Album: Lines, Vines and Trying Times (Hear)
In stores: Now
Why we care: On their whiningly titled new album, the JoBros air out all the problems inherent with being the richest, cutest, most popular boys in the world. For instance, what's with all the girls? Plus, it's sooo not as cool snogging Taylor Swift as you might think. Sanctuary!
Why we like it: Ditching power pop for diet funk (think Earth Wind & Fire the Producer), Joe & Co. aren't as fun. But they sure goose the gossips, dinging Swift with vigor ("I'm done with superstars / All the tears on her guitar").
Reminds us of: So Miley Cyrus, who used to date Nick, is best friends with Swift, who used to date Joe. But now Miley is back duetting with Nick on Before the Storm. Quelle horreur!
Download this: Fly With Me
Matthew Sweet & Susanna Hoffs
Album: Under the Covers Vol. 2 (Shout Factory)
In stores: July 21
Why we care: One of the chummiest albums of '06 was from one of the unlikeliest duos: power-poppin' Sweet and former Bangle Hoffs. Under the loose alias of "Sid n Susie," they went Under the Covers, tackling their fave pop songs from the '60s: And Your Bird Can Sing, Different Drum, etc. Now they're back with a new album — and a new decade.
Why we like it: The 50-year-old Hoffs still has a Malibu Barbie coo, and Sweet can summon the heart of Brian Wilson at the drop of a lick. They're a little too faithful to original arrangements, but you can't fault the '70s set list: You're So Vain, Hello It's Me, Everything I Own.
Reminds us of: A poppier Plant & Krauss
Download this: All the Young Dudes
Album: Pyromania: Deluxe Edition (Island/Mercury)
In stores: Now
Why we care: Back in '83, when Def Leppard was king and its drummer still had two arms, rock radio (not to mention a relatively fresh phenomenon called MTV) was overrun by the flaming hits of Pyromania. Produced by Robert "Mutt" Lange, whose isolated guitar riffs and lumbering drums helped break AC/DC, the album charted big, fat head-banging hits: Photograph, Foolin', Rock of Ages. It was style over substance — and it defined that magical decade.
Why we like it: This special 'luxe treatment gives you the remastered album plus a full, shaggy live show from '83, which features a surprise appearance from Queen's Brian May.
Reminds us of: My dad's '79 Toyota Tercel
Download this: Travelin' Band (w/Brian May)
SONG OF THE WEEK
Hank Williams Jr.
Song: Farm Song
Album: 127 Rose Avenue (Curb)
In stores: Now
Why we care: The son of Hank, the father of III, good ol' Bocephus treats his trouble-rich family tradition with a smile, a scream and a shot. He's one of the great, gonzo iconoclasts whose reality just happens to be as wild as his legend. (Hear about the time his stage caught on fire . . . and he kept playing anyway?) On the new one, Junior tackles the tricky state of the union, including a wild, weird "country rap" about the rural life being the only life.
Why we like it: "House fly, apple pie, coonskin hat, eagle eye / In-law, outlaw, suit and tie, overalls / Great oaks, best smokes . . ." Hank Jr. spits his rhymes like he zings chaw, and believe me, there's plenty of cheek in this one.
Reminds us of: Subterranean Mobile-Homesick Blues