Good to be King in the Queen City

Tom Petty tribute show at Rex Theatre stars locals

Just a week after closing out a tour marking the 40th anniversary of his band The Heartbreakers by playing “American Girl” to a sold-out Hollywood Bowl crowd, Tom Petty was dead, of an accidental prescription drug overdose. Time hasn’t healed the wound to rock ’n’ roll, particularly for musicians who found him an inspiration.

Tributes aplenty popped up in the wake of Petty’s death, including a jam organized by Granite State of Mind radio host and music maven Rob Azevedo. At the time, he looked back on a long string of losses in the world of music with a feeling that this one hurt the most.

“When Lemmy passed, it was like I couldn’t believe he wasn’t dead yet; with Bowie there were rumors of cancer,” he said. “But nothing prepared me for Petty.”

Three years later, he plans another tribute, on the anniversary of Petty’s death: Friday, Oct. 2. The upcoming show at Manchester’s newest venue, the Rex Theatre, will shine a spotlight on the city’s music scene.

“I hand-picked artists from the Queen City,” Azevedo said in a recent phone interview. “I chose them because when they’re out gigging, they always include a couple of Petty tunes, and they do Petty better than I’ve ever heard anybody do Petty.”

The lineup includes downtown fixture Jonny Friday, who’ll open the show with “Runnin’ Down A Dream,” and singer songwriter Becca Myari, who caught Azevedo’s attention with a majestic version of “Free Fallin’” one night at the Wild Rover a while back. She’ll reprise that one, along with the double-entendre-laden “Cabin Down Below” and “Angel Dream (No. 4),” a nugget from the She’s The One soundtrack.

Scotty Cloutier, who divides his time between playing out and running sound at Shaskeen Pub, is “a guy that sometimes does Petty better than Petty,” Azevedo said, adding, “I know that sounds crazy … he must play 25 of his songs, and I know he just loves him more than anybody that I’ve ever met.”

The Graniteers feature singer guitarist Nick Ferrero, who is, according to Azevedo, “a bulletproof rocker from Manchester with a little punk in him,” with Monica Grasso on bass and vocals. The two are a couple; fittingly, one of the songs they’ll tackle is “Stop Draggin’ My Heart Around,” done originally by Stevie Nicks and Petty.

Who Knows What is well known as the house band at Manchester’s Ukrainian Club but is pretty much obscure everywhere else. That’s by choice.

“The thing about them is they don’t leave the damn place,” Azevedo said. “They are one of the best bands around, but they don’t play anyplace else unless I book them for a show.”

Concord will represent in the form of Lucas Gallo, a musician, promoter and civic booster from the Capitol City, who recently premiered his new solo album at an outdoor show there. Gallo plans a mashup of “Breakdown” and “Mary Jane’s Last Dance,” a move that Azevedo calls “very Jamantics” — referencing Gallo’s longtime band.

Having the show at the newly modernized Amherst Street venue will be a real treat for the performers.

“A lot of these artists are bangers, you know what I mean?” Azevedo said. “They don’t normally get to play a state-of-the-art place like The Rex Theatre.”

He praised Rex Executive Director Chuck Stergiou for booking hometown shows.

“I’ve had to do a bit of selling on the local music scene … to grow it takes time. Chuck has been behind us every step of the way, and we need people like him on our side,” he said.

This probably won’t be the last time Azevedo rounds up local talent to honor Petty, for him a legend and a hero, whose music is timeless and always welcome. “Every time you hear ‘American Girl’ on the radio,” he said, “it’s a song that you never not turn up, whether it’s the dead of winter or the blazing sun of summer. … You crank it up the minute you hit it.”

Three Years Gone – A Tom Petty Tribute
: Friday, Oct. 2, 7:30 p.m.
Where: Rex Theatre, 23 Amherst St., Manchester
Tickets: $19 at the door, reserve by calling 668-5588

Featured photo: Tom Petty. Courtesy photo.

