Picks of the Week

Telling her story.

_thumb_708639Carrie 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


CURATOR’S PICK

Power trio Fuzz takes it to the next level.

_thumb_708638For their sophomore release IIthe 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


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Serial is coming to Pandora

Are you one of the millions hooked on Serial after Season 1? Heard about it but haven’t listened yet? Well, you’ll be excited to hear that Pandora is now the exclusive streaming partner for Serial Season 2! For those…
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Picks of the Week

Neon Indian shines in the dark.

1. Neon Indian

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

CURATOR’S PICK

Don’t forget the song.

2. GospelbeacHThough Beachwood Sparks’ fruitful family tree yielded FrausdotsFurtherThe TydeFarmer DaveFairechildPainted HillsAll Night RadioMystic Chords of MemoryLilys 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\


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Picks of the Week

Toby Keith redefines patriotism.

0. Toby KeithFollowing 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

CURATOR’S PICK

No one will replace the voice and guitar of Ariel Camacho.

1. Los Plebes Del RanchoHe 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


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Picks of the Week

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Janet Jackson returns, unbroken.

1. Janet JacksonWhen 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

 

CURATOR’S PICK

A decidedly sophomore UN-slump from these San Francisco post punks.

2. Dirty GhostsWhile Let It Pretend shares plenty of sonic DNA with Dirty GhostsMetal 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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