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Playing Favorites

We asked three music obsessives to pick a recent album they can’t stop listening to.

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SHARON JONES & THE DAP-KINGS, ‘100 DAYS, 100 NIGHTS’
In a just world, this fierce album from Brooklyn’s premier funk-soul revivalists would banish sanitized neo-soul singers like Corinne Bailey Rae to the Starbucks bargain bin. Jones grooves from an earthy grumble to a Tina Turner wail with ease, and the arrangements are so steeped in sensuality even the horns sound suggestive. A studio album may never live up to the band’s feverish live shows, but this one, which arrives like the soundtrack to the sort of damp, sexy rent party that would have made Baby Houseman blush, comes close. −Sara Cardace


VANESSA CARLTON, ‘HEROES & THIEVES’
A few months after the release of her debut album, in 2002, this magazine reported that Vanessa Carlton went off birth control, telling a source, “The last thing I need is more estrogen. I am already too sensitive, as are my songs.” Rap-label man Irv Gotti co-produced it (along with song gurus Linda Perry and Stephan Jenkins), but her third disc isn’t a reinvention—it’s pure, effervescent Nessa. Packaged in big, bright doses of piano-pop, her expressions of puppy love are as irresistible as puppies themselves. −Nick Catucci


THE BUDOS BAND, ‘THE BUDOS BAND II’
Who would’ve guessed Staten Island rocked like this? I’ll be honest. I listened to this album for the first time because a dude who works in the production department here plays conga in the band. But I kept listening to it because it’s so goddamned hot—instrumental seventies-style funk-soul, overflowing with polyrhythmic beats and sleek horns. You could put it on in any room in the world—a nightclub in Barcelona, a nursing home in Tenafly—and folks would not be able to stop themselves from dancing. −Hugo Lindgren


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