New Music Monday: R.E.M., Del-Lords, Suicidal Tendencies, Christian McBride, Blue Murder

A pair of big-selling 1980s albums from either end of the rock spectrum get the deluxe reissue treatment, one the then-emerging indie-rockers R.E.M. and the other the confirmed pop-rock stars Huey Lewis and the News.

Meanwhile, the Del-Lords (a shambolic delight, one of America’s many answers to the Clash) offer a triumphal reunion; and Randall Bramblett (best known for his work with Steve Winwood and Bonnie Raitt) stakes his own claim a corner of the Southern rock/soul/blues music legacy.

Christian McBride returns with a smart new album featuring his working band Inside Straight, while Living Colour drummer Will Calhoun shows you another side — his passion for jazz.

Noah Preminger, Mike Pride and Steve Jenkins also have swinging new projects out. The latter album, by Jenkins, also has a Living Colour connection with the presence of Vernon Reid.

Popa Chubby lays down from angry, angry blues, and we also see interesting refurbishings of music by Blue Murder, Aska and Suicidal Tendencies …

Agnetha FaltskogA (Pop/Rock)
Alexander O’NealHearsay (R&B)
Amy GrantHow Mercy Looks From Here (Gospel)

ASKA – NINE TONGUES (ROCK/METAL): This 1997 album from the Dallas outfit gets a re-release. Blending crunchy, AC/DC-style hard rock with traditional metal attitude, it’s a pretty good record, though I don’t like it as much as the follow up, 2000’s Avenger. — Fred Phillips

Badi Assad - Between Love and Luck (International)

BLUE MURDER – BLUE MURDER (ROCK/METAL): Here’s a new release of the debut album from Blue Murder, which featured former Whitesnake guitarist John Sykes, bassist Tony Franklin and drummer Carmine Appice. This is a criminally underrated record. (More here.) — Fred Phillips

Bobby McFerrinSpirityouall (Pop/Rock)
Bobby VintonRoses Are Red; The Big Ones (Vocals)
Bonnie TylerRocks and Honey (Pop/Rock)
Cheap TrickThe Complete Epic Albums Collection (Pop/Rock)

CHRISTIAN McBRIDE – PEOPLE MUSIC (JAZZ): Taking a page from Cannonball Adderley, who had a remarkable ability to take the complex and make it feel approachable, Christian McBride’s new album is as relatable as it is intense, as ebullient as it is substantive. The bassist offers a half an album’s worth of direct, imaginative compositions on People Music, even while opening up the floor elsewhere to his compatriots in the Inside Straight band. (More here.) — Nick DeRiso

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Culture ClubIcon (Pop/Rock)
Dave Brubeck QuartetLive at Juan-Les-Pins 1967 (Jazz)
David BowieZeit 77-79 [Import] (Pop/Rock)

DEL-LORDS – ELVIS CLUB (POP/ROCK): Back are the original trio of vocalist/guitarist Scott Kempner, vocalist/guitarist Eric Ambel and drummer Frank Funaro, with Michael “Duke” DuClos replacing founding bassist Manny Caiati. Back too is Kempner’s riff-tastic attitude, the emotional rawness and the sharp humor (“Elvis Club,” after all, was a passing prostitute’s insult to the band back in their stacked-up pompadour days) — all hallmarks of the Del-Lords’ best Reagan-era sides. (More here.) — Nick DeRiso

Demi LovatoDemi (Pop/Rock)
DevoLive in Seattle 1981 (Pop/Rock)
Duke Ellington1956-58 Small Group Recordings (Jazz)
Frank Sinatra and Count BasieSinatra-Basie; Sinatra and Swinging Brass (Jazz)
George StraitLove Is Everything (Country)
GotyeLike Drawing Blood (Pop/Rock)
Grand Funk RailroadIcon (Pop/Rock)
Head EastLive (Pop/Rock)
HeartIcon (Pop/Rock)

HUEY LEWIS AND THE NEWS – SPORTS: 30th Anniversary Edition (POP/ROCK): This imminently listenable brand of no-frills rock might have sold in any decade. But only in the 1980s, a period marked by a steep swing rightward after the polyester era’s excesses, could Huey Lewis and the News have been such big stars. Their sound, a combination of early rock (up to and including the prominent use of a sax), doo wop and slickster R&B, was redolent of another time — without being actually from another time. Arriving as Sports did, in an uncertain age, it was surrounded by an instant nostalgia for a time that never was. (More here.) — Nick DeRiso

Irakere and Chucho ValdesLive at Ronnie Scott’s, Birmingham (Jazz)
Irma ThomasIn Between Tears (R&B)

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Julie LondonSings Latin in a Satin Mood; Swing Me An Old Song (Vocals)
Johnny CashSongs of Our Soil; Hymns By Johnny Cash (Country)
Kings of LeonThe Collection Box (Pop/Rock)
Madlife21st Century Megalomaniac (Rock/Metal)

