New Music Monday: Todd Rundgren, Postal Service, Dave Douglas, Mike Keneally, John Medeski

Todd Rundgren’s State offers an ultra-contemporary fusion of rock and electronica, while Mike Keneally revisits his thrilling 2012 collaboration with XTC’s Andy Partridge, adding previously unheard music, demos and remixes.

Elsewhere, we have intriguing new improvisational efforts from Dave Douglas and John Medeski (with a straight-forward solo piano release, no less), singer-songwriter stuff from Kat Parsons, and a new slice of never-before-heard hippie-rock nirvana from Quicksilver Messenger Service — recorded at the height of their powers, in 1968 at the Fillmore.

Glenn Hughes, late of Black Country Communion, appears on a new guest star-stuffed album from Disturbed’s David Draiman. Gloryhammer and Volbeat are back, too.

We also explore deeper into jazz with great finds from Koby Israelite, Little Women and Jaimeo Brown.

Lastly, there are tasty reissues from across the musical spectrum arriving, as well.

Look for an expanded live set from Conspiracy, featuring Billy Sherwood and Chris Squire of Yes; Julio Iglesias, Slayer, the Postal Service (featuring two just-released tracks); and Body Count — Ice-T’s hard rock/rap hybrid …

Annie DressnerEast Twenties EP (Pop/Rock)

BODY COUNT – LIVE IN L.A. (ROCK/HIP HOP): A re-release of the 2005 DVD from Ice-T’s metal band. The outfit was viewed by many as a gimmick, but I always thought that Body Count was a better band than they got credit for. — Fred Phillips

Boney JamesThe Beat (Jazz)
Brad PaisleyWheelhouse (Country)
Butterfield Blues BandVol. 2-Live (Blues)

CHRIS SQUIRE AND BILLY SHERWOOD – CONSPIRACY: LIVE (POP/ROCK): Beginning in the run up to 1991′s Union, the pair had been writing songs together, but the fruits of those labors would be sprinkled over a series of Yes projects, and Sherwood himself wouldn’t become an official member of the group for years. After Sherwood’s eventual departure in 2000, they finally issued a pair of albums as Conspiracy, and recorded this private show in 2004, but there remains — even now — a star-crossed sense of unfinished business. (More here.) — Nick DeRiso

Chuck BrownRiver Runs (Jazz)

DAVE DOUGLAS QUINTET – TIME TRAVEL (JAZZ): Outwardly, mainline modern jazz performed by a mainline small jazz combo. A quick follow up to his dedication to his mother, 2012′s Be Still, Time Travel could be seen as the proper introduction of Douglas’ new quintet, with all new Douglas material, no vocals and not being themed on a particular topic or person. Just a regular ol’ small combo date. Or is it? Even within this relatively conventional context, Douglas comes up with fresh ideas, or at the least, fresh takes on old ones. (More here.) — S. Victor Aaron

DawesStories Don’t End (Pop/Rock)

DEVICE – DEVICE (POP/ROCK):This new project from David Draiman of Disturbed fame features a variety of big names including Black Sabbath’s Geezer Butler, Rage Against the Machine’s Tom Morello and System of a Down’s Serj Tankian. I was drawn, however, to the track with Glenn Hughes — who’s previously held brief stints in Deep Purple, Trapeze, Black Sabbath and Black Country Communion, among others, and may be one of the most deeply talented, deeply unlucky figures in rock. Something always seems to go wrong. With “Through It All,” though, Hughes gets to let some of his frustrations and hurt out, and Device is all the better for it. (More here.) — Nick DeRiso

Drowning PoolResilience (Pop/Rock)
Duke RobillardIndependently Blue (Blues)
Eldar Djangirov TrioBreakthrough (Jazz)
Eli Yamin and Even Christopher DuoLouie’s Dream (Jazz)

GLORYHAMMER – TALES FROM THE KINGDOM OF FIFE (POP/ROCK): I’ve really been looking forward to this record. “Epic heroic fantasy metal” from Christopher Bowes, one of the masterminds behind Scottish pirate metallers Alestorm. It’s a recipe for goofy, but awesome fun. — Fred Phillips

JAIMEO BROWN – TRANSCENDENCE (JAZZ): Jaimeo Brown’s work on the forthcoming Transcendence reflects the stirring continuity of traditions, as Deep South gospel is melded with blues is melded with jazz is melded with rock is melded with hip hop is melded with electronica. And just when you think you’ve got a handle on the remarkable alchemy at play here, he begins adding these otherworldly splashes of ancient East Indian Carnatic music, as well. (More here.) — Nick DeRiso

Jake BuggJake Bugg (Pop/Rock)
Jeff HealeyAs The Years Go Passing By: Live In Germany 89-95-00 (Blues)

JOHN MEDESKI – A DIFFERENT TIME (JAZZ): Whether this will appeal to fans of his genre-melting experiments with Martin Medeski and Wood and Spectrum Road, it’s hard to say, but there is a determinedly straight forward charm surrounding A Different Time — the very first project from the recently revived Okeh imprint. Recording on a 1924-vintage piano, in a studio nestled within a 19th century place of worship, Medeski all but channels the legacy jazz label’s biggest stars from back in the day — from Duke Ellington to Louis Armstrong. (More here.) — Nick DeRiso

John MurryGraceless Age (Pop/Rock)

JULIO IGLESIAS – #1 (VOCALS): Careful old-time fans, this isn’t a greatest hits package, but rather newly recorded versions done over a period between 2006-11 of Iglesias favorites from the ’70s, ’80s and ’90s. The deluxe version will include the two-CD package, plus Starry Night: Live From The Greek Theatre, the DVD chronicling Iglesia’s 1990 concert at the legendary Los Angeles venue.

