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Album reviews of the week

This weeks album releases showcase classic names with new sounds.

1. Allelujah! Dont Bend! Ascend! by Godspeed You! Black Emperor

Dont let the name throw you off. Godspeed You! Black Emperor has been a staple of indie rock since the band released its first album in 1997. Following a return to live performances in 2010 after a nearly eight-year absence, the band has pulled together once again to release Allelujah! Dont Bend! Ascend!

Allelujah! is a reminder of Godspeeds former glory but is also an illustration of the how the band has grown. With tracks like Worried Fire and Mladic to lose yourself in, its as if the band has picked up right where it left off with its trademark of complex instrumentals and smart lyricism.

2. All We Love We Leave Behind by Converge

This metal band has been around for almost 25 years, but over the years, the Boston group has honed its skills, and All We Love We Leave Behind is the result of time and patience. Highlight tracks include the five-minute Coral Blue as well as the equally captivating Empty on the Inside. This version of Converge is a little less angry and a bit more sensitive, coupling the powerful instrumentation with thoughtful lyrics, and not allowing the former to overshadow the latter.

3. Royal Trux by Accelerator

Often described as dirt bag rock, Accelerator has a hardscrabble sound to it, which should make it appealing to the country crossover set, with jingles such as Yellow Kiss and Liar. True, they are not exactly Neil Young, but they arent Carrie Underwood either.

4. Two Eleven by Brandy

The songbird of the late 90s has returned with her sixth studio album. Two Eleven includes a lot of the
R&B-style songs that made Brandy a household name, but the album also showcases some of her new style, namely in the form of Slower, a track that Brandy co-wrote with Chris Brown. Slower is a showcase to Brandys abilities as an envelope-pusher, with explicit lyrics that make The Boy Is Mine, Brandys 1998 hit with fellow R&B star Monica, seem like a nursery rhyme.

5. Halcyon by Ellie Goulding

Anyone who watches television has heard Gouldings Anything Could Happen, a track from this album that is used in a commercial to promote a line of headphones designed by Jay-Z. In this follow-up to her best-selling first album, Lights, Goulding employs her guitar to create a more pop sound. Halcyon places Goulding in the running to become the next Florence Welch.

6. Night Train by Jason Aldean

The latest album by country musics breakout artist Aldean features his signature blend of country-rock and also breaks new ground in the track The Only Way I Know, which combines classic country with a hip-hop beat.

7. Information Retrieved by Pinback

The unique band releases its fifth LP, which features fun songs such as Proceed to Memory and Glide. The bands sound remains steady, but the quality of the lyrics have changed, calling to mind the complex words favored by bands such as The Decemberists in its use of
old-fashioned, British-sounding words such as cad and vile.