The Kaiser Chiefs are just the latest of the couple-year- old bands striving to make waves with recent sophomore efforts (following in the footsteps of The Killers, Bloc Party, Arcade Fire, etc.). With Angry Mob, the Chiefs come through in a big way. "Ruby," the first single and the disc opener, is instantly catchy, and though "Everything is Average Nowadays" doesn't appear until later on in the disc, the well-matched hook and backup vocals make it every bit as much of a love-at- first-listen track. The remaining songs aren't as impressive initially, but repeated listens will reveal a refreshing depth to many of them, like in the case of "Learnt My Lesson Well." So does Angry Mob place the Chiefs atop their contemporaries? Not entirely, but it's a memorable effort nonetheless. Pete Freedman
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The Trailer Tapes
Sounds like: What plays after last call, but before "goodnight"
Short take: Like whiskey, this singer- songwriter is best when aged
Not long before Chris Knight recorded his 1998 self- titled debut, the Kentucky native recorded a bunch of demos. Recently cleaned up and released as The Trailer Tapes, the 11 tracks feature three songs that Knight eventually put on albums. It's a stark, acoustic- guitar affair; among the standout tracks are the Southern-twang-defined "Backwater Blues" and the quintessential Americana-sounding "Move On." However, the one nagging negative of The Trailer Tapes is that much of the album runs together. This makes it more of a diehard-fan desire than truly a must-have album. Newcomers that is, John Prine and Steve Earle lovers are best to give his 2006 album Enough Rope a spin. John Benson
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Only Rock and Roll Can Save Us Now
Immortal Records / Release date: April 17
Sounds like: Emo meets hair metal
Short take: If you like your rock predictable ...
A few weeks after stopping through town to play The Black Sheep, Tyler Read releases a major-label debut. It's an interesting mix; the vocals are a bit whiny and high- pitched, the power chords are everywhere, the choruses are literally choruses (sung by all band members), and the bass and drum lines are heavy. There are some solid tracks here, like the opener, "The Killer," with its high-octane guitar opener, and "Baby's Got a Temper," with it's catchy "Baby's got a temper, you see ..." chorus line. Unfortunately, though, the most prevalent thing found on this disc is the aforementioned rock clichs (and some very thinly veiled Christian metaphors), which stick out like sore thumbs. But if you can embrace those for what they are, it's a solid time. Pete Freedman