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2008

Available only on their website (www.everythingthathappens.com) David Byrne and Brian Eno's first collaboration since the eclectic, influential My Life In The Bush Of Ghosts in 1981 sounds similar to its' predecessor, but with a bit more of a mainstream songwriting flourish. Everything That Happens Will Happen Today is a very listenable album, full of engaging songs and strange but beautiful sounds.

For her seventh studio album, Joan Osborne has retained songwriters/producers Eric Bazilian and Rob Hyman (of Philly's beloved Hooters fame) and Rick Chertoff, all three of whom were prominent influences on Osborne's 1995 breakthrough album Relish. Little Wild One may – at times – take you back to those heady times in Joan's career.

World Cafe with David Dye has just polished off the track list for the 26th Volume in its incredible series of live recordings from XPN's signature program. Artists including Feist, Back Door Slam, Counting Crows, Levon Helm, Joe Jackson, and many others have contributed to this stellar collection.

For their new album – Tennessee Pusher – Old Crow Medicine Show enlisted the production skills of Don Was (Bob Dylan, Rolling Stones, Al Green, Black Crowes, tons more). Strangely, and perhaps owing to Was' skill as a facilitator, I really cannot tell any sonic difference between this album and the ones in their recent past. Pusher is another strong, understated, dusty, rollicking ride through the old-timey string band traditions, with a modern outlook and a decidedly harrowing set of stories.

Brooklyn's finest, TV On The Radio, have just dropped an album on us – Dear Science – that has to go down as one of the most honest, challenging and engaging things we’ve heard all year. If I hadn't read the lyric sheet I'd say it was downright revolutionary, but the bands' concerns are personal ones, albeit personal in a context of an all-too troubling present and future. It's strong from start to finish, and TVOTR has really upped the ante for their major label debut.

Chrissie Hynde sure hasn't changed a whole lot since we first got a glimpse of her staring through stringy black hair, appearing urbanely street-smart in her red leather jacket from the cover of the Pretenders album in 1980. As Break Up The Concrete shows, she still has the wit, emotion, and backbone to write rock songs that seem to easily cut through the clutter. Armed with that talent – and with her remarkable, almost one-of-a-kind voice – the new album is an easy thumbs-up, much more of it's time than the last album (2002's Loose Screw) was.

Lucinda Williams' new album Little Honey is a welcome return to the sound and spirit of releases like Car Wheels On A Gravel Road or Essence. While the new album may not approach the overall greatness of Car Wheels especially, it does have a revitalizing spirit about it, and sounds great in light of her recent "sleep & weep" albums.

For someone that has released at least one album per year since 2000, it would have been quite odd not to dig into a new Ryan Adams record before December's end. Rest assured... Cardinology from Ryan Adams & the Cardinals is here. And oddly, for an artist that spends most of his time writing, Adams has been touring quite a bit this year. In fact, for most fans the first opportunity to hear much of this new material was likely in the live setting.

.Best known as the front woman of the indie rock outfit Rilo Kiley, Jenny Lewis has once again strapped on her country-soul boots for her second solo record, Acid Tongue. An all-star cast of musicians accompany Lewis including M. Ward, Elvis Costello, Chris Robinson of the Black Crowes and Johnathan Rice - to name only a few.

Twenty years since her eponymous debut, Tracy Chapman continues her brand of confessional songwriting on Our Bright Future, her 8th studio album. Quite frankly, the timing couldn't be much better. It's not easy to find an artist that expands upon one's reflection of the world as effectively or with as much ease as Chapman.

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