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Corin Tucker Band

1,000 Years

Kill Rock Stars

Buy if you like: Sleater-Kinney, Girl in a Coma

Four years after Sleater-Kinney's breakup, turbo-powered vocalist Corin Tucker returns with her own group. The challenge, of course, is to step out from the shadows of her former band's legacy, and most of this album indicates she's up to the task. The new band's sound is more textured, and even though a majority of the songs remain guitar-based, Tucker offers up plenty of more varied instrumentation. "Handed Love" supplants raucous guitar riffs with prominent organ parts, and there's even an effective piano ballad called "Miles Away." The reggae-inflected "Half a World Away," meanwhile, sounds like Tucker raided a toy box for its percussion. It's not all a departure: "Doubt," one of 1,000 Years' best songs, sounds like it escaped intact from the Sleater-Kinney vault. But the biggest carryover here is Tucker's talent for jagged melody, raw emotion and musical adventure, all of which suggest she'll do just fine on her own. — Alan Sculley

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Donavon Frankenreiter

Glow

Liquid Tambourine

Buy if you like: Jack Johnson, Michael Franti

For a guy who named his kids Hendrix and Ozzy, Donavon Frankenreiter is remarkably low-key. There's an accessibility to his music, a directness that's comforting, and his sleepy voice is downright soothing. His lyrics don't make you puzzle about what he means, and they're couched in pretty melodies framed by just-right instrumentation. "Shadows" has U2 guitars that swell what could be a small song into a bigger one. "Push" shows the influence of his surfer pals; it has Michael Franti all over it. "Hold On" is as close to a rocker as you'll hear on this gentle disc, and that's just fine. We wouldn't want him to attempt Jimi Hendrix (or, perish the thought, Ozzy Osbourne). Songs that lull like ocean waves, including the really pretty "Home," give us a nice glow.— Lynne Margolis

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Old 97's

The GrandTheatre, Vol. One

New West

Buy if you like: The Clash,Whiskeytown

Like perpetually youthful frontman Rhett Miller's shaggy haircut, Old 97's have a deceptively reckless, raggedy sound that works precisely because it's not slicked up to over-perfection. The band's latest batch of catchy, Clash-meets-country, punk-twang rockers is sure to inspire incessant humming. "Every Night Is Friday Night (Without You)" and "A State of Texas" are classic illustrations of why the Old 97's continue to charm. With Philip Peeples' jet-propulsion drumming, Ken Bethea and Miller's fine guitar riffs, and Murry Hammond's 10-gallon bass, the band sounds wild and almost angry, but will still drive you to dance giddily. Hammond's "You Were Born to Be in Battle" is a harmony-laden twanger, while Miller's "Champaign, Illinois" is a rewrite of Dylan's "Desolation Row" that His Bobness liked enough to split the publishing. And with "Texas," Miller gives his birth turf a new anthem. Can't wait for Volume Two. — Lynne Margolis

  • Corin Tucker Band, Donavon Frankenreiter, Old 97's

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