Tuesday, December 27, 2022

TJR and Robert Kinsler discuss their favorite reissues of 2022

Watch the new episode where TJR and Robert Kinsler discuss some of their favorite reissues of 2022. Titles from the celebrated likes of Joni Mitchell, The Beach BoysNeil Young, RushElton John and more are featured! View the episode HERE.

You can also check out Robert's full list of his favorite 22 new reissues and special editions of 2022 HERE.

Robert Kinsler's favorite 22 reissues, live albums, compilations and special releases of 2022

This year was a terrific one for lovers of expanded deluxe reissues, live sets and special editions...

The Beach Boys
Title: Sounds Of Summer  The Very Best Of The Beach Boys (Capitol/UMe)
You might like if you enjoy: The Beach Boys, Brian Wilson, Mike Love, Jan and Dean
Tell me more: Originally released back in 2003, the wonderful collection Sounds Of Summer: The Very Best Of The Beach Boys was an immediate commercial success remaining on the charts for 104 weeks and ultimately earning 4x platinum certification for sales of four and a half million albums. Fast forward to 2022 and that 30-track collection has been expanded to a total of 80 tracks in celebration of The Beach Boys' yearlong 60th anniversary celebration. It includes 26 new mixes, two first-time stereo mixes as well as 24 new-and-improved stereo mixes. The good news is that both casual and die-hard fans of the beloved group will be rewarded with this expansive title. The parade of stellar hits that spans disc 1 is certainly a great overview of the band's timeless radio favorites ("California Girls," "Surfing' Safari," "Don't Worry Baby," In My Room," "God Only Knows," "Good Vibrations" and so many more), but discs 2 and 3 provide a vast and wider appreciation of the Beach Boys via treasures from the '60s, '70s and '80s. Among the standout selections include the luxurious "All Summer Long," lovely "Disney Girls," tender "Forever," joyous "Sail on Sailor," shimmering "Baby Blue," ambitious "Wind Chimes," harmonies-filled "Add Some Music To Your Day" and rollicking garage rocker "All I Want To Do." Sounds Of Summer: The Very Best Of The Beach Boys is available in a variety of formats including digitally, 3CD soft pack and as a Super Deluxe Edition 6LP vinyl boxed set on 180-gram black vinyl in two options - a standard set or a numbered, limited edition version featuring a rainbow foil slipcase and four collectible lithographs. Information: TheBeachBoys.com.

The Beatles
Title: Revolver Special Edition (Capitol Records)
You might like if you enjoy: The Beatles, The Zombies
Tell me more: The Beatles' 1966 album Revolver is widely considered one of the British band's most beloved albums. The newly-released Revolver Special Edition showcases just how brilliant John LennonPaul McCartneyGeorge Harrison and Ringo Starr — along with producer George Martin and engineer Geoff Emerick — were at creating one of the greatest recordings of the 20th century over the course of a few short months leading up to its release in August 1966. The range of material across the album astounds; listeners will be reminded how many light years ahead the Fab Four were compared to their contemporaries. The material ranges from Harrison's propulsive rocker "Taxman," yearning "I Want To Tell You" and Indian music-immersed "Love You To" to McCartney's beautiful Baroque gem "For No One" and rapturous R&B blast "Got To Get You Into My Life." Lennon's talents are showcased via the driving power pop nugget "And Your Bird Can Sing," rollicking "Doctor Robert" and experimental masterpiece "Tomorrow Never Knows." The expanded deluxe edition of Revolver (the Super Deluxe 5CD Edition is the title reviewed in this column) includes a new stereo mix of the album by GRAMMY Award winning producer Giles Martin (son of the late George Martin) and Sam Okell, two "Sessions CDs" of outtakes, rehearsals, demos and studio chat, the original 1966 mono album, along with a bonus EP with stereo mixes and the original 1966 mono versions of "Paperback Writer" and "Rain" (those two epic singles preceded the release of Revolver). The expanded Revolver Special Edition also includes a 100-page book with a foreword by McCartney, an essay by Questlove, detailed track notes, photographs and ephemera including handwritten lyrics, tape boxes and extracts from artist Klaus Voormann's graphic novel on the making of the GRAMMY-winning original album cover. Information: TheBeatles.com

Bobby Cole
Title: A Point Of View (Omnivore Recordings)
You might like if you enjoy: Frank Sinatra, Tony Bennett
Tell me more: One of 1967's most legendary albums is finally available via a remastered and expanded version sure to please fans of jazz and '60s recordings. Bobby Cole's A Point Of View exceeds its legendary status thanks to the late artist's incredible talents as singer, songwriter and pianist as well as Grammy-winning producer Cheryl Pawelski and remastering from Michael Graves. The lovely "But It's Spring" is soaked in melancholy, Cole's vocal strengths showcased in each distinctive note of his delivery. Available on audio CD and digital now, a double-LP version is slated for Fall 2022. The inspired jazzy gems that are revisited on the collection include the fleet "Heat," affecting ballad "You Could Hear a Pin Drop," soaring "A Perfect Day," evocative "Elegy For Eve" and reflective "I'm Growing Old." There a number of of previously-unissued bonus tracks to discover too; the rollicking "Checkerboard Life," mournful "How The Lonely Spend Their Time," haunting "I Never Saw The Shadows," stirring "When She Was In Love With Me" and romantic "The Midnight Flower" shed abundant light on Cole's virtuosity. Information: OmnivoreRecordings.com.  

Creedence Clearwater Revival
Title: At The Royal Albert Hall (Craft Recordings)
You might like if you enjoy: John Fogerty, Creedence Clearwater Revival
Tell me more: The long-awaited release of Creedence Clearwater Revival's legendary April 14, 1970 performance at London's Royal Albert Hall is an absolute joy. Grammy-winning producer Giles Martin and engineer Sam Okell mixed and restored the original multitrack tapes; the result is a recording that spectacularly captures the legendary quartet (singer-lead guitarist John Fogerty, rhythm guitarist Tom Fogerty, drummer Doug "Cosmo" Clifford, bassist Stu Cook) at the height of their powers. The fast-moving 12-song set on At The Royal Albert Hall finds the El Cerrito, California-spawned outfit tearing through a mix of timeless hits and lesser known nuggets with bona fide zeal. While casual rock fans will love the powerful takes on "Born on the Bayou," "Green River," Travelin' Band," Bad Moon Rising" and "Proud Mary," aficionados will be equally thrilled by the Lew Herman-penned blues-rock juggernaut "The Night Time Is the Right Time," rollicking take on Little Richard's "Good Golly Miss Molly" and the ferocious Southern-fried closer "Keep on Chooglin'," the latter bolstered by John Fogerty's impressive work on both blues harmonica and lead guitar. In addition to the concert recording being available on audio CD and vinyl, Netflix subscribers can view the full concert that anchors the excellent Jeff Bridges-narrated documentary "Travelin' Band: Creedence Clearwater Revival at the Royal Albert Hall." Information: CraftRecordings.com.

