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Pitchfork Albums: March 2006

>> Fri: 03-24-06

- Brian Eno/David Byrne: My Life in the Bush of Ghosts
Nonesuch offers an expanded reissue of this 1981 near-masterpiece, a record that's both a milestone of sampled music and a peace summit in the continual West-meets-rest struggle. [Nonesuch; 8.5]

- Ms. John Soda: Notes and the Like
German lap-pop group follows its excellent 2002 album No P. or D. with this melancholic release. [Morr; 5.4]

- Judee Sill: Judee Sill / Heart Food
This pair of reissues highlights these early 1970s recordings, which could reasonably lay claim to the oft-used tag "teenage symphonies to God." [Water; 8.7 / 8.8]

- Acid Casuals: Omni
Debut album from an electronic multimedia collective led by Super Furry Animals keyboardist Cian Ciárán. [Placid Casual; 7.8]

- Fovea Hex: Bloom EP
This three-song EP features contributions from Brian and Roger Eno, the Hafler Trio's Andrew McKenzie, and film composer Carter Burwell (Being John Malkovich, The Big Lebowski). [Die Stadt/Janet; 7.6]


>> Thu: 03-23-06

- Mates of State: Bring It Back
Organ-and-drums duo gingerly lift the moratorium on six-strings and explore a more varied sonic palette, resulting in their best album to date. [Barsuk; 7.8]

- Various Artists: See You on the Moon!: Songs for Kids of All Ages
Subtitled "Songs for Kids of All Ages", this Paper Bag compilation features indie artists such as Sufjan Stevens, Broken Social Scene, and Junior Boys performing children's songs. [Paper Bag; 6.6]

- Ignatz: Ignatz
Not unlike Robert Lowe's fine Lichens project, this oddly glorious record conjures "new American ethnic music" with guitar, pedals, and sampler. [K-RAA-K; 8.0]

- Patrick Phelan: Cost
Jagjaguwar artist's third LP manages to reconcile the tensions between pop and post-punk. [Jagjaguwar; 7.1]

- The Tango Saloon: The Tango Saloon
Julian Curwin's project uses Astor Piazzolla's intoxicating creations as a starting point, drawing in electronic elements as well as snatches of free jazz, cool jazz, and soundtrack music. [Ipecac; 7.4]


>> Wed: 03-22-06

- Loose Fur: Born Again in the USA
Second Loose Fur collaboration between Jeff Tweedy, Jim O'Rourke, and Glenn Kotche is more musically traditional than not only its predecessor but some of Wilco's recent output as well. [Drag City; 7.3]

- Murs & 9th Wonder: Murray's Revenge
The follow-up to the excellent 3:16 may not inspire the devotion enjoyed by myspace hero Slug or blogger's fave Ghostface but it will appeal to fans of both. [Record Collection; 7.0]

- Gregor Samsa: 55:12
This long-awaited album features a mix of hushed beauty, dense melodies, and soft, co-ed vocals. [The Kora; 7.8]

- Guillemots: Over the Cliffs
As exemplified by the excellent "Trains to Brazil" single, this UK band takes a detour away from everyday pub-rock pabulum toward something more adventurous. [Verve Forecast; 7.4]

- Charlemagne: Detour Allure
Breezy summer indie pop stuffed with wispy male/female harmonies, strummed guitars, and airily recorded drums. [SideCho; 7.0]


>> Tue: 03-21-06

- Prince: 3121
On his latest release, the rock legend betters his work on comeback album Musicology, crafting a record that's more varied and contains higher peaks than its predecessor. [Universal; 6.0]

- Quasi: When the Going Gets Dark
Portland, Ore.-based duo Janet Weiss (Sleater-Kinney) and Sam Coomes embraces fuzzed-out lows, grimy distortion, extended improvisations, and looser song structures. [Touch & Go; 7.0]

- Various Artists: Invaders
Kemado collects the cream of the hipster metal crop on this compilation, which features Pelican, Wolfmother, High on Fire, Dungen, Black Mountain, and the Sword, among others. [Kemado; 7.9]

- Psychic Ills: Dins
This NYC quartet eschews conventional structure and keeps the line between song and improv blurry. [Social Registry; 7.4]

