1. 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 ...

  2. 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 ...

  3. 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 ...

  4. 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 ...

  5. 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 ...

  6. 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 ...

  7. 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 ...

  8. 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 ...

  9. 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 ...

  10. 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 ...

  11. 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 ...

  12. 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 ...

  13. 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 ) ...

  14. 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 ...

  15. 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 ...

  16. 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 ...

  17. 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," ...

  18. 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. ...

  19. 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 ...

  20. 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 ...

  21. 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 ...

  22. 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 ...

  23. 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 ...

  24. 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" ...

  25. 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 ...

  26. 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 ...

  27. 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 ...

  28. 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 ...

  29. 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 ...

  30. 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,& ...

  31. 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. ...

  32. 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 ...

  33. 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 ...

  34. V.V. Brown, "Travelling Like the Light"

    February 19, 2010 2:46 PM EST 0 0 0 If Shirley Bassey recorded at Memphis' Sun Records studios with Phil Spector producing and Dr. Dre mixing, you'd probably get something that sounds like V.V. Brown 's debut release, "Travelling Like the Light." The British v ...

  35. Hot Chip, "One Life Stand"

    February 12, 2010 3:35 PM EST 0 0 0 No act seems to purely embody the rise of "indietronica" the way that Hot Chip does. The London-based quintet in 2010 is something like the more serious, experimental cinematic adaptation of Erasure 's heart-on-sleeve Broadway bombast ...

  36. Camila, "Dejarte de Amar"

    February 12, 2010 3:33 PM EST 0 0 0 The cover art of Camila 's second album, "Dejarte de Amar," is tasteful and sparse, with the Mexican pop group's three members pictured suspended over the water at a distance, their features indistinguishable. But the music itsel ...

  37. Johnny Cash, "American VI: Ain't No Grave"

    February 12, 2010 3:22 PM EST 0 0 0 Some guys just know the right way to say goodbye. Johnny Cash couldn't have known exactly when he'd be exiting the mortal coil (he died in 2003), but the Man in Black had just buried his wife, June Carter Cash , and was in poor health as h ...

  38. Various Artists, "Crazy Heart: Original Motion Picture Soundtrack"

    February 12, 2010 3:15 PM EST 0 0 0 The latest soundtrack album from Hollywood roots-music maven T Bone Burnett pairs original tunes sung by "Crazy Heart" stars Jeff Bridges and Colin Farrell with classic country cuts by such artists as Buck Owens ("Hello Trouble") ...

  39. Beach House, "Teen Dream"

    February 12, 2010 3:01 PM EST 0 0 0 Baltimore-based dream-pop duo Beach House continues to master its craft of producing ethereal melodies and reverberating background instrumentation on its third album (and Sub Pop debut), "Teen Dream." The result displays a level of songwr ...

  40. The Album Leaf, "A Chorus Of Storytellers"

    February 12, 2010 2:49 PM EST 0 0 0 The calming electronic drones and soothing melodies that one can expect from an Album Leaf release can again be found on the project's newest set, "A Chorus of Storytellers." But the San Diego-based post-rock act's founder Jimmy ...

  41. BT, "These Hopeful Machines"

    February 12, 2010 2:32 PM EST 0 0 0 Listening to BT 's music makes it seem as if the last decade of development in electronica never happened. And coming from him, you wouldn't want it any other way. The man who kick-started the trance genre still does it best, whether it� ...

  42. Omarion, "Ollusion"

    February 12, 2010 2:29 PM EST 0 0 0 Six years after the dissolution of R&B boy-band B2K , 25-year-old singer Omarion describes his third solo album, "Ollusion," as proof that he's all grown up. But the set comes off more like a bid for street cred than maturation. L ...

  43. Corinne Bailey Rae, "The Sea"

    February 12, 2010 2:26 PM EST 0 0 0 Grief isn't the only thing that runs deep through Corinne Bailey Rae 's sophomore effort, "The Sea." In grappling with the sudden death of her husband in 2008, the U.K. singer/songwriter has crafted a remarkable set that includes ...

  44. Nneka, "Concrete Jungle"

    February 12, 2010 2:23 PM EST 0 0 0 Nneka 's new album, "Concrete Jungle," may be her stateside debut, but this globetrotting R&B maverick-a Nigerian who is based in Germany-has already earned comparisons to such established artists as Erykah Badu and Lauryn Hill , ...

  45. Allison Moorer, "Crows"

    February 05, 2010 2:57 PM EST 0 0 0 Trying to pigeonhole the restlessly creative Allison Moorer remains as gratifyingly fruitless as ever. Her latest release (and Ryko debut), "Crows," finds the erstwhile Nashville fixture moving further away from country music and the roots ...

  46. Yeasayer, "Odd Blood"

    February 05, 2010 2:54 PM EST 0 0 0 Brooklyn-based rock act Yeasayer gained acclaim with its 2007 debut, "All Hour Cymbals," by achieving an impressive balance between world-influenced, experimental noise and disciplined, memorable pop-rock. For its sophomore effort, "O ...

  47. Massive Attack, "Heligoland"

    February 05, 2010 2:47 PM EST 0 0 0 Throughout the '90s, "trip-hop" was the best anyone could do to describe Massive Attack and the head-nodding family of talents it inspired, like Portishead and Tricky . But following the recent paths of those acts, Massive Attack' ...

  48. TobyMac, "Tonight"

    February 05, 2010 2:42 PM EST 0 0 0 TobyMac has always delivered sonically inventive and lyrically substantive music that appeals to a wide fan base. On his fourth studio set, "Tonight," he continues to serve up what he calls "musical gumbo-hip-rock, funk and soul." ...

  49. Dee Dee Bridgewater, "Eleanora Fagan (1915-1959): To Billie With Love From Dee Dee"

    February 05, 2010 2:37 PM EST 0 0 0 No stranger to musical experimentation, Dee Dee Bridgewater mixed jazz with West African rhythms on her 2007 multicultural expedition "Red Earth: A Malian Journey." She brings the same no-holds-barred approach to her latest project, " ...

  50. Los Campesinos!, "Romance Is Boring"

    February 05, 2010 2:33 PM EST 0 0 0 On its third album, "Romance Is Boring," the members of seven-piece rock act Los Campesinos! expand their musical range by utilizing more instrumental and melodic variety than found on the band's 2008 sophomore effort, "We Are Be ...

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