usherWhen I first heard the title of Usher’s new record, Raymond vs Raymond, I thought perhaps it was a concept album based on the 1979 Dustin Hoffman starring drama, Kramer vs Kramer. I was sort of right. In the movie Dustin Hoffman and his wife divorce, leaving him to raise his son on his own, whilst in real life Usher and his wife recently divorced, leaving him to raise Justin Bieber on his own. None of that is all that relevant to the quality of the album though, which is top-notch.

mgmt2008’s crossover success story MGMT recently released their oddly covered second album, Congratulations. It’s a more toned down effort this time around, missing are the obvious hit singles like Kids and Electric Feel, but anyone who enjoyed their less immediate, more psychedelic numbers should be pleased with this one.

david bowieDavid Bowie’s excellent two-disc career overview, Best Of Bowie, is now in our collection. Do yourself a favour and track this down, because he is responsible for some of the best rock music ever made. Every song’s a winner, from his Ziggy Stardust days – The Thin White Duke, to whatever he called himself in the early 80s when he seemed to dance about in outback pubs a little too much.

pixiesMy favourite ever band, Pixies, are now in the collection with a best of called Wave Of Mutilation. Don’t just trust me when I say they’re great, Radiohead’s Thom Yorke has openly admitted they were trying to rip off the Pixies on their first album, Kurt Cobain also shared a similar admiration. Noisy, weird and endlessly fun to shout along with.

Volume 2 / Brotha D & the Dawn Raid Family is a compilation showcasing the hip hop and R&B talent on Auckland’s Dawn Raid label. If local hip hip is your thing you’ll be glad to hear from the likes of Monsta Ganjah, Deceptikonz, Aaradhna and more.

xxUK indie buzz band The xx were the subject of much fawning in the music press last year for their debut The xx. Sometimes so much hype can set a young band up for a fall, but The xx overcame the magazine covers to deliver a solid album that should see them on the road to a nice career. If the genre dream-pop sounds appealing, this is for you.

More indie-pop, this time from Local Natives with Gorilla Manor. Described as “afropop-influenced guitars with hyperactive drumming and hooky three-part harmonies”, you know they’re going to be fun to listen to. A more easy listening Animal Collective, perhaps?

80’s goth/pop favourites The Cure are a band you should familiarise yourself with, and what better starting point is Greatest Hits? All the best bits from the post-punk days in 1979, to the elder statesmen pop days of 2001. It’s also a good starting point for the great, great British alternative scene of the 1980s.

Speaking of 1980’s alternative British bands, The Smiths were one of the most influential, and the most pleasingly literate (this is after all a library blog). As a colleague said when we were out buying these CDs, “The Smiths will always have a place in the hearts of teenagers, right?” Right. The sound of The Smiths is a very well compiled best of from Manchester’s finest.

If you’ve ever listened to a rock song and thought to yourself, “this is fine, but it’s a bit over-complicated”, rest assured The Ramones thought the exact same thing. Hey ho let’s go : greatest hits is a great overview from the original punks and the self-described Beatles on speed. It’s not stripped down rock and roll, it’s distilled rock and roll.

Ten is enough for now, but there’s a lot more on the way…