Jimi Hendrix tops CD reviews

Jimi Hendrix. (QMI Agency/File)

Jimi Hendrix. (QMI Agency/File)

Darryl Sterdan, QMI Agency

, Last Updated: 3:56 PM ET

HEAR IT

Jimi Hendrix
People, Hell and Angels


Experiments, ephemera and extras. It doesn’t have the ring of People, Hell & Angels, but it might be a more accurate title for the zillionth posthumous reheating of Hendrix leftovers. Produced as usual by Eddie Kramer, this 12-track comp cherry-picks studio highlights from the late guitar hero’s post-Electric Ladyland recordings, mostly with Band of Gypsys’ Buddy Miles and Billy Cox. As you’d expect, it’s a mixed bag. Some cuts, like Hear My Train a Comin’ or the Vietnam rocker Izabella, feature different approaches to familiar fare. Others, such as the bluesy Hey Gypsy Boy or the jazzy Easy Blues, are skeletal sketches or loose jams. A couple — like the funky Mojo Man and Let Me Move You — even find him revisiting his chitlin’ circuit days. Many have surfaced before; few might have seen the light of day were Hendrix still around. Even so, the album justifies its existence by preserving and presenting Jimi’s effortlessly magnificent fretwork and seemingly boundless creativity. Overall: A positive experience.

RATING: 3.5 (out of 5)

SKIP IT

Matmos
Marriage of True Minds


And the Grammy for Best Electronic Album by a Baltimore Duo Who Recorded Rambling Monologues from Friends, Relatives and Other Musicians Undergoing Sensory Deprivation Sessions (While One Matmos Member Tried to Send Them Telepathic Messages From the Next Room) and Then Extrapolated Those Tapes Into Eclectic Soundscapes goes to …

RATING: 2.5 (out of 5)

Pat Metheny
The Orchestrion Project


If the title seems familiar, no wonder. This live performance featuring jazz-guitar virtuoso Metheny and his room-sized Rube Goldberg robo-orchestra first appeared on DVD last year. Granted, it’s been resequenced and remixed for this two-CD set — but without the visuals you’re really not getting the whole story. 

RATING: 2 (out of 5)

ALBUMS

How to Destroy Angels
Welcome Oblivion


Welcome to the upward spiral. Trent Reznor lightens the mood on the full-length debut of his post-NiN band, sweetening his spooky synthscapes and dusty industrial skulking with the dreamy ghost-girl vocals of wife Mariqueen Maandig. Call it a prettier hate machine.

RATING: 3.5 (out of 5)

James Hunter Six
Minute by Minute


The old ways are better. For Hunter, anyway. As usual, the U.K. singer-guitarist doesn’t just celebrate ’60s soul on his fifth album — he recreates it in impeccable detail, right down to the mono production. Dude just wasn’t made for these times. Lucky for us.

RATING: 4 (out of 5)

Atlas Genius
When it Was Now


Some people wanna fill the world with indie-pop songs. Like these Aussie brothers — their debut is all about chiming guitars bolstering new wave synths, bouncy beats driving sunny melodies, and sweet vocals intoning catchy choruses. And what’s wrong with that?

RATING: 3 (out of 5)

Petula Clark
Lost in You


Timeless meets timely. Octogenarian Clark’s first English disc in eons elegantly balances lushly intimate originals with updated classics (including her own Downtown) — and embraces current sonics with dignified restraint. Proof that pop stars can age gracefully.

RATING: 3 (out of 5)

Robyn Hitchcock
Love From London


“Rock ’n’ roll is an old man’s game now,” claims Hitchcock. And at 60, he’s at the top of that game. The eccentric Brit remains vibrant and vital on his 19th album, bouncing from sneering post-punk to starry-eyed psyche-pop with his usual arch wit and poetic wisdom.

RATING: 3.5 (out of 5)

Harper Simon
Division Street


He’s no one-trick pony. Paul Simon’s eldest son changes his tune (or at least his tone) for his sophomore album, trading his acoustic guitar for an electric and anchoring his airy vocals with the help of an all-star crew of noisy indie-rockers. So much for the sound of silence.

RATING: 3 (out of 5)

Madeleine Peyroux
The Blue Room


Post-Modern Sounds in Country and Western Music? Sorta. Singer Peyroux’s sixth solo set reinterprets the country-soul of Ray Charles’ 1962 classic — while taking a similar stance on cuts by Randy Newman, Leonard Cohen and Warren Zevon. Fine and mellow.

RATING: 3 (out of 5)

Roddie Woomble
Listen to Keep


Idlewild’s Woomble is neither idle nor wild these days. With his Scottish rockers on hiatus, the singer-songwriter continues to explore his softer side on his fourth album, balancing acoustic folk-rock and back-porch Americana. Sweetly sincere, but fairly standard.

RATING: 3 (out of 5)

U.K. Subs
XXIV


Turns out old dogs actually can learn new tricks. Subs commander Charlie Harper is pushing 70, but that doesn’t stop him from augmenting the rabble-rousing crash-bash of his motley crew’s 24th disc with a second platter of acoustic ballads and campfire covers.