The Music Roundup 20/10/01

Local music news & events

Cooling off: Singer, songwriter and ubiquitous talent Jennifer Mitchell performs a roll-in to the weekend at Village Trestle (25 Main St. in Goffstown). See Jennifer Mitchell Thursday, Oct. 1, 6 p.m. (

Laugh line: Veteran comic and Rhode Island Comedy Hall of Famer Ace Aceto performs at a luxe movie theater that’s served well for standup shows in Manchester while its downtown showcase remained shuttered. There is good news on that front, as Headliners recently announced a planned return to live shows, beginning with area favorite Will Noonan on Nov. 7. Friday, Oct. 2, 8 p.m., Chunky’s Cinema, 707 Huse Road, Manchester. Tickets $20 at

Fab before: Named after the Abbey Road room where the Beatles made many great records, Studio Two is a charming tribute act that focuses on John, Paul, George and Ringo during the years when they played clubs and toured Europe, a time when it was possible to hear the songs played without a frantic swarm of screaming fans drowning out everything. Saturday, Oct. 3, 7:30 p.m., Franklin Opera House, 316 Central St. (City Hall), Franklin. Tickets $15 at

Song circle: In a nod to solo artists who’ve held forth during the pandemic, an Acoustic Showcase runs from early afternoon into the evening. Performing at the weather-permitting event are Jim Nicotera, Tom Keating, Travis Rollo, Brother Seamus, Justin Jordan and Matt Bergeron. A silver living of this strange and difficult year is the exposure given to local musicians. Saturday, Oct. 3, 1 p.m., Molly’s Tavern, 35 Mont Vernon Road, New Boston,

At the Sofaplex 20/10/01

* All In: The Fight for Democracy(PG-13)

This documentary is a nice primer on the Voting Rights Act (its purpose and history) and the Shelby County v. Holder U.S. Supreme Court decision that struck down parts of that law. It is also a nice bio of Stacey Abrams, the Georgia Democrat who served in the state legislature for 10 years and then ran for governor in 2018. She’s one of those people who I feel like I’ve read a lot about but haven’t heard from directly as much as I did here. Sure, every person and their uncle (and the cover of the paper you’re holding) is talking to you about voting, but if you can take just one more… B+ Available on Amazon Prime.

*The Social Dilemma (PG-13)

Get ready to be scared and bummed out by this documentary, the gist of which seems to be that social media (Facebook in particular) is making it hard to have privacy, good government and a civil society. The documentary’s talking heads are primarily former employees of Facebook, Google, Instagram, Twitter, etc., and they explain how some of the most problematic aspects of these platforms are intentional parts of getting consumers to stay on sites longer and monetize that presence. The documentary also looks at the effect these sites have on kids and teens; one person mentions that it would be best to keep kids off social media until at least 16. Less successful are dramatic enactments (featuring multiple Vincent “Pete Campbell” Kartheisers playing, basically, social media algorithms) with teenagers facing all sorts of teen drama online and a teen boy succumbing to the conspiracy theories of the “radical centrists.” The documentary builds to an interesting case for government regulation of these platforms. B Available on Netflix.

* The Fight (PG-13)

This documentary about the lawyers of the ACLU follows four legal tussles with the Trump administration: the battle over making citizenship a census question; the request for abortion services by a young woman held in detention while seeking refugee status; a pushback of Trump’s attempts to ban transgender people from serving in the military and cases related to the Muslim travel ban and family separation policies. I found myself fascinated not just by the discussion of these cases themselves but also by the procedures — how the lawyers go about their appeals for relief for their clients, many of whom are in some kind of race against time, and how they build class action cases. The documentary also offers a look at ACLU’s broader history. B+ Available on Hulu.

