GLEN PHILLIPS, Swallowed By the New 

(Umami): 3 STARS

The Toad the Wet Sprocket frontman’s fourth solo album — his first in 10 years — is a breakup record less cathartic than balm-like in its focus on accepting change and finding gratitude. With emotions amplified by the Section Quartet’s strings and Ruby Amanfu’s and Amber Rubarth’s harmonies, loss and confusion (“Reconstructing the Diary,” “Amnesty”) are outweighed by lessons learned (the philosophical “Unwritten”), including the hollowing realization that love can mutate into alien form. Highlights: the tunefully bittersweet “Go,” “Criminal Career,” “Grief and Praise,” Judgment Day-pondering rocker “Held Up.” At Levitt Pavillion Saturday, Sept. 17.


CHANGUI MAJADERO, Changui Majadero

(self-released): 3.5 STARS

Eastern Cuban changüí, as channeled and hybridized by this zesty LA-based quintet led by tresero Gabriel Garcia, who learned several of the tunes from traditional elders in Cuba and compares changüí’s earthy accessibility to the blues. Afro-Cubano jazz and salsa fans will likely respond to the infectious rhythms, and harmonies from Son Mayor’s Alfred Ortiz and Norrell Thompson. Highlights: “Nengon,” a salsa remix of “La Rumba Esta Buena,” “Amor de Madre” (featuring Quetzal’s Martha Gonzalez). At Grand Annex in San Pedro Friday, Sept. 16.



(Dangerbird): 3.5 STARS

The versatile rocker’s eighth studio album rings with loud guitars, anthemic choruses, smartly crafted melodic hooks, earnestly raw singing (and stirring harmonies from HoneyHoney’s Suzanne Santo), and tough-luck characters addicted to romance’s hopeful mojo. If that smacks of Gaslight Anthem and vintage Springsteen, well, the Boss’ influence is viscerally evident, from “East Side Girl” through the morning-after discomfort of “Can We Just Not Talk About Last Night.” Walker turns contemplative for “Record Store” (“I can’t call you by your stage name, you’re still the girl I know/ You hated wearing dresses, love the radio”), but otherwise connects to the joyful vitality of classic rock roots. At Teragram Ballroom in Downtown LA Saturday, Sept. 17.


VARIOUS ARTISTS, Afterschool Special: The 123s of Kid Soul (Numero Uno): 3 STARS

Parental ears weary of Radio Disney’s hyper-compressed bubblegum pop may perk up hearing these 1970s-era tracks by youthful acts inspired by the Jackson 5’s sweetened R&B sound and chart success. Some of the messages feel dated (the Greer Brothers’ “We Don’t Dig No Busing”), but most remain relevant (the Dynamics’ “I’m Free, No Dope for Me,” Bethlehem Center Children’s Choir’s “I’m a Special Kid,” the Brother’s Rap’s “The Revolution Will Not Be Televised”), and parents will likely enjoy the funky grooves as much as their little dancers.