Oh, Aerosmith. We’ve waited. And waited. And for this?
Turns out Steven Tyler, Joe Perry and Co. have returned with music from the same old dimension — the slickster 1980s. We were hoping, with the return of classic-era producer Jack Douglas, for something a little rangier, something with a little more grime. You were, too? Dream on!
Our disappointment there, however, was quickly assuaged by a pair of terrific reissues from Creedence Clearwater Revival and Queen. First, the CCR Essential set did a good job of blending in some lesser-knowns amongst the old tried-and-true hits. Then, there was Queen — in all of its post-Live Aid glory before 80,000 screaming fans — for the amazing new concert film Hungarian Rhapsody.
Jazz more your thing? We’ve got not one, but two two releases from Jon Irabagon — and, check it out, they couldn’t be more different. There’s also a spiritual turn from Eric Person, an alum of the Chico Hamilton and Dave Holland Bands; new stuff from David Gilmore (no, not the Pink Floyd one; the jazz one); and a great new effort from Caroline Davis.
Pop and dance music? Duncan “Barely Breathing” Sheik is your guy.
Singer-songwriter vibe? Paul Kelly has his first new music out in five long years.
There’s lots and lots more, too. So, we best get moving …
AEROSMITH – MUSIC FROM ANOTHER DIMENSION! (POP/ROCK): I’m a huge fan, but the truth is Another Dimension kinda sucks. I was hoping for the revitalized Aerosmith. Jack Douglas, producer of the band’s best records, was back on board. They’d had 11 years to write it. I’d hoped the swagger would be back. At times there are flashes of it, but more often than not, it sounds like the same overproduced commercial claptrap they’ve been trotting out for a long, long time. (More here.) — Fred Phillips
All That Remains – A War You Cannot Win (Pop/Rock)
Animal Collective – Spirit They’ve Gone Spirit They’ve Vanished [Vinyl] (Pop/Rock)
Bob Wolfman – Transition (Jazz)
CAROLINE DAVIS QUARTET – LIVE WORK AND PLAY (JAZZ): It’s virtually impossible for any jazz saxophonist to escape the overpowering influence of John Coltrane, and Davis makes some nods to the spirituality and natural beauty of his transcendent, 60s style, but on “Kowtow” she puts her own touch to it with a more contemporary styled chorus. “Craftsmanship And Emptiness, For Rumi” also recalls ‘Trane, but more because of Cunningham’s Elvin Jones gait. The melody itself is emblematic of Davis’ ability to build one that’s esoteric and alluring at once. Allemana’s simple, uncluttered single lines are just right for the song, too. (More here.) — S. Victor Aaron
CREEDENCE CLEARWATER REVIVAL – ULTIMATE: GREATEST HITS AND ALL-TIME CLASSICS (POP/ROCK): This sprawling 52-song set features every one of their remarkable string of hits between 1968-72. Since their split, however, those songs have found a home in countless compilations. There hardly seems a need for yet another. Thankfully, Ultimate Creedence spends as much time reiterating the necessary but familiar favorites as it does seeking out lesser-known album cuts and tasty live versions. That enlivens this 3-CD set, as the hits are not only contextualized but are in some instances born anew within their fresh musical contexts. (More here.) — Nick DeRiso
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DAVID GILMORE – NUMEROLOGY: LIVE AT JAZZ STANDARD (JAZZ): This title reflects Gilmore quest to musically explore ancient mathematician Pythagoras’ principle that the numbers 1 to 9 represent the “universal principles and progressive cycles in life.” But Gilmore didn’t just author the concept, for this record he performed it live, at the Jazz Standard in NYC, and with an incredible band. McBride, Watts and Acuña return, joined by Luis Perdomo (piano), Mino Cinelu (percussion) and Miguel Zenón (alto sax). Combined with Gilmore’s own guitar abilities, which is heady, diverse, fluid and discriminating, and there’s no way this record can fail. And, of course, it doesn’t. (More here.) — S. Victor Aaron
Doug Sahm – The Last Real Texas Blues Band Live In Stockholm (Blues)
