New Music Monday: Corrosion of Conformity, and a Pink Floyd reissue we hate

Atop our teetering stacks for this edition of New Music Monday are Amy Ray of the Indigo Girls, Carolina Chocolate Drops, Corrosion of Conformity, Lyle Lovett and Matthew Shipp, as well as reissues and live music projects from Hiener Stadler, Mark Lindsay, Pink Floyd, Susan Tedeschi, Willie Nelson and Waylon Jennings. Also just-in this week: Fanfarlo, Heritage Blues Orchestra, Magnolia Memoir, Morbid Angel, Nitrogods, Stephan Forte and Talking Cows, among others.

Some we like (Lyle Lovett can make most anything cool), some we love (been waiting for the Chocolate Drops to drop — and for Matthew Shipp to ship!), and some … well, not so much (The Wall, we’re looking at you). Still, without further ado, we’re …

PRESENTING NEW MUSIC MONDAY FOR THE WEEK OF FEB. 27, 2012:

Alex GoodmanBridges (Jazz)

AMY RAY – LUNG OF LOVE (POP/ROCK): Though it’s presented as a solo project, Ray is joined by a darkly complex, often jaggedly involving backing group that includes keyboardist Julie Wolf (Bruce Cockburn, Indigo Girls) and a trio of people associated with legendary lesbian punk band the Butchies — producer Greg Griffith (who also plays bass and guitar), drummer Melissa York and guitarist/vocalist Kaia Wilson. They help her balance what, for some time, has been a difficult-to-manage passion for a variety of styles within her music — echoing, it seems, the role that Emily Saliers has played all along in the Indigo Girls. On Lung of Love, Ray gets it just right — mixing and matching textures and styles, yet remaining the centerpoint of every track. (More here.)Nick DeRiso

Artistry Jazz GroupToo Darn Hot: Together With Cole Porter (Jazz)
Bang On A Can All-StarsBig Beautiful Dark and Scary (Pop/Rock)
Beegie AdairCocktail Party Piano (Jazz)

BLACK COUNTRY COMMUNION – LIVE OVER EUROPE (POP/ROCK): I can still remember a time when hard rock bands played music that had a lot of soul, meaning and depth. When the music meant more than the image. When listening to them lifted you up, not brought you down. And when you could count on a fresh new batch of music every year, and yet it didn’t sound like rush jobs. Black Country Communion reminds me of those times like no other rock band has in the last thirty odd years. The members of BCC don’t dress extravagantly or look so outlandish; they have a meat-and-potatoes image. Not that any of it matters, but it speaks to their music, too: there are zero gimmicks with this crew, just straightahead, head thrashing, hook-em-horns rock. If there’s any calling card at all, it’s that they do this kind of music so well. (More here.)S. Victor Aaron

Carole KingPearls: Songs of Goffin and King; Simple Things (Pop/Rock)

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CAROLINA CHOCOLATE DROPS – LEAVING EDEN (BLUES): Producer Buddy Miller brings a candle-lit ambiance to the proceedings, allowing the band to wander ever deeper into backwoods musical influences from across the Deep South. Again stirring in so-called “black” and “white” traditions alike, the forthcoming Leaving Eden is just as ear-ticklingly impressive as 2010?s Genuine Negro Jig — but far more rustic, more present. For instance, the solo plucks of “Kerr’s Negro Jig” are surrounded by burping frogs and sawing crickets, enveloping the track in the mysterious sounds of rural nightfall. Moments like that give Leaving Eden the fleet-fingered immediacy, and the heart-splashing bottom end, of a front-porch performance. To which we say: Finally. (More here.)Nick DeRiso

Chiddy BangBreakfast (Rap)
Chuck MeadBack at the Quonset Hut (Country)

CORROSION OF CONFORMITY – CORROSION OF CONFORMITY (POP/ROCK): With Pepper Keenan dedicating his talents to Down full-time, CoC returns to its three-piece configuration and the more punk sound of its earlier albums. I personally prefer the Southern, sludgy Keenan-era version of the band, but fans of records like Animosity should appreciate this one more. — Fred Phillips

Craig MorganThis Ole Boy (Country)
The CranberriesRoses (Pop/Rock)
David ThierryStellar Connection (Pop/Rock)

DEATH – VIVUS! (POP/ROCK): The late Chuck Schuldiner is often credited with creating death metal, and this CD pulls together two 1998 live shows, which were previously released in 2001, the year Schuldiner died of brain cancer. The first, Live in L.A., was recorded at the Whisky A Go-Go, while the second, Live in Eindhoven, was recorded at the Dynamo Open Air Festival. It features the final incarnation of the band playing some of its last shows. — Fred Phillips

