Bizzy Bone, The Midwest Cowboy (Real Talk). This is already Bizzy Bone's third album of 2006, and it sounds like it. Denver-based producer Playalitical sets nearly every track to the stuttering, double-time rhythm that Bone Thugs-N-Harmony made famous, and aside from the pillow-talking R&B of "Lovey, Dovey," the skimpy melodies blur one song into the next. -- Dan LeRoy
Jern Eye, Authentic Vintage (Natural High Records). Jern Eye first stepped on the scene in 2003 as one-third of the group Lunar Heights. On Authentic Village, his solo effort, he comes off as aggressive, tenacious, and determined to show listeners that he's one of the sickest MCs in the underground. Not bad for a first outing. -- Salazar-Moreno
Kasey Chambers, Carnival (Warner Bros.). Unlike fellow Aussie Keith Urban, whose talent she outshines by megawatts, Kasey Chambers hasn't been embraced by the mainstream country establishment, and that's a shame. Her vocals may be a tad eccentric, but her performances on the likes of the piercingly lovely "Dangerous" exude heart and authenticity. This is one Carnival worth attending. -- Roberts
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Paris Hilton, Paris Hilton (Warner Bros.). The debut by this vocally challenged heiress sounds professional thanks to executive producer/frequent hitmaker Scott Storch. But the only people who'll be able to enjoy it without irony are those who agree that Paris is "so-so-so sex-eeee," as she boasts in "Fightin' Over Me," instead of vile, vapid and vacuous. In other words, dudes who'll masturbate to anyone. -- Roberts
Jim Noir, Tower of Love (Barsuk Records). On Tower of Love, Jim Noir weaves a keen bit of psychedelically infused meanderings that are peculiarly reminiscent of early Pink Floyd and, at times, of post-enlightened Beatles. The rub, though, is that the music strays into the experimental realm so often that it fails to capture the simple essence of truly outstanding Brit pop. -- Brandon Daviet
Tha Dogg Pound, Cali Iz Active, (Koch Records). It's like Daz and Kurupt are stuck on a level in Grand Theft Auto: San Andreas. It's fun to reminisce on what went down fifteen years ago with a few songs ("Cali Iz Active," "Stop Lyin"), but an entire album? Sooner or later, you've gotta grow up and let the Old English lettering go. -- Salazar-Moreno
This Will Destroy You, Young Mountain (Magic Bullet Records). Fire-laden elegance hanging on distorted, crystalline melodies drift across This Will Destroy You's dreamy first album. Each of these all-instrumental songs sound like nights spent contemplating those rare magical moments in life when you suddenly comprehend the interconnectedness and utter beauty of the universe. This is thought-provoking post-rock to keep your winter months warm. -- Tom Murphy