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Playlist, August 2011

August 1, 2011

Neil Young With The International Harvesters A Treasure (Reprise)
From Hank to Hendrix, Neil Young is renowned for exploring any musical genre he can wrap a guitar string around. This live collection from mid-''80s tours showcases a band of legendary Nashville sidemen, including the late, great Ben Keith. With traditional country meter and melody, the band follows the beat like a bird dog on a covey of quail, while Young''s vocals channel Hank William''s swagger. Selections include familiar and previously unreleased songs. A Treasure will be released in several enhanced formats. If you''re a fan of the Nashville vibe, this is an adventure into the past that you can''t miss.

—Craig Dalton

Bon Iver Bon Iver (Jagjaguwar)
Working with a 10-piece ensemble, Justin Vernon reconjures the magic and mystery of his mesmerizing 2008 debut, For Emma, Forever Ago, recorded in an isolated Wisconsin cabin during the dead of winter. “Towers” seems to encapsulate the whole of early-''70s Cali country rock, “Calgary” mates a soaring melody with a percolating groove, the widescreen closer “Beth/Rest” has the epic scale of the theme from a classic western film, and practically every track turns on Vernon''s signature move—multitracked vocals.
—Bud Scoppa

Various True Soul: Deep Sounds From the Left of Stax (Now-Again)
This incredibly rich anthology of rareties from the True Soul Label contains dozens of the best ''60s/''70s funk and soul songs you''ve never heard. Lee Anthony''s Little Rock, AR, label was left of Stax, alright (and not just geographically). These nicely remastered tracks are rougher, grittier, funkier, and looser than Stax recordings—and often in a good way. Included are detailed notes and vintage photos on the recordings.
—Barbara Schultz

Teddybears Devil''s Music (Big Beat)
Guest vocalists galore step out on the Swedish electro-punk trio''s latest, which has gone through some changes since its soft release in Sweden (the most obvious—and questionable—being the replacement of up-and-comer Maipei''s feisty lead vocal on “Cardiac Arrest” with dance-pop diva Robyn''s smoother take). Gems here include Eve''s robotically groove-pushing “Rocket Science,” Wayne Coyne''s sunny and psychedelic “Crystal Meth Christians,” and Rigo''s slurry retread of Duran Duran''s “Rio” on “Tek It Down.”
—Bill Murphy

Sonia Leigh 1978 December (Southern Ground Artists)
This young singer/songwriter—recently signed to Zac Brown''s Southern Ground Artists label—has sort of an Americana Melissa Etheridge thing going on, with her tough, soulful vocals and dynamic weave of electric and acoustic guitar sounds. Among the many strong songs on 1978 are the affirming lead track “Ain''t Dead Yet,” the old-style country “Bar,” and a sweet, reggae-grooving duet with Brown on “Roaming.”
—Barbara Schultz

R.E.M. Lifes Rich Pageant (25th Anniversary Edition) (Capitol/I.R.S.)
While not as celebrated as other R.E.M. albums, Lifes Rich Pageant holds an important place in the canon. Not only was it the band''s first LP to go gold, it''s the record on which they morphed from floating like a butterfly to stinging like a bee. Recorded at John Mellencamp''s Indiana studio by his longtime engineer/producer, Don Gehman, Pageant delivers one knockout punch after another, from the jangle-on-steroids opener “Begin the Begin” to the aggro-majestic finale “I Am Superman.”
—Bud Scoppa

Kindest Lines Covered in Dust (Weird)
This New Orleans-based group''s Telefon Tel Aviv-produced debut doesn''t smack of any sense of place—which goes a little against the grain, considering the blows NOLA has suffered since Katrina. Truth is, singer Brittany Terry''s mission feels much more personal, and even though she sounds like she''s miked from the bottom of an abandoned well, her Morrissey-esque delivery on such standouts as the minimalist indie-tech groove “Running into Next Year” and garage-pop-fueled “Prom Song” really gets under your skin—in a good way.
—Bill Murphy

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