Black Sabbath, 13 (Vertigo/Republic)
Almost a complete reunion of the original lineup (minus drummer Bill Ward, replaced by Rage Against the Machine?s Brad Wilk), 13 doesn?t damage Sabbath?s legacy. The album marks the first time in 35 years that Ozzy has studio-fronted the band, but intervening decades fall away once the minor-chord progression of ?End of the Beginning? begins. This is a bluesy, jazz-inflected, jam-heavy stab at retro-authenticity. Bassist Geezer Butler?s song lyrics—?Zeitgeist,? ?Age of Reason?—eloquently enunciate 21st-century anxieties. ★★★☆☆
Kirby Krackle, Sounds Like You (Self-released)
Seattle?s best comics-convention pop-rockers return with their fourth studio album, another musical paean to all things geek-cool. Spider-Man gets psychoanalyzed in the boisterous ?Web-Slinger/Hope-Bringer.? A young man finds country-rockin?, costume-playing romance at the sewing machine beside his ?Cosplay Queen.? There?s even a clever funk-rock ode to the comfortable cookies-and-Scrabble environment of Grandma?s house in, well, ?Grandma?s House?: She?s always wearing sweaters/Nothing?s gonna sweat her. But the centerpiece is ?One More Episode,? a tender tribute to lost hours spent marathon-viewing sci-fi/fantasy TV with a lover. ★★★★☆
Pet Tigers, Pet Tigers (SquidHat Records)
Las Vegas-based indie label SquidHat squeezes out a debut by its first non-punk, overtly commercial-sounding signee. Fronted by spunky singer-keytarist Lizzy Minx, Tigers is a guitar-less yet hardly tame trio with too much talent to remain caged in obscurity. From beach bingo-blasting ?Some Sun? to updated doo-wop wallop ?I?m Gonna Take You Down,? Minx never minces melodies. She goes for the throat every time with a big, bad hook, as in blowing-down-the-garage ?Big Bad Wolf.? A solid initial effort by a band that earns its rock ?n? roll stripes. ★★★☆☆
Upcoming albums on Jarret?s radar ?
JULY 16: Filmmaker David Lynch continues to follow his musical muse with second solo album The Big Dream. Offering 11 originals (Lynch calls them ?modern blues?), plus a Bob Dylan cover, Dream delivers bonus track ?I?m Waiting Here,? featuring Swedish indie-rocker Lykke Li. JULY 30: Grammy-winning Americana duo the Civil Wars, a.k.a. Joy Williams and John Paul White, patch things up after nearly calling it quits last year, with a self-titled sophomore disc. First single ?The One That Got Away? is another tuneful meditation on romantic agony.