1. Ricky Skaggs, "Solo (Songs My Dad Loved)"

    September 04, 2009 2:44 PM EDT 0 0 0 If these are indeed the songs Ricky Skaggs ' father sang to him as a child, it's a wonder he didn't suffer from perpetual nightmares. There's some awfully sober terrain covered on these 13 bluegrass and folk tracks, from the like ...

  2. Pitbull, "Rebelution"

    September 01, 2009 3:38 PM EDT 0 0 0 You either love or hate Pitbull 's music, and sometimes a little of both when listening to the same album. As with the Miami rapper's past releases, his newest set, "Rebelution," is a mix of infectious dance hooks and rapid-fire ...

  3. Phish, "Joy"

    September 01, 2009 3:32 PM EDT 0 0 0 "Got a blank space where my mind should be/Got a Cliff Bar and some cold green tea," Phish frontman Trey Anastasio sings on "Stealing Time From the Faulty Plan," the second track on the band's ebullient new album, "Joy. ...

  4. Whitney Houston, "I Look to You"

    September 01, 2009 3:26 PM EDT 0 0 0 The imminent release of Whitney Houston 's "I Look to You" (her first studio album in seven years) keeps prompting the elephant-in-the-room question: How does she sound? Well, Houston turns in a solid performance on this 11-track set. ...

  5. Mayer Hawthorne, "A Strange Arrangement"

    September 01, 2009 3:10 PM EDT 0 0 0 Listing Curtis Mayfield , Smokey Robinson and Barry White as influences, up-and-coming soul singer Mayer Hawthorne isn't your typical freckled face from Ann Arbor, Mich. His debut album, "A Strange Arrangement," appears to pay tribute ...

  6. Yonder Mountain String Band, "The Show"

    September 01, 2009 3:03 PM EDT 0 0 0 Yonder Mountain String Band retains its traditional bluegrass sound on "The Show," but the Colorado-based quartet has widened its commercial appeal by incorporating elements of rock and punk. Straying from the usual string accord of past a ...

  7. Os Mutantes, "Haih Or Amortecedor"

    September 01, 2009 2:57 PM EDT 0 0 0 Os Mutantes ' "Haih Or Amortecedor" may not be the Brazilian band's comeback since its '60s/'70s tropicalia heyday, but the set does mark its first studio recording in 35 years. (The past decade has seen a pair of profi ...

  8. BLK JKS, "After Robots"

    September 01, 2009 2:01 PM EDT 0 0 0 Johannesburg natives BLK JKS (pronounced "black jacks") have been creating stateside buzz since performing at South by Southwest and appearing on the cover of the Fader magazine last year. Produced by Secret Machines ' Brandon Curtis, ...

  9. Rodrigo Y Gabriela, "11:11"

    September 01, 2009 11:31 AM EDT 0 0 0 There was a slight novelty aspect to the way the Mexican guitar duo Rodrigo Y Gabriela dazzled listeners on their self-titled second album in 2006. The pair's guitar chops were undeniable, but flashy versions of Led Zeppelin 's "Stair ...

  10. A Fine Frenzy, "Bomb in a Birdcage"

    September 01, 2009 11:10 AM EDT 0 0 0 With a Tori Amos mane of tomato-red hair, a gauzy voice made to deliver her bookish lyrics and more than 1 million followers on Twitter, A Fine Frenzy leader Alison Sudol is ready for her close-up. The band's second album, "Bomb in a Birdc ...

  11. Queen Latifah, "Persona"

    August 25, 2009 3:23 PM EDT 0 0 0 Queen Latifah 's new studio set, "Persona," represents a turn away from her '00s work. But it's not quite the return to rap that it's been billed as. About half of the album finds the successful singer/actor making the ...

  12. John Fogerty, "The Blue Ridge Rangers Rides Again"

    August 25, 2009 3:08 PM EDT 0 0 0 Creative plural notwithstanding, John Fogerty was the Blue Ridge Rangers on his 1973 solo debut, adopting the fictitious band moniker as a means of swinging back at writer's block and Creedence Clearwater Revival 's flameout-but not so muc ...

