1. Goldfrapp, "Head First"

    March 12, 2010 3:26 PM EST 0 0 0 There's no doubt which decade Goldfrapp would like to relive. From the dark disco of its 2006 album, "Supernature," to the sleepier, psychedelic strums of 2008's "Seventh Tree," fashionista frontwoman Alison Goldfrapp a ...

  2. Vinyl Soul, "Dream"

    March 12, 2010 3:23 PM EST 0 0 0 Los Angeles-based Vinyl Soul won a nationally televised battle of the bands on Spanish-language TV last summer because its acoustic Latin/ soul grooves were miles above the derivative sounds of its competitors. With strong melodies, lush bilingual v ...

  3. Galactic, "Ya-Ka-May"

    March 12, 2010 3:19 PM EST 0 0 0 For the second time in its eight-album career, New Orleans quintet Galactic recruits a host of Big Easy guest vocalists to shake up its standard instrumental-only mix of funk riffs and hip-hop beats on the group's latest release, "Ya-Ka-Ma ...

  4. Shearwater, "The Golden Archipelago"

    March 12, 2010 3:17 PM EST 0 0 0 Austin-based folk rock outfit Shearwater weaves lyrical themes of island life and exploration into its usual harmonic fare on "The Golden Archipelago," its final installment in a trilogy of environmental-based concept albums. Indeed, Shear ...

  5. Rogue Wave, "Permalight"

    March 12, 2010 3:14 PM EST 0 0 0 On its fourth studio album, "Permalight," Northern California rock act Rogue Wave expands on its usual guitar-drive approach by adding new electronic influences. But the group's foray into electronica is hit and miss-the song "Go ...

  6. Free Energy, "Stuck on Nothing"

    March 12, 2010 3:10 PM EST 0 0 0 With its first full-length, "Stuck on Nothing," Philadelphia-based old-school rock act Free Energy already represents a change of pace. From the opening guitar riff and cowbell clang on the first track, "Free Energy," it's c ...

  7. Julieta Venegas, "Bien o Mal"

    March 12, 2010 3:05 PM EST 0 0 0 Julieta Venegas is unique among Latin alternative artists in her mainstream pop appeal. Chalk it up to her ability to produce smart music that doesn't sound laboriously stylized or overwrought-a skill she demonstrates once again on her latest s ...

  8. Raheem DeVaughn, "The Love & War Masterpeace"

    March 12, 2010 3:00 PM EST 0 0 0 While most contemporary artists are content to stay in the same lane, Raheem DeVaughn veers across the double lines on this ambitious outing without ever losing control. One-half social commentary and one-half love songs, "The Love & War Ma ...

  9. The-Dream, "Love King"

    March 12, 2010 2:59 PM EST 0 0 0 Terius " the-Dream " Nash might have recently married and fathered a child with Christina Milian , but that hasn't stopped the singer/songwriter from inviting other women to partake in his royal love fest. On "Love King" -th ...

  10. Easton Corbin, "A Little More Country Than That"

    March 12, 2010 2:56 PM EST 0 0 0 "A Little More Country Than That" could be read as a sly poke at the current state of country music, but Easton Corbin is no staunch traditionalist. The Florida native delivers original songwriting in a classic baritone drawl from the song ...

  11. Darryl Worley, "Best of Both Worlds"

    March 12, 2010 2:53 PM EST 0 0 0 Boasting some tasty guitar work and an infectious melody, Darryl Worley delivers an engaging single in "Best of Both Worlds." Culled from his Stroudavarious debut album, "Sounds Like Life," he co-wrote this number with Jim " ...

  12. Gorillaz, "Plastic Beach"

    March 12, 2010 2:51 PM EST 0 0 0 Gorillaz may have originated as a way for Damon Albarn to sidestep the limelight, but on the cartoon group's third album, "Plastic Beach," he very much takes center stage. Self-producing for the first time, Albarn also sings more than ...

  13. Timbaland featuring Drake, "Say Something"

    March 12, 2010 2:49 PM EST 0 0 0 For his latest "Shock Value II" single, Timbaland summons Drake for the same charisma that the Toronto singer/rapper brought to "Best I Ever Had." The veteran producer plainly states the song's theme of lost love with the li ...

