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click to enlarge Thom Yorke  - The Eraser  -  -  - XL  -  - Granted, true Radiohead fans probably located this - album on the Web a month ago. But they and the - conspiracy theorists will be dissecting every musical - note, lyric and breath of singer Thom Yorke's solo debut - The Eraser for weeks to come. They'll likely - discover that while this engaging disc shows the alt-rock - icon successfully spreading his wings, his influence over - Radiohead begins and ends with his vocals, songwriting - and overall creepy vibe. For fans of the band's 2000 - album Kid A, arguably the group's most - ambitious digression to date, The Eraser falls - squarely in its shadow, with moments of non-linear - noise and falsetto bliss. The experimental title track is a - keeper, as is electronically distorted "The Clock." Yorke - and his mates remain atop the credibility mountain, and - this disc is another signal that their future appears more - geared toward avoiding apathy than once again writing - The Bends.  John Benson
  • Thom Yorke

    The Eraser

    XL

    Granted, true Radiohead fans probably located this album on the Web a month ago. But they and the conspiracy theorists will be dissecting every musical note, lyric and breath of singer Thom Yorke's solo debut The Eraser for weeks to come. They'll likely discover that while this engaging disc shows the alt-rock icon successfully spreading his wings, his influence over Radiohead begins and ends with his vocals, songwriting and overall creepy vibe. For fans of the band's 2000 album Kid A, arguably the group's most ambitious digression to date, The Eraser falls squarely in its shadow, with moments of non-linear noise and falsetto bliss. The experimental title track is a keeper, as is electronically distorted "The Clock." Yorke and his mates remain atop the credibility mountain, and this disc is another signal that their future appears more geared toward avoiding apathy than once again writing The Bends. John Benson

click to enlarge Johnny Cash  - America V: A Hundred Highways -  -  -  - Lost Highway  -  - Talk about hauntingly beautiful. American V is - sad, vulnerable, stark, soft, inspiring, honest and simply - amazing. It's no wonder that producer Rick Rubin had to - wait two years after the legend's death to corral a couple - Heartbreakers (Mike Campbell and Benmont Tench) and - other friends to finish what Cash had started in the few - months before September 2003. The story goes that - after June Carter Cash's passing, the Man in Black told - Rubin that he needed to keep working or he was going - to die, too. In the last song that Cash ever wrote and - recorded, "Like the 309," Cash makes light of his - impending death: "Take me to the depot / Put me to bed - / Blow an electric fan / On my knarly old head / - Everybody take a look / See I'm doin' fine / Then load my - box / On the 309." American V also includes - superb covers of songs by Bruce Springsteen, Hank - Williams and many others. A finer final bow may never - have been taken in music history.  Matthew - Schniper
  • Johnny Cash

    America V: A Hundred Highways

    Lost Highway

    Talk about hauntingly beautiful. American V is sad, vulnerable, stark, soft, inspiring, honest and simply amazing. It's no wonder that producer Rick Rubin had to wait two years after the legend's death to corral a couple Heartbreakers (Mike Campbell and Benmont Tench) and other friends to finish what Cash had started in the few months before September 2003. The story goes that after June Carter Cash's passing, the Man in Black told Rubin that he needed to keep working or he was going to die, too. In the last song that Cash ever wrote and recorded, "Like the 309," Cash makes light of his impending death: "Take me to the depot / Put me to bed / Blow an electric fan / On my knarly old head / Everybody take a look / See I'm doin' fine / Then load my box / On the 309." American V also includes superb covers of songs by Bruce Springsteen, Hank Williams and many others. A finer final bow may never have been taken in music history. Matthew Schniper

click to enlarge Guster  - Ganging up on the Sun  -  -  -  - Reprise  -  - You can't help but think Guster's latest effort, - Ganging up on the Sun, could be the - breakthrough album that has eluded the band for more - than a decade. While the East Coast alt-pop act has - achieved a large following based on its incessant, - grassroots touring schedule and hook-ey albums (1997's - Goldfly and 2003's Keep it Together), - the new 12-track album positions the act for greater - attention, especially within the adult alternative vein. - Countermelodies define the Shins-like "Satellite," which - combines a '60s pop/surf organ with a modern granola - delivery that will end up a four-star iPod selection for - months to come. On the other hand, the gentle and lush - "Ruby Falls" intoxicates the soul with its passion. - Considering the vapid nature that seemingly defines - alternative music at the moment, Guster's latest effort is - a blinding example of superb songwriting and even - better timing.  John Benson
  • Guster

    Ganging up on the Sun

    Reprise

    You can't help but think Guster's latest effort, Ganging up on the Sun, could be the breakthrough album that has eluded the band for more than a decade. While the East Coast alt-pop act has achieved a large following based on its incessant, grassroots touring schedule and hook-ey albums (1997's Goldfly and 2003's Keep it Together), the new 12-track album positions the act for greater attention, especially within the adult alternative vein. Countermelodies define the Shins-like "Satellite," which combines a '60s pop/surf organ with a modern granola delivery that will end up a four-star iPod selection for months to come. On the other hand, the gentle and lush "Ruby Falls" intoxicates the soul with its passion. Considering the vapid nature that seemingly defines alternative music at the moment, Guster's latest effort is a blinding example of superb songwriting and even better timing. John Benson

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