By: Andrew McNallyColumnist
Aerosmith – “Music From Another Dimension!” Grade: C-
Aerosmith really could have just hung it up. But credit to them for still sounding the same, 15 albums in. The driving classic rock songs are there, as are the big ballads. And Steven Tyler still sounds good. But the riffs are boring and uninspired, and the ballads are cornier than ever. And Boston seems to have moved to the South, as there is an occasional Southern rock feel. Throwaway Southern lyrics about partying and a misguided duet with Carrie Underwood feel unnecessary. Some of the tracks really sound like vintage Aerosmith. But a majority of them resemble 80s B-sides. If You Like: Rolling Stones, Guns N’ Roses
Soundgarden – “King Animal” Grade: B-
Aging be damned, Soundgarden can still bring it. Their first album of new material since 1996 doesn’t stand up to the albums of that decade, but it’s still classic Soundgarden. The 90s sorta-metal, sorta-grunge band is still mixing rock radio and angst. There are no standout tracks on “King Animal”; rather, a bunch of songs of equal quality. The songs aren’t great, and there is not much diversity among them all. But Chris Cornell can still belt and guitarist Kim Thayil sounds just as good now as he did in 1996. Sixteen years are gone, but Soundgarden is back. If You Like: : Alice in Chains, Neil Young
Rob Delaney – “Live at the Bowery Ballroom” Grade: B
The “funniest man on Twitter” finally gets to tell jokes in a proper setting. Delaney’s first stand-up record, recorded in New York, is roughly an hour of the inappropriate, but somehow inoffensive, humor that made him famous on Twitter. His best bits are his takes on the dangers of lakes and pools, using Toni Morrison’s novel “Beloved” to explain racial inequalities, a winding segment on his love/hate relationship with his marriage and becoming a father, and growing up Jewish. Some bits get awkward or feel unprepared, but it is a strong set, even if it is relentlessly immature. If You Like: John Mulaney, Louis C.K.