Top 20 Rock Albums, May 2014
Only an icon like Bruce Springsteen could release a mere EP and actually have it land at the top of our monthly rock roundup. Though consisting of four outtakes from the High Hopes album (released in January of this year), it certainly is a strong release, one anchored by a title track that's a tough slice of bluesy, slow-grooving rock 'n' roll. Springsteen isn't the only legend to make an appearance. Carlos Santana returns with Corazón. Considering it's the Latin rock pioneer's fifth collection of collaborations and duets, most fans at this point are well familiar with the formula: The guitarist pairs his iconic hot licks with a variety of big-time pop singers. Where this set differs, however, is in the increased number of Latin stars featured. Instead of Rob Thomas and Michelle Branch, we find Santana teaming up with the likes of Juanes and Diego Torres.
Another must-hear is Supernova, the latest effort from Ray LaMontagne. Produced by Black Key Dan Auerbach, the record is a radical departure for the husky singer-songwriter. Supernova still boasts his ruminative storytelling, but on the sonic tip he whips up a surprisingly psychedelic fusion of rural rock, neo-Tropicalismo and retro-garage. And speaking of radical departures, Ben Harper teams up with his mother, Ellen, for Childhood Home, a bona fide stab at folk revivalism. It even contains a classic-sounding protest anthem in "Farmer's Daughter," a rather tragic number railing against Monsanto.
In addition to the titles already mentioned, this month's roundup boasts new releases from the likes of My Chemical Romance, G. Love & Special Sauce, Cream legend Jack Bruce, Chris Robinson Brotherhood and Southern rockers Black Stone Cherry. Now get listening.