RATING: 3.5 (out of 5)

Autechre
Exai


Patience is not just a virtue with Autechre — it’s a necessity. The British electronica duo’s eleventh album (XI, get it?) is also their most exhaustive (and exhausting), with two solid hours of twitch-glitch bleep-bloop and syncopated skitter-skatter. Pack a lunch.

RATING: 3 (out of 5)

Hayden
Us Alone


Hayden’s still not dead. But he’s not the life of the party either. The alt-folk troubadour’s seventh studio set features all the mumbly mopery and molasses-paced meandering we expect — but with little of the idiosyncratic whimsy that sometimes balances them. Sigh.

RATING: 2.5 (out of 5)

The Slide Brothers
Robert Randolph Presents The Slide Brothers


Dearly beloved, we are gathered here to celebrate the shimmering glory and revival-meeting rapture of Sacred Steel, as delivered unto thee by these mighty gospel-rock brethren. In the hymnal: Spirituals, The Beatles and, um, Fat Boy Slim. Mysterious ways, indeed.

RATING: 3.5 (out of 5)

Kramer
The Brill Building


No, not that Kramer. But yes, that Brill Building. Idiosyncratic indie icon Mark Kramer pays homage to New York’s hit factory with an eclectic batch of hallucinatory, lovingly off-kilter covers of classics by the likes of Goffin/King and Bacharach/David. Giddyup.

RATING: 3 (out of 5)

COLUMN

Now that the world has apparently had enough of Psy — it’s been at least a week since I heard Gangnam Style — it’s time to find a new Korean pop sensation. Any of these acts could easily ride the Hallyu Wave to North America. You have been warned.
• BIGBANG: The scene’s biggest boy band, dishing up the usual blend of dance-pop, hip-hop and harmonies. G-Dragon, T.O.P., Taeyang, Seungri and Daesung’s videos have over half a billion YouTube views, their latest EP hit the Billboard charts (a first for K-pop), and their latest tour — featuring massive production — brought them to North American arenas.
• Girls Generation: Don’t let their happy go-go fun-time sound fool you. These nine cutie-pies are the undisputed queens of K-Pop. They were named the most powerful South Korean entertainers of 2011 by Forbes, while their bouncy 2009 single Gee (featuring the inimitable refrain: “Gee gee gee gee, baby baby baby”) was named Song of the Decade.
• 2NE1: This female quartet — To Anyone or Twenty One — play it slighter edgier than their counterparts, incorporating heavier beats and darker electronics into their dance-floor thumpers. 
• Ailee: Relative newcomer Amy Lee (no relation to the Evanescence frontwoman) is an American who moved to Korea to pursue a music career. If that doesn’t tell you how big the scene is, nothing will.
Other names to watch for: U-Kiss, Sistar, Beast, Wonder Girls, 2 PM, After School, miss A, Super Junior.

SINGLES

C2C
Down the Road


That Dr. Pepper TV commercial where people mud-wrestle alligators, feed seagulls while clad in bread suits and shake pencils out of their afro? Here’s the funky blues jingle that goes with it — created not by Fat Boy Slim, surprisingly, but by a French turntable quartet.

RATING: 3 (out of 5)

Phoenix
Entertainment


And speaking of French pop music, Versailles rockers Phoenix have risen with this first single from their April 23 album Bankrupt. Judging by the track’s jaunty tom-toms and sing-along melody, it’s safe to assume they aren’t living up to that title — creatively or commercially.

RATING: 3.5 (out of 5)

DVDs

Emeli Sandé
Live at the Royal Albert Hall


Well, that was quick. A year after her album Our Version of Events, Scottish soul sensation Sandé returns with a 100-minute live DVD, belting out most of her debut (plus a few covers and new songs) with a full complement of strings and backup vocalists. Pretty but predictable.

RATING: 3 (out of 5)

Joe Jackson
Live at Rockpalast


Talk about night and day. This two-disc affair unearths a trio of ’80s gigs from Jackson: A bare-bones blast of new wave from his original band in 1980, and two shots of keyboard-pop and Latin-jazz from his more seasoned and sophisticated 1983 lineup. Either way, he’s the man.

RATING: 3.5 (out of 5)

IN THE PIPELINE

MARCH 12

Duane Allman   
Skydog: Retrospective

Audio Adrenaline
Kings & Queens

Devendra Banhart
Mala

David Bowie
The Next Day

Eric Clapton
Old Sock

Grateful Dead   
Dick’s Picks 25: 1978 — New Haven, Conn., May 10 / Springfield, Ma., May 11

Megan Hilty
It Happens All the Time

Shooter Jennings
The Other Life

Mindless Behavior
All Around the World

Orianthi
Heaven In This Hell

Queen
Live at Wembley Stadium: 25th Anniversary Edition

Sandi Thom
Flesh and Blood

Various Artists
Sound City: Real to Reel

 


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