New Music Monday: Otis Taylor, Kompendium, Pat Metheny, Bryan Ferry, Lisa Germano, Prog Collective

They say this is a week for lovers. We’d like to make an addendum: For prog lovers, that is.

This time on New Music Monday, we’re delving into the new Kompendium project (featuring folks from Genesis, King Crimson and Porcupine tree, among others), as well as a vinyl version of the Prog Collective (another all-star amalgam with members from Yes, XTC, UK and Crimson). A new group also combines Dug Pinnick of King’s X with Mars Volta members Thomas Pridgen and Eric Gales.

Cool, right? There’s more: Jazzers get fresh stuff from Tim Green and the audio edition of Pat Metheny’s intriguing Orchestrion experiments. Blues guys get a terrific new project from Otis Taylor. Elsewhere, we parse through new items from Blake Shelton, Bryan Ferry, Hatriot as well as Lisa Germano — who returns with an intoxicatingly dark recording …

Alberta HunterRemember My Name (Blues)

BLAKE SHELTON – SURE BE COOL IF YOU DID (COUNTRY): I have it on good authority that this album is not for old farts and jackasses. It could very well be the perfect album for people with no taste in music, though. You know what else would be cool? If Shelton would think before he insulted the very foundation of country music. — Fred Phillips

BRYAN FERRY ORCHESTRA – THE JAZZ AGE (JAZZ): As this snoozy little all-instrumental, flapper-focused curio spun, all I could think was: Didn’t you used to be Bryan Ferry? — Nick DeRiso

Bullet for My ValentineTemper Temper (Pop/Rock)
Deni BonetIt’s All Good (Jazz)
Devon AllmanTurquoise (Pop/Rock)
Elvin BishopShe Puts Me in the Mood (Blues)
FoalsHoly Fire (Pop/Rock)
Frank SinatraWhere Are You? (Vocals)
Grateful DeadDead Ahead; Ticket to New Year’s (Pop/Rock)

HATRIOT – HEROES OF ORIGIN (POP/ROCK): Former Exodus vocalist Steve Souza signs on with a group of young guns that include his two sons for a new thrash project that, given Souza’s distinctive rasp, sounds more than a little like his former band. — Fred Phillips

Heather MasseLock My Heart [with Dick Hyman] (Jazz)
Ilia SkibinskyThe Passage (Jazz)

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Joe Clark Big BandLush [with Jeff Hamilton] (Jazz)
Joni MitchellStudio Albums 1968-1979 (Pop/Rock)
Jimmy ReedBig Boss Blues (Blues)

KOMPENDIUM – BENEATH THE WAVES (POP/ROCK): Combining the diaphanous feel of Celtic music with the thunderous classically inspired rock that powered classic 1970s prog, multi-instrumentalist Rob Reed has created something that feels both timeless and new. You have both a suitably complex, album-length narrative, and familiar figures from Genesis and King Crimson making key musical statements. At the same time, the addition of folk instruments like the uilleann pipes, along with next-gen contributors from Porcupine Tree, ensure that Beneath the Waves doesn’t become a curio piece. (More here.) — Nick DeRiso

LED ZEPPELIN – CELEBRATION DAY [3LP Vinyl Package] (POP/ROCK): The band has wisely held off properly reuniting until it truly felt like a celebration to the band and not just the fans, and that’s exactly what makes Celebration Day so exhilarating. They may not sound so young anymore, so a few songs are taken at slower paces than they used to be, and Robert Plant’s voice is noticeably less capable than it was, and he phrases some songs in new ways to keep from needing to hit high notes, such as on “Black Dog” and “Whole Lotta Love,” but there’s a palpable sense of joy running through the entire set. (More here.) — Tom Johnson

LISA GERMANO – NO ELEPHANTS (POP/ROCK): Germano’s spare fragility, her whispery confidentiality, would come off as too precious if she didn’t pay such great attention to the craftsmanship of her writing. Instead, her new album has enough trenchant, note-perfect images to fill a good-sized lit mag, though they remain part of stubbornly unspecific narratives. No Elephants moves seamlessly from one chest-blooming, completely interpretive vignette to another. (More here.) — Nick DeRiso