  13. The Used, "Artwork"

    August 25, 2009 3:05 PM EDT 0 0 0 On The Used 's fourth full-length album, "Artwork," the rock band is distancing itself from musical descriptions like "emo" and "screamo." Singer Bert McCracken, who mixes impassioned shrieking with earnest lyrics, ...

  14. Mark Schultz, "Come Alive"

    August 25, 2009 2:56 PM EDT 0 0 0 Contemporary Christian singer/ songwriter Mark Schultz has a gift for taking life experiences -some joyous, others tragic-and distilling them into compelling songs. Those talents are displayed on the artist's new album, "Come Alive." ...

  15. Robert Glasper, "Double Booked"

    August 25, 2009 2:45 PM EDT 0 0 0 Is it bop or hip-hop? Although it doesn't answer that question, Robert Glasper 's third album for Blue Note Records, "Double Booked," sheds light on different sides of his prodigious talent. The title of the new set refers to Gla ...

  16. Gretchen Parlato, "In a Dream"

    August 25, 2009 2:35 PM EDT 0 0 0 Gretchen Parlato won the prestigious 2004 Thelonious Monk International Jazz Vocals Competition, released her mildly promising self-titled debut the following year and since then has sung in supporting roles on several significant jazz releases. Wit ...

  17. Felix Da Housecat, "He Was King"

    August 25, 2009 2:29 PM EDT 0 0 0 DJ/producer Felix Stallings Jr. freely wields a number of genres, including new wave, funk and house. As such, he can't help but make music that references each of them. Stallings' 2001 underground hit "Kittenz & Thee Glitz" ...

  18. Ingrid Michaelson, "Everybody"

    August 25, 2009 2:19 PM EDT 0 0 0 New York singer/songwriter Ingrid Michaelson yearns for clarity as she tiptoes through the progression of a dying love on her newest album, "Everybody," which balances melodious pop with dreamy instrumental layers and universal themes. The ...

  19. Love and Theft, "World Wide Open"

    August 25, 2009 2:08 PM EDT 0 0 0 Love and Theft 's familiar sound is probably lost on the younger demographic the trio tends to attract, but that may play in the band's favor when it comes to appealing to country fans. The group's harmonies, which are always at the f ...

  20. Collective Soul, "Collective Soul"

    August 25, 2009 2:04 PM EDT 0 0 0 For a band that had its commercial heyday in the mid-'90s, Collective Soul has maintained a steady touring schedule and respectable sales, despite label and personnel changes. On its eighth studio album (and first Loud & Proud/Roadrunner Re ...

  21. Jet, "Shaka Rock"

    August 25, 2009 1:50 PM EDT 0 0 0 From the opening sirens and rumbling drums of the first track, "K.I.A. (Killed in Action)," Jet 's third full-length album, "Shaka Rock," is a guitar-rock scorcher. The set finds the band continuing to riff on the blissful m ...

  22. Arctic Monkeys, "Humbug"

    August 14, 2009 5:02 PM EDT 0 0 0 Following a three-year period that netted two albums, one Mercury Prize and dozens of headlines pegging the British group as rock's next great hope, the Arctic Monkeys were due for an offbeat, introspective third album. While their new album &q ...

  23. Imogen Heap, "Ellipse"

    August 14, 2009 4:56 PM EDT 0 0 0 As tangible as it is ethereal, Imogen Heap 's new album, "Ellipse" (the follow-up to her 2005 Grammy Award-nominated breakthrough "Speak for Yourself"), could be the bit of magic she seeks-it's full of Heap's gauzy ...

  24. Willie Nelson, "American Classic"

    August 14, 2009 4:48 PM EDT 0 0 0 More than 30 years after the release of Willie Nelson 's highly acclaimed 1978 standards album "Stardust," the artist cracks open the Great American Songbook once again for his second Blue Note Records release. Produced by renowned ad ...

  25. Various Artists, "Classic Soul Duets: Boy Meets Girl"

    August 14, 2009 4:32 PM EDT 0 0 0 Sassy soul duets are a tradition as old as the genre itself, and Stax released some of the best. This compilation takes selections from the 1969 Stax album "Boy Meets Girl" and adds two Stax songs by Delaney & Bonnie and two versions o ...