Marshall Crenshaw
Title: #447 (Shiny-Tone)
You might like if you enjoy: Marshall Crenshaw, The Smithereens, Gin Blossoms
Tell me more: In 2020, Marshall Crenshaw launched a series of reissues focused on a handful of his classic albums beginning with the release of his 1996 album Miracle of Science. On Feb. 4, 2022, a deluxe and expanded edition of his 1999 masterwork #447 was released. This was an ambitious effort featuring Crenshaw on lead vocals, guitar, bass, drums, percussion and vintage keyboards; the album was bolstered by the contributions of Bill LloydGreg LeiszAndy York and former E. Street Band member David Sancious. Remastered with perfection by engineer Greg Calbi, the new edition of #447 allows listeners to rediscover a parade of outstanding selections including the melodic "Television Light," Americana "Glad Goodbye," jazzy instrumental "Eydie's Tune," power pop gem "T.M.D." and Irresistible "Tell Me All About It" along with two new bonus tracks (the terrific roots rocker "Will of the Wind" and a wistful cover of Gregg Turner's "Santa Fe"). Information: MarshallCrenshaw.com.  

The Cure
Title: Wish: 30th Anniversary Deluxe Edition (Elektra/WEA)
You might like if you enjoy: The Cure, The Church
Tell me more: The Cure's 1992 outstanding Wish was reissued as a deluxe, must-have 30th Anniversary Deluxe Edition in 2022. The expanded edition includes 45 tracks (all compiled by band leader Robert Smith), including 24 previously-unreleased tracks and four new to audio CD. CD 1 features the original album, newly remastered by Smith and Miles Showell at Abbey Road Studios. The second disc features 21 previously unreleased demos. The third disc includes the four tracks from the mail-order only cassette "Los Wishes" released in 1993 and a slew of other gems. A truly must-have celebration of one of the best albums of the 1990s. Information: thecure.com.

The Hagers
Title: The Complete Capitol Albums (Omnivore Recordings)
You might like if you enjoy: The Everly Brothers, Buck Owens, Merle Haggard
Tell me more: Listening to the wonderful recordings that fill Omnivore Recordings' The Complete Capitol Albums by American country duo The Hagers, it defies belief that the team failed to ever score a top hit on the Billboard charts. Jim and John Hager recorded three albums for Capitol Records: The Hagers and Two Hagers Are Better Than One in 1970, and Motherhood, Apple Pie & The Flag in 1971. Additionally, the identical twins appeared 135 times on "Hee Haw" between 1969 and 1985. With the appreciation and explosion of Americana and roots music over the past decade, it's not a stretch to see there may very well be a new appreciation of The Hagers in 2022. The vocal talents of the twins shine across the 30-track collection. The lovely "Loneliness Without You," lively "I'm Her Fun," affecting take on Buck Owens' "Tender Loving Care," soaring "Give It Time," elegant "Flowers Need Sun Too" and nuanced cover of Merle Haggard's "Silver Wings" are early highlights. Late disc standouts include the lovely "Second Fiddle," lovely "I'm Miles Away," countrified "Motherhood, Apple Pie & The Flag," alluring "Four Strong Winds" and Everly Brothers-styled "California On My Mind." Information: OmnivoreRecordings.com.

Janis Joplin & Jorma Kaukonen
Title: The Legendary Typewriter Tape: 6/25/64 Jorma's House (Omnivore Recordings)
You might like if you enjoy: Janis Joplin, Jefferson Airplane, Hot Tuna
Tell me more: Set for release on Dec. 2, The Legendary Typewriter Tape: 6/25/64 Jorma's House is an important and historical release featuring singer Janis Joplin and guitarist Jorma Kaukonen (Jefferson AirplaneHot Tuna along with Jorma's wife Margareta Kaukonen typing away intermittently in the background  recorded on a reel-to-reel machine at the beginning of their respective careers. Although the recording has previously been available via inferior bootlegs, the official version released by Omnivore Recordings today (Dec. 2, 2022) features restoration and mastering from Grammy-winner Michael Graves and sounds wonderful. There are a mix of originals and reworked blues standards. Joplin's own "Kansas City Blues," the evocative "Hesitation Blues," a moving take on Jimmie Cox's "Nobody Knows You When You're Down and Out," and the fiery Joplin-penned "Daddy, Daddy Daddy" are among the winning performances captured back in the summer of 1964. Information: OmnivoreRecordings.com.

The Kinks
Title: Muswell Hillbillies / Everybody's in Show-Biz  Everybody's a Star (BMG)
You might like if you enjoy: The Kinks, Blur
Tell me more: The 2CD version Muswell Hillbillies / Everybody's in Show-Biz  Everybody's a Star combines two classic albums from the Kinks. Both 1971's Muswell Hillbillies and 1972's Everybody's in Show-Biz  Everybody's a Star were remastered for the 50th anniversary reissue and several bonus tracks are included on the title. In edition to the 2CD version, the title is available via a deluxe box set, as well as a 1LP, 2LP, and via digital. Information: bmg.com.

Kris Kristofferson
Title: Live at Gilley’s - Pasadena, TX: September 15, 1981 (New West Records)
You might like if you enjoy: Kris Kristofferson, Willie Nelson, Michael Ubaldini, Johnny Cash 
Tell me more: Recorded at Gilley's in Pasadena, Texas on Sept. 15, 1981, Kris Kristofferson's latest release is truly a celebration of the 86-year-old Brownsville, Texas native's enduring and timeless songcraft. From the raucous opener "Me And Bobby McGee," poignant "Casey's Last Ride" and poetic mandolin-adorned "The Pilgrim" to the deeply affecting "For The Good Times" and tender "Loving Her Was Easier (Than Anything I'll Ever Do Again)," the freewheeling concert event is a delightful trip back to a historic outing captured when Kristofferson was at the height of his powers. Other standouts on the 15-track Live at Gilley’s - Pasadena, TX: September 15, 1981 include the sparse "Here Comes That Rainbow Again" and "Nobody Loves Anybody Anymore," the country nugget "If It's All The Same To You" and bona fide classic "Sunday Mornin' Comin' Down." Information: NewWestRecords.com.

The Left Banke
Title: Strangers on a Train (Omnivore Recordings)
You might like if you enjoy: The Zombies, The Hollies, Badfinger
Tell me more: Best known for their hit singles "Walk Away Renee" and "Pretty Ballerina," the Left Banke's story extended beyond those '60s radio favorites as evidenced on a newly-released expanded edition of the troupe's third and final album Strangers on a Train. The new remastered collection rightfully celebrates the New York-spawned baroque pop group's final recordings gathered together on an essential disc of 16 outstanding cuts. Originally featuring the talents of songwriter/keyboardist Michael Brown, lead singer Steve Martin Caro, bassist/vocalist Tom Finn and drummer/singer George Cameron, the Left Banke recorded two LPs in the late 1960s (Walk Away Renée/Pretty Ballerina and The Left Banke Too) before breaking up in 1969. However, the world was reintroduced to the Left Banke via Strangers on a Train issued in 1986; that album was actually a collection recorded in 1978 by Caro, Finn and Cameron. The final chapter came in 2001 when Brown invited Caro to lay down vocals on demos for a hoped-for Left Banke reunion   six of those songs complete the new Omnivore Recordings title. The enticing title track, melodic "Heartbreaker," Beatlesque "Hold On Tight" and wistful "Yesterday's Love" are among the strong early selections on the set. The chamber pop gem "And One Day," gorgeous "I Can Fly," harmonies-filled "Only My Opinion" and funk-meets-disco "Queen of Paradise" along with previously-unheard bonus tracks (notably the lovely "Airborne," confessional "I Don't Know" and gorgeous "Until The End") help keep the momentum soaring high. Information: OmnivoreRecordings.com.  

