Peter Bradley Adams, Leavetaking (Sarathan Records). Peter Bradley Adams's second solo effort finds the former Eastmountainsouth frontman surveying familiar downbeat territory while taking an introspective turn, telling stories of people and places dear to him. The result is a rougher, more original sound. — David DeVoe
Clutch, Full Fathom Five Audio Field Recordings (Weathermaker Music). Some bands follow up a tour with a live record for contractual purposes, while others do it because the music demands it. For Clutch, the latter is true; the group's current tour has become legendary in underground circles. This collage-style release provides a stiff belt of Clutch's unique power rock. — Brandon Daviet
The Final Solution, Brotherman: Original Soundtrack (Numero Group). The latest bit of soul-music excavation by the eccentric folks at the Numero Group, Brotherman consists of tunes written for a 1975 blaxploitation flick that was never actually filmed. Too bad, because the score, penned by Carl Wolfolk and credited to the Final Solution, is primo (if fairly derivative) stuff — Curtis Mayfield by way of Ennio Morricone. — Roberts
Greta Gaines, Whiskey Thoughts (Justice Records). Experimentation in country music is as rare as a backwoods family tree with extensive branching. After pioneering music she dubbed "hick-hop," this Nashville songstress morphs again with cliche-bending songs like "I'm High" and "Dirty Blonde" that owe as much to the Grateful Dead as they do to Hank Williams. — Daviet
Ice Cube, Raw Footage (Lench Mob Records). Ice Cube's instructional rhymes are to rap culture what Jane Fonda's workout videos are to housewives looking to slim down. Just when you think the multi-tasking superstar can't improve his game, he does — with an album that proves that hard-core rap can be a counterculture map to spiritual enlightenment.— Daviet
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Ra Ra Riot, The Rhumb Line (Barsuk Records). The 2007 death of John Pike, a drummer/lyricist who helped write five songs here, has become Line's media hook — but the album is also Ra Ra Riot's richest effort to date. Strong originals such as "Ghost Under Rocks" and an unexpectedly persuasive cover of Kate Bush's "Suspended in Gaffa" paint a portrait of a band that's very much alive. — Roberts