By Noah Hubbell
By Kiernan Maletsky
By Tom Murphy
By Noah Hubbell
By Alex Distefano
By Darryl Smyers
By Jon Solomon
By Britt Chester
Glochids, Puppet Sampler KeyboardSwee (Distant Colony Records). Though largely a kind of musique concrète, it sounds as though the composers of this effort watched their share of Gus Van Sant and Larry Clark movies and thought they could write better, more haunting incidental music. The minimalist tapestry of electronic sounds and unconventional percussion bear this out beautifully.
The Lavellas, The Back Hall Sessions (Self-released). The Lavellas augment their signature expansive guitar-rock sound with extensive use of keyboards and sequencers. This element has seemingly opened the band's sonic palette wider, so that moody, introspective pieces sit beside fiery, effervescent rockers. This is easily the act's strongest release since 2002's My Talk With the Dead. — Murphy
The Miles Davis All-Stars, Featuring John Coltrane, Broadcast Sessions 1958-59 (Acrobat Music). Acrobat's new reissue series draws from vintage radio programs — an archival well far deeper than most music fans realize. Heading the first batch is this vibrant collection, which features many of Davis's most storied collaborators (Coltrane, Cannonball Adderley, Bill Evans, Philly Joe Jones and more) performing at their genre-defining peak. Tune them in.
Rise Against, Appeal to Reason (Interscope). Working again with Bill Stevenson and Jason Livermore at Fort Collins's Blasting Room, the Risers stick to their guns figuratively and literally, mating lyrical agit-prop and punk elementalism in familiar-sounding cuts like "Re-Education (Through Labor)." These guys may be ideologically liberal, but they're creatively conservative — the sonic equivalent of a red state that'll never get the blues.
Swingin' Utters, Hatest Grits: B-Sides and Bullshit (Fat Wreck Chords). There is something about a CD with 26 songs crammed into its eighty minutes that warms the cockles of the heart. With these San Francisco tricksters, it's the promise of upbeat, humor-filled tunes free of rigmarole or any semblance of political correctness, all of which the Utters deliver in spades.
War, Greatest Hits Live (Avenue Records). Sometimes no matter how much talent or importance a band exudes, it winds up getting shafted in terms of historical remembrance. With a repertoire of songs that several generations of any American family would recognize, this inaugural document of War's legendary, funk-filled and emotionally uplifting live show is long overdue. — Daviet