1. Switchfoot, "Hello Hurricane"

    December 01, 2009 2:37 PM EST 0 0 0 After establishing a berth at mainstream radio with "Dare You to Move" (from its 2003 album, "The Beautiful Letdown"), earnest San Diego rock band Switchfoot hasn't quite managed to complete its crossover from the Christian- ...

  2. Tori Amos, "Midwinter Graces"

    December 01, 2009 1:45 PM EST 0 0 0 With past references to "the little g," the incriminating questions of "God" and a penchant to debate spiritual issues, Tori Amos hardly seems the type to make a holiday album. But the Methodist minister's daughter rarely ce ...

  3. Big Kenny, "The Quiet Times of a Rock and Roll Farm Boy"

    November 20, 2009 3:50 PM EST 0 0 0 In many ways, Big Kenny and John Rich -who make up country duo Big & Rich -are the perfect couple. But Big Kenny's new album, "The Quiet Times of a Rock and Roll Farm Boy," is a thoughtful, often profound sojourn into musical inde ...

  4. Rihanna, "Rated R"

    November 20, 2009 3:39 PM EST 0 0 0 Rihanna may have been a good girl gone bad on her 2007 album, but on her new one, she's a good girl gone bad-ass. During the electric-guitar-soused "Rock Star," the R&B singer revels in her bad-girl rebellion, crooning, "Got ...

  5. Norah Jones, "The Fall"

    November 20, 2009 3:28 PM EST 0 0 0 Norah Jones ' fourth album, "The Fall," may surprise some of her die-hard fans, or at least disarm them a bit. During the 13-song set, Jones ditches the gentle piano-playing of her previous work and rises to a new level of creative bo ...

  6. Nirvana, "Bleach" (20th-Anniversary Deluxe Edition)

    November 20, 2009 3:11 PM EST 0 0 0 "This is off our first record, most people don't own it," Kurt Cobain whispered before strumming the opening chords of "About a Girl" during Nirvana 's 1993 "MTV Unplugged" performance. As Cobain had guessed, ...

  7. Various Artists, "A Very Special Christmas Vol. 7"

    November 20, 2009 3:05 PM EST 0 0 0 The younger pop artists featured on "A Very Special Christmas Vol. 7" will certainly appeal to the Disney Channel set, but the album's infectious classics and varying musical styles will also likely draw in their parents, too. Smoky-v ...

  8. Carrie Underwood, "Play On"

    November 20, 2009 3:05 PM EST 0 0 0 There's no doubt that Carrie Underwood 's third album, "Play On," is her best collection yet: Here, the artist seems to finally feel comfortable in her own skin. It's a wide-ranging album-she's in love, out of love, lig ...

  9. Ivan, "Fantasia"

    November 20, 2009 2:58 PM EST 0 0 0 Young crooner Ivan's "Fantasia" is a throwback to '70s and '80s grupero, a Mexican genre that spawned some of Latin music's most enduring acts and classic songs. Grupero straddles pop and regional Mexican, offering hope ...

  10. Ryan Leslie, "Transition"

    November 20, 2009 2:54 PM EST 0 0 0 Nearly nine months after the release of his self-titled album, Ryan Leslie continues to push the envelope musically, penning even more lustful lyrics, delivering sweet melodies and creating captivating productions. On "Something That I Like&quo ...

  11. Say Anything, "Say Anything"

    November 20, 2009 2:46 PM EST 0 0 0 Pop-punk band Say Anything 's new self-titled album reflects the changing life of frontman Max Bemis-he is now married (wife Sherri DuPree guests on the songs "She Won't Follow You" and "Cemetery"), has converted to Chr ...

  12. Dashboard Confessional, "Alter the Ending"

    November 20, 2009 2:40 PM EST 0 0 0 Dashboard Confessional frontman Chris Carrabba could likely take his pick of any female fan in the audience. But somehow the singer/songwriter always manages to get his heart broken by the opposite sex. The band's sixth studio album, "Alte ...

  13. David Archuleta, "Christmas From the Heart"

    November 17, 2009 12:48 PM EST 0 0 0 Former "American Idol" contestant David Archuleta 's new holiday album, "Christmas From the Heart," puts the singer's mellifluous voice front and center and wins over the listener with his original renditions of classic ...

