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CD Reviews:
the Listening Room: The Arcs, Five Finger Death Punch, Miley Cyrus, The Doors and more...

Digital First Media, @GraffonMusic

Posted: Saturday, September 5, 2015

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The Arcs

"Yours, Dreamily"


Grade: A-

The Black Keys' Dan Auerbach has established himself as an artist who can do no -- or at least little -- wrong, whether it's with the band or his production gigs (Dr. John, Ray LaMontagne, Lana Del Rey, etc.). The latest proof of his creative vitality is The Arcs, kind of ad hoc quintet that record its debut album in just two weeks at studios in Los Angeles, New York and Auerbach's own Eye Sound in Nashville. These 14 tracks boast plenty of the ambient experimentation that's been the Black Keys' stock in trade on its last few albums, but with a different kind of voice and a soundscape informed by the other four musicians in the group. The Arcs certainly shoot wide; "Outta My Mind" kicks things off with psychedelic urgency, and a trippy vibe certainly colors much that follows, including the garage grit of "Pistol Made of Bones" and "The Arc," the smooth soul flavors of "Chains of Love" and "Rosie (Ooh La La)," the reggae tinge of "Velvet Ditch," the rootsy Americana of "Stay in My Corner" and the tough, funky flair of "Cold Companion." The sonic terrain, meanwhile, lets Auerbach explore more subtleties with his guitar, and the restraint helps give The Arcs define sound even further. We're certainly looking forward to whatever the Black Keys do next, but this is a welcome addition to Auerbach's arsenal that will hopefully have more to offer, too.

New & Noteworthy:

Angels & Airwaves, "...Of Nightmares" (To The Stars): Once (and future?) blink-182 guitarist Tom DeLonge's other band delivers a four-song EP as a companion to the novel of the same name, coming Oct. 6 as part of a continuing multi-media science fiction story/art project he launched with last year's "The Dream Walker."

Miley Cyrus, "Miley Cyrus & Her Dead Petz" (Smiley Miley Inc.): Cyrus swings the "Wrecking Ball" again, dropping this 23-song collaboration with Flaming Lips digitally, and for free, after hosting MTV's Video Music Awards. Detroit rapper Big Sean, Ariel Pink and Phantogram's Saraha Barthel are special guests.

The Doors, "Other Voices/Full Circle" (Rhino): The missing link from the Doors' extensive vault trolling -- the two albums the group released after Jim Morrison's death in 1971, with one previously unreleased track.

Five Finger Death Punch, "Got Your Six" (Prospect Park): The Las Vegas headbangers are back in characteristically pulverizing form, albeit with a slightly more modest release than 2013's two-volume "The Wrong Side of Heaven..."

Iron Maiden, "The Book of Souls" (Sanctuary/BMG): The British metal icons' first new set in five years spread 11 sonic epics recorded in Paris over two discs.

Public Image Ltd., "What the World Needs Now" (PiL Official Ltd.): The 10th studio album by Johnny Rotten's (aka Lydon) "other" band shows the continuing potency of the lineup the quartet's held intact since 2009.

Also Out: Aerosmith, "Aerosmith Rocks Donnigton" (Eagle Rock); Amorphis, "Under the Red Cloud" (Nuclear Blast); BAckyard Babies, "Four By Four" (Gain); Lou Barlow, "Brace The Wave" (Joyful Noise); Dan Bern, "Hoody" (BFD); Black Trip, "Shadow Line" (Steamhammer); Black Tongue, "Unconquerable Dark" (Century Media); Kim Burrell, "A Different Place"(Shanachie); Joe King Carrascao y Los Side FX, "Chillandro" (Anaconda); Dave Davies, "Rippin' Up New York City: Live at the City Winery" (Red River); Dear Hunter, "Act IV: Rebirth in Reprise" (Equal vision); Orrin Evans and Christian McBride, "The Evolution of Oneself" (Smoke Sessions); Family of the Year, "Family of the Year" (Nettwerk); Fidlar, "Too" (MOm & Pop); Fred Hersch, "Solo" (Palmetto); Incognito, "Live in London -- 35th Anniversary Show" (earMusic); Tommy Keene, "Laugh in the Dark" (Second Motion); Tom Killner, "Hard Road" (Cleopatra); Magic Castles, "Starflower" (A); John Mayall, "find a Way to Care" (Forty Below); Once Human, "Life I Remember" (earMusic); Sarah Pierce, "Barbed Wire" (Little Bear); Bebe Rexha, "I Don't Wanna Grow Up" (Warner Bros.); Riverside, "Love Fear & the Time Machine" (Inside Out); Rick Ross, "Black Dollar" (Maybach); Scarface, "Deeply Rooted" (Let's Talk); Cecile McLorin Salvant, "For One to Love" (Mack Avenue); Travis Scott, "Rodeo" (Grand Hustle/Epic); Lisa Stansfield, "Live in Manchester" (earMusic); Uncle Acid & the Deadbeats, "Night Creeper"(Rise Above, Ltd.); The Wonder Years, "No Closer to Heaven" (Hopeless); Lizz Wright, "Freedom and Surrender" (Concord);

From The Vaults: Paul Butterfield, "Live: New York 1970" (Rockbeat); Larry Coryell, "Aurora Coryellis" (Purple Pyramid); Quicksilver Messenger Service, "New Year's Eve 1967" (Purple Pyramid); 3, "Live in Boston 1988" (Rockbeat); "The Wrecking Crew, "The Wrecking Crew" (Rockbeat)

Soundtracks: "Pageant: 2014 Off Broadway Cast Recording" (Jay); "Seven Brides For Seven Brothers: 2015 London Cast" (Jay)

New Music DVDs: Aerosmith, "Aerosmith Rocks Donnigton" (Eagle Rock);

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