Weezer, Jamey Johnson, Robert Plant part of Super Tuesday's big record release

The record biz calls it Super Tuesday, that rare day when dozens of heavyweights drop albums on the same date. This Tuesday is a monster, with everyone from Brandon Flowers to Linkin Park to Mavis Staples releasing fresh product. I'll cover a bunch of the new titles in the next few weeks, but to get you in the mood, here are three Super releases (although only one is truly mighty). Just for kicks, why don't you visit an actual record store and pick one of 'em up on vinyl or CD? Yeah, I know, old-school. But sometimes you have to feel it, boys and girls.

Weezer | Hurley (Epitaph)

Has Rivers run dry? On Weezer's eighth album — the band's first on an indie label — prolific frontman Rivers Cuomo, he of the chunky black specs and nagging love probs (even though he's actually a married father now), bemoans Smart Girls and wonders Where's My Sex? The 40-year-old dwells on '90s Memories and claims a girl is Ruling Me. It's all edible power pop, of course, a grungy, winky, hear-it-in-Aéropostale Weezer specialty. But save for a few weird guests (including actor Michael Cera, who was basically birthed from Cuomo's skull), a titular nod to the portly Lost guy and a genuinely moving midtempo gem called Trainwrecks, the album has a tired, uninspired, where's-the-fun feel. Sure, Weezer always sounds like Weezer. But we've been here before, and it was better the last seven times. Grade: C

Jamey Johnson The Guitar Song (Mercury Nashville)

Johnson is the Sasquatch of Nashville: big, looming, more than a little intimidating. But underneath all that hair and bass, the dude is a loner, and a sad one, too. Sure, he's the randy pen behind Trace Adkins' Honkytonk Badonkadonk, but the 35-year-old Alabama native is also a softie. If you need proof, settle in with the utterly ambitious Guitar Song, a 25-track double platter chock-full of weepers, including My Way to You, written with Charlie Midnight; a loyal reading of Kris Kristofferson's For the Good Times; and the self-penned, and utterly devastating, Heavenbound. The album's best, and most menacing, track is told from the viewpoint of Heartache personified; it's scary, funny and painfully true. The album is better suited for staying home than hitting the town, but JJ picks up the pace here and there, especially on the Bigfoot-out-of-water hoot Playing the Part. Grade: A

Robert Plant Band of Joy (Es Paranza/Rounder)

Plant's latest surge of Americana is not nearly as good as 2007 Grammy winner Raising Sand, but it's definitely LOUDER. Gone are Alison Krauss and producer T Bone Burnett and their moody, Gothic contributions. Instead, the 62-year-old Plant promotes Buddy Miller, the king of the psychobilly guitar, to a main producer's role, in which his first order of business is to add raucous riffs and mystic roadhouse swagger. The album never fully lets the Led out, but it is decidedly upbeat in covering such songs as the hippie-boogie of Los Lobos' Angel Dance and the brushfire glow of Townes Van Zandt's Harm's Swift Way. Patty Griffin is brought in to replace Krauss' May-December vibe, and she soars on a cover of Low's Silver Rider. Still, Band of Joy — which just happens to be the name of Plant's psychedelic crew before Zeppelin — often feels like a casual collection of B sides. For every cut of garagey goodness a la You Can't Buy My Love, there are go-nowhere ruminations The Only Sound That Matters and Monkey. Take what you like, and leave the rest. Grade: B-

Other notable releases this Tuesday

Songs From the Road, Leonard Cohen; A Thousand Suns, Linkin Park; Flamingo, Brandon Flowers; Passion, Pain & Pleasure, Trey Songz; Everything Comes and Goes, Michelle Branch; Album Number Two, Joey + Rory; You Are Not Alone, Mavis Staples; Lisbon, the Walkmen; Harlem River Blues, Justin Townes Earle; Shake What God Gave Ya, James Otto; and Luis Miguel, Luis Miguel

Weezer, Jamey Johnson, Robert Plant part of Super Tuesday's big record release 09/11/10 [Last modified: Saturday, September 11, 2010 5:31am]

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