DUNCAN SHEIK – COVERS EIGHTIES REMIXED (POP/ROCK): Former 1990s one-hit-wonder Duncan Sheik blows up the sleepy atmospheres that doomed last summer’s Covers Eighties, pumping some new life into the upbeat numbers — but, even more interestingly, completely enlivening the slower songs. For instance, Tears for Fears’ “Shout,” remixed for this project by Chi Duly and featuring Rachael Yamagata, becomes a grinding beast. Still, Covers Eighties Remixed would rise or fall with the way it approached the medium tempo songs. There’s a fine line, after all, between ineffable, cerulean beauty and a somnolent drone. The good news is, Sheik’s army of mixing-board geeks give the rest of the album just enough gooses and jabs, too. (More here.) — Nick DeRiso
Egberto Gismonti, Charlie Haden and Jan Garbarek – Magico: Carta De Amor (Jazz)
Eric Bibb – Brothers in Bamako (Blues)
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ERIC PERSON – THOUGHTS ON GOD (JAZZ): Eric Person, a longtime former sideman with Chico Hamilton and Dave Holland, achieves the kind of musical transcendence required of a project with such an overtly religious theme. At the same time, the aural joys found throughout Thoughts on God are such that listeners don’t have to focus on its spirituality in order to have a richly rewarding experience with the album. The complexities, and deep emotional resonance, of the album are indicative of just how much work Person has put into this. In fact, the saxophonist has been at work constructing this song cycle off and on since back in 1984. That gives Thoughts on God a sense of valedictory wonder, as Person and Co. touch on every corner of the tradition. (More here.) — Nick DeRiso
Gamma Ray – Skeletons in the Closet (Pop/Rock)
Graveyard – Lights Out (Pop/Rock)
Greg Abate Quintet – Featuring Phil Woods (Jazz)
Jethro Tull – Thick As A Brick [40th Anniversary Special Edition] (Pop/Rock)
Johnny Mathis – Sweetheart Tree; Shadow of Your Smile; This Is Love; Ole’ (Vocals)
JON IRABAGON – I DON’T HEAR NOTHIN’ BUT THE BLUES VOL. 2: APPALACHIAN HAZE; UNHINGED (JAZZ): There’s a bit of irony — probably intended — that of the pair of albums coming this week by Irabagon, the one that’s called Unhinged is much less so of the two (that would be the punk/free jazz thrill ride entitled I Don’t Hear Nothin’ But The Blues, Volume 2: Appalachian Haze). For his new, second Outright! album, Irabagon doesn’t go where he dared to tread with Blues, but he makes just about every other edgy jazz stop on this trip through many styles that he’s got a good grasp on. All tracks are held together by a spunky attitude and daring that typifies his discography as a whole. (More here.) — S. Victor Aaron
Junior Kimbrough – First Recordings (Blues)
Kate Rusby – 20 (Folk)
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Kylie Minogue – Abbey Road Sessions (Pop/Rock)
Megadeth – Countdown to Extinction [20th Anniversary Edition] (Pop/Rock)
Ne-Yo – R.E.D. (R&B)
PAUL KELLY – SPRING AND FALL (FOLK) It’s all well and good, these love songs from Paul Kelly. But then, maybe inevitably, it all goes to shit — and that’s when Spring and Fall starts to get good. So good, in fact, that the album’s first nine songs end up taking on a deeper complexity, a reflected new meaning. Knowing where Kelly is headed ends up imbuing his initial sense of joy with all of this portent. Kelly’s new album is in fact a dramatically complete rumination on the verities of passion, from its flushed-cheek flirts to its blindingly sensual newness, to its comfy regularity, to its sometimes sad, sad finale. (More here.) — Nick DeRiso
Paul Winter Sextet – Count Me In (Jazz)
QUEEN – HUNGARIAN RHAPSODY: LIVE IN BUDAPEST (POP/ROCK): With Freddie Mercury gone for some two decades, it’s easy to forget Queen’s power and majesty — its essentially new amalgam of power pop, metal, and eye-popping theatrics. The sense of loss surrounding this thunderous concert, too, is simply staggering. Hungarian Rhapsody: Live in Budapest, a new concert film from 1986, starts with this grinding, energetic take on “One Vision” and continues through a hit-strewn setlist that eventually finds Mercury wearing a king’s cape and crown for “We Are the Champions.” That basically says it all, right? (More here.) — Nick DeRiso
Robbie Williams – Take The Crown (Pop/Rock)
Roger Davidson Trio – We Remember Helen (Jazz)
Simon Townshend – Looking Out Looking In (Pop/Rock)
Third Day – Miracle (Pop/Rock)
The Who – Live at Hull/1970 (Pop/Rock)
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