* We Are Freestyle Love Supreme (TV-MA)

Watch extremely talented young theater nerds work together to make something in this documentary about Freestyle Love Supreme, a freestyle rap improv group started in the early aughts by Lin-Manuel Miranda, Thomas Kail (probably best known as the director of Hamilton), Chris Jackson (Hamilton’s best-known George Washington), Utkarsh Ambudkar (who you know from lots of things, including The Mindy Project; also, awesomely, he’s a voice on Disney Junior’s Mira, Royal Detective) and other longtime friends and theater people. And I say “nerds” with great affection and in the absolute best sense. This documentary features footage from a 2019 reunion run of Freestyle Love Supreme as well as the group in the mid-2000s (just before and as Miranda’s In the Heights production was ramping up) and some looks back to their start in the early 2000s. This isn’t a super tight, dramatic tale but I tiredly flipped it on one evening and it was a charming boost of happiness. B+ Available on Hulu.

* Disclosure(TV-MA)

This documentary about transgender representation (and the long lack thereof) in Hollywood beautifully answers the “why is it important to see someone like you on screen” question. Actors, filmmakers, writers and other creative types discuss the limited (and often problematic) examples of transgender characters in the TV and movies of their youth and how transgender stories have found at least some entrance into mainstream TV and movies in, basically, the last decade or so. The documentary makes a strong argument for the richer, smarter, more interesting art that comes from giving a more diverse pool of writers and directors the means to tell their stories. B+ Available on Netflix.

The Speed Cubers (TV-PG)

Weighing in at a brisk 40 minutes, this documentary looks at the international Rubik’s Cube competition community (with competitors ranging in age from tween to early twenties) focusing in particular on Australian Feliks Zemdegs and American Max Park. Zemdegs, the older of the two boys, started winning competitions and breaking world records as a young teen. Park, who is a little younger and was diagnosed with autism as a preschool-aged child, started playing with a Rubik’s Cube as a kid as part of his mother’s strategy to help him with finger dexterity. As Park gets good and gets into competition, the basic social skills that requires — like listening to rules and interacting with others — are as much a win as the results of the competition, as his parents explain. As Park gets more into competition, he meets and eventually becomes friends with Zemdegs, who is his cubing hero. The documentary is as much about the boys’ relationship as it is about competitive cubing and the story is a sweet one that also offers a nice slice of this competitive world I’d never heard about before.B Available on Netflix.

Love, Guaranteed (TV-PG)

Rachel Leigh Cook, Damon Wayans Jr.

Sometimes you just need some dumb happy romantic comedies. All the better if it has some genuine talent like Wayans in the mix. Love, Guaranteed features a broke but ethical lawyer (Cook) who decides to represent a man (Wayans) suing a dating website. At first she thinks his lawsuit — over the company’s promise to help him find love in 1,000 dates — is sort of a scam but she takes it anyway because she needs the case and he gives her a check. But, naturally, she starts to Feel, especially when she learns that he’s a physical therapist who likes helping people and is still nursing a heartbreak. Heather Graham is sort of a hoot playing the Gwyneth Paltrow-esque owner of the dating site. This movie is cute but rather simplistic but some evenings, “simple, romantic and with a happily-ever-after ending” is just what the doctor ordered. C+ Available on Netflix.

Enola Holmes (PG-13)

Enola Holmes (PG-13)

The 16-year-old little sister to Mycroft and Sherlock Holmes searches for their vanished mother in Enola Holmes, a light, fun mystery action romp with a sweet mother/daughter story wrapped in a cute take on the Sherlock Holmes-y characters.

Enola (Millie Bobby Brown) has grown up on the Holmes’ family’s estate, Ferndell Hall, with no real memory of her father, who died when she was little, or her two older brothers, Mycroft (Sam Claflin) and Sherlock (Henry Cavill), who moved to London shortly thereafter. She has spent most of her time with her mother, the free-spirited Eudoria Holmes (Helena Bonham Carter), who taught her jujitsu, chess, chemistry and a love of puzzles and mysteries. Eudoria also played tennis with Enola in the study, home-schooled her and apparently bilked a fair amount of money out of Mycroft, who is shocked to learn that the carriages and footmen and music teachers he had sent money for don’t exist.

