1. Gin Blossoms, "No Chocolate Cake"

    October 01, 2010 4:13 PM EDT 0 0 0 The Gin Blossoms continue to concoct melodic hooks framed by a mix of jangly alternative pop-rock on the band's newest album, "No Chocolate Cake." While its 1992 breakthrough, "New Miserable Experience," was powered by the p ...

  2. Sufjan Stevens, "The Age of Adz"

    October 01, 2010 4:11 PM EDT 0 0 0 Listeners who fell in love with Sufjan Stevens for his rustic Americana sound, Christian undertones or ambitious "50 states" project are in for a rude awakening with his latest album, "The Age of Adz." Stevens followed 2005' ...

  3. Gucci Mane, "The Appeal: Georgia's Most Wanted"

    October 01, 2010 4:03 PM EDT 0 0 0 Less than a year after releasing his major-label debut, and just a handful of months since being freed from jail, Atlanta rapper Gucci Mane is back with new album "The Appeal: Georgia's Most Wanted." The set-which features guest appea ...

  4. Neil Young, "Le Noise"

    October 01, 2010 3:59 PM EDT 0 0 0 Neil Young's latest solo effort, "Le Noise," is something of a capsule dive into the influential artist's stream of consciousness. Producer Daniel Lanois (for whom the album is named) surrounds Young and his electric guitar with ...

  5. Bad Religion, "The Dissent of Man"

    October 01, 2010 3:53 PM EDT 0 0 0 Every two or three years you can count on a new batch of high-energy, politically minded punk tunes from these Southern California kings, and "The Dissent of Man" delivers what Bad Religion fans have come to expect. During the track " ...

  6. Seal, "Commitment"

    October 01, 2010 3:48 PM EDT 0 0 0 With roots in Britain's house music/rave scene, Seal has also migrated into pop and dance during his career. Then in 2008, the singer/songwriter detoured into R&B on the uneven album "Soul," turning his husky baritone loose on suc ...

  7. Mavis Staples, "You Are Not Alone"

    September 24, 2010 11:36 AM EDT 0 0 0 Very few voices qualify as national treasures. Mavis Staples' glorious rasp is one of them. Coming off critical acclaim for her 2007 collection of civil rights-era songs, "We'll Never Turn Back," and a 2008 live album, Staples jo ...

  8. Luis Miguel, "Luis Miguel"

    September 24, 2010 11:33 AM EDT 0 0 0 Mexican superstar Luis Miguel possesses one of the most distinctive and wonderful voices of his generation; a much-lauded, versatile instrument that's unparalleled in its interpretation of traditional Mexican music, standards and ballads. Less ...

  9. Brandon Flowers, "Flamingo"

    September 24, 2010 11:22 AM EDT 0 0 0 The Killers frontman hardly viewed his solo debut as an opportunity to downsize. Produced by an unlikely dream team comprising electro-dance hotshot Stuart Price, radio-rock specialist Brendan O'Brien and Neil Young / Bob Dylan confidant Daniel ...

  10. Serj Tankian, "Imperfect Harmonies"

    September 24, 2010 11:16 AM EDT 0 0 0 When Serj Tankian brings his voice and composing skills to a project, you know you're in for a three-ring sonic circus. His second solo album, "Imperfect Harmonies," adds even more aural tricks and trapeze acts. The System of a Down f ...

  11. Michael Franti and Spearhead, "The Sound of Sunshine"

    September 24, 2010 11:05 AM EDT 0 0 0 You can't really blame Michael Franti for titling one track on his new studio album "Hey Hey Hey." After all, it was "Say Hey (I Love You)," from 2008's "All Rebel Rockers," that finally brought this Bay Area ...

  12. Billy Currington, "Enjoy Yourself"

    September 24, 2010 10:52 AM EDT 0 0 0 With his rich tenor and relaxed delivery, Billy Currington knows how to put a tear in your beer. But the truth is, he'd rather drink it instead. Currington tells us that much in "Pretty Good at Drinkin' Beer," the cheeky first si ...