- Nightmares on Wax: In a Space Outta Sound
Warp presents this comeback album from the bleeps n' bloops and trip-hop pioneers. [Warp; 6.8]


>> Mon: 03-20-06

- Band of Horses: Everything All the Time
Wedding the elemental, earthworn rock of My Morning Jacket to the atmospheric pop of the Shins or Red House Painters, this debut from Sub Pop signees Band of Horses is immediately, invitingly familiar. But if its roots are recognizable, the music is anything but commonplace. [Sub Pop; 8.8]

- The Books: Music for a French Elevator
This self-released 3" CD-R features four tracks recorded in April 2004 as elevator music for the French Ministry of Culture building, and adds some miscellaneous material from the duo's extensive sound library. [self-released; 7.2]

- Eef Barzelay: Bitter Honey
Debut solo album from the Clem Snide leader is modest yet substantial. [SpinArt; 7.2]

- Voices and Organs: Orphanage
This Swedish group's blurred creations are rooted deep in the inexact memories and perceptions of distant childhood. [Western Vinyl; 7.1]

- Adam Green: Jacket Full of Danger
On his latest Rough Trade release, the New York eccentric and former Moldy Peach at last fully immerses himself in the scummy bilge water of language and culture. [Rough Trade; 6.9]


>> Fri: 03-17-06

- The Pretenders: Pirate Radio
Four-disc, one-DVD set celebrates the rich history of the famed post-punk band. [Rhino; 8.2]

- Pink Mountaintops: Axis of Evol
New record from one of the other projects of Black Mountain's Steve McBean. [Jagjaguwar; 8.1]

- Christian Kiefer and Sharron Kraus: The Black Dove
Solid collaboration between the British folk singer and Californian performer/composer. [Tompkins Square; 7.4]

- Capes: Hello
Debut album from an indie rock band that already has a commanding grip on its sound. [Hard Soul; 6.6]

- deadboy and the Elephantmen: We Are Night Sky
Fat Possum release from another in a line of co-ed, blues-influenced duos. [Fat Possum; 5.7]


>> Thu: 03-16-06

- Stephin Merritt: Showtunes
Magnetic Fields leader presents an oddly sequenced collection that jumps between songs from his three musical theater collaborations with director Chen Shi-Zheng. [Nonesuch; 7.5]

- Television Personalities: My Dark Places
An unexpected comeback from the legendary indie pop band fronted by Dan Treacy. [Domino; 6.7]

- Caroline: Murmurs
L.A.-by-way-of-Okinawa pop enchantress Caroline (last name Lufkin) follows on the heels of her 2005 single "Where's My Love". [Temporary Residence; 7.8]

- Fire Engines: Codex Teenage Premonition
Oddly compiled record draws on the Scottish post-punk band's live recordings and sessions. [Domino; 7.3]

- Diane Cluck: Oh Vanille/Ova Nil / Countless Times
Ahead of her forthcoming new release, we catch up with the folk singer's two previous albums. [Important / Voodoo-EROS; 5.6 / 5.7]


>> Wed: 03-15-06

- Buzzcocks: Flat-Pack Philosophy
Latest record of new material from the firm of Shelley & Diggle finds the punk veterans still trading in both effortless hooks and hard-luck romanticism. [Cooking Vinyl; 7.2]

- Witch: Witch
Dinosaur Jr.'s J Mascis gets behind the drum kit for this metal record, a collaboration with two members of Vermont octet and Devendra Banhart cohorts Feathers. [Tee Pee; 7.6]

- Some Girls: Heaven's Pregnant Teens
Epitaph band offers quick-moving songs that will send you digging into the crates for your old Locust records. [Epitaph; 6.8]

- Ray Davies: Other People's Lives
First proper solo album from the Kinks legend finds him flirting with confessional singer-songwriter material and tapping into the sounds of the Southern U.S. [V2; 6.7]

- Hellacopters: Rock & Roll Is Dead
One of the forerunners of Darkness/Ark-like 70s rock revivalism returns with their 10th album. [Liquor & Parker; 5.5]


>> Tue: 03-14-06

- Isobel Campbell and Mark Lanegan: Ballad of the Broken Seas
Former Belle & Sebastian and Screaming Trees members make an unlikely duo on this ramshackle, whiskey-soaked, Nancy and Lee-like outing. [V2; 7.2]

