVD - 19 songs and 22 video clips. CD includes three previously unreleased or otherwise rare songs, one being a duet with Shelby Lynne called ‘Run Away’ and another a cover of Johnny Cash’s ‘I Walk The Line’.)
A Perfect Circle - “Emotive”


Innocence Mission - “Now The Day Is Over” 
“Live Aid” Concerts (Relive the 80’s with the famous famine relief concerts. Finally released on a 4 DVD set recorded and filmed on the same day in 1985 in both London and Philadelphia.)
Elton John - “Peachtree Road”
Neko Case - The Tigers Have Spoken” (live album)
Dido - “Sand In My Shoes”
Screaming Trees - “Ocean Of Confusion: Songs of
Screaming Trees 1989-1996”


Wilco - “The Wilco Book” (A 160 page book that comes with a bonus 12 song CD that features unreleased songs from the “A Ghost Is Born” sessions.)


Collective Soul - “Youth”
Rufus Wainwright - “Want Two” (Special edition comes with a 20 track DVD.)


U2 - “How To Dismantle An Atomic Bomb”  (Yes, that’s the title. Produced by Steve Lillywhite who produced their first 3 albums. 11 tracks, the first single is called ‘Vertigo’ and it ROCKS!)
Gwen Stefani - “Love, Angel, Music, Baby” (No Doubt’s frontwoman.)
Simon & Garfunkel - “Old Friends Reunion Tour” DVD
Seinfeld - This month’s friendly reminder that the first 3 seasons of the classic sitcom come out on DVD on this day. 

Also in November/before the year is out?

Bruce Springsteen - “1992 In Concert: MTV Plugged” (first time on DVD)
new Choir album.
The Jayhawks - “The Jayhawks” aka “The Bunkhouse Album” (Their very first impossible-to-find album released for the first time on CD. Also a live album recorded at First Ave. in Minneapolis, MN could possibly be released.)

....and remember to pre-order Bill Mallonee’s next project entitled “Friendly Fire” at (Due out Christmas 2004).

And now the LYRIC of the MONTH which captures the whole music making experience pretty nicely:

Sweet is the melody, so hard to come by 
It’s so hard to make every note bend just right 
You lay down the hours and leave not one trace
But a tune for the dancing is there in its place

Iris DeMent, from the song “Sweet Is The Melody” off the album My Life.

Thank you for reading, rocking and listening...

Happy Halloween and remember to rock the vote wisely come early November!

See you then!

Chris Barlow


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