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The Black Crowes Warpaint
Silver Arrow
Sounds like: A Southern-fried golden egg

Short take: Crowes at their best

While there's an argument to be made that Warpaint finds the Brothers Robinson in too-familiar territory, this rootsy, slide-guitar-laden material really confirms The Black Crowes' standing in the world. Confidence runs through all 11 tracks, including the Zep-influenced "Walk Believer Walk," the country blues "Oh Josephine" and the gospel vocal intro of "Whoa Mule." After years of strife and healing, the Crowes sound top-notch; they've officially become the Gen-X Allman Brothers. With prudent additions made to the gospel when needed, the magic can be found in the live presentation. More so, Warpaint provides plenty of fire for the future. John Benson


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Justin Townes Earle The Good Life
Bloodshot Records / Release date: March 25
Sounds like: A roots-country thesis

Short take: It ain't Steve Earle's country album

Were it not for the vast age difference, Justin Townes Earle and Hank Williams Jr. might have been switched at birth. The slow-twang, sex-and-violins sound on Earle's debut, The Good Life, owes more to Hank Sr. and Nashville than big daddy Steve Earle and Austin. The album's title cut and songs like "Hard Livin'," "Ain't Glad I'm Leaving" and "What Do You Do When You're Lonesome" sound as if they were unpacked from an old guitar case stolen from a 1950s honky tonk. Though a bit of boozy, restless loneliness comes through in "Who Am I To Say," Earle's at his best when channeling the dark romance of Nebraska-era Springsteen on the album's strongest track, "Turn Out My Lights." In a sea of influences, Earle has found his own voice. Jason Notte


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Keston and Westdal One Day to Save All Life
Unearthed Music / Release: March 25
Sounds like: Spacey, yet earthy

Short take: Let the journey begin

Get out that special bottle of wine you've been saving, dim the lights, light up a few candles (or whatever) and put the headphones on for an aural voyage into the deepest parts of space and mind. Esteemed electronic music duo Keston and Westdal's latest effort, One Day to Save All Life, carries on the Minneapolis act's penchant for creating instrumental meditation moments woven with trippy drums, spacey synth sounds and keen production techniques. The 12-track effort which for full effect, should be experienced in entirety features a loose global warming concept. It gets lost throughout, and that's fine. Even though hard-copy packaging features 100-percent recycled material, One Day to Save All Life remains redundancy-free. John Benson

  • Black Crowes, Justin Townes Earle, Keston and Westdal

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