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The Sharks

The Joys of Living 2008-2010

Rise Records (Release date: April 5)

Buy if you like: The Clash, Social Distortion

As the title implies, the Sharks' debut album brings together the best songs from a handful of singles and EPs the British band has released in the U.K. over the last few years. From the evidence presented, this band has been busy giving punk a good name. The Sharks' brand of punk is the original wave variety, plenty catchy but far spikier than the poppy variety typified by groups like New Found Glory or blink-182. There are echoes of bands like the Clash and Social Distortion in standout songs like "Capital Youth," "Fallen on Deaf Ears" and "Trains" as guitars slash in and around the spirited vocals of James Mattock. The group shows nice range, varying tempos and approaches on the rockers and even throwing in a solid ballad, "Yours to Fear," for good measure. Maybe swimming with these Sharks isn't such a bad idea after all. — Alan Sculley


Paul Revere & the Raiders

The Essential Paul Revere & the Raiders

Sony Legacy

Buy if you like: Nuggets, the Buckinghams

Paul Revere & the Raiders are best known as purveyors of a chain of '60s hits ("Kicks," "Him or Me – What's It Gonna Be," "Hungry," "Good Thing," "Mr. Sun, Mr. Moon" and their first No. 1, the weak-in-comparison "Indian Reservation"). So it may be a pleasant surprise to hear what they were up to in garage rock's first heyday, including a gritty "Louie Louie," the R&B rave-up "Over You," and other Nuggets-worthy cuts like "Steppin' Out" and "Ride Your Pony." Fronted by keyboardist Paul Revere and heartthrob Mark Lindsay, the Raiders sound more like they came from Memphis, not the Pacific Northwest. America's answer to the British Invasion, complete with colonial regalia, had a great run and notched more TV time than even the Monkees as the house band on Where the Action Is! In any discussion of great '60s pop, these guys deserve some credit. — Lynne Margolis


Los Lonely Boys


Lonely Tone / Playing In Traffic Records

Buy if you like: Los Lobos, Alejandro Escovedo

When Los Lonely Boys' song "Heaven" became a multi-chart hit in 2004, the brothers Garza rose out of obscurity and found themselves lifted into the rarefied realm of pop stardom. Unfortunately, subsequent offerings haven't achieved that kind of heavenly success — not that they don't deserve it. Rockpango stands as their best effort yet, a blend of rock, blues and Mexican music more seamless than ever. The undeniable melodic appeal, always one of the trio's strongest suits, is sharper this time, from the tasty lead guitar that graces "American Idle" to the unexpected Tex-Mex rap-rock of "16 Monkeys." The tuneful balladry and soaring harmonies that characterized "Heaven" are still very much part of the mix, with songs like "Fly Away" and the lovely Beatles-esque "Smile" rounding out an album that should rank among the year's best. — Alan Sculley

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