  14. Bob Dylan, "Christmas in the Heart"

    November 13, 2009 4:14 PM EST 0 0 0 Bob Dylan is so far into the creative renaissance that began with his 1997 album, "Time out of Mind," that even fans could forget his knack for taking unexpected left turns. But even by Dylan's standards, his new album "Christmas ...

  15. Andrea Bocelli, "My Christmas"

    November 13, 2009 4:00 PM EST 0 0 0 It's difficult to know which of Andrea Bocelli 's duet partners on his first holiday album, "My Christmas," makes for the most unlikely match with the Italian pop-classical crooner. There's Mary J. Blige , who bends the melo ...

  16. Sting, "If on a Winter's Night..."

    November 13, 2009 3:48 PM EST 0 0 0 Sting has said that his latest album, "If on a Winter's Night . . .," was inspired by his favorite cold-weather season. But what's surprising about the best cuts from the 15-track set is how much heat the Police frontman and his ...

  17. Various Artists, "A Christmas Gift for You From Phil Spector"

    November 13, 2009 3:41 PM EST 0 0 0 The first song on Phil Spector 's famous Christmas album is Irving Berlin's "White Christmas," one Russian-American Jew's holiday greeting to another. But Spector's version-sung by Darlene Love and arranged with his fam ...

  18. Sugarland, "Gold and Green"

    November 13, 2009 3:33 PM EST 0 0 0 Christmas collections can present a slippery slope-albums of covers rarely stand up to the classics and sets of all new material struggle to capture the comfort and joy of the season. Thankfully, Sugarland delivers with its new holiday album, " ...

  19. Neil Diamond, "A Cherry Cherry Christmas"

    November 13, 2009 3:29 PM EST 0 0 0 The listener's reaction to the concept of Neil Diamond covering Adam Sandler 's "The Chanukah Song" is a pretty good predictor of how he or she will respond to the third holiday compilation of Diamond's career. While many of ...

  20. Straight No Chaser, "Christmas Cheers"

    November 13, 2009 3:25 PM EST 0 0 0 The a cappella group Straight No Chaser 's second holiday-themed album, "Christmas Cheers," may feature traditional songs like "We Three Kings," "O Holy Night" and "Jingle Bells," but the vocal ensemble p ...

  21. The Clark Sisters, "Family Christmas"

    November 13, 2009 2:24 PM EST 0 0 0 The Clark Sisters ' new holiday album, "Family Christmas," is truly a family affair as sisters Twinkie, Karen, Jacky and Dorinda are joined by younger members of the Clark clan. Karen's son, J. Drew Sheard, penned the gorgeous tr ...

  22. TRIN-I-TEE 5:7, "Love, Peace, Joy at Christmas"

    November 13, 2009 2:19 PM EST 0 0 0 The girl group Trin-I-Tee 5:7 delivers its first holiday album with the combined CD/DVD package "Love, Peace, Joy at Christmas." Those expecting the award-winning act to stay within gospel's confines will be pleasantly surprised. In a ...

  23. Morrissey, "Swords"

    November 06, 2009 3:55 PM EST 0 0 0 Most of the songs on Morrissey 's B-sides collection, "Swords," aren't new, but the set is a varied trove of material recorded since 2004 that wasn't included on the former Smiths frontman's most recent three solo album ...

  24. Julian Casablancas, "Phrazes for the Young"

    November 06, 2009 3:52 PM EST 0 0 0 Strokes frontman Julian Casablancas steps out with his debut solo album, "Phrazes for the Young," and dynamically weaves '80s techno-pop with psychedelic punk, while also reinventing his usual monochromatic croon. His punk attitude is ...

  25. John Mayer, "Battle Studies"

    November 06, 2009 3:46 PM EST 0 0 0 With all of his recent tweeting and tabloid coverage, it's a wonder John Mayer had time to write new music-much less the best and most adventurous of his four studio albums. Three years after his double-platinum album "Continuum," the ...

