Conway Twitty and Loretta Lynn The Definitive Collection (MCA)
After Jack White made Loretta Lynn hip last year, it would appear that MCA is cashing in. However, this collection of 24 duets is an amazing display of vocal compatibility, though accompanied by more or less mediocre country instrumentation. What really stands out here is a variety of persona adoptions. As Conway professes love, cheats or leaves, Loretta coos, playfully teases or reacts with utter pain. Classic country fans, take note.
Love as Laughter Laughter's Fifth (Sub Pop)
Laughter's Fifth, the fifth release from Olympia band Love as Laughter, captures the humor and pop aesthetic of Pavement while simultaneously channeling the debauchery of '70s rock (i.e. Neil Young, not Ted Nugent). Here we have crunchy, distorted guitars, sometimes monumental yet understated drums and a front man who laughs at his own broken heart (and who recently performed with Modest Mouse and worked on Beck's One Foot In The Grave). This is a solid rock album, people, and one that comes highly recommended.
The Epoxies Stop The Future (Fat Wreck Chords)
If you've never heard The Epoxies, they fall into a convoluted sci-fi new-wave punk genre. Equipped with synthesizers, guitars and lasers, the "band of castaway mutants" allegedly "gives hope to cyborgs and subhumans everywhere." While I enjoyed The Epoxie's debut LP, and subsequent EP, a band formed on shtick doesn't have much room to expand. Stop The Future is more of the same, but not quite as appealing.