As we welcome in 1962, it looks like another banner year for singles sales so the record business will just keep hummin' along. Of course we can't help but feel a little bit sorry for those companies

As we welcome in 1962, it looks like another banner year for singles sales so the record business will just keep hummin' along. Of course we can't help but feel a little bit sorry for those companies still based on the album-sales business model, but . . . wait a tick . . . that would be . . . everybody!

Whoops. Sorry. Never mind.

All seriousness aside, it is fun for us old-school cats to see our most recent two Coolest Songs in the World artists actually interested in the ancient art of album making.

Robert Schneider from the Apples in Stereo has 24 tracks on the bands "New Magnetic Wonder" but 11 of them are either instrumental or occasional vocal bits and pieces obviously intended to serve as a bridge from track to track.

All right, it's not quite "Tommy" yet, or even "The Who Sell Out," but we're getting there.

Schneider is obviously channeling his artistic ambitions through the band, as Pete Townshend mostly does. So hopefully, with this new lineup, Horton has found his Who.

Jesse Malin, on the other hand, has decided to approach things from the other side.

Having been in the perfectly right rock band at the perfectly wrong time (D-Generation in the '90s) he has decided to live the life of the singer/songwriter—which does seem like good timing, the genre enjoying its biggest commercial resurgence since the '70s.

As such, the album seems the appropriate form to explore a more complex individual identity that, more often than not, cannot be revealed or explained in one three-minute song (communicating the common ground of a band), but needs a collection of emotional vignettes, cumulative storytelling if you will, to begin to paint the more personal picture.

That is not to say singer/songwriters can't have hits. Bob Dylan, James Taylor, Jackson Browne and Bruce Springsteen (who has a fabulous duet on Malin's album) have all done it.

Anyway, we don't like to make a habit of encouraging this sort of behavior (we should be boycotting Malin until the D-Generation reunion) but he's outfoxed us, a la Willie Nile, by sneaking in a few marvelous rock tracks that we must reluctantly admit are undeniably great.

In other album news, the White Stripes have a new album done called "Icky Thump"; Ian Gillian, lead singer of Deep Purple, has demanded Sony BMG withdraw a just-released live album of one of Purple's last gigs, stating, "It was one of our worst concerts ever"; and the new Todd Haynes flick ("Velvet Goldmine," "Far From Heaven") will be based on Dylan's life and will include new covers as well as source material on the soundtrack and Dylan will be played by, wait for it, Richard Gere, Christian Bale, Heath Ledger and Cate Blanchett.

Holy Lennon on Broadway, Batman!

See you on the radio.