Coleman Hell, Sum 41, OneRepublic, David Crosby and Stones mono box set tops this week's new music
Coleman Hell performs on the red carpet during the Much Music Video Awards in Toronto on Sunday, June 19, 2016. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Mark Blinch
ALBUMS OF THE WEEK
One-hit wonders come and go. Hell is in it for the long haul. That’s clear from his superbly executed debut album. Titled for the Wiccan afterlife, Summerland finds the raspy 2 Heads singer-songwriter balancing spiritual themes with a tale of earthly love, while expanding his infectious banjo-flecked EDM with Paul Simonesque pop and reggae. Best of the season.
Fun’s over, kids. In the wake of life-changing health, addiction and personal crises, Sum frontman Deryck Whibley gets understandably serious on his band’s sixth album. Meaning: Out go the usual mischievous punk-metal snot-rockets and in come anthemic arena-rockers with orchestrations, keyboards and a lyrical fixation on mortality and recovery. Sobering.
Oh My My
You can boogie if you try. And even if you don’t. Superstar tunesmith Ryan Tedder — who has penned hits for Adele, Beyonce and more — takes over the dance floor for his band’s fourth set. Setting his radio-ready melodies and hooks against low-impact EDM, Tedder and co. seems poised to dominate as many charts as humanly possible. Resistance is futile.
It’s all coming back to him now. For his second solo disc in three years, the rejuvenated ’60s folk icon harkens back to his 1971 debut If I Could Only Remember My Name, blending expertly plucked acoustic guitars with sweetly stacked harmonies. Snarky Puppy’s Michael League gets the MVP award, but Crosby’s sunlit pipes and freeflowing songs truly shine.
In the Now
Yesterday’s gone. So no wonder sole surviving Bee Gees brother Barry Gibb spends most of his first solo set in 32 years pondering loss, death, and goodbyes in his unmistakable, breathy quaver, surrounded by impeccably crafted Gibb-style pop. Thankfully, some carpe diem lyrics — and the input of his sons — confirm he’s looking toward tomorrow. Moving.
MEmphis Rock & Soul
Think the title is on the nose? You’ll feel the same about the music. As advertised, the raspy rocker drives south — specifically to Willie Mitchell’s Royal Studios — to faithfully cover (and occasionally update) Stax standards and southern soul classics by Otis, Sam & Dave, the Staples and more. Sure, it’s a well-travelled road. But it’s still an enjoyable trip.
Dean Ween Group
The Deaner Album
The Boognish rises again. While sometime-partner and recovering addict Gene tries to play it straight (literally and musically), guitarist Dean Ween continues to fly his freak flag high on this solo outing, gleefully veering between Allmans-style southern rock, Motörhead-homage metal and anything else that strikes his fancy. Big, bold, bizarre and brown.
Jimmy Eat World
They’re way past The Middle. But still not into their midlife crisis, thankfully. Continuing the mature approach of their last few albums, Jim Adkins and his Mesa pop-rockers temper the post-emo clang and angst of their youth with deliberately paced songs built from jangling melody — and voiced with the hard-won wisdom of maturity. The ride isn’t over yet.
Dunn ain’t done. And he ain’t dumb either. The Nashville vet stays true to his roots on his third disc — and even plays to his base by reuniting with Kix Brooks for a cut. But he also tries to lure the kids by covering the doo-woppy Ariana Grande title cut and balancing honky-tonk twang with more contemporary sonics on these lovestruck numbers. Hit and miss.
Hollywood, Shmollywood. In truth, Tinseltown is one thing Brian and Michael D’Addario — the teen sibs of Lemon Twigs — don’t mine on their stunning debut. Things they do: The Beatles, Kinks, Beach Boys, Harry Nilsson, Queen, Big Star, Bowie and more — all of which they seamlessly fuse into audaciously sweet falsetto-pop gems. The kids are all right.
First Ditch Effort
Growing up doesn’t mean growing old. Witness punk vets NOFX. Their 13th album may be their emotionally heaviest, with Fat Mike fearlessly spinning snarky but serious tales of drugs, sobriety, parenting, grief, crossdressing and self-loathing. But as usual, their amalgam of crunching metal riffs and bouncy, harmony-rich pop-punk keeps them forever young.
Reality TV claims another victim. KC frontman Ricky Wilson’s recent stint as a judge on The Voice UK is sadly reflected in his band’s sixth studio album, which jettisons the garage-punk rambunction and snark of old for generic, commercial synth-pop and disco singles produced by a guy whose resume includes Sugababes and Little Mix. They will be missed.
Splendor & Misery
From Broadway to the Milky Way. Clipping vocalist (and Hamilton co-star) Daveed Diggs and his experimental hip-hop trio head out of this world on their sophomore disc, spinning the bizarre tale of love between the survivor of an interstellar slave ship uprising and a computer. Claustrophobically noisy and theatrically compelling, it’s a quantum leap forward.
We all have our gods. As anyone who’s heard singer-songwriter Peyroux knows, hers include forebears like Tom Waits, Townes Van Zandt, Allen Toussaint and Sister Rosetta Tharpe. All of whom she warmly and lovingly covers on her intimately gorgeous eighth release, casually mixing country, folk, gospel, blues, reggae and more. Hallelujah and amen.
Death does not become them: It defines them. NOLA’s $uicideBoy$ — two cousins who go by a long list of aliases — specialize in pitch-black rhymes about losing, depression, drugs, death and suicide, set against glitchy, stark trap beats. You’ll want more — and there’s plenty: This is their 30th release in about two years. Talk about doing it to death.
