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Top 20 Rock Albums, July 2014

Top 20 Rock Albums, July 2014


If heavy is what you want, you'll be satisfied by Napster's rock roundup for July. In addition to Seether's Isolate and Medicate, prepare yourself for new releases from Chelsea Grin, Islander, Bigelf, Every Time I Die, Crobot and hardcore veterans Rise Against. Another choice pick is the Out of the Black EP by young upstarts Royal Thunder. If you dig hard-grooving blues rock in the vein of The Black Keys and White Stripes, then this British duo will definitely tickle you in all the right places.

But not every album in our roundup was forged from thunder and lightning. Smooth and sassy troubadour Jason Mraz returns with his fifth full-length, YES!, a significantly less boisterous set than previous efforts. Mraz instead goes for more of a classic California sound, a hushed and meditative blend of folk pop and '70s-era Fleetwood Mac and Supertramp. Fans of Phillip Phillips and Passenger certainly will dig YES! And speaking of troubadours, Ed Sheeran's highly anticipated sophomore effort, X, finds him further fleshing out his unique mix of mainstream club music and British folk.

You will also discover a healthy dose of classic rock courtesy of new releases from Cowbell and Blackberry Smoke. Like Royal Thunder, the former is a duo hailing from the United Kingdom, one in love with twang-fried boogie 'n' roll. Though their debut album, Beat Stampede, was released in 2012, it's been receiving some long overdue buzz from the music press in recent months. As for Blackberry Smoke, the modern-day Southern rockers have just unleashed Leave a Scar: Live in North Carolina. The sprawling set is a showcase for the band's ability to stretch out and get all jammy when in a concert setting. Now get listening ...

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