New CDs This Week: Conor Oberst, New York Dolls, Fischerspooner...

Sarah Zupko

Conor Oberst and the Mystic Valley Band: Outer South -- Former Bright Eyes poster boy, Conor Oberst returns in rootsy guise for his second album with the Mystic Valley Band and now resides firmly in that space between alt-country and pop that is also occupied by Wilco.

New York Dolls: Cause I Sez So -- The New York Dolls were at the very forefront of the punk revolution, forming in 1971 and being the primary influence on early UK punk bands like the Sex Pistols and to a lesser degree the Clash. The original group broke up in the late '70s, but David Johansen and Sylvain Sylvain reunited the band in 2004 and put out their first studio record since 1974 in 2006. Now they have another gritty rock platter for us in Cause I Sez So.

Fischerspooner: Entertainment -- New York electroclash duo have typically had long breaks between albums and Entertainment is their first full-length release since 2005's Odyssey. Fischerspooner are among the poppiest of the acts in the electroclash cannon and their debt to Depeche Mode and New Order is on full display here.

Ben Harper and Relentless7: White Lies for Dark Times -- Ben Harper's ninth studio album is a blast of pure major label rock in a week dominated by the indies.

The Smithereens: Tommy -- Power pop's Smithereens take on the Who opus in a fitting tribute given the Who's massive influence on all power pop following them. Yep, that's part of the problem here: it's a bit too faithful with even the occasional faux British accent, to the point that you wonder why it was necessary at all. A thorough re-imaging of Tommy by a band not so clearly indebted to the Who would have ultimately been more interesting.

The Vaselines: Enter the Vaselines -- Scotland's Vaselines were one of the short short-lived cult bands that go on to influence crate digging musicians but remain questions marks to virtually everyone else. In this case, Kurt Cobain was a surprising huge fan of the Vaselines ragged, but fragile pop. Enter the Vaselines is a reissue of 1992's The Way of the Vaselines along with a host of extras including alternate mixes, demos and live performances.

Other notable releases this week:

Akron/Family: Set ‘Em Wild, Set ‘Em Free

The Birthday Massacre: Show and Tell

Ciara: Fantasy Ride

Cracker: Sunrise in the Land of Milk & Honey

El Nuevo Grupo de Omar Rodriguez-Lopez: Cryptomnesia

Hatebreed: For the Lions

Jon Hopkins: Insides

The Horrors: Primary Colours

Isis: Wavering Radiant

Yusuf Islam: Roadsinger (To Warm You Through the Night)

Ziggy Marley: Family Time

Chrisette Michele: Epiphany

Nomo: Invisible Cities

Tara Jane O'Neil: A Ways Away

Peaches: I Feel Cream

Pink Mountaintops: Outside Love

Alasdair Roberts: Spoils

Rodriguez: Coming From Reality

Frank Sinatra: Live at the Meadowlands

St. Vincent: Actor

Elliott Yamin: Fight for Love

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How Would You Like to Be the Director of Our Christmas Play?

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still from Midland "Drinkin' Problem" video

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