Saturday, December 30, 2017

Rock 'n' Roll Revisited

Looking to spend those gift cards on some super cool rock albums that came out in 2017? Here is a roundup of a handful of great rock albums to consider.

Artist: Queens Of The Stone Age
Title: Villains (Matador Records)
You might like if you enjoy: Eagles of Death Metal, Band of Skulls
Tell me more: Produced by Mark Ronson, the latest album from Queens Of The Stone Age (Villains) marked a remarkable step forward for the band even while retaining what has always made the Palm Desert-spawned rockers so powerful. From the intoxicating riff rocker "The Way You Used To Do" and dreamy "Fortress" to the rapid-fire "Head Like a Haunted House" and swirling groove rocker "Hideaway," this is an album that pushes the creative boundaries of Joshua Homme's outfit in their first full-length effort since 2013's ...Like Clockwork. Information:

Artist: The Foo Fighters
Title: Concrete and Gold (RCA)
You might like if you enjoy: Queens of the Stone Age, 
Tell me more: There are times listening to the Foo Fighters' Concrete and Gold where I was suddenly surprised hearing echos of Beatlesque sounds ("The Sky Is A Neighborhood," "Dirty Water," "Happy Ever After (Zero Hour)"), but that is not to take anything away from a band that has released another epic album of memorable and decidedly original rock songs. The exhilarating "The Line," grooving "La Dee Da," and signature melodic rocker "Arrows" all deliver on band leader Dave Grohl's quest to blend a massive rock sound with interesting melodies and arrangements. Information:

Artist: Lindsey Buckingham and Christine McVie
Title: Lindsey Buckingham Christine McVie (Atlantic Records)
You might like if you enjoy: Fleetwood Mac, Lindsey Buckingham
Tell me more: A breezy and sumptuous album that captures the magic of Fleetwood Mac's Rumors, the first-ever collaboration between Lindsey Buckingham and Christine McVie was one of 2017's biggest and most welcome surprises. With 10 terrific songs performed with shimmering arrangements that showcase the affecting voices of Buckingham and McVie, the riches include the infectious "Feel About You," lush "Red Sun," power pop-mining "On With the Show" and piano-anchored ballad "Game of Pretend." Information:

Artist: Robert Plant
Title: Carry Fire (Nonesuch)
You might like if you enjoy: Robert Plant
Tell me more: Robert Plant's 11th solo studio LP Carry Fire is a wonderful and ambitious album that will please fans of the singer while they forever wait for a Led Zeppelin reunion. The title track "Carry Fire" visits the distant sounds of India, while the electronica-infused "Keep It Hid" might rest comfortably on a Moby disc. "Bones of Saints" is a more straightforward blues-flavored track; "Season's Song" is a lovely and expansive track. Every song on the album is very different from every other song, a reason that will provide listeners reason to explore and be rewarded with each new listen of "Carry Fire." Information:

Artist: Van Morrison
Title: Roll With The Punches (Caroline International)
You might like if you enjoy: Van Morrison, Lead Belly
Tell me more: Van Morrison has returned with the must-hear Roll With The Punches, his 37th studio album. Showcasing a full-on exploration of the blues, the 72-year-old singer offers up poignant takes on classics written by the legendary likes of Little Walter ("Mean Old World"), Bo Diddley ("I Can Tell"), Sister Rosetta Tharpe ("How Far From God") and Sam Cooke ("Bring It On Home To Me") and a handful of original songs too (the Chicago blues-styled "Ordinary People" is a standout). A wonderful and rousing addition to the Belfast native's impressive career. Information:

Robert Kinsler

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