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Dukes of Dixieland and Oak Ridge BoysWhen Country Meets Dixie (Country)
Elliott BroodDays Into Years (Pop/Rock)

ELUVEITIE – HELVETIOS (POP/ROCK): The Swiss folk metallers return with another set of songs that rambles between rousing reels with traditional instruments and bashing extreme metal attacks. Fans were a little thrown by the more commercial and gothic single “Rose for Epona,” but the rest of the record is more in line with the expected. — Fred Phillips

EstelleAll of Me (R&B)

FANFARLO – ROOMS FILLED WITH LIGHT (POP/ROCK): This English group combines alt-rock, world-music polyrhythms and chamber pop into an amalgam that sounds like David Byrne sitting in with Philip Glass. Fronted by Simon Balthazar, Rooms is Fanfarlo’s second effort — following 2009′s Reservoir — and it continues that project’s explorations into a kind of artsy next-gen new wave. While there are obvious references to the Serious Progressive Notions of Steve Reich and Arvo Part, at the same time it’s easy to identify whispers of late-1970s popcraft like, no kidding, Rumours (More here.)Nick DeRiso

Gabriel and The HoundsKiss Full Of Teeth (Pop/Rock)
Greg AdamsEast Bay Soul 2.0 (Jazz)
HeartSuper Hits (Pop/Rock)

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HEINER STADLER – BRAINS ON FIRE (JAZZ): For the first time on compact disc, we hear some of the early works of this innovative pianist and (a particular focus here) composer/arranger. Brains on Fire includes a series of tracks recorded between 1966-74 from Heiner Stadler, a vastly underrated German-American pioneer in the avant-garde jazz movement. A tour de force in what we now lovingly refer to as whack jazz, Brains on Fire is the kind of record that makes you wonder why Stadler isn’t mentioned more often with modern post-free titans like Anthony Braxton and Carla Bley. (More here.)Nick DeRiso

HERITAGE BLUES ORCHESTRA – AND STILL I RISE (BLUES): Everything you need to know about this sweepingly inclusive amalgam of country blues, urban grit, bold New Orleans brass and contemplative jazz can be found in its finale — a layered, three-movement triumph called “Hard Times,” that starts out as a crackling duet between voice and guitar, ramps up into a thoughtful horn-driven section, then explodes into a greasy funk workout. Other key tracks include Junior Mack’s sizzling rendition of Son House’s “Clarksdale Moan,” the album opener; Bill Sims’ smoke-filled take on Muddy Waters’ “Catfish Blues”; and Chaney Sims’ smart reinterpretation of Leadbelly’s “Go Down Hannah.” Produced by the Grammy-nominated Larry Skoller at Excello Recording, this Megaforce/RED release is anchored by Kenny “Beedy Eyes” Smith and propelled forward by tenor saxophonist and arranger Bruno Wilhelm. Matthew Skoller takes a scorching harp solo on “Big-Legged Woman,” too. (More here.)Nick DeRiso

IAN TORDELLA – TRAGIC COMEDY (JAZZ): The future of jazz as a living, breathing, expanding music form is in the hands of the twenty and thirtysomethings who grew up on Bjork, Radiohead and Oasis, but went to some of the country’s finest music programs and conservatories to soak in Armstrong, Parker, Monk, Miles, Coltrane and Rollins. They are the ones who can reach out to younger audiences by making a link between the indie rock of their generation with the classic jazz of its forbears. One of the guysmaking jazz sound youthful again saxophonist Ian Tordella. In putting together an old style with a contemporary style, Tordella makes no compromises with either style to make it work. By showing the way how the upcoming generations can get into undiluted jazz, he is doing his part to keep the music form viable after the older generations are no longer around. (More here.)S. Victor Aaron

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Il VoloTakes Flight Live From the Detroit Opera House (Pop/Rock)
Imagination MoversRock-O-Matic (Children’s)
Ja RulePil 2 (Rap)

JAY FARRAR/ WILL JOHNSON/ ANDERS PARKER/ YIM YAMES – NEW MULTITUDES (FOLK): A dream team of Americana stars including Jay Farrar (Son Volt), Will Johnson (Centro-matic), Anders Parker (Varnaline), and Yim Yames (My Morning Jacket) have gathered to reinterpret unrecorded lyrics from Woody Guthrie. New Multitudes, to be released by Rounder, actually sprung from a trip to the Guthrie archives in 2005 as Farrar and Parker were traveling on a press rout for Gob Iron, their traditional folk-themed project. “Even though it all truly began a decade earlier,” Farrar says, in pre-release materials, “the idea stuck because Woody was the one guy both my folks held in the highest regard. He was sacrosanct. I heard Woody way before I ever knew who Bob Dylan was, and if you are going to go back and retrace the roots of your musical inspiration what better way than to try and finish some of his songs?” (More here.)Nick DeRiso

