New Music Monday: Beach Boys, Joe Walsh, Heart, Neil Young, Spectrum Road

OK, so the Beach Boys have a new album out, and we love it. Love. It. But that’s just the tip of the proverbial New Music Monday, as we’re also thrilling to fresh stuff from Joe Walsh, Neil Young and Crazy Horse and Spectrum Road. Key reissues and live dates include a sweeping new multi-label anthology devoted to Heart, along with shined-up older items from Charlie Daniels and Union. Also issuing new albums this week is Candlemass, Circus Maximus, Fear Factory, Jorn, Lil’ Ed and the Blues Imperials, Manuel Valera, Marley’s Ghost, and (as they say) many, many more …


Alan JacksonThirty Miles West (Country)
Alejandro EscovedoBig Station (Pop/Rock)

BEACH BOYS – THAT’S WHY GOD MADE THE RADIO (POP/ROCK): Who would have guessed, after decades of awful public squabbling, that the battling Beach Boys would return at all — must less in perfect harmony? The first new album in forever to feature founders Al Jardine, Mike Love and Brian Wilson, along with legacy members David Marks and Bruce Johnston, is highlighted by stirring finale suite of songs, very much in the style and substance of Pet Sounds and SMiLE. If some — or, maybe all – of it feels steeps on sun-drenched nostalgia, well, that’s also part of the magic of their return. After all, Wilson was waxing poetic about things like transistor radios, beach bunnies and hot rods back when they were all shiny and brand new. (More here.) — Nick DeRiso

CANDLEMASS – PSALMS FOR THE DEAD (POP/ROCK): Word from the band is that this will be the final album for the doom metal masters. That would be a shame since they’ve really hit their stride again since the addition of Solitude Aeturnus vocalist Robert Lowe. — Fred Phillips

CIRCUS MAXIMUS – NINE (POP/ROCK): The Norwegian prog-metallers’ 2005 debut The 1st Chapter was one of my favorite albums of that year. I was a little less impressed with the follow-up Isolate, but I’m still looking forward to this one. — Fred Phillips

CHARLIE DANIELS – LIVE AT ROCKPALAST (COUNTRY): I only hope this Charlie Daniels performance is as good as the recently-released ZZ Top performance from Rockpalast. — Fred Phillips

Chris Robinson BrotherhoodBig Moon Ritual (Pop/Rock)
Dexy’s Midnight RunnersOne Day I’m Going to Soar (Pop/Rock)
Eric BenetThe One (R&B)

FEAR FACTORY – THE INDUSTRIALIST (POP/ROCK): Fear Factory’s 2010 release Mechanize was quite the comeback, bringing the band full circle back to the blend of pummeling industrial metal and melodic passages that made their first two records so good. The Industrialist continues that trend. — Fred Phillips

Grateful DeadDick’s Picks Vol. 29: Atlanta, GA, 5/19/77; Lakeland, FL, 5/21/77 (Pop/Rock)
Guns N’ RosesUse Your Illusion I/II [Vinyl] (Pop/Rock)

HEART – STRANGE EUPHORIA [BOX SET] (ROCK): The first definitive career-spanning, multi-label boxed set retrospective chronicling the work of Heart, this anthology from Epic Records and Legacy Recordings was personally curated by Ann Wilson and Nancy Wilson, and includes their biggest hits and best-loved songs featured alongside deep catalog treasures, rarities, demos and live performances. Order this set of three compact discs and one DVD through Amazon, and you’ll also get five of their famous Led Zeppelin covers on an extra disc: “Going to California,” “Battle of Evermore,” “What is and What Should Never Be,” “Immigrant Song” and “Misty Mountain Hop” on the “Heart Zeppish” CD. (Look for our full review on Tuesday.) — Nick DeRiso

JOE WALSH – ANALOG MAN (POP/ROCK): Cleaned up and focused, Walsh deftly recalls his hell-raising days of youth, too — tearing into a series of nasty-ass riffs on tracks like “India” and “Funk No. 50,” the last a scalding update of a key moment from his pre-Eagles stint with the James Gang. You’re reminded, all of a sudden, that Joe didn’t just play guitar with a chainsaw menace; he actually carried a chainsaw around. But there more to Joe Walsh, and more to this album, than that. Full of raw emotion, frank admissions, fun pop asides and memorable guitar gumption, Analog Man illustrates all over again just how complicated this guy always was. (More here.) — Nick DeRiso

Johnny WinterLive Bootleg Series Volume 8 [Limited Edition] (Blues)

JORN – BRING HEAVY ROCK TO THE LAND (POP/ROCK): Jorn Lande is, simply put, one of the greatest voices in hard rock and metal today. He rarely disappoints. — Fred Phillips