  26. Richard Egarr, "Handel Concertos Op. 7"

    August 14, 2009 4:27 PM EDT 0 0 0 Organ virtuoso Richard Egarr delivers a stirring rendition of George Frideric Handel 's last published set of instrumental concertos. These pieces for organ, which were published posthumously in 1761, proved to be a magnificent finale to a rema ...

  27. Jay Reatard, "Watch Me Fall"

    August 14, 2009 4:23 PM EDT 0 0 0 For the past decade, Memphis-based punk prodigy Jay Reatard has tirelessly recorded and self-released lo-fi gems, but his proper debut on Matador Records could introduce him to a more mainstream audience. Recorded in his home studio with Reatard pla ...

  28. Jack Ingram, "Big Dreams & High Hopes"

    August 14, 2009 4:12 PM EDT 0 0 0 Jack Ingram has graduated from the Texas circuit to the country mainstream in fine fashion, and his appropriately titled new release, "Big Dreams & High Hopes," will only help his star rise higher. Current chart-climbing single "B ...

  29. Matisyahu, "Light"

    August 14, 2009 4:06 PM EDT 0 0 0 While it may be difficult to see a Hasidic Jewish reggae artist as little more than a novelty act, Matisyahu proved that he was anything but with "King Without a Crown" (which peaked at No. 28 on the Billboard Hot 100 in March 2006) from h ...

  30. Colbie Caillat, "Breakthrough"

    August 14, 2009 4:00 PM EDT 0 0 0 Like Colbie Caillat 's 2007 debut album, "Coco," her second album, "Breakthrough," is warm and inviting, as she continues marveling over the first pangs of love. On the finger-snapping song "You Got Me," the 24-yea ...

  31. Smokey Robinson, "Time Flies When You're Having Fun"

    August 14, 2009 3:51 PM EDT 0 0 0 Smokey Robinson has gotten heated in recent comments regarding the media's coverage of Michael Jackson 's death, but on the follow-up to his 2006 standards set, "Timeless Love," Robinson couldn't sound more relaxed. "Ti ...

  32. David Garza, "Dream Delay"

    August 11, 2009 6:57 PM EDT 0 0 0 Austin, Texas-based singer-songwriter David Garza's words tumble out of him with a beauty and unpredictability that makes his bluesy warble consistently interesting. Dry wit, a zigzagging vocabulary and poignant melodies are layered with guitar ...

  33. Third Eye Blind, "Ursa Major"

    August 11, 2009 4:50 PM EDT 0 0 0 After a few false starts and pushed-back release dates, Third Eye Blind 's fourth full-length release, "Ursa Major," will finally see the daylight. Six years have passed since the release of the rock band's last album, "Out ...

  34. Ledisi, "Turn Me Loose"

    August 11, 2009 4:42 PM EDT 0 0 0 R&B artist Ledisi 's new album, "Turn Me Loose," on which she collaborates with new producers and even sports a Mohawk (on the cover), serves as her official coming-out party. On her second Verve release, the Bay Area artist goes ...

  35. David Guetta, "One Love"

    August 11, 2009 4:33 PM EDT 0 0 0 A manifesto for the synthesis of dance and hip-hop, French DJ David Guetta 's new album "One Love" turns out top 40-friendly songs while remaining true to dance club culture. With its impressive list of collaborators-including Will.i. ...

  36. Terence Blanchard Group, "Choices"

    August 11, 2009 4:15 PM EDT 0 0 0 In the wake of Terence Blanchard 's 2008 Grammy Award-winning album "A Tale of God's Will (A Requiem for Katrina)," the New Orleans-based trumpeter/composer embarks on a new, dramatic song cycle that plumbs the depths of personal ...

  37. Cascada, "Evacuate the Dancefloor"

    August 11, 2009 4:01 PM EDT 0 0 0 If Cascada singer Natalie Horler started her career on "American Idol," the country would have fallen in love with her. But the fetching German-born blonde-who sings like Christina Aguilera , minus the diva vocalizing-arrives by way of the ...

  38. Justin Moore, "Justin Moore"

    August 11, 2009 3:45 PM EDT 0 0 0 On his debut single, "Small Town USA," country singer Justin Moore praised dirt roads, beer, Saturday nights and Sunday mornings. Fans of that song will love his new self-titled album, which is loaded with references to .44s, the preacher& ...

