Steve Earle & the Dukes, "Terraplane" (New West)
Earle came up as a country rebel, but he has always cited Mance Lipscomb and Lightnin' Hopkins as formative influences. Having battled drug addiction and endured seven failed marriages, he knows a thing or two about the blues. But Earle also has all the requisite musical moves. His raspy, world-weathered voice is deftly employed on everything from swaggering Chicago blues to fingerpicked Mississippi Delta stylings. The 11 originals here are loaded with familiar tropes. But the well-worn idioms make light of personal woes as well as wallow in them, and Earle sings his blues with a refreshingly light touch and a lack of self-seriousness, while also delivering laments such as "Better Off Alone" and "Ain't Nobody's Daddy Now" with emotional punch. All that, plus a terrific band revs "Terraplane" up into a genre exercise of the highest order.
dan deluca, Philadelphia Inquirer
Of Montreal's 13th full-length album, "Aureate Gloom," due Tuesday, is all over the map musically, from Bowie-esque rock to garage-rock psychedelia. tinyurl.com/mpl6tlq