Tape Deck Heart (Deluxe Edition)
It's rarely a surprise when hardcore punk dudes turn out to be acoustic boys at heart, but few are as sure-handed as former Million Dead singer Frank Turner. Tape Deck Heart, his fifth solo album, was recorded in sunny Burbank, Calif., in October 2012, with his road band The Sleeping Souls and producer Rich Costey (Muse, Foster the People). The British singer/songwriter calls this his "breakup album." Sure enough, "Tell Tale Signs" names names, and other tunes resemble an autopsy. Still, the album has a quick humor that makes his romantic troubles more poignant. "One day this will all be over," he sings with desperation and relief on the remarkable "Recovery," which turns into a barroom rocker worthy of Bruce Springsteen, The Gaslight Anthem, or Titus Andronicus. Despite the high-profile producer and the California-studio setting, the album never feels too fussy, too happy, or too slick. "Losing Days" and "The Way I Tend to Be" rock and stay dirty despite Turner's naturally pristine voice. The deluxe version adds five bonus tracks, including the humorously titled "Wherefore Art Thou Gene Simmons?"