Plastic Beach |
Four years after opening the Grammys with Madonna, Gorillaz-the cartoon combo from the minds of Blur's Damon Albarn and comic-book artist Jamie Hewlett-are back with the follow-up to 2005's double-platinum Demon Days. Proving they are no mere novelty act, Plastic Beach will make you feel good all over again. Like their big hit "Feel Good Inc.," featuring De La Soul, many songs here benefit from guest turns. Snoop Dogg lends his gangsta drawl to "Welcome to the World of the Plastic Beach," while Mos Def and Bobby Womack show up on two tracks each, both appearing on the funky, futuristic "Stylo." But the craziest cameo comes from Lou Reed on the trippy "Some Kind of Nature."
DOWNLOAD THIS: "Superfast Jellyfish," another De La Soul collaboration
Holy Smoke |
New Zealand's Gin Wigmore boasts a Tanqueray-soaked voice that is part Amy Winehouse, part Macy Gray. On her retro-spiked debut-which hit No. 1 Down Under and features backing by Ryan Adams' band the Cardinals-it's those pipes that keep things smoking.
DOWNLOAD THIS: "Too Late for Lovers," a blues-hued ballad
Have One on Me |
As if playing the harp on a pop record wasn't enough of a creative leap, Joanna Newsom gets even more ambitious on her new album: a three-CD, 125-minute opus-with tracks as long as 11 minutes-that will challenge even the most adventurous listeners. Conjuring up Kate Bush at her artiest, Newsom possesses an ethereal voice to go along with all that celestial strumming and plucking. She draws you into a fanciful otherworld full of lush, dreamy soundscapes beginning with "Easy," the gentle, lilting opener on which the singer-songwriter (and girlfriend of SNL's Andy Samberg) shifts to piano. As sumptuous as it all is, though, many will reach their threshold somewhere in the middle of Disc 2.
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