Hollywood Vampires, David Gilmour, and Miley Cyrus with Flaming Lips 

Sound Advice

click to enlarge Miley Cyrus with Flaming Lips
  • Miley Cyrus with Flaming Lips

Miley Cyrus with Flaming Lips

Miley Cyrus and her Dead Petz

Smiley Miley Inc.

File next to: Kesha, Selena Gomez

The danger in dismissing a vanity project as musical masturbation is that some fans will always consider it an artist's finest work. (Think Eddie Vedder's ukulele.) Flaming Lips' Wayne Coyne has skated this edge with the "Fwends" collaboration jams — and with Beatles and Pink Floyd cover albums — but here gives Miley Cyrus far too much slack. While she could have taken the shorter Flaming Lips noodles and Guided by Voices-style snippets and suffused them with ironic jingles, instead we get rehashes of the "Dooo It!" single's ode to getting stoned. Ten years ago, Pitchfork gave a Jet album a 0.0 ranking, accompanied by a review consisting solely of a Vine video of a chimpanzee drinking his own pee. In this case, it is unclear which of Cyrus' petz is willing to drink the Kool-Aid. — Loring Wirbel

click to enlarge Hollywood Vampires
  • Hollywood Vampires

Hollywood Vampires

Hollywood Vampires

Republic Records

File next to: Alice Cooper, Aerosmith

The original Hollywood Vampires were an informal early-'70s all-star collective of L.A. scenesters who engaged in drink, drugs and general rabble-rousing (and, only rarely, music). Most of its alumni have either died (Harry Nilsson, John Lennon, Keith Moon) or cleaned up (Alice Cooper, Ringo Starr, Micky Dolenz). Today's aggregation of the same name is led by Cooper, Aerosmith's Joe Perry and ... Johnny Depp. That should tell you most of what you need to know about this project. The tunes — covers and two originals — rock hard, with enough humor to keep things afloat. The Coop is nobody's idea of a great singer, but the songs and arrangements make the most of his particular talents. Perry handles the big guitar parts, and it's hard to know what exactly Depp is doing here. The whole affair is supremely inconsequential; it's also a lot of fun. — Bill Kopp

click to enlarge David Gilmour
  • David Gilmour

David Gilmour

Rattle That Lock


File next to: Pink Floyd, The Orb

One of the knocks — fair or not — on Pink Floyd's post-Roger Waters albums is that leader David Gilmour tried too hard to make them sound like the group's classic-era material. But on his solo studio albums — a mere four since 1978 — Gilmour has refused to ape the Floyd sound and focused on the melodicism that has always been a trademark of his work. Rattle That Lock pushes boundaries on tracks like the delightful cocktail-jazz interlude of "Dancing Right in Front of Me." (The closest precedent would be the 1971 Floyd obscurity "Biding My Time," which is a Waters tune.) Gilmour's wife Polly Samson provides reflective and suitably melancholy words for the tunes here. Gilmour has always been more about texture than hooks, yet like his best work, the songs on Rattle That Lock will remain in the heads of faithful listeners. — Bill Kopp


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