A pair of brother-sister, er, pairs, The Magic Numbers are working hard to revive the 60s folk/flower-power era, from their dense, well-balanced harmonies (which, in addition to their configuration, often see them being compared to the Mamas and the Papas) to their groovy lyrics and subject matter. Why Did You Call? and Throwing My Heart Away are peppy and ready for a few tambourine shakes, while Restless River and Im Sorry focus more on the instrumentals behind the vocals, but theres a good balance of both approaches.
Various Artists - Scott Pilgrim vs. the World Original Motion Picture Soundtrack - ABKCO Records
Whether or not you like this comic book-adapted movie - which has its funny moments and its did they really need to do that? moments - the soundtrack is nonetheless an interesting one. A variety of musicians bring the comic storys bands to life in the movie, including tracks from Frank Black, The Rolling Stones, and Beachwood Sparks - but the most interesting element is the fact that Beck went back to his punky days and wrote the songs for character Scotts own band, Garbage Truck being one of the best here. (Becks songs are listed on the album under the character-band name of Sex Bob-omb.) Classic rocker anthems and several other newbie tunes round out the set.
Sara Bareilles - Kaleidoscope Heart - Epic
You might best know Bareilles, to date, from her radio single Love Song, with its catchy-poppy refrain and advert-friendly sound. Now shes back with her sophomore set, which has already spawned another catchy single, King of Anything, on which Bareilles says shes channeled her aggrevations over people throughout her career giving her unsolicited advice. In addition to her singles work, Bareilles newest collection of songs shows off her ability to blend sarcastic and direct admonitions with pretty tunes and interesting piano work on tracks like Gonna Get Over You, Say Youre Sorry, and Machine Gun.
Ed Kowalczyk - Alive - Megaforce
Kowalczyk was perhaps best-known as the frontman of big-time rock band Live, for which hed been the singer for nearly two years. 20 million albums sold later, and Kowalczyk was at a loss for what to do next. After a few years of contemplation - and a life mostly lived away from the music biz - hes back with his first solo album, which melds his distinctive vocals with music thats often Live-like, and just as often not. Drive, the opener, is perhaps most reminiscent of Kowalczyks old band with its quiet verses and heavy chorus; but other tracks, like the catchy Stand, the lyrically-personal In Your Light and the more experimental Fire on the Mountain, showcase Kowalczyks growth.