Illinois Entertainer January 2014 - Page 39

funky and spaced-out as Powertrip, but it fits in well with the band's musical landscape. PAUL MCCARTNEY New (MPL/Concord) At 71, having been one of the driving creative forces behind the biggest band of all time (and certainly one of the biggest celebrities on the planet), Paul McCartney had a lot riding on the response to his latest album, simply entitled New. His 16th solo studio album (and the first of original material since 2007's Memory Almost Full), New fulfills the promise that rock's greatest living legend still has what it takes. McCartney has made an album as strong as the ones he made in his solo heyday of McCartney and RAM, (shortly after the Beatles break-up) and in the early days of Wings. New is the most cohesive McCartney album since 1997's Flaming Pie, and possibly 1989's Flowers In The Dirt. From the opening rocker, "Save Us;" to the very Beatlesque "On My Way to Work; to the ultra modern and completely infectious "Queenie Eye," New is a fun ride, that never slows down, even during the ballads. There are numerous references to his days in the Fab Four, especially "Early Days," a bookend song to George Harrison's "All Those Years Ago" and "When We Were Fab." This is also the first album McCartney has recorded with his current band. (They have played together since 2001, so it's about time). Macca was smart enough to bring in established producers and co-writers, but kept the slant on younger studio stars such as Paul Epworth (Adele); Mark Ronson (Amy Winehouse); and the sons of two long time McCartney associates, Giles Martin (son of George Martin) and Ethan Johns (son of Glyn Johns). It's clear that McCartney is still writing and recording new music because he loves the whole process of creating songs and getting them to the marketplace. He certainly doesn't need the money; for him, it's about the passion. And thank goodness for that. – Bruce Pilato 8 MONSTER MAGNET Last Patrol (Napalm) Monster Magnet is one of the progenitors of stoner/space rock who have successfully merged '60s British rock with punk, blues and psychedelia. The Garden State quintet, led by distinctive vocalist Dave Wyndorf, has matured musically with each album they've released throughout its 24-year career. On its ninth full-length release, Last Patrol, Monster Magnet revisits its experimental hippie roots with trippy sounds and spacey atmospheres with full-on psychedelic rock. CD-opener "I Live Behind The Clouds" takes awhile to finally get going with its slow buildup with a desert plains vibe while a Western gunslinger element decorates the title track. The uplifting "Hallelujah" is a handclappin,' foot-stompin' hoedown laced with sexual innuendos and an infectious chorus. "Three Kingfishers" combines '70s classic rock with a Middle Eastern flavor. There's a lot of spacey moments that build through atmosphere and repetition, but some songs are just too long and overstay their welcome. Last Patrol might not be as groovy or heavy as Dopes to Infinity or as 8 – Kelley Simms EMINEM The Marshall Mathers LP2 (Aftermath) Sequels are always tricky business, but out of Eminem's vast catalogue, the primary project worthy of a follow-up would be 2000's boundary-breaking The Marshall Mathers LP. Well over a decade later, the rapper's complex wordplays and lightening fast rhymes remain, though there's a little less anger and a lot more maturity now that the superstar is 42. Outside of his own undeniable talents, The Marshall Mathers LP 2 benefits from executive producers Dr. Dre and Rick Rubin, a true study in contrasts who miraculously manage to blend their street credibility and stripped down sensibilities. Eminem's got his hit singles covered thanks to the Rihanna duet "The Monster" and "Headlights" (featuring fun’s Nate Ruess), but there's also plenty of near violent vulnerability (“Bad Guy,” "Survival”) to seem almost as urgent as the first round. – Andy Argyrakis 7 PANTALEIMON The Butterfly Ate The Pearl (Grass Girl) Pantaleimon is mostly idiosyncratic, self-taught, twee-multi-instrumentalist, singer/songwriter Andria Degens, as aided and abetted by a coterie of artists known to roam at or near the borders of freak folk; and not surprisingly the collection of nine songs on this fifth recording is mostly of t