What's the buzz? They've been oddball rock stars for the past fifteen years and there's very little that this LA-based group hasn't accomplished. Their string of eponymous releases is always wildly popular with their fans and anticipation for "The Red Album" scored them a Spin magazine cover story. 
Is it worth a damn? Rivers Cuomo doesn't disappoint in the slightest. Of the ten songs included in this short-but-sweet disc, all of them make you want to fall in love. Tunes like "Heart Songs" and "Pork and Beans" showcase how versatile the group is. Plus it was produced by Rick Rubin. When's the last time he struck out? 
Chances it'll be nominated for a Grammy: 85 percent. The one thing they haven't accomplished yet is winning a Grammy, and if rock continues to have a down year creativity-wise, "The Red Album" should warrant this band a miniature gramophone for sure.  

Santogold: L.E.S. artist.
Santogold: L.E.S. artist.

What's the buzz? The Roots has been doing a ton of press in support of the album and with only two original members of the group left (Black Thought and ?uestlove), it was a mystery how much Rising Down would even sound like the Roots.  
Is it worth a damn? Rising Down isn't their classic album Things Fall Apart, and if you expect it to sound like that, you'll be disappointed. But as far as raw honesty goes, this is their most in-your-face album to date. And Black Thought raps like he's a can of Red Bull on "75 Bars."  
Chances it'll be nominated for a Grammy: 70 percent. The group has lots of respect with industry insiders and that should help. But the album is dark, angry and unflinching, so don't be surprised if it gets passed over for a more commercial rap selection.  

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