John Cale, Shifty Adventures in Nookie Wood (Double Six)
The viola-sawing Velvet Underground legend returns with his first studio full-length since 2005. Nookie is an eclectic frolic boasting a Danger Mouse collaboration, the funk-guitar rave-up “I Wanna Talk 2 U.” But Cale, 70, also challenges longtime fans by simultaneously embracing and tweaking convention, as on the subtle key-transitioning dance-pop of “Face to the Sky” and Auto Tune-haunted “December Rain.” No one—not even Lou Reed—has aged with such musically inquisitive grace. ★★★★☆
Dinosaur Jr., I Bet On Sky (Jagjaguwar)
Six-string wizard J Mascis reunites his mighty Dinosaur associates for a third comeback album that’s every bit as satisfying as the previous two. Sky simply soars from start (jangle-rockin’ “Don’t Pretend You Didn’t Know”) to finish (the Neil Young stomp of “See It On Your Side”). But it’s the stratospheric missile of delicately named “Pierce the Morning Rain” that confirms Mascis has no desire to come down from such great heights. A perfect air-guitar exercise disc. ★★★☆☆
Rosie Flores, Working Girl’s Guitar (Bloodshot)
Fans of rocked-up country artists Steve Earle and Dave Alvin will love the 11th album by Austin, Texas, rockabilly-country belle Flores. Everything she touches here sizzles, from blues-struttin’ “Little But I’m Loud” to Les Baxter-on-a-Baja-cattle-drive instrumental “Surf Demon #5” to a boogie-woogie cover of Janis Martin’s “Drugstore Rock and Roll.” She even does a gypsy-jazz interpretation of “While My Guitar Gently Weeps.” Flores, who sings like an angel, doesn’t merely work at her guitar; she wails on it. ★★★☆☆
What albums are on Jarret’s radar …
OCT. 16: Steely Dan commander Donald Fagen debuts a new solo disc (his fourth) of smooth jazz-pop with Sunken Condos, which features upbeat, harmonica-driven single “I’m Not the Same Without You.” OCT. 23: Austin indie-prog purveyors …And You Will Know Us by the Trail of Dead return with all guitars blazing for their eighth album, Lost Songs, recorded in the same German recording studio used by death-metal band Celtic Frost. OCT. 30: Neil Young & Crazy Horse regroup for the cosmos-shattering Psychedelic Pill, which looks to be a powerful, epic and very loud trip, especially given that three album cuts run past the 15-minute mark.