KAT PARSONS – IT MATTERS TO ME EP (POP/ROCK): With her assertive It Matters To Me, the final disc in a three-EP series, Kat Parsons moves beyond more recent successes within quiet folkie settings and sweetly conveyed pop tunes. What makes this one so interesting is how, even with anthematic sounds billowing up all around, Parsons’s virtuoso vocal performances remain. The themes here are not so far away from the things we heard on 2012′s Oh!. The difference is in the songs’ boisterous presentation, as Parsons hurtles forward in a full-bodied, musically immersive way rarely hinted at in her far more confidential EP last year. (More here.) — Nick DeRiso

KOBY ISRAELITE – BLUES FROM ELSEWHERE (2013): This album illustrates what a fertile ground the blues can be for avant-garde artists looking to flex their creative muscles into unfamiliar territory. The thing is, Koby Isrealite — a composer, arranger and multi-instrumentalist Israeli-born offspring to Balkan Jews — makes it seem so familiar, like these crazy hybrids were meant to be. (More here.) — S. Victor Aaron

Kurt VileWakin On A Pretty Daze (Pop/Rock)
Lauren Mann and the Fairly Odd FolkOver Land Over Sea (Pop/Rock)
LeAnn RimesSpitfire (Country)

LITTLE WOMEN – LUNG (JAZZ): As a follow up to the brutal Throat, Little Women responded by forgetting about success and reputation, and continuing to pursue their instincts. Their instincts have rewarded them once again. Little Women noodled on this single-take forty-plus minute group performance a while before committing it to tape, and the coordination and anticipation found within the cinematic, episodic flow of the piece probably required a little forethought, anyway. It’s not short on surprises, though. They even make use of a fifth instrument: silence. (More here.) — S. Victor Aaron

MIKE KENEALLY – WING BEAT ELASTIC (POP/ROCK): a disc of demos, “remixes” and outtakes from the sessions that produced last year’s fantastic album of material created with Andy Partridge, Wing Beat Fantastic. The release had originally began life as a download-only set, but grew into a full-fledged album once it became fully fleshed out. Most of the material is known to those who already own Fantastic, but Elastic does contain a handful of outright new material in the form of the short instrumental “Corn” and four “Wing Beat Fantasia” pieces, but the demo material provides a stripped-down glimpse inside the creative process of songs we now know and love. (More here.) — Tom Johnson

Molly RingwaldExcept Sometimes (Vocals)
OMDEnglish Electric (Pop/Rock)

ParamoreParamore (Pop/Rock)
Patricia BarberDistortion of Love (Jazz)
Paul AnkaDuets (Vocals)

QUICKSILVER MESSENGER SERVICE – LIVE AT THE FILLMORE: JUNE 7, 1968 (POP/ROCK): Time to make room for another live set by Quicksilver Messenger Service, an often-overlooked band which has always been defined by the 1969 concert document Happy Trails. There’s an intriguing blend of rock, folk, blues, Bo Diddley, jazz, samba, bluegrass, a whisper of classical like patchouli on the breeze and some kind of crazy lysergic hoodoo, in a concert that makes the case all over again for Quicksilver as an unheralded — and utterly unique — architect of the psychedelic sound. (More here.) — Nick DeRiso

Ronnie Earl and the BroadcastersJust for Today (Blues)
Savoy BrownSongs from the Road (Blues)
Sax GordonShowtime! (Blues)

SLAYER – CHRIST ILLUSION; WORLD PAINTED BLOOD (POP/ROCK): American recordings re-releases Slayer’s two most recent albums. There was a lot of hype because of the return of original drummer Dave Lombardo (who is once again out of the band), but neither album really lived up to it. Both are good records, but they just kind of sound like Slayer. As much as metal fans often dislike it, sometimes there’s something to be said for a little bit of change and reinvention. — Fred Phillips

Steve KuhnVanguard Date (Jazz)

THE POSTAL SERVICE – GIVE UP [Deluxe 10th Anniversary Edition] (POP/ROCK): We get two “new” songs — actually some leftovers from an aborted follow up — as Postal Service presents a 10th anniversary reissue of its lone long-player, 2003′s Give Up. The two-disc CD or triple-disc LP set also include additional in-studio performances, B-sides and as well as “A Tattered Line of String” and — for us — the far more successful “Turn Around.” The latter is squelchy, hook-focused dance number, but with the kind of lyrical midnight-blue melancholy that propelled the glorious X-fueled nihilism of New Order back in the 1980s. And, of course, Ben Gibbard’s Postal Service, some two decades later. (More here.) — Nick DeRiso

TODD RUNDGREN – STATE (POP/ROCK): Todd Rundgren’s State ping pongs between electronica and full-on rock — sounding like a mash up of the synthesized experiments of 2011′s (re)Production and the grinding riffs of 2008′s Arena. As with the best of his music, State — Bon Iver meets the Nazz? Or maybe Nine Inch Nails meets the Buggles? — is neither fish nor fowl, at once diverse and of a piece. Still, for all of its blips and burps of sound, Rundgren has actually collected some of his most finely tuned recent performances at the mic here, recapturing the revealing depth — if not the wondrous romanticism — that marked 1970s-era hits like “Hello It’s Me.” (More here.) — Nick DeRiso

Tubby HayesThe Complete Tempo Recordings 1955-59 (Jazz)
U.D.O.Best of [Anniversary Edition]; Live From Russia (Pop/Rock)

VOLBEAT – OUTLAW GENTLEMEN AND SHADY LADIES (POP/ROCK): I’m interested to see how the success of their last record and the addition of former Anthrax guitarist Rob Caggiano will affect Volbeat, if at all. I’ve always loved the incredible variety they deliver on each record — from commercial rock to country and rockabilly to snarling extreme metal. I hope that continues here. — Fred Phillips


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