Ozomatli Don't Mess With the Dragon (Concord Records)
Ozomatli never fails to surprise by chopping up surprising roots and throwing them in the stew pot. This band is more than "eclectic," the most inaccurately used word in music vocab. Ozomatli fears no stew. Not punk rock hash, not hip-hop ragoût, not classic rock brew, not Middle Eastern soup. There's something in that Latin broth that ties it all together, making each slurp unmistakably Ozo. But these old hands could've let this one simmer a little longer, relying less on their clean, practiced skills and more on the vigorous bubble and pop found on Embrace the Chaos.
Timbaland Timbaland Presents Shock Value (Interscope Records)
You're a little too cool if you can't get behind at least one mainstream hip-hop club-banger. If you've got a decent palate, the track that gets your pelvis moving in such an inappropriate way will likely have the name Timbaland somewhere in its shadows. This producer breathed new life into the industry with truly imaginative beats a few years back. Witness his impeccable taste, his minimalist blending of organic claps and voices with synthetic bass lines. There's a great mix of hits and obscure tracks culled from his vault and a long star-studded string of guest appearances, including The Hives, Elton John and Fall Out Boy.
Clutch From Beale Street to Oblivion (DRT)
How is Clutch not more famous? From its super-heavy stoner rock days to this, the bluesiest of Clutch releases, this band's been on. Chock full of guitar solos and healthy instrumental segments, this disc harkens back to classic rock's heyday without ripping off anything directly. Singer Neil Fallon does wear a little thin at times, though, when his rhythms are stilted and not quite bluesy enough to ride the swagger his bandmates serve up. If you're ready for an older, mellower clutch, this CD's for you.