J.Rod’s Music World

Justin Rodstrom

Please tell me y’all know about what’s happening this year in Manchester, Tenn. Bonnaroo is back in 2007 with a lineup to trump all lineups, including the Police on reunion, Tool in a rare jam showcase, as well as artists like Ben Harper and The White Stripes. In a recent interview, Harper had this to say of this year’s festivities: “I’m curious to see how Bonnaroo’s shifted, evolved and changed. It’s always been really well run and very exciting to play. The lineups have always been some of the best worldwide, so I’m anxious to see that too.”With a lineup like that, you basically should have already acquired a ticket. Not only will the magical mystery festival have some of the biggest and best names in the industry, but get this: they’ve extended the concert from three to four days. By my estimation, this is the number one music festival of the summer, easily beating out other greats like Coachella and Virgin.

I’ve hooked you guys up with two album reviews from two of my favorite artists performing at this year’s festival:

*Bonnaroo Artist* Clear Skies for WilcoWilco seems to have hit a stride with “Sky Blue Sky,” the band’s sixth album in 13 years. As with “A Ghost Is Born,” Jeff Tweedy’s songwriting is complimented by the gorgeous, jazzy guitar work of 2004 addition, critically acclaimed Nels Cline. In addition, Mikael Jorgensen contributes soothing, refined keyboard work.After so much time together, it is evident that the band is truly where it belongs: at home in the songs of Tweedy. Its music may be washy and light, but the smooth, passing cloud melodies just feel right underneath Tweedy’s refined lyrics.With their unique blend of Americana, Wilco ties together milk-white landscapes and longing subtleties into a wonderful package. “Sky Blue Sky” tells the story of a band struggling to understand its art, its members and its new-found fame. “What Light” beautifully paints the picture of getting used to letting go of personal words and songs and letting them become everyone’s words, everyone’s songs.In keeping with Wilco’s style, songs take strange twists and turns, sometimes changing tempo or even falling apart completely – “Side With The Seeds” even breaks down into a nice little tempest of fret work. “Hate It Here” is ripped straight out of the Beatles’ book, namely “Come Together,” but it’s a wonderful tribute with a guitar hook built to please.With moments of laid-back dreaming paired with lighthearted Beatles-esque jams, not a single moment of “Sky Blue Sky” goes by without a smile. The album is an invitation on Wilco’s own personal journey. So go for the ride; you may never look back.Blue Skies: “Sky Blue Sky,” “Leave Me (Like You Found Me),” “What Light”

*Bonnaroo Artist* Kings of Leon, “Because of the Times”

Kings of Leon have really stepped up since 2005’s “Aha Shake Heartbreak,” winning a whole team of new fans and gaining national popularity. Kings of Leon even garnered high billing in Tennessee at this year’s immense Bonnaroo lineup. The band is especially well known among college-age classic rock fans, drawing comparison to legends like The Who and Rolling Stones for their swaggering blend of hard rock with deep bass lines and experimental guitar flavors. “Because of the Times” offers up some new sounds and the signature off-the-cuff writing of the Followill family.Kings of “Times”: “Charmer,” “On Call,” “Ragoo”

Type O Negative

The latest installment in the brooding of Peter Steele and Type O Negative sees the band in its element. With a slowed-down, epic sound and big, Black Sabbath hooks. Type O Negative create Doors-esque trippy landscapes to complement the dark, brooding, sadistic lyrics of Peter Steele, especially evident on tracks like “Trilogy” and “Tripping a Blind Man.” Not much has changed in the format of Type O Negative albums, but this album certainly expands on the work Type O has already accomplished in studio. With two songs over 10 minutes, the band certainly gets into a metal groove with some strong guitar workouts over creeping keyboards. Peter Steele and his newest project have put together another rock solid, albeit mellow, dramatic piece of work. This album probably appeals mostly to fans of the new Bay-area thrash scene and fans of heavier classic rock.Steele Tracks: “Tripping a Blind Man,” “September Sun,” “These Three Things”