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CD Reviews:
The Listening Room: Noel Gallagher, David Lynch and more...

for Journal Register Newspapers

Posted: Sunday, November 6, 2011

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Noel Gallagher

"Noel Gallagher's High Flying Birds"

(Sour Mash/Mercury)


The rest of Oasis had its say earlier this year, releasing their first album under the new moniker Beady Eye. But the greater interest has really been for what Noel Gallagher -- the group's guitarist and chief songwriter -- would have up his musical sleeve as a solo artist. And though the title of "...High Flying Birds" makes it sound like a group effort, it's really a Gallagher set through and through, a separation of sorts from his notorious, multi-platinum past without abandoning the well-crafted virtues that distinguished his work to this point. What's missing from "...High Flying Birds" are the big rock anthems ala "Supersonic," "Live Forever," "Some Might Say" and "Roll With It;" on his own, Gallagher is more of a "Wonderwall" or "Champagne Supernova" kind of guy, given to a greater degree of sweep and lushness. Gallagher still make some noise, of course: "(I Wanna Live In A Dream) In My Record Machine" and "Stop The Clocks" are Oasis refugees, and "Everybody's on the Run" and "If I Had a Gun..." are cut from nearly the same cloth. "The Death of You and Me," "Soldier Boys and Jesus Freaks" and "Dream On," however, takes some jazzy and brassy turns, while "AKA...What a Life" is a full-on disco club banger that shakes well outside of Gallagher's usual mode. And though the latter is a bit autobiographical, you won't find him dissing his former bandmates here -- not even estranged brother and Oasis (now Beady Eye) frontman Liam Gallagher. This Gallagher's focus is entirely musical and, left to his own devices, he still manages to fly high.


David Lynch, "Crazy Clown Time" (Sunday Best Recording/[PIAS] America)**1/2

OK, so you really don't expect an album from the creator of "Twin Peaks" (not to mention the director of "Eraserhead," "The Elephant Man" and "Blue Velvet") to go down easy, do you? On his first album, Lynch -- who's always been active on the music side of his film and TV work -- gives us dense layers of texture and ambience on these 14 tracks, each filled with cinematic detail and populated by characters that could easily fit in any of his visual works. The Yeah Yeah Yeahs' Karen O guests on the thumping "Pinky's Dream," while the electro "Good Day Today" wouldn't sound out of place in a dance club, but the noir murk that dominates the album makes it enticing, challenging and...well, crazy.

New & Noteworthy:

Angels & Airwaves, "LOVE Part Two" (To the Stars): blink-182's Tom DeLonge issues the rest of the utopian, thematic and somewhat inscrutable story he began with 2010's "LOVE" album.

As I Lay Dying, "Decas" (Metal Blade): The San Diego metalcore group's stop-gap project includes three new songs, four remixes and covers of songs by Slayer, Judas Priest and Descendents.

Danny Barnes, "Rocket" (ATO): The latest from the Southern banjo virtuoso heard on the last two Dave Matthews Band albums.

Judy Collins, "Bohemian" (Wildflower): The veteran songstress' latest features duets with Shawn Colvin and Ollabelle and a cover of Joni Mitchell's "Cactus Tree."

Deep Purple, "Live at Montreux 2011" (Eagle Rock): The long-lived hard rock group's hit-filled orchestral program is captured on CD, DVD and Blu-ray.

Disturbed, "Lost Children" (Reprise): The Chicago headbangers go on hiatus with a 16-song set of B-sides, soundtrack contributions and the "3" digital single for the West Memphis Three.

Four Year Strong, "In Some Way Shape or Form" (Decaydance/Universal Motown): The Massachusetts punk rockers do without synthesizers for the first time on their fourth studio full-length.

Josh Gracin, "Redemption" (Average Joe's Entertainment): The Westland-born country singer wrote or co-wrote all 16 songs on his third album, including one ("Catastrophe") with "American Idol" mate Ruben Studdard.

Jim Hall & Pat Metheny, "Jim Hall and Pat Metheny" (Nonesuch): This summit meeting between the two guitar virtuosos includes five improvised pieces.

