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Juno soundtrack is worth it

Daily Staff ReportVail, CO, Colorado
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Juno (Soundtrack) Rhino RecordsJuno, just like Garden State and Elizabethtown, is one of those movies viewers will most likely remember for the songs found in it than the actual film. Not to say “Juno” isnt a good movie; it is, but the soundtrack is better.The songs on the Juno soundtrack perfectly capture the blas and displaced youth that the film seeks to explore, thanks mostly to Kimya Dawson and her acoustic simplicity and purposely odd lyrics like: I like boys with stong convictions/ and convicts with perfect diction/ underdogs with good intentions/ amputees with stamp collections. Her songs stand out on the album like a pregnant girl in a classroom full of awkward teenage boys.Then, of course, you have the well-placed classic rock songs that most of the target audience buying the album wont realize were written by bands their parents listened to when they were kids. Consider this a crash-course in cool music, since they should know these artists and songs anyway. Now adults and teenagers alike can buy this CD with a clear conscience, both feeling equally hip when they fork over their twelve bucks to the record-store cashier.All that said, this album is actually worthy of the purchase. The overall tone of the Juno soundtrack is humorously depressing, in my opinion the best kind. If nothing else, a new generation of kids can start bragging about how they were inspired by Velvet Underground and Sonic Youth. And parents, horrified by the album artwork, may start talking to their kids about more than how they dont understand music today.For: Hipsters, people who like good, depressing and quirky music.Charlie Owen, High Life Writer

Rhythm & Romance Concord RecordsKenny G has become a staple in the world of instrumental music, a bankable commodity with a household name. Some critics argue the G-man is a sellout or has corrupted the pure art of alto-saxophone playing. Others worship him as a musical god. Whatever your thoughts are of Kenny G, one things for sure, people buy his albums. He must be doing something right.On his latest release, KG has stepped out of the box a little bit and made the first all Latin Jazz album of his career, Rhythm & Romance. Its exactly what you would expect from a Kenny G album: Smooth, sexy and polished. This is baby-makin music, pure and simple. Its hard to hate on a guy who has given millions of lovers an excuse to go for third base. But all that aside, it is a Kenny G album. Its not extraordinary but its far from terrible. I dare say that its the perfect background music for any party that doesnt involve heavy drug use.The Latin influence is welcome since the last few albums from Kenny have been cover material or holiday projects. You will spend your time trying to figure out if you should be dancing or making love as the 12 tracks play some, like Peruvian Night are fast and contagious, others, like Besame Mucho, are down-tempo and relaxing. Maybe, after listening to Rhythm & Dance one more couple will have Kenny G to thank for their love life.For: Smooth and Latin jazz lovers, die-hard and borderline Kenny G fans.Charlie Owen, High Life Writer

Free Somehow Widespread RecordsFree Somehow is the 10th studio recording from improvisational rockers Widespread Panic, though its the first to feature songs written with guitarist Jimmy Herring. Herring took over when George McConnell himself a replacement for founding member Michael Houser, who lost his life to pancreatic cancer in 2002 abruptly left the band in 2006. Its the second album produced by Terry Manning after recording almost exclusively with John Keane the bands entire career.Its important to note these changes, because each has had a pronounced effect on the bands sound. Herring brings a fluid style of play absent in performance and in studio recordings since Housers passing. Manning adds a dense rock aesthetic, which the band has lacked, resulting in tracks such as the fast-paced, thunderous opener, Boom, Boom, Boom, and Wake of the Flood, the heaviest song the band has written (both lyrically and musically) in its 22-year history. Herrings presence is heard on sinewy, atmospheric songs such as Three Candles, the acoustic, string laden Her Dance Needs No Body and the elegant country of the title track.Although Free Somehow doesnt reach the energy level of Widespread Panics best live performances, with Herring in place, the band has certainly rediscovered its musical roots.Essential download: Free Somehow Bill Clifford, L.A. Times-Washington Post News Service

District Line AntiAs a sampler of Bob Moulds eventful quarter-century in music, you could do worse than District Line, his seventh album under his own name.Here, Mould revisits familiar themes (betrayal, the ravages of time) as well as the cello-assisted introspection of his 1989 solo debut, Workbook, the crunching 1990s power-pop of Sugar and the dance tracks of his recent partnership with electro-wizard Richard Morel.Although he occasionally works up a good head of steam, Mould never attempts the full-frontal punk assault of his classic sides with Husker Du, which is unsurprising.The versatility displayed particularly on Shelter, a warm bubble bath of club froth might frustrate some fans, especially since its clear Mould could make another great Sugar-style rock record any times he chooses. (Check the one-two punch of Stupid Now and Who Needs to Dream for proof.)Yet the thread connecting all 10 songs is the quality of Moulds songwriting, whatever the genre. He can still craft melodies that are simultaneously anthemic and wounded, providing his yearning rasp the surface it needs to spark into brilliance, just as its done since the Dus bittersweet 1985 single Makes No Sense at All.Happily, Mould and his music make as much sense as ever.Essential download: Who Needs to Dream. Dan LeRoy, Los Angeles Times-Washington Post


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