Anne Briggs-Anne Briggs Stunning first album by British folksinger Briggs, who is like PJ Harvey doing ancient folk ballads
The Magnetic Fields-Distortion: More great songwriting from Stephen Merritt, and I especially like the ones the girl sings
The Raveonettes-Lust Lust Lust They borrow liberally from J&M Chain, but then who doesnâ€™t? Feedbacking guitar, spooky vibe, overall sexy and mysterious feel
Rosie Flores-Rosie Flores â€œRockabilly Fillyâ€ makes her debut in the late â€˜80s, one of the best albums of its kind, ever. When Rosie tells her man â€œGod may forgive you, but I wonâ€™t,â€ she means it.
Rodriguez-Cold Fact Sixto Rodriguez is like a Hispanic Lou Reed. Stone-cold lost classic from â€™71 here
The Grip Weeds- Infinite Soul: The Best Of Excellent power pop from New Jersey. The Kinks meet Cheap Trick meet The Posies
Matthew Sweet-Sunshine Lies Speaking of power pop . . . many of the tracks just lie there, but on the best few he revisits his â€œGirlfriendâ€ peak
Bobbie Gentry-Ode to Billie Joe/Touch â€˜Em With Love 2-for-1 Gentry is an enigmatic character who has not performed or given interviews for ages. This set collects her startling debut with her best album
Beach House-Devotion Baltimoreâ€™s answer to Opal/Mazzy Star improves upon their impressive first album
The Searchers-Loveâ€™s Melody The Searchers have never really gotten the credit they deserve for being at the forefront of mid-â€˜60s jangle, and here, in â€™81, they showed they could handle power pop just as masterfully; they covered Big Star years before the rest of the world caught up
Dennis Wilson-Pacific Ocean Blue The truth is that the effort was more than the end product here, as Dennis just really wasnâ€™t a good singer and could never match brother Brian (who can?) in songwriting and arranging; still, thereâ€™s some movingly moody and evocative stuff here, done by a troubled soul who was on the way down
N.E.R.D.-Seeing Sounds On the first listen I was dancing around the house and raving to friends that it was the record of the year. On future listens I heard the lyrics more closely and thought, arenâ€™t these guys out of junior high yet? I would love to hear it as all instrumentals.
Sean Oâ€™Hagan-Musical Paintings Part of a complicated and interesting collaboration the High Llamasâ€™ main main has done with a Belgian visual artist; as music it just sounds like really good High Llamas instrumentals
Jorge Ben-Jorge Ben Tropicalista heavy and guitar wizard at his best, in 1969Â
The Chevelles-Barbarella Girl God (Best Of) The Ramones from Down Under, with a little more pop sensibility
Flamin Groovies-This Band is Red Hot: 1969-79 The Groovies recorded two of the most memorable tracks in pop/rock history- â€œTeenage Headâ€ and â€œShake Some Action.â€ As this comp. proves, they did a whole lot more, as well. Swampy, greasy rock and roll with a boogie kick.
Various-Thank You Friends: The Ardent Records Story Eye-opening 2-CD collection shows that Alex Chilton and Big Star werenâ€™t the only band doing interesting stuff around Memphis in the â€˜70â€™s
Colin Blunstone-Ennismore/Journey Doesnâ€™t match up to Blunstoneâ€™s post-Zombies masterpiece One Year, but still two solid records that are better than Argent
T. Rex-The Best of the BBC Recordings Marc and friends doing their thing on John Peelâ€™s and Bob Harrisâ€™s radio shows during their Electric Warrior-era heyday
Various Artists-Halloween a Go-Go I generally loathe holiday-themed compilations, but Little Steven and Wicked Cool did one that includes Roky Erickson, The Stems, Howlinâ€™ Wolf, and a Tegan and Sara track that has become a household favorite here on Watts
The Notwist-The Devil, You + Me Boards of Canada if they incorporated more melody into their noises
R.E.M.-Murmur (Expanded Edition) The â€™83 show on disc 2 finds them in their best form and is a reminder of what all the hoopla was about to begin with
Neil Young-Canterbury House 1968 Neil doing an intimate show playing acoustic versions of Buffalo Springfield favorites, as well as stuff that would appear on his underrated solo debut, etc.
Windy & Carl-Songs for the Broken-Hearted Give them credit for sticking to their guns and doing the space rock stuff almost a decade after it became passÃ©; moody, eerie sounds that can help you let your head go
Reuben Wilson and The Cost of Living-Got to Get Your Own B-3 master and jazz hipster Wilson does cool breeze soul
The B-52s-Funplex I have to disagree with all the music writers who have trashed this in print. I keep cueing up â€œHot Cornerâ€ and â€œDeviant Ingredientâ€ when Iâ€™ve had a couple rounds and feel like moving around in the music room.