These are good times for coed country groups: first Sugarland, then Lady Antebellum and now Gloriana. Currently opening for Taylor Swift on tour, this hot new quartet—consisting of brothers Tom and Mike Gossin, Rachel Reinert and Cheyenne Kimball (with Tom Gossin and Reinert doing most of the lead vocals)—appears destined for glory. With pop-rock producer Matt Serletic (matchbox twenty, Rob Thomas) at the helm, Gloriana isn't pure country. The rock-edged "How Far Do You Wanna Go?" features a guitar lick that recalls the Rolling Stones' "Start Me Up," while cuts like "If You're Leavin'," the breezy, harmony-rich highlight, bring to mind a twangier version of Fleetwood Mac.
If Anjulie had come out before Corinne Bailey Rae, her debut would have been all the more impressive. Some of these balmy soul-pop songs, such as the horn-infused "Some Dumb Girl," almost sound a little too much like Bailey Rae. It doesn't help that Anjulie, with her quirky, jazz-kissed vocals, also conjures up Nelly Furtado and Erykah Badu at times. Even if derivative, the singer-songwriter—who grew up in Ontario but is of Guyanese descent—is a seductive, exotic presence who has an especially light touch with a song.
DOWNLOAD THIS: "Boom," the spooky, '60s-inspired first single
Nothing Personal |
"I'm over getting older," sings frontman Alex Gaskarth on "Weightless," the hook-heavy opening track and first single of Nothing Personal. With their youthful energy and bratty attitude, these Vans Warped Tour punks make a strong case for perpetual adolescence. Best is "Damned If I Do Ya (Damned If I Don't)," which packs a crunching guitar riff reminiscent of Pat Benatar's "Hit Me with Your Best Shot."
Baby Darling Doll Face Honey |
"Don't you know what the time is?/ It's the fall of rock and roll," proclaims singer-guitarist Russell Marsden on "Fires," this disc's slow-burning standout. But the future of rock and roll is in good hands with Band of Skulls, the best new British band since Arctic Monkeys. In fact, this trio—in which Marsden shares lead vocals with bassist Emma Richardson—echoes the Monkeys on tracks like the thumping "Hollywood Bowl." Elsewhere, they evoke Kings of Leon and, in some moodier moments, Radiohead. Awesome.
For more information on where to find our Download This picks, go to people.com/downloadthis
>• Our playlist of 10 hot tunes to help celebrate the season
THE BLACK EYED PEAS "I Gotta Feeling" Starting you off on a high, this feel-good party anthem gets a slight nod over "Boom Boom Pow."
LADY GAGA "LoveGame" "This beat is sick," boasts Gaga, backing it up with a dirty, funky electro groove.
KRISTINIA DEBARGE "Goodbye" A dance-pop kiss-off perfect for strutting all over his heart in your pumps.
"Battlefield" Wins the war of American Idols over Kelly Clarkson
's "I Do Not Hook Up."
PINK "Please Don't Leave Me" This breakup song, teetering on the verge of a breakdown, stays with you.
DRAKE "Best I Ever Had" The hottest new rapper makes like a young Kanye on this top-down cruiser.
JEREMIH "Birthday Sex" A slinky grinder that will get you and your honey down to your birthday suits.
KINGS OF LEON "Use Somebody" Captures the longing of all those who don't have a summer sweetheart.
GREEN DAY "21 Guns" Staying in rock-ballad mode, this aims for the heavens and soars all the way there.
MICHAEL JACKSON "Man in the Mirror" A message from Michael to close your summer '09 playlist.
will have you seeing disco balls in your sleep with the pulsating "Karmatronic Club Remix" of new single "Sweet Dreams." $1.29 at iTunes.com.
INGRID MICHAELSON delivers post-breakup ambivalence on "Maybe," a heartfelt folk ballad from the singer-songwriter's Everybody, due Aug. 25. $0.99 at napster.com.
MARY J. BLIGE rocks her swagger on "The One," a hip-hop soul jam featuring rapper Drake, from her as-yet-untitled next CD. $1.29 at iTunes.com.
>• The singer, 41, is back fronting Sugar Ray on Music for Cougars, their first studio CD since 2003.
ON SUGAR RAY'S COMEBACK We never broke up. We were still doing 40-50 shows a year. But no one was sitting on the edge of their seats waiting for a new Sugar Ray record.
ON IF HE LOST ANY ROCK CRED HOSTING EXTRA If I was Jack White, maybe I would feel a bit of that, but Sugar Ray was never on the cutting edge.
ON DEDICATING THE NEW ALBUM TO COUGARS The irony is those chicks don't even dig us anymore. I'm not in their demographic, not their prey!
ON HIS ROMANTIC STATUS I've been seeing a girl [aesthetician Carin Kingsland] for 15 years. She wants to have a kid, and I can't delay that anymore. Stay tuned.