Dudes with Guitars Release New CDs Andy Langer, music critic for Esquire, looks at a rash of new records from dudes with guitars — surfer dudes, dudes with dreadlocks, Canadian dudes, and dudes who used to have dreadlocks.


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Dudes with Guitars Release New CDs

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So, bloggers, bit torrents, file sharing Web sites.


Oh, my.

STEWART: I know. Sexy, right? Indeed, the Internet helps us find music everything over the week and most of that music probably wasn't legal to download. But as long as new records still have legitimate release states, Tuesday will still be new music Tuesday here on the BPP.

And, dude, why do I say - we have so many dudes, dude. Dudes with guitars. Surfer dudes, dudes with dreadlocks, Canadian dudes, dudes who used to have dreadlocks. Here to steer our shift through the sea of dudes is another dude, Andy Langer, music critique for Esquire magazine.

Welcome to the show, Andy.

Mr. ANDY LANGER (Music Critique, Esquire Magazine): Hey, how are you?

STEWART: I'm doing okay. Hey, so we get to the singer/songwriter boys with guitars in a minute. But first, we wanted to get your thoughts about the return of the singer whose very name made the ears of our senior producer Matt Martinez prick right up. Taylor Dayne apparently has a new record.

(Soundbite of laughter)

STEWART: Taylor Dayne. I was wondering, what's the Taylor Dayne song that was so famous?

MARTIN: "Tell It To My Heart."

STEWART: "Tell It To My Heart." I was like - (Singing) tell it to my heart.

(Soundbite of laughter)

MARTIN: So, what's up with this, Andy?

Mr. LANGER: Apparently, after 10 years off - she raised a couple of kids. She decided it's time for a comeback and she's got a Red Hot Chili Pepper's cover, a couple other covers, you know?

MARTIN: Okay. Well, I want you to do it…

Mr. LANGER: Yeah.

MARTIN: …on the spot critique of the song called "Sensitive." Oh, no, the album is called "Sensitive," the song is called "Beautiful." Let's take a listen.

(Soundbite of song, "Beautiful")

Ms. TAYLOR DAYNE (Singer): (Singing) Baby, you do, darling it's true. Oh, you're making me so hot. I don't want to stop. It's not a fairytale, the things you say. Baby, you're beautiful. So give me what you got.

MARTIN: Okay, this is like a Rorschach. Like don't think about it. Just give me your gut reaction to that, Andy.


(Soundbite of laughter)

MARTIN: I thought you hang up for a minute.

Mr. LANGER: (Unintelligible) sound.

MARTIN: It's a what sound, Andy?

Mr. LANGER: It was the - yeah.

MARTIN: That's…

Mr. LANGER: That is why it's the name of the album actually and consider me unsatisfied.

MARTIN: Okay, that's it.

Mr. LANGER: Yup. That's it.

MARTIN: First and last word from Andy Langer. Okay, that's fine.

We're going to go to Hawaii's Jack Johnson, who has a new record called "Sleep Through the Static." And let's listen to this track. It's called "If I Had Eyes."

(Soundbite of song, "If I Had Eyes")

Mr. JACK JOHNSON (Singer): (Singing) If I had eyes in the back of my head, I would have told you that you look good as I walk away. If you could have tried, trust the hand that fit.

MARTIN: So, Andy, is this going to win over anyone who wasn't already a Jack Johnson fan? Or is this…

Mr. LANGER: Probably, not. But, you know, he's the least offensive guy in rock. And…

MARTIN: Is that a good thing, to be the least offensive guy in rock?

Mr. LANGER: Probably, not. On the other hand, you know, this is a guy who keeps thinking his records that are better than the last one. He really is so inoffensive that there's something sort of likeable and lovable about him at this point, just the consistency factor. And he's never really heavy-handed about anything. He does take on war and (unintelligible) and the environment and whatnot, but he's got this sort of light touch that's infectious.

I mean - and you know, the problem is, for a lot of people, is going to be that he's a Coachella, he's an All Points West, he's rumor(ph) Bonnaroo, he's in headlining status.

