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Dan Wilson has a rich musical history. He played with Trip Shakespeare and later Semisonic, and has produced some impressive discs such as Mike Doughty's Haughty Melodic and the controversial Dixie Chicks album Taking the Long Way (he also co-wrote the album's big hit "Not Ready To Make Nice"). On his new solo album - the self-produced Free Life - Wilson seems to have utilized all of his considerable artistic attributes.

Perhaps the most pleasant musical surprise of '07, Carbon/Silicon's The Last Post is chock full of powerful, somewhat snarling rock & roll. Led by Mick Jones (The Clash, Big Audio Dynamite) and Tony James (Generation X, Sigue Sigue Sputnik), there's really nothing not to like about the whole project.

Here's a new album from the Irish band that always sound as if they're eternally drenched in California sunshine. Teenager, the brand new album from The Thrills, is full of stylish pop hooks and the unique vocal stylings of Conor Deasy. What's different about this third release from the band is its overall consistency. There's no one song that pops out at you and screams "Radio Single!," but that's not necessarily a bad thing.

For the soundtrack for Todd Haynes' strange Bob Dylan biopic, the producers have assembled a very interesting cast of important, talented, mostly left-of-the-dial performers. The results are - well - strange but satisfying overall.

He's indie rock's answer to Tom Petty... he keeps the loose, Stones-y vibe alive... he's the one and only Chuck Prophet, and he's just released another collection of cool tunes called Soap & Water.

Artist To Watch November 2007, indie folk-rock starlet Ingrid Michaelson may be compared to artists Fiona Apple and Regina Spektor, but she has definitely staked out her own territory in the music industry.

Ya wanna know what "magic" is? It's what happens to his fans every time Bruce Springsteen releases a new album. From the initial response to this new album - Magic - from these aforementioned fans (yeah, I'm one, too...), it sounds like everybody's satisfied.

After a couple of very fine Neil Young concert releases, we now have a brand new album from the ageless master. Chrome Dreams II represents a return to from, at least from one of the Neil Young's we've been presented with over the years.

Perhaps only the fantasy duo of King Kong and Bambi could be a more bizarre pairing than Robert Plant and Alison Krauss. Yet on Raising Sand, their haunting and brilliant collaboration, the Led Zeppelin screamer and Nashville's most hypnotic song whisperer seem made for each other. This, however, is not the howling Plant of "Whole Lotta Love," but a far more precise and softer singer than even the one who emerged with Dreamland (2002).

The brand new Steve Earle album - Washington Square Serenade - is all about New York City. It's also about an established artist combining all of his considerable attributes to create a very un-ironic and enjoyable disc. It's the best thing Earle's done since - oh - I'd say I'm Alright over 10 years ago.

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