New Music Monday: Bonnie Raitt, Curtis Salgado, Kenny Garrett and OHMphrey

Rock, blues, crazy solo Kiss weirdness, even heavier stuff, some smoking jazz, it’s all there for you this week — topped by new music offerings from Bonnie Raitt, Curtis Salgado, Darius Jones, Jeff Loomis, Kenny Garrett and OHMphrey. As for notable reissues and smoking live dates, dig into Ace Frehley (get into the New York groove!), Alice Cooper, John Oates, Opeth and Todd Rundgren’s Utopia. Also hitting store shelves and download sites in the coming days are Accept, Clara Ponty, Mpire of Evil, Steve Barton and Woods of Ypres, amongst others.


ACCEPT – STALINGRAD (POP/ROCK): Been waiting on this one. Unable to come to terms with singer Udo Dirkschneider, German metal icons Accept tapped New Jersey singer Mark Tornillo for their 2010 comeback record Blood of the Nations. That album turned out to be quite possibly my favorite from the band. The title track and lead single from the latest seems to be a little more of a throwback to their older sound than Blood of the Nations, but it’s catchy and promising. Here’s hoping there’s something with the power of “Teutonic Terror” in the 11 tracks. — Fred Phillips

ACE FREHLEY – ANOMALY (POP/ROCK): The Kiss guitarist’s fifth solo project, a double-album set, is being reissued as a numbered set on silver vinyl, with new gatefold packaging. Frehley was very active in the late 1980s but then didn’t issue another album until this one in 2009. Anomaly, which debuted at No. 27 on the Billboard 200, was dedicated to Kiss drummer Eric Carr, Pantera guitarist Dimebag Darrell, and Les Paul — who had just passed. There will only be 1,000 of these special reissues printed. (More here.)Nick DeRiso

Alabama ShakesBoys & Girls (Pop/Rock)

ALICE COOPER – NO MORE MR. NICE GUY LIVE (POP/ROCK): Originally released as a raw download by Concert Live, Cooper’s two-disc set from his annual Halloween show in 2011 gets an updated mix and CD release. It includes songs from all eras of his career, including last year’s Welcome 2 My Nightmare. — Fred Phillips

B.B. KingKing of the Blues (Blues)
Bria SkonbergSo Is the Day (Jazz)
Bob BaldwinBetcha By Golly Wow: The Songs Of Thom Bell (Jazz)

BONNIE RAITT – SLIPSTREAM (POP/ROCK): In her first project since 2005, Raitt returns with a layered release that began with early sessions recorded alongside country blues/Americana producer Joe Henry (Allen Toussaint, Solomon Burke). Those four tracks — including two songs from Bob Dylan — were then joined with additional music that Raitt self produced to form a deeper complexity. These earthier musings serve to balance the earlier, darkly mysterious asides, giving Slipstream this textured, human scale — even as it underscores what makes Raitt so very special. (More here.)Nick DeRiso

Brooklyn RiderSeven Steps (Pop/Rock)
Carol WelsmanJourney (Vocals)

CLARA PONTY – INTO THE LIGHT (VOCALS): The new age pianist, Jean-Luc’s daughter, focuses on pop singing here, to the point that even the two instrumentals (including a wonderful one on which her father appears, called “Cœur À Cœur”) shows little desire to improvise. That leaves the success of the album hinging on the songs themselves, all co-written by Ponty with someone else brought in to write the lyrics. Luckily, there are some good songs, all in the vein of adult contemporary/soft rock. A few will even appeal to admirers of the all-time soft rock champions, The Carpenters. (More here.)S. Victor Aaron

Counting CrowsUnderwater Sunshine (Pop/Rock)

CURTIS SALGADO – SOUL SHOT (BLUES): Bluesman Curtis Salgado, over a career that’s included stops with Robert Cray, Roomful of Blues and Santana, has always had an abiding love for R&B, hard soul and nasty funk. Soul Shot brings all of that together, in what turns out to be his best solo effort yet. Look no further than the opener, an ass-shaking Bobby Womack composition called “What You Gonna Do?” You’ll find Salgado howling with all of the emotional abandon and sexual tension of great shouters like Otis Redding, O.V. Wright and Wilson Pickett. (More here.)Nick DeRiso