  14. The Chieftains Featuring Ry Cooder, "San Patricio"

    March 05, 2010 3:28 PM EST 0 0 0 The latest collaboration between the Chieftains and Ry Cooder symbolizes more than the union of two of the most respected names in world music; there's also a powerful thematic concept at work here. An unlikely alliance formed by the fusion of ...

  15. Miguel Bosé, "Cardio"

    March 05, 2010 3:24 PM EST 0 0 0 A pop icon in his native Spain since the '70s, Miguel Bosé is no stranger to lycra and headbands. And though he maintains that the title of his new album, "Cardio," is a reference to the Greek word for "heart," these tracks ...

  16. Jaheim, "Ain't Leaving Without You"

    March 05, 2010 3:21 PM EST 0 0 0 Jaheim showcased his ability to ride an uptempo party groove on his recent hit, "Ain't Leaving Without You," but the suave crooner's bread and butter has been slow serenades. Right on cue, "Finding My Way Back" is quint ...

  17. Drive-By Truckers, "The Big To-Do"

    March 05, 2010 3:20 PM EST 0 0 0 Drive-By Truckers know all about big to-dos, whether it's releasing a full-blown "Southern Rock Opera" or such sweeping conceptual pieces as "The Dirty South" and their last studio album in 2008, "Brighter Than Creation ...

  18. Lil Wayne, "Rebirth"

    March 05, 2010 3:16 PM EST 0 0 0 Lil Wayne 's long-awaited new album, "Rebirth," is his first full-length since the multimillion-selling "Tha Carter III" in 2008, and the rapper's first attempt at recording a true rock record. Tame punk-driven guitar l ...

  19. Lady Gaga featuring Beyonce, "Telephone"

    March 05, 2010 3:13 PM EST 0 0 0 "Telephone" starts off unassumingly, with a solemn Gaga singing over an alluring harpsichord melody (a signature Rodney Jerkins flourish that dates all the way back to Brandy and Monica 's "The Boy Is Mine"). In no time, tho ...

  20. The Watson Twins, "Talking to You, Talking to Me"

    March 05, 2010 3:12 PM EST 0 0 0 Los Angeles-based sister duo the Watson Twins ' second album, "Talking to You, Talking to Me," fuses the pair's alternative country sound with a funkier vibe than found on their 2008 debut, "Fire Songs." The new set als ...

  21. Omarion, "Speedin'"

    March 05, 2010 3:09 PM EST 0 0 0 Omarion may have been booted from Lil Wayne 's Young Money crew, but with his second single the R&B crooner proves his relevancy on his own merit. Contrary to the boastful first single, "I Get It In," this maudlin ballad finds Oma ...

  22. Ted Leo & The Pharmacists, "The Brutalist Bricks"

    March 05, 2010 3:02 PM EST 0 0 0 English punk band Crass may have declared in 1979 that "Punk Is Dead," but Ted Leo & the Pharmacists help refute that notion on their sixth studio set, "The Brutalist Bricks." Although it may not be a punk album through and t ...

  23. Joanna Newsom, "Have One on Me"

    March 05, 2010 2:59 PM EST 0 0 0 It's hard to imagine folk singer/songwriter Joanna Newsom following up her five-song, 55-minute 2006 sophomore album, "Ys," with an even more ambitious release. Spanning 18 tracks and three discs, Newsom's third effort, "Hav ...

  24. Blake Shelton, "Hillbilly Bone"

    March 05, 2010 2:54 PM EST 0 0 0 Blake Shelton 's new six-song album, "Hillbilly Bone," may be a marketing and sales experiment by Warner Bros. Records, but fans of the Oklahoman artist won't be disappointed. The title-track lead single (featuring Trace Adkins ) ...

  25. Little Boots, "Hands"

    March 05, 2010 2:49 PM EST 0 0 0 Nearly nine months following the U.K. release of singer/songwriter Little Boots ' debut album, "Hands," stateside listeners will finally have the opportunity to acquaint themselves with a shining British talent who puts a futuristic s ...

