Dave Matthews Band, Away From The WorldAfter 20 years on the road, Dave Matthews Band took a well-deserved break from touring for all of 2011 to regroup and work on new material. The vacation apparently did the group a world of good. The jam band extraordinaire reunited with the producer behind their first three albums and headed into the studio earlier this year to record their eighth studio album in near record time.

David Byrne and St. Vincent, Love This GiantThe indie, art-pop diva known as St. Vincent (Tulsa native Annie Clark) and the Talking Heads frontman have teamed up for one of the year’s most interesting collaborations, the product of a two-and-a-half-year creative process. The peppy, quirky album features exuberant horns and Antibalas Afrobeat Orchestra and The Dap Kings join the duo on “The One Who Broke Your Heart.”

Aimee Mann, CharmerMost know Mann for the 1985 hit “Voices Carry” by Til Tuesday, or perhaps 1999’s “Save Me,” the Academy Award and Grammy nominated song from the movie Magnolia. However, she’s also a critically acclaimed artist known for her innovative songwriting and a distinctive voice. For her eighth studio album, Mann takes us in a slightly more upbeat and less acoustic direction as is evident from Charmer’s title track.

The Killers, Battle BornEvery so often an album like The Killers’ 2004 debut Hot Fuss comes along and changes everything while propelling a group to instant stardom. As The Killers now know well, those albums are hard to live up to, and their two subsequent efforts, though hardly flops, haven’t come close. After a year-long hiatus, the band returned to the studio last year with a superstar production team, including Madonna collaborator Stuart Price, to deliver an album that already has critics buzzing positively.

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