The birth of new sound: The latest from The Flaming Lips, Embryonic, is the musical equivalent of an acid trip. The band reportedly improvised a lot in the studio, so the entire album feels raw and pretty much all over the place. MGMT joins in on the track Worm Mountain, Karen O lends silly animal noises (yes, really) to I Can Be a Frog, and a mathematician spouts out equation, x=y type stuff on Gemini Syringes. Weird? You bet. Every track is experimental, which means you'll either embrace it for its free-spirited creativity, or write it off as too strange. Either way, it's worth checking out.
Pop culture candy: Hell has frozen over — Jack White is on the 90210 soundtrack. Hey, I'm not knocking TV music — I've already professed my love for it — but I was surprised to see The Raconteurs associated with a CW show. The band lends a wicked guitar riff to the first track Many Shades of Black (featuring soulful singer Adele) to start the album off. The rest of the playlist includes a mix of new offerings from indie artists and more mainstream pop, but my favorites are the sleepy Valium by MuteMath and the Postal Service-ish Sunburn by Owl City.
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Bah-hum-blah: I was pumped when I heard that Bob Dylan was making a holiday album. It may be Halloween time now, but I always love a good carol, and Christmas in the Heart includes 15 of my favorites. But that's where my excitement ended. Dylan's voice will always be uniquely his, but the throaty quality seems out of place here, singing famous ditties like Here Comes Santa Claus. It's almost like your uncle had too many spiked ciders and started caroling. Even so, I'll probably still download I'll Be Home For Christmas or Winter Wonderland just so I'm not a total Scrooge — the proceeds go to the charity Feeding America.