By Andrew McNally, Columnist
Jack White - "Blunderbuss"
The more famous Raconteurs singer released his first official solo album, after appearing on many collaborations throughout the years. It is a tight bunch of songs, but the finished product comes rather unexpectedly. The first few tracks, especially the single "Sixteen Saltines," give the album the expected garage-rock, White Stripes feel, but a majority of the album ends up being slower, melodic, acoustic songs. As stand-alone songs, nearly every one is solid, but there are so many and they are so similar that it nearly becomes tedious. It's rarely what you'd expect from Jack White; but then again, that's Jack White for you.
RIYL: The Raconteurs, Grace Potter & The Nocturnals
Brendan Benson - "What Kind Of World"
The less famous Raconteurs singer is back with his fifth solo album, and it follows in his track of albums that are never revolutionary, but just a nice listen. It always seems to be on the border of generic singer-songwriter rock, but the pacing of the songs continuously offset each other. "What Kind of World" does not try to be any kind of progression for Benson or music in general, he simply wrote a pleasant listen. And he succeeded. It's a solid set of guitar heavy alt-pop, the exact median of the Who and John Mayer.
RIYL: Built To Spill, Todd Rundgren
Dragonforce - "The Power Within"
Grade: D/F (Get it?)
Few teenage boys over the past five years haven't gone through a guitar phase where they wished they were in DragonForce. Their cheesy 80s "throwbacks" are the perfect soundtrack to an all-nighter playing Halo 3. In other words, they're far too ridiculous to exist as a serious band. Armed with a new singer (I couldn't tell), "The Power Within" delivers 10 hilariously nonstop power metal songs about death and destruction. It's fun, sure, in the most exquisitely ludicrous way. Every song has seemingly the same rhythm, and drumming. It might just be so absurd that I cannot competently give it a proper grade.
RIYL: Mountain Dew, Guitar Hero