Blood on the Wall, Liferz (The Social Registry). On Liferz, siblings Brad and Courtney Shanks carve solid bricks from late-'80s and early-'90s indie rock to build a comfortable little abode. The architecture here might not be groundbreaking, but the hearth, warmed by "Lightning Song" and "Hibernation," provides a welcoming haven for weary travelers. — Matt Scheidler
Ray Davies, Working Man's Café (New West). Always a man of the times, Ray Davies has unearthed the rawness of the Kinks to dissect 21st-century living. Skewering the digital age with both melancholy and insight, Davies stakes claim to the distinction of being the most vital "dad rocker," making Fogerty look like Frampton in the process. — Mark Bliesener
Pat Metheny Trio, Day Trip (Nonesuch). Pat Metheny, bassist Christian McBride and drummer Antonio Sanchez toured together for four years prior to recording Day Trip, and it shows. Their interplay throughout is thoroughly remarkable, especially on cuts like "Let's Move." Although it comprises mainly new compositions, Trip finds the trio deftly reinterpreting "The Red One" and "When We Were," which appeared on earlier Metheny albums. — Jon Solomon
These New Puritans, Beat Pyramid (Domino). Travel with us now to the original post-punk era, when earnest young men fired with political conviction and an urge to shake their skinny asses produced music intended to inspire dancing, revolution or some combination thereof. These New Puritans' iteration doesn't exactly reinvent the formula, but their passion makes songs such as "Numerology (AKA Numbers)" count anyhow. — Roberts
Various Artists, Droppin' Science: Greatest Samples From the Blue Note Lab (Blue Note). The concept is irresistible: a collection of groovy tunes accompanied by lists of artists who sampled them. The producers avoid predictable selections in favor of lesser-known numbers such as Lou Donaldson's "It's Your Thing," nicked by De La Soul and Madonna, and actor David McCallum's "The Edge," to which Dr. Dre took his scalpel. Consider the operation a success. — Roberts
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Various Artists, Brazil Classics 7: What's Happening in Pernambuco, New Sounds of the Brazilian Northeast (Luaka Bop). There's hardly a dull moment to be found here as the thirteen artists represented on this compilation prove to the world that Brazilian music is more than just bossa nova and tropicalia. Generally lumped into the category of mangue beat, these musicians combine Caribbean, maracatu, hip-hop and straightforward rock flavors to create an invigorating, life-affirming creole. — Eryc Eyl