Queens of the Stone Age: "Era Vulgaris"
Producer: Chris Goss
Release Date: July 12

The trips are getting darker for Queens of the Stone Age. In contrast to the adrenaline rush of 2000's drug anthem "Feel Good Hit of the Summer," lead Queen Josh Homme disappears in the fade almost completely on the band's fifth studio album, singing of "don't resist" and "forever midnight" on the devilish first single "Sick, Sick, Sick." Along the way, the band wrestles with the ambivalence of excess on the hazy slacker ode "Turning the Screw" and the increasing entitlement of American culture on the warped strut of "I'm Designer." QOTSA envelops many of the songs in a fog of menacing guitar squall that focuses as much on atmospherics as hooks. The big exceptions are the vulnerable "Suture Up Your Future" and "3's & 7's," a jumping dirty boogie that follows in the tradition of past hits like "Little Sister" and "No One Knows." --Brian Garrity