Lions & Ghosts
Title: Velvet Kiss, Lick of The Lime (Sparkle Plenty Records/Deko Entertainment)
You might like if you enjoy: Simple Minds, Altered State, The Replacements, The Church
Tell me more: Signed to EMI for two albums that were issued in the late 1980s, Los Angeles-based Lions & Ghosts' wonderful 1987 debut Velvet Kiss, Lick of The Lime has been reissued digitally with bonus tracks and even a new single (the shimmering "Gurl I Luv You"). Thirty five years after it was originally released, Velvet Kiss, Lick of The Lime delights and will leave listeners wondering why the quartet didn't garner more attention. The enthralling opener "Passion," bouncy "Man In A Car," driving '80s-styled rocker "Mary Goes Round," and harpsichord-anchored chamber pop gem "Stay" are early standouts on the reissue. The jazzy detour "Girl On A Swing," propulsive "Love & Kisses From The Gutter," yearning "Wilton House" and funky "Contradiction" keep up the disc's power in its last half. Lions & Ghosts featured the talents of singer-songwriter Rick Parker, guitarist Michael Lockwood, bassist Todd Hoffman and drummer Micheal Murphy. Information: DekoEntertainment.com.

The Loud Family and Anton Barbeau
Title: What If It Works? (Omnivore Recordings)
You might like if you enjoy: Game Theory, Anton Barbeau, Big Star, The Three O'Clock
Tell me more: Founded by singer-songwriter Scott Miller in 1982, Game Theory released a number of outstanding albums and several EPs that secured the power pop band's hero status. After the end of Game Theory in 1990, Miller recruited a new group of players and formed The Loud Family. In 2014, Omnivore Recordings began to release a series of remastered and expanded reissues of Game Theory's complete catalog. That record label's ambitious effort to champion the work of Miller now includes an expanded and deluxe edition of The Loud Family's 2006 album What If It Worksan LP which found Miller teaming with rising singer-songwriter Anton Barbeau to create a true masterpiece (sadly, Miller passed away in 2013 at the age of 53).  The material across What If It Works? is melodic to be sure, but the surrounding layers made up of literate songwriting, sharp musical arrangements, great musicianship and experimental elements make for an action-packed listen with new discoveries to be heard with every listen. Just listen to original album track-list offerings "Rocks Off" (a Rolling Stones cover), "Pop Song 99," "Flow Thee Water" and the title track, as well as bonus tracks like the cascading "Don't Bother Me While I'm Living Forever," melodic "I've Been Craving Lately," and rocking "Little Daisy." The reissue features the original 10-track release, as well as more than a dozen bonus tracks. The wonderful packaging includes a 16-page booklet filled with photos, an essay from Stew Stewart, and a conversation between Barbeau and Scott Miller's widow (Kristine Miller) discussing the making of the album. Information: OmnivoreRecordings.com

The Muffs
Title: Really Really Happy (Omnivore Recordings)
You might like if you enjoy: The Muffs, The Pandoras, Pixies
Tell me more: Nearly 18 years after its original release, an expanded and essential edition of The Muffs' 2004 album Really Really Happy was released May 13 through Omnivore Recordings. The original album's highlights include the catchy opener "Freak Out," yearning "A Little Luxury," tuneful "Something Inside," hard-hitting "And I Go Pow," heartfelt "How I Pass The Time," the introspective closer "The Story of Me" and a parade of other great songs. The lineup of 22 bonus tracks includes 16 of Kim Shattuck's original demos for the album along with the previously unissued "My Imagination," "Just The Beginning" and "I Hate Gym." The fusion of tight melodic punk rock, melody-anchored songcraft and strong production make for a fantastic listen across the double-CD title. In addition to Shattuck (vocals, guitar, harmonica), the Muffs' lineup includes Ronnie Barnett (bass, toy piano) and Roy McDonald (drums, percussion). Information: OmnivoreRecordings.com.  

Title: Live From Hollywood (Frontiers Music Srl)
You might like if you enjoy: Orianthi, Nita Strauss, Michael Jackson's "This Is It" documentary
Tell me more: Singer-songwriter/guitar hero Orianthiis back with Live From Hollywood, a sharp 11-track set of hard-hitting melodic rock captured on Jan. 8, 2022 at the Bourbon Room in Hollywood, CA.  The release  available on audio CD/DVD and Blu-ray  sees the guitarist and her excellent five-member backing band playing songs from the Australia native's most recent release O (notably the hard rocking lead-off track "Contagious," soulful "Sinners Hymn" and edgy "Impulsive") and audience favorites like the kiss-off "What's It Gonna Be?" and stirring romantic cut "Blues Won't Leave Me Alone." Additional highlights include the AC/DC-styled "Think Like A Man," undeniable ear candy hit "According To You" and blues rock-mining album closer "How Do You Sleep?" Orianthi has a winning soprano and her astonishing guitar work impresses at every turn. Information: Facebook.com/Orianthi

The Rolling Stones
Title: Licked Live In NYC (Mercury Studios)
You might like if you enjoy: The Rolling Stones, Mick Jagger, Keith Richards 
Tell me more: Originally released in 2003 as an HBO special and as part of the Four Flicks package, The Rolling Stones' outstanding Licked Live In NYC has been fully restored and remastered with bonus material that shines a light on the legendary band's 40th Anniversary Tour; the legendary tour included 117 shows and was noteworthy for including the group's first-ever concert in Hong Kong. This title captures the Stones' Madison Square Garden show staged in January 2003; standout versions performed by the band include a fiery "Start Me Up," the melodic Mick Jagger track "Don't Stop," lively "Happy" featuring Keith Richards on lead vocals, magic "Gimme Shelter" (with Lisa Fischer trading vocals with Jagger), rowdy "You Got Me Rocking" and "Honky Tonk Woman" (the latter with guest Sheryl Crow) and fiery "It's Only Rock 'n' Roll" and "Brown Sugar." The DVD+2CD version (reviewed in this column) looks and sounds terrific; it includes previously-unreleased performances of "Start Me Up," "Tumbling Dice," "Gimme Shelter" and "Sympathy For The Devil," along with three bonus performances from Amsterdam and rehearsal footage. Licked Live In NYC is also available via SD Blu-ray+2CD (wit includes the additional 51-minute documentary "Tip Of The Tongue"), as a standalone 2CD and 3LP. Information: rollingstones.com.  

