Colour It In (Polydor)
Sure, it sounds like another round of insistent, British post-punk-an echo effect of the popularity of bands like Franz Ferdinand and Bloc Party. But the Brighton quintet does it extremely well, and frontman Orlando Weeks has a throaty, kiddish frailty that makes you want to stop pogoing for a second and coddle him.
Bob & Gene
If This World Was Mine... (Daptone)
It took 30 years for this debut to be released-a Brooklyn R&B duo whose tapes never made it past Bobby Nunn's father's garage. Until now. Daptone, the soul-music label that brought us the great Sharon Jones & The Dap-Kings, wiped off the dust and tied it all together. It's a throwback to the innocent days of R&B, with great harmonies and finger-snapping shuffles.
Black Life 2: The Next Thing Smokin (Greenstreets)
Chris Lowe's no great lyricist-he's from the old-school, having cut his teeth as a producer with EPMD and Stezo and other rap stars from the late '80s. But his production on Black Life 2 is top-notch. Jazzy party jams and Lowe's gruff, mellow delivery atone for his crimes against poetry.