New Music Monday: Kelly Joe Phelps, Kiss, Los Lobos, Ry Cooder, Scrapomatic

This week’s roundup of New Music Monday items is topped by Kelly Joe Phelps, Lynyrd Skynyrd, Ry Cooder and Scrapomatic. There are interesting reissues and live dates to discuss, too — including Armored Saint, Dweezil Zappa, James Ingram, Kiss, Los Lobos, Taj Mahal and Twisted Sister. Also stampeding out with new stuff this week: Natalie Cressman and Secret Garden, among many others.

SO, SADDLE UP! WE’VE GOT AN AUGUST 20, 2012 EDITION OF NEW MUSIC MONDAY TO CORRAL …

Anthony Brown and group therAPyAnthony Brown and group therAPy (R&B)
Ariel Pink’s Haunted GraffitiMature Themes (Pop/Rock)

ARMORED SAINT – ARMORED SAINT (POP/ROCK): Metal Blade records reissues on vinyl the EP that originally got Armored Saint signed with the five songs on one side and an etching on the other. It’s not their best work, but a nice piece of the band’s history, and it includes the rare song “Lesson Well Learned,” which originally appeared on the Metal Massacre, Vol. 2 compilation. — Fred Phillips

Bloc PartyFour [Deluxe Edition] (Pop/Rock)
Dena DeroseTravelin’ Light (Vocals)
DispatchCircles Around The Sun (Pop/Rock)

DWEEZIL ZAPPA – MY GUITAR WANTS TO KILL YOUR MAMA (POP/ROCK): YES! I’ve been trying to find this on CD for years to replace my old, worn-out cassette copy. Though decidedly of its time in the late 1980s, this remains my favorite of Dweezil’s albums. — Fred Phillips

JAMES INGRAM – IT’S YOUR NIGHT (R&B): Home to the bizarrely addictive, Grammy award-winning “Ya Mo B There,” his out-of-nowhere duet with Michael McDonald. Pull it apart, and there’s little to recommend here: From the migraine-inducing mechanized beats, to the typically over-emotive performance from the Doobie Brothers’ former frontman, to the largely nonsensical chorus. But, there it is, stuck in your head all over again: Hoop, deh, ooh bee! (More here.) — Nick DeRiso

Jeff KashiwaLet It Ride (Jazz)
Johnny BoydNever Been Blue (Jazz)
Jonathan FritzénMagical (Jazz)

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KELLY JOE PHELPS – BROTHER SINNER AND THE WHALE (BLUES): There’s a time for conversion and a time for preaching. In Kelly Joe Phelps’ case, it’s time for both. This isn’t necessarily a spiritual conversion we’re speaking of, but a switch from his signature lap steel to a bottleneck slide. There’s also a move from secular topics to that good ol’ time religion. “Talkin’ To Jehova,” the lead track, sets the spiritual tone for the record, with a spiritual Phelps conjured up himself. Though he might have changed his playing technique for this record, there’s nothing lost in the ease with he’s able to deliver those fingerpicked multi-layered harmonies. (More here.) — S. Victor Aaron

KISS – DESTROYER: RESURRECTED (POP/ROCK): I didn’t know it had died. At least, it hasn’t where I’m from. Still, I’ll be interested to hear what they’ve done with it. (More here.) — Fred Phillips

LowI Could Live In Hope; Long Division (Pop/Rock)

LOS LOBOS – KIKO: 20TH ANNIVERSARY EDITION; KIKO LIVE (POP/ROCK): Shout! Factory is celebrating the 20th anniversary of Kiko with a gala reissue, and new live version of the project recorded in 2006. It is still, by any measure, their most unusual, yet satisfying album — that moment when the power and mystery of Los Lobos music found its fullest flowering in the off-the-wall pop atmospheres created by Mitchell Froom. They’d put out tougher records, records that connected more directly with their Mexican-American heritage, even albums like 1990’s The Neighborhood that similarly attempted to expand their musical palate, but they never put out an album that did a better job of weaving all of those impulses together into a crossover format. (More here.) — Nick DeRiso

