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click to enlarge Diddy - Press Play  -  -  - Bad Boy -  - Sounds like: Diddy without the egregious - sampling -  - Short take: OK, this guy's a genius -  - The Press Play title is a fitting one for Diddy's - latest release, his solo effort in five years. Really, that's - all he needs to do here; with Diddy, hitmaking is - automatic  not that there aren't any slip-ups. There are - a few, like, most notably, the Bad Boy CEO's choice to - sing on "Diddy Rock"  yeesh. Thankfully he makes up - for it with a slew of better thought-out tracks. By now, - anyone with a pulse has bobbed along with the beat of - the disc's first single "Come to Me." And there's plenty - more of this radio-friendly sound to be found here. Buy - this disc now, if only for "Last Night" with Keyshia Cole. - Or wait until each track's been released successfully as a - radio single. Because each one will.  Pete - Freedman
  • Diddy

    Press Play

    Bad Boy

    Sounds like: Diddy without the egregious sampling

    Short take: OK, this guy's a genius

    The Press Play title is a fitting one for Diddy's latest release, his solo effort in five years. Really, that's all he needs to do here; with Diddy, hitmaking is automatic not that there aren't any slip-ups. There are a few, like, most notably, the Bad Boy CEO's choice to sing on "Diddy Rock" yeesh. Thankfully he makes up for it with a slew of better thought-out tracks. By now, anyone with a pulse has bobbed along with the beat of the disc's first single "Come to Me." And there's plenty more of this radio-friendly sound to be found here. Buy this disc now, if only for "Last Night" with Keyshia Cole. Or wait until each track's been released successfully as a radio single. Because each one will. Pete Freedman

click to enlarge ... And You Will Know Us By The Trail of Dead -  - So Divided  -  -  - Interscope  -  - Sounds like: Brian Wilson, 40 years younger -  - Short takes: Alt rock that doesn't suck! -  - After Trail of Dead's complex 2005 album Worlds - Apart failed to live up to band visionary Conrad - Keely's expectations, the indie rocker was devastated. - Yet when it came time to write his latest effort, So - Divided, Keely turned off his personal feelings and - turned on his creative juices. The result: arguably one of - the best rock albums of 2006. The complexity remains - for the band with "Stand in Silence," a sublime Pixies- - meets-Jane's Addiction romp, acting as the triumphant - centerpiece of songwriting imagination and studio - wizardry. The groove and crunch of "Naked Sun," right - down to its Pink Floyd grandeur, is also a standout - moment that emotionally pummels you upon each listen. - Fans of early '90s underground rock need this important - album to restore their faith.  John Benson

  • ... And You Will Know Us By The Trail of Dead

    So Divided

    Interscope

    Sounds like: Brian Wilson, 40 years younger

    Short takes: Alt rock that doesn't suck!

    After Trail of Dead's complex 2005 album Worlds Apart failed to live up to band visionary Conrad Keely's expectations, the indie rocker was devastated. Yet when it came time to write his latest effort, So Divided, Keely turned off his personal feelings and turned on his creative juices. The result: arguably one of the best rock albums of 2006. The complexity remains for the band with "Stand in Silence," a sublime Pixies- meets-Jane's Addiction romp, acting as the triumphant centerpiece of songwriting imagination and studio wizardry. The groove and crunch of "Naked Sun," right down to its Pink Floyd grandeur, is also a standout moment that emotionally pummels you upon each listen. Fans of early '90s underground rock need this important album to restore their faith. John Benson

click to enlarge Phish - Colorado '88  -  - Jemp Records  -  - Sounds like: Your stoner buddies from college -  - Short take: Well, they've got a sense of humor -  - Colorado '88 is a retrospective release, a three- - disc compilation of recordings made back when Phish - first trekked from Vermont to Colorado. And here, in our - fine state, things went terribly wrong for this band on - the brink: Trey and the gang came to Aspen and - Telluride, only to find that the man who had invited them - out was being boycotted by the stages he'd promised the - band could play. Well, Phish did what any self-respecting - soon-to-be huge touring act would, and set up their - own gigs. It all results in this charming collection, - featuring the young Phish fighting for fans in small - venues, laughing through the applause from an audience - of three, and graciously thanking the Coloradoans kind - enough to show some support. An unbelievable insight - into the early workings of the band.  - Pete Freedman
  • Phish

    Colorado '88

    Jemp Records

    Sounds like: Your stoner buddies from college

    Short take: Well, they've got a sense of humor

    Colorado '88 is a retrospective release, a three- disc compilation of recordings made back when Phish first trekked from Vermont to Colorado. And here, in our fine state, things went terribly wrong for this band on the brink: Trey and the gang came to Aspen and Telluride, only to find that the man who had invited them out was being boycotted by the stages he'd promised the band could play. Well, Phish did what any self-respecting soon-to-be huge touring act would, and set up their own gigs. It all results in this charming collection, featuring the young Phish fighting for fans in small venues, laughing through the applause from an audience of three, and graciously thanking the Coloradoans kind enough to show some support. An unbelievable insight into the early workings of the band. Pete Freedman

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