Sun City Girls
Superstars of Greenwich Meantime
Showcasing a wild variety of bed music and the crabby dada-ist ravings of SCG’s ugly-American caricature Uncle Jim. —Emerson Dameron

Fiona Apple
Extraordinary Machine (Epic)
This piano-led disc shows she didn’t lose her touch.

Broken Social Scene
Broken Social Scene (Arts & Crafts)
A cacophonous masterpiece that perfectly reflects the anxiety, confusion, and ultimate glee that come along with coming of age. —Sara Miller

John Vanderslice
“Exodus Damage,” from PixelRevolt (Barsuk)
If you’re looking for a “War on Terror” song that doesn’t make you want to slit your wrists, check out this xylophone-bejeweled, soul-searching track. —SM

Hot Hot Heat
Elevator (Sire)
The Canadian foursome’s latest boasts one of the best two-song punches ever to open a record. —Shawnté Salabert

Akron/Family (Young God)
These four avant-rock spazzes mix the last 40 years of pop music into a concoction that’s intoxicating, festive, and reflective. —ED

Rogue Wave
“Love’s Lost Guarantee,” from Descended Like Vultures (Sub Pop)
A shimmering pop confection containing a fade-out with the perfect amount of exuberant “da da da da”s. —SM

The Letters Organize
Dead Rhythm Machine (Nitro)
The Atlanta panic rock/spaz-core quartet is as straight-forward and to the point as this review. —Leah Weinberg

Nobody’s Darlings (Liberty & Lament)
Imagine Pete Yorn after having spent years living in the Dirty South and you get an idea. Bypassing slick production and instead opting for a gritty sound, Lucero represent the latest incarnation of Southern rock at its finest. —LW

System Of A Down
Mezmerize and Hypnotize (American/Columbia)
The first metal band since Pantera to genuinely expand the possibilities of what metal can be. —Alan Sculley

The Rolling Stones
A Bigger Bang (Virgin)
Not since Some Girls have the Stones released an album that came even close to their career-defining albums. —AS

The Woods (Sub Pop)
The veteran riot grrls decided to adapt macho ’70s classic rock to suit their own needs. —SS

Scharpling & Wurster
Hippy Justice (Stereolaffs)
This many-layered phone-prank improv mocks hipster trivia hounds, failed musicians, two-inch Nazis, and everyone else you know. —ED

Franz Ferdinand
You Could Have It So Much Better (Epic)
A more varied, more adventurous, and more accomplished follow-up. —AS

Kanye West
Late Registration (Roc-A-Fella)
Lyrically smart and funny, musically clever and engaging. —AS

My Morning Jacket
New directions and new levels of consistency and accessibility. —AS

Panic! At the Disco
A Fever You Can’t Sweat Out (Fueled By Ramen)
Taking the emo/punk world by storm. —LW

A River Ain’t Too Much To Love(Drag City)
Callahan’s pipes only get richer. —ED