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New releases from Neil Young, Kate Bush, and Love and Rockets 

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click to enlarge Neil Young
  • Neil Young

Neil Young

Peace Trail

Reprise

File next to: David Rovics, Warren Zevon, Loudon Wainwright

In more than 50 years of recording, Canadian super-bard Neil Young has over-promised some works with too much publicity, while offering his best albums as random accidents. 2016's highly-touted Earth turned out to be a live set spotlighting Young's Promise of the Real band, with animal overdubs added to little good effect. But Peace Trail, released without fanfare in December, is a stripped-down acoustic/electric combo mashing elements of Trans, On the Beach, Living With War and Everybody Knows This Is Nowhere. Lyrics at times can be embarrassingly stupid, as with the track "Indian Giver," but Young's politics remain blistering and direct, best delivered as stories such as "John Oaks." Jim Keltner and Paul Bushnell help Neil provide music with a distinct '70s feel, though as fresh as Young's last appearance at Standing Rock. — Loring Wirbel

click to enlarge Love and Rockets
  • Love and Rockets

Love and Rockets

Seventh Dream of Teenage Heaven

Beggars Banquet Records

File next to: Siouxsie & The Banshees, Psychedelic Furs

One problem with hit records is that they're often too representative of the era in which they were made. Whether it's production values, instrument choices or general approach, too many songs all but scream "1980s!" when they're played decades later. It's the rare release that transcends this to become timeless. Formed in the wake of goth-rock heroes Bauhaus' dissolution, Love and Rockets took their music in a much more pop-leaning direction. And despite a few '80s trappings — drum machines, synthesizers — this reissue of 1985's Seventh Dream of Teenage Heaven sounds nearly as fresh more than 30 years on. Massed vocal harmonies, shimmering guitars and subtle nods to '60s psychedelia pointed the way to a bright future for the British trio, and this Blu-ray reissue provides a lush remix for 21st century fans. — Bill Kopp

click to enlarge Kate Bush
  • Kate Bush

Kate Bush

Before the Dawn – Live at Hammersmith Apollo

Fish People/Concord

File next to: Tori Amos, Joanna Newsom

U.K. pop recluse Kate Bush no doubt confused fans, the week Before the Dawn was released, when she lent subdued praise to Conservative Party Prime Minister Theresa May. But Bush has reveled in British aristocracy since releasing her "Wuthering Heights" interpretation in 1978. Her 22-date residency at Hammersmith Apollo in 2014 was Bush's first live appearance in 30 years. This 3-CD/4-LP collection, with exquisite production and arrangements, provides an esoteric selection of songs that her fans will appreciate. Act I features 1980s songs of sadness; Act III encapsulates her 21st-century works. But the heart of this set is Act II, a dramatic interpretation of "The Ninth Wave" suite from the 1985 Hounds of Love album. The music here confirms Bush's revered status as equal parts mystic witch and landed gentry. — Loring Wirbel

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