Get up! Ben Harper & Charlie Musselwhite
Stax / Concord

Author:

"get up!' is a superb and unique album created by ben harper (THE MAN) and charlie musselwhite (THE OTHER MAN). harper sings the blues and plays the guitar. while musselwhite plays a blues harmonica. of course, just saying that does them no justice. the two men can do it all. they can sing and play anything. they can go anywhere, and, of course, take you with them. the first time i heard this album it knocked me out. so i had to continue playing the album before i belittled it by writing about it. "get up!" is a fantastic performance, and if you don't pick up the record you're either dead broke or just dead.

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My True Story Aaron Neville
Blue Note / EMI

Author:

one of the great neville brothers, aaron has released a solo album, "my true story." with his high, graceful sound, and huge stature, aaron neville is truly one of a kind. his otherworldly tenor sound is truly more new orleans than r&b. radio, of course, never knows what to do with aaron and his brothers. so we'll just keep the man as our little secret. and how lucky can we be.

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Shane Gamble Shane Gamble
RT 50

Author:

shane gamble's self-titled album hits you with incantatory bursts and lost soul harmonies--they come faster and meaner from the front to the back. he lets himself go over the top. don't be too cool to go along for the wicked ride.

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His and Hers Joey + Rory
Vanguard / Sugar Hill

Author:

"his & hers" is a super-fine album by joey + rory. it's hard to believe how fresh this sounds--how funny, hip and instantly classic.

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Country, God, or the Girl K'naan
A&M / Octone

Author:

k'naan zig-zags between fire, dance, delirium and drunk stomp on his album, "country, god or the girl," with jolts of abused synthesizer and serious vengeance. technically, these are songs with titles and hooks. the effect, however, is more like a precisely arranged parade of spasms blasted at you at aural 11.

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Heartthrob Tegan and Sara
Vapor / Warner Bros.

Author:

"heartthrob" is our seventh treat from the sisters tegan and sara. the album sounds like an acutely personal reflection about the end of an affair, scored with desolate magnificence and sung by eternally angelic artists.

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Lost Sirens New Order
Rhino / Warner Bros.

Author:

it seems to have been a long time again, but new order has treated us with their art on "lost sirens." they still combine dance music's physicality with postpunk guitar rock and pop songwriting. everyone has ripped off new order's sound, and every band improved as a result. as always, new order has created an album that's totally blitzed, combining stellar pop with dance tracks taking us on a high ride to the heavens.

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Lysandre Christopher Owens
Fat Possum

Author:

as a former leader of the band girls, christopher owens has taken the solo trip with the album, "lysandre." this album shows that the man is a true contender. it brings back comforting melodies, but reveals an artist who's restless and hungry.

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Set You Free Gary Allan
MCA Nashville

Author:

gary allan has released his finest album, "set you free." he delivers a sensuous, grooving masterpiece, driven by gentle funk, lilting country and a voice that sounds better than great love.

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Light Up Gold Parquet Courts
What's your Rupture?

Author:

the most irresponsible young brats, parquet courts, grow up with a bang with "light up gold." they prove they can take on the huge old-school concept that nobody else has the guts to try. not only do they pull off punk rock, but they've made one of the era's lasting albums.

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Anything in Return Toro y Moi
Carpark

Author:

this magnificent album by a cat named toro y moi is truly inventive. "anything in return" is so far ahead of its time that it will always sound radical.

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Electric Richard Thompson
Proper / New West

Author:

isn't it so great to hear an artist who sounds like no one else. richard thompson is that artist. mixing rock with celtic folk. on his latest album, "electric," thompson mixes his special nasty, angry and gleeful edge with his unique acerbic voice. like i say, when you have heard richard thompson's sound it stay's with you forever. and you'll know it's him whenever you'll listen. but you better buy a few of his albums. waiting to hear him on the radio  will, sadly, take forever.

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II Unknown Mortal Orchestra
Jagjaguwar

Author:

ruban nielsen is the head honcho of the band, unknown mortal orchestra. and their second album, entitled "II" is his first as a wide-open songwriter--invited and vulnerable--and the result is a total dazzling joy.

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Into the Future Bad Brains
Megaforce / Sony

Author:

let's face it, bad brains are an impossible freight train of sound and split-singing that split hardcore into BEFORE and AFTER. they were and always will be nyc's greatest hardcore band, blowing every mind they touched. their latest album, "into the future"  has done it again, mixing punk as political liberation and reggae as spiritual salvation. they must be checked out or you must leave the rock world.

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2112 Rush
Universal

Author:

the recent inductees into the rock and roll hall of fame, rush, have released the album "2112 deluxe edition." these guys--neal peart, the drummer, alex lifeson, the guitarist, and geddy lee, the bassist, have been together since 1974. that's right. their fearsome chops, their love of tricky time signatures and busy solos is here in a re-release of their 1976 album. heavy philosophising and organic, instrumentally complex digital sounds with a heavy sound is their trademark. and may it last forever.

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Long.Live.A$AP A$AP Rocky
Polo Grounds / RCA

Author:

he's a force to be reckoned with. sad to say you really don't hear great hip-hop these days. it may be out there, but i don't hear it. A$AP rocky got his ass kicked, and it woke him up. so his writing is so real that everyone can say "that's me." i often don't know what he's saying, but i love it. he's an amazing mystery.

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Devotion Jessie Ware
Interscope / Cherrytree

Author:

jessie ware's debut album "devotion" draws you deeply into her world. but instead  of feeling her pain she invites you to follow her dreams. and what a grand and glorious trip.
 

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Love Sign Free Energy
Free Energy

Author:

"love sign" is the second album by free energy. their road fantasies, garage-rock razzle and busted love lyricism all peak at once. the other great thing about free energy is that they sound like a very integrated band, bonded by roots and subversive delights.

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Fidlar Fidlar
Mom + Pop

Author:

for a debut album, FIDLAR's self-titled debut is saying something. for their tenth album the band is saying something. their wisdom matches their spirit. cussing, cracking wise and casually breaking your heart. the triumph, hopefully, will trigger a resurgence of rock traditionalism.

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Fade Yo La Tengo
Matador

Author:

"fade" is another spectacular album by the one and only yo la tengo. when they were born in 1984 we had a moment when the entire world of music was being turned upside down. a lot of artists were excited and started making real music for the first time. but the records that were created had a galvanizing effect on people who were already in bands. they had to reassess themselves and tried something different, too. yo la tengo inspired these changes. and still do. they are a revolutionary band.

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Future Presents F.B.G. (The Movie) Future
Self-Release

Author:

the album entitled "future presents f.b.g. (the movie) is a remarkable mixtape put together by future. the album includes the perfect rappers of the moment--young, loudmouth bossy mouths with vacant stares. we love hearing cool stories in ten minutes. as a lyricist that's what you want to learn how to do. and when you rap or sing like future tells you it's like jumping off a diving board.