Mark Eitzel Candy Ass (Cooking Vinyl)
Former American Music Club front man releases his first new album in four years: I call it "creepy" and "amazing." Others call it "sadcore." The album was created mostly by electronic apparati, and results in strange music beds and soundscapes (though Eitzel was able to collaborate with Calexico on one of the tracks). Strange and successful combinations like this one (singer/songwriter and electronica here) are hard to come by. Plus, how can you argue with songs titled "My Pet Rat St. Michael" and lines like "I play him Mariah Carey so there's butterflies and rainbows in the air?"
Salim Nourallah Beautiful Noise (Western Vinyl)
Written, recorded and mixed at his own studio, in the midst of producing the likes of Old 97's, Damnwells and Deathray Davies, Salim Nourallah's second release emphasizes poetics and accomplishes a mellow, worried feel. Compositionally simplistic, Beautiful Noise sometimes goes so far as to neglect the actual music, but holds steady in donating forward-thinking and effective singer/songwriter material to you and me.
Sheryl Crow Wildflower (A&M Records)
I don't hate Sheryl Crow as much as, say, The Pussycat Dolls, but the trite, unoffensive "roots-rock" that she continues to crank out should be put to a stop. (Hey, A&M, as long as you keep sending us your bullshit recordings, we'll continue to expose you as the crap-mongers you are). Humbug.