New Music Monday: Steve Lukather, Camper Van Beethoven, Jorn, Aaron Neville, Journey, Billy Joel

Steve Lukather steps away from tours alongside Toto, Ringo Starr and Steve Vai to issue one of his most bitingly confessional solo recordings yet, while Aaron Neville goes way back for doo wop.

Elsewhere in this intriguingly varied grouping of New Music Monday entries is the long-awaited return of indie-rock favorites Camper van Beethoven, some offbeat jazz from the deliciously titled Mostly Other People Do the Killing, and (get this) a symphonic effort from Jorn.

Key reissues include stuff from Billy Joel, the Pogues and Journey. Also arriving this week: Helloween, Holy Grail, Manowar, Patricia Barber and Murali Coryell, among many, many others …

AARON NEVILLE – MY TRUE STORY (POP/ROCK): Across a five-decade career, Neville has done it all — from sizzling soul and R&B with his family band to smooth mainstream pop (and a pair of Grammys) with Linda Ronstadt, from country (he charted with “The Grand Tour” in 1993) and even, more recently, gospel. Next up: Doo wop. Neville hand selected the tracks here, saying they were songs that worked “like medicine” for him as a child. Back then, growing up in New Orleans, he sang along with the likes of the Clovers, the Flamingos, Clyde McPhatter and the Orioles — and whatever troubles he had were washed away. Same here, as one of music’s most distinctive vocal stylists takes on a series of forgotten gems. (More here.) — Nick DeRiso

Adam AntAdam Ant is The BlueBlack Hussar Marrying The Gunner’s Daughter (Pop/Rock)
Bad ReligionTrue North (Pop/Rock)
Barry Romberg’s Random AccessCrab People (Jazz)
Big HarpChain Letters (Pop/Rock)

BILLY JOEL – SHE’S GOT A WAY: LOVE SONGS (POP/ROCK): More than just a compendium of famous loverly songs like “Just the Way You Are,” the title track, “She’s Always a Woman” and “Honesty,” She’s Got a Way also includes a liberal sprinkling of like-minded, letter-known ballads — including the hauntingly beautifil “Nocturne” from 1971′s Cold Spring Harbor; “Travelin’ Prayer,” the flip-side of his single for “Piano Man”; and even Joel’s own version of “Shameless,” a song that would go to No. 1 on the country charts for Garth Brooks. (More here.) — Nick DeRiso

CAMPER VAN BEETHOVEN – LA COSTA PERDIDA (POP/ROCK): If this record often unfolds like a series of joyously offbeat songs played around a beat-up coffeetable at an old friend’s house, well, that’s because it kinda was: It was actually recorded “together” — composed of a piece, in a living room, the old-fashioned way. You hear that camaraderie, that intuitive sense of musical brotherhood, in every note — every majestically weird note. In this way, Camper Van Beethoven returns with a fizzy, unself-conscious sense of spontaneity that’s so uncommon for a band so long gone. It’s like they never left. (More here.) — Nick DeRiso

CrashDietThe Savage Playground (Pop/Rock)
Dawn RichardGoldenheart (R&B)
Elton JohnRock of the Westies [gold disc] (Pop/Rock)
FoxygenWe Are the 21st Century Ambassadors of Peace and Magic (Pop/Rock)
Gary AllanSet You Free (Country)

HELLOWEEN – STRAIGHT OUT OF HELL (POP/ROCK): The German power metal icons release their 14th studio album. I don’t expect any major surprises. — Fred Phillips

HOLY GRAIL – RIDE THE VOID (POP/ROCK): Rising from the ashes of the original lineup of White Wizzard, Holy Grail became one of the premier forces in the new traditional metal movement with their full-length debut Crisis in Utopia in 2010. Sophomore slump? Not a chance. Ride the Void is just as strong. — Fred Phillips

Jackie RyanListen Here [with John Clayton] (Jazz)
John Paul WhiteLong Goodbye (Folk)

JORN – SYMPHONIC (POP/ROCK): Norwegian hard rock wailer Jorn Lande takes tracks from his solo catalog and re-records them with different arrangements and symphonic elements. Rather than make it a best-of collection, though, Jorn has gone with some of his more obscure tracks, too. There’s also a previously unreleased cover of Dio’s “Rock ‘n’ Roll Children,” I’m guessing taken from the sessions of his Dio tribute album a couple of years back. — Fred Phillips

Jose JamesNo Beginning No End (R&B)

JOURNEY – ECLIPSE [Vinyl] (POP/ROCK): A special gatefold double-vinyl reissue of Journey’s latest studio effort, which played like the best of both worlds. It was a musically dense recording in the style of the band’s underrated 1977 effort ‘Next,’ and a loud one, but at the same time it doesn’t completely abandon the visceral mainstream pop sensibilities which defined their subsequent hitmaking period in the 1980s. (More here.) — Nick DeRiso