Danny CombsChasing Guitar (Folk)

DARIUS JONES QUARTET – THE BOOK OF MAE’BUL (JAZZ): Subtitled “Another Kind of Sunrise,” this is the third in a series of what the saxophonist calls the “sonic tone poem” in his life. By making nothing but themed based albums thus far, Jones has done what many relative newcomers to the scene dare to do in the world of “out” jazz, and that’s fully define himself as an original player, composer and bandleader right from the get-go. The Book Of Mæ’bul continues his impressive start of a young career that’s quickly catching a lot of the right kind of notice. And for the right reasons. (More here.)S. Victor Aaron

Dirge WithinThere Will Be Blood (Pop/Rock)
Elliott YaminLet’s Get to What’s Real (R&B)
Eight and a HalfEight and a Half (Pop/Rock)
FastwayEat Dog Eat (Pop/Rock)
Florence and the MachineMTV Unplugged (Pop/Rock)
Grand Duchy, featuring Frank BlackLet The People Speak (Pop/Rock)
HalestormThe Strange Case Of … (Pop/Rock)
Hendrik Meurkens/Gabriel EspinosaCelebrando (Jazz)

JEFF LOOMIS – PLAINS OF OBLIVION (POP/ROCK): The guitarist unleashes his first post-Nevermore album. He parted ways with the prog metal outfit in late 2011 after nearly 20 years with them. The record features a roster of well-known metal guest musicians including vocalists Ihsahn (Emperor) and Christine Rhoades, guitarists Marty Friedman (Megadeth), Tony MacAlpine and Attila Voros (Nevermore) and drummer Dirk Verbeuren (Soilwork). — Fred Phillips

Joe JacksonLive At Rockpalast (Pop/Rock)

Joe Locke/Geoffrey KeezerSigning (Jazz)
John Doe and Exene CervenkaSinging and Playing (Pop/Rock)

JOHN OATES – THE BLUESVILLE SESSIONS (BLUES): Though he is best known as one-half of the slickster R&B-pop duo Hall and Oates, John says he always had an ingrained passion for roots music and the blues. That played out in their pre-1980s recordings — and again here, with cool covers (“All Shook Up,” “Sitting on Top of the World”), solo songs (“Mississippi Mile”) and a stripped-down, sizzling remake of “Maneater” recorded for the Sirius XM channel “Bluesville.” Many of these tunes were originally cut by Oates last year for a similarly focused solo project also called Mississippi Mile, which he told us was “really an autobiography of the musical influences and artists and songs, the guitar players and singers who made me want to be a musician way before I met Daryl.” Miles away from sleek, synthy sides like the charttopping H&O number “Out of Touch,” Oates now offers a tangy blend of sounds — like Abandoned Luncheonette played by a chicken-wire bar band. (More here.)Nick DeRiso

Johnny DuncanThinkin of a Rendezvous: Columbia Country Hits (Country)
Keb MoX2: Keb Mo/Keep It Simple (Blues)

KENNY GARRETT – SEEDS FROM THE UNDERGROUND (JAZZ): Two cuts stand out the most: the harmony on “Wiggins” is intricately woven into the urgent, odd metered rhythm, and Garrett’s ode to his hometown “Detroit” is one of his best ballads, doleful in a way similar to Mingus’ “Goodbye Pork Pie Hat” and accentuated by Nedelka Prescod harmonizing with the main melodic line. The only blemish on that song is the faux vinyl record scratches, a trick that 25 years into the CD age has become a gimmick. Kenny Garrett needs no gimmick. As this album makes clear, he might make us wait a little longer for fresh material, but he made it well worth the wait. (More here.)S. Victor Aaron

Kenny WernerMe, Myself and I (Jazz)

MPIRE OF EVIL – HELL TO THE HOLY (POP/ROCK): Three former members of pioneering extreme metal band Venom – bassist and singer Tony Dolan, guitarist Mantis and drummer Antton – put together this project that mixes old-school thrash and traditional metal. The strange name is a play on the Venom album Prime Evil, which was of course already taken as a band name, and while the songs are, at times, a little cheesy, it’s fun in a retro sort of way. — Fred Phillips