- Various Artists: Memphis Family Album
Subtitled "Music From Memphis Industries Vol. 2", this iTunes-released label compilation features contributions from the Go! Team, Dungen, the Pipettes, and Field Music, among others. [Memphis Industries; 7.4]

- Supersilent: 7
Recorded at the Parkteatret in Oslo, Norway, in 2004, this live DVD finds the Rune Grammofon band to be more focused and aggressive than on its previous concert album, 5. [Rune Grammofon; 8.3]

- Dell and Flügel: Superstructure
Techno shapeshifter Roman Flügel-- the man behind recent singles "Gehts Noch?" (released under his own name) and "Rocker" (issued with Jürn Elling Wuttke as Alter Ego)-- teams with vibraphonist Christopher Bell on this jazz-tinged release. [Laboratory Instinct; 7.8]

- Sparks: Hello Young Lovers
The Mael Brothers re-locate to In the Red Records for their 20th LP in 35 years. [In The Red; 6.9]


>> Mon: 03-13-06

- Various Artists: Dave Chappelle's Block Party OST
Soundtrack to a film documenting a 2004 Brooklyn show curated by Dave Chappelle features appearances by the Roots, Common, Mos Def, Talib Kweli, and Jill Scott-- but not the Fugees or Kanye. [Geffen; 7.1]

- Casiotone for the Painfully Alone: Etiquette
Owen Ashworth crafts a delicate, affecting soundtrack to life in your mid-twenties. [Tomlab; 7.7]

- Half-Handed Cloud: Halos & Lassos
Asthmatic Kitty artist continues to explore sugary pop, often here with the help of the Omnichord, a vintage synthesizer. [Asthmatic Kitty; 7.0]

- Terrestrial Tones: Dead Drunk
Latest collaboration between roommates and Brooklyn music linchpins Avey Tare (Animal Collective) and Eric Copeland (Black Dice). [Paw Tracks; 6.7]

- Coldcut: Sound Mirrors
Comeback album from the Ninja Tune success story/90s museum pieces. [Ninja Tune; 6.5]


>> Fri: 03-10-06

- Of Montreal: The Bird Who Continues to Eat the Rabbit's Flower / The Bedside Drama: A Petite Tragedy / The Early Four Track Recordings
Polyvinyl reissues a trio of early records from Kevin Barnes' indie pop group-- The Bird Who Continues to Eat the Rabbit's Flower, The Bedside Drama: A Petite Tragedy, and Early Four Track Recordings-- all of which were previously issued on Kindercore. [Polyvinyl; 7.5 / 6.0 / 7.1]

- Blondie: Greatest Hits: Sound and Vision
Yet another compilation from the punk-pop greats, this adds a Doors mashup, a few remixes, and, more importantly, a DVD. [EMI; 8.0]

- Kayo Dot / Toby Driver: Dowsing Anemone With Copper Tongue / In the L..L..Library Loft
New album from the Boston art-rockers, as well as a solo turn from their lead singer. [Robotic Empire / Tzadik; 7.7 / 7.3]

- Horns of Happiness: Would I Find Your Psychic Guideline
Secretly Canadian issues this 12"-only, lo-fi side project from Impossible Shapes' Aaron Deer. [Secretly Canadian; 7.3]

- Mikkel Metal: Victimizer
Latest Kompakt release from a producer indebted to post-Basic Channel dub techno. [Kompakt; 7.1]


>> Thu: 03-09-06

- Various Artists: Not Alone
This 5xCD charity album, co-curated by David Tibet, benefits Doctors Without Borders and features contributions from Devendra Banhart, Bonnie "Prince" Billy, Thurston Moore, Coil, Angels of Light, Six Organs of Admittance, Isobel Campbell, and Matmos, among others. [Jnana/Durtro; 7.7]

- Keith Fullerton Whitman: Lisbon
Picking up on the sound and palette of 2002's Playthroughs, the laptop hero presents a 41-minute piece recorded live during an October 2005 performance in the Portuguese capitol. [Kranky; 8.6]

- Magneta Lane: Dancing With Daggers
This Paper Bag-issued debut album is a case study in making the most of a limited musical vocabulary. [Paper Bag; 7.7]

