Luke Bryan

Spring Break ... Here to Party |

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COUNTRY

After releasing four Spring Break EPs in the previous four years, country star Luke Bryan packs up the kegs and coolers for a full-length blowout on Here to Party. The 14-track album rounds up brew-swilling songs originally on each EP-from the honky-tonk humor of "Take My Drunk A** Home" (off 2009's Spring Break with All My Friends) and "Cold Beer Drinker" (2010's Hangover Edition) to the rock-guitar riffing of "Love in a College Town" (2011's It's a Shore Thing). Two of the best cuts-the soulful ballad "Shake the Sand" and the quick kissoff "Spring Break-Up"-come from last year's Suntan City. Bryan gives the set a double shot of freshness with two new tunes-"Just a Sip" and "Buzzkill"-that keep the drinking theme flowing. At 36, though, he may soon need to hang up going after college chicks.

Ashley Monroe

Like a Rose |

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COUNTRY

Clearly Ashley Monroe has some serious connections in Nashvillle: A member of Miranda Lambert's side project Pistol Annies, she got Vince Gill to coproduce her new solo album and Blake Shelton to show up for a snarky duet, "You Ain't Dolly (and You Ain't Porter)." Monroe's thorn-sharp wit-and country traditionalism-also bloom on other Rose highlights like "Two Weeks Late" and, best of all, "Weed Instead of Roses." But the resigned heartache of "She's Driving Me Out of Your Mind" is no joke.

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2013 SPRING BREAK JAMS!

1. PITBULL FEATURING CHRISTINA AGUILERA

"Feel This Moment" With its fist-pumping riff on a-ha's 1985 hit "Take on Me," this is a feel-awesome anthem.

2. A$AP ROCKY FEATURING SKRILLEX

"Wild for the Night" The "F**kin' Problems" rapper rides a crazy beat with the Grammy-winning electro wiz.

3. CARLY RAE JEPSEN

"Tonight I'm Getting Over You" This upbeat breakup song will help you dance your ex right out of your whipping hair. Call me never.

If you think Johnny Depp's love of pirates ends with Captain Jack Sparrow, think again. The actor serves as executive producer of a bountiful two-disc set that, in true Pirates of the Caribbean fashion, is a sequel. Son of Rogues Gallery: Pirate Ballads, Sea Songs & Chanteys features the likes of Michael Stipe, Iggy Pop and Dr. John. Depp himself pairs up with Patti Smith, while his Pirates dad Keith Richards teams with Tom Waits. Although it doesn't stay afloat the entire time, it's still a swashbuckling success.

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R.I.P., Gangnam Style! The most ubiquitous Internet dance of this nanosecond comes courtesy of "Harlem Shake," the electro jam by Brooklyn producer Baauer that recently hit No. 1. In the last month, his dubstep anthem has spawned more than 40,000 YouTube videos by everyone from the Norwegian Army to Jimmy Fallon-even a retirement home has gotten in on the act. But unlike Psy's routine, the Shake isn't a choreographed dance: Once the song's main beat drops, you move however the groove takes you.

QUICK CUTS

HOW TO DESTROY ANGELS

Welcome Oblivion

Trent Reznor cheats on Nine Inch Nails with his other act, which features ethereal vocals by his wife, Mariqueen Maandig. Once the album really gets going, though, it oddly fades with mostly instrumental tracks.

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BOZ SCAGGS

Memphis

Scaggs recorded this album of classic soul and blues covers at the same Memphis studio where Al Green made some of his best stuff. He captures that same vibe on Green's "So Good to Be Here" as well as "Gone Baby Gone," one of two cool originals.

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THE JAMES HUNTER SIX

Minute by Minute

Like Scaggs on his latest, this British blue-eyed soulster takes his cues from the past. Hooking up with Daptone producer Gabriel Roth, who worked with Amy Winehouse, Hunter punches out retro-R&B originals that feel timeless.

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NICK CAVE & THE BAD SEEDS

Push the Sky Away

Better to call it Push the Sun Away: Appropriately, it was a miserably rainy day when I first played this and was absorbed by its many shades of gray. The haunting atmospherics set an evocative, otherworldly mood.

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