Bill Withers has always been the down-to-earth, odd-man-out of the '70s soul brothers: he's the one who came bearing a lunch box on the cover of his relaxed 1971 debut, Just as I Am.
Fans of R.E.M. enjoy arguing over which album was the band's true shark-jump, but 1987's Document was inarguably the end of a groundbreaking era.
Richard Hawley's seventh studio album opens with "She Brings the Sunlight," a clouds-parting, hippy-dippy drone explosion that plays like "Tomorrow Never Knows" caught in the echo of a football stadium.
Now that he's getting love from both sides of the indie/mainstream divide (see No Age and Foo Fighters, for starters), Bob Mould is again playing like he has something to prove - or at least an iconography to maintain.
Ry Cooder's spur-of-the-moment (or is it heat-of-the-moment?) political album opens like any good political album should, with a rollicking blues song told from the point of view of Mitt Romney's dog.