Sound Advice 

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Peter Buck

Peter Buck

Mississippi MRP Records

File next to: R.E.M., the Black Keys

R.E.M. guitarist Peter Buck has released his first solo album — on vinyl only — via Portland, Ore., label Mississippi Records. The album ranges from spooky, grimy garage rock to jangly '60s pop, with assists from R.E.M.'s Mike Mills, Patti Smith guitarist Lenny Kaye, the Decemberists' Jenny Conlee, and Sleater-Kinney's Corin Tucker, who sings "Nothing Means Nothing," the song that's closest to an R.E.M. number. Buck is the primary vocalist, though, singing on record for the first time. He's not great, but he's gruffly effective. The darkly clattering "It's Alright" is right out of Roky Erickson land, while jangle pop gets it due with "Some Kind of Velvet Sunday Morning" and "Nothing Matters." There are fuzzed-out Hound Dog Taylor and Tommy James covers, as well as a sampled mashup of Sonny Boy Williamson and Millennium. You have to work a little to get Peter Buck, but it's worth the effort. — L. Kent Wolgamott

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Cody Canada and the Departed


Thirty Tigers

File next to: Guns N' Roses, Cross Canadian Ragweed

Anyone who still lumps Cody Canada within the ranks of college-country dudes will have to rethink that, as Adventus takes Canada and his band far more into rock territory. There are also big ballads, such as the bluesy "Prayer for the Lonely" and mid-tempo "Blackhorse Mary." Canada's powerful vocals are consistently impressive, and the band is musically quite adept. Still, there's something missing here. The Cross Canadian Ragweed frontman fails to explore any truly new territory, musically or lyrically. And the most engaging songs, interestingly, are those that visit his country-rock past: "Hobo" and "Cold Hard Fact." There's also a killer instrumental "Mark It Wrong" — which melds jazz, blues and rock into an intriguing groove — and the wonderful semi-acoustic finale, "Sweet Lord." All of this suggests the Departed might want to get back to where they once belonged. — Lynne Margolis

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Music From Another Dimension!

Columbia Records

File next to: The Rolling Stones, the Black Crowes

In the opening seconds of Aerosmith's first album of new material since 2001, a narrator invites you to "experience the awe and mystery, from your ultimate fantasies to your deepest fears, from which you may never return." And there is something scary here — specifically a sculpted-for-country duet with Carrie Underwood called "Can't Stop Lovin' You." But the rest of the album is just what you'd expect from Steven Tyler, Joe Perry and company — too much so. Overstuffed at 15 songs, the record has its moments: The raucously hooky "Luv XXX," the Stones-influenced "Oh Yeah," and the classic Aerosmith boogie of "Legendary Child" are all standouts. But the rest of the record is packed with too much filler — be it balladry or routine rockers. And while the return of early producer Jack Douglas makes things a little rawer, even he can't save this yawner. — L. Kent Wolgamott


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