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2008

First of all, major kudos to Radiohead for doing things their way. After their record contract expired, the band made In Rainbows available as a download on their personal website back in October on a pay-what-you-want basis with pretty stellar financial results. The physicalCD is coming out in America on the A.T.O. records imprint T.B.D. Records.

World Cafe with David Dye has just polished off the track list for the 25th Volume in its incredible series of live recordings from XPN's signature program. Artists including Suzanne Vega, Josh Ritter, Martin Sexton, Sea Wolf and many others have contributed to this stellar collection.

Combining a healthy dose of Afro-pop with the kinetic energy of Talking Heads and a decisively modern world-view, New York City's Vampire Weekend has created a debut album that sounds nothing like anything else out there.

Always consistently good, Sheryl Crow just may have released her best all-around record to date. Detours will remind you a lot of her debut smash Tuesday Night Music Club, and for good reason since Bill Bottrell produced both of them. It sounds terrific, and the songs are all poignant and punchy. It's vintage Sheryl through and through.

Not since the soundtrack to the movie Garden State has a collection of mostly indie-rock and indie-folk captivated so many listeners. Anchored by the recent success of the movie about a teenage girl's unplanned pregnancy, the soundtrack has become the number one album in the country and with good reason; it brings together some classic rock nuggets by The Kinks, Mott the Hoople and Buddy Holly with unique cover songs like Cat Power's "Sea of Love" and Sonic Youth's cover of The Carpenters' "Superstar."

On her new (mostly) cover song collection Jukebox, Chan Marshall (a.k.a. Cat Power) continues her tradition of cover songs and pretty convicted crooning. She's really an underrated vocalist, and this second collection of covers tells us a lot about what she is as an artist.

Despite the loss of the very talented Jason Isbell from the Drive-By Truckers last year, the band has carried on and then some. Their eighth album, Brighter Than Creation's Dark, is another testament to a great American rock band.

It's pretty simple, but always effective. The Black Crowes twangy take on straight up rock and roll and all of its' many predecessor's styles is on fine display on Warpaint. The band, especially its' stoner poster boy frontman Chris Robinson, is a lot smarter than most give them credit for, and they are most certainly true believers in the visceral connection between the pulpit and the concert stage.

Devotchka is a four piece, multi-instrumental group that sound like nobody else. Their strange but beautiful combination of Gypsy, Greek, Slavic, and Mariachi music was featured in the soundtrack of Little Miss Sunshine, and the band has toured extensively the past four years, including tours with the likes of Calexico, Belle & Sebastian, and Flogging Molly. However, that description cannot begin to describe what Devotchka is all about... you'll just have to listen.

It's their first release in 16 years, but after listening to Funplex once, it's like they never went away. The B-52's' new album is everything you were hoping it would be: fun, irreverent, bouncy, kooky. Time certainly has changed since the band emerged from Athens, Georgia (of all places) in the late 70's, looking and sounding like absolutely nothing else, but the band's inherent kitsch and attitude hasn't changed one iota. Even better, vocalist Cindy Wilson is back in the fold after not appearing on 1992's Good Stuff. Founding members Kate Pierson, Keith Strickland and the irrepressible Fred Schneider are back as well.

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