This posthumous release-the fifth instalment in Cash’s series of collaborations with producer Rick Rubin-is both heartbreaking and breathtaking. Listen to the Man in Black’s fragile, creaky version of Gordon Lightfoot’s “If You Could Read My Mind” and try not to bawl.
Rock’s junkyard Poet Laureate ditches some of his trademark gruffness on his 20th(!) studio album, released in October. His work is still a shadowy, madcap rumble populated by caterwauling horns, but there are flashes of tenderness in the melee.
Keeping track of Brooklyn’s sizable indie output can be quite the job. Simplify it with this new, summery release full of wistful, melted-Popsicle pop. A perfect pick-me-up for icy January days.
One of the under-the-radar geniuses of the Toronto music scene, Sandro Perri combines layers of kaleidoscopic sound-polyrhythms, ambient vocals and an otherworldly whirlwind of analog bleeps and bloops-into a remarkable whole.
In 2005 the committed eco-warrior took a hiatus from music to focus on environmental activism; a half-decade later she made a welcome return with this entrancing collection of folk-laced ballads and rock anthems.
Leaders of the latest pack of retro girl groups, these California gals make delectable garage pop songs with singalong choruses and clap-along beats.
This 1995 album cemented Luna’s standing as one of the best bands of all time. Dean Wareham’s deadpan vocals are a perfect counterpoint to his shimmery guitars and the secret bonus track-a cover of Serge Gainsbourg’s “Bonnie & Clyde”-is mesmerizing.
An echoing mélange of hollow-voiced gothic pop, fractured surf rock and swirling reverb, this third album by British darlings The Horrors is like a stylishly updated playlist from all your favourite ’80s bands.
Big-city kids spin brilliantly detailed yarns about a collection of cads, hapless drifters and hopeless scoundrels, delivered with a classic country approach inspired by George Jones, Dolly Parton and Gram Parsons. Who cares if they’re from Toronto?
This fantastic hip-hop album by London, Ont., native Shad was a no-brainer for the 2010 Polaris Music Prize’s short list: It’s got wickedly clever lyrics, addictive samples and a smart, positive message.