New Music Monday: Bill Frisell, Andrew Bird, Bob Margolin, Bowerbirds and … BRUUUUCE!

Amongst the things we’re stoked about this New Music Monday are Bruce Springsteen’s long-awaited Wrecking Ball, of course, but also Andrew Bird and Bill Frisell’s Floratone project, as well as key reissues from Fleetwood Mac (before everybody went their own way), Mark Lindsay and Rick Nelson. Also just-in this week: Bob Margolin, Bowerbirds, Lance Lopez, Nick Moran, Rocco DeLuca, Pharoah and Wes Montgomery, among others.


ANDREW BIRD – BREAK IT YOURSELF (POP/ROCK): “Eyeoneye,” the lead single, points to what could be a breakthrough album from Andrew Bird. It’s been fascinating to hear Bird — surely our most talented whistling bookworm string-a-ding singer-songwriter — slowly shed so much of the over-thunk trickery that went with his initial recordings, from the fussy song structures to the graduate-workshop turns of phrase. The results, slowly but surely, have revealed a maturing artist ready to speak to his audience in an honest way. (More here.)Nick DeRiso

Anthony Gomesup2zero (Blues)

BILL FRISELL, MATT CHAMBERLAIN, ETC. – FLORATONE II (JAZZ): Floratone to Bill Frisell is a lot like what The Fireman is to Paul McCartney: a way to break outside of usual comfort areas by having someone else shape the sound and bringing in a musical partner to bounce ideas off of. As Frisell seems to increasingly favor mid-20th century Americana motifs of late (and you can still find them on Floratone II, see “Stand By This”), this project puts his music sonically back in the present even as the music is instantly recognizable as a Bill Frisell type record. (More here.)S. Victor Aaron

BOB MARGOLIN AND MIKE SPONZA – BLUES AROUND THE WORLD (BLUES): Boston-native Bob Margolin has spent his life around blues music’s most recognizable figures, famously working as a member of the late Muddy Waters’ band from 1973-80. He’s also played with Pinetop Perkins, Jerry Portnoy, Carey Bell and Willie “Big Eyes” Smith, appeared with Waters during the Band’s legendary “Last Waltz” concert film on Thanksgiving Day 1976, and performed at the White House in 1978. Now a respected band leader in his own right, Margolin is joined here by a longtime fan from Italy who asked the guitarist to sit in during a European tour. After doing 10 shows together, their chemistry was so obvious that the pair decided to record a full-length album. (More here.)Nick DeRiso

BOWERBIRDS – THE CLEARING (POP/ROCK): Having weathered all kinds of bad luck and bad times – including, but limited to, breaking up, serious illness and having their dog hit by a car – Beth Tacular and Phil Moore reconvened for another go at Bowerbirds. The results mirror the sweeping emotions of such things, sounding at times devastatingly sad, but (and this is the important thing) more often audaciously hopeful. As the North Carolina-based Bowerbirds settled in for sessions at a cobbled-together homemade cabin in the woods, The Clearing sounds as if it all but wrote itself – so easy-going is this combining of arty pop sensibility with harder-edged folk. (More here.)Nick DeRiso

BRUCE SPRINGSTEEN – WRECKING BALL (POP/ROCK): Springsteen’s much-anticipated new studio album is — much as all the advance hype has suggested — a somewhat radical left turn for the artist, both musically and quite literally in the case of the lyrics. But it is also nowhere near the huge departure some of those early dispatches from the recording studio may have led some to believe. Instead, Springsteen has simply expanded upon, and added new dimensions to the folk, blues, country and especially gospel influences that were always there anyway. (More here.)Glen Boyd

CeremonyZoo (Pop/Rock)
Dance Hall PimpsBeast for Love (Pop/Rock)
Dean MartinIcon (Vocals)
Diana RossIcon (R&B)
Every Time I DieEx Lives (Pop/Rock)

FLEETWOOD MAC – GO YOUR OWN WAY: LIVE 1977 (POP/ROCK): A rare UK import now seeing wide release that features live recordings and archival material from Fleetwood Mac’s commercial apex. Of the 13 live tracks here, seven are from the multi-platinum 1977 release Rumours. Sprinkled in between are a number of other highlights from the early Buckingham-Nicks era — including “Monday Morning,” “Rhiannon,” “World Turning,” “Over My Head” and “Landslide” from 1975’s Fleetwood Mac — as well as an older cut from the Peter Green days, “Oh Well.” But it’s the material from Rumours that thrums with the rawest emotion — including “Go Your Own Way,” “Songbird,” “You Make Loving Fun,” “Never Going Back Again,” “Gold Dust Woman,” “The Chain” and “Oh Daddy,” … but curiously not “Dreams.” (More here.)Nick DeRiso

Gary AllanIcon (Country)
Human NatureThe Motown Record (R&B)
Idina MenzelLive Barefoot at the Symphony (Vocals)
Jane ScheckterEasy to Remember (Jazz)
Jeremy HornSound of the Broken (Religious)
JB and the Moonshine BandBeer for Breakfast (Pop/Rock)

Jodie MarieMountain Echo (Pop/Rock)
Julie Lee and the Baby-DaddiesJulie Lee and the Baby-Daddies (Pop/Rock)
Kaiser ChiefsStart the Revolution Without Me (Pop/Rock)

LANCE LOPEZ – HANDMADE MUSIC (BLUES): A lot of folks have tried to cop the licks of Stevie Ray Vaughan, and few have succeeded. Texas bluesman Lance Lopez, though, is one of the exceptions. A veteran of the bands of Johnnie Taylor and Lucky Peterson and a former member of the Buddy Miles Express, Lopez filters his SRV worship through a healthy dose of chunky Billy Gibbons fuzz, some Bob Seger pop-rock and just a taste here and there of Southern rock and classic soul on his latest release. I don’t like everything here, but when he’s hot, he’s red hot. — Fred Phillips

