With basic tracks cut as close to live as possible, including the lead vocals, the Rilo Kiley singer’s second solo album expresses a raw excitement, strongly supported by an enviable guestlist and the impressive sonics of Sound City Studios in Van Nuys, CA, where the recording for Neil Young’s After the Goldrush and Nirvana’s Nevermind once took place. With those ghosts in the air, Lewis set out to capture a performance, and that she does. Elvis Costello adds his coarse edge for a duet of “Carpetbaggers.” M. Ward adds his peculiar guitar to “Pretty Bird.” The Black Crowes’ Chris Robinson joins for the title track. Despite these high-ranking names, the spotlight is strongly on Lewis who sings with even greater elasticity and authority, as evidenced by the swooping theatrics of “Black Sand,” the funky PJ Harvey-like seductress moves behind the eight-minute epic “The Next Messiah,” and the perky chirpiness she infuses into “Sing a Song for Them” and the cello-violin supported, gospel-tinged “Trying My Best to Love You” (also featuring a vocal from Zooey Deschanel). Lewis manages to vary her attack without ever losing focus.