Alejandro Escovedo, "Street Songs of Love"
Given Alejandro Escovedo's struggles in the early '00s with near-fatal health problems, we should be grateful that the man is simply alive, much less making music as vibrant as what's found on his latest album. An exhilarating, life-affirming blast of no-bullshit rock'n'roll, "Street Songs of Love" features Escovedo reteaming with famed David Bowie/T. Rex producer Tony Visconti, who also manned the boards for his arresting 2008 album, "Real Animal." Remarkably, "Street Songs" manages to top that earlier effort and includes Escovedo's most accessible work yet. The set is anchored by a trio of hard-driving anthems: "This Bed Is Getting Crowded," "Tender Heart" and "Faith" (featuring Bruce Springsteen), all of them bristling with defiant energy. Other high points include the beautiful ballad "Down in the Bowery" (with Ian Hunter sharing lead vocals) and hook-filled songs like "Silver Cloud" and "Undesired," which will find a home at rock radio if there's any justice in the world.