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Monday, June 2, 2008

Alive (Wrasse)

To call the Chinese regime unresponsive to its ethnic minorities would be the depth of diplomatic understatement. With well more than 50 minorities, from Tibetans to Mongolians, the great nation is packed with different traditions, many of them under duress. Inner Mongolian singer Sa Dingding has a sharp . . .
Monday, June 2, 2008

Diesel and Dust: Legacy Edition (Columbia/Legacy)

Midnight Oil frontman Peter Garrett has become a politician and serves as a minister in Australia’s cabinet. No one should be surprised, given the calls to political activism in his lyrics. But, as becomes apparent on the reissue of Midnight Oil’s classic of alternative album rock, Diesel and Dust, Garrett’s efforts . . .
Monday, May 26, 2008

Spoken Answer to a Silent Question (Aftermusic)

Milwaukee's Boy Dirt Car (BDC), among the elite of American industrial bands in the 1980s, returns for the group’s first studio recording in about 20 years. Where once they engaged in metallic, percussive excursions, the mood has changed. Drones, throbs and the sounds of various modes of transportation dominate . . .
Monday, May 26, 2008

Momofuku (Lost Highway)

Roseanne Cash and Loretta Lynn co-wrote a couple of songs with Elvis Costello on Momofuku, but Costello’s new album isn’t Americana or alt country. If anything, it explores another foundational influence for one of Britain’s great songwriters of the past 30 years: ’60s rock. Although there are specific echoes . . .
Monday, May 26, 2008

My Bones

The second EP from Champaign, Ill.’s Santa solidifies and tweaks the band’s brand of infectious, psychedelic indie-pop. Throughout the six songs, Santa shows a distinctive sound while allowing room to experiment with song structure and textures . . .
Monday, May 26, 2008

Keep It Simple (Lost Highway)

Van Morrison's explorations into Americana continue on Keep It Simple, a follow-up to the jazzy What's Wrong With This Picture? and, more recently, the country escapades of Pay the Devil. And with residual elements of each—the B-3 organ of the former, the dobro twang of the latter—Morrison adds a Ray Charles-esque . . .
Tuesday, May 20, 2008

Seventh Tree (Mute)

On their last two albums, 2003's Black Cherry and 2005's Supernature, the duo of Alison Goldfrapp and Will Gregory—known together under her surname—achieved the uncommon feat of making dance music that didn't require its listeners to stop thinking. Their latest, Seventh Tree, keeps the musical intelligence, but . . .
Tuesday, May 20, 2008

Seven Lucky Plays, Or How to Fix Songs For a Broken Heart (Langu

His bio maintains that Ilya Monosov was shaped by dissident Russian culture in the late Soviet period and that this influence can be discerned in his music and English-language lyrics. Collaborating with members of the acoustic, medieval psychedelic group Fern Knight, he has shaped a moody album sung in a . . .
Tuesday, May 20, 2008

Only Way Home (Fair Webber)

Milwaukee's Barb and Tom Webber describe their third disc as "roots/Americana/folk," but that may actually be selling them a tad short. Yes, Tom has a craggy baritone that suggests the lost brother of Jim Post or John Prine, and chief songwriter Barb sounds like she could have come from a family that includes Joan . . .
Tuesday, May 20, 2008

Crossing Dragon Bridge (Blue Rose Records)

The title of Crossing Dragon Bridge was inspired by the landmark that Steve Wynn regularly traversed during a recent three-week stay in Ljubljana, Slovenia, where the founder of ’80s alternative-rock pioneers The Dream Syndicate recorded his first solo album since 2001.

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