Album reviews in 30 seconds or less.
Sounds Like: The dirty diva returns triumphantly with a long jump into the future, embracing electro pop with hiccupy dance tracks and killer beats.
Free Association: “Woohoo” with Nicki Minaj is about to blow; GaGa can eat it.
For Fans Of: Santigold, Beyoncé, MIA, slutty choreographed dancing.
The Chemical Brothers
Sounds Like: A psychedelic and propulsive synth journey that lasts a little too long and transports you to a dancefloor crowded with pacifiers and glow sticks.
Free Association: Remember “Block Rockin’ Beats”? Man, that was a good song.
For Fans Of: Digitalism, Dust Brothers, drawn-out repetition.
Total Life Forever
Sounds Like: Oxford, U.K., rockers kick it out on their second LP with rich, rhythmic songs full of soaring vocals, catchy choruses and beautiful arrangements.
Free Association: Magically post-everything and deliciously retro (INXS) at the same time.
For Fans Of: Fleet Foxes x Interpol, happy Joy Division.
Hot Hot Heat
Sounds Like: Victoria, BC, whine-rockers’ first on a new label and their first self-produced effort is supposed to be their best since 2002, which doesn’t say much.
Free Association: Elevator (‘05) was pretty good, but singer Steve Bays’ voice is just too annoying here.
For Fans Of: Pop punk Spoon, the Faint, crappy Walkmen.
Lamb of God
Hourglass Vol. III The Vault
Sounds Like: The Richmond, Va., metal kings put together a retrospective from their past, collecting their most virulent, screaming death sludge on one disc.
Free Association: The $999 Super Deluxe set includes a coffin guitar case and a sticker!
For Fans Of: Mastadon, Satan, Slayer, Pantera.
Tried and True
Sounds Like: The American Idol runner-up takes on classics like “Unchained Melody,” “Mack the Knife” and performs them all over daytime network TV.
Free Association: Staring at the sun is less painful.
For Fans Of: Susan Lucci, the Buffalo Bills, Nader.
Thank Me Later
Sounds Like: The DeGrassi alum’s much-anticipated is a super-produced monster (Swizz Beats, Kanye, Timbaland) of hip-hop; computery and voice-effect.
Free Association: Big name guests do not equal a good hip-hop record.
For Fans Of: Jeezy, Lil’ Wayne, Jay-Z, Kanye, Alicia Keys.
Sounds Like: The Oz-man cometh indeed—kills it here. No doubt, at 61, he hobbles into the studio, but this is as solid as Blizzard of Ozz 30 years ago.
Free Association: With so much garbage metal out there, Ozzy shows us how it can be rad.
For Fans Of: Sabbath, Soundgarden, Alice in Chains.