New Music: Brandon Flowers, Emmylou Harris and Rodney Crowell, Paul Weller and more

Bill Lamb, Contributing writer

Brandon Flowers :: ‘The Desired Effect’

Brandon Flowers is best known as lead vocalist for The Killers, but he’s gone solo before, on 2010’s “Flamingo.” For his second effort, he enlisted producer Ariel Rechtshaid, who worked with Vampire Weekend on “Modern Vampires of the City.” “The Desired Effect” is an album of big pop-rock anthems about questions of morality and ambition. One of the album’s best moments is the appearance of the Pet Shop Boys’ Neil Tennant via a voicemail message. The segment is brilliantly worked into “I Can Change,” built on an instrumental sample from Bronski Beat’s “Smalltown Boy.” “The Desired Effect” is filled with the hooks we expect from Flowers but Rechtshaid helps him take the next step: to be memorable and, frequently, exciting.

Emmylou Harris and Rodney Crowell :: ‘The Traveling Kind’

Emmylou Harris and Rodney Crowell first joined forces when he performed in her Hot Band in the 1970s. Since, both have become Americana leaders in their own right. They reunited two years ago, for the Grammy-winning album “Old Yellow Moon.” “The Traveling Kind” serves as a follow-up. It’s not flashy; instead it’s a deeply satisfying collaboration between two unassuming legends. Highlights include the old-fashioned honky-tonk of “If You Lived Here, You’d Be Home Now,” a rock-edged cover of Lucinda Williams’ “I Just Wanted To See You So Bad,” and the warmly engaging title song, co-written with Appleton’s Cory Chisel.

Father John Misty :: ‘I Love You, Honeybear’

Three years ago, Joshua Tillman left Fleet Foxes and evolved into Father John Misty. But he says the change was actually him shedding his sad songwriter persona to be himself. If that’s so, “I Love You, Honeybear” is like a concept album about Father John Misty. Its material is highly personal and highly arresting, from the weeping string section on the title song to the laugh track welded onto “Bored In the USA.” Sarcastic humor is everywhere — including a swipe at his previous stage incarnation, “The Night Josh Tillman Came To Our Apt.” “I Love You, Honeybear” is the exciting sound of a gifted artist setting himself free.

Paul Weller :: ‘Saturns Pattern’

Paul Weller is a pop legend who remains little known this side of the Atlantic. As leader of The Jam in the ‘70s, he helped bridge punk and new wave. Then he put together the jazz-pop lounge band Style Council in the 1980s, earning his biggest U.S. successes. Since 1992, he has released 11 consecutive top 10 albums in the U.K. “Saturns Pattern” varies wildly, but it all has the feel of a mature legend at work. The heavy rock of “White Sky” could please Jimi Hendrix. “Going My Way” sounds like a 1970s AM pop radio outtake. “Long Time” suggests Weller has been listening to Iggy and the Stooges. There is no better time for discerning U.S. pop music fans to discover this living legend.