#NewMusicFriday, Dec. 2, 2016: Kate Bush, Bright Light Bright Light, Rolling Stones

Never thought we’d write a sentence like the following, but this week it’s all about the Bush. Kate Bush, that is, whose live album takes our top slot, followed by a great EP from gay electro legend-in-the-making Bright Light Bright Light, some band called The Rolling Stones (heard of them?), and Atlanta star Donald Glover’s third release as Childish Gambino.

Kate Bush – Before the Dawn

No doubt this live document will best serve those lucky thousands who had the money and the time to see this legend’s return to performance for a 22-night residency in the United Kingdom in 2014. The rest of us will have to bask in the luxury of this audio recording (or the accompanying DVD) that essays her career from 1985’s Hounds of Love through 2011’s 50 Words for Snow as seen through a prism of hyperactive theatricality. Yet rarely do you need the visuals. Kate Bush sounds fantastic, as always, her voice older though no less supple, and her live band as perfect as her studio henchman. We should thank her son, Albert (known as Bertie), who’s theatrical ambitions forced his mother out of retirement and onto the boards again. And then let’s thank the artist herself for putting together a show that, while it does feature a few of her U.K. hits, concentrates more on two side-long suites of songs, from Hounds of Love and 2005’s Aerial, while making it abundantly clear why her uncompromising vision has resonated deeply with generations of disparate artists – Prince, Maxwell, and Outkast amongst them. (“And Dream of Sheep,” “King of the Mountain”)

Bright Light Bright Light – Cinematography EP

Our favorite gay electro-pop artist follows up his joyful Choreography album from earlier this year with a new EP that lays bare his influences. What this proves is that Rod Thomas’s inspirations are fully embedded in his DNA now. And while you can trace the genesis from Cyndi Lauper’s “Time After Time” or John Cameron Mitchell’s “Wicked Little Town” to BLBL’s current work, he’s such a consummate craftsman that his forebears never overshadow his own accomplishments. (“Touch Me,” “Wicked Little Town,” “Time After Time”)

The Rolling Stones – Blue & Lonesome

The 25th studio album from some English blokes you may have heard of is a covers only collection of ancient blues tracks – the inspiration for them as a baby band way back in the 60’s and also, it must be noted, the inspiration for everything that came after: from The Rolling Stones, of course, but almost every other classic rock band to follow, including those who rejected the template outright. And while everyone in the world might prefer an album of originals that sum them up and offer a late career highpoint as bracing as, say, Exile on Main Street or Let It Bleed or Some Girls, this will do just fine. (“Hate to See You Go,” “Ride ‘Em on Down”)

Various Artists – The Hamilton Mixtape

Lin-Manuel Miranda’s Broadway juggernaut continues apace with this lovingly curated collection of Hamilton tracks covered by Ashanti, Regina Spektor, John Legend, and too many more to mention. (“Helpless – Ashanti feat. Ja. Rule”)

John Legend – Darkness and Light

This Grammy® and Academy Award® winner has his admirers. His records are handsomely made; if nothing else he’s a consummate professional. Yet though he’s always been a political creature and activist, much of that passion was missing from his music. Not anymore. The dichotomy of the album title is real. And while it’s always light we strive towards, in our post-Obama age it’s the darkness that truly has the power. (“Marching Into the Dark”)

Peter Doherty – Hamburg Demonstrations

Co-founder of The Libertines; second solo record; shambolic and – occasionally – compelling as ever. (“I Don’t Love Anyone (but You’re Not Just Anyone)”)

childish-gambino

Childish Gambino – “Awaken, My Love!”

Donald Glover aka Childish Gambino is having a stellar year. His series Atlanta is a hit – both critically and commercially. He’s been cast as Lando Calrissian in the upcoming Star Wars franchise film about Han Solo. And now he drops his third album as Childish Gambino. Glover is often lumped as a rap or hip-hop artist, but that’s a straitjacket on him. “Awaken, My Love!” is both more basic and more experimental than that – on one hand a bluesy throwback to another soul era and a forward-looking hodgepodge of incongruent noises. Unclassifiable, you could say, like the man himself. (“Stand Tall,” “Me and Your Mama,” “Redbone”)

deadmau5 – W:/2016Album

Tastes regarding EDM (as it has come to be known) are subjective to the point of ridiculousness, and mine run to the likes of The Chemical Brothers circa Dig Your Own Hole and Daft Punk. Never understood the appeal of Joel Zimmerman aka deadmau5. If you do, his eighth album will light you up. If there were more tracks as forward-moving as “Let Go feat. Grabbitz” it might light me up as well.

Adventure Club – Red / / Blue

Kicking around since 2009, this Canadian duo finally release their debut, more electro-dance than electro-pop, and full of guest vocalists (most of whom, admittedly, I didn’t know). Your favorite future club-banger may be on here. (“Reaction feat. Leah Culver”)

Damien Jurado & Richard Swift – Other People’s Songs Volume One

Indie songwriter gets a truth in advertising award for the title, though you’d have to be one of those obnoxious trivia geeks to know most of the originals. I knew the Kraftwerk track and that was it. Chubby Checker and John Denver escaped me completely! (“Hello Sunshine”)