  39. Tommy Castro, "Hard Believer"

    August 11, 2009 3:35 PM EDT 0 0 0 Although the critical kudos and myriad music awards that journeyman blues-rocker Tommy Castro has earned during his lengthy career haven't yet elevated him to the level of Buddy Guy or Stevie Ray Vaughan , the Bay Area guitarist remains a relia ...

  40. Jessie James, "Jessie James"

    August 11, 2009 3:26 PM EDT 0 0 0 Judging by some of the song titles ("Guilty," "My Cowboy," "Wanted") on her self-titled debut, one could say that 20-year-old Georgia newcomer Jessie James lives up to her name as the female version of the American outl ...

  41. Joe Henry, "Blood From Stars"

    August 11, 2009 3:18 PM EDT 0 0 0 Two years after the release of his acclaimed album "Civilians," noted producer/songsmith Joe Henry returns with "Blood From Stars," his 11th and most ambitious album to date. Henry shines as both artist and producer, deftly blurr ...

  42. Reba McEntire, "Keep On Loving You"

    August 11, 2009 2:57 PM EDT 0 0 0 Country singer Reba McEntire doesn't miss a beat on "Keep On Loving You," her debut album for Valory Music. (She previously recorded for MCA Nashville for 25 years.) The first single, "Strange," is the fastest chart climber ...

  43. Cobra Starship, "Hot Mess"

    August 11, 2009 2:42 PM EDT 0 0 0 Cobra Starship first gained momentum after the 2006 release of its "Snakes on a Plane (Bring It)" theme song for "Snakes on a Plane," and the New York dance-rock act hasn't stopped since. Its third full length album, "H ...

  44. DePedro, "DePedro"

    August 11, 2009 2:29 PM EDT 0 0 0 Spanish singer-songwriter Jairo Zavala, well-known in Spanish rock circles for his work with Amparanoia and Vacazul, became a touring member of Tucson, Ariz.-based rock band Calexico in 2004. So on his solo debut, "DePedro," for which Zava ...

  45. The Fiery Furnances, "I'm Going Away"

    August 11, 2009 2:17 PM EDT 0 0 0 Quirky Brooklyn-based indie rock act The Fiery Furnaces has mellowed in recent years. On "I'm Going Away," the eighth release from the brother-and-sister duo of Eleanor and Matthew Friedberger , the pair moves away from its usual expe ...

  46. Amanda Blank, "I Love You"

    August 11, 2009 2:00 PM EDT 0 0 0 No song on Amanda Blank 's debut album, "I Love You," runs longer than four minutes, and the whole 11-track set is only 33 minutes. But that's all the Philadelphia-born rapper needs to claim her place as DJ culture's new &qu ...

  47. Kimi Djabate, "Karam"

    August 11, 2009 1:49 PM EDT 0 0 0 Guinea-Bissau, West Africa, native Kimi Djabate is the latest in a lineage of griots, and he's one of the most talented members of his musically blessed family. Djabate's debut album, "Karam," is a quiet tour de force. In additio ...

  48. Melinda Watts, "People Get Ready"

    August 11, 2009 1:41 PM EDT 0 0 0 As the 2008 winner of the Gospel Music Channel's "Gospel Dream" competition, Melinda Watts has demonstrated a captivating stage presence and an expressive voice that she puts to good use on her new album, "People Get Ready." ...

  49. Paul Oakenfold, "Perfecto: Vegas"

    August 11, 2009 1:28 PM EDT 0 0 0 U.K. electronic music artist Paul Oakenfold sticks to his trance-loving roots on his latest DJ companion disc, Perfecto: Vegas," which features 21 hand-selected tracks. The double-disc set displays Oakenfold's skills as an electronic act a ...

  50. Sugar Ray, "Music For Cougars"

    August 11, 2009 1:21 PM EDT 0 0 0 It's taken six years for feel-good Southern California rock band Sugar Ray to reconvene for its six full-length release, "Music For Cougars." And, as expected, the band continues to write songs with sublime melodies and tropical groov ...

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