  13. Fistful of Mercy, "As I Call You Down"

    September 24, 2010 10:26 AM EDT 0 0 0 This new Los Angeles-based supergroup unites jam-folk veterans Joseph Arthur and Ben Harper with George Harrison's son, Dhani, who in 2008 released the debut by his band thenewno2. Slightly psychedelic, mostly acoustic and uniformly tuneful, Fi ...

  14. The Vaselines, "Sex With an X"

    September 17, 2010 6:29 PM EDT 0 0 0 Glasgow, Scotland, indie-pop duo the Vaselines have finally released the follow-up to their much-revered debut, "Dum Dum"-21 years after its original release. Not that the decades-long layoff has dulled Frances McKee and Eugene Kelly ' ...

  15. Linkin Park, "A Thousand Suns"

    September 17, 2010 6:24 PM EDT 0 0 0 Linkin Park has certainly tinkered with its sound during the course of its previous three albums. But on its latest release, "A Thousand Suns," the six-piece rock act truly breaks the habit of everything we've heard from it before. Th ...

  16. Eric Clapton, "Clapton"

    September 17, 2010 6:15 PM EDT 0 0 0 Consider Eric Clapton 's 19th solo album a largely successful bid to be all things to all people, including himself. The broadly eclectic, guest-filled "Clapton"-his first studio outing since 2006's Grammy Award-winning "The ...

  17. Sara Bareilles, "Kaleidoscope Heart"

    September 17, 2010 6:12 PM EDT 0 0 0 Sara Bareilles returns with more bouncy and intricate piano melodies on her sophomore album, "Kaleidoscope Heart." The set mirrors several older periods, ranging from the '20s Southern gospel a cappella title track to the mid-century ...

  18. The Thermals, "Personal Life"

    September 17, 2010 6:06 PM EDT 0 0 0 It's hard to believe the Thermals haven't produced a hit single in their eight-year career. After all, the Portland, Ore., trio's alt-rock tracks are packed with more hooks than a Justin Bieber song. Even if the band never reaches the ...

  19. Jerry Lee Lewis, "Mean Old Man"

    September 17, 2010 5:55 PM EDT 0 0 0 "If I look like a mean old man," 74-year-old Jerry Lee Lewis informs listeners at the start of his first album in four years, "that's what I am." He will always be the Killer, enveloped by the legends of his past. But one on ...

  20. Interpol, "Interpol"

    September 17, 2010 5:51 PM EDT 0 0 0 Interpol 's self-titled fourth album suffers from everything the band did right on its first three albums. With the members' slick guitar interplay, taut production and Paul Banks ' weirdly engrossing lyrics, the New York indie rock t ...

  21. Nelly, "Just a Dream"

    September 10, 2010 6:14 PM EDT 0 0 0 The last time Nelly saw the top 10 of any Billboard chart was in 2006, when "Grillz" hit No. 1 on the Hot 100. The "Hot in Herre" rapper makes a strong re-entry with his latest single, "Just a Dream," which debuts at No ...

  22. Matt White, "Falling in Love (With My Best Friend)"

    September 10, 2010 6:10 PM EDT 0 0 0 Rising singer/songwriter Matt White is generating buzz in the AC alternative pop world with his sophomore release, "It's the Good Crazy," due Sept. 14 on Ryko. The lead single, "Falling in Love (With My Best Friend)," is a s ...

  23. Don Omar Featuring Lucenzo, "Danza Kuduro"

    September 10, 2010 5:31 PM EDT 0 0 0 Reggaetón's self-proclaimed king tries his hand at another strain of urban dance music on "Danza Kuduro," from his forthcoming compilation album "Don Omar Presents: Meet the Orphans." Kuduro's high-speed, eminently danc ...

  24. Heart, "Red Velvet Car"

    September 10, 2010 4:31 PM EDT 0 0 0 As a rock vocalist, Ann Wilson can be as powerful as Jon Bon Jovi , Janis Joplin or Axl Rose ; and sister Nancy's guitar hooks are some of the most energized and memorable of the 20th century.The duo's first album in six years, "Red V ...

  25. Ryan Bingham & The Dead Horses, "Junky Star"

    September 10, 2010 4:25 PM EDT 0 0 0 Much has happened to Ryan Bingham since the release of his 2009 album, "Roadhouse Sun," and his latest release, "Junky Star."The artist swept the awards season earlier this year, winning an Academy Award and a Golden Globe for th ...

