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2010

Without even listening to a note of the new Band of Horses album, you'd be inclined to suspect that the blueprint for Infinite Arms would equate to sonic changes. The cast of band members has been altered, yet frontman Ben Bridwell remains consistent in his tendency for writing dreamy melodies and affecting lyrics.

With a decade of music-making under their belts, The National stand ready for another round of introductions. With each subsequent release, the band has garnered a wider fan base and louder critical praise. Upon the release of their new album High Violet, the band should be prepared for its most overwhelming ovation yet.

In a musical climate where pure singer-songwriters are burdened by competition for attention and ears, it seems cliché yet appropriate to say that the cream rises to the top. And with that, Josh Ritter is a name who has continued to engage and grow artistically with each record. His latest So Runs The World Away continues a progression of agreeable, literate releases from the Idaho native.

Anthemic rockers The Hold Steady ready the release of their fifth studio album entitled Heaven Is Whenever. Animated keyboardist, Franz Nicolay, has parted ways with the group leaving the dynamics a bit altered, but nonetheless The Hold Steady’s classic brand of fist pumping rock ensues.

Despite the success that surrounded their debut album, MGMT stand determined to wipe the slate clean with their sophomore release Congratulations. Where songs like “Kids” and “Electric Feel” found leverage in pop venues, the songs of Congratulations aim to push beyond those boundaries challenging the audience to a musical kaleidoscope.

With the release of their 4th studio album, I Learned The Hard Way, Sharon Jones & The Dap Kings have further solidified their place at the head of the table when it comes to modern soul music.

Philly's own Dr. Dog may have a new home for their six studio album, but their unmistakable brand of psychedelic, retro-rock remains familiar. Shame, Shame is the name of the new release and a record of many firsts for Dr. Dog. It's the group's first release for Anti- Records, and first album recorded with producer Rob Schnapf, yet all the while Shame, Shame remains a confident leap forward that leaves Dr. Dog poised for bigger things.

In many ways the new album from Zooey Deschanel and M. Ward, known collectively as She & Him, picks up right where their first album left off. Volume Two, appropriately titled, is another dreamy collection of breezy, retro-fitted pop gems. And what She & Him may lack in adventure, they make up for with charm - which is easier said than done.

Damon Albarn's musical foresight may be well-documented, but it's arguably never been more fully realized as it is on Plastic Beach, the new album from Gorillaz. The sun has risen again on the virtual world that Albarn and Gorillaz co-creator Jamie Hewlett first brought to life nearly a decade ago.

What do you get when you cross the precious indie-pop melodies of The Shins with the futuristic beats of DJ/producer Danger Mouse? Well, the one-of-a-kind collaboration between James Mercer, frontman and songwriter from The Shins, and Brian Burton, aka Danger Mouse and co-founder of another ground-breaking partnership Gnarls Barkley, is known as Broken Bells. And the duo’s self-titled debut offering is witness to the best of what both have to offer.

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