: The Melvins; Ted Nugent; David Bowie; and Maria Pia De Vito, Francois Couturier, Anja Lechner and Michaele Rabbia
RockThe Melvins, "Tres Cabrones" (Ipecac). Kurt Cobain's favorite band, and perhaps the greatest unsung progenitor of what became the sound of Seattle in the early '90s, the Melvins have spent more than a quarter century happily trading commercial success for hard-won punk/metal/stoner-rock credibility. "Tres Cabrones" is the band's 22nd studio album, and its first with original drummer Mike Dillard, who left the Melvins prior to the release of the band's first LP. Dillard joins guitarist/vocalist Buzz Osborne and drummer-turned- bassist Dale Crover for a delightfully garage-esque collection of face-melters. The Melvins have always sounded like a more intelligent, punk-influenced Black Sabbath, a powerhouse riffing machine that knows the value of a deliciously slow and sludgy groove.
"Tres Cabrones" represents nothing radically different from the Melvins. But then, nothing radically different was needed. ***[1/2] (Jeff Miers)
Ted Nugent, "Ultralive Ballisticrock - Deluxe Edition" (Frontiers Records, two discs plus DVD). No, Ted. You can't do what you're trying to do here. You can't go from Motor City disorderly musical conduct to troglodyte Obama-bashing politics without turning into the brain-addled, quasi-seditious buffoon that former fans have long suspected all that onstage noise would force you to be. He desperately wants the world to remember that he comes from Dee- troit, home of Motown and his own patented form of hard rock Motor City madness - and that in the world of pop music, Detroit has always been - at least in part - post-racial. That's why he has the colossal gall to call his cracker band of killer white rockers the Nigerian Rebels. But at the same time, four-letter word spewing Ted wants you to remember that it's his Second Amendment right to possess any munitions factory he wants and to turn any animal he chooses into brunch (even, no doubt, left-wing politicians when he's discoursing privately on preferred menus). It all fits into his personality but it makes for a ridiculous live disc from 2011 Pennsylvania when he's not singing the disreputable wanking classics of old - "Wango Tango" and the like. What needs, always to be remembered, is that Ted - who'll soon be 65 - remains a monster guitar player, however much all that performing has clearly damaged his, uhhhh, brain. *** (Jeff Simon)
David Bowie, "The Next Day Extra" (two discs, one DVD, Columbia). The collector's edition of David Bowie's brilliant 2013 release "The Next Day" offers plenty of bonus treats for the hardcore fan. Disc One gives us the whole original album. Disc Two collects an additional album's worth of tracks recorded during the same sessions for the original "Next Day," plus two remixes that actually feel anything but trite and superfluous, one of which is the work of LCD Soundsystem's James Murphy. Disc Three is a DVD collecting the four videos Bowie made for the album. Bowie being Bowie, these miniature films are tantalizingly odd, beautifully shot, and on occasion, disturbing. A must-have for the true Bowie fan. **** (J.M.)
Maria Pia De Vito, Francois Couturier, Anja Lechner and Michaele Rabbia, "Il Pergolese" (ECM). A classical-plus quartet devoted to doing to the music of Giovanni Battista Pergolesi (1710-1736) anything they jolly well choose. The surprise - if there is one - is that if you can keep all atavistic tendencies at bay it almost works. As vocalist De Vito writes "the quartet's formal and harmonic reinterpretation widens Pergolesi's structures, offering improvisational dialogue, and enhances his melodies, by turns intact and fragmented." What's here as Varesian percussion and electronic music, along with haunting cello improvisation and Pergolesi's masterpiece, the "Stabat Mater" translated into Neapolitan to bring it closer to "the popular music of Naples." If you're a purist, it's a must to avoid. If you're open-minded, or merely curious, it's often wonderful. *** (J.S.)
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