Dallas Green is best known as a member of the Canadian hardcore rock band Alexisonfire, however, he expresses a softer side through the folksy side project City And Colour. Though some songs border on brooding, Green’s singing is gentle and disarming on this atmospheric, genuinely sweet second album. The charming acoustic melodies work well with the whispering vocals. Green should seriously consider making a career change to indie folk troubadour.



With album No. 3, British new-ravers Hot Chip are straddling the border between electronica greatness and geekdom. Casio-centric tones, buzzing bass lines and robotic effects mesh with poignant pop melodies to present the Chip’s strongest range of tunes to date. Although dance fans may find these tracks a little dainty, the quirky energy and balladry should sustain the synthesizer appeal. Somebody should make Revenge Of The Nerds V, because the soundtrack is ready to go.


If you enjoy the bluesy English stylings of Amy Winehouse, but are put off by all the public self-destruction, consider Adele’s debut. This 19-year-old, London-born singer has a big, broad, beautiful voice that she has only just begun to explore on 19, an album about romance and teenage heartache. Adele moves from snappy, jazzy numbers to pop love songs with ease, all the while sounding like a descendant of Peggy Lee.

Since the punk part isn’t working so much, Simple Plan enlisted producers who’ve worked with gals named Nelly and Avril to showcase the poppier elements of their sound. Unfortunately, the new urban beats and keyboard blurps feel like Timberlake-ish window dressing against the mellow dramatic attack of faux rock riffs, angst-ridden power ballads and whoa-oh-oh vocals. It’s adventuresome in the Simple realm, but fear not fans — the group is sticking with the original plan. There are plenty of shout-along choruses and fist-pumping anthems for mall-adjusted youths.