Published: July 20, 2011
All of You
Colbie Caillat is just so, well, bubbly. Taking a career cue from her breakthrough 2007 hit, the California girl comes by her sunny pop naturally. Her dad co-produced Fleetwood Mac's Rumours, quite possibly the quintessential L.A. pop album. But Caillat leaves all the relationship baggage and lines of coke behind, opting instead for breezy acoustic guitar runs, cooing vocals, and enough perky melodies to fuel a Hello Kitty fan convention. Her third album, All of You, is packed with good vibrations: "I Do," "Brighter Than the Sun," "Think Good Thoughts." There's not much depth to Caillat's songs — "I want to be your favorite song" she sings on "Favorite Song," and "I Do" pretty much comes down to the title repeated three dozen times — but summer's not the time for thinking. Pour a cool one and dive in. —Michael Gallucci
Sinj Records (download only)
It seems Indian-American jazz drummer Sunny Jain put together a more-or-less traditional Indian processional band for his wedding six years ago. The ensemble slowly took a life of its own, with bookings on the Indian wedding circuit, moving beyond that in 2008, cutting their debut Chaal Baby in 2010, and now this live-recorded place-holder while they work on a second studio release for next year. Why the excitement? If you caught them at the 2010 Concert of Colors when they whipped up a dancefloor crowd, you know. (Always discoveries to be made at the C of C.) They've billed themselves at "Bhangra funk" (after the Punjabi dance style) and "dohl 'n' brass" (after the oversized double-headed drum that Jain plays slung over his shoulder). The most obvious comparison is to a New Orleans second lining outfit like the Dirty Dozen or Rebirth brass bands. Those groups lace the street-strut swagger with contemporary funk, rap and extended soloing, with the tuba or sousaphone player nodding to the funky bassists as much as traditional players of bottom brass. The difference with Red Baraat is there's also an overlay of Indian polyrhythms, a new cast to the horn lines (the band blasts six horns over three drummers) and the raps go multilingual. And though this was recorded live at their second anniversary party, the point is that these guys sound like they hardly need an excuse to get their trans-global millennial strut going. —W. Kim Heron
If Not Now, When?
Incubus has always straddled the line between palatable and overwrought, often within the same song and often thanks (or no thanks) to Brandon Boyd, who sings better than Maynard James Keenan or Mike Patton, but tends to synthesize the worst characteristics of both. They put that dichotomy out there early on their seventh album, a mellower record that breaks a five-year hiatus. If Not Now, When? opens with title tune, which includes five minutes of sparsely backed oversinging by Boyd, and "Promises, Promises," a stately piano pop tune. Incubus soon returns to old ground on "Friends and Lovers" and "Thieves." And then there's "Adolescents," a familiar-sounding jam that manages an admirable consistency, something Incubus' frequently frustrating albums still can't pull off. —Dan Weiss
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