MARTIN: Here's everywhere.

Mr. LANGER: Yeah, this is going to be the year of Jack Johnson if you're a (unintelligible) goer. And if you don't come around, it's going to be a long summer, you know? And this is supposed to be a little bit darker of a record. But, you know, what's…

MARTIN: Dark (unintelligible).

Mr. LANGER: …lighter than the curious (unintelligible) record he did (unintelligible).

MARTIN: Yeah. It's not hard to get dark (unintelligible).

Mr. LANGER: Yeah.

STEWART: I wasn't a huge Jack Johnson fan and I actually really like this record.


STEWART: So maybe, that's something.

MARTIN: Let's talk about Nada Surf. This group is still probably best known for this 1990's MTV novelty hit "Popular."

STEWART: But they also played around club scene a lot too.

MARTIN: And they switch up their sound in the 2002 album "Let Go." Nada Surf's new record is called "Lucky." Let's listen to the song called "Here Goes Something."

(Soundbite of song, "Here Goes Something")

NADA SURF (Singing Group): (Singing) Look around, what a mess. Anybody's guess. Here goes something. Yeah, here goes something.

STEWART: So there's quite a few guest performances on this record, right?

Mr. LANGER: Yeah. I mean the deal with, I mean, for Nada Surf is that, you know, they're very popular within their circle of, you know, other Sub Pop acts. And, you know, they made this comeback from, like you said, a novelty single way back when. This is their fifth album, you know, their third for Sub Pop and they're very persistent and they write really, you know, catchy sort of many anthems with lots of strings and layers and the smart catchy pop songs.

Unfortunately, here, it never really built into anything that is as satisfying as some of those (unintelligible) records, you know? It's a lot of the same here, which you know, even bad if you're not a Surf fan. I don't think this one builds in to any kind of classic satisfying record.

MARTIN: Okay. Now, we're going to wrap it up with Lenny Kravitz, because I like Lenny Kravitz.

(Soundbite of laughter)


MARTIN: You can disagree.

(Soundbite of laughter)

MARTIN: Let's listen - let's first take a listen from his new album "It's Time for a Love Revolution" and this one is called "Bring It On."

(Soundbite of song, "Bring It On")

Mr. LENNY KRAVITZ (Singer): It's getting heavy, but I'm ready to take on this world and rock steady. So come on, bring it on.

MARTIN: Okay, Andy, is this anything new or interesting to your ear, or you just (unintelligible) you're like, Lenny, same old, same old.

Mr. LANGER: That's the sound I made for Taylor Daynes, do you hear that?

(Soundbite of laughter)

Mr. LANGER: Yeah, it's the same sound. "It's Time for a Love Revolution," come on. This is the worst album title and God knows how long and the record almost did that.

(Soundbite of laughter)

MARTIN: You just made Jill Sobule laugh. She's laughing so hard.

Mr. LANGER: You know, it's been 18 years since the, you know, "Let Love Rule."

STEWART: I know. And, Andy, now "It's Time for a Love Revolution."

Mr. LANGER: Exactly.

(Soundbite of laughter)

Mr. LANGER: If you got to work this hard at recapturing your past, that's a problem. And, you know, it's - it used to be that he was inspired by the things we were inspired by, you know, '70s, AOR rock, funk, blues, whatever. And now, he's inspired by what Lenny Kravitz used to be and it's - you know, there's lots of, you know, fuzzy guitars, single track vocals and (unintelligible). It should not good.

STEWART: Living the dream.

Mr. LANGER: Yeah.

STEWART: Andy Langer, I don't know - are you happy about music? New music Tuesday today? It's all kind of (unintelligible).

Mr. LANGER: You know, this is not Super Tuesday when it comes to music.

(Soundbite of music)

STEWART: We're going to change that for you, Andy. Come on.

MARTIN: We are, in just a minute. Andy Langer, music critique for Esquire magazine. As always, thanks so much.

Mr. LANGER: Thank you.

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