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Cage the Elephant, Jonatha Brooke, John Paul White with the new and noteworthy 

Cage the Elephant, Social Cues
  • Cage the Elephant, Social Cues

Cage the Elephant, Social Cues (RCA) – This sextet had to fight the “young and snotty” moniker for much of its career, but 10 years on, Cage the Elephant has a focused and noisy sound suggesting equal amounts Interpol and Strokes. Studio wizard Beck helped out with recording sessions, but the real power of Social Cues comes from the tight lyricism of singer Matthew Shultz. The band has a reputation for consistent excitement with little filler, and it’s hard to find a weak spot among these 13 songs.

Jonatha Brooke, Imposter
  • Jonatha Brooke, Imposter

Jonatha Brooke, Imposter (Bad Dog Records) – Since last we heard from her, Jonatha Brooke closed her NYC one-woman stage show on her mother’s dementia and moved to Minnesota. The five songs on this concise EP experiment with brass swing rhythms and strings, without getting overburdened — in fact, Brooke uses expanded production to play with scat singing style. The themes here could describe the Trump era, though Brooke says it’s about the falsities in all our lives.

John Paul White, The Hurting Kind
  • John Paul White, The Hurting Kind

John Paul White, The Hurting Kind (Single Lock Records) – In his second solo recording since the demise of The Civil Wars, songwriter John Paul White has plunged into full-throated country arrangements, with pedal steel and guest vocals from Lee Ann Womack. White can pull this off with aplomb, due to the fine songwriting talents in tracks like “The Long Way Home” and “I Wish I Could Write You a Song.” Those searching for White’s folkier side won’t find it in the new album.

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