Garth Brooks, Blame It All On My Roots: Five Decades of Influences (Self-released)
Now we know who to blame for the travesty that is Brooks, a tubby Phil Collins for wannabe cowboys. His Walmart-only CD/DVD box set includes performances from his Wynn stint. More than anyone, Brooks pushed country music in a puerile pop direction. Hearing him cover rockabilly (“Great Balls of Fire”), soul (“Shout”), soft rock (“Doctor My Eyes”) and hard rock (“Bad Company”) is insulting. If you’re a Brooks fan, please do the gene pool a favor by killing yourself. ★✩✩✩✩
The Weirding Way, The Bile of the Newborn Worms of Arrakis EP/Panspermia (PunksInVegas.com)
Since arriving in town 13 years ago, I’ve searched in vain for a copy of the debut demo EP by these homegrown, Dune-worshipping, sonic terrorists. Thanks to PunksInVegas.com, I’m in grindcore heaven now, cranking mp3s such as “Cryogenic Awakening” with the muted David Lynch film playing on my TV. Meanwhile, “Cleansed,” from 2005’s Panspermia, has a definite cleansing effect—like dipping my eardrums into a bath of atomic fire. The Weirding Way remains way ahead of its time. ★★★✩✩
Happy Campers, Dancing With Demons (Self-released)
Ignore the misleading album cover—this is no Satan-genuflecting headbanger’s ball. Instead, Demons, the Campers’ first disc in six years, deals 13 tracks of fiercely melodic punk, with crisp-to-a-fault, Fat Wreck Chords-defining production by Ryan Greene (Lagwagon, NOFX). Now a quartet, the band sounds more sophisticated, thanks to more than a few shredding fretboard runs by new lead guitarist Bill Simons. But it’s frontman Isaac Irvine’s songwriting that really shines. “Bleeding Me Dry,” for example, is better than any blood transfusion. ★★★✩✩
Upcoming on Jarret’s radar …
MARCH 4: Southern country-rock band Drive-By Truckers take a detour, stripping down their approach for their 12th disc, English Oceans. You can bet, with song titles such as “Natural Light” and “Primer Coat,” that this record won’t sound too rarefied.
MARCH 11: Dublin all-female fuzz-rock band September Girls enjoy a U.S. release of their debut album, Cursing the Sea. Mesmerizing cuts like “Green Eyed” are a shoegaze-pop fan’s guilt-less pleasure.
MARCH 18: New York noise-rock outfit Perfect Pussy exposes its debut LP, Say Yes to Love, which includes the raucous track “Driver.” Fans of the Yeah Yeah Yeahs will say hell-yes to this one, I bet.