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CD Reviews:
The Listening Room: Lush, Jena Irene, Blue October, Blue Man Group and more...

Digital First Media, @GraffonMusic

Posted: Saturday, April 23, 2016

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"Blind Spot"


Grade: B+

"Seeing you again is such a lovely surprise" Lush's Miki Berenyi sings on "Lost Boy," the second track on the British group's new EP -- and that certainly echoes how fans are feeling as well. "Blind Spot" is the first new music we've had from Lush in 20 years, and even though it's four tracks seem a modest offering the set covers all the essential bases to remind us why Lush was one of the leading "shoegaze" groups of the late 80s and 90s. The production is, well, lush as ever, orchestrating Berenyi and Emma Anderson's guitars into gauzy orchestrations for sweeping epics such as "Out of Control," "Lost Boy" and the spaghetti Western-flavored "Rosebud," while "Burnham Beaches" is a peppy throwback to 60s-vintage Britpop. It's a welcome return that sounds like little time has passed since our last blast of Lush, and it leaves us wanting more -- and hopefully soon.

New & Noteworthy:

Jena Irene Asciutto, "Innocence," (Original 1265 Recordings): "American Idol's" Season 13 runnerup resurfaces with a tight and contemporary five-song EP.

Blue Man Group, "Three" (Rhino): The performance art troupe's third studio album features its unique array of invented instruments and is timed to celebrate the group's 25th anniversary.

Blue October, "Home" (Up Down): Frontman Justin Furstenfeld is in uncharacteristically positive and optimistic spirits on the Texas group's ambient-tinged eighth studio album.

Rufus Wainwright, "To All My Lovers -- 9 Shakespeare Sonnets" (Deutsche Grammaphon): Nothing if not ambitious. Wainwright's latest takes on the Bard's musical side, with vocals and narration from a corps that includes Helena Bonham Carter, William Shatner, Carrie Fisher, Florence (+ the Machine) Welch and others.

Yo-Yo Ma & the Silk Road Ensemble, "Sing Me Home" (Masterworks): The cellist and his adventurous Oriental music troupe get help from Rhiannon Giddens, Bill Frisell, Abigail Washburn and others on their latest album.

Also Out: Aborted, "Retrogore" (Century Media); Andrea Bocelli, "Cinema (Special Edition)" (Decca); BWB, "BWB" (Artistry Music); Candlebox, "Disappearing In Airports" (Pavement); Dalek, "Asphalt For Eden" (Profound Lore); Jordan Feliz, "The River" (Centricity); Fruition, "Labor of Love" (Randm); Good Tiger, "A Head Full of Moonlight" (Metal Blade); Guided By Voices, "Please Be Honest" (self-released); Har Mar Superstar, "Best Summer Ever" (Cult); Daniel Hutchens, "The Beautiful Vicious Cycle of Life" (Pretty Mean); Josh Kelley, "New Lane Road" (Sugar Hill); NF, "Therapy Session" (Capitol Christian); Scorpions, "Return To Forever (Tour Edition)" (Century Media); The 69 Eyes, "Universal Monsters" (Nuclear Blast); Skold, "The Undoing" (Metropolis); Andy Stott, "Too Many Voices" (Modern Love); The Strumbrellas, "Hope" (Glassnote); Texas Hippie Coalition, "Dark Side of Black" (Carved Records); Phil Wickham, "Children of God" (Fair Trade); We Are Messengers, "We Are Messengers" (Word); KeKe Wyatt, "Rated Love" (Aratek); Yellowjackets, "Cohearance" (Mack Avenue)

From The Vaults: Bill Evans, "Some Other Time: The Lost Sessions From the Black Forest" (Resonance); Jethro Tull, "Aqualung (Deluxe Edition)" (Rhino/Parlophone); Johnny Mathis, "Best Days of My LIfe" (Funky Town Grooves); Rainbow, "Monsters of Rock: Live At Donnington 1980" (Eagle Rock); Pete Seeger and the Paul Winter Consort, "pete" (Living Music); Johnny Winter and Dr. John, "Live in Sweden 1987" (MVD)

Soundtracks: James Newtwon Howard, "Huntsman: Winter's War" (Backlot Music)

New Music Videos:>/b> Rainbow, "Monsters of Rock: Live At Donnington 1980" (Eagle Rock); The Residents, "Theory of Obscurity" (Film Movement); Johnny Winter and Dr. John, "Live in Sweden 1987" (MVD)

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