Some listeners may think that the lingering (and pigeonholing) specter of megahit “Milkshake” would make Kelis Rogers steer clear of mixing beats and cuisine. But this genre-defying R&B provocateur is nothing if not fearless. This time, the proof is in the pudding with Food, her first album since signing with Ninja Tune last year. Searing tangy rhythms lock in the flavor of “Jerk Ribs,” while “Forever Be” is garnished with a lilting psychedelic string section. “Floyd” is an exposé of the modern woman’s desires, and “Bless the Telephone” is folk love served straight up à la Jim Croce or Bon Iver. The Stax-sounding horn section of “Friday Fish Fry” sends Kelis strutting through a bar with sawdust on the floors, licking her greasy fingers clean as she commands a sweaty glass of “ice cold water.” Produced by Dave Sitek (TV on the Radio), Food is an elegant, sensual and warmhearted concoction full of soul. (M. Brianna Stallings)
Here’s what you need to know about the new Ronnie James Dio tribute album, This Is Your Life, out now on Rhino Records: Fucking Anthrax does a blisteringly heroic cover of “Neon Knights” at the ritual’s beginning. Tenacious D nails “The Last in Line.” Adrenaline Mob absolutely kills “The Mob Rules.” Slipknot’s Corey Taylor puts the pedal to the metal while searching out his own stripped-down and unmasked “Rainbow in the Dark.” Motörhead slithers, rumbles and howls through a rendition of “Starstruck.” And that’s just the beginning of this dark celebration. With acts like Killswitch Engage, Halestorm, Rob Halford, Metallica and the Scorpions contributing to this weighty homage, This Is Your Life gives majesty to metal while making it brutally clear that rock gods often live on gloriously after death, in the music of those who remain. (August March)
Unless performing baroque choral music, bands with “thee” in their name usually end up on the shelf reserved for Loverboy and Coldplay. That changed with the release of Drop by Thee Oh Sees, an album which has a plutonium-flavored, guitar-driven psychedelic essence that’s genuinely good for repeated listens. Drop is unencumbered by the combo’s previously iterated penchant for overwrought sonic ramblings. Guest guitarist Mikal Cronin might have something to do with the cohesion apparent on this recording, but I’ll have to re-listen to the bands’ earlier efforts—especially The Master’s Bedroom—before I commit to that idea. John Dwyer and company’s latest work is a real rave up. Raucous opener “Penetrating Eye” and follow-up rattler “Encrypted Bounce” will take control of your transmission device; soon enough you’ll be agreeing with advice from the fourth track, “Put Some Reverb On My Brother,” as you groove on through. (August March)
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Rebecca Arscott • calypso, piano at The Craftroom
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