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Album Review Playlist: Volume 3

The Y! Music Playlist Blog

The Album Review Playlist series takes a random group of CDs, pulls a single track from each into a playlist, and includes a mini-review for each album.
Anything is game, and you'll never know what's coming next.

1. "Down On The Ground" - British Sea Power

The newest British Sea Power album Do You Like Rock Music? arrives on February 12th. I've heard an advance copy, and can say with some confidence, that it will be well received. There are two tracks on the Krankenhaus? EP that will appear on the upcoming LP including "Down On The Ground". The album reaches epic Arcade Fire-like heights, and is even better than the EP would have you believe.

The highly influential krautrock band Can is still not well known among the mainstream, but hopefully this 2-disc remastered release of their career-spanning Anthology will help change that.Following a successful remastering series of all 13 Can albums, this compilation  was released on a 2-CD set and via digital download on Mute / Spoon in October.  "Yoo Doo Right" is 20-minute+ must hear track.

The French electronic duo Cassius have finally released 15 Again in the United States after over a year of being on shelves in Europe. If you're a fan of Daft Punk, LCD Soundsystem or Air this is a release you simply cannot miss. Even though it's 15 years into the career of the duo, it's better late than never.
To continue, there is more French electronic music hitting American shores on March 4. Mlle Caro & Franck Garcia will be releasing the album Pain Disappears as the first release on the new Buzzin' Fly label started by Ben Watt. The first (and best) track on the new release "Always You" is available on YMU via the Always You EP. It's a blissful downtempo number that really highlights the band's strengths, although the drums on the full-length are a bit too uninspired for my tastes.

26-year old Swede Jens Lekman has released his second full-length in North America to much critical acclaim. It's a sensitive, abundantly orchestrated affair that fans will love. Somewhere between Burt Bacharach and Beck, Night Falls Over Kortedala
is a record that may strike you as overly sappy or absolutely brilliant.

Five For Fighting's first live recording Back Country - Live is now available on DVD, CD or as a DVD/CD combo pack. It was recorded live in Orlando, Fl and the DVD includes films from charities supported by John Ondrasik's What Kind Of World Do You Want? video site. The tender singer-songwriter is in fine form here, and the collection would make a fine Christmas gift for the 54F fan in your life.
7. "Poor Old Dirt Farmer" - Levon Helm

Many are hailing Dirt Farmer as the comeback of the year, and I completely agree. Helm is a legend, as any fan of The Band would attest, but when he was diagnosed with throat cancer in the 90s many thought it was the end. Well, he beat the cancer at the cost of his vocal chords, but has worked to regain his voice. Dirt Farmer is his first solo release since 1982 and it's sounds like he hasn't missed a beat. Cancer be damned! You need to pick this Grammy nominated album up ASAP if you haven't already.

There is officially no sophomore slump for Beruit. If you liked the debut, you'll flip over The Flying Club Cup. It has a ton of buzz for a very good reason. It's a great album. And if you dig melancholic croon with a touch of cabaret, put this one in your own stocking, or add it to your Christmas list.

9. "Into A Swan" - Siouxsie Sioux

I have loved Siouxsie Sioux since the beginning, and it's hard to believe she's still going at 50, nevermind releasing something as good a MantaRay. This is Siouxsie's first solo album without the Banshees and this although record got me listening to all my old Siouxsie and the Banshees records, it also  has won me over on it's own merits.

10. "Slow Me Down" - Emmy Rossum

The chances of me hating the music of a actress-turned-pop star are extremely high. And although the debut album by actress Emmy Rossum on Geffen is indeed not my cup of tea, it's not the standard regurgitated, plastic pop so prevalent today. Sure it's over-processed and over-produced, but her voice is more in line with Enya than Britney. And that's a good thing.

11. "Trouble Shot" - Mike Ladd

Mike Ladd's 2004 European-only release Nostalgialator is finally getting an US release on the Definitive Jux label. Before MP3 this would be big news as it meant not having to pay large import prices, today not so much, but if you haven't heard this critically acclaimed album or have been waiting for a US release to buy the disc, you'll get your chance on January 15th.

Over two years in the making, Tusk's The Resisting Dreamer is really a single 37-minute song split into 4 tracks and sung with guest vocalists due to the absence of original vocalist Jody Monnoch. Walking the line between metal and dream pop,  The Resisting Dreamer is an infinitely interesting listen whose grating tendencies are smoothed over just enough to hold your ear.

13. "With My Own Bare Hands" - Ween

Ween released their 11th full-length album, La Cucaracha back in October. "With My Own Bare Hands" is an exceptionally vulgar track, that rocks hard and combines bad language and Ween's razor sharp wit. As with most Ween albums, La Cucarachca doesn't take itself seriously, and is absolutely pointless to review.

Some good friends of mine were married at the French Huguenot church in Charleston, S.C. This was my only contact with the Huguenots until now. The band "The Huguenots" are not French and disbanded some time ago, but Hydra Head Records has now issued this compilation of the band. An avant-punk outfit with energy to spare.

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