The Police
Title: The Police: Around The World Restored & Expanded (Mercury Studios)
Tell me more: With record sales of more than 75 million, The Police are one of the best-selling bands of all time. More importantly, the English rock troupe was one of the most groundbreaking bands to emerge in the late 1970s. In fact, no band has ever blended punk, reggae, jazz and indie rock with the craft and swagger displayed by Sting (lead vocals, bass guitar), Andy Summers (guitar, backing vocals) and Stewart Copeland (drums, percussion, backing vocals). Seemingly at the height of the trio's popularity  following the release of their final studio album (1983's chart-topping Synchronicity they disbanded in 1986.

Now the release of The Police: Around The World Restored & Expanded casts a welcome spotlight on the rise of The Police and their ambitious beginnings and truly meteoric rise. The band's first worldwide tour that took them to six continents in 1979 and 1980 is revisited via a remastered and expanded set available in several different configurations. The Blu-ray+CD version reviewed her is a revelation; the remastered audio and restored visual elements are terrific and the overall quality of the title is sure to please casual fans as well as audiophiles. Bonus features on the Blu-ray include complete live performances of "Walking On The Moon," Next To You," "Message In A Bottle" and "Born In The 50's."

Watching Sting, Summers and Copeland perform is great, and the mix of performance footage with behind-the-scenes candid scenes of the members exploring he Great Pyramids in Egypt, exploring ancient ruins in Greece, jamming with traditional instruments in India and one sequence of Summers wrestling in Japan are fun to be sure.

Information: www.thepolice.com and www.mercurystudios.co.

Title: Moving Pictures 40th Anniversary Deluxe (Mercury Records)
You might like if you enjoy: Rush, Triumph, progressive rock
Tell me more: Rush's best-known album, 1981's Moving Pictures, has been reissued in several first-rate configurations. Moving Pictures 40th Anniversary Deluxe edition reviewed here is a 3-disc version featuring the 2015 remaster of the original album (available on audio CD for the first time) and the complete, unreleased Toronto concert from March 25, 1981. Also included is a booklet with new illustrations by Hugh Syme, plus liner notes by Kim Thayil, Les Claypool, Taylor Hawkins, Bill Kelliher and Neil Sanderson. It's clear that disc 1 features stellar versions of many of the rock trio's most beloved originals ("Tom Sawyer," "Red Barchetta," "YYZ," "Limelight"), and the aforementioned concert features a terrific track listing sure to please fans of the band. The audio quality of the historic concert in the band's hometown of Toronto includes outstanding sounding versions of classics such as "Freewill," "Limelight," "The Trees," "YYZ," "Xanadu" and "Closer To The Heart." Information: Rush.com.

The Smithereens
Title: The Lost Album (Sunset Blvd. Records)
You might like if you enjoy:The Beatles, The Who, Buddy Holly
Tell me more: When Pat DiNizio passed away in December 2017, it appeared that the Smithereens' aptly-titled 2011 would serve as the final statement from the original lineup of the top-tier band. Fast forward to 2022 and the release of the truly miraculous The Lost Album (released on Sept. 23 via Sunset Blvd. Records). Recorded in the fall of 1993 when the New Jersey-spawned quartet was between record labels, the full-length set of songs is a bona fide masterwork featuring a dozen melodic rockers courtesy of the aforementioned DiNizio on lead vocals and rhythm guitar, lead guitarist Jim Babjak, bassist Mike Mesaros and drummer Dennis Diken. The parade of great originals includes the tender "Dear Abby," melodic rocker "A World Apart" (bolstered by an especially tuneful guitar solo), heavy "Stop Bringing Me Down," fiery garage rocker "Monkey Man," Beatlesque "Face the World With Pride" and confessional closer "All Through The Night." My favorite track on the album is the wistful and haunting "Don't Look Down," with DiNizio's signature baritone probing self-doubt with the stylish candor that fueled many of the Smithereens' most beloved classics. Information: OfficialSmithereens.com.

Hank Williams
Title: I'm Gonna Sing: The Mother's Best Gospel Radio Recordings (BMG)
You might like if you enjoy: Hank Williams, Hank Snow, Gram Parsons
Tell me more: The 2022 Hank Williams collection I'm Gonna Sing: The Mother's Best Gospel Radio Recordings marks a perfect chance to discover (or rediscover) the art of Hank Williams. Although he died when he was only 29, Williams remains one of the most significant and influential American singer-songwriters of the 20th century even nearly 70 years after his passing. The track listing on I'm Gonna Sing never falters, with harmonies-adorned pre-20th century hymns ("I Am Bound For The Promised Land," "That Beautiful Home," "The Blind Child's Prayer"), early 20th century hymnals ("The Old Country Church," "I'll Fly Away," "I'll Have A New Life"), black gospel ("When God Dips His Love In My Heart," "When the Saints Go Marching In," "Precious Lord, Take My Hand"), 1940s material ("Thy Burdens Are Greater Than Mine," "Searching For A Soldier's Grave") and Williams originals ("I Saw the Light," "Jesus Died For Me," "I'm Gonna Sing," "Jesus Remembered Me") collectively showcasing Williams' deep and life-long connection with gospel and religious music. The audio 2-CD digipak version reviewed here comes with an informative 12-page booklet that includes detailed liner notes by Williams biographer Colin Escott. The set has also been released via a three-LP triple-gatefold album pressed on 140g vinyl, marking the first time these recordings have been issued on vinyl. The 40 tracks recorded at the dawn of the 1950s sound fantastic; the collection was produced by Cheryl Pawelski while the recordings were restored and mastered by Michael Graves. Information: HankWilliams.com.

The Zombies
Title: The Zombies - Live From Studio Two (Red House Records)
You might like if you enjoy: The Zombies 
Tell me more: Concertgoers attending any of The Zombies recent tour dates will want to pick up a copy of The Zombies - Live From Studio Two, a CD+DVD release that features the group's live performance captured at Abbey Road Studios in London on Sept. 18, 2021. The only performance staged by the British rock group in 2021, the 90-minute performance shines as both a concert film and audio-only affair. At the Sept. 18, 2021 concert, the quintet thrilled with a mix of enduring classics, artful covers, deep cuts as well as the live premiere of new songs set to be included on an as-of-yet untitled album likely to be released sometime this year. Led by founding members Rod Argent (keyboards, vocals) and Colin Blunstone (lead vocals), the group also includes guitarist-backing vocalist Tom Toomey, drummer Steve Rodford and bassist-backing vocalist Søren Koch. The five members have a strong chemistry and together display top-tier musicianship and resplendent harmonies bringing the Zombies signature masterful style blending classic rock, baroque pop, jazz and blues to life throughout their 90-minute performance. Blunstone's vocals defy time, and his soaring tenor remains a true wonder. The release is also available for purchase on the group's website. Information: TheZombiesMusic.com


