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The Listening Room: Aerosmith, Graveyard and more...
"Music From Another Dimension!"
It's been eight years since Aerosmith's last album and 11 years since the group's last set of original material, with plenty of drama in-between. So who knew what to expect from this long-in-the-making "reunion" release. How about -- everything? Over the course of its 15 tracks -- most produced by Jack Douglas, who helmed Aerosmith's definitive 70s albums -- "Music From Another Dimension!" shoots wide and encompasses a bit of everything the Boston bad boys have done during their nearly 40 years of recording. There are big riffs ("Oh Yeah"), fat grooves ("LUV XXX," "Legendary Child") and high-octane rave-ups ("Street Jesus," "Lover Alot," "Freedom Fighter," "Something"). The quintet nods to its blues roots in the (too) lengthy "Out Go the Lights" and also to the melodic balladry that gave it a second life during the 80s and 90s on new tunes such as "What Could Have been Love," the Diane Warren shmaltzer "We All Fall Down," "Another Last Goodbye" and "Can't Stop Loving You," a slam-dunk future hit duet with Carrie Underwood. "Beautiful," meanwhile, gets carried away with its own compelling ambitions, shifting from frontman Steven Tyler's rapped verse vocals into a gleefully tuneful chorus -- a messy arrangement that never quite finds its footing. The good news is there's something in this "...Dimension" for any Aerosmith fan to like, but few will likely be satisfied all the way through.
Graveyard, "Lights Out" (Nuclear Blast): HHH
The Swedish heavy rock quartet keeps things short and sweet -- nine songs in less than 36 minutes -- on its third album, and it's easy to see why there's a strong buzz from all tastemaking quarters of the industry. Graveyard has mastered the precarious balance between classic and modern, both in terms of sonics -- which are decidedly lo-fi but also dynamic -- and songwriting, which mixes garagey sensibilities with an implied arena-sized bombast. Traces of early Soundgarden and stoner rock outfits such as Kyuss and Monster Magnet are clear touchstones, while more expansive tracks such as "Slow Motion Countdown" and "20/20" show what Graveyard can dig into when it stretches out a bit.
New & Noteworthy:
All That Remains, "A War You Cannot Win" (Razor & Tie): The Massachusetts hard rock troupe reunites with producer Adam D of Killswitch Engage for its seventh studio album.
Eric Bibb and Habib Kolte, "Brothers in Bamako" (Stony Plain): The pair of singers, songwriters and string instrument specialists achieve a Memphis-Mali meeting on this ocean-crossing musical summit.
Crushed Out, "Want to Give (Cool Clear Water): The first full-length outing by the Brooklyn guitar-and-drums duo.
Mike Doughty, "The Flip is Another Honey" (RED): The second release of the year from the former Soul Caoughing frontman.
Fear, "The Fear Record" (The End): The influential Los Angeles punk band re-recorded its landmark 1982 debut "The Record" with its current lineup.
Glee Cast, "Glee: The Music Presents Grease" (Columbia): The ?? kids take on "Grease" with help from guest star Kate Hudson. It's surprising it took them this long.
Jimi Jamison, "Never Too Late" (Frontiers): The former Survivor singer tries to recapture his eye of the tiger, collaborating with Swedish songwriter and producer Erik Martensson on his latest solo set.
Paul Kelly, "Spring & Fall" (CEN/RED): After focusing on his past for a few years, the Australian singer and songwriter returns to making new music on this thematic 11-track song cycle.
Kylie Minogue, "The Abbey Road Sessions" (EMI): The Australian songstress hit the legendary London studio to record these orchestral overhauls of 16 of her past favorites.
Ne-Yo, "R.E.D." (Motown): The R&B stylist moves to the current Motown for his fifth album, which includes guest appearances by Tim McGraw and Wiz Khalifa.
David Olney, "Robbery & Murder" (Deadbeat), "Body of Evidence" (Deadbeat): The Rhode Island-born troubadour completes the EP trilogy he's been releasing this year, packaging them all together in "Body of Evidence."
Public Enemy, "Most of My Heroes Still Don't Appear on No Stamp" (Slam Jamz): The legendary rap group's first new album in five years is as politically potent as ever, with help from DMC, Brother Ali, Bumpy Knuckles and others.
Rumer, "Boys Don't Cry" (Atlantic): The British singer's second album, which covers 70s songs written by men, gets a U.S. release after coming out in her homeland earlier this year.
Duncan Sheik, "Covers 80s Remixed" (Sneaky/MRI): The singer-songwriter takes yet another look at a batch of 80s favorites that he initially covered in 2011.
Geoff Tate, "Kings & Thieves" (InsideOut): The deposed Queensryche frontman steps out on his own for a second time after his acrimonious split with the group
Third Day, "Miracle" (Provident); The well-established Christian rock group brought in mainstream producer Brendan O'Brien to help tweak and polish its sound for its 11th album.
Various Artists, "Punk Goes Pop 5" (Fearless): The latest entry in the popular series finds hard-nitters such as Mayday Parade, the Maine, Mayday Parade and Detroiters Craig Owens and We Came as Romans having some fun with a selection of recent pop chart hits.
Dionne Warwick, "Now" (Blue Horizon/H&I): The singing legend celebrates the 50th anniversary of her first hit single by reuniting with formative collaborators Burt Bacharach and Hal David.
Weinland, "Los Processaur" (Woodphone/Jealous Butcher): The Portland rock quintet used Kickstarter to fund its third album.
While She Sleeps, "This is the Six" (The End): The debut full-length from the Sheffield, England quintet that was named BEst British Newcomer by Kerrang!~ magazine.
New Holiday Albums: Perry Como, "Complete RCA Christmas Collection" (Real Gone)
From The Vaults: Creedence Clearwater Revival: Ultimate...Greatest Hits & All-Time Classics" (Fantasy); Grateful Dead, "Dave's Picks, Vol. 4: College of William & Mary, Williamsburg, Va. 9/24/76" (Dead.net/Rhino); HIM, "XX: Two Decades of Love Metal" (The End); Less Than Jake, "Greetings & Salutations" (Fat Wreck Chords); Megadeth, "Countdown to Extinction (20th Anniversary Edition)" (Capitol/EMI); Britney Spears, "Playlist: The Very Best Of..." (RCA/Legacy); Underoath, "Anthology 1999-2013" (Solid State); Various Artists, "Now Disney: That's What I Call Disney" (Disney/EMI; The Who, "Live at Hull 1970" (Geffen/UMe)
Soundtracks: Thomas Newman, "Skyfall" (Sony Classics); Various Artists, "Cloud Atlas" (WatchTower); John Williams, "Lincoln" (Sony Classical)
New Music DVDs: Queen, "Hungarian Rhapsody: Queen Live in Budapest" (Eagle Rock); The Rolling Stones, "Charlie is My Darling -- Ireland 1965" (ABKCO)
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