Carter Falco, If It Ain't One Thing (CMH). Carter Falco's disc kicks off with a song called "Country Music," but he doesn't mean the diluted stuff that passes for the real thing so often these days. He's an ass-kicker with an outlaw streak, and on Thing, he gets assists from Shooter Jennings and Audioslave's Tom Morello, whose "Union Song" sounds like a Dust Bowl-era rouser supercharged for today. -- Roberts
The Disco Biscuits, The Wind at Four to Fly (SCIFidelity). Offering up a big nod to Phish, the Dead and assorted funk heroes, the Disco Biscuits successfully summon some massive grooves on their double live disc. The heavy funk sendups, filtered through spiraling space wanderings, abstract percussion and wah-wah excursions, are weighed down only by the occasional straight-away hippie jam. -- Glenn BurnSilver
T Bone Burnett, The True False Identity (Columbia Records). T Bone Burnett, who's perhaps better known for his production, is also a great songwriter. Insolent lyrics and grooves as contagious as the avian flu inundate his latest effort, The True False Identity. Equal parts psychedelia and blues, Identity is a smoky bar-room acid trip that produces pleasant sonic aftereffects. -- Tracy M. Rogers
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James Figurine, Mistake Mistake (Plug Research). James Figurine, the behind-the-scenes man of Dntel and Postal Service, goes solo with a slumped-over, mush-mashed album of beanbag-chair electronica. Even guest stars like Kings of Convenience's Erlend Øye can't elevate this enervated sonar backdrop of faucet-drop beats, drizzled sheets of keyboard and vocals suffocated by their own sleepwalking delivery. -- Sawyer
Tresa Jordan, Tresa Jordan (South River Road). Tresa Jordan's bland blend of newgrass and mainstream country coupled with her banal lyrics are anything but stimulating. Ironically, in an album of originals, only Jordan's take on "Ain't No Grave," a traditional gospel staple, exhibits any sort of spark or grit. -- Rogers
The Minders, It's a Bright Guilty World (Future Farmer Recordings). With a hint of the psychedelic West Coast country of the Byrds, acoustic ballads that rival some of Ray Davies's finest, and cinnamon-sweet harmonies, the Minders should be impossibly huge and far more widely admired. Even the peach-fuzz production feels comfortingly classic. -- Sawyer
Various Artists, Ska Bonanza: The Studio One 'Ska' Years (Heartbeat). The Heartbeat imprint has pulled a lot of superior material from its vaults of late, including Bobby Babylon, an unjustly forgotten Freddie McGregor platter. Still, there's no better place to start than Ska Bonanza, a two-disc compendium of brilliance from the Skatalites, Lee Perry and many others. Skanks for the memories. -- Roberts