Juice NewtonCome to Me/Well Kept Secret/Take Heart (Country)

Lenny KravitzMama Said [21st Anniversary Edition] (Pop/Rock)

LIL’ ED AND THE BLUES IMPERIALS – JUMP START (BLUES): A tour de force, as raucously felt and blisteringly articulated as anything Lil’ Ed and the Blues Imperials have ever done — and that, friends, is saying something. These guys, since they finally nailed down their sound with this lineup more than two decades ago, have always made raw-boned, incendiary records that blend the deep emotions of old with the fiery intensity of the new. This one, though, might be their best yet. (More here.) — Nick DeRiso

MANUEL VALERA – NEW CUBAN EXPRESS (JAZZ): A gifted piano player who is able to reconcile the rhythmically based Afro-Cuban jazz of his homeland with the harmonically complex modern jazz of New York. The experienced composer and bandleader, with five albums under his belt since 2004, Valera and his New Cuban Express band offer the best of both worlds, whether we’re talking about Cuba and New York, or mainstream jazz and fusion. (More here.) — S. Victor Aaron

MARLEY’S GHOST – JUBILEE (FOLK): If you haven’t stumbled across this wildly eclectic amalgam featuring multi-instrumentalists Jerry Fletcher, Ed Littlefield Jr. and Mike Phelan, Dan Wheetman and Jon Wilcox, a new guest-filled opportunity arrives with Jubilee. Produced by Nashville legend Cowboy Jack Clement and recorded at the Sound Emporium space that he constructed, the album includes visits from Larry Campbell, Emmylou Harris, John Prince, Old Crow Medicine Show, Marty Stuart and others. Clements had the idea of bringing in that slate of stars, and several of his suggestions have album-making results — beginning with Harris’ emotional turn on Prine’s shattering “Unwed Fathers.” (More here.) — Nick DeRiso

Melody GardotThe Absence (Jazz)

NEIL YOUNG AND CRAZY HORSE – AMERICANA (POP/ROCK): As we dig deeper into Crazy Horse’s first collaboration with Young since 2003′s Greendale, and the first to include the expanded lineup of Billy Talbot, Ralph Molina and Frank “Poncho” Sampedro since 1996′s Broken Arrow, a theme of familiarity certainly emerges. From “Oh Susannah” and “Clementine,” to “Tom Dooley,” “She’ll Be Coming ‘Round the Mountain” and “This Land is Your Land,” Americana is populated with music we’ve known since we were children. Young cops to that: “They’re songs we all know from kindergarten,” Young said during this year’s Slamdance Film Festival, “but Crazy Horse has rearranged them, and they now belong to us.” (More here.) — S. Victor Aaron

Patti SmithBanga (Pop/Rock)
Paul SimonGraceland [Deluxe Edition Box] (Pop/Rock)

Rodney CrowellKin: Songs of Mary Karr & Rodney Crowell (Country)

SPECTRUM ROADSPECTRUM ROAD (JAZZ): Fusion jazz is a music form where there’s been very little out there truly fresh and new for a long while. Sometimes you’ve got to go all the way back before you can more forward again. Spectrum Road reintroduces the limitless possibilities that were abundant at the beginning, when Williams and his fearless Lifetime band were racing across the frontier and leaving most everyone behind. Here is a supergroup that actually lives up to the billing, making their debut album the rock-jazz event of the year. And Tony Williams’ legacy gets a long overdue upgrade. (More here.) — S. Victor Aaron

Stacey KentDreamer in Concert (Vocals)
The HivesLex Hives (Pop/Rock)

UNION – UNION; BLUE ROOM (POP/ROCK): An often-overlooked project formed by Motley Crue vocalist John Corabi and Kiss guitarist Bruce Kulick after they were booted from those bands in favor of reunions with original members, Union released two records in the late 1990s. I don’t remember much about Blue Room, to be honest, but I do remember enjoying the self-titled album. I thought both guys brought something to their former bands, and their talents meshed well on that one. — Fred Phillips

Various artistsMake It Your Sound, Make It Your Scene: Vanguard Records and the 1960s Musical Revolution (Pop/Rock/Blues/R&B)

VARIOUS ARTISTS – ROCK OF AGES SOUNDTRACK (POP/ROCK): Some of the greatest hits of my youth performed by the likes of Tom Cruise and Alec Baldwin? Umm … no, thanks. I believe I’ll stick with the originals. — Fred Phillips

Various artistsSouthern Soul and Party Blues 5 (Blues)
White WidowA Psychological Thriller (Rock)

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