I mentioned the “dog days” in last week’s column, but this week’s set of releases appears to be just as, if not more lame than the one that preceded it. Anyway, since we’re about making lemonade out of lemons here, here’s this week’s hotlist.

The cover of Conor Oberst\'s self-titled new album.

The cover of Conor Oberst's self-titled new album.

Conor Oberst “Conor Oberst”-Since Conor Oberst basically is Bright Eyes, isn’t this a little like Trent Reznor making an album as “Trent Reznor”? I dunno. I can’t say that I know much about Bright Eyes except for the fact that the rock press loves him. Tons of friends have tried to get me into him on mixtapes and I just don’t get it. Too pretentious for me. But you can go ahead and like him. I won’t hate you.


Hawthorne Heights “Fragile Future”-In the two and a half years since the release of their last album, the Chicago-based emo band has had to weather a messy legal battle with their label, Victory Records (a battle that was solved amicably enough that this new album is released through them) in addition to the accidental overdose death of band member Casey Calvert. Not that an emo band needs more excuses to be, well, emo…but with these guys I guess you can say it’s all justified.


Lloyd “Lessons in Love”-I’d like to think that this guy’s unexpected success last year with the hit single “You” was due to a) the sample of Spandau Ballet’s “True” and b) the song’s guest rap by Li’l Wayne. The R&B vocalist’s third album contains more of his slightly fey vocals over standard hip-hop influenced production, and features a guest appearance by…wait for it…Li’l Wayne. Surprise!!!


(and is it me, or is this dude just too damn pretty?)

Dave Hollister “Witness Protection”-Former lead vocalist of BLACKstreet, Hollister achieved moderate success in the mid-late Nineties as sort of a younger, raunchier Gerald LeVert. After the success died down, he did what most R&B singers who do the slow fade eventually do and started recording gospel music. Hollister’s thick tenor is certainly suited for the genre. Here’s a fun trivia fact: Hollister sang the hook on 2Pac’s first hit, “Brenda’s Got a Baby”.


Randy Newman “Harps & Angels”-He seemingly gets nominated for an Oscar every year. He made “Short People” and “I Love L.A.”. He’s releasing his first album of original material in nearly a decade. But most importantly, Randy Newman was brilliantly skewered in this “Family Guy” sketch.

(Well, here’s the audio anyway…I can’t find a version with the actual video)


You also might wanna check out: a deluxe edition of Sarah McLachlan’s 1993 breakthrough album “Fumbling Towards Ecstacy”, a solo effort from Amy Ray of the Indigo Girls, the new record by aggro-rockers Trapt, a shitload of Jethro Tull reissues, and a new album by former Phish member Mike Gordon…which features several of his former (and future?) bandmates.

As always, find a complete list of this (and every) week’s releases here: