Brian Setzer 13 (Surfdog)
The swing cats who frequent the Height's Community Center every Tuesday night probably have this album on regular rotation. Jitterbug, jive and East Coast swing with a dash of ’80s punk—it's all there. You just might dye your hair black, grease it into a duck tail and "borrow" your dad's prized leather jacket from his closet (minus a few moth balls). There's no denying the power of rockabilly. Setzer knows this and will promptly make fun of you in "Really Rockabilly," but it's so jiveable you won't care--until someone scuffs your flame-embroidered creepers.
Club d'Elf Now I Understand (Accurate Records)
Smooth jazz is a genre in need of a major image makeover. Now I Understand is like the final episode of "What Not To Wear: The Music Edition." Club d'Elf enter the show as simple jazz musicians and leave glowing with a new, hip sound atop the straight eights they're comfortable with. If "bland" is the first word that comes to mind when considering smooth jazz, Club d'Elf would like to add the words "funky," "experimental," "electronic" and "new age" to your lexicon. Now I Understand could be the cure for common ambient café music and boring breakfast nooks.
The Reformation The Floral War (June Records)
There’s nothing terrible about this alternative-rock/singer-songwriter/Seattle-pretty-boy album by Westin Glass (Model Photographer, Mistletoe). There’s nothing terribly exceptional about it either. The Floral War may not be prime material for heavy iPod rotation, but if you’re headed on a 36-hour road trip with your best friends from high school, it might make an ideal soundtrack for nostalgic ramblings.