Pink, DMB top CD reviews

Pink and Dave Matthews of Dave Matthews Band (Reuters, AFP photos)

Pink and Dave Matthews of Dave Matthews Band (Reuters, AFP photos)

Darryl Sterdan, QMI Agency

, Last Updated: 11:00 AM ET

Week 2 of the fall music harvest yields another crop of heavy hitters, from Pink and Dave Matthews to Dinosaur Jr. and Amanda Palmer. Dig in.

Pink

The Truth About Love

Pop-Rock

3.5 stars out of 5

The truth isn’t always pretty. But it is a blast. With her usual uncensored aplomb, party-girl Alecia Moore plumbs the depths of real-world romance on her sixth disc, candidly dishing about sluts, the walk of shame and the razor-thin line between love and hate. Musically, she also walks the line, hooking up her lyrics with hard-crunching guitars and radio-ready pop. Rated R for Romance.

Download: Are We All We Are; The Truth About Love

Dave Matthews Band

Away From the World

Jam-Rock

3.5 stars out of 5

What goes around comes around. For their eighth outing (and the followup to their boisterous Grammy-nominated 2009 disc Big Whiskey and the GrooGrux King), singer-guitarist Matthews and his crack jam squad close the space between once again, reuniting with original producer Steve Lillywhite for a more subdued and subtle examination of love and lust. Introspective and intimate.

Download: Belly Belly Nice; The Riff

Gallows

Gallows

Hardcore

4 stars out of 5

Losing a singer can be a death sentence for bands. For Gallows, it’s been a rebirth. With beefy Alexisonfire bellower Wade MacNeil handily filling the steel-toed boots of departed frontman Frank Carter, these British hardcore hellraisers roar back to life with an appropriately self-titled third album of take-no-prisoners brutality and face-melting, blowtorch intensity. What didn’t kill them, etc.

Download: Last June; Odessa

The Raveonettes

Observator

Noise-Pop

3.5 stars out of 5

Let there be light. And darkness. The co-ed Danish noise-pop duo’s sixth disc – cut in sunny L.A. but reportedly born of singer-guitarist Sune Rose Wagner’s bout with back pain and depression — balances some of their jangliest melodies and poppiest songs with hazy textures and gloomy lyrics of desperation and the death of love. The stuff that dreams (and nightmares) are made of.

Download: Observations; Sinking With the Sun

Ben Folds Five

Sound of the Life of the Mind

Piano-Rock

4 stars out of 5

And then there were five again. OK, three. On their first new studio album in 13 years, singer-keyboardist Folds and his old rhythm section sound rejuvenated — and make up for lost time with a magnificent assemblage of piano-pop that underpins Folds’ articulate wit and Tin Pan Alley tunesmithery with rollicking indie-rock energy and propulsion. All comebacks should be so satisfying.

Download: Erase Me; Do it Anyway

Band of Horses

Mirage Rock

Alt-Country

3.5 stars out of 5

Fact or fiction? If you think the Seattle alt-country combo’s fourth album title answers that, think again. Produced by the illustrious Glyn Johns — whose CV includes The Who, Stones and Led Zeppelin — these tracks dial back some of the band’s more freewheeling eccentricities in favour of straightforward songwriting and lively, unvarnished playing. So much for using their illusion.

Download: Knock Knock; Electric Music

Dinosaur Jr.

I Bet on Sky

Indie-Rock

4 stars out of 5

Nobody would have put money on it, but it’s undeniable: Dinosaur Jr. are not only alive and well but thriving. The indie-rock trio’s 10th album works both sides of the aisle, placating the faithful with overdriven alt-rock — topped by J. Mascis’ molten fretwork and Neil Young croak, natch — while showing their evolution via richer vocals, stylistic shifts and keyboards. All bets are off.

Download: Don’t Pretend You Didn’t Know; I Know it Oh So Well

Amanda Palmer & Grand Theft Orchestra

Theatre is Evil

Cabaret-Rock

4 stars out of 5

If theatre is evil, at least it pays: DIY doyenne Palmer famously raised $1 million on Kickstarter for this disc. Fittingly, it may be the brazen singer-pianist’s biggest, boldest record to date (which is saying something), thanks to a slate of audacious, hard-pumping piano-rock come-ons and majestically wrenching post-pop ballads that fuse artiness with accessibility. A work of evil genius.

Download: The Killing Type; Lost

The Time Jumpers

The Time Jumpers

Country Swing

4 stars out of 5

There’s no time like the past. Fronted by Vince Gill, Ranger Doug Green and Dawn Sears, and staffed by a roster of top-shelf Music Row studio vets and sidemen — including pedal steel, fiddle and accordion aces — this 11-piece Nashville combo harkens back to the glory days of sophisticated country swing, zippy hillbilly boogie and tear-in-your-beer balladry. The real deal, pardner.

Download: Yodel Blues; Texas on a Saturday Night

Chris Robinson Brotherhood

The Magic Door

Blues-Rock

3 stars out of 5

Time is, like, an illusion, man. Three months after dropping their debut disc Big Moon Ritual, the former Black Crowes frontman and his cosmic combo return with this companion disc. Tracked during the same sessions, it naturally picks up where the Moon set, delivering another mellow dose of California space-boogie, shuffling blues jams and epic psychedelic flights. Enjoy the trip.