  26. Goo Goo Dolls, "Something for the Rest of Us"

    September 10, 2010 4:23 PM EDT 0 0 0 If what some of the rest of us want from the Goo Goo Dolls is a return to the trio's harder-rocking, pre-"Name" roots, then the Goos have tossed us a bone. The group's first new album in four years, "Something for the Rest o ...

  27. Calvin Richardson, "America's Most Wanted"

    September 10, 2010 4:13 PM EDT 0 0 0 There's nothing forced or fake about Calvin Richardson 's vocal talent; his voice naturally exudes soul. And when it comes to songwriting, Richardson definitely knows his way around a strong song: With Babyface , he co-wrote the Charlie Wi ...

  28. Selena Gomez and the Scene, "A Year Without Rain"

    September 10, 2010 3:56 PM EDT 0 0 0 "A Year Without Rain" finds Selena Gomez (and evidently her band, the Scene) tackling a succession of standard-issue tween-pop topics: how awesome love is ("Off the Chain"), how sucky bad days are ("Intuition") and how ...

  29. Lyfe Jennings, "I Still Believe"

    September 10, 2010 3:39 PM EDT 0 0 0 Two years ago, R&B singer Lyfe Jennings was arrested following a disturbance that took place while he looking for his child's mother, who was allegedly visiting another man. Speaking from that experience, Jennings schools listeners on relat ...

  30. !!!, "Strange Weather, Isn't it?"

    September 03, 2010 5:12 PM EDT 0 0 0 !!! (pronounced chk-chk-chk) makes music for the body. The California dance-punk outfit's slick basslines, pounding polyrhythms and uncomplicated lyrics make it easy to shut off your brain and lose yourself in the grooves. Its 2007 album, " ...

  31. Trace Adkins, "Cowboy's Back in Town"

    September 03, 2010 5:09 PM EDT 0 0 0 The country veteran's first album for Toby Keit h's Show Dog label seems well-suited to Keith's manly-man worldview. After offering up "Hold My Beer" and "This Ain't No Love Song," Trace Adkins closes "Co ...

  32. Weezer, "Hurley"

    September 03, 2010 5:04 PM EDT 0 0 0 "Hurley," the veteran alt-rock band's speedy follow-up to last year's "Raditude," should mollify old-school Weezer fans horrified by that album's oddball forays into shiny top 40 territory. Instead of punching up h ...

  33. Little Big Town, "The Reason Why"

    September 03, 2010 5:00 PM EDT 0 0 0 The star of any Little Big Town album is the harmonizing, a four-part treat that is fortunately offered in abundance on the group's latest release, "The Reason Why." The near-a cappella openings to "Why, Oh Why" and "Al ...

  34. Ra Ra Riot, "The Orchard"

    September 03, 2010 4:58 PM EDT 0 0 0 Syracuse, N.Y.-based rock act Ra Ra Riot has been tiptoeing around the cusp of major fame since the release of its 2008 debut, "The Rhumb Line." The quintet's follow-up, "The Orchard," is a polished effort that blends syncop ...

  35. Apocalyptica, " 7th Symphony"

    September 03, 2010 4:50 PM EDT 0 0 0 Finnish orchestral metal band Apocalyptica 's latest studio album is befitting of its title; "7th Symphony" is the seventh symphonic offering from the classically trained cellists and percussionist. This time around, the act boasts ev ...

  36. Katy Perry, "Teenage Dream "

    September 03, 2010 4:41 PM EDT 0 0 0 Don't be fooled by the first two singles and the candy-covered "California Gurls" video: Katy Perry 's second album, "Teenage Dream," is not all sugar and rainbows. Two years after "One of the Boys," the hit-l ...

  37. Esperanza Spalding, "Chamber Music Society"

    August 31, 2010 5:31 PM EDT 0 0 0 Esperanza Spalding is certainly not shy of ambition. The singer, bassist and composer lit up the jazz world with 2008's "Esperanza," and where she could have offered more of the same this time out she's instead raised the proverb ...

