March was a pretty good month for new releases…or at least new releases that I was interested in. Considering how much money I spent at record stores on a recent trip to Cleveland (more on that some other time), maybe it’s good that there doesn’t seem to be a whole lot coming this April. I won’t be able to afford music for another month.

There aren’t any big name releases on the level of a Britney Spears or Strokes or Chris Brown releasing anything this week, and it’s unlikely that any of this release cycle’s titles will debut in the Top Ten. Only two releases really even remotely catch my interest. The first is INXS’s Original Sin, an album that was actually released overseas late last year. The Australian band, which famously lost it’s lead singer, Michael Hutchence, over a decade ago, is remaking some of their biggest hits with a sea of guest vocalists, including head-scratching names like Ben Harper, Rob Thomas and Train’s Pat Monahan. Also back for the ride is Hutchence’s replacement, J.D. Fortune (who won his plum seat at the head of the INXS table on a reality show). Look, I like Rob Thomas and Pat Monahan (most of the time) and can sort of tolerate Ben Harper, but we’re talking Michael Hutchence here, one of the most dynamic frontmen of the past 25 or so years. Say what you want about these guys, but they don’t possess even half of the passion and sex appeal of Hutchence, and thus qualify as poorly picked replacements. The rest of the members of INXS certainly don’t need the money. Not to say they shouldn’t continue making music, but I definitely feel queasy about them remaking songs Hutchence obviously played a big part in without the benefit of having Hutchence here.

The other interesting release (to my ears) comes from Minneapolis funk/R&B band Mint Condition. In an age where the soul band seems almost like a novelty, these guys have hung around for nearly twenty years, and they’re releasing their 7th album (appropriately entitled 7) today.

Elsewhere on the release front, comebacks from Hot Tuna (first studio album in twenty years) and The Smithereens (first album in ten), and a new one from Dipset associate Jim Jones (ballin’!). Indie faves The Raveonettes (I totally didn’t know they were from Denmark-thanks, Wikipedia!) have a new one out today, as does legendary Band guitarist Robbie Robertson is back with his first album in quite some time, complete with guest appearances from everyone from Trent Reznor to Steve Winwood and Eric Clapton to Taylor Goldsmith of Dawes. Ray Davies of The Kinks has a new one out today (another guest-studded affair featuring everyone from Bruce Springsteen to Snow Patrol’s Gary Lightbody), and there’s a special edition of Daft Punk’s Tron: Legacy soundtrack out today for your remix-lovin’ pleasure!

Y’all know what to do. Head on over to Pause and Play for a full list of this week’s releases!


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