New Release Roundup May 20, 2016 – Mudcrutch, Bob Dylan, Ken Reid, Dan Soder

1. Mudcrutch – Mudcrutch 2
If you’re a Tom Petty fan, you’ve already previewed the first release form this album, “Trailer,” either because you picked up the single on Record Store Day, you heard it on his satellite radio channel, or, if you’re a longtime fan, you have the single for “Don’t Come Around Here No More” and have heard this in its original b-side incarnation. For this reassembling of Petty’s pre-Heartbreakers band, he moves to bass with Mike Campbell and Tom Leadon on guitar, Benmont Tench on keys, and Randall Marsh on drums. Everybody pitches in songs and it’s more than just Petty’s voice on the record. Marsh, Tench, Campbell, and Leadon all get a shot at the mic. The band swings a little differently, and they sound solid as a unit. Still, longtime fans won’t be shocked at the difference in sound. The spirit is still rock and roll, played by people who know how it’s done.

2. Bob Dylan – Fallen Angels
Dylan is no longer bending zeitgeist through his music. That’s been gone for a while. But who cares, really? I’ve enjoyed a lot of his latest work as much as I’ve enjoyed anything in his catalogue. After covering Sinatra for last year’s Shadows In the Night, it sounds like he’s still got the bug for mellow crooning, judging by the first two songs he released. Looking forward to picking this one up.

1. Ken ReidThe Vanity Project, Vol. 1
I was fortunate enough to be present when this was taped in Los Angeles at the Nerdist Showroom, and it’s a fantastic set. The Nerdist Showroom is perfect for Reid, who host the TV Guidance Counselor Podcast, featuring guests making their weekly picks in sometimes decades-old TV Guide magazines. Thought Reid’s pop culture knowledge is legendary, onstage he is more of a storyteller, and what you get here is a look into Reid’s personal life and childhood. Show and tell gone wrong, his father’s insistence on buying young Ken a snake as a present, dealing with a caller distraught over missing an episode of Roswell while manning the complaint line at a TV station, and good advice about the usefulness of machetes.

2. Dan Soder Not Special
Soder, a regular on Showtime’s Billions, debuts Not Special on Comedy Central Saturday at 11pm, and the album will be released on Tuesday. There’s a lot of good stuff on here, but the track that gets me is “The Devil Goes Home Early,” a story about how an eight-year-old Soder is convinced he has been possessed by the devil at summer camp, partly because he projectile vomited during sing-along-to-Jesus time. The best line is when he confesses his suspicions to his mother. “And in a way that only a very tired single mom could, she just looked at me and said, ‘Why would the devil want to possess you?’”

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