New Releases: Bob Dylan, ZZ Top, David Byrne & More

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Let’s take a look at this week’s albums, reissues and other musical goodies from classic artists making musical waves yet again.

Spotlight Release of the Week: Every few years come proclamations that Bob Dylan is “back.” This week is apparently another one of those moments, though we have no doubts that Dylan will drop another acclaimed album in three to five years. Titled Tempest, Dylan’s 35th album features 10 new originals spanned over an hour and eight minutes. Dylan first set out to make a religious album and ended up making something far more sinister, including an epic 14-minute ode to the sinking of the Titanic (the album’s title track) and cryptic lyrics about murder. There are also less cryptic lyrics about murder, specifically the assassination of John Lennon in final song “Roll On John.” Don’t let the jaunty first single, “Duquesne Whistle,” fool you – this isn’t Dylan going soft after all these years. Watch Dylan’s violent, stalker-themed “Duquesne Whistle” video below.

Dylan’s fall tourmate, Mark Knopfler, also released his eighth solo album, Privateering, this week. The former Dire Straits frontman leans more toward well-traveled folk troubadour than the proper rock star he was once. Privateering shows this, with twinges of Irish and country ballads flavoring the 20 tracks.

Call it ZZ Top’s Chinese Democracy. The bearded Texans haven’t released in album in nine years, so instead of rushing through the process, they spent three whole years perfecting new album La Futura with superstar producer Rick Rubin. The result is both modern (the hip-hop-tinged single “I Gotsta Get Paid”) and signaturely ZZ Top-esque (“Chartreuse” and “I Don’t Wanna Lose, Lose, You”). 

Talking Heads fans are in luck this week, as both frontman David Byrne and the Tom Tom Club (comprised of Talking Heads’ Tina Weymouth and Chris Frantz) released new music. Byrne, who always has his hands in new projects, collaborated with indie rock’s resident guitar goddess, St. Vincent (real name: Annie Clark), on the album Love This Giant. It’s a fitting match-up, as Clark seems to carry Byrne’s highbrow art-rock torch, and the result is a bold attack of brass instruments and accessible experimentation. As for the Tom Tom Club, their Downtown Rockers EP is their first release in 12 years. As Weymouth told Rolling Stone, the EP is an homage to legendary NYC punk club CBGB, where the Talking Heads cut their chops in the late 1970s.

- Jillian Mapes, CBS Local

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