  38. Black Label Society, "Order of the Black"

    August 31, 2010 4:28 PM EDT 0 0 0 With the dust having settled around Zakk Wylde's unexpected departure from Ozzy Osbourne 's band, better attention can be paid to "Order of the Black," the new album from Wylde's Black Label Society . The change in work stat ...

  39. Darker My Love, "Alive As You Are"

    August 31, 2010 4:24 PM EDT 0 0 0 Los Angeles-based psychedelic rock band Darker My Love trades distorted haze for a mellow, tighter arrangement that recalls '60s folk-rock on its latest album, "Alive As You Are." Byrds-reminiscent tracks like "Backseat" and ...

  40. David Gray, "Foundling"

    August 31, 2010 4:16 PM EDT 0 0 0 The sense of abandonment hinted in the title of David Gray 's second album in less than a year, "Foundling," could be a reference to the work's minimalist nature. Unlike its 2009 predecessor, "Draw the Line," the new, s ...

  41. Kem, "Intimacy Album III"

    August 31, 2010 4:13 PM EDT 0 0 0 Kem has long been a hopeless romantic. And his latest album, "Intimacy Album III," is a 10-song showcase of just that. Over a smooth-sounding piano and drum production on the song "When I'm Lovin' You," the R&B sing ...

  42. Ray LaMontagne & The Pariah Dogs, "God Willin' & the Creek Don't Rise"

    August 31, 2010 4:06 PM EDT 0 0 0 Ray LaMontagne has taken a few identity-affirming steps with his fourth studio album, "God Willin' & The Creek Don't Rise": he anointed his touring band with a proper name (the Pariah Dogs) and, for the first time, recorded/s ...

  43. John Mellencamp, "No Better Than This"

    August 27, 2010 8:36 PM EDT 0 0 0 It's so easy to get caught up in the mechanics of John Mellencamp 's 25th album, "No Better Than This," that the music itself can get short shrift. That's understandable given the uniqueness of the set. It was made with a si ...

  44. Brian Wilson, "Brian Wilson Reimagines Gershin"

    August 27, 2010 8:29 PM EDT 0 0 0 Brian Wilson says he doesn't really need to cover someone else's material. But if he's going to, it may as well be one of the best. The Beach Boys mastermind's dip into the world of George & Ira Gershwin is a love's labo ...

  45. Robert Plant, "Band of Joy"

    August 27, 2010 8:17 PM EDT 0 0 0 Robert Plant may seem an unlikely Americana artist. But the educated know the original Band of Joy-which he and future Led Zeppelin drummer John Bonham played in, as well as Zep-was more than profoundly influenced by what drifted across the pond. Pl ...

  46. Usher, "Versus"

    August 27, 2010 8:07 PM EDT 0 0 0 "Raymond v Raymond" may be the title of Usher 's latest album, but it also mirrors what's happening on the R&B/ hip-hop charts. The singer is competing with himself thanks to four songs-three of which (No. 1 hit "There G ...

  47. Secondhand Serenade "Hear Me Now"

    August 27, 2010 8:03 PM EDT 0 0 0 Secondhand Serenade , helmed by California native John Vesely, delivers another package of tortured-love ballads on the group's third studio album, "Hear Me Now." Driven by piano and a drum machine, the midtempo single "Something ...

  48. Ryan Star, "11:59"

    August 27, 2010 7:59 PM EDT 0 0 0 Long Island native Ryan Star delivers a melodic soft-rock package with his first full-length album, "11:59." The former Stage frontman gained buzz last fall when he released the video for his first solo single, "Breathe," a power ...

  49. Wavves, "King of the Beach"

    August 27, 2010 7:54 PM EDT 0 0 0 Nathan Williams, the man behind noise-pop band Wavves , tightens up his sound on the group's third album, "King of the Beach." Instead of the lo-fi, DIY approach he took on the act's last two releases, Williams recruited a perman ...

  50. Daniel Cros, "Las Vueltas Que de la Vida"

    August 27, 2010 7:50 PM EDT 0 0 0 Sufficiently seduced by Cuban music to study percussion in Havana, Daniel Cros, a veteran of Barcelona's rock scene, came home to form a band that includes Cuban musicians and record his latest album, "Las Vueltas Que da la Vida" (&qu ...

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