April 28, 2014 12:00 PM

>AUGUST ALSINA

Testimony

This R&B newbie may have a smooth croon, but he still packs grit on his full-length debut. The New Orleans native tells his street stories—like on the Jeezy-assisted “Make It Home” and the Fabolous-featuring “Grind & Pray/Get Ya Money”— eventually overcoming the struggle and making it to the other side. []

LONDON GRAMMAR

If You Wait

If Florence Welch fronted Massive Attack, it might sound something like this British trip-hop trio. Their debut, which arrives in the U.S. after being released in the U.K. last September, transports you to a dreamy place with moody atmospherics and the ethereal vocals of Hannah Reid. []

THE SECRET SISTERS

Put Your Needle Down

On their T Bone Burnett-produced sophomore album, Nashville sisters Laura and Lydia Rogers blend country, folk, blues and gospel as naturally as they harmonize their voices. They even get the Dylan seal of approval, finishing the “Dirty Lie” tune he started. []

JOSH THOMPSON

Turn It Up

From the opening “Down for a Get Down” to the chugging “Drink Drink Drink,” there is plenty of honky-tonk to be pumped on the concise (31-minute) second album from this country singer. But two of the best tracks, “A Little Memory” and “Left This Town,” find Thompson trading revelry for reflection. []

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