Quick Roundup: New Releases

5 of the most notable recent releases:

FLAMING LIPS With a Little Help From My Fwends [Warner Bros]
After their irreverent 2009 tribute to The Dark Side of the Moon, and King Crimson's debut masterpiece In the Court of the Crimson King three years later, it’s no surprise the Lips chose to tackle Sgt. Pepper's Lonely Hearts Club Band and give the iconic Beatles classic an acid fried, psychedelic makeover. Truth be told, we were expecting an unmitigated disaster. And after listening to the first couple of tracks our suspicions were close to being confirmed. However, With a Little Help From My Fwends does have its moments (“Fixing a Hole”, “She’s Living Home”, “A Day in the Life”), although it gets points more for the concept than the execution.

FOO FIGHTERS Sonic Highways [Roswell/RCA]
The soundtrack to the Foos' travelogue/tribute to eight different U.S. cities bears very little influence of the locales where the songs were recorded: putting aside certain snatches of lyrics that allude to their geographical inspiration, Sonic Highways is in effect another set of the band's patented 21st century arena rock. If latter day FF fare is your cup of tea, drink up; if not you won't be otherwise won over with this batch of tunes.

PINK FLOYD The Endless River [Columbia]
The release of what was originally purported to be a series of leftover tracks from Pink Floyd's late '80s/early '90s Roger Waters-less incarnation (to see the light of day as a tribute to late keyboardist Richard Wright), was not the most promising of announcements. But the mostly instrumental Endless River is a pleasant surprise, often reminiscent of '70s Floyd classics Meddle and Wish You Were Here. If this is truly the end of the line for the band—and there seems to be every indication of that to be the case—it's not a bad way to go.

The most common reference point being used to compare this unlikely collaboration is the Lou Reed and Metallica disc Lulu. Think weirder. And heavier. Yup.

NEIL YOUNG Storytone [Reprise]
On Storytone, Young gives his fans a 2-for-1 with a literal solo album on which he accompanies himself on acoustic and electric guitar, piano, and even ukelele, coupled with a rock band/big band/orchestrated version of the same, in which he’s backed by those respective groupings. The solo album has its highlights (“Glimmer”, “Tumbleweeds”, “I’m Glad I Found You”, “When I Watch You Sleeping”, “All Those Dreams”), and while the bonus big band and orchestrated renditions don’t all necessarily work, they do offer an interesting glimpse of Young in a different setting.