Mario BiondiSun (Jazz)

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OTIS TAYLOR – MY WORLD IS GONE (BLUES): Otis Taylor’s blues aren’t conventional blues. They’re aren’t good-time blues. Banjo in hand, he imbues them musically with an out-of-time, off-kilter sound — and then runs right at life’s bitter truths. The results, though never destined to be a big hit on the shuck-and-jive festival circuit, can be counted among the most bracing, brutally honest recordings — blues or otherwise — put out over the last two decades. This time, after joining forces with guitarist Mato Nanji, Taylor immersed himself in the Native American people’s devastating narrative. Amid the familiar wreckage of broken promises, brutal atrocities and humiliating exile from their own land, however, Taylor finds specifics that resonate. In so doing, he makes their stories viscerally real. (More here.) — Nick DeRiso

Pat BooneI’ll See You in My Dreams; This & That (Vocals)

PAT METHENY – THE ORCHESTRION PROJECT [2CD] (JAZZ): For my ears , the absolute high point comes with an Orchestrion-ized version of “Sueño con México” from my favorite Metheny solo record New Chautauqua. Pat samples the opening acoustic guitar arpeggio and build from there. It’s an amazing thing to see and hear one of his early compositions reinterpreted through this new-but-old technology. And to think…this all started from Metheny’s fascination with his grandfather’s player piano! (More here.) — Mark Saleski

Paul MotianOn Broadway 1 & 2 & 3 & 4 & 5 (Jazz)

PINNICK GALES PRIDGEN – PINNICK GALES PRIDGEN (POP/ROCK): Dug Pinnick of King’s X, Eric Gales and Thomas Pridgen of the Mars Volta come together to deliver a funky, bluesy, soulful, hard rocking project that seriously impresses. (More here.) — Fred Phillips

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Shoshana BeanO’Farrell Street (Blues)
Tarja Turunen and HarusLive At Sibelius Hall (Pop/Rock)

THE PROG COLLECTIVE – THE PROG COLLECTIVE [2LP/Bonus Tracks] (POP/ROCK): The lineup virtually mirrors producer Billy Sherwood’s concurrent Supertramp tribute project, but that’s where the similarities end. This time, an all-star cast — including Chris Squire, Rick Wakeman and Geoff Downes (who, like Sherwood, are members of the Yes family tree), Alan Parsons (of Project fame), Richard Page (Mr. Mister), John Wesley (Porcupine Tree) and Colin Moulding (XTC) — focuses on all-original material done in the extended free-form style of classic 1970s progressive rock. Its advance track just might be the Prog Collective’s best, as John Wetton (King Crimson, UK, Asia), Tony Levin (King Crimson, Peter Gabriel, John Lennon), Jerry Goodman (Mahavishnu Orchestra, Jan Hammer, Dixie Dregs) and Sherwood take a driving prog-pop tune called “The Laws of Nature” into a thrilling twilight reverie over the song’s second half. (More here.) — Nick DeRiso

TIM GREEN – SONGS FROM THIS SEASON (JAZZ): Some of Green’s biggest influences are mentors like Mulgrew Miller, Terence Blanchard and Kenny Garrett. The spirituality Green brings to his songs invites some comparisons to the spirituality that Garrett brings to his, even though the two do not play the saxophone the same way. Songs From This Season is his first album since coming in second in the 2008 Monk Competition album to Jon Irabagon. However, it quickly becomes clear that he’s invested into his craft during that intervening time, because this is the product of a fully-formed and mature talent. (More here.) — S. Victor Aaron

Tom WopatI’ve Got Your Number (Vocals)
U.D.O.Faceless World; Time Bomb; Animal House (Pop/Rock)
Various artistsCajun Honky Tonk: The Khoury Recordings Vol. 2 [Nathan Abshire, Lawrence Walker, Elise Deshotel, Amar Devillier, Cleveland Crochet, others] (International)
Walter Norris and Leszek MozdzerLast Set: Live at the A-Trane (Jazz)

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