New Releases: PJ Harvey, The Civil Wars, KT Tunstall, Annie, The Polyphonic Spree

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Mark Metcalfe
Collection: Getty Images Entertainment

Mark Metcalfe
Collection: Getty Images Entertainment

Every week, Radio.com’s Dan Weiss runs down the week’s new full-length music releases, from charting hits to more obscure depths, the underrated and the overrated, from a critical pop fan’s perspective.

RELEASE OF THE WEEK: PJ Harvey – Shaker Aamer”
Not an album, but the most important piece of music you’ll hear, internalize, and hopefully reblog this week. For all the disillusioned indie-rockers who think the Knife’s sprawling new album plays political dress-up with disjointed slogans or that Nas’ revolutionary Untitledalbum was an embarrassment,  PJ Harvey brushes off the last thirteen years of her least direct music to do a protest song right.

The Civil Wars – The Civil Wars (Columbia)
In case the oeuvre-depleting “Safe and Sound wasn’t enough evidence, Taylor Swift’s been hanging with the wrong crowd. If you thought John Mayer was bad, how about Nashville’s answer to Evanescence? Won’t any emo kids blush when they realized they’re checking out the full-band equivalent of Sting and Alison Krauss’ “You Will Be My Ain True Love”? Because emo kids are for whom Joy Wiliams and John Paul White want to make country cool.

KT Tunstall – Invisible Empire//Crescent Moon (Blue Note)
Tunstalls 2004-smothering Suddenly I See” was one of those complete works of evil so insidious that no one even knows it’s the enemy, the kind of song like Melissa Etheridge’s “Come to My Window” or EMF’s “Unbelievable” with exactly one line in it, a ¼ of a hook written to be remembered out of context in film trailers and product placements and segues to commercial forever because there is no soul to extract.

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