Download: Let’s Go Let’s Go Let’s Go; Little Lizzie Mae

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Juliana Hatfield

Juliana Hatfield

Inidie-Rock

3 stars out of 5

When it comes to alienation, isolation and self-examination, Hatfield’s got it covered. Literally. For her 12th disc, the singer-songwriter puts down the pen and digs through her old LPs, applying melancholy introspection and slow-burn intensity to classic tales of disconnection and desperation penned by everyone from The Who and Zep to CCR and ELO. File under: Uneasy listening.

Download: My Wife; Rock and Roll

Ian Hunter & The Rant Band

When I’m President

Glam-Rock

3 stars out of 5

’Allo, ’allo, ’allo, again. The original mixed-up kid is back. And still kicking butt at age 73. Eternally shaded Mott the Hoople frontman Ian Hunter returns with his umpteenth batch of glammy ’70s romper-stompers and Dylanesque heartland rockers — and while his voice is a tad tattered these days, his songwriting has lost none of its bite, grit and muscle. Carry the news, old dudes.

Download: Comfortable; What For

NOFX

Self Entitled

Pop-Punk

3.5 stars out of 5

Some guys never grow up. Thankfully, NOFX majordomo Fat Mike is one of them. After 30 years and a dozen albums, the L.A. singer-bassist and his compadres are still punk purists, crashing and bashing out speed-demon nuggets laced with smart-alec lyrics about Reagan and Thatcher, sellouts and sycophants, and how hookers can bring about world peace. Get the circle pit going.

Download: Ronnie & Mags; Cell Out

Robert Pollard

Jack Sells the Cow

Indie-Rock

3.5 stars out of 5

If life is a numbers game, Pollard is winning. At 54, the prolific Guided By Voices leader / indie iron man has made over 60 albums — and shows no sign of slowing. His 18th solo CD (and fourth release of 2012) offers another dozen smartly crafted retro-pop and garage-rock nuggets full of sharp melodies and surreal lyrics. The question is not how he does it, but how he does it so well.

Download: Who’s Running My Ranch?; Big Groceries

Kix Brooks

New to This Town

Country

3.5 stars out of 5

The name of this town: Soloville, Pop. 1. Untethered from longtime partner Ronnie Dunn, black-hatted Brooks takes the reins with this confidently easygoing debut. Casually mixing songs and styles — from country-rock and good-ole-boy boogie to blues and Southern soul — Brooks may not start a new line-dance craze. But he definitely seems comfortable in his new surroundings.

Download: Moonshine Road; Tattoo

Calexico

Algiers

Latin-Rock

4 stars out of 5

No, not that Algiers. The Arizona ensemble’s seventh album took them not to Northern Africa but New Orleans, where they lived and recorded in a converted church in the titular neighbourhood. Despite the relocation, this is mostly familiar terrain, with Joey Burns and John Convertino’s noirish desert-rock and mariachi influences intact — if slightly haunted by the spirits of their setting.

Download: Splitter; Para

Firewater

International Orange

World-Punk

3.5 stars out of 5

The journey continues. Four years after his last dispatches from the Middle East, restless gypsy-punk Tod A. resurfaces in Instanbul, sporting another exotic array of musical multiculturalism. Ska and bhangra, mambo and punk; they’re all here, anchored by hypnotic global grooves, laced with low-twang guitar, and topped by Tod’s baritone croon and revolutionary lyrics. Bon voyage.

Download: A Little Revolution; Dead Man’s Boots

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DVDs

Queen

Greatest Video Hits

Classic Rock

3 stars out of 5

Easy come, easy go. This double-disc comp of promos came out in two parts about a decade ago — with a slew of extras that are MIA in this repackaging. Also missing: The tops and bottoms of the original footage, lopped off to reformat these clips for 16:9. Granted, some of the 5.1 mixes and audio commentaries are a treat, but most fans can carry on. Nothing here really matters.

Incubus

HQ Live Special Edition

Alt-Rock

3.5 stars out of 5

As marketing schemes go, not bad. In summer 2011, these L.A. alt-rockers promoted their album If Not Now, When? by taking over a storefront, performing nightly and streaming the results on the Net. This 130-minute DVD cherrypicks 19 highlights from those shows, interspersed with documentary footage and accompanied by two CDs of gems from their run. Intimate and interactive.

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GARAGE BAND

Da’Flave

Toronto, Ont.

soundcloud.com/daflave

Be careful what you wish for. This co-ed Toronto trip-hop duo asked me to review a cut called Treasure Pieces — which basically turned out to be about 30 seconds of ideas stretched to nearly eight minutes of meandering self-indulgence. Turns out their other cuts are shorter and more focused, though most follow the same predictable pattern: Guy programs a beat and twiddles some knobs; gal adds a laid-back rap; lather, rinse, repeat until everyone tunes out. Or wishes they had.

VERDICT: “Da’Waste o’Time”

1.5 stars out of 5

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UPCOMING

Jason Collett

Reckon

deadmau5

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Dragonette

Bodyparts

Lupe Fiasco

Food & Liquor II: The Great American Rap Album Pt. 1

¡Uno!

Green Day

John Hiatt

Mystic Pinball

Mumford & Sons

Babel

No Doubt

Push and Shove

Yoko Ono, Kim Gordon & Thurston Moore

YOKOKIMTHURSTON

 

 


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