Review of the new records from Karen O, Ryan Adams, and more


Karen O, Crush Songs
As the frontwoman for the Yeah Yeah Yeahs, Karen O is a volcano, pouring hot magma into yowls of heartbreak and isolation. She’s an artist capable of major impact, so it’s a little jarring how small her first solo album sounds. The lo-fi bedroom lullabies on Crush Songs do have a pretty simplicity, but it’s ultimately a sleepy listen with a lot of half-formed song sketches. Still, O’s ethereal spirit can’t help but haunt, as it does on the gently noisy ”Body” and the harrowing ”Comes the Night.” BKyle Anderson

Ryan Adams, Ryan Adams
For a while it felt like Ryan Adams couldn’t stop putting out records. He waited three years, though, to release his self-titled latest, and it serves as proof that he should take breaks more often. That whiskey-soaked sensitive-alt-cowboy sound is still strong, but he also gives in to his classic-rock impulses excellently, on tracks like the Boss-y ”Kim.” Elsewhere, Adams finds moments of quiet beauty (”My Wrecking Ball”) and rabble-rousing rock (”Trouble”). It may be his 14th album, but the man still has some tricks up his tattooed sleeve. A-Ray Rahman

Robert Plant, lullaby and…The Ceaseless Roar
The ex-Led Zep legend has always been something of an old folkie at heart — and it’s tempting to say this 10th solo release is a return to those roots, given the heavy Celtic vibe of, say, toe-tapping album opener ”Little Maggie.” But lullaby is clearly the result of a lifetime of omnivorous listening, and its multitude of borrowings from other genres meld elegantly to frame Plant’s inimitably keening vocals. B+Clark Collis