M. WardA Wasteland Companion (Pop/Rock)
Mickey Hart BandMysterium Tremendum (Pop/Rock)
MonicaNew Life (R&B)
Nanci GriffithIntersection (Country)
Neal Casal, of the CardinalsSweeten the Distance (Pop/Rock)

OHMPHREY – POSTHASTE (POP/ROCK): Three years ago, members of both the Midwestern jam band Umphrey’s McGee and the California based metal-fusion band OHM formed a union inspired by some club jams that merited making a record full of original material conjured up by the band. This could have been a one time only event, given that the participants are busy with other bands, but we now know, with great gladness, that they weren’t one-and-done. The follow up is more of the same goodness you heard from their first album — and the lineup remains intact, with Chris Poland (guitar) and Robertino “Pag” Pagliari (bass) coming from OHM and Jake Cinninger (guitar), Joel Cummins(keys) and Kris Meyers (drums) on loan from Umphrey’s McGee. (More here.)S. Victor Aaron

OPETH – BLACKWATER PARK, DAMNATION, DELIVERANCE [REISSUES]; LAMENTATIONS [SPECIAL EDITION DVD] (POP/ROCK): The End Records will re-release a trio of classic Opeth records, including what I consider their finest moment, 2001’s Blackwater Park. The record showcases Opeth at the height of its power, blending intricate and melodic progressive parts with skull-crushing extreme metal brutality. Deliverance and Damnation are also an interesting pair of companion albums. Deliverance focuses on the heavier end of the band’s repertoire, while Damnation is a much lighter affair, steeped in 1970s rock and featuring lots of clean guitars and, primarily clean vocals. Next, Lamentations documents a show in London where the band plays a heavy dose of the lighter fare from Damnation, throwing in some songs from Deliverance and Blackwater Park. I’m guessing that since it’s a “special edition” the DVD will feature some extra stuff that wasn’t on the original. — Fred Phillips

Steep Canyon RangersNobody Knows You (Country)

STEVE BARTON – PROJECTOR (POP/ROCK): Barton, who rose to college-radio fame with the Beatles-y new wave band Translator, scuffs up what has become a reliably sunny solo power pop sound here. The project started, at least thematically, with the death of Barton’s father Dan in 2009. Barton ended up at the home of Marvin Etzioni (formerly of Lone Justice), sorting through some tracks relating to that awful experience. By the time that night was over, he had played 18 songs, releasing a torrent of emotion. Etzioni suggested a solo album, and the pair set about recording and mixing the music that would become Projector, all in the span of about five days — and put it down straight to two-inch reel-to-reel tape, providing a gritty analog starkness. (More here.)Nick DeRiso

TaprootEpisodes (Pop/Rock)

TODD RUNDGREN’S UTOPIA – LIVE AT HAMMERSMITH ODEON ’75 (POP/ROCK): The line up was still in flux, and there would be at least one more major move (as Kasim Sulton replaced John Siegler), but this October 9, 1975 concert finds Utopia beginning finally to establish its own sound apart from its early long-form Yes-style pretensions — and its own presence apart from Rundgren’s already wildly celebrated solo career. Utopia had a sleeker, fresher, song-focused sound by the time it reach the London for this, its first-ever UK show. Of course, Rundgren’s most rabid fans (ahem!) have had a tattered copy of this concert recording — the old vinyl was confusingly titled Nimbus Thitherward — for years. Now, we finally get a cleaned up, sonically stunning version of the old tapes recorded by the BBC for its old Rock Hour radio program. (More here.) — Nick DeRiso

Various artistsSoul Cal: Funky Disco & Modern Soul: 1971-82 [Luther Davis, Rhythm Machine, Mixed Sugar and Record Player] (R&B)

WOODS OF YPRES – WOODS 5: GREY SKIES AND ELECTRIC LIGHT (POP/ROCK): I discovered Woods of Ypres with their last album, Woods 4: The Green Album, which was, quite simply, one of the most harrowing, depressing records that I’ve ever heard in my life. I don’t listen to it much anymore, but at the time, it fit the soundtrack of my life. Founder David Gold – who sang and played guitar, bass and drums over the years of the band’s existence – died in December in a car accident. This will be the band’s last album. — Fred Phillips

World PartyArkeology [Box Set] (Pop/Rock)

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