  26. Taio Cruz featuring Ludacris, "Break Your Heart"

    March 05, 2010 2:47 PM EST 0 0 0 London-based singer Taio Cruz' s first single, "Break Your Heart," debuted at No. 1 on the U.K. singles chart without any gimmicks. His stateside version turns up the heat with a feature by Ludacris , who gives an upfront warning to w ...

  27. Breaking Benjamin, "Give Me a Sign (Forever and Ever)"

    March 05, 2010 2:44 PM EST 0 0 0 Breaking Benjamin follows the thrashing urgency of "I Will Not Bow" with a potent scourge of a rock ballad in "Give Me a Sign (Forever and Ever)." The Pennsylvania band's longtime producer, David Bendeth, creates a thick, mu ...

  28. Peter Gabriel, "Scratch My Back"

    March 05, 2010 2:43 PM EST 0 0 0 Peter Gabriel apparently, doesn't want to be your "Sledgehammer" anymore. The incoming Rock and Roll Hall of Famer's first studio album in eight years, "Scratch My Back," hits softly, with mostly lush orchestrations rat ...

  29. Jamie Cullum, "The Pursuit"

    February 26, 2010 3:38 PM EST 0 0 0 Genre-bending, piano-prancing singer/multi-instrumentalist Jamie Cullum 's new album, "The Pursuit," is his first collection of songs to capture his energy-filled live shows on record. With a wide stylistic bandwidth that incorporates ...

  30. Groove Armada, "Black Light"

    February 26, 2010 3:31 PM EST 0 0 0 British electronic duo Groove Armada is best-known in the mainstream for teaming with Fatboy Slim on the 1999 booty-shakin' Big Beat hit "I See You Baby." But with the release of its seventh full-length album, "Black Light," ...

  31. Freeway, "The Stimulus Package"

    February 26, 2010 3:27 PM EST 0 0 0 The title of Freeway 's latest release, "The Stimulus Package," a collaboration with producer Jake One , is a nod to the ailing economy. But it could also be an apt metaphor for the Philadelphia-based rapper's career renaissance. ...

  32. Alia Farka Touré & Toumani Diabaté, "Ali and Toumani"

    February 26, 2010 3:24 PM EST 0 0 0 Before dying of cancer in 2006, internationally renowned African guitarist Ali Farka Touré teamed up one last time with kora virtuoso Toumani Diabaté to record "Ali and Toumani," the follow-up album to the duo's 2005 Grammy Award-winn ...

  33. John Ellis & Double-Wide, "Puppet Mischief"

    February 26, 2010 3:21 PM EST 0 0 0 On "Puppet Mischief," saxophonist John Ellis ' second album with his superb band Double-Wide, the former New Orleans resident who's now based in New York delivers a set that refracts jazz steeped in the who-dat nation through a h ...

  34. Butch Walker & The Black Widows, "I Liked It Better When You Had No Heart"

    February 26, 2010 3:14 PM EST 0 0 0 Given the online success of his banjo-powered version of Taylor Swift 's "You Belong With Me," Butch Walker fans shouldn't be surprised by the power-pop whiz's country-music makeover on "I Liked It Better When You Had N ...

  35. Ke$ha featuring 3OH!3, "Blah Blah Blah"

    February 26, 2010 3:13 PM EST 0 0 0 "I don't really care where you live at/Just turn around, boy, let me hit that!" That line pretty much sums up the message of "Blah Blah Blah," the follow-up to Ke$ha 's record-breaking hit "TiK ToK." "Bla ...

  36. Choc Quib Town, "Oro"

    February 26, 2010 3:10 PM EST 0 0 0 While pop superstars Shakira and Juanes -or, at the other end of the spectrum, cumbias and vallenato-get all the attention when it comes to Colombian music, Choc Quib Town shows that there's much more to discover. The Afro-Colombian hip-hop tri ...

  37. The Holmes Brothers, "Feed My Soul"

    February 26, 2010 3:00 PM EST 0 0 0 On the Holmes Brothers ' 2007 album, "State of Grace," Wendell Holmes sang about how a cancer diagnosis stopped him in his tracks--but apparently not for long. The trio's 10th studio set, "Feed My Soul," sports a career ...

