In "The Blackest Lily," Corinne Bailey Rae sheds the easygoing placidity of her early work. courtesy of the artist hide caption

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'The Blackest Lily' by Corinne Bailey Rae
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In "Drawing the Line," Porcupine Tree revisits the past in a way that's bold and bracing. Diana Nitschke hide caption

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'Drawing the Line' by Porcupine Tree
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The portrait of a bully who lost his nerve, Adam Green's "Boss Inside" would have fit in perfectly at a folk festival 50 years ago. courtesy of the artist hide caption

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Boss Inside
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Drummer Dana Hall Goes 'Into The Light'
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"No Wonder" is characteristic of Stratton's ability to balance the direct and oblique into a single engrossing song. courtesy of the artist hide caption

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'No Wonder' by Will Stratton
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Pretty much everything you'd want in a rock 'n' roll instrumental is in Jim Campilongo's "Backburner": a terrific groove, trick-filled riffs and solos, and a point of combustion. courtesy of the artist hide caption

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'Backburner' by Jim Campilongo
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Joanna Newsom's previous albums include The Milk-Eyed Mender and Ys. Annabel Mehran hide caption

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'Have One': From Joanna Newsom, A Generous Thing
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A caustic rejoinder to an unnamed antagonist, Title Tracks' "Black Bubblegum" is upbeat, but deceptively so. courtesy of the artist hide caption

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'Black Bubblegum' by Title Tracks
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At Pepper's Hideout, A South Side Party To Remember
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Catchy and sweet, Cold War Kids' "Audience" finds its soul in heavy-hitting piano and minimal layering. courtesy of the artist hide caption

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Audience
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The Morning Benders. Matt Jacoby hide caption

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The Morning Benders On 'World Cafe: Next'
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The dance music of Four Tet's "Love Cry" only reaches the hips incidentally, on its way to the brain. courtesy of the artist hide caption

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Love Cry
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A lovely nature song, Shearwater's "Hidden Lakes" is as graceful and vulnerable as the world it describes. courtesy of the artist hide caption

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Hidden Lakes
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Local Natives' "Airplanes" quickly unfolds as a jaunty wonder, as it hurtles along with something resembling school spirit. courtesy of the artist hide caption

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Airplanes
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Black Rebel Motorcycle Club's "Beat the Devil's Tattoo" is both threatening and enticing: At times, it seems to endanger the listener's mortal soul. courtesy of the artist hide caption

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Beat the Devil's Tattoo
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