Phil Lynott, Thin Lizzy
Titles: "Phil Lynott Songs For While I'm Away"; "Thin Lizzy The Boys Are Back In Town Live At The Sydney Opera House October 1978" (Mercury Studios)
You might like if you enjoy: Thin Lizzy, Gary Moore, music documentary films
Tell me more: Regardless if you are a hardcore or casual fan, or know very little about Irish singer-songwriter-bassist Phil Lynott of Thin Lizzy fame, a wonderful new dual title marks the perfect chance to learn more about the groundbreaking artist. Available as a Blu-ray+DVD+CD (reviewed here) or as a 2xDVD+CD, Mercury Studios' release of "Phil Lynott Songs For While I'm Away" and "Thin Lizzy The Boys Are Back In Town Like At The Sydney Opera House October 1978" is one of the year's most important classic rock-minded titles"Phil Lynott Songs For While I'm Away" is a compelling feature-length documentary that explores the rich life and music of Lynott, a black boy raised in Dublin who became one of the Emerald Isle's most beloved music artists. Written and directed by Emer Reynolds, the film uses film footage, new and historic interviews, and Lynott's memorable songs to chronicle his life (sadly, he passed away at the age of 36 in January 1986). Among the notables who share insights into Lynott are bassist Adam Clayton (U2), Huey Lewis (Huey Lewis & The News), James Hatfield (Metallica) members of Thin Lizzy, and Lynott's wife and two daughters. "Thin Lizzy The Boys Are Back In Town Live At The Sydney Opera House October 1978" was previously released via VHS, Laserdisc and DVD, but the new version on this title presents the concert with cleaned up video and remixed audio from multi-track recordings. Additionally, five songs from the performance never-before-seen are among the bonus features. Thin Lizzy is seen in a rousing performance with Lynott, guitarists Scott Gorham and Gary Moore and drummer Mark Nauseef delivering powerful versions of "Jailbreak," "Bad Reputation," "Waiting For An Alibi," "The Boys Are Back In Town" and other winning originalsInformation: MercuryStudios.co or ThinLizzyOfficial.com


Robert Kinsler

Monday, December 26, 2022

TJR and Robert Kinsler discuss their favorite albums of 2022

Watch the new episode where TJR and Robert Kinsler each discuss their favorite five albums of the year. View the episode HERE.

You can also check out Robert's full list of his favorite 22 new studio albums of 2022 HERE.

Thursday, December 22, 2022

Robert Kinsler's favorite 22 new studio releases of 2022

To be sure, 2022 was an outstanding year for new music. Here are my favorite 22 albums of 2022...Robert Kinsler

Arcade Fire
Title: WE (Columbia Records)
You might like if you enjoy: Arcade Fire, Radiohead, U2
Tell me more: On the heels of the band's mesmerizing last-minute appearance at Weekend #1 of Coachella in April 2022, Arcade Fire released their sixth full-length studio album WE. Divided into two disparate sides ("I" and "WE"), the seven-track album conjures up the exhilarating spirit of the band's most ambitious albums (2007's Neon Bible and 2010's The Suburbs) while moving the Canadian heroes into the future via a terrific 40-minute ride. The impacts of the extended COVID-19 lockdown affected most of the world including Arcade Fire whose Win Butler and Régine Chassagne (the husband and wife duo at the center of the band) wrote much of the music sans their bandmates. Lyrically, WE touches on alienation, technology overload, survival romance and parenthood. Such lofty ambition wouldn't matter if the songs didn't have the melodic sweep and overarching power heard across the disc; fortunately WE delivers in spades. The anthemic "Age of Anxiety I," burgeoning "Age of Anxiety II (Rabbit Hole)," "The Lightning I, II," majestic "Unconditional I (Lookout Kid)," Neo-electronica "Unconditional II (Race and Religion)" featuring Peter Gabriel on backing vocals and acoustic-flavored album closer "WE" are among the powerful originals on Arcade Fire's marvelous return. Information: ArcadeFire.com

Bird Streets
Title: Lagoon (Sparkle Plenty Records/Deko Entertainment)
You might like if you enjoy: Big Star, Jason Falkner, Crowded House, Pugwash, Bird Streets' 2018 self-titled debut
Tell me more: Bird Streets — the moniker for singer-songwriter John Brodeur — returned with the ambitious Lagoon. An album of luxurious and literate songs aimed at "separation, rumination, regret and recurrence," the artistic scope of the dozen track collection is elevated by an incredible list of notable collaborators who guest on the project. Indeed, Brodeur's considerable talents as lead singer and guitarist are bolstered by the likes of Aimee MannJody Stephens (Big Star), Ed HarcourtJohn Davis, and Buddy Judge (The Grays) along with the production skills of Patrick Sansone (Wilco), Michael Lockwood (Aimee MannFiona Apple), and Zach Jones (Sting) and Oscar Albis Rodriguez (A Great Big World). While the initial recording of Lagoon spanned from the earliest sessions in Nashville in 2019 through time at Ardent Studios in Memphis in February 2020, the sudden arrival of the COVID-19 global pandemic ultimately found Brodeur turning to Los Angeles-based producer Lockwood to work on the project via remote technology for the home stretch. Each and every song on Lagoon hits its mark; the confessional opener "Sleeper Agent," emotive "The Document" (the latter one of the most striking breakup songs in memory), soaring "Let You Down," haunting "Leave No Trace" (featuring Davis' artful sitar playing), confessional "Disappearing Act" and Baroque pop sortie "Unkind" are among the wonderful songs on the masterful collection. Information: birdstreetsmusic.com.

Collective Soul
Title: Vibrating (Fuzzy-Flex Records)
You might like if you enjoy: Collective Soul, Toad the Wet Sprocket, Psychic Rain
Tell me more: Nearly 30 years after their outstanding debut Hints Allegations and Things Left Unsaid introduced their fully original mix of melodic alternative rock and post-grunge to the world, Collective Soul continues to chart their own course with albums rooted in stellar songcraft, creative arrangements and inspired performances. "Cut The Cord" opens the album, a searing hard rocker bolstered by loads of crunchy guitar and a driving beat; the propulsive "Reason" enhanced by an especially melodic chorus follows. The energy on the 10-track album is palpable, with singer-guitarist Ed Roland, lead guitarist Jesse Triplett, rhythm guitarist Dean Roland, bassist Will Turpin and drummer Johnny Rabb each adding sophisticated magic to the proceedings. Other highlights on the excellent album include the enticing "Take" with its hypnotic mix of '60s jangle garage rock and mellifluous musical layers, the shining "Undone," symphonic-tinged gem "Rule No. 1," genre-defying delight "Looking Around" and the ambitious romance-mining "Where Do I Go." My favorite track is the undeniably captivating "All Our Pieces," a soaring anthem with singer Ed Roland's expressive vocals bringing an emotional heft to the euphonious cut. Information: CollectiveSoul.com.

