ROCK: Jake Bugg, “Shangri La,”
3 1/2 Stars
Jake Bugg is a pop iconoclast of Jack White proportions, a charismatic 19-year-old with One Direction looks and a Bleecker Street-meets-Britpop aesthetic that made his self-titled, Mercury Music Prize-nominated debut sound so fresh and accomplished. “Shangri La” is even better, with Rick Rubin's production muscling up Bugg's folky jangle without sacrificing the inherent, and appealing, rawness of his songs; “There's a Beast and We All Feed It” sounds like Bob Dylan at the Gaslight, “Slumville Sunrise” would fit on the rockabilly-drenched mid-'50s “Blackboard Jungle” soundtrack and the punky first single, “What Doesn't Kill You” pins your ears right to the wall with ferocious guitar breaks. And that's just the first three songs. Working with a crack band — including longtime Elvis Costello drummer Pete Thomas — and co-writing three songs with Brendan Benson, Bugg stretches himself even further on these 12 songs, too. The textured “All Your Reasons” has a rich Americana flavor and relaxed delivery at (for Bugg) a whopping five-plus minutes, while “Me and You,” “A Song About Love,” “Simple Pleasures” and “Pine Trees” offer plaintive paeans about love and loss — the latter particularly echoed in the gently nuanced and even jazzy “Kitchen Table.” “Messed Up Kids” and “Kingpin” restore the roar, though, and ensure that Bugg's initial success was no fluke.
ROCK: Daughtry, “Baptized”
“American Idol” finalist Chris Daughtry and his band have spent three albums mining a decidedly mainstream, earnest kind of rock, but this time — steered by contemporary collaborators such as S*A*M Hollander, Boys Like Girls' Martin Johnson, Rock Mafia and busbee — they widen the sonic aperture a bit. The group dips into electronica on the first single, “Waiting For Superman,” and embraces hip-hop flavors on “Traitor,” while “Long Live Rock & Roll,” “The World We Knew” and “Wild Heart” would not be hard sells in Nashville. “Baptized” traipses a bit toward some outer edges, but it manages to float more often than it sinks.
New & Noteworthy:
A Day to Remember, “Common Courtesy” (self-released): The Florida headbangers are self-releasing their fifth album following an acrimonious parting from Victory Records.
Herb Alpert, “Steppin' Out” (Shout! Factory): The trumpeter's latest release includes plenty of familiar standards as well as a 50th anniversary remake of his career-launching “The Lonely Bull.”
Apocalyptica, “Wagner Reloaded — Live in Leipzig” (BMG): The cello-led Finnish troupe pays homage to German composer Richard Wagner and his influence on heavy rock.
Blood Orange, Cupid Deluxe” (Domino): Members of Dirty Projectors, Chairlift and more help Dev Hynes, aka Blood Orange, on his sophomore outing.
Garth Brooks, “Blame It All on My Roots: Five Decades of Influences” (self-released): The country icon spreads 40 covers of songs by his favorite artists across four CDs in this Wal-Mart exclusive.
Deicide, “In the Minds of Evil” (Century Media): The Tampa death metal group introduces new guitarist Kevin Quirion on its 11th studio album.
Bonobo, “Late Night Tales” (self-released): Simon Green, aka Bonobo, is in a relaxed frame of mind on this eclectic but still cohesive mix of songs.
Five Finger Death Punch, “The Wrong Side of Heaven & the Righteous Side of Hell, Vol. 2” (Prospect Park): The second FFDP album this year features another dozen songs from the same sessions as its predecessor, including a cover of “The House of the Rising Sun.”
Forte, “Forte” (Syoco/Columbia): The debut album from the operatic trio that was a finalist on “America's Got Talent.”
Ghost B.C., “If You Have Ghost” (Loma Vista): Dave Grohl produced this five-song EP for the costumed Swedish hard rockers, which includes takes on material by ABBA, Depeche Mode and others.
Mishka, “The Journey” (Mailboat): The latest release from the Bermudan reggae artist comes out on Jimmy Buffett's label in the U.S.
Bebe Neuwirth, “Stories ... in NYC — Live at 54 Below” (Broadway): The multifaceted Neuwirth shows, again, that there's a lot more to her than just being Lilith Crane on “Cheers.”
REO Speedwagon, “Live at Moondance Jam” (Frontiers): A CD/DVD combo capturing REO ridin' the storm out in Walker, Minn., last year.
Rush, “Clockwork Angels Tour” (Anthem/Atlantic): The Canadian trio caught live onstage during the tour that led up to its Rock and Roll Hall of Fame induction.
Saxon, “Unplugged and Strung Up” (Udr): The British headbangers show their quiet side on this orchestrated acoustic set.
Tom Stoppard, “Darkside” (Parlophone): The acclaimed British playwright composed this piece celebrating the 40th anniversary Pink Floyd's “The Dark Side of the Moon” initially for broadcast by the BBC.
Barbra Streisand, “Back To Brooklyn” (Columbia): You can go home again — certainly if you're Streisand, who documents her first Brooklyn appearance in 33 years on this concert set.
Various Artists, “Crossroads Guitar Festival” (Rhino): Eric Clapton's star-studded fourth guitar orgy, held earlier this year in New York City, is captured on CD, DVD and Blu-ray.
Various Artists, “The Hunger Games: Catching Fire” (Universal Republic): Coldplay, Christina Aguilera, Imagine Dragons, the Weeknd and Patti Smith are among those contributing tracks to this companion for the second “Hunger Games” film.
Various Artists, “Rockin' Legends Pay Tribute to Jack White” (Cleopatra): Gary U.S. Bonds, Robert Gordon, Shooter Jennings, Bobby Vee, Wanda Jackson and Detroit's Johnny Powers are among those who recorded versions of favorites from the White Stripe founder's catalog.
VNV Nation, “Transnational” (Virtual): The British/Irish electronic duo's ninth album was pushed back from an initial October release because of unspecified “technical issues.”
Yo Gotti, “I Am” (CMG/Epic): The Memphis rapper's fourth album features guest shots by T.I., J. Cole, Ne-Yo, Wale, Meek Mill and more.
From The Vaults: A Perfect Circle, “Three Sixty” (UMe); The Bottle Rockets, “Bottle Rockets & The Brooklyn Side” (Bloodshot); Dido, “Greatest Hits” (RCA); Fleetwood Mac, “Boston” (Madfish); Nickelback, “The Best of, Vol. 1” (Roadrunner); David Lee Roth, “Greatest Hits: The Deluxe Edition” (Friday Music); Shaver, “The Best of Shaver” (New West); Frank Sinatra, “Duets: 20th Anniversary Deluxe Edition” (Capitol/UMe); Theocracy, “Theocracy” (Ulterium); Tower of Power, “Hipper Than Hip (Yesterday, Today & Tomorrow)” (Real Gone); Various Artists, “Decca Sound: The Analogue Years” (Decca)
Soundtracks: “Marry Me a Little (Cast Recording) (Ghostlight); David Schwartz, “Arrested Development” (Varese); Various Artists, “Frozen” (Walt Disney); John Williams, “The Book Thief” (Sony Masterworks)
New Music Videos: Beyonce, “Beyonce: Life is But a Dream” (Columbia); Black Sabbath, “Live ... Gathered in Their Masses” (Universal Republic); Eric Clapton, et al., “Crossroads Guitar Festival 2013” (Rhino); Rush, “Clockwork Angels Tour” (Anthem/Zoe Vision/Rounder)