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CD Reviews:
The Listening Room: Robert Plant, Ryan Adams, Interpol, Karen O and more...
 

By GARY GRAFF
Digital First Media, @GraffonMusic

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Robert Plant

"lullaby and...The Ceaseless Roar"

(Nonesuch/Warner Bros.)

Grade: A


With no disrespect to Jimmy Page and John Paul Jones, Robert Plant has been and remains the most interesting member of Led Zeppelin since the band ended in 1980. An enthusiastic musical explorer even during his time with Zep, Plant has fused rock, blues, folk, psychedelia and an array of World Music styles into his music over the course of 10 albums, mostly to good effect and with fascinating collaborations with Alison Krauss on the Grammy Award-winning "Raising Sand" and Buddy Miller in the Band of Joy. "lullaby and..." marks the studio debut of Plant's latest band, a corps of multi-instrumentalists dubbed the Sensational Shape Shifters, and blends in even more new flavors into his usual mix -- most notably EDM and industrial underpinnings that enhance but hardly define tracks such as "Turn It Up," "Pocketful of Golden" and the ensemble's arrangement of the traditional "Little Magpie." Plant and company also pull together blues and African rhythms on the thumping "Arbaden (Maggie's Baby)," and even some of the more straightforward songs -- the rootsy "Poor Howard," the ringing folk rock of "Somebody There" and "House of Love," the power chord crunch of "Embrace Another Fall" -- are fortified with exotic nuances. It's a fair stretch from where he was nearly 35 years ago, but it's still easy to have a whole lotta love for Plant's continually expansive musical vision.

New & Noteworthy:

Ryan Adams, "Ryan Adams" (Pax AM): The singer-songwriter's first albumin three years comes after spending the interim producing for Fall Out Boy, Jenny Lewis and Ethan Johns.

Lee Brice, "I Don't Dance" (Curb): The country singer took the production reins himself for his third album, whose title track is already a No. 1 hit.

Death From Above 1979, "The Physical World" (Last Gang/Warner Bros.): It's been 10 years since the Toronto dance-punk group's debut, but its sophomore effort is well worth the wait.

Interpol, "El Pintor" (Matador): The New York indie rockers' first new album in four years is its first without bassist Carlos Dengler and features guests Brandon Curtis of Secret Machines, Bon Iver's Rob Moose and Roger Joseph Manning.

Vance Joy, "Dream Your LIfe Away" (Atlantic): The debut full-length from the Australian singer who's made waves with his hit single "Riptide."

Karen O., "Crush Songs" (Cult): The first-ever solo outing by the Yeah Yeah Yeahs singer was actually recorded back in 2006 and 2007.

Also Out: Jhene Aiko, "Souled Out" (Def Jam); Alabama, "Angels Among Us: Hymns & Gospel Favorites Deluxe (Cracker Barrel); Banks, "Goddess" (Harvest); Better Than Ezra, "All Together Now" (The End); Blonde Redhead, "Barragan" (Kobalt); Billy Childs, "Map The Treasure: Reimagining Laura Nyro" (Sony Masterworks); Chick Corea and the Chick Corea Trio, "Trilogy" (Concord); Delta Spirit, "Into the Wide" (Dualtone); Justin Townes Earle, "Single Mothers" (Vagrant); Greensky Bluegrass, "If Sorrows Swim" (Thirty Tigers); Heffron Drive, "Happy Mistakes" (+180); In Flames, "Siren Charms" (Sony/RED); The Koosk, "Listen" (Astralwerks); Lecrae, "Anomaly" (Reach/Sony RED); Tony Levin and Pete Levin, "Levin Brothers" (Lazy Bones); Dustin Lynch, "Where It's At" (Broken Bow); David Mayfield, "Strangers" (Compass); Sergio Mendes, "Magic" (Sony Masterworks); The Rentals, "Lost in Alphaville" (Polyvinyl); Sean Rowe. "Madman" (Anti-); Gary Schunk Trio featuring Peter Erskine, "Kayak" (Detroit Music Factory); Sloan, "Commonwealth" (Yep Roc); Angus & Julia Stone, "Angus & Julia Stone" (Republic); Rob Stone, "Gotta Keep Rollin' " (VizzTone); Tennis, "Ritual In Repeat" (Communion); Chris Thile and Edgar Meyer, "Bass & Mandolin" (Nonesuch); Tricky, "Adrian Thaws" (False Idols); Loudon Wainwright III, "Haven't Got the Blues (Yet)" (429); Michelle Williams, "Journey to Freedom" (eOne)

From The Vaults: The Beatles, "In Mono: Vinyl Box Set" (Apple/UMe); Electric Prunes, "WaS" (self-released); John Lennon, "Icon" (UME); Queen, "Live at the Rainbow '74" (Hollywood); Michael Stanley Band, "Cabin Fever" (ClassicMusicVault); Ringo Starr, "Icon" (UMe); James Taylor, "Feel the Moonshine" (All Access)

Soundtracks: Jeff Russo, "Fargo" (Sony Classical); Various Artists, "Sin City 2: A Dame To Kill For" (Morada)

New Music DVDs: Santana, "Corazon: Live From Mexico..." (RCA); Various Artists, "The Midnight Special" (StarVista); Stevie Ray Vaughan, "Rise of a Texas Bluesman: 1954-1983" (Sexy Intellecutal)



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