MGMT’s second Columbia release is Tuesday’s (April 13) biggest release, but there are other goodies: For “American Idol” fans, as Jason Castro puts out his first full-length set, vets Jeff Beck and Natalie Merchant return after seven-year absences, and Coheed & Cambria rock your world with their fifth studio album.
Jeff Beck, “Emotion & Commotion” (Atco/Rhino): In Beck’s first album in seven years, he uses his stunning guitar work to unite a hodgepodge of music including a few originals, covers of “Somewhere Over the Rainbow” and “Nessun Dorma,” and portion of a movie score to “Atonement” into a somewhat cohesive work.?)
Laura Bell Bundy, “Achin’ and Shakin’” (Mercury Nashville): She may be a Broadway baby, but Laura Bell Bundy certainly has a name made for country music. Bundy, who’s appeared in “Legally Blonde,” “Wicked” and “Hairspray,” has traded in the Great White Way for Music Row. First single “Giddy on Up” is climbing both the country chart and the dance chart, courtesy of a kicking remix.
Jason Castro, “Jason Castro” (Atlantic): “American Idol” contestant as best known for his long dreadlocks as his strong vocals releases his first full-length post-“Idol” album. Assisting him were producer Eric Rosse, as well as songwriters Marc Roberge of O.A.R, and Zac Maloy, who wrote for David Cook’s set. Castro starts a tour April 17 in Dallas.
Coheed and Cambria, “Year of the Black Rainbow” (Columbia): Shades of “Star Wars 1: The Phantom Menace.” For its fifth studio album, hard rock band C&C goes back to the future. The latest in its series of concept albums, “Year of the Black Rainbow” is, thematically, a prequel to its previous four albums. It comes with a novel for your reading pleasure.
Kaki King, “Junior” (Rounder): Guitarist known for her impressive fretboard tapping abilities turns to producer Malcolm Burn to create a dreamscape with her airiest vocals yet.
Natalie Merchant, “Leave Your Sleep” (Nonesuch): Really? This is what we get after a seven-year wait? Merchant takes lyrics from such brilliant poets as Robert Louis Stevenson and e.e. cummings and writes music around their words. Maybe she’s got writer’s block?
MGMT, “Congratulations” (Columbia): Duo of Ben Goldwasser and Andrew VanWyngarden’s second Columbia set, and follow up to “Oracular Spectacular,” is a trippy serving of electro-psychedelic pop, but we’re sure you already know that since it leaked a month ago and has been available for streaming since then.
Straight No Chaser, “With a Twist” (Atco/Atlantic): This male a capella group has been around much longer than “Glee,” but maybe the interest in that show’s reinvention of pop classics by ensembles will help propel these former Indiana University students into the stratosphere and leave listeners not shaken, but stirred. After two successful holiday sets, the ten piece now tackles such tunes as Red Hot Chili Peppers’ “Under the Bridge,” Oasis’s “Wonderwall” and Coldplay’s “Fix You.”