Yoko Ono Plastic Ono Band

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Yoko Ono

Groove is central to the best moments on Take Me to the Land of Hell, the star-studded new album from Yoko Ono’s Plastic Ono Band. The fierce funk-rock beat of “Cheshire Cat Cry”—over which Ono states, “We, the expendable people of the United States, hold these dreams to be self-destructive”—is primarily fleshed out by rubbery bass from Ono’s son, Sean Lennon, and solid drumming from Lenny Kravitz. The screwy but infectious “Bad Dancer,” built on catchy synth bass and a spaghetti-Western guitar lick, was mixed by Ad-Rock and Mike D of the Beastie Boys. And the propulsive “7th Floor,” which includes Questlove on drums and Wilco’s Nels Cline on guitar, brings to mind Talking Heads’ “Once in a Lifetime.” 

There are highlights off the dance floor, too. The old-timey “Leaving Tim,” for instance, finds the up-and-coming jazz guitarist Julian Lage offering a warm, singing Gypsy-jazz solo. At the Bowery Ballroom, Ono, who turned 80 earlier this year, will be backed by a band including Lennon and Cline. Despite the new album’s name, the gig should tend toward the heavenly.—Brad Farberman

Follow Brad Farberman on Twitter: @BradFarberman

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