She's only 16 and her new album comes with a heart drawn on the actual disc, but Skye Sweetnam isn't all sugar and spice. In fact, the Canadian singer, who opened for Britney Spears on this year's Onyx Hotel Tour, brings to mind another young rocker chick from up north: Avril Lavigne. On her passable freshman effort, Sweetnam delivers plenty of noisy guitars and punk attitude on 13 tracks that she coproduced (except for the punchy first single, "Tangled Up in Me") and cowrote (except for an amped-up cover of Blondie's "Heart of Glass"). Sweetnam brings an age-appropriate brattiness to baby headbangers like "I Don't Really Like You," while addressing high school rebelliousness on the standout "Billy S.," which takes aim at the Bard: "I don't need to read Billy Shakespeare/ Meet Juliet or Malvolio/ Feel for once what it's like to rebel now/ I wanna break out, let's go!" A few routine rockers, such as the aptly titled "It Sucks," keep this Skye from flying too high, but with a little work, she could be the next Pat Benatar.
DOWNLOAD THIS: "Billy S."
...of what lies beneath
"Thank you, Lenny, for believing in me," writes Dan Dyer in the liner notes of his solo debut (he previously released an independent CD with the band Breedlove). The Texas-born singer-songwriter is giving props to Lenny Kravitz, who signed Dyer to his Roxie Records, produced this disc, cowrote four tunes and plays guitar and other instruments throughout. The result is an album that smoothly blends the retro-rock of Kravitz and the folk-funk of Ben Harper. But with his evocative lyrics and soothing, soul-kissed vocals, Dyer adds his own dreamy hues to tracks like the atmospheric "Space Alien" and the heavenly acoustic-guitar ballad "Not of This World."
DOWNLOAD THIS: "Not of This World"