The Review: August Music

Eminem

Relapse

Interscope Records

****1/2

Guess who's back? Finally! Eminem is clean, sober, buff and just as antagonistic as he ever was. If you are looking for dance floor jams, you might be disappointed. Some of the newer "Top 40" songs aren't as catchy as his previous hits, but that's not what makes this record great. It's the darker and more underground tracks that showcase his lyrical ability and remind us that he is one of the greatest MCs there is. Eminem isn't just about his pop hits and funny videos. He's a real artist and doesn't have to rely on Auto-Tune or party anthems to get by. "3 AM," "Hello" and "Bagpipes From Baghdad" are just straight-up dope, head-bobbing tracks. As is "Déjà vu," which dives straight into the reasons he went to rehab. Relapse is just as epic as anything in Em's catalog! — Jeannie Long

Green Day

21st Century Breakdown

Reprise Records

****

Green Day is one of the few bands that have been around forever and are still creating relevant and interesting music. Picking up where they left off with American Idiot, Green Day continues their storytelling and has ultimately spawned another masterpiece. The CD is broken up into three acts with different themes and blasts over an hour of songs full of heart, ambition and grandiosity. Gone are the days of Dookie. This is a more mature and succinct Green Day, with 70s rock-influenced anthems of commentary on social issues and real-life moments. 21st Century Breakdown is full of classic tracks, but "!Viva la Gloria!," "Last Night on Earth" and "East Jesus Nowhere" stood out. — Jeannie Long

Gallows

Grey Britain

Sire Records

***1/2

If you like your punk rock mixed with a little metal and your metal mixed with a little punk rock, Gallows is your band. Equal parts heavy, harsh and flashy, Gallows brings a fresh take on rock music by blending influence of UK punk rock with hardcore. Grey Britain is great for an afternoon session — it'll get your adrenaline pumped and primed to head out on the lake and pound the wake like a madman. "London is the Reason," "Black Eyes" and "The Great Forgiven" kick ass. — Jeannie Long

The Most Serene Republic

…And The Ever Expanding Universe

Arts & Crafts

***1/2

It's a sunny day with a slight breeze; the lake is calm and birds are chirping; you're sharing a cold beverage with your best friend and you need a good CD to mark this moment. This is where …And The Ever Expanding Universe glides in. Based out of Canada, The Most Serene Republic is part of the music scene that produced the likes of Arcade Fire, Broken Social Scene and The Stills. Borrowing a bit from the scene and adding in Air as an influence, Universe sounds like an art project gone right. The songs are airy and light with strings, guitars, banjos and lots of electronic loops and beeps that have a calming sense that's also bold and intriguing. TMSR is an indie gem. Check out "Heavens to Purgatory," "Vessels of a Donor Look" and "The Old Forever New Things." — Jeannie Long

Songs to download:

Ben Harper & the Relentless 7    "Shimmer & Shine"        benharper.com

Cage the Elephant        "Aint No Rest For The Wicked"    myspace.com/cagetheelephant

Depeche Mode            "Wrong"            myspace.com/depechemode

Glasses Malone            "Sun Comes Up"        myspace.com/gmalone

Illinois                "Kid Catastrophe"        myspace.com/illinois

Method Man & Redman        "A-Yo"                myspace.com/methodman

Passion Pit            "Sleepyhead"            http://rcrdlbl.com/artists/Passion_Pit/track/Sleepyhead

Street Sweeper Social Club    "Fight! Smash! Win!"        streetsweepersocialclub.com