Classic rock, prog rock, girl group and power pop styles are on tap thanks to four fabulous releases that celebrate timeless sounds with a 21st sensibility.
Artist: Justin Hayward
Title: Live in Concert at the Capitol Theatre (IM3 Global Entertainment)
You might like if you enjoy: The Moody Blues, Justin Hayward
Tell me more: Fresh on the heels of the release of Justin Hayward's All The Way album comes the DVD release of the concert film Live in Concert at the Capitol Theatre. The DVD features the singer-songwriter/lead guitarist performing 18 songs, including favorites from the Moody Blues, solo career highlights and newer material. An amazing look back at a his 50-year music career, highlights include an Renaissance flavored "Tuesday Afternoon" (where Hayward plays acoustic guitar while Julie Ragins plays keyboards), the breezy folk rock medley "It's Up To You"/"Lovely To See You," his wonderful new 12-string guitar anchored Americana original "The Western Sky," a solo performance of the holiday gem "December Snow," and potent versions of the Moody Blues' "Question" and "I Know You're Out There Somewhere." The official "The Wind of Heaven" music video and a solo acoustic performance of "Blue Guitar" and "Who Are You Now" are included as bonus features on the title. Audiophiles can choose between Dolby Stereo and Dolby Surround 5.1. Information: JustinHayward.com or IM3global.com.
Title: The Prelude Implicit (InsideOutMusic)
You might like if you enjoy: Kansas, Asia, Triumph
Tell me more: Before the release of their new album The Prelude Implicit last month, it had been 16 years since progressive rockers Kansas had released an album of new material ("Somewhere to Elsewhere" was released in 2000). The good news is that the seven-member ensemble has returned with an epic album that builds on the legacy of the band's 1970s masterworks (Leftoverture and Point of No Return) via virtuoso musicianship, ornate songcraft and timely lyrics that explore love, sacrifice, faith, and mortality with poetic force that is palpable. The fusion of melodic choruses and prog rock has always worked well for the band, and that magical formula will transfix discerning listeners on "The Voyage of Eight Eighteen," "Summer," the potent "Crowded Isolation" and other cuts. Information: insideoutmusic.com.
Artist: The Heaters
Title: American Dream: The Portastudio Recordings (Omnivore Recordings)
You might like if you enjoy: The Ronettes, the Shangri-Las, She & Him
Tell me more: The 1980s music world was about much more than New Wave, neo-rockabilly, metal hair bands and college rock. The release of The Heaters' American Dream: The Portastudio Recordings is a musical glimpse back at The Heaters, a group featuring Mercy Bermudez and sisters Maggie and Missy Connell. The 10-track disc features remastered and restored songs originally recorded more than 30 years ago on a multi-track cassette recorder, with the shimmering harmonies and propulsive songs blending the magic of the 1960s and '80s masterfully. The fast-moving disc is a joy start to finish, with the retro title track, lush "Just Around the Corner," aptly-titled "Rock This Place," and tuneful "Love Will Be Hurrying To You" capturing the exhuberence of the musicians' love of the golden era of girl groups that spanned from the mid-1950s to the late '60s. Information: omnivorerecordings.com.
Artist: The Legal Matters
Title: Conrad (Omnivore Recordings)
You might like if you enjoy: Fountains of Wayne, Crowded House, Matthew Sweet
Tell me more: Detroit trio the Legal Matters' sophomore disc Conrad is a spirited and wonderful effort that is anchored by the sterling harmonies of band mates Andy Reed, Chris Richards and Keith Klingensmith. But the threesome's great vocals wouldn't mean anything without first-rate songs and commanding musicianship, and fortunately those key components are everywhere on the 11-song Conrad. The musically textured/lyrically sharp "I'm Sorry Love," luxuriant "Minor Key" (that would be at home on a Crowded House disc), scintillating "Pull My String" and yearning "Hip Hooray" are among this writer's favorites. Information: omnivorerecordings.com.