It’s a strange but truly apt metaphor: Every six or seven years, just like a cicada or AC/DC, Orange County rockers Social Distortion emerge from hiding with a gut-pummelling new album that shows every last punk-emo poseur just how it’s done, thank you very much.
So this January, right on schedule, Mike Ness and crew are issuing “Hard Times And Nursery Rhymes,” their long-awaited new outing on Epitaph. Its lead single, “Machine Gun Blues,” is already out.
If you didn’t catch the recent James Taylor/Carole King juggernaut, you missed a great chance to hear two of folk-rock’s most stellar songwriters onstage together. But Sweet Baby James is far from road-weary, folks — he’ll be heading back out this spring with another unexpected performer along for the ride. For the first time ever, his son with Carly Simon, Ben Taylor, will be making the concert-hall rounds with him. A family affair, indeed.
Okay, on paper, it sounds pretty damned weird — operatic crooner Josh Groban rolling the dice on his just-released fifth album, “Illuminations,” by partnering with veteran Metallica-Beastie Boys producer Rick Rubin. A true “Really?!” kind of moment: Not the kind of career move you’d expect from Billboard Magazine’s 14th top-selling artist of the 2000s.
Also out this week — and file her under the Artists You Need To Know heading — is Loreena McKennitt’s latest, “The Wind That Shakes The Barley,” a fine return to classic Celtic form for this quiet Canadian folkie.
‘Child prodigy’ is a term that gets bandied about a little too loosely these days. But in the case of 10-year-old wunderkind Jackie Evancho, it’s eerily apt. Maybe you caught the kid belting out an adult-velocity version of Puccini’s “O Mio Babbino Caro” on “America’s Got Talent” last summer. Scary, right? But not bad for someone who’d already launchd her own YouTube channel at age 8. Long story short: She didn’t ace the TV competition, but she won big.
Dance-pop fans — don’t forget! The always-brilliant Swedish sensation Robyn will be hitting town again Tuesday at the Warfield, backing the second volume in her rapid-fire “Body Talk” trilogy (featuring an oddly perfect guest appearance from Snoop Dogg).
This Do-It-Yourself-styled artist just keeps getting better and better, and frappe-swirling musical styles like a coffeehouse barista.
Perhaps there is justice in the fickle rock world after all. Judging by her stellar performance on this weekend’s “Saturday Night Live,” it’s taken U.K. diva Florence Welch a full year to finally crack the U.S. market with “Lungs,” her truly unique debut as Florence and the Machine.