New Music Monday: Dave Davies, John Oates, George Benson, Megadeth, Houndmouth, Genesis

The Kinks’ Dave Davies plugs back in for a sizzling new studio effort, as he travels the long road back from some debilitating health issues.

Meanwhile, John Oates continues his intriguing Good Road to Follow solo project.

George Benson pays loving, if not always necessarily compelling, tribute to vocal stylings of Nat King Cole. Elsewhere on the jazz scene, we’re grooving hard to Bernie Mora’s tough new fusion release.

Matt Kane’s got a great new thing with Dave Stryker, Ross Hammond continues to explore his inner John Scofield, and Rob Mazurek is mixing it up again with the Brazilian-tinged Sao Paulo Underground.

Fans of the Band’s brand of rough-hewn Americana will enjoy Houndmouth, though the brand-new Indiana group adds a twist or two to the tried-and-true formula set down by Robbie Robertson and Co. back in the 1960s.

Bang your head with Megadeth (who have an impressively named new one called Super Collider) and Metal Mike, best known for his work in the 1990s with Rob Halford of Judas Priest fame.

We also dug some reissues from the post-Peter Gabriel period for prog-rockers Genesis.

Finally, there’s the multi-star soundtrack to Ghost Brothers of Darkland Country, which sounds as spooky good as it actually us …

Albert KingRoadhouse Blues (Blues)
Amazing Rhythm AcesStacked Deck; Too Stuffed to Jump (Pop/Rock)
AshantiBraveHeart (R&B)
Barenaked LadiesGrinning Streak (Pop/Rock)
Barry ManilowUltimate Manilow (Pop/Rock)

BERNIE MORA AND TANGENT – DANDELION (JAZZ): On an album that’s full of unexpected twists and variety, often flaunts some Santana-styled Latin flavorings, some tough funk and some hard rockin’ with this album. Made with aces from both L.A. and Mora’s native El Paso, Texas, Dandelion is one of those fun, energetic instrumental rock-jazz albums that maintains its vibe while making every song an entity onto itself. It all sounds good, but the title song was the one that really blew me away (like a dandelion, right?). (More here.) — S. Victor Aaron

Bob DylanBob Dylan’s Greatest Hits, Vol. 2 [Gold Disc] (Pop/Rock)
Ben Folds FiveLive (Pop/Rock)
Carline RayVocal Sides (Jazz)
Charlie RobisonLive at Billy Bob’s Texas (Country)
Christopher LeeCharlemagne: Omens of Death (Rock/Metal)

DAVE DAVIES – I WILL BE ME (POP/ROCK): Thank Dave Davies, metal kids. Punk kids, too. His idea to take a razor to his Elpico prior to the Kinks’ recording the distortion-soaked “You Really Got Me” birthed a thousand garage bands. “Little Green Amp,” the lead song from this new solo effort, takes you right back there — directly referencing that tattered amplifier in its title, and the old Gillette-shredded sound in its riff. It’s a terrific kick off track, a glorious throwback to a culture-shifting Kinks gem, even as that seminal band continues a lengthy (and perhaps permanent) hiatus. (More here.) — Nick DeRiso

Deep PurpleLive In Copenhagen 1972 (Pop/Rock)
Django Festival AllstarsLive at Birdland 2012 [Anat Cohen; Dorado Schmitt; Pierre Blanchard, others] (Jazz)
Earl KlughHand Picked (Jazz)
FilterThe Sun Comes Out Tonight (Pop/Rock)
Frank ZappaA Token of His Extreme (Pop/Rock)

GENESIS – ABACAB; AND THEN THERE WERE THREE; DUKE; TRICK OF THE TAIL; WIND AND WUTHERING (POP/ROCK): A series of reissues focusing on the era immediately following Peter Gabriel’s departure, this contains some of Genesis’ best music. While Gabriel was a creative force for the band, Phil Collins vocals sparked mainstream success for the group — and guitarist Steve Hackett was at the peak of his powers. Wind and Wuthering, for instance, contains in “Your Own Special Way” their most beautiful love song. Meanwhile, the post-Hackett track “Abacab” reconciled the two sides of Genesis at conflict with each other, the end product being something almost an anathema to both prog and pop: a pulsating, seven-minute long jam. (More here.) — Something Else! Reviews

GEORGE BENSON – INSPIRATION: A TRIBUTE TO NAT KING COLE (JAZZ): George Benson’s chart successes in the 1970s and ’80s as a breezy R&B crooner have largely obscured his initial promise as a boss jazz guitarist with a intelligent, liquid tone — an heir to Wes Montgomery’s throne. The new Benson album, a tribute to a performer with this remarkably similar history of trading an underrated career as an instrumentalist for that of a pop vocalist, ensures that this wrong won’t be righted any time soon. (More here.) — Nick DeRiso

Gretchen WilsonUnder the Covers (Country)
HawkwindWarrior on the Edge of Time (Pop/Rock)

