Billy’s back!

Today’s New Music Releases
I am so excited! The Smashing Pumpkins are no more, but Billy Corgan is back with a band that sounds as great as The Pumpkins ever did! Enjoy!
ZWAN- MARY STAR OF THE SEA: Billy Corgan, the wonder boy of mid-’90s alternative rock, sounded bitter and spent after the disintegration of Smashing Pumpkins three years ago. He sounds positively reborn on this lovesick and faith-based revival. Corgan recruited Smashing Pumpkins drummer Jimmy Chamberlin and players from fringe bands Tortoise, Chavez and Slint to construct Zwan, a phoenix with less plumage and a simpler flight plan than its ambitious predecessor. While Corgan applies the Smashing formula of tension and catharsis to Zwan songs, the material delivers more zip and optimism, less sludge and bombast, and the taut nasal whine has been replaced by robust, relaxed vocals. Wistful ballad Of a Broken Heart and the grand hook-filled Endless Summer are radio-friendly triumphs, but the album’s coup is Jesus, I/Mary Star of the Sea, an amazing 14-minute epic that sways from hypnotic hymn to cascades of guitar sizzle and starch before easing into the pretty harmonica-laced Come With Me √≥ an irresistible invitation.
ERASURE- OTHER PEOPLE’S SONGS: Can you get too much of a good thing? Yes, if the thing in question is this duo’s bubbly, breezy electronic fare. Erasure is hardly the tinniest of techno-pop outfits, but this collection of cover tunes proves that, for all its imagination, its musical and emotional range is inherently limited. As on their previous Abba-esque EP, Andy Bell and Vince Clarke deliver some delightfully pop-savvy interpretations, especially of Peter Gabriel’s wistful Solsbury Hill and Buddy Holly’s pining True Love Ways. But after a while, all the carbonation begins to sound like too much cool air.
GROOVE ARMADA- LOVEBOX: The British duo’s fourth full album is a heady tonic of dance-injected rock, hip-hop and funk. Zesty electronica and a beat-crazy undertow erase the iciness of Armada’s sample fixation and machines. Neneh Cherry’s warble adds warmth to piano ballad Think Twice. Elsewhere, uncorked energy takes charge in a stylistic free-for-all, yielding such winners as crackling thumper The Final Shakedown and retro-disco Easy.
So crank it up!