Neil Young

The prolific legend continues to find new musical, technical and artistic ways to present his songs. This subtle anatomy of a breakup chronicles the unraveling of Young’s 36-year marriage and new romance with Daryl Hannah. One CD is presented as a raw acoustic disc of what must have been mostly demos. A second disc presents the songs with lush orchestrations that sometimes recall Young’s work with Jack Nitzsche. This personal, somber release also tackles Young’s other obsession, climate change, which he attacks as passionately as the songs of lost love.

Ghost Stories Live 2014

Released only six months after the studio album Ghost Stories, this set presents the album performed live at various locations on Coldplay’s tour. The DVD captures different stops on the group’s 2014 circuit as well as videos and alternate versions of various songs and is a visual feast for fans. It’s interesting that Coldplay has released so much live music on album and DVD, but has yet to release a full CD or DVD of its most successful tour, Viva La Vida.

The Flaming Lips
With A Little Help From My Fwends
(Warner Bros.)

The Flaming Lips continue to experiment and make challenging music, confounding both fans and critics. Like they did with Pink Floyd’s 1972 album Dark Side of the Moon in 2009, the group takes on the unenviable task of remaking an iconic album of the classic rock era: Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band. While the results are mixed and their choice of guests is suspect at best (Miley Cyrus), one has to admire their nerve for such an audacious concept. This album, like their Dark Side tribute, may someday enter the canon of cult classics.

The Mrcyfks
Don’t Pet the White Dog

Artist, teacher and musician Kevin Teare and friends Pony Thompson, Jewlee Trudden and Keelan James also have no fear in not only remaking, but re-imagining a classic Beatles album. Released in various configurations, this punkish musical experiment both pays homage to, and deconstructs, the White Album and must be listened to through the prism of Teare’s celebrated art that riff s on pop music. Teare is fascinated with the music and culture of British 60s rock, yet brings the DIY energy of punk to his musical and lyrical ideas.

Various Artists
Dear Jean: Artists Celebrate Jean Ritchie
(Compass Records)

Jean Ritchie is a multitalented, Long Island treasure. The 92-year-old American roots legend has seen every folk revival come and go, but her music, rooted in the sounds of Appalachia, remains timeless. This long overdue two-CD tribute features country, folk and bluegrass artists from a multitude of generations, including Alison Brown, Judy Collins, Pete Seeger and others. Ritchie is a key, yet sometimes overlooked, American artist, from the earliest American country sounds to today’s folk chart-toppers.