April Music Reviews

Recommendations by Scott Frampton

1. JOKER'S DAUGHTER THE LAST LAUGH (TEAM LOVE) This fairy-tale collaboration between neo-folkie Helena Costas and DJ Danger Mouse will rock the pop charts and World of Warcraft fanatics alike. Costas's spooky vocals waver between unsettling and lovely; soon you're immersed in a wonderland of giants, flutes, talking owls, and acoustic guitars.

DOWNLOAD NOW: "Jelly Belly"

2. BLACK JOE LEWIS & THE HONEYBEARS TELL 'EM WHAT YOUR NAME IS! (LOST HIGHWAY) This Austin band's music careens between sweaty Otis Redding, on-the-lam James Brown, and blues-soaked Rolling Stones. It's vintage shoes-off, drink-spilling, filthy grooving for the kind of fun that hurts like hell in the morning.


3. SARA WATKINS SARA WATKINS (NONESUCH) The former Nickel Creek vocalist's solo debut pairs her bluegrass twang with the legendary bass of Led Zeppelin's John Paul Jones. The staggering stomp of "Long Hot Summer Days" gives her gossamer trill an edge, but she's also nimble enough for gospel. It's thrift-store country - out of date, and more stylish for it.


4. KELLY CLARKSON ALL I EVER WANTED (19 RECORDINGS/RCA RECORDS) Even in comeback mode, Clarkson has an ass-kicking voice. Here, feisty pop-rock arrangements can't help but submit to her powerful pipes. On "I Don't Hook Up," she lands a few jabs at boys who prey, but it's "Cry" that scores a knockout.

DOWNLOAD NOW: "Already Gone"

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