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Album Review Playlist: Volume 1

The Y! Music Playlist Blog

For this new playlist series I will be taking a random group of CDs, pulling a single track from each into a playlist, and doing a mini-review for each album. And when I say random, I mean random.

Admittedly, these  playlists will only be for the steadfast music fan as they will jump from genre to genre without a second thought. Anything is game, and you'll never know what's coming next.

Or check out individual tracks, full album links and mini-reviews below.

1. "Atom" - British Sea Power

British Sea Power return after a long wait with a 5-song EP titled Krakenhaus? The EP should hold you over until they release their next full-length, Do You Like The Music?, in February. The opening track "Atom" is a rollicking indie slap upside the head. And the other four songs are solid and diverse.

Foratone started as some improvisational jam sessions between jazz greats Bill Frisell and Matt Chamberlain. They continued to layer on the sound with the help of producer Lee Townsend and although it may not float the boat of many a jazz purist, this record is one of the finest instrumental efforts of the year to date.

Unfortunately, the full-length album by Parisian electro-pop chanteuse Elodie O is not yet available on Yahoo Music Unlimited, but a single track ("L'attente") from the upcoming album titled Stubborn is available. This song will give you a glimpse of what's coming from this sensually gifted songbird.
Hopewell's third release is aptly titled. It is indeed beautiful, and on target. The album is sparse, airy and is especially gorgeous when acoustic guitars, piano and strings connect with sublime and sweeping vocals. A simple, melodic and comfortable effort. MP3s: "All Angels Road", "Tree", "Monolith", "Afterglow"

Justin Broadrick continues his prolific musical onslaught with yet another EP under the Jesu moniker. Lifeline is composed of four more delicious and densely sweet tracks. The disc reverberates like Jesus and Mary Chain at a heroin influenced sex party.

Montreal's Sunset Rubdown deliver a wonderfully quirky album in Random Spirit Lover. It takes a little bit of work, but will grow on you quickly. Fans of Arcade Fire, Frog Eyes and Wolf Parade should take note not to miss it.
7. "Checkin' Up On My Baby" - Mick Jagger

The great-lipped one has finally released a collection of his very best solo work. And I for one say, "Thank God!" Let's face it, Mick's solo records have been hit or miss, but when you take the very best tracks, and one brand new blues-injected number, you've got yourself a disc worth the price of admission. Video trailer

This one came out over a year ago, but I just heard it for the first time last week while perusing the catalogue of a fantastic Seattle indie label called Sarathan Records. The Purrs have produced a straight forward alt rock record whose simple instrumentation proves that all you need for a great record are great songs.

Raúl Midón has the distinction of being the last artist discovered and produced by the late great Arif Mardin. Raul's sophomore effort offers an R&B sensibility with a sprinkle of Latin flavor, and certain cross-over pop appeal. Video: "Pick Somebody Up"

10. "Pictures" - Sia

Sia's new album Some People Have Real Problems won't hit stores until January 2008. So while we wait, I thought I'd throw this song from the March release Lady Croissant, just in case you missed it.

11. "Eucalyptus" - The Deadly Syndrome

The Deadly Syndrome have an excellent new album out titled The Ortolan, but unfortunately it is not yet available on Yahoo Music Unlimited. However, my favorite track from the new album, "Eucalyptus", is available as a live version recorded this past June.

Puddle of Mudd returns with their first album in four years. They're fully cocked and loaded for hard rock radio with this one. If you're bored to death with the overproduced hard-edged, Seattle sound that won't seem to die, steer clear of Famous.

Tiny Masters of Today are a punk brother and sister duo hailing from Brooklyn, NY. They are garnering tons of press due to their ages (one is 13 and the other 11). But how does the album sound? Well, it sounds like an 11-year old and a 13-year old. But keep an ear open for them around 2017.

14. "Looking For Them" - Prong

Power of the Damager is without much doubt the best album Prong has released in quite some time. However, they will most likely continue to be under appreciated and unnoticed. If you're a metal fan, make an effort not to miss this one.

15. "Triceratops" - Health

Health recorded this debut LP at an all ages venue in downtown L.A. called The Smell using antiquated equipment. The end result is much like a fever dream that could very well be on the soundtrack to an eternity in hell. But in a good way.

Chicago metal band Yakuza are known for pushing the boundaries and they continue with Transmutations. It's alt metal progressive jazz art rock for the new millennium, and is personally blessed by Satan himself.
17. "Souless Elegy" - Xasthur

Remember what I said a little while ago about the new Health record being part of the soundtrack to an eternity in hell? Well, this one is on that soundtrack too, but it's the one they play while you're raped by rusty, razorblade-encrusted baseball bats.
18. "I Like" - Sakai

This will probably be the only playlist ever created to follow Xasthur with Sakai, and if you've gotten this far you certainly have an open mind. This soulful R&B singer has released her sophomore full-length Dream Big, and it's smoky neo-soul that wears it's Philly influence well. 
19. "Tattoo" - Jordin Sparks

American Idol winner Jordin Sparks sounds just like you would expect on her first single. Stunning vocals with pathetic lyrics surrounded by mechanical and obviously manufactured song structure and production. In other words, if you like American Idol, you'll love it!
Geologic's lyrics and delivery are impressive on the new Blue Scholars record Bayani, as is Sazbi's production. But the album tends to run together. Although they sound great at what they're doing, what they're doing isn't much.
Hello, Avalanche, is an amazing instrumental indie album that keeps your attention without making you work at it. The star of the show is the Theremin, which downplays the 60's sci-fi sound, and instead opts to fit underneath as a B3 would, or provide melody where a human voice would. Hello, Avalanche is much more than I expected, and a record I will be going back to.

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