Johnathan BlakeEleventh Hour (Jazz)
KutlessBeliever (Pop/Rock)
Little Junior ParkerRide With Me Baby: The Singles 1952-61 (Blues)
Lonesome River BandChronology 1 (Folk)
Loreena McKennittTroubadours On The Rhine (New Age)

LYLE LOVETT – RELEASE ME (COUNTRY): If you know anything about Lyle Lovett, the tongue-firmly-in-cheek title of his forthcoming release — his last for Curb Records, the only label he’s ever recorded for — will come as no surprise. Neither will the fact that, by pure force of intellect, personality and humor, the Texas singer-songwriter is able to mold what can only charitably be called an odds-and-sods collection of leftovers and odd-ball left turns into something approaching a recommended purchase. But, Lovett does. Against all odds, ten-gallon sense of sardonic melancholy in tow, he somehow smooths the transitions. But, then again, as Lovett heads off toward the wide open spaces of indie-dom, that actually bodes well. (More here.)Nick DeRiso

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MAGNOLIA MEMOIR – THE PERFECT CRIME (POP/ROCK): Magnolia Memoir has been described, and beautifully so, as Fiona Apple meets the Killers with a dash of the Clash — and that’s a good start. What’s not delineated there is the torch-song vulnerability, fragile and yet hopeful, that propels much of the work on The Perfect Crime. It’s then that this quintet begins to separate itself from an ever-burgeoning series of art-pop bands emerging out of Los Angeles’ folk-pop club scene these days. They play it straight. No winks, no nudges. In so doing, this new release from Peak/eOne, will only serve to bolster a reputation already in steep ascent. (More here.) Nick DeRiso

MATTHEW SHIPP – ELASTIC ASPECTS (JAZZ): Anyone who is familiar at all with Shipp knows he turns the whole piano trio concept upside down. Unlike large majority of such trios that follows the tightly integrated template established by Evans, LaFaro and Motian, Shipp’s trio ignores conventions and make up their own as they go along. They don’t swing, and they don’t aspire to make a tightly integrated sound, although they are quite capable of it when the song calls for it, as on “Elastic Aspects.” Overall, Elastic takes more chances than this group’s most recent project Improviser. More so than on that earlier record, they prefer instead to create friction rather than unity, and it’s from this subversion that the art of the … ahem … improvisers is often found. (More here.)S. Victor Aaron

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MIX&DORP (VARIOUS ARTISTS) – BLACK AND TAN EDITS (BLUES): DJ-manufactured dance/electronica/trance stuff isn’t usually my cup of tea, but maybe it’s the lack of good melodies to go along with the grooves. That’s the special advantage of Black And Tan Records’ “miX&dorp” party remixes of blues tracks out of their catalog of blues artists called Black and Tan Edits: the Chicago and Delta-inspired blues these guys play have hypnotic grooves, gut-wrenching blues ballads and soulful struts. If this script sounds familiar to you, then you must have come across the first miX&dorp album from last year, Blues + Beat. That was an idea compelling and executed well enough to make it a left-field choice in my list of top non-jazz albums for 2011. It’s a noble mission, and a mission accomplished. Again. (More here.)S. Victor Aaron

MORBID ANGEL – ILLUD DIVINUM INSANUS: THE REMIXES (POP/ROCK): Great. I really needed electronic and techno remixes of the death metal legends’ awful 2011 “comeback” record. I’ll get to the store early Tuesday to avoid the rush for this one. — Fred Phillips

Mouse on MarsParastrophics (Country)

NAPALM DEATH – UTILITARIAN (POP/ROCK): You probably already know if you want this one. There are no great stylistic changes for the band here, but vocalist Barney Greenway does stretch his vocals just a hair. Don’t worry, fans, there’s no crooning. He’s still gargling daily with razor blades and Drano. — Fred Phillips

NITROGODS – NITROGODS (POP/ROCK): This Motorhead-influenced debut album is a great collection of raw, sloppy, steaming rock ‘n’ roll. — Fred Phillips

Olivia Newton-JohnGaia: One Woman’s Journey (Pop/Rock)
Oscar Hammerstein IIOut of My Dreams (Stage and Screen)
Paolo RecchiaAri’s Desire (Jazz)

