Jane’s Addiction frontman Perry Farrell (L) and William Shatner (R).
Jane escapes, Shatner spaces out, Gabriel orchestrates himself, Stump gets the funk, Isaak soaks up some Sun and more. this week in music: Jane’s Addiction the Great Escape Artist Nothing’s shocking — but there are some surprises. the fourth Jane’s disc (and first since 2003) marks an evolution for Perry Farrell and co. with TV on the Radio’s Dave Sitek in the revolving-door bass slot, they dial back the power-chord guitar bombast for more subdued, subtle fare built upon trance grooves and dosed with psychedelic textures. They’re coming down the mountain. Download: Underground; end to the Lies RATING: 3.5 (out of 5) William Shatner Seeking Major Tom like space, Shatner’s demented musical aspirations are infinite, inexplicable, and all but devoid of intelligence. Here’s his ghastly magnum opus: a two-disc star-rock concept album. Backed by VIPs from Bootsy to Zakk, the Shat majestically mangles classics by Elton, Bowie, Floyd and others, blustering and blubbering like a stoned senior at karaoke night. so atrocious it’s awesome. Download: Space Truckin’; Space Cowboy RATING: 2 (out of 5) Puscifer Conditions of my Parole Maynard James Keenan going straight? Don’t bet on it. but the Tool / Perfect Circle ringleader is no recidivist on the sophomore set from his Puscifer collective. instead of the grim growling and grinding grooves of 2007’s V is for Vagina — or the arty prog of his other gigs — many cuts have a lighter touch, with warm vocals, acoustic guitars and a lazy desert-rock vibe. Believe it or not. Download: Green Valley; the Rapture RATING: 4 (out of 5) Patrick Stump Soul Punk Fall out Boy’s frontman has decided who he wants to be when he grows up: Jacko. or Prince. You’ll hear familiar echoes of both on Stump’s stunning one-man-band solo debut. Putting aside emo-punk, the Chicago singer-guitarist applies his soulful, soaring wail to synth-fuelled funk and R&B that nails the vibe and sonics of Thriller and Paisley Park. weird — but totally irresistible. Download: Explode; this City RATING: 4 (out of 5) Chris Isaak Beyond the Sun: Deluxe Edition well, that took long enough. Retro roots-rocker Isaak has based much of his career on the sound of Sun Records. Finally, after 25 years, he repays that karmic debt by reverently recreating two discs of reverb- and-slapback classics from Elvis, Jerry Lee, Roy Orbison, Johnny Cash and more in the revered Memphis studio. a few suitably raucous rockabilly originals round out the affair. Download: Great Balls of Fire; miss Pearl RATING: 3.5 (out of 5) Peter Gabriel new Blood new blood, old stones. In the wake of his 2010 orchestral covers CD Scratch my Back, Gabriel gives a symphonic upgrade to his own catalog. those hoping for upgrades of hits and oldies may be disappointed; the set list favours album cuts from mid-period discs like so and OVO. Admittedly, the darkly sweeping disc has its moments — but perhaps too few to keep you coming back. Download: Intruder; Digging in the Dirt RATING: 3 (out of 5) Johnny Cash Bootleg Vol. III: Live Around the World over his five-decade career, Cash played for everyone from presidents and stars to prisoners and soldiers. this impressive anthology covers all the bases. Compiled from shows between 1956 and ’79, the 53-track package includes a Newport Folk Fest set, a USO appearance in Viet Nam, a Nixon White House gig, a Swedish prison concert and more. As historical as it is entertaining. Download: Folsom Prison Blues; Sunday Morning Coming Down RATING: 4 (out of 5) Martina McBride Eleven Yes, it’s country singer McBride’s 11th CD. but she’s not playing by the numbers. two decades into her career, McBride finally takes the reins, co-penning half these songs — including I’m Gonna love you through It, a moving ode to husbands of breast-cancer patients. Balanced by everything from upbeat soul-pop to crunchy roots-rock, it’s a long-overdue, much-welcome reboot. Download: Broken Umbrella; Teenage Daughters RATING: 3.5 (out of 5) Laura Marling a Creature I Don’t Know if you don’t know her yet, you probably will soon. Singer-songwriter Marling — formerly of Noah and the Whale — is the darling of the British folk scene. And no wonder. While her lightly dusted vocals, poetic lyrics