Ramblin' Jack Elliott, I Stand Alone (ANTI). Primarily a collection of short country-folk vignettes in the Bob Dylan vein, Ramblin' Jack Elliott's I Stand Alone is at once poetic and homespun. With bare-bones acoustic production and little derivation, Elliott expands on the traditional lyrical themes of lost love and wanderlust with humor and poignancy. -- Tracy M. Rogers
Erase Errata, Nightlife (Kill Rock Stars). Nightlife seethes with clawing anger aimed at war and superficiality, with songs that furiously detonate the Delta 5 inside remnants of Riot Grrrl squalor. Then, as shattering riffs build a punch-funk moment, they explode into feedback shrapnel, capturing the exhilaration of hearing a band with chaos at its barbed beck and call. -- Sawyer
Brian Posehn, Live In: Nerd Rage (Relapse Records). If you know Brian Posehn as the mentally challenged mailroom clerk from Just Shoot Me, you might love Nerd Rage. However, if you know him from David Cross and Bob Odenkirk's classic Mr. Show, you'll probably only get a few chuckles out of his recycled toilet humor and ersatz metal. -- Eryc Eyl
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Frank Sinatra Jr. , That Face! (Reprise). Sure, Sinatra's scion was funny in the episode of Family Guy that teamed him with Brian and Stewie in a modern-day Rat Pack. That doesn't mean there's any reason to listen to Junior imitate his pop instead of swinging to the real thing, though. The old man may be dead, but he didn't take his old CDs with him. -- Roberts
Slayer, Eternal Pyre (American Recordings). In one of the best career moves of the year, Slayer released an EP featuring the new track "Cult" exclusively to the Hot Topic stores. The song is the act's most shocking to date, and the disc has been flying off shelves. Looks like Slayer has slayed an entirely new generation of fans. -- Brandon Daviet
Some Girls, Crushing Love (Koch). The second album from Juliana Hatfield, Freda Love and Heidi Gluck is a tuneful -- albeit vanilla -- contemplation on love. Sublime harmonies and even some catchy guitar riffs abound, but overall, Crushing Love gets mired in lyrical repetition and very girly pop hooks. -- Rogers
Various Artists, Sound of Superman (EastWest/Rhino). As if seeing images of Superman on practically every box in the average grocery store's cereal aisle weren't bad enough, here's another unnecessary tie-in to the movie blockbuster: a collection of Superman-related covers, by the likes of the Sun and the Films, that are all lamer than the originals. No wonder this disc doesn't get off the ground. -- Roberts