We’re half-way through the first quarter of 2011 and we finally have a release that’s guaranteed to surpass the 100,000 mark and could be the first blockbuster of the year, Adele's "21," out Feb. 22. The album has already released in much of the rest of the world and debuted at No. 1 in more than a dozen countries. Expect the same here.
Adele, “21” (XL/Columbia): British thrush and previous Grammy winner for best new artist returns with her second album, produced by Rick Rubin and prefaced by the galloping “Rollin’ In the Deep.”
Bayside, “Killing Time” (Wind-Up): Gil Norton (The Pixies, Foo Fighters) helped this New York rock band’s first set for Wind-Up following its departure from longtime home, Victory Records.
Jeff Beck, “Rock ‘n’ Roll Party Honoring Les Paul” (Atco/Rhino): Guitar icon pays tribute to his mentor, Les Paul, with this rollicking salute to not only Paul’s music, but other early rock and rockabilly standards. Guests include Brian Setzer.
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G. Love, “Fixin’ To Die” (Brushfire/Universal Republic): G. Love leaves behind his Special Sauce on his fourth solo set. This one, produced by by Seth and Scott Avett, the actual pair of brothers in the Avett Brothers, includes a cover of Paul Simon’s “50 Ways to Leave Your Lover.”
The Low Anthem, “Smart Flesh” (Nonesuch): Folk/Americana outfit from Rhode Island’s new album was recorded in an abandoned pasta sauce factory, allowing for all kinds of fun recording experimentation, but the real delight here is the quartet’s continued exploration of instrumentation (they play more than 30 instruments here) and the smart marriage of the unusual instrumentation with the often gorgeous, lonesome melodies, such as on “Ghost Woman Blues” (the album’s lone cover) or soaring, funny “Hey, All You Hippies!”
Lauren Pritchard, “Wasted in Jackson” (Universal Republic): Broadway baby—she starred in “Spring Awakening”—teams with producer/songwriter Eg White, best known for his work with Adele and James Blunt, on her soulful debut, named after her hometown, Jackson, Tenn.