A Loud Bash of Teenage Feelings
Yep and yep. There’s no denying the sophomore set from these Philly pop-punks lives up to both halves of its title. But thanks to the maturity and finesse of 40-something leader James Alex, this collection of fuzzy mosh-pit anthems, dusty vocals and Replacements-meets-Hüsker Dü-meets-Superchunk songcraft is also far more than the sum of its parts.
Red Hot Chilli Pipers
Yes, that’s right. It’s Pipers. As in bag. As in kilted Scottish dudes (and a full electric band) blowing their way through classic rock like La Grange, Jump and Fat Bottomed Girls, along with updated traditional fare like Wild Mountain Thyme. No, I don’t know why either. But give them credit: They’ve found a way to make the bagpipes even more annoying.
Doyle Bramhall II
What’s the diff between a sideman and a frontman? Not much in Brahmall’s case. The Texas singer-guitarist — who has backed Eric Clapton, Roger Waters and Elton John, among others — confidently commands the spotlight with his fourth batch of swampy blues-rock, sweet southern soul and rootsy exotica. Makes you wish he’d just stay there.
Beware of Darkness
Are You Real?
Kyle Nicolaides knows how to make an entrance. “Muthaf***a, I’m back,” the nasal frontman announces seconds into his band’s second album. And with that the California rockers are off, strutting and swaggering through a slinky, sleazy riff-fest that liberally nods to everyone from Led Zep to Cheap Trick to Jack White. Dunno about you, but they’re for real.
I’m Not Well
Sez who? Not anybody who’s spent quality time with this British indie power trio’s stunning debut. Packed with serrated guitars, driven by walloping beats and voiced in a throat-shredding yowl — but broadened with more poise, space, pacing and dynamic tension than most young bands possess — these cathartic squalls make a helluva first impression.
The Rolling Stones
Here it comes: The motherlode of Stones mono. This 15-CD set includes 186 meticulously remastered one-track mixes of virtually all the band’s ’60s studio recordings (including some rarities). The performances mostly remain the same, but the sonic differences are often unmissable, with denser sound and different elements in the foreground. You want this.
Birth of a Nation: The Inspired By Album
Inspired is the word. In several ways. The companion album to Nate Parker’s slave-rebellion period drama downplays archival fare in favour of hard-hitting rap and uplifting gospel and soul from a cast that includes Lil Wayne, Nas and Ne-Yo — many of whom spin tales of hardship and emancipation to tracks incorporating choirs and organs. Two thumbs up.
Say Yes! A Tribute to Elliott Smith
Why? Why not? Nearly 13 years after troubled singer-songwriter Smith’s tragic end, here’s the umpteenth celebration of his haunting and unforgettable music, lovingly reworked by indie VIPs like Tanya Donnelly, Amanda Palmer, Yuck and Juliana Hatfield — or boldly retooled by the likes of J Mascis, Jesu & Sun Kil Moon. Pity Smith isn’t here to appreciate it.
Running the Voodoo Down
The subtitle says it all. Explorations In Psychrockfunksouljazz 1967-80 is just what this psychedelically funky two-disc anthology is cooking. Most of it comes from usual suspects like Funkadelic, James Brown, Jimi and Miles — but there are enough surprises (including Fugi, Swamp Dogg, Warlock and Afropunk outfit Pure Hell) to make it worth your while.
Live in Munich 2012
Hallo everybody!! We are Scorpions band!! And we are still milking our phoney 2012 farewell tour!! Yes!! Last year, the Forever And a Day doc followed us to our “last show” — but didn’t include the 110-minute gig!! Why? So we could make you pay for it now!! Because we are greedy swine who want to bleed you like a hurri-cay-een!! Thank you!! Goodnight!!
Live in Montreux 1991
Five reasons to watch this 70-minute live DVD of the studio-rat band’s 1991 Swiss show: 1) They rock way harder than you expect; 2) It was taped on guitarist Steve Lukather’s first tour as lead singer; 3) It was also late drummer Jeff Porcaro’s final tour; 4) It includes Rosanna, Africa and solid covers of Hendrix and Sly; 5) Lukather’s finger-in-a-lightsocket hair.
The Beach Boys
Classic Albums: Pet Sounds
God only knows how many documentaries and retrospectives have been made about Brian Wilson and The Beach Boys’ 1966 masterpiece Pet Sounds. But hey, one more won’t hurt — especially this hour-long 50th-anniversary BBC celebration, which features the usual mix of vintage footage and recent interviews with Wilson and other key figures. Nice.
The Musikladen Concert 1981
The Tubes hit the tube. San Francisco’s rock satirists mount a typically over-the-top productions — complete with onstage ping-pong, mondo bondage, simulated human sacrifice, rapping businessmen and sushi sex — in this 90-minute set for German TV in 1981. Quay Lewd is sadly MIA, but cuts from their unreleased Suffer for Sound album make up for it.
Louder Than Love: The Grande Ballroom Story
Every city has hallowed music venues. Detroit’s included the Grande (rhymes with brandy) Ballroom, the home of ’60s acts like The MC5, Stooges, Alice Cooper, Grand Funk and Ted Nugent — many of whom (along with other rockers, staffers and customers) reminisce about gigs, groupies and glory days in this fascinating 70-minute doc. Kick out the jams.
IN THE PIPELINE
Nobody But Me
Miles Davis Quintet
Freedom Jazz Dance: The Bootleg Series, Vol 5
Fall Out Boy
The Boys of Zummer Tour: Live in Chicago
On (and Off) The Road 1981-1984
The Serenity of Suffering
The Great Southern Trendkill: 20th Anniversary Edition
The Wonder of You: Elvis Presley With The Royal Philharmonic Orchestra
The Pretty Reckless
Who You Selling For
Live At The Whisky A Go Go: The Complete Recordings
John K. Samson
Live at The House of Blues, Las Vegas
World On a String