Mycroft and Sherlock, who at this point is near the beginning of his career as a famous detective, return to Ferndell Hall after Enola wakes up on her 16th birthday to discover that Eudoria has disappeared. Enola seems genuinely excited to see her brothers, especially Sherlock, but is horrified to learn that Mycroft intends to send her to a finishing school and help her to become a true lady who will marry well and not embarrass her brothers. Enola likes no part of his plans and so, using a few clues her mother left her, a Sherlockian ability for deduction and a plucky can-do spirit, she sets out on a quest to find her mother. Along the way, she finds herself tangled up in the similar escape of a young marquess, Tewksbury (Louis Partridge), who is just smart enough and just floppy-haired enough to make the “blech, marriage” Enola feel teen-girl-ishly around him and want to help him.

Sherlock and Mycroft are very much side characters here but this is still a very Sherlocky kind of story, with a bit of fun visual “parsing the clues” stuff and a bouncy score that calls to mind, without copying, previous Sherlock music. Enola is a fun character to be around; quirky and assured in the way you’d expect a Holmes to be (especially one raised by a mother who, gasp, supports votes for women!) but also enough of a real person, especially when it comes to the relationship with her mother. Brown, whose Enola talks to us a fair amount, sells it all, makes it all feel like it’s coming from someone smart but still young and finding her footing.

This take on Sherlock and Mycroft are interesting as well; this is, at least I think we can infer, Sherlock before Watson, a person still more prone to push people away than draw them into his orbit. This Mycroft is also a kind of fascinating study of the character. In other recent versions of the story, he is often very Establishment and realpolitik but with a soft spot for his brother. Here he is rigid to the point of cruelty — which is maybe not a bad way to have the character start out. And Bonham Carter is clearly having a blast, which is always fun to watch.

Enola Holmes is buoyant and enjoyable — and offers a fun mystery. B+

Rated PG-13 for some violence, according to the MPA on Directed by Harry Bradbeer with a screenplay by Jack Thorne (from a novel by Nancy Springer), Enola Holmes is two hours and 3 minutes long and is distributed via Netflix.

Billion Dollar Burger

Billion Dollar Burger, by Chase Purdy (Portfolio/Penguin, 236 pages)

You don’t have to be vegan, or an animal-rights zealot, to be deeply uncomfortable about what is required to keep the meat shelves at your local supermarket stocked with ground beef and pork tenderloins.

In about the time it took to read the previous paragraph, about 10,000 animals in the U.S. were slaughtered to meet the insatiable demands of a population that is already dangerously obese. (Statistic via the website, which tracks slaughter numbers in the U.S.) Obscenely, many of the animals died so their flesh could be thrown away; an estimated one-quarter of meat produced is discarded.

Marry atrocity and capitalism, and you get cell-cultured burgers. Or you would get them, if the companies racing to produce lab-grown meat could figure out how to produce them economically. Quartz reporter Chase Purdy has been following the companies’ quest for two years and brings a skeptical eye to how the products will be received on America’s dinner tables, if they ever get to America’s dinner tables. Or he does so for part of the book, anyway. He also seems a fanboy of Josh Tetrick, cofounder of the cell-cultured meat venture JUST, one of nine that Purdy has studied.

First, a primer: Cell-cultured meat (which has also been dubbed Frankenmeat) is meat grown from animal cells, not the pseudo-meat that is plant based, such as Burger King’s Impossible Burger.

Entrepreneurs like Tetrick envision a future barbecue in which people can honestly say “no animals were harmed” because the “donor cells” are taken from living animals, then grown in a lab into something called “clean meat.” The few people who have eaten it, to include Purdy, say that it’s decent and point out that everything we eat is a collection of cells. Plus, people who protest that it’s unnatural are forgetting what’s already on supermarket shelves.