The Cowsills
Title: Rhythm of the World (Omnivore Recordings)
You might like if you enjoy: Badfinger, The Byrds, The Beach Boys, The Turtles, The Bangles 
Tell me more: Musical family The Cowsills released a series of popular singles and albums in the late 1960s and early '70s before going on hiatus in 1972 — music aficionados should note the Cowsills were even the inspiration for the 1970s TV series "The Partridge Family." Although the Cowsills reunited to record new albums in 1978 and 1993, the group's return to record the full-length 2022 masterwork Rhythm of the Worlds is a true triumph. The 11-song disc is filled with songs that reflect the sharp songcraft of the best artists of the '60s and '70s; it is no stretch to note the originals on the new album featuring siblings BobSusan and Paul Cowsill would be at home on classic titles from the ByrdsBadfingerThe Turtles or the Mamas & the Papas. There isn't a bad song on the disc; standouts include the instantly-catchy melodic gems "Lend a Hand" and "Try to Believe It Too," Americana-styled "Hawks on the Line," melodic rocker "Every Little Secret," power pop-flavored title track, yearning folk rocker "The Long Run" and decidedly modern "Nuclear Winter." Information: OmnivoreRecordings.com

Title: Misadventures of Doomscroller (Rounder Records)
You might like if you enjoy: Dawes, Steely Dan, Jackson Browne
Tell me more: Dawes continues to be a stellar light in the modern rock universe, defying easy categorization while boldly displaying even more dizzying heights with each new release. The Jonathon Wilson-produced Misadventures of Doomscoller is Dawes' 8th studio album and it is certainly one of the best albums of 2022. Take the ambitious opener "Someone Else's Cafe / Doomscroller Tries To Relax," a nine and one-half minute song that somehow blends Laurel Canyon folk rock, Steely Dan-mining jazz and gospel-tinged elements across its luxurious run. The momentum and might of the album continues with the intoxicating acoustic-flavored "Comes In Waves," buoyant "Everything Is Permanent," hard-charging "Ghost In The Machine," sumptuous two-part "Joke In There Somewhere," and eloquent closer "Sound That No One Made / Doomscroller Sunrise." To be sure, many of the longer-than-usual originals feature musical jamming aplenty but the virtuoso musical sorties never negate the sterling songcraft showcased across the seven-track disc. Dawes is Taylor Goldsmith (guitar, primary vocalist), Wylie Gelber (bass), Griffin Goldsmith (drums, percussion, background vocals) and Lee Pardini (piano, organ, synthesizers, guitar, clavinet, background vocals). Information: DawesTheBand.com

Def Leppard
Title: Diamond Star Halos (Mercury Records)
You might like if you enjoy: Def Leppard, Queen, T. Rex
Tell me more: Rock and Roll Hall of Fame British rockers Def Leppard returned with their long-awaited Diamond Star Halos, an album that offers up plenty of new sonic pay dirt while delivering on the distinctive sound (and parade of hits!) forged by the troupe in the 1980s and '90s. Highlights on the 15-track album include the soaring "Take What You Want," reflective "This Guitar" (featuring guest Alison Krauss sharing vocals with lead singer Joe Elliot), the sing-along "Fire It Up" (bolstered by Phil Collen's dazzling guitar work throughout), mellifluous "Liquid Dust," lovely Baroque power ballad "Goodbye For Good This Time" and introspective rocker "Open Your Eyes." A limited edition version of Def Leppard's 12th studio album  not reviewed here and available as an import  features 17 tracks. Information: DefLeppard.com.

Florence + The Machine
Title: Dance Fever [Deluxe Edition] (Republic)
You might like if you enjoy: Kate Bush, Florence + The Machine, Bat for Lashes
Tell me more: Expanded beyond the standard 14-track version also released in 2022, Florence + The Machine's Dance Fever [Deluxe Edition] find's the artist's fifth studio album packaged in a hardback book; the audio CD includes five bonus tracks. Described as a "Fairytale in Fourteen Songs," Dance Fever marks the first release by British songstress Florence Welch and company since 2018. The majestic opener "King" (bolstered by all manner of sonic shifts), propulsive electronica-tinged "Free," soulful "Dream Girl Evil," anthemic "Cassandra," driving "Daffodil," acoustic "The Bomb" and intoxicating "My Love" are among the many standouts on the terrific return. Welch is a singer armed with a soprano that is both powerful and expressive, and the track listing across Dance Fever is the perfect expression of those marvelous gifts. The bonus tracks also serve to more fully appreciate Welch's artistry; she revisits four of the LP's cuts with sparse arrangement anchored by her poignant vocals — "Cassandra," "Free" and "My Love" are especially moving. Closing out the title is "Search and Destroy," a fiery take on the Iggy Pop-penned 1973 Stooges classic. Fans of Welch's singular vision will definitely want to pick up this versionInformation: florenceandthemachine.net

Ruthie Foster
Title: Healing Time (Blue Corn Music)
You might like if you enjoy: Mavis Staples, the Staple Singers, Ruthie Foster
Tell me more: Ruthie Foster's stirring ninth studio album Healing Time is a fantastic disc of genuine and authentic soul. No surprise that Foster delivers another batch of winning songs that soar, her vocals a constant wonder across the dozen-track disc that simultaneously showcases her immense skills as a top-tier songwriter. The gospel mining "Feels Like Freedom" brings chills with its power and beauty all while avoiding the modern day bombast that would diminish the might of the track. The potent and anthemic "Soul Searching" is an explosive celebration of love. Blues lovers will appreciate the longing "What Kind Of Fool," where the Austin songstress uses her full vocal range across the song's wonderful arc. The wistful "Lie Your Way To The Truth" dips into pop, but the soundscape shares more in common with the artful sonics of Florence + the Machine than the disposable and robotic approach of so many contemporary R&B hitmakers. Other memorable selections on Healing Time include the spiritual-minded "I Was Called," acoustic blues foray "4 AM," tuneful "Finish Line" and majestic "Paradise." Information: RuthieFoster.com.

The Fixx
Title: Every Five Seconds (BFD)
You might like if you enjoy: Simple Minds, U2, David Bowie
Tell me more: Before the release of Every Five Seconds on June 3, 2022, it had been a full decade since The Fixx had issued a new studio album (2012's wonderful Beautiful Friction). The great news for fans of top-tier alternative rock is that the quintet's latest effort builds on a marvelous discography stretching back to their 1982 debut Shuttered Room. Lead singer Cy Curnin's voice is still a wonder, and it is amazing that the band's long-time lineup is fully intact (lead guitarist Jamie West-Oram, bassist Dan K. Brown, keyboardist Rupert Greenall, drummer Adam Woods). The top-tier material includes the topical rocker "A Life Survived," funk-tinged "Closer," thought-provoking sortie "Wake Up," luxurious "Suspended In Make Believe," dazzling "Spell" and the ambitious styles-defying "Lonely As A Lighthouse" — the latter showcasing West-Oram's amazing fret work. Information: TheFixx.com.

