New Releases: Title cut holds ‘longest’ title in Billboard history

By MIK DAVIS,

Under wraps since 2008, "Fear Inoculum" may be everything Rock hinges on at the moment. The over 10-minute title cut (now the longest song in Billboard history to hit the Top 100 singles) features psychedelic tablas, tense Prog Rock drums, and lyrics that read like Haiku for Modern Metalheads.

That being said, seven songs that take every moment of the CD are on the horizon. If that was not enough, the package will also contain bonus music to be played through a 2" speaker and a bonus video to be displayed on a screen encased in the CD packaging.

While Tool has a legion of fans, this one is an event – and one that merits further coverage within these pages.

LANA DEL REY

NFR!

(LP/CD)(Interscope)

The Princess of Pout returns with a little post-summertime sadness. Working with producer Jack Antonoff (hot off of igniting Taylor Swift's "Lover") gives her songs a glazed, hazy pop sheen.

More importantly, Antonoff tones down the bite in Del Rey's voice to a sweet-but-lonely presence. As the Sixties-ish Laurel Canyon production floats by, Del Rey takes on three distinct sounds.

On "The Greatest" she rises from her now-famous low roar, through a midrange tone of realization before reaching a saccharine coo that makes these darts of lost love hit their target.

Sheryl Crow

Threads

(CD)(Valory)

In control of her own career, Sheryl Crow carroms from rock album "Be Myself" back to country album (her second following 2013's "Feels Like Home"). Always a songwriter with an ease for melody and reason, "Threads" is commendable because it stays true to her roots – but it still rocks.

Her originals crackle (she is joined by Stevie Nicks and Maren Morris on the witty "Prove You Wrong"), while her selection of covers play like a dream sequence of collaborators: Kris Kristofferson, Keith Richards, Chris Stapleton, St. Vincent, Jason Isbell (on a bluesy Bob Dylan song) and the late Johnny Cash.

Joan Shelley

Like the River Loves the Sea

(LP/CD)(No Quarter)

Singing is anyone's game. However, when an artist summons his or her voice from within and it resonates inside as you listen – you realize that as listeners we are attracted to the most natural voices.

Kentucky's Joan Shelley has been making stellar records for years. Because of her angelic voice and bucolic content, she is generally found in folk circles.

"Like The River" is billed as her love letter to her home state of Kentucky. Working with James Elkington and the phenomenal guitar Nathan Salsburg, these songs flow past you like rivers and her soothing quaver spirits you away.  These tracks are largely meditations on nature ("The Fading"), but much like the American Transcedentials – these are really songs about true love.

SHARDS

Find Sound

(LP/CD)(Erased Tapes/Red Eye)

The vocal group has long been a subject of ridicule. Musicians who choose to make music with their elastic voices are often seen as comical. Artists who use vocals and effects or loops often move from Avant-Garde (Laurie Anderson) to Pop as a novelty (Anderson is no novelty.) So London's Shards just broke the elements of their sound down and use their voices for everything. With just spartan percussion behind them, these male and female voices compose symphonies of sound, magical melodies, and riveting music. "Find Sound" has made the world safe again for the wonder of vocal performance.