- Carl Craig / Global Communication: Fabric 25 / Fabric 26
Veteran techno acts compile two of the latest entries in the famed London club's mix series. [Fabric; 7.2 / 7.6]

- Ris Paul Ric: Purple Blaze
Former Q and Not U guitarist Chris Paul Richards is accompanied by Tim Hecker on this on his electroacoustic solo debut. [Academy Fight Song; 7.0]


>> Wed:03-08-06

- Stereolab: Fab Four Suture
Veteran band's 10th full-length makes clear that there is an extremely thin line between revealing your essence and revealing nothing at all. [Too Pure/Beggars Banquet; 6.6]

- Graham Coxon: Love Travels at Illegal Speeds
Like his underrated Happiness in Magazines, the latest from the former Blur guitarist is more accessible guitar pop than art-rock. [Parlophone; 7.0]

- Chihei Hatakeyama: Minima Moralia
Japanese minimalist issues his first solo album after a number of collaborations with like-minded Tokyo improvisers. [Kranky; 8.1]

- Magik Markers: A Panegyric to the Things I Do Not Understand
After a slew of cassettes and homemade CD-Rs this is the first CD release for the volcanic post-hardcore trio. [Gulcher; 7.2]

- Magnet: The Tourniquet
Norwegian singer/songwriter Even Johensen is the latest in the long line of The Bends/Coldplay worshippers. [Filter; 4.1]


>> Tue:03-07-06

- Neko Case: Fox Confessor Brings the Flood
The gifted singer's musical ambitions continue to evolve and take shape; here she removes herself from David Lynch-like narratives and embraces the role of omnipotent storyteller. [Anti-; 7.7]

- I Love You But I've Chosen Darkness: Fear Is on Our Side
On its anticipated debut Secretly Canadian LP, this indie band embraces a reverent, recondite, and stylistically consistent sound. [Secretly Canadian; 7.6]

- James Blackshaw: O True Believers
UK folk-based guitarist fits nicely alongside exceptional talents such as Ben Chasny, Jack Rose, Matt Valentine, and Richard Bishop. [Important; 7.7]

- Living Things: Ahead of the Lions
Imagine the Reid brothers and Wayne Kramer uniting to form JAMC5, but hoping for radio play in the 90s. [Jive; 5.8]

- Society of Rockets: Where the Grass Grows Black
San Francisco band's sophomore album sheds the subdued shoegaze of its debut for a hodgepodge of classic rock flavors. [Underpop; 5.4]


>> Mon:03-06-06

- Mogwai: Mr. Beast
Scottish post-rock band embraces restraint and shorter song lengths on its economical yet still sometimes powerful new album. [Matador; 6.8]

- Mudhoney: Under a Billion Suns
Veteran grunge holdovers go political on their latest Sub Pop release. [Sub Pop; 6.1]

- Wooden Wand & the Vanishing Voice: Gipsy Freedom
Prolific freak-folk band gets help from Daniel Carter and builds its latest from mosaics of broken jazz and experimental, acoustic guitar. [5RC; 8.4]

- Pansy Division: The Essential
Queercore band gets the compilation treatment with this collection of the best from its 15-plus year career. [Alternative Tentacles; 7.8]

- Kelley Stoltz: Below the Branches
San Francisco musician's self-contained Sub Pop debut is a tightly wound bundle of familiar pop ideas. [Sub Pop; 6.3]


>> Fri:03-03-06

- Matisyahu: Youth
Hasidic reggae star and frathouse favorite follows last year's star-making SXSW performance and a successful live album with his highly anticipated major-label debut. [JDub/Or/Epic; 4.9]

- Various Artists: Big Apple Rappin'
Soul Jazz comp captures the sounds of New York hip-hop circa 1979-82. [Soul Jazz; 7.0]

- Stone Jack Jones: bluefolk
Hailing from a West Virginia coal-mining family, this singer/songwriter finds lyrical inspiration in Biblical foreboding. [Fictitious; 7.9]

- Why?: Rubber Traits EP
The title track and Elephant Eyelash single is accompanied by three previously unreleased tracks on this anticon release. [anticon; 6.8]

- Souls She Said: As Templar Nites
Icarus Line members do post-punk pastiche on this Dim Mak release. [Dim Mak; 5.4]