HOUNDMOUTH – FROM THE HILLS BELOW THE CITY (POP/ROCK): This isn’t about singles, isn’t about a moment in time — a passing thought. No, Houndmouth’s From the Hills Below the City is an experience, expressed through the currency of relationships not encounters, constructed as a narrative. Comparisons, inevitably, run toward the music of the Band, which staked out a stirring sense of continuity despite arriving amidst a youth-obsessed late-1960s culture of the now. Houndmouth records with a similar immediacy, too — with a wild-eyed freedom that plays out in fizzy instrumental moments and overlapped vocals. That said, the differences are consistent, notable — and all together impressive in their own right. (More here.) — Nick DeRiso

Jack WhiteJukebox (Pop/Rock)
Jann KloseMosaic (Pop/Rock)
Jeff WilliamsThe Listener (Jazz)

JOHN OATES with HOT CHELLE RAE, “HIGH MAINTENANCE” (POP/ROCK, single): The second in what promises to be an on-going series of single-song releases set to arrive monthly. “Stand Strong,” the debut track, debuted at the Nationwide Series race in Bristol. “We’re experimenting,” Oates told us. “We’re looking at it a little bit differently. We’ll release a song every month, and then maybe come out with a physical EP. Maybe there will be a series of EPs. Really, it’s uncharted territory. We’re just going to take it as it comes.” Oates says he’s recorded nearly 20 songs already, and sessions for a project called Good Road to Follow are on-going. (More here.) — Nick DeRiso

John O’GallagherThe Anton Webern Project (Jazz)
Killing JokeSingles Collection 1979-2012 (Pop/Rock)
Les McCannGospel Truth; McCanna; Soul Hits (Jazz)
Luis PerdomoLinks (Jazz)

MATT KANE TRIO – SUIT UP (JAZZ): The most impressive aspect of Kane’s style is his delicate touch, even when things get heated. He’s confident enough in his fills, shuffles and steady swing to define the beat, so he never has to resort to volume. But, actually, the presence of fellow Midwesterner Dave Stryker alone, who also contributed two songs, is enough to get me very interested in this, as is the shamefully underrated Kyle Koehler, who also made a big impact on guitarist Mike Arroyo’s album from earlier this year. (More here.) — S. Victor Aaron

MEGADETH – SUPER COLLIDER (ROCK/METAL): I never thought I’d see the day when I couldn’t muster any enthusiasm for a new Megadeth album, but I’m greeting this one with a big yawn. The couple of songs I’ve heard from it have been boring, and the up-and-down nature of most everything they’ve done since the early 1990s just doesn’t allow me to get my hopes up. Hopefully there will be better material on it. — Fred Phillips

METAL MIKE – THE METALWORKER (ROCK/METAL): I wasn’t aware of this record, but I’ll be checking it out. Guitarist “Metal” Mike Chlasciak was part of the team that reinvigorated Rob Halford’s sound in the late 1990s with his eponymous Halford project. It should be interesting to hear his solo work. — Fred Phillips

NektarDown To Earth (Pop/Rock)
PJ RasmussenAdventures in Flight (Jazz)
Pat TraversLive At The Bamboo Room (Pop/Rock)
Perry BeekmanSo In Love: Sings and Plays Cole Porter (Jazz)
Queens Of The Stone AgeLike Clockwork (Pop/Rock)
Rory BlockAvalon: A Tribute to Mississippi John Hurt (Blues)

ROSS HAMMOND QUARTET – CATHEDRALS (JAZZ): An extension of 2012′s Adored, using many of the same ideas, like keeping the compositions loose to encourage loose playing from his band, whether it be from rock vamps or free jazz, or something in-between. But also as before, the Ross Hammond Quartet makes music that’s neither fully jazz nor fully rock, but in some nether land in between the two. That, along with Hammond’s rough-toned guitar makes it a little reminiscent of pre-Miles John Scofield, and whatever edginess Sco had back then, Ross Hammond has that now. (More here.) — S. Victor Aaron

SAO PAULO UNDERGROUND – BEIJA FLORS VELHO E SUJO (JAZZ): Having led four different ensembles on four different albums since this group’s widely acclaimed 2011 release Tres Cabeças Loucuras, the incredibly multi-faceted Rob Mazurek turns his attention back toward this strange but strangely appealing alchemy of bright, festive Brazilian grooves, experimental Chicago jazz and lo-fi circuited effects and reverb drench. (More here.) — S. Victor Aaron

Steve Miller BandJoker; Journey from Eden; Recall the Beginning; Rock Love (Pop/Rock)
SweetSweetlife [Limited Edition] (Pop/Rock)
Tangerine DreamThe Angel Of The West Window (Pop/Rock)
The Doobie BrothersLive at Wolf Trap (Pop/Rock)
The Grateful DeadDick’s Picks 23: Baltimore Civic Center Baltimore (Pop/Rock)

VARIOUS ARTISTS – GHOST BROTHERS OF DARKLAND COUNTY (POP/ROCK): There’s a separate review to be written about the storyline that Stephen King and John Mellencamp devised. I was more interested as the release date for this album loomed) not in the spoken-word interludes, but in how the songs stood up as separate entities. Turns out, T Bone Burnett’s rustic approach brings out new things in these name-brand stars, and their appearances in juxtaposition to one another only add to the growing intrigue around this mist-shrouded, Southern gothic soundtrack. (More here.) — Nick DeRiso


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