and jazzy chords suggest she’s a daughter of Joni, Marling’s noisier sonics and indie leanings make it clear that she is ultimately a creature of her own making. Transfixing. Download: the Muse; Salinas RATING: 4 (out of 5) Joe Henry Reverie Sometimes in music, it seems those who can, do — and those who can’t, produce. Henry does both. And does them superbly on his 12th release. Cut in his home studio with his usual cronies over the course of a few days, the all-acoustic outing is delivered with homemade immediacy, full of ambient noise that creeps into his clattery, loose-limbed roots ballads. Think old Tom Waits. Download: Odetta; Sticks & Stones RATING: 4 (out of 5) Paley & Francis Paley & Francis One is singer-songwriter Reid Paley. the other is Pixie king Black Francis. They’ve co-written before, but now they’ve gone all the way with an album of offbeat alt-country odes to magic cups, happy shoes and seals. Paley brings his boomy baritone and melodies. Frank offers his idiosyncratic songcraft and yelp. some Muscle Shoals vets supply the backing. Understatedly freaky. Download: Deconstructed; Magic Cup RATING: 3.5 (out of 5) The Bangles Sweetheart of the Sun They’re all over the place again. Thankfully. On their first album since 2003, the harmonious female outfit bypass the gloss of late ’80s hits like Eternal Flame and Walk like an Egyptian, opting to return to the scrappy power-pop and ’60-style paisley jangle of their earlier days. Smart move — as is recruiting kindred spirit Matthew Sweet as co-producer and bassist. a sweetheart deal. Download: Ball N Chain; Sweet and Tender Romance RATING: 3.5 (out of 5) DJ Shadow the less you Know, the Better you can’t pin down Shadow. Turntablist-producer Josh Davis remains as elusive as ever on his fourth full-length, programming and sampling his way through another genre-busting workout. this time, he pinballs from funky hip-hop to metallic riffage to torchy piano balladry to hazy psychedelia — yet somehow makes it cohere into one of the coolest mixtapes of the year. less is more. Download: Stay the course; Sad and Lonely RATING: 3.5 (out of 5) DOWN/STREAM R.E.M. Cassette Set after the end, a new beginning. In the wake of R.E.M.’s recent breakup comes this holy grail of buried treasures: a refurbished dub of some of the Athens alt-rockers’ earliest recordings. Cut in 1981 and dubbed onto 400 promo cassettes, the six-track relic includes an overdub-free version of Radio Free Euope, along with White Tornado, Standing Still and alternate takes. a revelation. thepowerofindependenttrucking.blogspot.com Boris Spoon if something is truly worth doing, it’s worth redoing. For veteran underground Japanese metal trio Boris, that means taking a selection of tunes from recent simultaneously released CDs Heavy Rocks and Attention Please, and reworking them into “extreme pop” workouts like this propulsively noisy shoegazer instrumental. look for their new album — titled new Album — in November. hypem.com The Gaslight Anthem State of love & Trust GA singer-guitarist Brian Fallon has never been shy about wearing his influences on his leather-jacket sleeve. so no wonder the heartland punks’ iTunes Session (due in December) will include scrappy covers of Tom Petty’s Refugee, the Who’s Baba O’Riley (with the synth parts played on guitar), Pearl Jam’s State of love and Trust and more. you can check out the PJ cut now. hypem.com DVDs Doro 25 Years in Rock … And Still Going Strong if you don’t know Doro, you’ve never been a teenage metal fanboy. Eurometal’s reigning rock queen since the ’80s, the 47-year-old German bombshell threw a 25th anniversary bash a few years ago. Here’s the star-studded 150-minute gig in all its black-leather glory, augmented with a 70-minute making-of doc, other live clips and a CD of concert highlights. MIA: a doc on her career. RATING: 3 (out of 5) The Monkees Season 1 & Season 2 Here they come again. Deluxe DVD sets of the pre-fab four’s short-lived ’60s TV series debuted in 2003; here are cheaper versions that offer the same content minus the fancy packaging. Along with 58 episodes on 11 DVDs, you get the 16mm pilot, cereal commercials, sporadic commentary and a ’69 TV special. It’s a case of quantity over quality — but hey, hey, that’s the Monkees. RATING: 3 (out of 5)