Marcus King
Title: Young Blood (American Records / Republic Records)
You might like if you enjoy: Gary Clark Jr., Marcus King Band, Walter Trout
Tell me more: Singer-songwriter/guitar master Marcus King returned in August 2022 with Young Blood, a sharp 11-track set of hard-hitting Southern-fried blues rock. Music lovers who miss the guitar heroes of yesteryear should run out and pick up King's new album. While listeners thrill in King's otherworldly talents, they will be gripped by a set of songs that collectively chronicle a dark period for King following a devastating break-up. The artist honestly addresses drug and alcohol excess as well as the real-life issues of depression and mental health struggles. Tracks such as "It's Too Late," "Lie Lie Lie," "Pain" and "Good and Gone" showcase the rising 26-year-old South Carolina native focusing simultaneously on his signature gritty vocals and astonishing lead guitar work in the service of stylish genre-meshing songs blending Southern rock, blues and soul in good measure. Elsewhere  take the lovely "Rescue Me," sparse "Blues Worse Than I Ever Had" and groove-centered "Blood On The Tracks" and "Dark Cloud"  King uses his influences to create that same kind of dynamic firepower amidst a relatively quiet stormInformation: MarcusKingOfficial.com

The Legion of Decency
Title: Deep Lines Among The Shallows (Legion Recordings)
You might like if you enjoy: Dawes, Old 97's, Rhett Miller
Tell me more: Deep Lines Among The Shallows is the wonderful full-length album from Inland Empire-based The Legion of Decency. An album of immense depth, warmth and undeniable beauty, singer-songwriter-guitarist Michael Tamony's rich Americana guided soundscape is bolstered by a talented cast of players and singers who bring the mix of literate and poetic originals fully to life. Compelling songs on Side A include the poignant opener "Sometimes," the genuinely affecting "Grandma's Sound," rollicking "We Are Giant" and immersive title track. The countrified "I Do," lovely "Julietta," and reflective closer "Shine a Light" are among the wonderful cuts on Side B of the albumInformation: TheLegionOfDecency.

Julian Lennon
Title: Jude (BMG)
You might like if you enjoy: David Bowie, John Lennon, Ron Sexsmith
Tell me more: It's hard to believe, but singer-songwriter Julian Lennon's amazing 2022 album Jude marks the artist's first new full-length studio album since 2011's Everything Changes. The wonderful news for fans of Lennon is the artist's skills as a songwriter and singer of literate and expressive songcraft is a potent as ever. Jude is filled with emotive and lush originals including the soaring "Round and Round," Baroque power ballad "Love Don't Let Me Down," shimmering "Freedom," gorgeous "Love Never Dies," French-flavored "Gaia" (the latter a collaboration with Paul Buchanan of Scottish band The Blue Nile and Elissa Lauper), yearning art rocker "Breathe," and ambitious "Stay" with its enthralling jazz and experimental sections. A fantastic return. Information: JulianLennon.com.

Maple Mars
Title: Someone's Got To Listen (Big Stir Records)
You might like if you enjoy: Matthew Sweet, Fountains of Wayne, The Move
Tell me more: The Los Angeles-based Maple Mars released Someone's Got To Listen, a terrific 10-track effort that also marked the outfit's first new full-length album since 2010's Galaxyland. Loaded with an intoxicating mix of psychedelic rock, tuneful songcraft and artful arrangements, Someone's Got To Listen extols '60s influences while tapping into modern day heft. There is truly no filler on the outstanding disc, which boasts one must hear original after another. My faves include the irresistible opener "Useless Information," luxurious "Gliding," soaring harmonies-adorned "Teenage Dream," nuanced "Goodbye California," and driving "Silver Craft" (bolstered by some fantastic guitar work). The ambitious closer "Redemption" caps the outstanding return. Maple Mars' talented lineup includes Rick Hromadka (lead vocals, guitar, keyboards), Steve Berns (guitar), Ron Pak (drums, vocals) and Joe Giddings (bass, vocals). Information: BigStirRecords.com

Glen Phillips
Title: There Is So Much Here (Compass Records)
You might like if you enjoy: Toad the Wet Sprocket, Neil Finn, Aimee Mann
Tell me more: Beloved as the frontman for Toad the Wet Sprocket, singer-songwriter Glen Phillips returned with his latest solo album, There Is So Much HereA master at chronicling the emotion-filled events in own life with originals that are literate, infectious and timeless, Glen Phillips mined his experiences going through the COVID lockdown on his way to the creation of the marvelous 11-track disc. This was also a singular period where Phillips used the rare experience of being home for an extended stretch to reflect on his life in ways new to him. The range of material across the album will please fans of Phillips' past parade of triumphs. The soaring "Other Birds of Prey" is a euphoric rocker that recalls the high marks set on Toad the Wet Sprocket's Dulcinea. Elsewhere the bouncy "I Was a Riot" (a particularly confessional examination of the end of a relationship), lovely piano-anchored "The Bluest Eye," spacious "Brand New Blue," melodic rocker "Center Of The Circle" and jazz-infused "The Sound of Drinking" — the latter an introspective look at everyday joys that draws favorable sonic comparisons with the work of Bruce Cockburn  allure the listener. The acoustic "Skeleton For School," infectious "Stone Throat," and luxurious "Call the Moondust" are other standouts on the masterwork. Information: GlenPhillips.com

Simple Minds
Title: Direction of the Heart (BMG)
You might like if you enjoy: U2, Simple Minds, The Fixx
Tell me more: Simple Minds' highly-anticipated Direction of the Heart marked the legendary Scottish outfit's 18th studio album. The nine-track disc is a genuine triumph, featuring singer-songwriter Jim Kerr, guitarist Charlie Burchill, bassist Ged Grimes, vocalist Sarah Brown, keyboardist-guitarist Gordy Goudie, drummer Cherisse Osei and keyboardist Berenice Scott delivering stylish songs that are both bewitching and expertly crafted. The shimmering opener "Vision Thing," dynamic and propulsive "First You Jump," new wave-mining "Human Traffic" featuring Sparks frontman Russell Mael and urgent "Who Killed Truth?" are early highlights on the album. The propulsive "Act of Love" (a gem written by Kerr and Burchill in Glasgow back in 1977 and performed as the opening song of their first-ever gig), enticing "Natural" and unsettling "Planet Zero" are late album highlights. Direction of the Heart closes with a shining synch-swept cover of The Call's 1983 track "The Walls Came Down," a track that Simple Minds makes it own with lush layers of vocals, shining synthesizers and textured guitar work. Information: SimpleMinds.com.

