Noteworthy: Reviews of new music

Audioslave – Revelations (Epic/Interscope): Releasing three studio albums in a four-year span was standard procedure for '70s rock icons, but today it seems downright anachronistic. Which makes it a good fit for Audioslave, the supergroup formed by ex-Soundgarden frontman Chris Cornell and the erstwhile members of Rage Against the Machine (minus singer Zach de la Rocha). "Revelations" may not be the holy grail of hard rock (that honor goes to any of several Led Zeppelin efforts), but it provides ample stomp and brio nonetheless. Accents of R&B and funk make the disc's finer moments ("One and the Same" leads the way) sound like vintage Living Colour, with guitarist Tom Morello dishing up tasty, squiggly guitar lines. Cornell yowls like Robert Plant and, when he cools down, as on "Nothing Left to Say but Goodbye," he's no less impressive. Occasional sludge bogs down a couple of songs, but, on the whole, "Revelations" once again makes plausible the notion of hard rock for grown-ups. Grade: B+
– Erik Spanberg

Beyoncé – B'day (Sony): R&B diva Beyoncé seems determined to outmaneuver the possibility of a sophomore slump on this record, her first since Destiny's Child disbanded. The singer has moved past the naive first blush of love, and her 2003 solo-debut album "Dangerously In Love," to embrace a powerful "hear me roar" album. She manages to be both a frantically jealous woman through the frenetic beats of "Ring The Alarm" and doting and love-dazed in funk-infused "Suga Mama." Sure-to-be club hit "Upgrade U" is easily the album's star, with "Freakum Dress" and "Green Light" tying for a close second. Listeners leave the album with the impression that the diva has kept a firm grasp on doing what she does best: body-shaking, dance-floor-worthy jams. Grade: B+
– Elizabeth Owuor

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