There's real down-hominess to Cassadaga, the newest disc from Bright Eyes, the brainchild of indie hero Conor Oberst. The album's name comes from a small Florida town inhibited by psychics. The twangy tune "I Must Belong Somewhere," is the kind of bright ditty that will keep Oberst's "new Dylan" buzz going.
The British buzz bands just keep on coming: Latest to arrive are Klaxons, who unite rockers and ravers, punks and popheads, on their kinetic full-length debut, Myths of the Near Future. "Golden Skans" pours on the hooks and the harmonies as if the lads could be the Beach Boys of the near future.
After they won the Best New Artist Grammy in 2002, the challenge for Maroon 5 was to avoid the curse that has befallen other ward recipients. And they've done that with this satisfying if slightly lesser follow-up CD, It Wont' be Soon Before Long. The swoonworthy ballad "Better That We Break," could be the breakup song of the summer.
Rather than rehash their self-titled debut, which found them ably joining the ranks of the neo-new wave movement, the Bravery summons the courage to change things up on The Sun and the Moon. They have injected their '80s revivalism with a fresh dose of '60s psychedelic pop on the track "Time Won't Let Me Go." Think the Cure meets the Beach Boys.
On the scale of today's piano-pop men, Jon McLaughlin falls somewhere between Daniel Powter and Gavin DeGras. Proudly repping Middle America on his major-label debut, Indiana, has charm and chops. This evident on the tune, "Indiana", on which this boy earnestly confesses that he's not so ready to meet the big bad word.
On this ambitious concept album, American Doll Posses, the piano-playing singer-songwriter, Tori Amos, delivers her tunes from the perspective of five characters representing different female archetypes. The highlight comes on "Bouncing Off Clouds," a heavenly slice of atmospheric pop set to a bouncy beat.
The stakes have been raised for the Chicago band, Wilco. but they don't seem to be feeling the pressure on the breezy Sky Blue Sky. The sextet nails the bluesy, Stones-esque "Hate It Here."
Although Charlotte Gainsbourg, is better known as an actress, she has released her second album 5:55, which reels you in with its almost cinematic quality on songs like the evocative "Set Yourself on Fire."