  26. Dolly Parton, "Dolly"

    November 06, 2009 3:36 PM EST 0 0 0 Dolly Parton has spent her career veering between mountain music tradition and Nash-Vegas glitter-what else would you expect from an artist who built an amusement park near her Appalachian hometown? Her first career-spanning boxed set, "Dolly,& ...

  27. Rupa & The April Fishes, "Este Mundo"

    November 06, 2009 3:32 PM EST 0 0 0 Whether it's klezmer, cumbia, ska, reggae or French chanson, there doesn't seem to be a genre that the San Francisco quintet Rupa & the April Fishes can't do. Lead singer Rupa Marya has an ear not only for languages but also for s ...

  28. Tech n9ne, "K.O.D."

    November 06, 2009 3:29 PM EST 0 0 0 Out of adversity comes strength. That's the message independent stalwart Tech N9ne delivers on his most introspective project to date, "K.O.D." On the set, he raps his way through a vivid journey to hell and back chronicled in three a ...

  29. Atreyu, "Congregation of the Damned"

    November 06, 2009 3:26 PM EST 0 0 0 Atreyu 's 2007 release, "Lead Sails Paper Anchor," found the band experimenting with a softer side when the group's Alex Varkatzas ditched his snarling growl for clearer vocals. But Atreyu has resharpened its teeth on its new alb ...

  30. Various Artists, "Fire in My Bones: Raw, Rare & Otherworldly African-American Gospel, 1944-2007"

    November 06, 2009 3:24 PM EST 0 0 0 Most modern listeners identify African-American gospel with recordings that mix passion with professionalism, and perhaps a certain amount of studio smarts. But that ignores the pre-war tradition of street-corner preachers, as well as the small grou ...

  31. The Blind Boys of Alabama, "Duets"

    November 06, 2009 3:16 PM EST 0 0 0 The Blind Boys of Alabama have been in business for generations, but only during this decade has the enduring gospel group achieved broader recognition and acclaim. Much of that has come through the alliances the Blind Boys have made with artists fr ...

  32. Train Save Me, "San Francisco"

    November 06, 2009 3:11 PM EST 0 0 0 Train frontman Pat Monahan isn't kidding when he promises toward the end of his band's fifth album, "Save Me, San Francisco," that "brick by brick, we'll get back to yesterday." Train's 15-year anniversary put ...

  33. Various Artists, "Glee: The Music Volume 1"

    October 30, 2009 3:59 PM EDT 0 0 0 The great thing about "Glee"-Fox's new glammy musical comedy series-is that when you see the cast has covered "Somebody to Love" on the show's first soundtrack, you know straightaway that they're doing the hit by Q ...

  34. Steven Curtis Chapman, "Beauty Will Rise"

    October 30, 2009 3:52 PM EDT 0 0 0 There's no denying that songwriting is among the most cathartic professions. And never has a writer's pain sounded more achingly raw than on Steven Curtis Chapman 's new album, "Beauty Will Rise," a collection of songs writt ...

  35. Bon Jovi, "The Circle"

    October 30, 2009 3:48 PM EDT 0 0 0 Bon Jovi had great crossover success after putting a little bit of country into its rock'n'roll with the 2007 "Lost Highway." But the New Jersey group gets back to the business of rocking on its 11th studio album, "The Circl ...

  36. Ben Allison, "Think Free"

    October 30, 2009 3:43 PM EDT 0 0 0 A New York underground jazz scene mainstay, bassist Ben Allison has broken away from traditional jazz into crossover hybrids and developed a distinctive voice. Allison's latest release, "Think Free," is a seamless follow-up to last ye ...

  37. The Flaming Lips, "Embryonic"

    October 30, 2009 3:33 PM EDT 0 0 0 For some longtime Lips fans, the band's 12th studio album, "Embryonic," will be hailed as a welcome return to the experimental, psychedelic form of its early years. But the group's newer fans who only know the Lips' recent p ...

  38. Concha Buika & Chucho Valdes, "El Último Trago"

    October 30, 2009 3:26 PM EDT 0 0 0 It's not surprising that the Afro-Spanish singer Concha Buika is a favorite of the filmmaker Pedro Almodovar. Her husky handling of the copla, a Spanish torch song with flamenco flourishes, and other styles suitable for late-night listening are ...

