By Jessica Cassyle Carr
Youth Group Skeleton Jar (Epitaph)
Let's face it, it's been a while since good rock music came out of Australia. But the glory days, like those of Men At Work, INXS and most importantly, The Church (yes, they are from Australia), can be relived with Youth Group, honestly one of my favorite new bands. Like its predecessors, Youth Group has cultivated a complex, shimmery, pulsating pop rock sound, reinterpreted to create something that sounds very new and evokes a strong sense of place. The songs, though, are still mostly about relationships, which makes the record good for diffusing fullness of heart.
The New Pornographers Twin Cinema (Matador)
Though I like this album more every time I listen to it, as with their 2000 debut Mass Romantic, I'm not quite sure it's consistently good. Still, it contains tracks that I'm so sure are good, I would bet my right arm on it. And I need that arm. The Vancouver seven-piece (which most notably includes Neko Case) on their third album donate to the world something that is undeniably inspired by Brian Eno, and probably a host of other pop rock and experimental staples, yet does not imitate. The album's third song, "Use It," is, in my bent opinion, nothing less than the result of unadulterated brilliance; quality I'd bet my appendages on.
Lil Jon & The East Side Boyz Crunk Juice: Chopped and Screwed (TVT Records)
I can't imagine ever being able to take more than 10 minutes of this aural hell unless I was under the heavy influence of narcotics, or really fucking drunk (actually, this album, and other "screw music" was specially designed for syrup sippin', i.e. drinking liquid codeine). Anyway, because these situations do arise it's nice to have some of this crunk shit on hand. This here screw remix of the Yin Yang Twins' Crunk Juice album comes across with everything from hardcore crunk to booty jams to slow jams, all designed to make you feel even more spun. Yeeeaaahhh!? Nooooooo.
Three Bad Jacks • rock • S.O.L • The Gunmen at Low Spirits
Emmylou Harris & Rodney Crowell • singer-songwriter at Santa Fe Opera
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