It took pint-sized grime sprite Lady Sovereign two years and almost 20 Internet releases to finally cough up the massively overhyped hairball that is Public Warning. Hot on the heels of the critical—if not commercial—success of similarly bombastic U.K. acts The Streets and MIA, Public Warning is a sanitary, inorganic compost of rap, electro and dance hall. Choppy sub bass beats lend a modest amount of listenability, but are ultimately overwhelmed by Sov’s schoolyard shit-slinging and sophomoric “here I am!” lyrical canon. Sov may have a fighting chance at making a decent second album—if she can crawl out of Jay Z’s lap.
Chim! Chim! Chim! Sing a song of praise, Pavement zealots! Wowee Zowee: Sordid Sentinels Edition, the third installment of Matador’s biannual Pavement reissue series, has at last made its way into our greasy meat hooks. Wowee Zowee, initially released in 1995, is the cardinal opus of ’90s slacker rock; a spontaneous melodic clatter, clearheaded in its own weirdness and peppered with mercurial mood swings and Stephen Malkmus’ signature lilting, meandering vocals. The reissue includes B sides, radio spots, live tracks and session outtakes. Matador need not worry about marketing; Pavement’s devout congregation will likely sell this one to itself.
After an underwhelming solo debut in 2004 and subsequent outing with Mark Lanegan of The Screaming Trees, indie gamine Isobel Campbell returns, untriumphant, to deliver Milkwhite Sheets, a collection of traditional and original British folk songs. Cashing in on her Belle and Sebastian alumnus cred—which undoubtedly earns her more requisite fans than if she had only just emerged from the misty moors of Brigadoon—Campbell delivers a rickety, boring, uninspired homage to the folk traditions of the British isles. It’s time for this cello-toting wood nymph to beg Stuart Murdoch for her job back.