Title: Jobbernowl (Big Stir Records)
You might like if you enjoy: The Monkees, The Who, The Hollies
Tell me more: Listening to Spygenius' glorious Jobbernowl is to be transported back to the 1960s. The latest album from the celebrated Canterbury, England-based quartet is a bona fide thrill for lovers of top-tier songcraft, nuanced musicianship and stylish retro-leaning rock. A follow-up to the foursome's 2020 double LP Man on the Sea and 2021's album of marvelous covers (Spygenius Blow Their Covers), the 11-track Jobbernowl finds the band delivering a mix of propulsive garage rockers, sophisticated baroque pop and timeless power pop  all bolstered by soaring vocal harmonies. The hard charging opener "I Dig Your New Robes, Pierre!," bewitching Baroque rocker "2020 Revision," lovely "All That Is Solid Melts Into Air," power pop swoop "Mandy Rice-Davies Applies" and immersive "Metamorphosis" collectively showcase a band that deserves to be heard far and wide. Spygenius features singer-guitarist/chief songwriter Peter Watts, keyboard player Matt Byrne, drummer Alan Cannings and bassist Ruth RogersInformation: BigStirRecords.com

Seth Swirsky
Title: Songs From The Green Couch (Lolipop Records)
You might like if you enjoy: The Beatles, the Monkees, Badfinger, Julian Lennon
Tell me more: Singer-songwriter/multi-instrumentalist Seth Swirsky returned with another batch of indispensable ear candy courtesy of his self-produced Songs From The Green Couch, a 15-track disc that is as ambitious as it is listenable. Take the opener; "Sunny Day" opens with a chamber pop section before burgeoning into a Beatlesque push. The instantly-inviting "I Don't Wanna Lose You" is pure power pop and executed with absolute perfection. Standouts abound on this terrific release; the beautiful Baroque-mining "Cashmere Sweaters," the frightful "Dead," irresistible "Making It Up As We Go Along," shimmering "Rose Avenue" (the latter bolstered by some sharp guitar work from Kirk Hellie) and luxurious closer "American Bar" are among this writer's other favorites on the masterwork. "The record was a two year process," Swirsky says in the press notes for the album. "I started writing and recording the record at the beginning of a serious new relationship I was having — it continued during a very painful breakup. Thus, the album oscillates between many hi’s and lo’s for me personally, which are reflected in the lyrics.If you love melodic and smart songcraft, get a copy of Songs from the Green CouchInformation: RealSeth.com.  

She & Him
Title: Melt Away: A Tribute to Brian Wilson (Fantasy)
You might like if you enjoy: She & Him, Brian Wilson 
Tell me more: She & Him  M. Ward and Zooey Deschanel  returned this year with their first new full-length album since 2016, the delightful Melt Away: A Tribute to Brian Wilson. The title features the duo's signature blend of 1960s pop sheen and indie rock sensibilities, a perfect fit with Wilson's timeless songcraft. While She & Him cover a few of Wilson's best-known hits, they more often stray off the beaten path across the 14-track set. The strength of the album spans from the uplifting "Do It Again" and "Good To My Baby" to the melancholy-adorned "Wouldn't It Be Nice" and "Melt Away" and darker currents of " 'Til I Die" (the disc's most stirring track). A touching tribute to the 80-year-old Wilson and welcome return from She & Him in one essential collection. Information: sheandhim.com

Tears For Fears
Title: The Tipping Point (Concord Records)
You might like if you enjoy: Tears For Fears, The Beatles, Jason Falkner, Pugwash
Tell me more: The high-profile return of Tears For Fears courtesy of the duo's highly-anticipated The Tipping Point is definitely worth celebrating. The new masterwork   the first new album from Roland Orzabal and Curt Smith in more than 17 years   equals the ambition, sonic craft and artistic mastery of past classics like The Hurting (1983), Songs From The Big Chair (1985), The Seeds of Love (1989) and Everybody Loves a Happy Ending (2004). The album is filled with stellar cuts; the title track "The Tipping Point" is a deeply affecting song chronicling the feeling of helplessness of watching someone you love lose their battle with disease. Another favorite is  the shimmering "Break The Man," which is a call for more equality between men and women. The beautiful and evocative "Rivers Of Mercy," grief-filled "Please Be Happy," swirling "Master Plan" (a yearning to understand God), the triumphant rocker "End of Night" and luxurious "Let It All Evolve" (the latter a bonus track available via a Target exclusive edition) are among the other treasures on the must--hear disc. Few artists have been able to mine Beatlesque soundscapes like Tears For Fears while charting their own inventive course. Information: tearsforfears.com

Walter Trout
Title: Ride (Provogue Records)
You might like if you enjoy: Joe Bonamassa, Rory Gallagher, Canned Heat
Tell me more: Walter Trout has been at the forefront of modern blues dating back to his role as a guitarist with Canned Heat from 1981 to 1984 and subsequently with John Mayall's Bluesbreakers from 1984-1989. Since embarking on his solo career 33 years ago, his stature has only grown. Now on Ride  Trout's 30th solo release  the singer-songwriter/guitar great delivers a masterwork fully in tune with his myriad of life experiences. The exceptional material features a mix of affecting ballads and uptempo blues rockers with all of the material bolstered by Trout's exceptional guitar work and signature vocals. Highlights include the aptly-titled opener "Ghosts," searing "Better Days Ahead," beautiful "Waiting for the Dawn," confessional high-powered blues rocker "I Worry Too Much" and evocative album closer "Destiny.". Information: WalterTrout.com.

Michael Ubaldini
Title: Rabbit Foot Carnival (Blackwater Records)
You might like if you enjoy: Bruce Springsteen, Bob Dylan, The Rolling Stones' "Exhile on Main Street"
Tell me more: Acclaimed singer-songwriter Michael Ubaldini returned in June 2022 with Rabbit Foot Carnival, a bona fide masterwork that finds the acclaimed artist using rich melody-adorned songcraft to ignite his literate observations on life, love, death, faith, the frayed American dream and the uncertain forces that propel each of us toward an uncertain tomorrow. Effortlessly dipping into roots rock, Americana, country blues, folk and gospel across 14 original songs, Ubaldini uses that vast sonic canvas along with his signature songwriting to zero in on these especially troubled times. Early standout cuts on the album include the irresistible rocker "Lazarus Blues" (bolstered by the terrific gospel vocals of Julie Harris), spirited celebration of faith "Free If You Want It," rollicking old school rocker "Rats In Your Attic" and haunting acoustic blues sortie "Roadside Prayer." The magic continues with late disc standouts like the driving Rolling Stones-flavored "Sabre Jet," poignant "General Store," and "Love Up Close," and rollicking blues rocker "Black Diamond Train." Information: rocknrollpoet.com.

Pete Yorn
Title: Hawaii (Shelly Music)
You might like if you enjoy: Pete Yorn, The Postal Service, R.E.M.
Tell me more: Pete Yorn returned in June 2022 with another fantastic batch of tuneful and enticing folk rock originals via Hawaii. Co-produced by Yorn with Jackson Phillips, the 10-track album is a phenomenal return for the New Jersey native. Standouts include the driving melodic opener "Elizabeth Taylor," sweeping "Never Go" with its burgeoning melodic build, wistful "'Til The End," shimmering dream pop gem "Also Roses" and luxurious closer "Stay Away." The piano-anchored "Ransom" is particularly affecting, Yorn's yearning vocals capturing his emotional pain in one of the disc's high points. Information: PeteYorn.com