New rock, substantial pop, mellow jazz, hip music video collections and buzzed-about cast albums are high on our radar screen this busy release week.
ARCTIC WARMING: British rockers Arctic Monkeys used to listen to heavy-hitters the Stooges, Stone Roses and Black Sabbath when gearing up to write songs in chilly Yorkshire, England, says feisty frontman Alex Turner. In prepping for their fourth album, though, they tuned in to country wordslingers such as George Jones and Gene Clark, then laid down material in sunny Los Angeles. Both factors color the playful imagery and more shimmery tone of "Suck It and See" (Domino, B+).
EXPORT IMPORTS: Norwegian singer-songwriter Sondre Lerche is another import act influenced by American artists, in his case the artfully grand and eccentric Californians Harry Nilsson, Brian Wilson and Van Dyke Parks. Yet we also hear more than a tad of British blokes the Beatles (especially in the processed guitar and drum sounds) and the vocal pine of Al Stewart (remember "Year of the Cat"?) in Lerche's juicy-sweet, self-titled set (Mona Records, A-).
Britain's "Godfather of Goth" Peter Murphy puts his big baritone and weighty melodicism to "Ninth" (Nettwerk, B). If you relish Bowie and Bono at their grandest, this drama king deserves allegiance.
The Squeeze front guys are splitting the difference with solo projects again. Chris Difford is living up to the chipper title of "Cashmere If You Can" (SMMC Media, B+). Glenn Tilbrook is rocking harder with his other band, the Fluffers, on the low-budget videodisc performance "Live In New York City "(MVD Visual, B). Never realized what a hot guitarist GT is!
Bonnie Raitt is a fan and covered "Luck of the Draw." Still you should hear Irish balladeer Paul Brady do that song himself, and a bunch more on "Hooba Dooba" (Proper, B).
VIDEO WATCH: U2's Bono and The Edge acknowledge humble roots and inspirations (including their host) and join him in songs like "Stuck in the Moment You Can't Get Out Of" on one of seven entertaining TV episodes boxed up on "Spectacle: Elvis Costello With . . . Season Two" (MVD, B+). Another set fave builds a band from Allen Toussaint, Richard Thompson, Nick Lowe and Levon Helm.
Sheryl Crow's "Miles From Memphis - Live at the Pantages Theater" (Eagle Rock, A) is mostly about her latest, soul-stomping album (which I loved) and sounds even hotter in concert.
SHOW STOPPERS: Sometimes Broadway cast albums hold up terrifically on their own. But a couple of new genre additions may leave you wondering what the critical fuss is all about. "Harry Potter" star Daniel Radcliffe's coming-of-age moment in the revival of "How To Succeed In Business Without Really Trying" (Decca Broadway, C+) is particularly underwhelming.
Created by "South Park" and "Avenue Q" guys, "The Book of Mormon" (Ghostlight, B) survives a bit better in sonic form. But having seen the show, it's also the physical delivery by cast and director, with every performer mugging first note to last, that's making this show a shoo-in for Tonys.
JAZZ NOTES: Brazilian jazz pianist/singer Eliane Elias takes it all back home with cool-groovin' samba classics and bossa-novasized versions of "My Cherie Amour," "Take Five" and the title track on "Light My Fire" (Concord, A-). Support cast includes Brazilian legend Gilberto Gil, Elias' Philly-spawned ex-hubby Randy Brecker (my late dad, a judge, officiated at their wedding!) and daughter Amanda Brecker.