Here's our take on the best and worst albums available online and in record stores today:
The Decemberists, The King Is Dead
The Simpler Life: Colin Meloy nixes the pixie dust on the Decemberists' latest rock'n'roll fantasy.
Robert Pollard, Space City Kicks
Pop's busiest visionary finally controls quality.
Smith Westerns, Dye It Blonde
Spirited Teens: Windy City upstarts set their wide eyes on the stars.
Braids, Native Speaker
Beneath fluttery swirls lie surprisingly feral cries.
Social Distortion, Hard Times and Nursery Rhymes
California Sneerin': Roots-punk coots decline Social Security, get pissed again.
Shilpa Ray and Her Happy Hookers, Teenage and Tourture
Human tornado tears into menacing bluesy rumble.
Tennis, Cape Dory
Tide is high for sprightly couple's bon voyage.
Young Prisms, Friends for Now
Cali dream-pop that's not afraid to shake you awake.