Keith JarrettHymns / Spheres (Jazz)

MANOWAR – THE LORD OF STEEL (POP/ROCK): Get your loincloth ready. Metal’s favorite chest-pounding, fur and leather-wearing warriors are back. — Fred Phillips

MOSTLY OTHER PEOPLE DO THE KILLING – SLIPPERY ROCK (JAZZ): The purists must abhor how these guys break so many conventions about how “real” jazz should be played. Slippery Rock won’t do anything to mollify MOPDTK’s critics; it’s over-the-top, it rarely swings and the boys don’t on the surface seem to take themselves too seriously. That, I think, misses the point. Zany fun isn’t supposed to be anathema to jazz, and it’s not like jazz couldn’t use a sharp kick in the ass, anyway. They do the ass kicking with smiles on their faces and the cheer can be infectious. And if music can make you grin, then it has succeeded. (More here.) — S. Victor Aaron

MURALI CORYELL – LIVE CD/DVD (BLUES): The son of fusion-jazz guitar hero Larry Coryell, Murali sounds like his own man here, someone who has taken far more from Carlos Santana, Otis Redding (in particular in his gruff vocal style) and Hendrix than he ever did from Miles, Dizzy or dad. He mixes and matches like an enthusiastic chef, and stirs it up just as much. The CD, recorded live at Club Helsinki in New York last July, serves as musical introduction to his fizzy melding of R&B styles old and new, while the companion DVD offers alternate takes on originals like “Sugar Lips,” “The Blues is Taking its Place” and “In the Room with Jimi.” (More here.) — Nick DeRiso

OtepHydra (Pop/Rock)

PATRICIA BARBER – SMASH (JAZZ): When I listen to Patricia Barber sing, I think of her not so much as a jazz singer than as a poet reciting her work, with the depth and feeling that only the originator of that work can deliver. A poet who happens to be a technically polished pianist, a clever arranger and bandleader. OK, so it’s perhaps more accurate to state that she’s a great poet who is also a legitimate musician. Kind of astonishing when you consider there are scant few these days who are so good at both anywhere near the field of jazz. This, her twelfth album, is certain to be considered one of her finer submissions as a songwriter (as opposed to her equally well-regarded interpretive side). (More here.) — S. Victor Aaron

Petra HadenPetra Goes to the Movies (Pop/Rock)
Pink Cream 69Ceremonial (Pop/Rock)
Ra Ra RiotBeta Love (Pop/Rock)
Royal Hunt20th Anniversary [3CD/DVD] (Pop/Rock)
Scott Healy/Glenn Alexander QuartetNorthern Light (Jazz)

SnakecharmerSnakecharmer (Pop/Rock)

STEVE LUKATHER – TRANSITION (POP/ROCK): A sense of perseverance feels like the broader message of Transition, something embedded in its very title. Having established himself apart from the legendary band he co-founded, and all of the many sideman gigs that helped bolster his career, Lukather seems ready finally to write with the same revelatory honesty that has always marked his guitar playing. The results are a triumph — over adversity, over expectations, over time. Steve Lukather may have just made his best record ever. (More here.) — Nick DeRiso

The Joy FormidableWolf’s Law (Pop/Rock)

THE POGUES – VERY BEST OF (POP/ROCK): Confounding expectation, they played softly as often as they played loudly, with heart prominently on their sleeve. This compilation underscores just how successfully the Pogues combined these seemingly incongruent styles. Over the course of 18 well-selected tracks, the Pogues’ blend traditional jigs, serrated DiY attitude and aching balladry with a still-staggering ease. Only a band this complex could produce a single-disc set that’s so compulsive listenable. You’re just left wondering why the Pogues were never more famous. (More here.) — Nick DeRiso

The ScorpionsVirgin Killer [gold disc] (Pop/Rock)
Toro Y MoiAnything In Return (Pop/Rock)
Various artists12-12-12: The Concert for Sandy Relief [Bruce Springsteen, Roger Waters, Bon Jovi, Eric Clapton, the Rolling Stones, the Who, Billy Joel, Chris Martin, Alicia Keys, Paul McCartney, others] (Pop/Rock)
Various artists2013 Grammy Nominees [The Black Keys, Kelly Clarkson, Taylor Swift, Gotye, Katy Perry, Fun, Florence + The Machine, Carly Rae Jepsen, The Lumineers, Frank Ocean, Bruce Springsteen, Jack White, Muse, others] (Pop/Rock)
YesClose to the Edge [gold disc] (Pop/Rock)


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