1. The Swell Season, "Strict Joy"

    October 16, 2009 4:45 PM EDT 0 0 0 The Swell Season 's Glen Hansard and Marketa Irglova gained notoriety two years ago after starring in and releasing the soundtrack to the Academy Award-winning film "Once." With the arrival of its second album, "Strictly Joy,&quo ...

  2. TIËSTO, "Kaleidoscope"

    October 16, 2009 4:39 PM EDT 0 0 0 Only Timbaland could corral a guest list more impressive (or more eclectic) than the one on Dutch producer/ DJ Tiësto 's new studio album, "Kaleidoscope." Atop Tiësto's whooshing keyboards and pulsating beats, the new set feature ...

  3. BeBe & CeCe Winans, "Still"

    October 16, 2009 4:37 PM EDT 0 0 0 Reuniting after 15 years, BeBe & CeCe Winans offer definitive proof that things do indeed get better with time. On "Still" (the first release under their own label), the gospel duo settles right back into the inspirational groove that ...

  4. Backstreet Boys, "This Is Us"

    October 16, 2009 4:33 PM EDT 0 0 0 Years removed from their teen-pop prominence, Backstreet Boys continue to produce pleasurable hooks and hummable vocal harmonies on "This Is Us," the group's seventh studio album and second as a foursome. Working with longtime produce ...

  5. Del the Funky Homosapien & Tame One, "Parallel Uni-Verses"

    October 16, 2009 4:13 PM EDT 0 0 0 There aren't any chart-topping guests on the new release from Oakland, Calif., hip-hop pioneer Del the Funky Homosapien and New Jersey underground stalwart Tame One . "Parallel Uni-Verses" is a true East Coast/West Coast dual team-up; ...

  6. Vico C, "Babilla"

    October 16, 2009 3:34 PM EDT 0 0 0 Four years after his last studio album, one of Latin urban music's truly original artists shines once again. Former drug addict and born-again Christian Vico C has little use for the monotonous sexual content most associated with the reggaetón ...

  7. Insane Clown Posse, "Bang! Pow! Boom!"

    October 16, 2009 12:10 PM EDT 0 0 0 It would be easy -- well, easier -- to continue to dismiss the Insane Clown Posse as novelty jokers on the band's eleventh album. But frankly, the only thing separating these particular cornballs in face paint from Kiss is that you can buy the ...

  8. Living Colour, "The Chair in the Doorway"

    October 16, 2009 11:57 AM EDT 0 0 0 Of all the bands pursuing comebacks this summer, Living Colour is certainly among the most welcome. But the band's first release since 2003, "The Chair in the Doorway," is too scattered -- and occasionally silly -- to make a serious r ...

  9. Dead By Sunrise, "Out of Ashes"

    October 09, 2009 4:17 PM EDT 0 0 0 There's a question that lingers when listening to the debut album from Dead by Sunrise, the new project from Linkin Park 's Chester Bennington : What can he do musically in this setting that he can't in his day job? The answer, appare ...

  10. Tim McGraw, "Southern Voice"

    October 09, 2009 4:09 PM EDT 0 0 0 Tim McGraw is one introspective SOB, or so it seems on his latest album, "Southern Voice." He doesn't reveal any new sides to his personality on the mostly down-tempo set, but he does prove that when it rains, it pours. On the song &q ...

  11. Joss Stone, "Colour Me Free"

    October 09, 2009 3:33 PM EDT 0 0 0 On "Free Me," the lead single from Joss Stone 's fourth studio album, "Colour Me Free," the U.K. singer indirectly addresses critics who've suggested that her sound isn't wholly original. "There's nothing ...

  12. Gustavo Cerati, "Fuerza Natural"

    October 09, 2009 3:30 PM EDT 0 0 0 "I never felt so fine," Gustavo Cerati sings on the title track to his new album, "Fuerza Natural"-and then proves it with a set of intricately crafted and introspective folky melodies, psychedelic splashes and power pop. Cerati& ...

  13. Built To Spill, "There is No Enemy"

    October 09, 2009 3:28 PM EDT 0 0 0 Three years after the release of its last album, "You in Reverse," Built to Spill returns with its seventh release, "There Is No Enemy," which finds the band exploring new influences outside of the familiar indie-rock territory w ...