“Just look at margarine, frozen pizza, Big Macs and deli meats; potato chips, soda, and every other now ubiquitous food product that is packaged for our convenience and enveloped in a carnival of sugar, salt, fats, and a laundry list of unpronounceable ingredients. They are objectively bad for us,” Purdy writes. And they are unnatural.

More people have gone into space than have eaten clean meat, a JUST worker tells Purdy as he sits down to sample a pate made of cell-cultured duck at the company’s headquarters in San Francisco. He later goes on to eat chicken tenders at Memphis Meats and thin-sliced steak at Aleph Farms, and to to interview a range of people with a dog in this fight, to include Bruce Friedrich of the Good Food Institute and Peter Singer, the renowned philosopher and champion of animal rights.

All downplay the “unnatural” factor, which is a huge hurdle the industry faces in a time in which consumers are newly enthralled with farm-to-table restaurants and humanely produced meat and eggs. Singer said, “I don’t think nature is in any way a gold standard.” Similarly, Peter Brabeck-Letmathe, a former Nestle executive, told him, “The reason why Homo sapiens have become what we are is because we learned to overcome nature.”

And even the “real” meat we see in supermarkets is divorced from its origin, pounded as it is into unrecognizable forms, and whatever else is done to it before we buy it. Purdy’s grandmother, who lives in Kentucky, told him that she has noticed that the smell of ground beef has changed over the years. “It smells like chemicals,” she said. She’s started buying bison instead.

Some people who are vegans because of animal suffering have said they would consider eating meat again when cell-cultured meat can be mass produced. Don’t look for it in the bins at Walmart anytime soon, though. The billion-dollar burger isn’t hyperbole. When one lab-grown burger was unveiled in London in 2013, it was said that the five-ounce patty cost $330,000 to produce, Purdy wrote. That year, cell-cultured meat amounted to $1.2 million a pound. By last year, it had dropped to a mere $1,000 a pound. In other words, one JUST chicken nugget cost $50.

In writing Billion Dollar Burger, Purdy is not the first to take on the topic. Paul Shapiro, co-founder of The Better Meat Co., wrote Clean Meat two years ago, and Kathy Freston and Bruce Friedrich addressed the subject that same year in Clean Protein.

Purdy’s take is a little more updated, albeit rather thin. Billion Dollar Burger has the feel of a Quartz article on steroids; one gets the sense that it took every line in Purdy’s notebooks to expand the manuscript to book length. And given his apparent regard for Tetrick, and his concern about factory farming and its effect on climate change, he is not an impartial observer. Nor does he delve deeply into the ethical issues of factory farming and cell-cultured meat; his style is observation and musing. As such, Billion Dollar Burger is an easy read on a complex subject and will likely need updating in a year. B-

Book notes
Now that the Emmys are over, we can move on to the awards that really matter: book awards.

Two big ones are coming up: the Booker Prize and the National Book Award, both announced in November.

If you’re like me and always bewildered that some books deemed the best of the year escaped your radar screen, there’s still time. The finalists for the National Book Award will be announced Oct. 6, giving you six weeks to read them before the awards ceremony Nov. 18.

The short list for the Booker Prize is out, and it includes three American authors: Diane Cook, Brandon Taylor and Maaza Mengiste. A fourth, Douglas Stuart, is a citizen of both Scotland and America. (A widely expected nomination for Anne Tyler for Redhead by the Side of the Road, given a B+ here, did not materialize.)

The Booker Prize, one of the most prestigious literary awards in the world, used to be given exclusively to an author writing in English from the U.K. The Man Booker Foundation expanded its reach in 2014, allowing writers of any nationality to be included, so long as the books are written in English and published in the U.K. There has been much howling and gnashing of teeth in certain quarters over this.