  39. Mario, "D.N.A."

    October 30, 2009 3:19 PM EDT 0 0 0 Mario has a broken heart and he's pouring it all out on his latest set, "D.N.A." Over simple violin strings on "Stranded," he sings, "All that we had is gone in a second/And I'm sad baby/What am I gonna do now?&quo ...

  40. Tiny Tim, "I've Never Seen a Straight Banana: Rare Moments, Vol. 1"

    October 30, 2009 3:12 PM EDT 0 0 0 Consider this a 16-track wakeup call to those who consider Tiny Tim -tip-toeing through the tulips with his ukulele-little more than an entertaining novelty act. Recorded by a 16-year-old Richard Barone at a motel and nearby studio in 1976, "I& ...

  41. Kristina Train, "Spilt Milk"

    October 30, 2009 3:10 PM EDT 0 0 0 Sorrow over a breakup rarely sounds as exalted as it does on singer/songwriter Kristina Train 's debut album, "Spilt Milk," where her lyrics are often awash in isolation. "I start out each morning full of good intentions," s ...

  42. Various Artists, "The Twilight Saga: New Moon Original Motion Picture Soundtrack "

    October 30, 2009 2:55 PM EDT 0 0 0 Given that last year's "Twilight" soundtrack sold more than 2 million copies, according to Nielsen SoundScan, it's not surprising that the sequel's companion album largely reproduces the first set's alt-rock grab-bag ap ...

  43. Joe Nichols, "Old Things New"

    October 30, 2009 2:34 PM EDT 0 0 0 It's no stretch to say that Joe Nichols is country music's finest vocalist in at least a generation. That's not to diminish the often stunning vocal work of his immediate predecessors-what elevates Nichols above his peers in terms of ...

  44. Shafiq Husayn, "Shafiq En' A-Free-Ka"

    October 30, 2009 2:10 PM EDT 0 0 0 Most hip-hop artists shout out major U.S. cities on their albums, but Shafiq Husayn convers far more extensive territory. "Senegal, Portugal, let's go! Mexico and Japan, Kosovo and Sudan, U.S. and Pakistan!," he sings on the song &quo ...

  45. Lou Barlow, "Goodnight Unknown"

    October 29, 2009 12:48 PM EDT 0 0 0 Lou Barlow 's latest release, "Goodnight Unknown," incorporates the aggressive guitar, angst-ridden lyrics and low-fi sensibilities of his other bands ( Dinosaur Jr. and Sebadoh ), while maintaining the sweet sophistication of his 200 ...

  46. The Gossip, "Music For Men"

    October 29, 2009 12:42 PM EDT 0 0 0 The androgynous face of Gossip drummer Hannah Blilie cops an intense stare on the cover of this electro-punk outfit's newest album, "Music for Men." With a quaffed confidence a la Morrissey , the photo personifies the cool poise that ...

  47. Devendra Banhart, "What Will We Be"

    October 28, 2009 1:31 PM EDT 0 0 0 Devendra Banhart's major-label debut, "What Will We Be," was recorded with the same collaborators who graced his 2007 "Smokey Rolls Down Thunder Canyon." This time the quintet holed up for two months in a Northern California ...

  48. Meshell Ndegeocello, "Devil's Halo"

    October 27, 2009 12:04 PM EDT 0 0 0 Though not as sprawlingly ambitious or experimental as the 2007 "The World Has Made Me the Man of My Dreams," Meshell Ndegeocello's eighth release, "Devil's Halo," neatly straddles a line between challenging and accessi ...

  49. Five For Fighting, "Slice"

    October 27, 2009 12:00 PM EDT 0 0 0 Five for Fighting mastermind John Ondrasik's '70s musical influences are palpable on the act's fifth release, "Slice." The piano lines on "Hope" recall "Desperado," while "This Dance" sounds lik ...

  50. Air, "Love 2"

    October 27, 2009 11:55 AM EDT 0 0 0 Few bands live up to their names as well as Air . The French electronic duo makes gravity-defying disco-pop that can be as foreboding as it is frothy (see the 2000 soundtrack to "The Virgin Suicides"). Air's fifth studio album, " ...

Pages