Singer/songwriter Jennifer Nettles can twang it up, but she also features a more mainstream sound ("Already Gone") this time out. And guitarist/songwriter Kristian Bush has pushed a bigger, more electric, arena-ready sound ("Take Me As I Am"). Hard to say if all that will help them conquer more than country radio, but this record gives them a good shot.
-- TED S. McGREGOR JR.
DOWNLOAD: "Steve Earle"
THE BLACK ANGELS
Directions To See a Ghost
& lt;span class= & quot;dropcap & quot; & T & lt;/span & ry as some bands might to hide their influences and roots, it takes only a slightly trained eye to note the elements that hearken back. And if the influences step forward too strongly, a strong case for a lack of imagination can be made. That being said, this Austin-based band lets their latest album title do the speaking in an amazingly prescient fashion. If you want to hear the Velvet Underground-meets-Joy Division, check out the Black Angels.
Full of fuzzed-out psychedelic guitars and echoed feedback, the 11 tracks here offer an aural roadmap across the best of the late-'60s rock. And because many of the songs are more than five minutes long, there is much to devour, especially during the 17-minute closer, "Snake in the Grass." The album will definitely test the patience of many listeners, but it's well worth the necessary effort. Anything with sitars can't be all bad.
-- CAREY MURPHY
DOWNLOAD: "Science Killer"