The New Mexican Revolution Theories of Rain and Sun (Box Full of Records)
It’s a bit old-timey and the interludes of rain falling and train whistling are better at providing severe irritation than they are at, say, setting any kind of mood. Still, the album has an unmistakable warmth and (as the record’s title suggests) earthy appeal, and the rogue American genre that the band dwells in is by no means a bad one. The highlights of the EP come on tracks like “Age of Gas and Steel,” where the band shakes off the cobwebs and trades in their usual droning for a hectic, knee-slapping sing-along.
Boston Boston (Epic)
For the 17 million people who bought it in 1976: Now you can buy it again. The rerelease of Boston’s debut self-titled LP comes complete with liner notes written by band founder Tom Scholz and Rolling Stone contributing editor David Wild. I won’t deny that I don’t automatically change the station when “More Than a Feeling” comes on, but I can assure you that Scholz and Wild do little to shed light on what makes the album great. Perhaps that’s because the album really isn’t that great and, remastered or not, it’s probably not worth picking up no matter what Epic tells you.
Johnny Cash American V: A Hundred Highways (Lost Highway)
Recorded with the help of noted producer Rick Ruben during the last months of his life, Johnny Cash’s last album comes three years after his death. The pain, remorse and anguish found on legendary albums such as Walk the Line are just as evident here. Aside from “God’s Gonna Cut You Down,” which features a driving backbeat, Cash’s days of shufflin’ and stompin’ are nowhere to be found. In their stead is a collection of heartfelt, soft-spoken melodies that cut right to the bone from a musician who made a living candidly retelling his misfortunes.