Wednesday, April 03, 2024

New music: Mötley Crüe, Son of a Velvet Rat, Loreena McKennitt

In this column I highlight two terrific new studio albums, as well as the initial 4K Ultra HD release from Mercury Studios (Mötley Crüe: The End – Live In Los Angeles).

Mötley Crüe
Title: The End - Live In Los Angeles (Mercury Studios)
You might like if you enjoy: Mötley Crüe
Tell me more: Set for release on April 5, Mötley Crüe: The End - Live In Los Angeles kicks off Mercury Studios' 4K initiative. Indeed, the concert film is available on 4K UHD for the first time; the 4K Ultra HD title looks and sounds spectacular. The concert film chronicles Motley Crue's final performance featuring its original lineup on Dec. 31, 2015 when the legendary quartet (singer Vince Neil, bassist Nikki Sixx, drummer Tommy Lee and guitarist Mick Mars) performed at Staples Center in their hometown of Los Angeles in front of a capacity crowd. Opening with the surefire hit "Girls, Girls, Girls," the hard rock outfit delivered more than a dozen well-known originals, as well as a crowd-pleasing drum solo courtesy of Lee and guitar solo from Mars. The energy displayed by the band and dancers/backing vocalists Allison Kyler and Sofia Toufa never falters, and the enthusiasm of the crowd adds to the power of the performance; impressive pyrotechnics and a cutting-edge stage design also enhance the event. Among the early concert standouts performed by the band include the blazing rocker "Wild Side," slide guitar-adorned "Primal Scream," melodic "Same Ol' Situation (S.O.S.)" and blistering "Looks That Kill." Rocking favorites "Shout At The Devil," "Saints Of Los Angeles," and "Dr. Feelgood" are among the subsequent high points. The band caps off their regular set with an inspired "Kickstart My Heart" before closing the night with an emotional "Home Sweet Home." Bonus features on the disc include interviews with all four members of the band and more; a colorful booklet photographs of the band members and additional information on the concert film. "This is more than a tour," Nikki Sixx notes. "This is the end." Thanks to the immersive and incredible visuals and audio featured on The End - Live In Los Angeles, Mötley Crüe's legacy lives on. Information: and

 Son of the Velvet Rat
Title: Ghost Ranch (Fluff & Gravy Records / Missing Piece Records)
You might like if you enjoy: Leonard Cohen, Other Lives, Neil Young, Cowboy Junkies
Tell me more: Joshua Tree-based duo Son of the Velvet Rat has returned with the wonderful Ghost Ranch, an album that soars via a mix of folk, roots, alt rock, cabaret and art damage styles fused into an otherworldly approach that is fully original and listenable. Featuring the talents of songwriter Georg Altziebler and his wife Heike Binder, the tracks also feature the talents of Jay Bellerose on drums, Jennifer Condos on bass and Jolie Holland on backing vocals and violin; Marc Ribot guests on electric guitar. The mesmerizing otherworldly opener "Bewildering Black & White Moments Captured On Trail Cams," scorching Americana rocker "Beautiful Day," tender "Deeper Shade Of Blue," literate "The Golden Gate," haunting "New Frontier" and touching "The Watterlily And The Dragonfly" all hit their mark on this amazing and immersive title. Information:

 Loreena McKennitt
Title: The Road Back Home (Quinlan Road / UME)
You might like if you enjoy: Gypsy Soul, The Chieftains, Enya, Irish music
Tell me more: Acclaimed Celtic singer Loreena McKennitt is back with a new full-length album, the bewitching Celtic folk project The Road Back Home. The outstanding LP was recorded by the Juno Award-winning Canadian artist in Summer 2023 while she was performing at four folk festivals in Canada. The album features 10 songs, including several that date back to the early part of her career but have remained unrecorded by her until this release; the surrounding soundscape of penny whistle, accordion, banjo, fiddle and bodhrán artfully elevates the authentic approach across the disc. The wistful opener "Searching For Lambs," pretty "Mary & The Soldier," gorgeous "On a Bright May Morning," uptempo cut "As I Roved Out," sumptuous "Bonny Portmore" and heartfelt "The Star of the County Down" all benefit from McKennitt's stirring soprano vocals. Information:

Robert Kinsler

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