Frehley ready for 3rd trip through space with Kiss

Ace Frehley may or may not be returned to the fold when Kiss launches their (second) farewell tour next year, but whatever the result, he sure sounds

Elvis Costello views misery on sumptuous ‘Look Now’

Like in “Anna Karenina,” the characters in “Look Now,” Elvis Costello’s sumptuous new album with The Imposters, are each unhappy in their own way. A woman

Rod Stewart nostalgic on varied ‘Blood Red Roses’

Nostalgia has been a focal feature of Rod Stewart’s songwriting even as far back as 1971’s “Maggie May,” and some of the best tunes on “Blood Red

Nile Rodgers returns with Chic to make us boogie

The cover of the new Chic album might be familiar. Does anyone else vaguely recognize the image of two models gazing seductively into the camera fiddling about

Underwood struggles to get personal on ‘Cry Pretty’

For the first time in her career, Carrie Underwood took over co-producing duties on her new album, “Cry Pretty,” and co-wrote nine of the 13 tracks. But

Alejandro Escovedo’s passions elevate ‘The Crossing’

Drawing up a family tree of Alejandro Escovedo’s lengthy career results in a small forest with branches spread out across punk, rock and alt-country. Now 67, he’s

Engaging pop potpourri from Aaron Lee Tasjan

When performing on a cruise ship, Aaron Lee Tasjan has been known to play New York Dolls music that sends listeners fleeing for the exits. The amusing

Iron & Wine retains intimacy on 6-song ‘Weed Garden’

For fans of Iron & Wine, it’s Christmas in August. “Weed Garden” is a six-track EP including songs written by Sam Beam mostly while working toward his

Gilbert O’Sullivan’s 19th album even better than first

Gilbert O’Sullivan is still himself — reflective, sensitive and witty — on his 19th studio album, which often sounds like his 1971 debut, maybe even better.

A powerhouse debut from duo the War and Treaty

A long with his considerable talents as a guitarist, singer, songwriter, producer, bandleader and radio host, Buddy Miller is an excellent talent scout. In the case of the

On ‘Vicious,’ Halestorm rides on elevated thrash-pop

Vicious comes five years after Halestorm’s Grammy-winning hit “Love Bites (So Do I)” became the group’s standing claim to mainstream fame. Produced by Nick Raskulinecz, who has

Willie Nile delivers depth, danceable defiance

“I wanna be a painting; I don’t wanna be a sketch.” Willie Nile, who embraces this noble objective in the song “Lookin’ for Someone,” delivers depth and

Tom Bailey follows the Thompson Twins’ blueprint

At its peak, Thompson Twins created some great 1980s synth pop, songs with refined melodies, thoughtful lyrics and a wide range of keyboard sounds, enlivened by crystalline

Meg Myers is angry, anguished, exciting on new album

If you assume from the title of Meg Myers’ new album that she’s taken a fun and frivolous turn, you’ll be sorely mistaken. Thrilled, but very mistaken. The superb

Years of dues led Carolina Story to stellar debut

Ben Roberts comes from Arkansas, his wife Emily is from South Dakota, and they met in Memphis a decade ago. But Nashville was always their destiny. The couple’s debut album, “Lay

‘Lost’ 1963 John Coltrane album a treasure

It’s a rare pleasure to hear this “lost” John Coltrane album for the first time. The component sounds of his classic quartet are so familiar that it’s

Xavier Rudd’s ‘Storm Boy’ inspired by childhood film

The title track of Xavier Rudd’s latest album was inspired by a pelican he saw while sitting by a river sipping tea. The water bird reminded him

Roger Daltrey aces set of soulful covers, originals

It may seem paradoxical to begin a review of a Roger Daltrey album by mentioning Pete Townshend, but The Who vocalist himself credits his bandmate for encouragement in getting

Shawn Mendes fragile and soulful on self-titled CD

The month of May is turning into a banner one for album releases from young, good- looking, sensitive singer-songwriters blessed with awesome falsettos. First came Charlie Puth and

Potent pop pastiche from Californian Matt Costa

Rock ‘n’ roll is now old enough to draw social security, which means that for contemporary acts, influences become multigenerational. Such is the case with California singer-songwriter Matt Costa,

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