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LYNYRD SKYNYRD – LAST OF A DYIN’ BREED (POP/ROCK): I was pleasantly surprised with Skynyrd’s last outing, God and Guns, and the spooky grooving “Floyd” still gets a spin every now and then in my stereo. I’m less impressed with what I’ve heard of this one, though I admit I haven’t spent any quality time with it yet. — Fred Phillips

LunaBewitched (Pop/Rock)
Michael BurksShow of Strength (Pop/Rock)
Mungolian JetsetMungodelics (Pop/Rock)

NATALIE CRESSMAN AND SECRET GARDEN – UNFOLDING (JAZZ): Now, I’m one to hone in on the instrumental songs over the vocal ones when there’s a mixture of both, but the track that sticks out above all the other ones here is one where the trombone is at rest: Fats Waller’s “Honeysuckle Rose” reeled in my ears for its organically modern R&B presentation, with only an electric piano the only plugged in instrument. Secret Garden creates this very modern, lean soul take on Waller’s 80-year-old tune. Cressman’s vocals, airy and relaxed, make the connection to the song’s storied past. (More here.) — S. Victor Aaron

Project 86Wait for the Siren (Pop/Rock)
Owl CityThe Midsummer Station (Pop/Rock)
Riccardo Fassi and the New York Pocket OrchestraSitting in a Song (Jazz)

RY COODER – ELECTION SPECIAL (POP/ROCK): Who can forget the way Ry Cooder, typically a wry and tough-minded social critic, cuffed around unscrupulous bankers last year? Disappointingly, though, too often Cooder goes for low-road topics here — as with a tune titled “Mutt Romney.” Quite frankly, it’s beneath an artist of the stature of Ry Cooder. That said, “The Wall Street Part of Town” and “Guantanamo” rattle along with a righteous anger, perhaps because there is traction around these indictments from both sides of the aisle. And “Kool-Aid” boasts a core message we all should heed about blindly following any dogma. (More here.) — Nick DeRiso

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SCRAPOMATIC – I’M A STRANGER AND I LOVE THE NIGHT (BLUES): No Derek Trucks guest appearance this time, and that’s likely due to the recent addition of electric guitarist Dave Yoke. Yoke, an Atlanta-area sideman and former member of Tedeschi’s band, brings a diversity of playing styles to match the diversity of song styles of Mattison and Olsen, and acts as an aggressive counterpart of Olsen’s on guitar. Olsen, a smoother, gentler crooner, is himself a perfect counterweight to Mattison. Mattison, meanwhile, lends his soulful growl to a series of Texas-style blues, rowdy roots rockers, and soul ballads. Together as Scrapomatic, they are even more the complete roots rock band than before. (More here.) — S. Victor Aaron

TAJ MAHAL – HIDDEN TREASURES: 1969-73 (BLUES): A two-disc collection of previously unreleased material, arriving just in time for Taj Mahal’s 70th birthday. “Throughout my more than 40 years of recording, I have always been an outside-the-box composer/musician/performer and not always understood by the music industry, so it gives me a phenomenal amount of personal pleasure to have Columbia/Legacy reissue my whole catalog of music,” Taj says, in pre-release materials. This set debuts studio recordings from 1967-73 on its initial disc, while the second premieres a full-length live concert recorded on April 18, 1970 at the Royal Albert Hall in London.

The DarknessHot Cakes (Pop/Rock)
TortoiseIt’s All Around You [Vinyl] (Pop/Rock)

TWISTED SISTER – COME OUT AND PLAY (POP/ROCK): This album gets a bit of a bad rap. Yeah, there was the terrible version of “Leader of the Pack,” and they were in decline because it had come out that Dee Snider was a straight-laced family type instead of the cross-dressing rock ‘n’ roll madman he portrayed on stage. But there are some good songs here. I still love the title track and “Kill or be Killed.” — Fred Phillips

Various artistsHARP: A Time to Sing [Arlo Guthrie, Ronnie Gilbert, Holly Near, Pete Seeger] (Folk)
YeasayerFragrant World (Pop/Rock)

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