New Tunage – The Mellencamp is pretty good and the SHins is…well, the Shins is The Shins.

New Releases, Jan. 23: John Mellencamp, The Shins, The Grateful Dead
John Mellencamp “Freedom’s Road”
The rootsy rocker is back with his first batch of all-new material since 2001’s “Cuttin’ Heads.”
TV viewers might already be familiar with the disc’s first cut, “Our Country,” which Mellencamp played prior to World Series Game 2 back in October. The song is also prominently featured in a new line of commercials for Chevrolet trucks.
Also of note, “Freedom’s Road” finds Mellencamp collaborating with folk queen Joan Baez on the protest tune “Jim Crow.”
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The Shins “Wincing the Night Away”
The Portland, OR-based indie-pop band finally returns with the follow-up to 2003’s “Chutes Too Narrow.” The first single from “Wincing the Night Away,” the group’s third studio set, is the tune “Phantom Limb.”
The Shins will support the new album with a short tour that kicks off on Feb. 8 in Minneapolis and is currently scheduled to wind up on Feb. 21 with a homecoming show in Portland.
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The Grateful Dead “Live at the Cow Palace: New Years Eve 1976”
No group was more closely associated with New Year’s Eve than The Grateful Dead. The band’s long run of San Francisco Bay Area NYE gigs are mentioned with true reverence in jam-band circles. During this outing, Garcia and the gang helped patchouli-scented patrons usher in 1977 with a show full of such favorites as “Looks Like Rain,” “Deal” and “Scarlet Begonias.”
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Various Artists “2007 Grammy Nominees”
Get primed for the Feb. 11 Grammy Awards with this set of songs from many of this year’s top nominees. The disc features such selections as Gnarls Barkley’s “Crazy,” Mary J. Blige’s “Be Without You,” Carrie Underwood’s “Jesus Take the Wheel,” Pink’s “Stupid Girls” and James Blunt’s “You’re Beautiful.”
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Kenny Wayne Shepherd “10 Days Out: Blues from the Backroads”
The young guitar great joins with Double Trouble’s Tommy Shannon (bass) and Chris Layton (drums) on a trip through the “Backroads” of blues music. The CD/DVD package follows the trio across the country for performances with a number of both well-known and somewhat obscure blues musicians.
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More new releases:
Deerhoof, “Friend Opportunity” (Kill Rock Stars)
The Good, the Bad and the Queen, “The Good, the Bad and the Queen” (Virgin)
Kristin Hersh, “Learn to Sing Like a Star” (Yep Roc)
Chuck Loeb, “Presence” (Heads Up)
Menomena, “Friend & Foe” (Barsuk)
Beverley Mitchell, “Beverley Mitchell” (Word)
Of Montreal, “Hissing Fauna Are You the Destroyer” (Polyvinyl)
Oscar Peterson, “Perfect Peterson: The Best of the Pablo and Telarc Recordings” (Pablo)
Pretty Ricky, “Late Night Special” (Atlantic)
Sonny Rollins, “Sonny Please” (Emarcy)
Peter Rowan and Tony Rice, “Quartet” (Rounder)
Saliva, “Blood Stained Love Story” (Island)
Tony Trischka, “Double Banjo Bluegrass Spectacular” (Rounder)
Various artists, “Billy Strayhorn: Lush Life” (Blue Note)