Garden State Blues

Zach Braff is certainly a writer and director who we need to keep our eyes on. His motion picture debut Garden State can be put on the same shelf as Wes Anderson's Rushmore and Bottle Rocket. I'm looking forward to his next project.

Braff's musical picks for this motion picture turn out to be an ideal mix of melancholy, carefree, and sincerity. Featuring new and old (some long dead) artists, this OST brings together a thoughtful mix of styles that all seem to play off each other in a way that makes this a perfect summer spin for your home or car. Some notable artists are: Nick Drake, Iron & Wine, Coldplay, Shins, Zero 7, and Thievery Corporation.

The Cosmic Game

Thievery Corporation's latest offering definitely blows the lid off my expectations. What is so great about this band is that every single album they release pushes out in a new direction while maintaining the down-tempo soul that is at the heart of all Thievery music. The Cosmic Game is no different. While it fuses Indian raga, Reggae, and Middle Eastern invocations, it also brings in some familiar voices such as Perry Ferrell (Jane's Addiction) and The Flaming Lips.
These headline names, along with the vastly expanded musical ensemble, underscore the fact that Thievery Corporation has come into its own. Truly, every song on this album is fantastic.

Hothouse Flowers

Hothouse Flowers will be at The Ark on July 24 at 7:30 p.m. The Irish band, which started as a Dublin street-performance act, "made a name for itself during the late '80s and early '90s with a passionate, bombastic fusion of rock & roll with the rootsy sounds of Irish folk and American gospel." (

The Emancipation of Mimi

Mariah Carey looks and sounds like Beyoncé on The Emancipation of Mimi, but apparently that's the right recipe. The album, previously #1, is currently #4 on The Billboard 200 and fans of Carey--the best-selling female performer of the 1990s--are hailing it as a comeback.

While you're waiting for the movie

Kevin Spacey's incarnation of crooner Bobby Darin may have left fans of both Spacey and Darin a little disappointed, but whether or not you're waiting to see the movie (on order), you can always check out The Swinging side of Bobby Darin, The Best of Bobby Darin or the soundtrack.

Eighteen Seconds Before Sunrise

Sigur Rós is one of those bands that seems to invade the background of your life without you even knowing it. Chances are, you've heard something by Sigur Rós on a TV commercial. Chances are, if you passed this album on our shelf, you'd simply move on. With a title like () it's hard to know what to do with this album. This album is also known as Eighteen Seconds Before Sunrise. Apparently, they named it after releasing it, probably because no one knew how to refer to it.

New Blues

The Complete Early Recordings of Skip James, 1930
Nehemiah Curtis "Skip" James, born 1902 in Yazoo City, Mississippi, and developed a three-finger picking style (like Mississippi John Hurt), and used an E-minor tuning he called "cross-note" tuning. He plays both guitar and piano on this disc on the Yazoo Label. The 1930 audio is noisy, but James' character and unique sound is not to be missed by Blues Fans.

Lightnin' Hopkins: The Gold Star Sessions, Vol. 2.
According to Blues Legend, ZZ Top guitarist Billy Gibbons, as a teenager, heard Lightnin' Hopkins play at a coffeehouse, and later remarked, "He doesn't even know when to change chords." Lightnin', standing behind Gibbons, said, "Lightnin' change when Lightnin' want to".

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