  38. Rihanna, "Rude Boy"

    February 26, 2010 2:58 PM EST 0 0 0 With "Rude Boy," Rihanna delivers her most provocative lyrics and perhaps most authentic-sounding single to date. The singer makes good use of the song's title -- an old Jamaican slang term for lawless males -- and relishes her role a ...

  39. Easton Corbin, "Easton Corbin"

    February 26, 2010 2:50 PM EST 0 0 0 Taking a page from the George Strait playbook, country music newcomer Easton Corbin displays excellent song sense while offering an easygoing vocal style on his finely crafted self-titled debut album. The track "I Can't Love You Back" ...

  40. Daniel Merriweather, "Love & War"

    February 19, 2010 3:22 PM EST 0 0 0 If you judge an artist by the company he keeps, then Australian singer Daniel Merriweather 's debut album, "Love & War," is a winner before you even hear the first note. Produced largely by Mark Ronson , the set boasts backing ban ...

  41. Alkaline Trio, "This Addiction"

    February 19, 2010 3:19 PM EST 0 0 0 In recent years, some fans have criticized Alkaline Trio for straying too far from its punk roots. But on its seventh studio album, "This Addiction," frontman Matt Skiba follows through on a promise he made in interviews that the band woul ...

  42. Lifehouse, "Smoke & Mirrors"

    February 19, 2010 3:16 PM EST 0 0 0 Despite the title of their fifth studio album, "Smoke & Mirrors," the members of rock act Lifehouse don't engage in any unexpected trickery. Like its predecessors, the new album is another solid set of no-frills, meat-and-potatoes ...

  43. Ana Isabelle, "Mi Sueño"

    February 19, 2010 3:10 PM EST 0 0 0 Puerto Rican pop singer Ana Isabelle 's first album after winning Univision's singing competition "Viva el Sueño" last November is pretty much what listeners would expect: a perfectly acceptable collection of covers and songs she ...

  44. Gil Scott-Heron, "I'm New Here"

    February 19, 2010 3:08 PM EST 0 0 0 Since the release of his last album, "Spirits," in 1994, hip-hop pioneer Gil Scott-Heron has struggled with drug addiction and prison. The neo-soul shimmer of his 1970 recordings may be absent on his latest release, "I'm New Here ...

  45. Jaheim, "Another Round"

    February 19, 2010 3:05 PM EST 0 0 0 Jaheim may have traded his braids for a close-cropped look, but one thing thankfully remains the same: his warm, sensuous vocals you want to wrap yourself in like a blanket. That soulful voice is in fine form on his new outing, "Another Round,& ...

  46. Reba McEntire, "I Keep on Lovin' You"

    February 19, 2010 3:04 PM EST 0 0 0 It's been 26 years since Reba McEntire first topped the charts with "Can't Even Get the Blues," and her last single, "Consider Me Gone," is her most successful ever. It topped Billboard's Hot Country Songs chart fo ...

  47. HIM, "Screamworks: Love in Theory and Practice"

    February 19, 2010 2:58 PM EST 0 0 0 On HIM 's latest album, "Screamworks: Love in Theory and Practice," the Finnish rock band's frontman Ville Valo sings, "I'm not afraid to say I love you." That's not the only thing that doesn't scare him. ...

  48. Alicia Keys, "Un-thinkable (I'm Ready)"

    February 19, 2010 2:56 PM EST 0 0 0 In 2003, a gutsy Alicia Keys asked her love interest for a date on "You Don't Know My Name." On "Un-thinkable (I'm Ready)"-the standout song from her latest album, "The Element of Freedom"-the singer/pianist g ...

  49. Lightspeed Champion, "Life Is Sweet! Nice to Meet You"

    February 19, 2010 2:55 PM EST 0 0 0 Devonté Hynes, who performs under the name Lightspeed Champion , first detached himself from dance-punk outfit Test Icicles with the modest folk-pop on his 2008 debut, "Falling Off the Lavender Bridge." For Lightspeed Champion's secon ...

  50. Nick Jonas & the Administration, "Who I Am"

    February 19, 2010 2:51 PM EST 0 0 0 For his solo detour from blockbuster boy band Jonas Brothers , 17-year-old Nick Jonas recruited a dream team of veterans who nail the pop-soul stylings that he's chosen for this grown-up pursuit. But "Who I Am" is so polished and adul ...

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