Matisyahu Spark Seeker (Fallen Sparks Records)
Maybe I'm having a bad day, but every time a track starts on this album I keep thinking it's going to bust into KLF's “3 a.m. Eternal” or “White Room” or some shit ... at which point I will be transported to the New Mexico State Fair midway and the summer of 1993, where I am smoking hash behind the Himalaya ride, which, of course, is BLASTING KLF remixes. Some of Matisyahu's music reminds me of the On-U Sound production qualities. Some of it sounds like Black-Eyed Peas. That said, Spark Seeker has excellent high energy and unmistakably 2012 Kool Kojak production, but there's just too much of a peace and positivity gloss all over this mostly reggae-rap-pop music for my taste. I predict one of these songs will accompany young people having the time of their lives in a TV show nightclub scene by Thanksgiving. (Geoffrey Plant)
My Darling Clementine How Do You Plead? (Five Head Entertainment)
Sometimes the British make amazing facsimiles of American music. Imitations of country and Western have been played in England since the ’50s, perhaps peaking at the Rolling Stones' Exile on Main St. My Darling Clementine (made up of The Good Sons founder Michael Weston King and his wife, Lou Dalgleish) goes for the sincere flattery of vintage American instruments and accents, including a good bit of the nasally voiced singing. From the George and Tammy-styled lyrics about cheating, crying and drinking, to the nifty ’60s Nashville-sound album art, How Do You Plead? is sure to please a wide range of country music fans. (Geoffrey Plant)
I’m going to slowly back away from this newest Cat Power album and go find my copy of Moon Pix. I’m not saying that Sun is no good, but the excessive electronic parts feel mushy and wrong in my ears. That combined with layers of sounds and too many production tricks makes for something less pleasant than the beautifully raw, minimalist Chan Marshall songs of yesteryear. That said, I wouldn’t turn off “Ruin” or “Nothing But Time” if they came on the radio. (Jessica Cassyle Carr)
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