Regardless, the diligent reader can read one nominated book each week and be finished in time to complain about the winner, which will be announced Nov. 17. Here they are:
The New Wilderness, Diane Cook (Harper, 416 pages)
This Mournable Body, Tsitsi Dangarembga (Faber & Faber, 304 pages)
Burnt Sugar, Avni Doshi (The Overlook Press, 240 pages)
The Shadow King, Maaza Mengiste (W.W. Norton, 448 pages)
Shuggie Bain, Douglas Stuart (Grove Press, 448 pages)
Real Life, Brandon Taylor (Riverhead, 336 pages)
But while making your pick, don’t assume that just one will win. Last year the Bookman judges threw a curveball, choosing two winners: Margaret Atwood for The Testaments and Bernadine Evaristo for Girl, Woman, Other.

Featured photo: Billion Dollar Burger, by Chase Purdy

Album Reviews 20/10/01

U96 with Wolfgang Flür, Transhuman (Radikal Records)

The march of 1980s Nintendo-techno continues, this time with a worthy-enough pair-up between former Kraftwerk percussionist Flür and whatever’s left of U96, a project originally helmed by Alex Christensen, who’s no longer part of it. Just to be a jerk, I talked about the band Sparks a few weeks ago, and these tunes are as interchangeable with that band’s material as any other krautrock venture’s; if you’re captivated by dated eight-bit material, this is as good as any I suppose. “Planet In Fever” does have some soaring vastness to it, which counts for something; despite its obvious subject matter it’s upbeat in its way, but keep in mind that Euro-pop doesn’t seem to have a malevolent bone in its body. The title track is more to the krautrock point, featuring a beat that sounds like a free add-on that’s available to YouTubers who “just need some background music.” And so on and so forth. C+

Lo Tom, LP2 (self-released)

Follow-up to the 2017 debut album from this band, a ragtag indie-rock quartet composed of old friends who’ve played in joint and separate projects over the past 20 years, including David Bazan from the rather Pearl Jam-ish Pedro The Lion. The aforementioned debut had a rule in force that demanded minimal overdubs, which didn’t negatively affect the tuneage and got the band a lot of love from everybody who counts (Pitchfork, NPR, Stereogum, etc.). Their little one-off was so successful that this time they went with multiple overlays, resulting in a wall of Foo Fighters sound that and here’s the rub doesn’t actually do a whole lot for the songs, which aren’t outstanding to begin with. See, like I said, Bazan has an Eddie Vedder vocal range, but none of the frazzle-haired theatricality of Vedder’s delivery; the end result is some pretty bloody disposable TGI Fridays background tough-fluff with pricey-sounding production. Meh. B

Retro Playlist

Thanks to Covid, until further notice, our populace is mostly stuck doing nothing more soul-enriching than watching TV, with the occasional danger-fraught safari into a department store or getting takeout. I’m at the point where the only thing I can consistently tolerate is the Turner Classic Movies channel, where I immerse myself in a 1930s-to-1960s fantasy land where half the actors’ lines would have gotten them fired by today’s “cancel culture” standards.

My mellow got harshed completely during Labor Day weekend, when the station (do we call them “stations” anymore?) went on a retro-concert-footage tangent. Jimi Hendrix at the Monterey Pop Festival, the drunken mess that was Led Zeppelin’s The Song Remains The Same, some Elvis Presley thing, all of it. For many people, these films stand as frozen-in-time moments that mark the point at which their personal investigations into pop music no, culture itself came to an abrupt close. I know a guy who seems to think it’s still 1983; his Facebook oeuvre is awash in pictures of and factoids about The Who, a band I never really liked.

But watching The Kids Are Alright, the Who documentary (I used to have the album, way back), I remembered that I still have a special place in my heart for the band’s guitarist, Pete Townshend. He honestly didn’t like fans of pop music and wrote them off as suckers for buying the band’s records. Some of that honesty would go down really nicely these days, with deep-pocketed hipster bands releasing albums of remarkably low quality, apparently just because they’ve got the money to do it. Imagine if Pavement came out saying the same thing. They’d be instantly canceled.

