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Listening Room: Patti Scialfa, Ted Nugent and more...
Patti Scialfa, “Play It As It Lays” (Columbia) ***
The year’s real Bruce Springsteen fix doesn’t come until the Oct. 2 release of his new album, “Magic,” but his wife’s third solo set should more than tide the fans over until then. It’s actually to Scialfa’s considerable credit that she’s launched a potent solo career in Springsteen’s shadow and, in doing so, has not tried to chase after anything but the mature kind of music she naturally makes. On her most accomplished outing yet, Scialfa offers up what can only be described as red-headed soul, a Greenwich Village troubadour’s sense of song combined with classic Memphis R&B stylings as distilled by scores of joints on the shores of her native New Jersey. Scialfa wears her sources on her sleeve throughout these 10 tracks — on the Chiffons-referencing doo-langs of “Like Any Woman Would,” the “Sally Go Round the Roses” snippet in “The Word” and the Janis Ian “Society’s Child” nod in “Town Called Heartbreak,” while “Play Around” sounds like a lost Lieber-Stoller tune for the Drifters. Tracks such as the “Bad For You” and “Looking For Elvis” mine rootsy, ambient grooves, while “Run Run” offers an intriguing combination of churchy Hammond organ and pop exuberance. A stellar support cast — including Springsteen, E Street Band guitarist Nils Lofgren, co-producer Steve Jordan on drums and a batch of killer backing vocalists — makes things sound that much better, making for a very “Play”able endeavor.\
Ted Nugent, “Love Grenade” (Eagle) **½
The Motor City Madman has never been lacking in the cajones department, but remaking an iconic hit like the Amboy Dukes’ 1968 smash “Journey to the Center of the Mind” is certainly more proof of his guts and gusto. But he makes it work with a more stark, in-your-face arrangement, different harmonies and a long guitar workout at the end. The rest of “Grenade,” Nugent’s first new album in five years, blows with the same kind of brassy, “Wango Tango” energy, blending chest-thumping anthemry (“Still Raising Hell,” “Stand”) with nods to the spirit of the wild (“Geronimo and Me,” “Eagle Brother,” “Aborigini”) and sly sexual entendres (“GirlScout Cookies,” the title track). And those who care to block out Terrible Ted’s outsized personality and political proclamations can at least revel in some hot guitar playing, from the slinky “Funk U” to “Lay With Me,” the long blues that closes the album.
NEW AND NOTEWORTHY
Suzy Bogguss, “Sweet Danger” (Loyal Dutchess) — Bogguss and producer Jason Miles blend Nashville and New York for yet another new groove in her already eclectic career.
Manu Chao, “Radiolina” (Nacional MNF Because Music) — The Paris-born singer-songwriter delivers a fourth foray into his particular brand of worldbeat sounds.
Chiodos, “Bone Palace Ballet” (Equal Vision) — The extreme rockers from the Flint environs sound more emo than metal on the follow-up to their 2005 breakthrough “All’s Well That Ends Well.”
Every Time I Die, “Big Dirty” (Ferret) — The Buffalo punk ’n’ metal faves deliver a fourth set of metalcore fury.
Allen Harris, “Nat King Cole: Long Live the King”
(Love Productions Records) — The New York crooner pays tribute to his hero at this Kennedy Center concert.
Calvin Harris, “I Created Disco” (Almost Gold) — This 23-year-old Scot is probably too young to remember a time when some music circles would not take kindly to the title’s boast.
Heavy Trash, “Going Way Out with Heavy Trash” (Yep Roc) — Jon Spencer and Matt Verta-Ray team up for a second big-riffing rock ’n’ roots record featuring the Sadies and members of the danish bands Powersolo and Tremolo Beer Gut.
Ice Cube, “In the Movies” (Priority) — The former N.W.A. member has quietly contributed 16 songs to films such as “Friday,” “Next Friday,” “Trespass” and “Blade II.”
Jes, “Disconnect” (Ultra) — Best known as the voice for electronica artist Tiesto, the New York singer-songwriter steps out to show what she’s got on her own.
Kill Henry Sugar, “Swing Back and Down” (Surprise Truck Entertainment) — The drum ’n’ dobro duo release its fourth album after a stint backing Joan Baez earlier this year.
McRad, “FDR” (Uprising) — The Philadelphia skate rockers reunite for the first time in more than 20 years, on an album named after a hometown skateboard park, not the president.
Megadeth, “That One Night: Live in Buenos Aires”
(Image Entertainment) — It’s been two years since this concert in Argentina, but headbangers will likely find it worth the wait.
New Model Army, “High” (Attack Attack) — The Ontario quintet is heavy as ever on the 10th album of its 27-year history.
Pink Floyd, “Piper at the Gates of Dawn” (Capitol) — The veteran space rockers celebrate the 40th anniversary of their first album in expanded single- and triple-CD sets.
PreNup, “Hell to Pay”
(PreNup/RedEye) — A trio of Irish allstars from Hothouse Flowers and the Pogues make a solid album of classic, American (!) sounding rock ’n’ roll.
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