Lissy TrullieLissy Trullie (Pop/Rock)
MadonnaGive Me All Your Luvin’ (Pop/Rock)
Magnetic FieldsLove at the Bottom of the Sea (Pop/Rock)

MARK LINDSAY – THE COMPLETE COLUMBIA SINGLES (POP/ROCK): Lindsay, coming off a career-making period as frontman for Paul Revere and the Raiders, proceeded to reel off a string of solo hits for Columbia in the early 1970s — only they had little, if anything, in common with the initial fancy-pantsed garage-rock outbursts of his old band. By the time Lindsay bolted, he’d already started moving toward more sophisticated mainstream pop and country rock stylings — best heard on 1971′s “Indian Reservation,” the Raiders’ only charttopper. This collection from Real Gone Music, due on March 6, traces each of his solo singles in chronological order; also included is a previously unissued rendition of Tim Hardin’s “Reason to Believe,” originally set for the B-side of Lindsay’s debut 45, along with rare photos and new interviews with Lindsay, Jerry Fuller, Artie Butler and Tom Bahler. (More here.)Nick DeRiso

Michael JacksonIcon (Pop/Rock)
Mike WexlerDispossession (Pop/Rock)
Neal McCoyXII (Country)

NICK MORAN – NO TIME LIKE NOW (JAZZ): What struck me first about the Nick Moran Trio’s second album were the instantly likable melodies and the righteous grooves. But listening to it closer reveals other reasons to like this record: the subtle tempo shifts (“Wishful Thinking”), a soul-jazz take on the blues that retains the soul of the original (Cream’s “Strange Brew”) and picaresque balladry (“My Beautiful”). (More here.)S. Victor Aaron

Paul BrownThe Funky Joint (Jazz)

PHAROAH – BURY THE LIGHT (POP/ROCK): There are few more consistent bands in the traditional/power metal realm than Pharaoh. They’ve yet to disappoint, and don’t do it here. There are no real shakeups in the sound, just the guitar heroics of Matt Johnsen paired with the powerful vocals of Tim Aymar and the steady foundation of drummer Chris Black. The Philly boys continue their straightforward, no frills brand of throwback metal. — Fred Phillips

Poet Jazz MistressGlobal Warming (Jazz)

RICK NELSON – THE COMPLETE EPIC RECORDINGS (POP/ROCK): It’s tempting to think that Nelson’s 1972 flip-off single “Garden Party” — written after the former teen popstar was booed off the stage at Madison Square Garden, he says, for daring to play some of his newer stuff — was the end of the road. But Nelson, in fact, was quite productive into the late 1970s, though little of the music saw the light of day before he was lost in a mid-1980s plane crash. Of the three album’s worth of material that he completed for Epic, only 1977′s Intakes was released before Nelson’s death. It’s a shame. There are, inside these long-lost sessions, some of his most vital work. This Real Gone Music compilation, due on March 6, collects all three albums in one setting; 11 of the 41 songs here have never been released stateside. Nelson expert James Ritz handled production duties on The Complete Epic Recordings, and also provides new annotation. (More here.)Nick DeRiso

ROCCO DELUCA – DRUGS ‘N HYMNS (POP/ROCK): To be so organic, so uninhibited and free — during the song “Amen,” Rocco DeLuca actually turns from the microphone, filling the room around him with a howling lament — Drugs ‘n Hymns is often grounded by the familiar. That gives this record both its magic, and its heft. As distinctive as Drugs ‘n Hymns can sometimes be, with its echoing Dobro amidst spacious settings, DeLuca is clearly aware of the long path that brought him to this place. You hear bits and pieces of his musical influences — from Lindsey Buckingham to Daniel Lanois to Jeff Buckley to Freddie Mercury — and these strands serve as buttresses when DeLuca starts playing fast and loose with song structures. (More here.)Nick DeRiso

Sarah ElgetiInto the Open (Jazz)
Steeleye SpanNow We Are Six Again (Country)
The Owsley BrothersCobalt (Pop/Rock)
Tony BennettDuets II: The Great Performances DVD (Vocals)
Todd SniderAgnostic Hymns and Stoner Fables (Pop/Rock)
Tracy ByrdIcon (Country)
Various artistsTime to Go: Southern Psychedelic Moment: 1981-86 [The Gordons, The Builders, The Pin Group, Playthings and Victor Dimisich Band, Chris Knox] (Pop/Rock)

WES MONTGOMERY – ECHOES OF INDIANA AVENUE (JAZZ): The first previously unheard music from Montgomery in 25 years, this album includes some of the earliest known recordings of the late guitarist as a leader — predating his memorable debut on Riverside in 1959. Montgomery is showcased in performance from 1957-59 at nightclubs in his hometown of Indianapolis, as well as in seminal studio recordings. Forget his later turn toward pop stylings, though. This is incendiary bebop, playing straight and fast and with a remarkable amount of intellect and emotion — reaffirming, once and for all, why Montgomery had such a profound impact on jazz guitarists from George Benson and Joe Pass to John Scofield and Pat Metheny to Kevin Eubanks and Kurt Rosenwinkel. In a cool coincidence, Echoes arrives March 6, on what would have been Montgomery’s 88th birthday. A must-have for any serious fan.Nick DeRiso

XandriaNeverworld’s End (Pop/Rock)


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