Chris Cornell Carry On (Interscope)
It's been a lingering moment in time since we've seen this god-given talent step under the lights solo. After AudioSlave’s recent fallout, what better a way to pack the old and bring in the new than to title this album Carry On. Catchy and cohesive, but at the same time sporadic, Chris Cornell breaks through as ringleader, composing all tracks except for the cover songs. “Billy Jean” strips down to a six-string vocal masterpiece surprisingly ringing just as full as the original hit. His vocal chords rattle studio glass and always leave a lasting impression. If you liked Euphoria Morning, you’ll love Carry On.
Sage Francis Human The Death Dance (Epitaph)
Armed with an arsenal of prose and poems, Sage Francis is at it again with his fourth LP. Human The Death Dance is in the same nature as the Sick of Waiting catalog, some of Sage’s best recordings. This album has every emotion and feeling the human soul could conjure, weaved suitably into a 16-track confession. Like previous Sage albums, several vintage samples and quirky intros are loaded throughout. The album begins tongue in cheek, Sage style. It's personal, provocative and properly composed. If you weren’t impressed with A Healthy Distrust, this is the other side of the coin.
SoCalled GhettoBlaster (JDub)
If there's one thing that becomes monotonous in the hip-hop world it's the samples—but oh, no, not with GhettoBlaster. Think of SoCalled as a Yiddish version of the Gorillaz. Repping a Jewish background, the kid throws his best at us with pure originality and an array of live instruments. You name it, this album has it. The lyric content could be more refined, but the live strings and horns pick up the slack. The album shines early in tracks like “You Are Never Alone,” accompanied by gospel singer Doris Glaspie. GhettoBlaster refreshes the ears and reminds us that all genres are fair game for sampling.