Hands down, the best part of my long weekend bingeing TCM’s rockumentary vault was finally watching the early punk-rock doc The Decline of Western Civilization all the way through for the first-ever time. I do tend to name-check Black Flag a lot in this space, because their TV Party album was a revelation to Young Me, so this is just a public Post-It note to myself to remember to mention Circle Jerks when I’m trying to say that such-and-so-band is genuinely punk. The L.A. band is still around, which is surprising, given that they appeared to be so close to doom in the film. Frontman Keith Morris spends half the segment insulting the audience and the other half getting into fistfights with them.

Someday, maybe, one of the guys in Kaiser Chiefs will kick a front-row audience member in the head. At that point, I’ll have hope for this generation’s music, but not until then.


A seriously abridged compendium of recent and future CD releases

• Onward to October, and the next general CD-release Friday date, Oct. 2! Now that it’s October, you know that it’s Christmas, when people get together for food fights over politics, watch out for that Tupperware thingie of mashed potatoes flying at your head, Uncle Steve, ha ha! Yup, there’s nothing like the holidays, which always start off with nonsense albums from famous people who are old and can’t remember the words to their own songs, so it’s safest to make albums of Christmas carols and festive Hanukkah dreidel ditties and block-rockin’ Kwanzaa mega-hits from Jacquie Godden. Yay awesome, one of my favorite holidays songs is — wait a gosh-dang minute, it’s Halloween, not Christmas, what’s going on here! Why is there a Dolly Parton album coming out on Oct. 2 called A Holly Dolly Christmas, and not an album called Dolly Sings The Monster Mash Featuring Former Members Of Twisted Sister? Stuff like this makes me cynical, like I almost believe that Dolly has declared a War Against Halloween, but then I remember that she doesn’t care about my feelings, and she wants her money, so get moving, hipsters, go buy this happy festive album for your yearly uncomfortable hour-long sleigh ride to Uncle Steve’s off-the-grid hunting cabin way up north, just charge your iPhone on the car battery in case a moose knocks out the electrical grid again this year. Oh, what treasures will we find on this wonderful holiday Dolly album? Well, the YouTube hath pointed me to a single, “Mary Did You Know,” an acoustic guitar ballad wherein Dolly sings about the manger and whatnot, and of course whenever she sings the word “child” she does it in a loud harsh loving whisper, because it is a special word, so sayeth the Hallmark Channel.

• Ho ho ho, can you even believe it, fam, it’s a brand new album from the human meme known as “Irony Buddha,” whom your grandfather refers to as William Shatner! This new album is titled The Blues, which leads me to believe that Mr. Buddha is laser-focused on making a comedy album where he speak-sings a bunch of old blues tunes in his trademark Captain Kirk language, ha ha, isn’t it always so hilarious the first and only time you listen to a new William Shatner song, but if you buy this album, at least you could listen to it more than once, which is comforting in its way I suppose, the fact that you once had $12 to waste on something before everyone gets laid off and we just call this whole thing a former civilization and start all over in caves. The first single is called “Let’s Work Together,” a collaboration with Canned Heat. What’s that? OK, Canned Heat was a band, back when there were bands, and William Shatner was learning to sing, but he got sick of it and quit singing, so now he has an album.

• Irritating New Yorker Mariah Carey will release her newest LP, The Rarities, in a day or so. As I suspected, most of these “rarities” are just remixes of her old hits from the 1920s or whatever, like a new version of “Fantasy,” but there is also a sad bling-pop ballad with Lauryn Hill, called “Save The Day.” It’s weak.

• To close out this week, it’s famous Pink Floyd man Roger Waters, with his new Blu-Ray/DVD thingamajig, Us + Them. It’s concert footage, so if you love all those 50-year-old “Floyd” songs, you’ll love it. I’ll be spending my money instead on canned goods.

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