The Shins
3 1/2 STARS
Frontman/founder James Mercer has been around the block since The Shins last album. He collaborated with Dangerous Mouse as “Broken Bells,” releasing two albums in 2010 and 2014, respectively. The music was intriguing enough to show a side of Mercer that Shins fans were not privy to and bringing hope for a strong new Shins album. 2012’s Port of Morrow came with mixed reviews, but Heartworms is a breath of fresh air, presenting a superb variety of tracks that should grab the attention of many including the title track, “Name for You,” “Rubber Ballz,” “Half a Million.”

BUY The Shins’ Heartworms album


Best + Live
Van Hagar fans have been rejoicing since the first Chickenfoot album. They know this supergroup is probably the closest thing they will ever get to a reunion with the Van Halen brothers. The strong hooks are spotty on their two studio albums, but the vocal sound is there with Michael Anthony complimenting Sammy Hagar. The draw to Best + Live starts with the new track “Divine Termination” and ends with the live material that includes covers of The Who’s “My Generation” and Deep Purple’s “Highway Star.” If you’ve been living in a cave for awhile, the entire album should suit you just fine as an introduction to Chickenfoot.

BUY Chickenfoot’s song “Divine Termination”


Black and White Rainbows
1 1/2 STARS
In truth, the band known as Bush who gave us “Glycerine,” “Swallowed,” and “Machinehead” are long gone. Only broken-hearted leader Gavin Rossdale and drummer Robin Goodridge are left of the original members. Black and White Rainbows tries hard to get back to the days of guitars and grungy gloom. Okay, that’s a complete lie. The record is more of a Rossdale solo album. Lead single “Mad Love” strongly echoes the single “Love Remains the Same,” a ballad from his first and only solo album in 2008. The similarities and sappiness don’t end there. “The Edge of Love,” “Lost in You,” “All the Worlds Within You…” You get the point.

BUY Bush’s song “Mad Love”



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