Alibi V.13 No.52 • Dec 23-29, 2004 

Sonic Reducer

Neil Young Greatest Hits (Reprise)

With fans still waiting for Neil Young's boxed set for more than a decade now, the release of Young's first-ever official greatest hits collection last month was something of a letdown in that it indicates that Shakey will spend perhaps another 10 years working on his mythical career retrospective. What you here get are 16 Young classics you've heard a million times, compiled, as his liner note states, “based on original record sales, airplay and known download history.” The included “supersaturated” stereo DVD version of the album is the best reason to buy it, as the sound is truly enormous.

Various Artists Elko! A Cowboy's Gathering (Dualtone)

With few exceptions, spoken word—especially the recorded variety—makes my skin crawl. And I'm an equal opportunity hater of the medium; be it Jello Biafra, Maggie Estep or Russell Simmons, I can't stand the shit. Most of it, that is. For here is a two-disc set of cowboy poetry, stories and songs performed by Western poetry and music greats like Sons of the San Joaquin, Hot Club of Cowtown, Michael Martin Murphy and some 40 others. Recorded live at 2004's 20th Annual Cowboy Poetry Gathering in Elko, Nev., this is a joyous collection through and through.

Lock and Key Pull Up the Floorboards (Deep Elm)

If more bands aspired to master emocore as it was known courtesy of Jawbreaker and Samiam, we'd have more bands like Boston's Lock and Key to Listen to instead of the myriad emo-lite bands that have begun to make the subgenre something of an embarrassment. Their debut full-length comes on the heals of their much heralded No Fate EP and several stateside tours and showcases the formidable presence of Ryan Shanahan in the midst of a bevy of angst-laden songs that bleed sincerity of desperation. One of the best emo releases in recent history.