Due to some time pressures, kind of a quick one this week.


The Devil Put Dinosaurs Here – Alice In Chains

You learn something new every day: I didn’t know that Robert Duvall’s kid was fronting this band nowadays*. That’s pretty much all the news that’s fit to print, though; unless you had a strong (inexplicable) devotion to Layne Staley’s vocals, you’ll find this album of a piece with what’s come before from these folks: keening harmonies over dramatic minor-key changes, and all the brickwalled loudness you can stand.

*NOTE: this turned out to be a pack of lies. Fun for a while, though.



 Once I Was An Eagle – Laura Marling 

She was being compared to Joni Mitchell at an age when a woman is more likely to be dreaming of fucking pop stars, rather than actually doing so, and Marling’s now facing the same push-pull that Mitchell struggled with over the years: making the achingly, bitingly personal as melodically appealing as it is pruriently interesting. 2011’s A Creature I Don’t Know struck a surprisingly strong balance, and was both musically and lyrically her most expansive work yet. Once I Was An Eagle closes Marling back on herself; the musical pallette is starker, the thematic tone darker. No memories of mom, or picaresque tales of running off with the kids this time: “I will not be a victim of romance, circumstance / Or any man who could get his dirty little hands on me”, we’re warned; “I’m not your tiny dancer,” in a vocal performance that will be hard for anyone else to top this year.




Somewhere – Keith Jarrett Trio

The idea of Keith Jarrett and Broadway didn’t always go hand in hand, but his 80s’ formation of the so-called “Standards” Trio, with Gary Peacock and Jack DeJohnette, did more than just demonstrate Jarrett’s versatility; it brought a focus that has resulted in some of the most satisfing playing of his career, and the strongest parts of these 2009 Swiss shows feature stylish explorations of selections from Bernstein’s West Wide Story, including a brisk romp through “Tonight,” and a penetrating reworking of the title song, with its Jarett-improvised answer piece, “Everywhere.” Jarrett and company also work magical deconstruction/reconstruction on “Stars Fell On Alabama,” “Between The Devil And The Deep Blue Sea,” and “I Thought About You,” but more challenging material isn’t ignored, with the fifteen-minute opener than merges the improvisatory original “Deep Space” with Miles Davis’ “Solar.”


Other Notable 5/28 Releases

IV Play, The-Dream
All Hell Breaks Loose, Black Star Riders
Altered State, Tesseract
Blaze of Glory, Marshall Chapman
Blue Cheer Rocks Europe
Coal, Leprous
Construct, Dark Tranquillity
Currents, Eisley
Eldritch, Dark Blood Ceremony
False Idols, Tricky
Finding the Sacred Heart: Live in Philly 1986, Dio
Hope In Hell, Anvil
I Thought About You (A Tribute To Chet Baker), Eliane Elias
If All Now Here, Feathers
Live Acoustic, Guster
Magnetic, Terence Blanchard
Magnetized, Johnny Hates Jazz
Mon Pays, Vieux Farka Toure
RPM10, Rise Against
This World Oft Can Be, Della Mae
Time Stays We Go, Veils
Ultraviolet, Kylesa
Under The Covers, Gretchen Wilson
Universal Breakdown Blues, Popa Chubby
We Partyin’ Traditional Style, Kermit Ruffins
Weapon, Skinny Puppy
The White House Sessions Live 1962, Dave Brubeck and Tony Bennett
Womanchild, Cecile Mclorin Salvant
Wrote A Song For Everyone, John Fogerty