jonasI must say, it’s a bit difficult to drum up the enthusiasm to put this column together when there isn’t a damn thing coming out that I’m interested in. For as long as I’ve been buying music as an adult and following release dates, I don’t think I’ve ever gotten this far into a year while buying so little music. Even worse, I’m strangely ambivalent about most of the music that I’ve bought. Weird, huh?

Anyway, here’s what’s out today:

B-Real “Smoke & Mirrors”– I think I wrote something a while back about unnecessary solo albums, and here’s yet another one. Do we really need an entire album of B-Real and that VOICE without the respite that Sen Dog’s angry barks provide? Does anyone really care that B-Real has an album out? Has anyone given half a fuck about anything Cypress Hill has recorded in a decade? Talk about flaming out. 2 good albums and then they went straight down shit street.

Chris Isaak “Mr. Lucky”-I like Chris Isaak. He doesn’t take the being a star thing too seriously, he’s got an appealing voice and he’s quite attractive. That said, I own nothing by Chris Isaak save for a greatest hits compilation. I don’t really feel like I’m missing anything either. Anyhow, Chris has a new TV show premiering which is proably quite good, so he’s hitting us from both angles. Go, synergy!

Jonas Brothers “Music from the 3-D Concert Experience”– Labels don’t seem to learn when it comes to teen groups. To wit: NKOTB-studio albums, Christmas album, remix album. Hanson-studio album, “early years” release, Christmas album, live album. The result in both cases? People stopped caring. Anyway, the Jonases, fresh from being embarrassed on the Grammys by Adele and embarrassing themselves with Stevie Wonder, are releasing their very first live album, something like six months after their last studio album came out. How long till the bubble bursts? Cue teenage girls going crazy.

K’naan “Troubadour”– I don’t know much about this guy, other than some great reviews I’ve seen. Considering how little else is out, I might give this one a shot. Looks like he’s working the same alt-rap vibe that fellow Canuck MC k-os does, and the guest list (Adam Levine, Mos Def, Damien Marley) is pretty stellar for an artist unknown in the US. This might be worth it for the right price.

Van Morrison “Astral Weeks Live at the Hollywood Bowl”-Yup, it’s Van the Man, performing the songs from one of his best-known and most-loved albums forty years after the fact. Albums like this are so unnecessary. I’d rather just listen to the original.

Elsewhere, there seems to be at least one release from every genre imaginable. If you’re a hip-hopper, you might want to check out Joe Budden’s long-awaited “Padded Room”, his first studio release in something like seven or eight years. Blues rockers will take to JJ Cale’s “Roll On”, while you’ll get more of a straight-ahead blues sound with Shemekia Copeland’s “Never Going Back”. Metalheads will go for the new Lamb of God and Hatebreed releases, while Prince fans (like me) will dig on Wendy & Lisa’s new one, called “White Flags of Winter Chimneys”, which I believe is only available digitally (meaning that I won’t buy it).

On the reissue tip, Stax is re-releasing some of Isaac Hayes’ classic work, including the seminal “Black Moses” album. Erasure is summarizing their career with a 40-song Best of, reggae superstar Elephant Man has his first hits comp arriving in stores, and in the category of albums no one asked for: there are best-ofs arriving from Bloodhound Gang and Insane Clown Posse.

Get the full list of releases here.