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CD Reviews:
The Listening Room: Eric Clapton and the Monkees do Christmas, and more...

By Gary Graff
ggraff@digitalfirstmedia.com, @GraffonMusic on Twi

» See more SOUND CHECK

Checking out this week's new music releases...

Album of the Week: The holiday music season gets in gear with seasonal releases from two surprising sources. Eric Clapton gifts guitar fans with the eclectic "Happy Xmas" (Surfdog), while the Monkees get their Yule on for "Christmas Party" (Rhino), with help from Weezer's Rivers Cuomo, XTC's Andy Partridge, R.E.M.'s Peter Buck and Fountains of Wayne's Adam Schlesinger, who produced the set.

Album Title of the Week: Morgan Evans, "Things That We Drink To" (Warner Music Nashville);

New & Noteworthy: Edie Brickell & New Bohemians, "Rocket" (Verve Forecast); Elvis Costello & the Imposters, "Look Now" (Concord); John Hiatt, "The Eclipse Sessions" (New West); Insane Clown Posse, "Ringmaster" (Psychopathic); Ella Mai, "Ella Mai" (Interscope); Tom Morello, "The Atlas Underground" (Mom & Pop); Travis Scott, "Astroworld" (Epic); Usher and Zaytoven, "A" (Brand Usher/RCA)

Also Out: Jimmie Allen, "Mercury Lane" (Stoney Creek); Atreyu, "In Our Wake" (Spinefarm); Beyond Creation, "Algorythm" (Season of Mist); Blues Traveler, "Hurry Up & Hang Around" (BMG); The Bottle Rockets, "Bit Logic" (Bloodshot); Crye, "Crye" (Frontiers); Evanescence, "Synthesis Live" (Eagle Rock); Lupe Fiasco, "Drogas Wave" (1st and 15th); Impellitteri, "The Nature of the Beast" (Frontiers); Paul Kelly, "Nature" (Cooking Vinyl); Nazareth, "Tattooed on My Brain" (Frontiers); nct#127, "Regular-Irregular" (SM Entertainment); Outer Heavens, "Realms of Eternal Decay" (Relapse); Graham Parker, "Cloud Symbols" (100% Records); Polyphia, "New Levels New Devils" (Equal Vision); Seventh Wonder, "Tiara" (Frontiers); TobyMac, "The Elements" (Forefront); Uncle Acid & the Deadbeats, "Wasteland" (Rise Above); Kurt Vile, "Bottle It In" (Matador); Colter Wall, "Songs of the Plains" (Young Mary's); Young The Giant, "Mirror Master" (New Elektra)

New Holiday Albums: Eric Clapton, "Happy Xmas" (Surfdog); Dailey & Vincent, "The Sounds of Christmas" (BMG); Englebert Humperdinck, "Warmest Christmas Wishes" (OK! Good); Michael McDonald, "Season of Peace: The Christmas Collection" (BMG); The Monkees, "Christmas Party" (Rhino); LeAnn Rimes, "It's Christmas, Eve" (EverLe)

From The Vaults: David Bowie, "Loving the Alien [1983-1988]" (Rhino/Parlophone); Dave Davies, "Decade" (Red River); Bobbie Gentry, "The Girl From Chickasaw County -- The Complete Capitol Masters" (Capitol Nashville) Peter Holsapple and Alex Chilton, "The Death of Rock" (Omnivore)

Soundtracks: "First Man: Original Motion Picture Soundtrack" (Backlot); "Halloween III: Season of the Witch" (Death Waltz)

New Music Videos: Evanescence, "Synthesis Live" (Eagle Rock); Elvis Presley, "The Searcher" (RCA/Legacy)

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