Lou Reed, Big Star, INXS
Album: Adventureland: Original Soundtrack (Hollywood)
In stores: Now
Why we care: I made pretty dopey mixtapes in the '80s, great gooey chunks of Phil Collins, Eddie Rabbitt, Kenny Loggins, anything to woo the unwooable girls at Camp Hill High. The cool kids, however, made mixes resembling the soundtrack to Adventureland, the new flick about a circa-'87 theme park. Lou Reed, Big Star, the Replacements, all iconoclasts that the cool kids' older brothers liked. In related news, I'm an only child. Hold me?
Why we like it: Sprinkled among prickly cuts by Husker Du and the New York Dolls are a few kitschy classics (Falco's Rock Me Amadeus).
Reminds us of: My Lionel Richie dependency
Download these: I'm in Love With a Girl (Big Star) and Don't Change (INXS)
Album: Live in London (Columbia)
In stores: Now
Why we care: There aren't many royals in the pop pantheon as enigmatic as Leonard Cohen. The Canadian songwriter with the grave digger basso and X-ray poetry is 74 years old and toying with a comeback. This live album, taped in July '08 at London's 02 Arena, is a comfy but careful primer to his better-known work: Bird on the Wire, Tower of Song, Hallelujah.
Why we like it: Lenny ain't exactly a laugh riot, but therein lies the seduction. He's intense and methodical, offering a benediction on relationship crevices and universal loneliness. Jeff Buckley's Hallelujah reached heavenward; Cohen's is a far more earthbound beast.
Reminds us of: Van Morrison on downers (or maybe Tom Waits with a cherry lozenge).
Download these: Hallelujah and Suzanne
Album: Devotion Implosion (Cordless)
In stores: Now
Why we care: In a fuzzy, buzzy, under-the-radar way, the Jesus and Mary Chain were one of the most influential bands to spring from the '80s. The Scottish noise-rockers excelled at feedback-slathered '60s jangle — think the Ronettes backed by a psychedelic trio. New bands the Raveonettes, Glasvegas and L.A.'s trio Gliss are all disciples.
Why we like it: Gliss — Martin Klingman, David Reiss and femme fatale Victoria Cecilia — also sound inspired by coked-kids '80s flick Less Than Zero, the gumshoe noir of Raymond Chandler and the fishnet punk-pop of the Yeah Yeah Yeahs. Raymond Chandler meets Andrew McCarthy meets Karen O? I'm in love.
Reminds us of: Farewell, My Lovely
Download this: Lovers in the Bathroom
SONG OF THE WEEK
Song: We Made You
Album: Relapse (Aftermath)
In stores: We Made You is on iTunes; Relapse out May 19.
Why we care: Here's the first official single from Relapse, the new Eminem album out May 19. On We Made You, the Detroit rapper — after time away battling depression and drug addiction — is back to tweaking easy, sleazy targets over a familiar calliopean loop courtesy of Dr. Dre.
Why we like it: Kim Kardashian, Jessica Simpson and Lindsay Lohan all deserve a spanking, but on this too-safe cut, Slim Shady is totally pulling his punches. The song is catchy enough after a couple of listens, but the lyrics lack bite: "Lindsay please come back to seeing men / Samantha's a 2, You're practically a 10 / I know you want me girl / In fact I see your grin."
Reminds us of: Does anyone still care about Marshall Mathers? Stay tuned . . .