The Clash, Live at Shea Stadium (Legacy Recordings). Not many groups can best the Who. Yet that is exactly what happened when the Clash opened for the group in 1993. Wielding socially relevant songs like "The Hammer of Thor," the band turns in a protesting performance that has not been matched since — by anyone. Thank the maker that somebody pushed "record." — Brandon Daviet
Kimya Dawson and Friends, Alphabutt (K Records). Dawson's venture into children's music should hit the sweet spot with Juno fans who decide to keep their babies, in part because the songs aren't afraid to be a little naughty. In "Alphabutt," for instance, "F" is for "fart," "G" is for "gorilla fart" and "H" is for "huge gorilla fart." Aromatic, yet educational. — Micahel Roberts
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New Kids on the Block, The Block (Interscope). Thirty-something women freaking out à la JoBro-obsessed middle-schoolers isn't a pretty sight, so it's fortunate that this album won't inspire any squealing, screaming, palpitating or other vocal ejaculations. A heavy sigh before putting the disc on the shelf and never listening to it again is more like it. — Roberts
John Oates, 1000 Miles of Life (Phunk Shui Records). Back in the '80s, Daryl Hall and John Oates inspired shrieks of awe from music fans everywhere. Okay, not really, but the guest artists — including the Blind Boys of Alabama, Béla Fleck and John Popper — joining Oates for this surprisingly pleasant solo effort should at least raise some eyebrows. — Daviet
Razz M'Tazz, Raccoon Collective Sessions (Self-released). Olympia, Washington, is still a home to lo-fi pop, the likes of which can be found on this charming collection of innocent goodness. Across each song, the band employs a wide range of instrumentation, but it all goes toward realizing songs written to soothe life's downs and celebrate its joys. — Tom Murphy
Triclops, Out of Africa (Alternative Tentacles). Like a twisted reinvention of punk rock, Out of Africa is proggy without being stilted. This album fearlessly tries things that could go horribly wrong (like a vocoder for an entire song) but always seem to go horribly right. It's a rare combination of the visceral and the imaginative. — Murphy