Telling her story.
Carrie Underwood’s Idol-winning vocals are back in force on her fifth studio album, Storyteller. From the R&B inspired “Heartbreak” (featuring Sam Hunt), to the all-too-honest “Smoke Break” and wrapping with a tribute to her newborn son, “What I Never New I Always Wanted,” she captures the spirit of small town America in 13 pitch perfect songs. –Rachel Whitney
Power trio Fuzz takes it to the next level.
For their sophomore release II, the California group – led by garage rock revivalist Ty Segall – lays down extreme psych-rock with thickly smudged riffs and snotty, harmonic vocals. It’s a bit more sinister and louder than its predecessor, from the heavy hammering opener to the epic 14-minute freak-out closer “II.” –Michelle Solomon
Jacob Whitesides is a singer/songwriter from Knoxville, TN. His vocal-centric style features pop/rock qualities and melodic songwriting. Other artists that can be heard on his station include Ed Sheeran, One…
Neon Indian shines in the dark.
At its best, retro art can dance on the razor’s edge between ironic pastiche and celebratory revival. Neon Indian’s electrifying third album VEGA INTL Night School arrives like a radio broadcast from 1985 with fizzy bursts of Scritti Politti and Ready For the World, reimagining synthpop like Random Access Memories reimagined disco. –Party Ben
Don’t forget the song.
Though Beachwood Sparks’ fruitful family tree yielded Frausdots, Further, The Tyde, Farmer Dave, Fairechild, Painted Hills, All Night Radio, Mystic Chords of Memory, Lilys and Strictly Ballroom – GospelbeacH is the closest falling apple. Pacific Surfline debuts with sun-flared vocal harmonies and Neil Casal’s twang-jam guitar leads. But it’s Brent Rademaker’s beautiful songs that stay with you. –Eric Shea\
Chadwick Stokes of Dispatch and State Radio is a singer/songwriter from Boston. His folk-influenced sound often features prominent percussion, major key tonality and acoustic sonority. Other artists that can be…
Toby Keith redefines patriotism.
Following 9/11, Toby Keith’s “Courtesy of the Red, White and Blue (The Angry American)” used vengeful and dividing lyrics to describe patriotism. Conversely, “Drunk Americans” opens 35 Mph Town with the uniting line, “We ain’t black, we ain’t white/ We just came here to drink/ We’re all mud flaps and bourbons/ All ball caps and turbans.” –Eric Shea
No one will replace the voice and guitar of Ariel Camacho.
He was a once-in-a-generation artist. Los Plebes Del Rancho have chosen to honor his legacy by continuing on the path that he laid down. DEL Negociante serves as a reaffirmation of the group, as well as a demonstration of unity, strength and focus on the part of DEL Records. –Marcos Juarez
Janet Jackson returns, unbroken.
When I think of Janet, I think of innovation, social consciousness and silky, seductive pop. Unbreakable (her first release since brother Michael’s death in 2009) delivers on all counts, aided by fresh yet restrained production from Jimmy Jam and Terry Lewis. Janet herself waxes reflective: “Wherever life takes me,” goes “Well Traveled,” “I’m willing to go.” –Party Ben
A decidedly sophomore UN-slump from these San Francisco post punks.
While Let It Pretend shares plenty of sonic DNA with Dirty Ghosts’ Metal Moon debut, the new songs sound more like Patti Smith fronting ‘70s era Devo – or a grittier, garage rockier Pretenders. Tracks like “Cataract” fuse ‘80s MTV rock to sinewy, angular, post-punk; delivering some seriously addictive, retro-pop action! –Andee Connors
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Eagles singer releases his first solo album in 15 years.
Don Henley’s fifth album is more than a return to form. Recorded in Nashville, Cass County is a celebration of his Americana roots and influences. Henley covers The Louvin Brothers and Tift Merritt. He’s also joined by friends like Mick Jagger, Dolly Parton, Merle Haggard, Miranda Lambert and Martina McBride. –Eric Shea
Discover the hottest new sound of soul with Louisville’s Bryson Tiller.
The infectious tone of bass drops and sensual vocals creates a seductive combination of R&B and trap on T R A P S O U L. Can this young man revive the soul of the South? Creating a signature vibe some have called RnBass, Tiller is the next voice. –J Boogie