Candice Glover, "Music Speaks" (19/Interscope)

A big-voiced soul belter, Glover ended a lengthy stretch of "American Idol" victories by male guitar strummers — reason enough to celebrate her win. But she also has made a better record than the last few "Idol" champs, one that doesn't sound as though its quirks have been ironed out in an attempt to satisfy the show's once-enormous audience. There are signs of individual life here: the palpable regret in "Damn," about falling for "someone else's man"; the old-fashioned sass of "In the Middle"; the tension between desire and virtue in "Passenger." And, reprised from "Idol," there is Glover's powerful rendition of the Cure's "Lovesong."

Mikael wood, Los Angeles Times

streaming audio

It's not surprising that Jon Langford, formerly of the politicized punks the Mekons and the alt-country Waco Brothers, is going political on "Drone Operator," a track from his April 1 release, "Here Be Monsters." It's a droning rocker in which he contemplates: What sort of warrior kills from the comfort of the office, and then what do they do afterward? Now streaming at

Jon Bream