KACEY MUSGRAVES, Pageant Material (Mercury): 4 Stars

She’s often compared to fellow Texan Miranda Lambert, but throughout her second album Musgraves most often recalls Lee Ann Womack and frequent co-writer Brandy Clark, with her easy soprano and facility with intimately detailed, melodic songs grounded in working-class reality. Unflashy and mostly midtempo, the handsomely produced album’s smooth surfaces make it seem inconsequential — until Musgraves’ witty, compassionate lyrics start sinking in. Highlights: “High Time,” the sweet “Late to the Party,” “Somebody to Love” and title track (“I’d rather lose for what I am than win for what I ain’t”). kaceymusgraves.com


DUBBEST, Light Flashes (self-released): 3½ Stars

The third album from these youthful Boston jammers is a sonic tonic of breezy, feel-good reggae-pop. Produced by John Brown’s Body/10 Ft. Ganja Plant engineer Craig Welsch, who imbues the tracks with the warm ambiance of ’70s-era roots reggae, songs like the earnestly romantic “One Thing” and “Give In” (“The suffering you face will only take you closer to the light”) float life-affirming mantras over infectious bass grooves. If you’re looking for a summer soundtrack, you could do worse than this easy-on-the-ears set. dubbestmusic.com


FORT KNOX FIVE, Pressurize the Cabin (self-released): 3 Stars

A heavy-bottomed party platter from a Washington, DC-based ensemble cross-wiring funk, hip-hop and fun. The latter’s the not-so-secret ingredient, whether British soul man Ashley Slater’s getting playful with the double entendres and horn commentary of “Fire in My Belly,” Mustafa Akbar is boasting he’ll “Keep It Poppin’,” Thievery Corporation’s Sleepy Wonder is unleashing ska beats and auctioneer-fast raps for “24 Hours to Set It Off,” or the assembled crew’s fusing drones and disco for “Mission to the Sitars.” fortknoxfive.com


LITTLE RICHARD, Directly From My Heart: The Best of the Specialty &

Vee-Jay Years (Specialty): 4½ Stars

“Little” Richard Penniman has seemed like a cartoon of his flamboyant whooping self for so damn long it’s easy to forget what genuinely astonishing and widely influential music the Rock and Roll Hall of Famer made early in his career. This raucous three-disc retrospective seeks to rectify that. Packaging his legendary ’50s Specialty hits (“Tutti Frutti,” “Good Golly, Miss Molly,” “Long Tall Sally,” “Lucille,” among others) with more soulful ’60s tracks recorded for Vee-Jay after he’d returned from his first retreat into the ministry, plus Billy Vera’s knowledgeable liner notes, it places him in broader, more illuminating context as an iconic singer and performer. This is seminal rock ‘n’ roll. concordmusicgroup.com