Mini Reviews

Here Comes Everybody, The Veronica Project (Refrigerator Records). On its tenth release, the pleasingly twee and remarkably erudite duo of Michael Jarmer and Rene Ormae-Jarmer makes polite, piano-driven pop with a hint of humor. Though the pair occasionally veers into cliché ("Hang Up and Live"), its most original moments make for a very fun listen. — Eryc Eyl

John Mayer, Where the Light Is: Live in Los Angeles (Columbia). No less a legend than Buddy Guy insists that John Mayer is the real blues-guitar deal, and this double CD (featuring acoustic, trio and full-band sets) offers some supporting evidence. Too bad it also includes a good many mediocre songs and lots of Mayer's lame, overly mannered singing. If only he'd shut up and play his guitar. — Roberts

Miles Benjamin Anthony Robinson, Miles Benjamin Anthony Robinson (Say Hey Records). On his recorded debut, this Brooklyn-based singer-songwriter — who once slept on benches in Coney Island — transforms songs filled with sadness and angst into roiling, rollicking rock numbers. The result is slightly unhinged, frequently endearing and completely addicting. Fans of Frightened Rabbit and Jim White will love this searingly psychedelic and psychiatric record. — Eyl


Mini Reviews

The Offspring, Rise and Fall, Rage and Grace (Columbia). On their latest effort, the Offspring leave their trademark sarcasm behind in favor of the straitlaced California punk rock they helped refine. After several albums of "Weird" Al Yankovic absurdity, the players' refocus pays off well with new tracks like "Half-Truism" and "Hammerhead," which are among the best of their career. — Brandon Daviet

Sonny Rollins, Freedom Suite — Keepnews Collection (Riverside). The latest batch of classic-jazz reissues from Riverside is highlighted by this spiffed-up Suite. The original release is one of modern jazz's finest accomplishments — a timeless civil rights-era landmark. Here it's supplemented by a fine new essay by series namesake Orrin Keepnews and three additional takes, one previously unreleased, that truly deserve to be called bonus tracks. — Roberts

Street Dogs, State of Grace (Hellcat). Imagine that Denis Leary's character from Rescue Me formed a band, and you'll have a idea of what this Beantown punk act is about. With a firefighter and Iraq vet at the helm, the music is top-shelf, with scathing lyrics tackling topics like injustice, loyalty and family ties. — Daviet


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