New Music Monday: Richard Thompson, Wayne Shorter, Chris Stamey, Steve Slagle, Depeche Mode

We have scorching new jazz from Wayne Shorter for you, along with equally trenchant — and, yeah, loud — stuff from Richard Thompson and Lisa Loeb.

Meanwhile, Chris Stamey follows his terrific reunion with his 1980s indie-pop band the dB’s with an emotionally complex solo album, a high point in this latest edition of New Music Monday. Steve Slagle collaborates with Dave Stryker again, though this time with Slagle’s name out front.

Also out this week, new things from Ancient VVisdom, Depeche Mode, Destruction and Mike Oldfield.

Notable reissues include a massive new look back at Blind Guardian, along with the Lord Weird Slough Feg, Tony Bennett and Townes Van Zandt, among many others …

ANCIENT VVISDOM – DEATHLIKE (POP/ROCK): Ancient VVisdom is one of the most interesting acts going in the metal world right now. So much so that I’m not quite sure how to describe them. They play a largely acoustic and atmospheric brand of music that still retains the spirit of metal. Deathlike is well worth checking out for metal fans and non-metal fans alike. — Fred Phillips

Barbra StreisandClassical Barbra (Vocals)

BLIND GUARDIAN – A TRAVELER’S GUIDE TO SPACE AND TIME (POP/ROCK): A 15 CD collection that includes remixed and remastered version of all of their albums through 2004, as well as some demos and rare tracks. All of the band’s best work is included, not the least of which is a version of 1998’s concept album Nightfall in Middle Earth with no breaks in the songs. It’s limited to 8,000 copies worldwide. Ah, to have $200 to blow. This would be mine. — Fred Phillips

CHRIS STAMEY – LOVESICK BLUES (POP/ROCK): A nocturnal gust of sadness, Chris Stamey’s Lovesick Blues is a soundtrack to an endless, impossibly vivid night of heartbreak — dark, impossibly dark, but at the same time beautiful. The album begins as if coming out of a particularly vivid dream, with Stamey already moving over the floor toward a lover — with no backstory, no preamble. “Skin,” this swooning chamber-pop number juxtaposed with a stoic guitar, is so eloquent, though, that you are immediately comfortable within the album’s embrace. If anything, Stamey only grabs you more tightly as Lovesick Blues unfolds. (More here.) — Nick DeRiso

Coheed and CambriaThe Afterman: Descension (Pop/Rock)

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DEPECHE MODE – HEAVEN [CD Maxi Single] (POP/ROCK): Dimly foreboding, funereal in the most intriguing of ways, Depeche Mode’s new single “Heaven” moves with a delicious deliberateness. It’s all atmosphere, all feel, completely enveloping. And completely in keeping with some of their most celebrated work — from its pulsing melody, to those weird industrial sounds to Martin Gore’s majestically dark lyrics, as conveyed by that impossibly fragile nihilist Dave Gahan. Think “The Things You Said,” from 1987’s Music for the Masses, but with more of the well-placed guitar touches that propelled 1993’s Songs of Faith and Devotion. (More here.) — Nick DeRiso

DESTRUCTION – SPIRITUAL GENOCIDE (POP/ROCK): If you like the past albums from the German thrashers, you’ll like this one. Not much has changed. — Fred Phillips

EelsWonderful, Glorious [2 CD Deluxe Edition] (Pop/Rock)
Frightened RabbitPedestrian Verse (Pop/Rock)
Harry Connick Jr.Smokey Mary (Vocals)
Ike Turner & TinaBlues (Blues)
JewelGreatest Hits (Pop/Rock)
Jim JamesRegions of Light and Sound of God (Pop/Rock)
Josh GrobanAll That Echoes (Pop/Rock)

LISA LOEB – NO FAIRY TALE (POP/ROCK): Lisa Loeb returns with her first project aimed at an adult audience since 2004’s The Way It Really Is. But she doesn’t settle back into the absorbing, modestly constructed singer-songwriter craft of that project– or the sing-songy, impossibly sunny vibe of her subsequent kiddie pop albums, either. Instead, she’s added Chad Gilbert as a key collaborator. Yes, that Chad Gilbert — from the turn-of-the-2000s punk-informed pop band New Found Glory. His impact is felt from front to back. Flinty instead of flirty, No Fairy Tale — you quickly realize — is well titled. This is the most varied, the most involving — and, yeah, certainly the loudest — album of Loeb’s celebrated career. (More here.) — Nick DeRiso

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Mumford & SonsBabel: Gentlemen of the Road Edition (Pop/Rock)