  14. Joe Perry, "Have Guitar, Will Travel"

    October 09, 2009 3:23 PM EDT 0 0 0 At the beginning of 2009, Joe Perry didn't plan to record a solo album, but the guitarist wound up making the most fully realized set he's created outside of Aerosmith . Started after Steven Tyler 's health problems halted sessions fo ...

  15. Luke Bryan, "Doin' My Thing"

    October 09, 2009 3:21 PM EDT 0 0 0 Luke Bryan 's recent single "Do I" (which first appeared on his latest EP and is now on his second album, "Doin' My Thing") is a bona fide three-hanky lost-love ballad. But the listener won't be sniffling through t ...

  16. Brandi Carlile, "Give Up the Ghost"

    October 09, 2009 3:18 PM EDT 0 0 0 Brandi Carlile knows how to wring every last emotion from a lyric. On her third studio album, "Give Up the Ghost," the singer/songwriter channels heartache, fear, nostalgia and joy in nearly the same breath, creating a vivid pastiche of al ...

  17. Lights, "The Listening"

    October 09, 2009 3:14 PM EDT 0 0 0 Canadian singer Valerie Poxleitner looks like a pop star and writes songs like a pop star, but her name didn't make her sound like much of a pop star. A quick change to the snappier moniker Lights , though, and she's ready to actually be a ...

  18. N'Dambi, "Pink Elephant"

    October 09, 2009 3:10 PM EDT 0 0 0 Singer/songwriter N'Dambi has been a darling of the indie-soul movement since the release of her 1999 debut, "Little Lost Girls Blues." With the arrival of her major-label debut, "Pink Elephant," the mainstream audience can ...

  19. Rosanne Cash, "The List"

    October 06, 2009 4:30 PM EDT 0 0 0 Grieving the loss of a loved one may yield a harvest of creativity. In Rosanne Cash 's case, the 2003 death of her father, Johnny Cash , inspired the heartfelt originals on her 2006 release "Black Cadillac." The late country legend� ...

  20. Michael Bublé, "Crazy Love"

    October 06, 2009 4:20 PM EDT 0 0 0 There's always been a bit of crazy in the way Canadian crooner Michael Bublé has structured his repertoire, love songs and otherwise; he has the standards down, but he's certainly not trapped in the Great American Songbook. The curveballs ...

  21. Various artists, "Music Inspired by More Than a Game"

    October 06, 2009 4:12 PM EDT 0 0 0 The soundtrack to the sports documentary "More Than a Game," a coming-of-age story about friendship and loyalty among five young basketball players in the face of adversity, is much like the film: inspiring, with a star-studded lineup. Mos ...

  22. Basement Jaxx, "Scars"

    October 06, 2009 4:01 PM EDT 0 0 0 If Basement Jaxx has a flaw, it's the group's tendency to overdo: too many of the craziest sounds you've ever heard happening at once, at too high a volume, surrounding one defenseless vocal line. But the U.K. production duo has found ...

  23. 7 Worlds Collide, "The Sun Came Out"

    October 06, 2009 3:33 PM EDT Worlds Collide 's new double-disc album, "The Sun Came Out," is the answer to a question few had probably thought to ask: What would happen if members of Crowded House , the Smiths , Radiohead , Wilco , assorted family members and o ...

  24. Alice In Chains, "Black Gives Way to Blue"

    October 06, 2009 1:40 PM EDT 0 0 0 Alice in Chains singer Layne Staley is gone but hardly forgotten-at least not as an integral component of the band's murky, melodic brand of hard rock. The quartet returns 14 years after its last new studio album (and seven years after Staley&# ...

  25. The Avett Brothers, "I And Love And You"

    October 06, 2009 11:53 AM EDT 0 0 0 On past albums, the Avett Brothers ' greatest attribute has been their ability to lure comfortable yet elegant fireplace melodies from just a handful of guitars and one DNA strand. But higher stakes are called for on their major-label debut, &q ...

