- Larry Campbell and Teresa Williams, Contraband Love
- A. Savage, Thawing Dawn
A. Savage, Thawing Dawn (Dull Tools) — Andy Savage has played many roles as lead singer and lyricist for Parquet Courts, Fergus & Geronimo and Teenage Cool Kids. But on this, his first solo album, Savage downshifts voice and mind to try his hand at ballads and cowboy tunes. Slower tracks like “Ladies from Houston” suggest Nick Cave or Mark Lanegan, while upbeat songs like “Winter in the South” drive Western swing into strange syncopations.
- Beck, Colors
Beck, Colors (Capitol Records) — Los Angeles-based composer Beck Hansen is known as pop’s chameleon, leaping from club dance to weepy country across a dozen albums. The new studio album, which is Beck’s 13th, offers up his most straightforward Top 40 sound since 1998’s Mutations. Tracks like “Dreams” and “Up All Night” are perfectly crafted and made for summertime radio, though one can ask as the world plunges into a bitter fall if Beck’s happy side has much nutritional value.