MIKE OLDFIELD – TUBULAR BEATS (POP/ROCK): A new remix project focusing on Mike Oldfield’s 1973 genre-defining new-age smash Tubular Bells ends on a stirring note, as the multi-instrumentalist is joined by ex-Nightwish singer Tarja Turunen on the finale “Never Too Far.” Oldfield has found, in the Finnish three-octave wonder, someone whose voice fits seamlessly into every flowing eddy, every rivulet of sound, as he creates yet another spacious, one-man soundscape. After years, and years, of trying to reconfigure, reimagine and otherwise update his masterstroke debut, Tubular Beats offers, at long last, a reason to reinvest. (More here.) — Nick DeRiso

RICHARD THOMPSON – ELECTRIC (POP/ROCK): Electric, produced by Buddy Miller and due February 5, 2013 via New West Records, makes good on the promise of 2010’s Dream Attic — which found Thompson recording stripped-down new originals in a live setting. The guitarist appears here, in a series of utterly concise Nashville sessions, with only Taras Prodaniuk (Elvis Costello, Lucinda Williams) on bass and Michael Jerome (John Cale, Better Than Ezra) on drums. Then, perhaps as expected with a title like Electric, he simply plugs in and speaks his mind — about love (or more particularly, love lost), politics, the work week’s grind. (More here.) — Nick DeRiso

RiversideShrine of New Generation Slaves (Pop/Rock)
SilversteinThis Is How The Wind Shifts (Pop/Rock)

STEVE SLAGLE – EVENSONG [with Dave Stryker] (JAZZ): More of the meat-and-potatoes post-bop readily found on other recordings by this co-lead combo, with most of the blues-based fare contributed by Slagle and a couple by Stryker. The reason I keep coming back to these guys is the freshness, enthusiasm and agility they bring to music that’s steadfastly traditional. Slagle devises songs inspired by his heroes without outright imitating them, the more obvious examples being “Equal Nox” (John Coltrane) and “Mingus In Us,” where Slagle’s vision of the blues is shot through the prism of each of these jazz icons. (More here.) — S. Victor Aaron

Terri Lyne CarringtonMoney Jungle: Provocative in Blue (Jazz)
The BronxThe Bronx [IV] (Pop/Rock)

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THE LORD WEIRD SLOUGH FEG – DOWN AMONG THE DEADMEN; TRAVELLER; TWILIGHT OF THE IDOLS (POP/ROCK): Metal Blade re-releases three early albums from The Lord Weird Slough Feg (now simply known as Slough Feg) that have previously been available only as imports in the U.S. Traditional metal doesn’t get much better than Slough Feg, and these records show the evolution of the band into what it is today. — Fred Phillips

Tim McGrawTwo Lanes Of Freedom [Accelerated Deluxe Edition] (Country)

TONY BENNETT – AS TIME GOES BY: GREAT AMERICAN SONGBOOK CLASSICS (VOCALS): Bennett remains a remarkable talent for an important reason: his voice has evolved over time rather than devolved. Compare his style from the 1950s to the 1970s to his improbable 1990s comeback, and one can hear Bennett transitioning from his early full-throated technique to the subtle, at times whispery voice of today. This fact comes to mind when listening to As Time Goes By: Great American Songbook Classics, a compilation issued by Concord Records. Instead of focusing on his early career or his later resurgence, this collection examines his 1970s work. While uneven, the CD provides an affordable way to fill in gaps in a Bennett fan’s collection. (More here.) — Kit O’Toole

TOWNES VAN ZANDT – SUNSHINE BOY: THE UNHEARD STUDIO SESSIONS AND DEMOS 1971-72 (COUNTRY): Unlike your typical star, shooting or otherwise, Van Zandt’s most important music, his best stuff, didn’t happen right away. Instead, it was on 1971?s High, Low and In Between and on 1972?s The Late Great, now a bitterly ironic title. Songs from those projects (his fifth and sixth, respectively) make up the bulk of Sunshine Boy, and the bulk of the project’s new revelations, as well. “Pancho and Lefty,” for instance, is presented without strings or horns. His Dylan-esque pretensions are made clear during this raw take on “Mr. Mudd and Mr. Gold.” “To Live Is To Fly” takes on an even greater, devastating beauty. (More here.) — Nick DeRiso

Unknown Mortal OrchestraII (Pop/Rock)

WAYNE SHORTER – WITHOUT A NET (JAZZ): From the furtive intellect of “Starry Night” to the angular outbursts of “S.S. Golden Mean,” from the mystical intricacies of “Myrrh” to the turbulent roundhouses of “UFO,” Shorter (who, incredibly, will turn 80 this year) remains in complete command — both of song structure and of his horn. Ulimately, that ends up sparking an incisive, in-the-moment dialogue, just as it has since Shorter constructed this quartet more than a decade ago. Their names might not be on the front of the album, but Perez, Patitucci and Brian Blade each make notable contributions here — testament to their own growing reputations in this century, alongside a living master from the last one. (More here.) — Nick DeRiso

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