PINK FLOYD – THE WALL [Immersion/Experience Editions] (POP/ROCK): So, OK, Pink Floyd has climbed over The Wall again, this time with a sprawling new reissue. Their 1979 rock opera multimedia extravaganza (bolstered here by the remastered original album, in-concert renditions from 1980-81 and a slew of demos that chart the project’s development from its earliest inspirational moments) is the last title in the Why Pink Floyd? series, which has also included similarly massive repackagings of 1973′s Dark Side of the Moon and 1975′s Wish You Were Here. So why aren’t we more excited? Well, all apologies to Roger Waters, but there was simply too much talking, and not enough — you know — music. Listening again, it hits me: This project eventually killed Pink Floyd — and I never forgave Waters, or The Wall for that. (More here.)Nick DeRiso

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Plants and AnimalsThe End of That (Pop/Rock)
Robert GlasperBlack Radio (R&B)
Robin TrowerChrysalis Years: Further On Up The Road, 1977-1983 (Pop/Rock)
Rose RoyceStronger Than Ever (R&B)
Sister Sparrow and the Dirty BirdsPound of Dirt (Pop/Rock)
Sophie B. HawkinsThe Crossing (Pop/Rock)

STEPHAN FORTE – THE SHADOWS COMPENDIUM (POP/ROCK): I’m not usually big on instrumental neoclassical shredding or guys that have too many strings on their guitars, but I’ll make an exception for this one. Beautiful, powerful and all-around awesome. — Fred Phillips

SUSAN TEDESCHI – LIVE FROM AUSTIN TX (BLUES): With her strong blues foundation and pliable, slightly raspy croon, Tedeschi is always going to be compared to Bonnie Raitt. However, she’s yet to achieve that crossover blockbuster success of a Nick Of Time. That isn’t for a lack of quality material, though, as Tedeschi continues to stay true to providing an optimal blend of blues, R&B, gospel and rock. Check the liner notes: She covers everything from Sly Stone’s “You Can Make It if You Try” to Bob Dylan’s “Don’t Think Twice, It’s All Right” to Koko Taylor’s “Voodoo Woman” to Stevie Wonder’s “Love’s in Need of Love Today” to John Prine’s “Angel from Montgomery.” (More here.)S. Victor Aaron

Suzanne CianiLixiviation (Dance)

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TALKING COWS – ALMOST HUMAN (JAZZ): This Dutch quartet never takes itself too seriously but the no-nonsense modern jazz they make is no joke. Admirers of The Netherlands’ great jazz icon Misha Menglelberg, Talking Cows uses strong melodies that often masks the intricacies happening underneath, and an energetic, pliable rhythm section. Many styles are tackled as they go from the multi-tempoed swing of “Hurdles In Three” and “Dinner Is Served,” to the unpredictable avant garde excursions of “Most Def!” and “Hang Glider,” the straight-at-ya bebop of “Mooing Around” and the snappy, pop-ready melody of “Two Guys And A Beer.” But it’s never jazz that’s too convoluted or soft; the Talking Cows have it modulated just right. (More here.)S. Victor Aaron

Too ShortNo Trespassing (Rap)
UFOSeven Deadly (Pop/Rock)
Various artistsGreen Grass Blue Grass [Ricky Skaggs, Brock Mcguire Band, Aubrey Haynie, Bryan Sutton, Jeff Taylor] (Bluegrass)
Various artistsPutumayo Presents Instrumental Dreamland [Damien Erwin (USA), Michael Allen Harrison (USA), Balla Tounkara (Mali), Kohala & Jake Shimabukuro, Seamus Egan (Ireland)] (Children’s)
Various artistsListen Whitey! Sounds of Black Power 1967-74 [John Lennon and Yoko Ono, Roy Harper, Bob Dylan] (R&B)

WAYLON JENNINGS/WILLIE NELSON – LIVE AT THE US FESTIVAL 1983 (COUNTRY): Waylon Jennings and Willie Nelson took the stage of the 1983 US Festival as confirmed crossover country stars — but without all of the sell-out slickness that’s attached to the term these days. No, Jennings and Nelson were unreconstructed rebels, each in their own fashion. June 4, 1983 had been dubbed “Country Day” at the event, organized by Apple co-founder Steve Wozniak and held in the Glen Helen Regional Park in San Bernadino, Calif. Jennings and Nelson were the highlight of a group that also include Alabama, Hank Williams Jr. and Emmylou Harris. Each performed a slew of his own hits but — perhaps it’s no surprise — the highlights come when they shared the stage. (More here.)Nick DeRiso

Willie NelsonLive From Austin Tx (Country)

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The Something Else! webzine, an accredited Google News affiliate, has been featured in The New York Times and NPR.com's A Blog Supreme, while our writers have also been published by USA Today, Jazz.com and UltimateClassicRock.com, among others. Contact Something Else! at reviews@somethingelsereviews.com.