Listen as an Oblivians-inspired teenage Jay Reatard and co. shred through 39 angry, rockin' tunes. Marvel at the prolific original songwriting as well as the Fear and Dead Boys covers. You can hear strains of the more melodic and poppy direction Reatard took later in his career on songs like “I'm So Gone” and “When I Get Mad,” and his young voice has the same weirdly touching quality that makes his last record, Watch Me Fall, so great. Twenty-nine-year-old Reatard died in January 2010. This is the first in a promised series of reissues. (Geoff Plant)
Aaron Shragge and Ben Monder draw from the jazz, shakuhachi (Japanese bamboo flute) and North Indian classical traditions in this meditative collection of eight original compositions and two traditional Japanese works. Shragge presents the primary melodic elements on either a shakuhachi or a custom trumpet that, in addition to valves, has a slide that allows him great control in bending tones microtonally, as a voice or flute can. Monder’s imaginative comping on electric guitar casts a sonic nimbus around Shragge’s expressive playing. Together, they create often-mesmerizing music, at once thoughtful and spontaneous, that calms and energizes. (Mel Minter)
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American John Maus makes electro pop reminiscent of Sheffieldian music from the early ’80s, lo-fi soundtracks to games for a Sega Genesis console and Gregorian chanting. This mystical and crystalline mélange, propelled by Maus’ quivering baritone, has dramatic, orchestral qualities, but, thankfully, the maestro doesn’t seem to be taking himself too seriously. “Quantum Leap” is my favorite track—it sounds a little bit like The Human League. “Hey Moon” is a tender slow jam. Put that one on a mix tape for your lover. (Jessica Cassyle Carr)
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