Il Divo, "Wicked Game" (Syco/Columbia): The operatic pop group reworks Chris Isaak's biggest hit for the title track of its sixth studio album.

Etta James, "The Dreamer" (Verve Forecast): The "At Last" great sings through her battle with leukemia on what's expected to be her final set of new material.

Maysa, "Motions of Love" (Shanachie): Stevie Wonder and Dwele guest on the latest release from the former Incognito vocalist.

Christian McBride, "Conversations with Christian" (Mack Avenue): The prolific jazz bassist collaborates with Sting, Angelique Kidjo, George Duke, Chick Corea, Sting and Detroit's Regina Carter on this ambitious collection.

Joe Nichols, "It's All Good" (Show-Dog/Universal): The country star returns to new music on his sixth studio album after surveying his career so far on last year's "Greatest Hits" set.

People Get Ready, "People Get Ready" (Quite Scientific): The first recorded release by this arty New York troupe whose Steven Reker was part of David Byrne's most recent touring group.

Rascal Flatts, "The Best of Rascal Flatts Live" (Lyric Street/Hollywood): The country group's first concert set reviews its biggest hits and includes a rock medley of Boston's "Foreplay/Long Time" and the Edgar Winter Group's "Free Ride."

Eric Roberson, "Mr. Nice Guy" (Purpose Music/eOne): The New Jersey soul singer delivers his eighth album after serving up a "Summertime Anthem" earlier this year.

Rush, "Time Machine 2011: Live in Cleveland" and "Moving Pictures: Live 2011" (Anthem/Roadrunner): A pair of concert souvenirs from the Canadian trio's latest tour to sate fans until the new "Clockwork Angels" comes out next year.

Savoy Brown, "Voodoo Moon" (Ruf): The veteran blues-rock group celebrates its 45th anniversary with a set of nine new originals recorded in upstate New York.

Secret Garden, "Winter Poem" (Valley): The Irish-Norwegian New Age duo adds several vocalists to the mix, including Clannad's Moya Brennan, on its first new album in four years.

Keith Sweat, "Til the Morning" (eOne): The New Jack soul favorite and syndicated radio host returns with a set that was originally titled "Open Invitation."

Various Artists, "Now 40: That's What I Call Music" (Capitol): The latest edition of the perennially popular series includes hits by Maroon5 and Christina Aguilera, Lady Gaga, Foster The People, Lady Antebellum and more.

Various Artists, "This One's For Him: A Tribute to Guy Clark" (Icehouse): Lyle Lovett, Emmylou Harris, Willie Nelson, Vince Gill and Rosanne Cash are among the many luminaries paying tribute to the singer-songwriter on this two-CD set celebrating his 70th birthday.

Laura Veirs, "Tumble Bee" (Raven Marching Band): The Colorado-born singer-songwriter veers off her usual path for a set of children's folk songs.

From The Vaults: The Beatles with Tony Sheridan, "First Recordings 50th Anniversary Edition" (Time Life); Tony Bennett, "The Complete Collection" (Columbia/Legacy); Jethro Tull, "Agualung: 40th Anniversary" (EMI); Billy Joel, "Piano Man (Legacy Edition)" and "The Complete Albums Collection" (both Columbia/Legacy) Sonny Landreth, "Down in Louisiana" (Blues Unlimited/Sony); The Lijadu Sisters, "Danger," "Mother Africa," "Sunshine" and "Horizon Unlimited" (all Knitting Factory); Pink Floyd, "A Foot in the Door: The Best of Pink Floyd," "Wish You Were Here (Experience Edition)" and "With You Were Here (Immersion Edition)" (all EMI).

Soundtracks: Mike Patton, "Solitude of Prime Numbers" (Ipecac); Howard Shore, "Hugo" (Howe); Various Artists, "Twilight Saga: Breaking Dawn -- Part 1" (Summit/Chop Shop/Atlantic)

New Music DVDs: Rush, "Time Machine 2011: Live in Cleveland" (Rounder)

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