>> Thu:03-02-06

- Belle & Sebastian: LateNightTales
Scottish band curate the latest edition of this venerable comp series, offering a diverse range of selections that includes funk, jazz, soul, hip-hop, lounge, tropicalia, IDM, Afropop, classical, classic rock, and reggae, as well as their own cover of the Brazilian song "Casaco Marron". [Azuli; 6.8]

- Diskaholics Anonymous Trio: Weapons of Ass Destruction / Live in Japan, V.1
Second and third records-- one issued by Smalltown Superjazz, the other by Load-- from a free noise/improv supergroup featuring Thurston Moore, Jim O'Rourke, and Mats Gustafsson. [Smalltown Superjazz / Load; 7.2 / 6.4]

- Catfish Haven: Please Come Back EP
Secretly Canadian debut from this Chicago-based indie band is full of tuneful, passionate singing and lucid songwriting. [Secretly Canadian; 7.6]

- ?uestlove: Babies Makin' Babies 2: Misery Strikes Back...No More Babies
Roots drummer and champion cratedigger follows his BMB mixtape with a sequel that focuses on breakup songs and is appropriately subtitled Misery Strikes Back...No More Babies. [BBE; 7.1]

- New Radiant Storm King: The Steady Hand
Darla band taps into the spirit of spiritlessness, recalling mid-90s slacker-rock artists such as Guided By Voices and Polvo. [Darla; 4.8]


>> Wed:03-01-06

- Mclusky: Mcluskyism (Expanded Edition) / Mcluskyism
Underrated and now sadly defunct Welsh band collects its A-sides onto an impressive career-spanning record. A 3xCD version of the comp, complete with one disc of B-sides and one of rarities and live tracks, is also available. [Too Pure; 8.4 / 6.1]

- Various Artists: Mews Too: An Asthmatic Kitty Compilation
Label collection features new tracks from Sufjan Stevens, Danielson, Half-Handed Cloud, and Denison Witmer, among others. [Asthmatic Kitty; 6.0]

- Curt Kirkwood: Snow
Former Meat Puppets leader shows his country-rock influences on this austere acoustic record. [Little Dog; 7.2]

- Hank: Ackrill/Venning '91
10-track, 19-minute EP from the sometimes charming DIY indie pop act. [Blocks; 6.8]

- Electric President: Electric President
Florida duo create homespun, earnest electro-pop and, fittingly, are signed to Morr Music. [Morr; 6.7]


Urb 4+ Star Albums (2006)

Rolling Stone 4+ Star Albums (2006)

NY Times: Playlists (2006)

(02/05/06) Nothing but Party Girls, Vapid or Hard to Get: Pink, Clearlake, Morningwood, (Aceyalone), (Love Is All), East River Pipe, Los de Abajo, Shrift


Pitchfork Albums: February 2006

>> Tue:02-28-06

- Tapes 'n Tapes: The Loon
Kneeling before Pavement, Wire, Beach Boys, and Pixies at rock's canonical altar, this scrappy Minneapolis four-piece proudly wear their influences on-sleeve, shunning hipster malaise and manic experimentation for hook after addictively anthemic hook. Their total lack of pretentiousness is a breath of fresh air: The Loon brings something for everyone. [Ibid; 8.3]

- Make-Up: Untouchable Sound
Few indie bands warrant a third live album, but the Make-Up were famously better on-stage than in-studio: If you weren't there, this is reason #3 to kick yourself. [Drag City; 7.6]

- Merle Haggard: Strangers/Swinging Doors and The Bottle Let Me Down / I'm a Lonesome Fugitive/Branded / Sing Me Back Home /The Legend of Bonnie and Clyde / Mama Tried/Proud of What I Am / Hag/Someday We'll Look Back
Capitol finally gets around to issuing 10 full-lengths from country legend Merle Haggard's 1965-71 peak era. [Capitol; 8.8 / 8.4 / 8.8 / 9.2 / 8.9]

- Raising the Fawn: The Maginot Line
Third album from the full-time project of Broken Social Scene's John Crossingham is the trio's most expansive to date. [Sonic Unyon; 7.6]