  26. Patty Loveless, "Mountain Soul II"

    October 06, 2009 11:09 AM EDT 0 0 0 Patty Loveless has an innate soulfulness that can't be taught, bought or won on a reality show. That's one of the reasons-along with sterling musicianship and inspired song selection-why her new album, "Mountain Soul II," is a mu ...

  27. Bebel Gilberto, "All in One"

    October 06, 2009 11:02 AM EDT 0 0 0 Despite Bebel Gilberto 's Brazilian musical bloodlines (her father is João Gilberto and her mother is Miúcha ), she didn't achieve widespread notoriety until she left the South American country. Her 2000 international debut release, " ...

  28. Tokio Hotel, "Humanoid"

    October 05, 2009 5:12 PM EDT 0 0 0 It's probably unwise to assume that "Darkside of the Sun," the second track from the German band Tokio Hotel's second international set, "Humanoid," references the famous Pink Floyd album with which it almost shares a t ...

  29. AFI, "Crash Love"

    September 25, 2009 2:35 PM EDT 0 0 0 AFI 's eighth studio album, "Crash Love," remains faithful to the arena-ready pop noir that made the rock band a multiplatinum superstar earlier this decade. Singer Davey Havok once again puts on his best Smiths -esque strut while dan ...

  30. Joshua Bell, "At Home With Friends"

    September 25, 2009 2:28 PM EDT 0 0 0 The Grammy Award-winning violinist Joshua Bell returns with "At Home With Friends," a star-studded album of marquee-level duets with guest artists like Sting , Josh Groban and Chris Botti . If the term "classical crossover" sends ...

  31. Toby Keith, "American Ride"

    September 25, 2009 2:24 PM EDT 0 0 0 There's a little less bluster and bravado on Toby Keith 's latest album, "American Ride," and it's a welcome turn. Keith has always understood how to connect with his loyal fans, and he may have sensed their need for a break ...

  32. Selena Gomez & the Scene, "Kiss & Tell"

    September 25, 2009 2:17 PM EDT 0 0 0 "Tell me, tell me, tell me something I don't know," Selena Gomez sings on the final cut on her debut album, "Kiss & Tell." Considering how closely the new set follows similarly situated tween-pop efforts by Miley Cyrus a ...

  33. Zero 7, "Yeah Ghost"

    September 25, 2009 1:27 PM EDT 0 0 0 What is Zero 7 without its unofficial, clear-voiced frontwoman Sia Furler, who left amicably last year to pursue a solo career? The answer: something very different yet unmistakably Zero 7. Singer/songwriter Eska takes over the alpha woman role on & ...

  34. Kris Kristofferson, "Closer to the Bone"

    September 25, 2009 1:22 PM EDT 0 0 0 As the title suggests, Kris Kristofferson 's newest album, "Closer to the Bone," is an attempt to reach new depths of vulnerability-a portrait of an old man, laid bare following his 2006 opus, "This Old Road" (which was his ...

  35. Andrew W.K., "55 Cadillac"

    September 25, 2009 1:09 PM EDT 0 0 0 Hard rock fans itching for Andrew W.K. to release a new single like his 2001 hit "Party Hard" will be sorely disappointed by the musician's fifth album, "55 Cadillac," which consists entirely of piano improvisations. The wor ...

  36. Muse, "The Resistance"

    September 25, 2009 1:03 PM EDT 0 0 0 British rock act Muse 's fifth album, "The Resistance," shows growth from the band's previous releases and proves that it's primed for a global musical takeover. The album opener, "Uprising," carries a pulsating ba ...

  37. Owen, "New Leaves"

    September 25, 2009 12:56 PM EDT 0 0 0 An album about settling down and being a new husband and father has strong potential of being viewed by some listeners as boring. But Owen brainchild Mike Kinsella manages to avoid both fates on his latest effort, "New Leaves." Kinsella (w ...

  38. Ghostface Killah, "Ghostdini: The Wizard of Poetry in Emerald City"

    September 25, 2009 12:53 PM EDT 0 0 0 In the past decade, Ghostface Killah has moved away from the esoteric beats of his Wu-Tang Clan cuts to explore buttery soul rhythms. On his new album, "Ghostdini: The Wizard of Poetry in Emerald City," the rapper dives head-first into R&a ...

