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Five New Albums Worth Your Dime

Five New Albums Worth Your Dime

1. Lily Allen, Alright, Still…
(The biggest thing in England these days is this impressively bouncy and taut pop debut from a young singer with an acidic wit, and tongue to match. Lily Allen has got the gusto, and this record has the production/songwriting of a summer classic. This has no scheduled American release, but it should do killer business when that time comes.)

2. Johnny Cash, American V: A Hundred Highways
(Completed while the Man in Black was nearing death, this fifth installment in his Rick Rubin collaborations is an eerie and somber sign of things to come for the country legend. Gone are the clever pop covers, replaced by old gospel and cowboy standards. More than any other album in the series, this is the stunning sound of a remorseful sinner singing for forgiveness before it’s too late.)

3. Midlake, The Trials of Van Occupanther
(Denton, TX quintet serve up their sure-to-be-a-breakthrough magnum opus of indie-rock longing in a Jeff Buckley/Radiohead/Fleetwood Mac attack. This is strikingly refreshing material for any college radio station.)

4. Scritti Politti, White Bread Black Beer
(The first output from this group in seven years, received a Mercury Prize nomination. Within a few minutes of a first listen, you’ll understand why. Hushed melodies with a Brian Wilson state of mind shuffle throughout soft-spoken beats, making for an undeniable delight. Bands that are 30 years old rarely sound this insanely vital.)

5. Jurassic 5, Feedback
(The first album without DJ Cut Chemist, for these California backpack-rappers. It shows somewhat, but they still pull off a record that is smarter than average. Plus, DJ Nu-Mark more than holds his own around his four, incredibly skilled MCs.)

– “Keep It Playa” by Pharrell, featuring Slim Thug
(As a whole, the Neptunes cohort’s solo debut is a bit disappointing. Except for a few tracks like this collab with Houston’s Slim Thug, for a nu-soul/hip-hop meltdown.)

– “Mushaboom (The Postal Service Remix)” by Feist
(The Canadian charmer’s remix album is almost as good as the solo debut it stems from. Among the highlights is this full-throttle Postal Service remix that just about becomes a proper – and enchanting – duet with singer Ben Gibbard.)

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