Grace Potter & The Nocturnals Grace Potter & The Nocturnals (Hollywood Records) SOUNDS LIKE: Fiery VT native beefs up her band, employs a big producer, and gets some classy packaging to strive for indie rock success a la Florence & the Machine FREE ASSOCIATION: A few feel like young Bonnie Raitt, some an old Carrie Underwood FOR FANS OF: Lucinda Williams, Susan Tedeschi, recent Norah Jones
The Maine Black & White (Warner Brothers/Sire) SOUNDS LIKE: Arizona dudes' sophomore and major label debut is more mature than their debut, but that just means it's less emo and punk, more soft and adult FREE ASSOCIATION: The love child of Avril Lavigne and Rob Thomas has a band!?! FOR FANS OF: The Starting Line, Boys Like Girls, Yellowcard Miniature Tigers Fortress (Modern Art Records) SOUNDS LIKE: Phoenix boys moved to Brooklyn and took up with the Morning Benders' Chris Chu which gives their whimsical freak folk song that trendy edge FREE ASSOCIATION: What often starts with acoustic guitar turns raucous and ecstatic FOR FANS OF: Animal Collective, Arcade Fire x Grizzly Bear
The Books The Way Out (Temporary Residence) SOUNDS LIKE: Typically weird hiccupy pastiche of samples, found sounds, electronic music and instrumentation; their brilliant fourth has a New Age/self-help theme FREE ASSOCIATION: These brilliant weirdos make it seem like your life is just right FOR FANS OF: Notwist x Aphex Twin, Squarepusher x Bon Iver, hypnosis
Miley Cyrus Can't Be Tamed (Hollywood Records) SOUNDS LIKE: Why does it sound like every song's been fed through a pasta machine of auto-tunage; it's like this woman is actually a robot, a Disney slut robot FREE ASSOCIATION: She covers Poison! This is darker than the usual Ms. Montana BS FOR FANS OF: Zac Efron, Selena Gomez, Ashley Tisdale, Hillary Duff
An upstate country boy who was Johnny HighSchool, went to an expensive liberal arts college and took about 20 English classes, went to graduate school in Oregon for a couple years then came back to the Empire state and tried to pass as a city boy for a minute. Now I'm Philly and I love it.