  39. Paramore, "Brand New Eyes"

    September 18, 2009 4:30 PM EDT 0 0 0 Paramore has flirted with rock stardom in the past few years, thanks to hits like "Misery Business," "That's What You Get" and "Decode." But the band's new album, "Brand New Eyes," marks its full-fle ...

  40. Barbra Streisand, "Love is the Answer"

    September 18, 2009 4:25 PM EDT 0 0 0 Love may be the answer on Barbra Streisand 's first studio set since 2005, but the question is: How slow can you go? Paired with Diana Krall as producer (and pianist) and Johnny Mandel as arranger, Streisand gives her trademark romantic-ballad ...

  41. Mariah Carey, "Memoirs of an Imperfect Angel"

    September 18, 2009 3:49 PM EDT 0 0 0 Mariah Carey is not only revisiting her past appearance-wise (lately the singer has been wearing her hair in loose curls, as seen during the early days of her career), but she's also taking her sound back to her R&B roots. On Carey's l ...

  42. Big Star, "Keep an Eye on the Sky"

    September 18, 2009 3:20 PM EDT 0 0 0 Big Star may not have achieved the level of success that many had predicted for the '70s Memphis band, but the group's meaty guitar hooks and Beatles -esque harmonies helped launch the power-pop subgenre and inspired acts like Cheap Trick ...

  43. Nitty Gritty Dirt Band, "Speed of Life"

    September 18, 2009 3:17 PM EDT 0 0 0 It's hard to believe that the Nitty Gritty Dirt Band has been around for five decades. Formed as a California folk rock group, NGDB has endured because of an innate sense of what its music is supposed to sound like, no matter who plays in the b ...

  44. Brother Ali, "Us"

    September 18, 2009 3:13 PM EDT 0 0 0 "If you know me, you know I love my family, love my God," proclaims Minneapolis MC Brother Ali at the top of his third album. If you didn't know that, Ali makes sure you do by the end of "Us," on which he holds forth on his ...

  45. Girls, "Album"

    September 18, 2009 3:06 PM EDT 0 0 0 The two boys (Christopher Owens and Chet JR White) who comprise Girls escaped hippie cults as children and talk about taking psychedelics, but somehow the duo manages to make sweet pop music devoid of cynicism. The standout track and first single fr ...

  46. They Might Be Giants, "Here Comes Science"

    September 18, 2009 2:50 PM EDT 0 0 0 Plenty has been said about how well They Might Be Giants ' playful, absurdist rock translates to kids' music-and the band's fourth offspring-focused effort is no exception. What the CD/ DVD "Here Comes Science" offers-compar ...

  47. Monsters of Folk, "Monsters of Folk"

    September 18, 2009 2:19 PM EDT 0 0 0 The sessions for Monsters of Folk 's self-titled debut had the indie collective's four songwriters - Conor Oberst , Jim James , M. Ward and Mike Mogis-bringing ready-to-record songs to the proceedings. Introduced by James' falsetto, t ...

  48. Sean Kingston, "Tomorrow"

    September 18, 2009 2:11 PM EDT 0 0 0 Sean Kingston , the refreshing teenage voice behind summer 2007's ubiquitous charmer "Beautiful Girls," is back with his second album, "Tomorrow," that again draws from the pop/ rap/reggae/ doo-wop vein of his self-titled de ...

  49. Miranda Lambert , "Revolution"

    September 18, 2009 2:05 PM EDT 0 0 0 Miranda Lambert has grown up. The angry young woman who famously sang about setting kerosene fires and waiting with a loaded gun for her abusive beau has found love with new boyfriend Blake Shelton , and it's reflected on the diverse "Revo ...

  50. Jay-Z, "Blueprint 3"

    September 11, 2009 3:50 PM EDT 0 0 0 Out of Jay-Z 's 11 releases, his latest album, "Blueprint 3," has taken him the longest to record and deliver. But as expected, the new set is worth the wait. On the synthesizer-heavy track "What We Talking About" (featuring ...

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