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-- SHERYL CROW's bloated, sterile take on the Cat Stevens-penned ''The First Cut Is the Deepest'' left us pained. She redeems herself with a heartfelt acoustic version from Sessions@AOL. ITUNES.COM

-- Interested in an underground stew of jazzy electro-pop? Give a listen to the trumpet-laced lullaby ''Systemitis'' by Seattle-based producer PLAN B (a.k.a. James van Leuven). PLANBBOY.COM/MUSIC.HTML

-- THE SECRET MACHINES, who fuse the space rock of Pink Floyd and Spiritualized, offer their debut months ahead of its release. Don't miss the cinematic ballad ''Leaves Are Gone.'' THESECRETMACHINES.COM

-- You'll have to wait until 2005 for a new WHITE STRIPES album, but take heart in the blustering blues of their ''Black Jack Davey,'' a good indication that a rumored rarities disc will arrive by year's end. ITUNES.COM

Originally posted Mar 19, 2004 Published in issue #756 Mar 19, 2004 Order article reprints

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