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2009

Blending their acoustic folk tendencies with an abandon and spirit of a punk rock act, The Avett Brothers grew to prominence due in part to their raucous, high-energy live shows. They've also been prolific writers and road-warriors for nearly 10 years now. And on their major label debut, I And Love And You, which is produced by Rick Rubin, the Avett Brothers propel their irreplaceable brand of folk-rock to a new level.

Over 10 years since the release of White Ladder, the man who brought us "Babylon" returns with arguably his most engaging collection of songs since that 1999 breakthrough album. Draw The Line is the new release from David Gray. The new album was patiently recorded over two years in the North London studio, The Church, which Gray purchased from the Eurythmics' Dave Stewart. A new setting, a new band and a new record label result in a refreshed batch of songs.

Often the hype that precedes an album's release ends up overshadowing the impact of the actual arrival. The announcement of collaboration between My Morning Jacket frontman Jim James, M. Ward, Conor Oberst and Mike Mogis was sure to leave some expectations unreasonably high. Yet the resulting album from the proclaimed Monsters Of Folk still offers plenty of surprises amongst a wealth of dreamy compositions.

If Joy, the new studio album from Phish, is any indication of what to expect when a band takes an extended breather, perhaps there is a lesson to be learned. Fans relished the band's return to the stage this past year, and will undoubtedly embrace the lively, inspired new studio album that is Joy.

Growing up just outside Detroit, Michigan, Mayer Hawthorne fell in love with the sound of soul music as a kid. Listening to old Motown classics on the radio inspired Hawthorne to not only embark on a music career of his own, but renovate the music he adored with a modern relevancy. On his new album, A Strange Arrangement, Hawthorne strikes that balance between then and now in stunning fashion.

Presently, there is arguably no singer-songwriter that writes songs with as much visual perspective as Ingrid Michaelson. A success story born out of a new generation of fans on MySpace and strategic television placement, Ingrid's cinematic love tales have crossed the ears of millions, whether knowingly or unknowingly. And her second proper full-length album, titled Everybody, has the potential to set the proverbial scene yet again.

On their second full-length release the Providence, Rhode Island band Deer Tick offer a concoction of country, folk and rock. As a follow-up to their acclaimed 2007 debut War Elephant, the new album Born On Flag Day succeeds in capturing the band’s raw and youthful energy.

When you first listen to Edward Sharpe & The Magnetic Zeros it's difficult not to be captivated by their revivalist style of jangly folk-rock. It's somewhat striking, an open departure in the current landscape of indie rock. And the band has created a big buzz locally in Los Angeles due in large part to their lively stage shows and their debut album Up From Below.

God Help The Girl is the name of the new project spearheaded and written by Belle & Sebastian's Stuart Murdoch. The narrative of God Help The Girl is scheduled to be produced next year in the form of a musical film, but with the release of this record Murdoch already has his soundtrack ready to go.

Wait For Me, the new release from Moby may have some celebrating a "return to form", but the songs on Wait For Me do more than simply recall his earlier work. Very much in the now, Moby takes back the role of conductor, offering fans a collection of brooding songs unconcerned with demand or destination.

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