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Mates of State | Mountaintops

Barsuk (2011)
As the sequenced synths and handsome beats unfold, matched in merriment by the husband-and-wife vocals of Jason Hammel and Kori Gardner, your mind is miles away from the raging fires of the underworld.
By: RYAN REED  |  September 13, 2011


Cymbals Eat Guitars | Lenses Alien

Barsuk (2011)
It's the most indie-rock-sounding thing you'll hear all year — which means, briefly, Cymbals Eat Guitars sound kinda-sorta conventional.
By: RYAN REED  |  September 07, 2011


Grace Jones | Hurricane

Wall of Sound/Play It Again
Seriously: you'll probably refuse to believe me when I say that a one-time Bond villainess is behind this near-masterpiece, a collection of way-heavy grooves packed with wit, wisdom, and ballsier-than-ballsy vocal takes.
By: ZETH LUNDY  |  September 07, 2011


Main Attrakionz | 808s and Dark Grapes II

Mishka (2011)
Following a steady stream of low-budget tracks, mixtapes, and videos posted on their Tumblr this year, the Bay-area stoner rap duo of Squadda B and MondreM.A.N. (a/k/a Main Attrakionz) have raised the stakes by offering up something that resembles a traditional release.
By: CARRIE BATTAN  |  September 07, 2011


Paley & Francis | Paley and Francis

Sonic Unyon (2011)
The fact that Paley and Francis wrote this album together over the course of three afternoons and then recorded it in two is part of its charm.
By: NICK A. ZAINO III  |  September 07, 2011


Saves the Day | Daybreak

Razor + Tie (2011)
After 14 years and six studio albums, Jersey pop-punk quartet Saves the Day return with a seventh serving of nasal-y hyper-introspective power-emo.
By: LIZ PELLY  |  September 07, 2011


The Drums | Portamento

Frenchkiss (2011)
If the Mozzer himself is going to stay forever ensconced in his elder-statesman Vegas Era, then I'll gladly take this bold blond bout of Morrissey youth-worship wrapped nicely in 2011's garage-pop wave.
By: MICHAEL MAROTTA  |  September 07, 2011


The Nightwatchman | World Wide Rebel Songs

New West Records (2011)
It's been interesting watching the progression of the Nightwatchman, the sometime moniker of Tom Morello.  
By: MICHAEL CHRISTOPHER  |  August 30, 2011


Guillermo Sexo | Secret Wild

Girl Boy Girl Boy Records (2011)
A Boston-area quartet discovered a middle-road solution to the dilemma confronted by every band who endures past its sophomore album.
By: BARRY THOMPSON  |  August 30, 2011


Open Mike Eagle | Rappers Will Die of Natural Causes

Hellfyre Club (2011)
"Smart" rappers are out of vogue — but many of them aren't nearly as un-fun as is claimed by the hordes who flock to Waka Flocka Flame mixtapes.
By: DAN WEISS  |  August 30, 2011


Rubblebucket | Omega La La

Sin Duda Records (2011)
Although bands often sacrifice musical quality for the sake of maintaining a weirder image, Rubblebucket keep buzzing forward, as impressive as they are idiosyncratic.
By: ARIEL SHEARER  |  August 30, 2011


Thundercat | The Golden Age of Apocalypse

Brainfeeder (2011)
"For Love I Come," a transcendent take on George Duke's 1975 fusion burner, serves as the album's centerpiece and an entry point for fans of Flying Lotus to tap into the influences he has been preaching for years — Herbie Hancock and Roy Ayers serve as the other major mid-'70s jazz-funk reference points.
By: MICHAEL C. WALSH  |  August 31, 2011


Tommy Keene | Behind the Parade

Second Motion Records (2011)
For nearly 30 years Tommy Keene has been a go-to guy for fans of guitar-driven pop rock.
By: NICK A. ZAINO III  |  August 30, 2011


Anthrax | Worship Music

Megaforce Records (2011)
Anthrax has remained relevant over the past two decades mainly because John Bush, with his rumbling and powerful vocals, replaced Joey Belladonna.
By: MICHAEL CHRISTOPHER  |  August 24, 2011


Beirut | The Rip Tide

Pompeii (2011)
Beirut's most tolerable album since the 2006 pairing of Gulag Orkestar and Lon Gisland (both featuring their best song, "Scenic World") keeps it tasteful.
By: DAN WEISS  |  August 23, 2011


Braid | Closer to Closed

Polyvinyl (2011)
After 11 years, Braid is back with something you may have to make a small effort to enjoy.
By: SAM UEDA  |  August 23, 2011


CSS | La Liberacion

Downtown Records (2011)
On their third album, Brazilian dance-rock quintet CSS (Cansei de Ser Sexy) make baby steps toward maturation, but old habits die hard.
By: RYAN REED  |  August 23, 2011

male bonding-list

Male Bonding | Endless Now

Sub Pop (2011)
The trio's punk roots still play out via tight, punchy percussion, but it's the huge guitars and dreamy vocals that are most upfront.
By: LIZ PELLY  |  August 23, 2011


Tom Hambridge | Boom!

Black Rose Records (2011)
Roots rock is the new country and ex-Bostonian Tom Hambridge is the style's current MPV.
By: TED DROZDOWSKI  |  August 23, 2011


Jeff Bridges | Jeff Bridges

Blue Note (2011)
Jeff Bridges hit on a successful formula with the rich country sound of the Crazy Heart soundtrack, and he doesn't vary it much on his self-titled major-label debut.
By: NICK A. ZAINO III  |  August 16, 2011


Stephen Malkmus and the Jicks | Mirror Traffic

Matador (2011)
Malkmus solo has always alternated concise "song" records between collections of the Jicks' sprawling jams (Pig Lib, Real Emotional Trash), but Mirror Traffic is the first time he's tried to make a Jicks-as-band record digestible.
By: DAN WEISS  |  August 16, 2011

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