MIKE PRIDE – DRUMMER’S CORPSE; BIRTHING DAYS [with Bacteria to Boys] (JAZZ): Pride has always thrived on the outskirts of jazz, a trait reinforced by studying under Milford Graves and hanging out with the likes of Anthony Braxton, Otomo Yoshihide and John Zorn. But there’s this other avant side of Pride that resides outside even the furthest reaches of jazz, rooted instead in the farthest reaches of metal and improvised music. So “Drummer’s Corpse,” the song, is a thirty-three long drummers’ orgy; while Birthing Days has its share of mainstream jazz and aberrant jazz as before but skews toward the latter side. (More here, and here.) — S. Victor Aaron

Mud MorganfieldBlues Is in My Blood (Blues)

NOAH PREMINGER – HAYMAKER (JAZZ): The sharp, agreeable Haymaker will be Noah Preminger’s first album since the last one Before The Rain (2011) catapulted the tenor saxophone master to the front ranks of today’s current crop of young lions. On that last project, Preminger assembled a band full of heavy hitters around himself and made a widely lauded record, one that we ourselves proclaimed contained “understated mastery” and “a deeply cultivated approach.” This time around, he recorded with his working band, and the quality of the performers takes no perceptible drop. (More here.) — S. Victor Aaron

POPA CHUBBY – UNIVERSAL BREAKDOWN BLUES (BLUES): A fiery aggression surrounds Universal Breakdown Blues, as Popa Chubby doesn’t lament the dangerous and uncertain era in which we live so much as rail against it with all of his might. Populated with grippingly personal tales, and some of his most bold and dexterous guitar playing to date, this album is one part emotional release, one part confrontational triumph — and completely cathartic. The essential theme of Universal Breakdown Blues — which draws to a close amid volcanic clusters of notes on “Mindbender” — is one of hard times, and the hard choices that have to be made to get through them. (More here.) — Nick DeRiso

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QueensrycheIcon (Rock/Metal)

RANDALL BRAMBLETT – THE BRIGHT SPOTS (POP/ROCK): It would be easy enough to tag this as Southern rock, or as blues, or even — at times — as gospel, were Randall Bramblett’s The Bright Spots not so consistently all of those things, and something more. There’s also Ray Charles and Steve Forbert and Howlin’ Wolf and Stax Records, something that feels more deeply Southern in the sense that it settles into that crossroads moment when genres comingle into a spicy gumbo of emotion. Something that is, ultimately, Bramblett’s alone. (More here.) — Nick DeRiso

R.E.M. – GREEN: 25th Anniversary Deluxe Edition (POP/ROCK): Tracks like “Pop Song 89″ and “Stand” received airplay on the big-stick stations, but the real supernova moment for R.E.M. was, of course, still to come. For now, at least, those moments were tucked in with songs that still hearkened back to the smaller, more personal albums that had made them underground darlings in the first place. If there’s a complaint to be made about the album, it’s that there are so many things going on, beyond the pop hits and the now-familiar jangly, mumbly hagiography of R.E.M., that Green never comes together into a cohesive whole. (More here.) — Nick DeRiso

Simple MindsIcon (Pop/Rock)
S.O.S. BandS.O.S. (R&B)

STEVE JENKINS – AND THE COAXIAL FLUTTER (JAZZ): It would probably be easy to simply state that Jenkins is a virtuosic electric bassist, and IMHO he is, but there’s a tall stack of ace bassists who can play music but lack the conception to make records that are worth listening to for anything beyond the licks. Not so with The Coaxial Flutter, which pulls together many of his loves into a heavy fusion stew that strikes many balances at once: metal meets funk, ambient electronics meets drum ‘n’ bass and math rock meets jazzy grooves. (More here.) — S. Victor Aaron

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Steve LugernerFor We Have Heard (Jazz)

SUICIDAL TENDENCIES – LIGHTS … CAMERA … REVOLUTION! [Vinyl] (ROCK/METAL): I really need to start working on my vinyl collection. This album, a more or less straight thrash record, was a bit of a divisive one among ST fans, but I absolutely love it. — Fred Phillips

Tea Leaf GreenIn the Wake (Pop/Rock)
The DoorsInfinite [Box Set] (Pop/Rock)
The Everly BrothersDate With the Everly Brothers; The Fabulous Style (Pop/Rock)
The SupremesMeet the Supremes (Pop/Rock)
Tommy Emmanuel and Martin TaylorColonel and the Governor (Roots)
Trace AdkinsLove Will … (Country)
Vampire WeekendModern Vampires of the City (Pop/Rock)
WhitesnakeLittle Box O Snakes: Sunburst Years 1978-1982 (Rock/Metal)

WILL CALHOUN – LIFE IN THIS WORLD (JAZZ): Best known as the drummer in the barrier-breaking metal band Living Colour, Will Calhoun has quietly put together an impressive resume in jazz — notably performing with Wayne Shorter on the Grammy-winning effort High Life, while also appearing along side Jaco Pastorious, Pharoah Sanders, Jack DeJohnette, Marcus Miller and Herb Alpert, among others. This layered, always intriguing new project underscores the passion Calhoun — whose father passed along a love of jazz through a stack of old bebop LPs — brings to this second career. (More here.) — Nick DeRiso

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