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CD Reviews:
The Listening Room: Hollywood Vampires, Slayer, Duran Duran, Gary Clark Jr. and more...

Digital First Media, @GraffonMusic

Posted: Friday, September 11, 2015

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Hollywood Vampires

"Hollywood Vampires"


Grade: B+

On paper, Hollywood Vampires -- an all-star project led by Alice Cooper and actor Johnny Depp that pays homage to the West Coast rock star party crew of the early 70s -- is a hoot. And the ad hoc troupe's disc is certainly that. The 14-track set features mostly covers of Cooper's old gang -- his "Dead Drunk Friends" as he refers to them in one of two new songs -- delivered with hard-rocking bravado and the energy of a garage band, albeit a highly seasoned and accomplished one, playing some of its favorite music. Cooper and AC/DC's Brian Johnson egg each other on during Led Zeppelin's "Whole Lotta Love" and a coupling of Cooper's own "School's Out" and Pink Floyd`s "Another Brick in the Wall Part 2," the latter of which features members of the original Alice Cooper band. Perry Farrell of Jane's Addiction joins Cooper for Spirit's "I Got a Line on You" and a medley of Three Dog Night's "One" and Harry Nilsson's "Jump Into the Fire," while Paul McCartney joins a rave-up treatment of Badfinger's "Come and Get It," which he wrote, and Doors guitarist Robbie Krieger plays on a medley of his band's "Five To One" and "Break On Through." The rest of the guitar army includes Depp, Aerosmith's Joe Perry and Joe Walsh, while Dave Grohl and the Who's Zak Starkey show up on drums. It's lost of fun and a little bit poignant, and these Vampires show the bite that the formidable lineup promises.

New & Noteworthy:

Bring Me the Horizon, "That's The Spirit" (Columbia): The British metal troupe takes a more straightforward and mainstream course on its fifth album.

Gary Clark Jr., "The Story of Sonny Boy Slim" (Warner Bros.) The Texas guitar hero continues to broaden his range as a singer, songwriter and player on his second studio album.

Duran Duran, "Paper Goods" (Warner Bros.): Now elder statesmen of a sort, the 80s MTV darlings team with producers Mark Rosnon, Nile Rodgers and Mr. Hudson for a 12-song set that straddles the retro/modern divide.

Leona Lewis, "I Am" (Island Def Jam): The British singer's fifth solo album follows 2013's "Christmas, With Love" and is her first after parting ways with Simon Cowell and his Syco Records label.

Prince, "HinNRun phase one" (NPG/Warner Bros.): The genre-blending auteur slipped his latest, experimental set out through the Tidal service, featuring collaborations with Judith Hill, Rita Ora and Lianna La Havas, among others.

Slayer, "Repentless" (Nuclear Blast): The iconic thrash rockers release their first album since the death of founding guitarist Jeff Hanneman, though it does feature a track he was working on called "Piano Wire."

Also Out: Beirut, "No No No" (4AD); Tamar Braxton, "Calling All Lovers" (Epic); California Honeydrops, "A River`s Invitation" (Tubtone); Phil Cook, "Southland Mission" (!K7); Shemekia Copeland, "Outskirts of Love" (Alligator); Chick Corea and Bela Fleck, "Two" (Concord); Colton Dixon, "The Calm Before the Storm" (Sparrow); Brett Eldredge, "Illinois" (Atlantic Nashville); Craig Finn, "Faith in the Future" (Partisan); Ben Folds, "So There" (New West); Holly Golightly & the Brokeoffs, "Slowtown Now!" (Damaged Goods); Jess Glynne, "I Cry When I Laugh" (Atlantic); Jewel, "Picking Up the Pieces" (Sugar Hill); Joyce & Tony, "Live From Wigmore Hall" (Warner Classics); The Libertines, "Anthems For Doomed Youth" (Harvest); Low, "Ones and Sixes" (Sub Pop); Pat Metheny et al, "Hommage a Eberhard Weber" (ECM); John Mark Nelson, "I'm Not Afraid" (Gndwire); Nero, "Between II Worlds" (Cherrytree); Paris, "Pistol Politics" (Guerilla Funk); John Pizzarelli, "Midnight McCartney" (Concord); Plainsong, "Reinventing Richard: The Songs of Richard Farina" (Omnivore); Guilty Simpson, "Detroit's Son" (Stones Throw); Scorpions, "Return To Forever" (Legacy); Stereophonics, "Keep the Village Alive" (Ignition); Julieta Venegas, "Algo Sucede" (Sony Latin U.S.)

From The Vaults: The Buckinghams, "The Complete Hit Singles" (Varsese Sarabande); Carlos Santana, "Latin Tropical" (Silber Star); Various Artists, "Now! That's What I Call Halloween" (UMG/Sony); Various Artists and London Symphony Orchestra, "Tommy" (Ode Sound & Visuals); Texas Tornados, "A Little Bit is Better Than Nada: Prime Cuts 1990-1996" (Real Gone)

Soundtracks: James Horner, "Wolf Totem" (Miland)

New Music DVDs: Jeff Lynne's ELO, "Live in Hyde Park" (Eagle Rock)

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