Someone finally got the idea of “Best of” right. Chris Isaak waited nearly 25 years to shape his repertoire of moody, sensual songs like “Wicked Game” and “Baby Did a Bad Bad Thing” into a greatest hits collection and take it on the road. His longtime band Silvertone cracks wise while tightening up behind its frontman, his eyepopping wardrobe, and a silky baritone that swings falsetto. MIA due to a cancer fight is Texan Kenney Dale Johnson, Isaak’s forever drummer and co-conspirator.– Margaret Moser
One-man local strummer in trio with Strange Boys newbie Living Grateful and Chris Catalena & the Native Americans.
Trading grad school classes for hip-hop dreams, Homeboy Sandman lands each line of verse steadily, wasting not a syllable on slur-propelled bravado. Every word spit is flung into the next to set up fits of honesty and wry political commentary. The New York MC rhymes with the same inevitability of a freight train, steady flow creating the backbone for fourth LP First of a Living Breed, released last year by ace brand Stones Throw Records.– Nina Hernandez