- Philip Samartzis: Soft and Loud
Occasional Keiji Haino and Oren Ambarchi collaborator presents an academic study in found sound and digital manipulation. [Plates of Sound; 6.7]


>> Mon:02-27-06

- Eels: With Strings: Live at Town Hall
Striking while the double-album iron's hot, Eels follow last year's Blinking Lights with this intimate string quartet-backed recording of recent material and covers. [Vagrant; 6.7]

- Mastodon: Call of the Mastodon
Atlanta-based metal mavericks leave Relapse Records for the majors, but remember their roots with this remastered offering of their earliest recordings. [Relapse; 7.3]

- Tape: Rideau
On their finest release yet for prestigious Swedish experimental label Häpna, admired post-rock trio Tape breathe new life into a long-exhausted genre. [Häpna; 7.8]

- The Ladies: They Mean Us
Temporary Residence issues this debut collaboration between Pinback singer/guitarist Rob Crow and Hella drummer Zach Hill. [Temporary Residence; 7.2]

- The National Trust: Kings & Queens
Second full-length from Thrill Jockey's cheeseball indie R&B duo fares only marginally better than Har Mar. Maybe there's a reason this stuff usually gets left to the majors? [Thrill Jockey; 4.4]


>> Fri:02-24-06

- Sunset Rubdown: Sunset Rubdown EP
Latest EP from the raw, claustrophobic side project of Wolf Parade's Spencer Krug is a teaser for the forthcoming full-length, Shut Up I Am Dreaming. [Global Symphonic; 7.8]

- Battles: EP C / B EP
Warp reissues the first two EPs from its latest guitar-based signees, which features Don Caballero's Ian Williams, Tyondai Braxton, Helmet drummer John Stanier, and David Konopka of Lynx. [Warp; 8.0]

- Bob Marley & the Wailers: One Love at Studio One
2xCD collection gathers 40 Wailers ska tracks recorded between 1963 and 1966 for Clement Dodd's incomparable Studio One label. [Heartbeat; 8.0]

- World Leader Pretend: Punches
Named for an R.E.M. track, this New Orleans trio relased this much-ballyooed debut last year. [Warner Bros.; 6.5]

- Oceansize: Everyone Into Position
Indie band stitches together a patchwork of styles-- alternative rock, riff-heavy modern hardcore, ethereal post rock, scream-filled metal-- on its second LP. [Beggars Banquet; 5.9]


>> Thu:02-23-06

- Liars: Drum's Not Dead
Two years after 2004's They Were Wrong So We Drowned turned dance-punk's brightest trio into impressionistic noise-rockers, Liars return with an even bigger surprise: Drum's Not Dead actually tops their groundbreaking, beat-heavy debut through an evolution of the sound that turned much of their fanbase against them. [Mute; 9.0]

- Lilys: Everything Wrong Is Imaginary
On this comeback album the veteran indie band's iterations coalesce convincingly into a psychedelic quirk-pop summary. [Manifesto; 7.4]

- Eliot Lipp: Tacoma Mockingbird
Fliud, technically adept instrumental hip-hop from Hefty. [Hefty; 7.8]

- The M's: Future Women
Second album from Chicago's charming, Polyvinyl-signed glam-pop revivalists. [Polyvinyl; 7.6]

- The Kooks: Inside In/Inside Out
Debut from the well-selling UK buzzsaw guitar band is stylistically a close cousin to the work of the Arctic Monkeys. [Virgin; 5.9]


>> Wed:02-22-06

- Nick Cave & Warren Ellis: The Proposition OST
Bad Seeds leader and his occasional bandmate create music that ranges from the intimate to the epic, from the understated to the overblown, to a film based on Cave's screenplay about bushrangers in late 19th century Australia. [Mute; 6.0]

- Kieran Hebden & Steve Reid: The Exchange Session, Vol. 1
The first official full-length collaboration between Four Tet and the veteran avant-jazz drummer. [Domino; 6.8]

- Nathan Fake: Drowning in a Sea of Love
Debut LP from one of techno's poster boys delivers on the promise of his singles. [Border Community; 8.4]

- Measles Mumps Rubella: Fantastic Success:
First record with new singer Chuck Bettis work well with the group's ambitious soundscapes, which have become lengthier and more expansive. [Doubling Cube; 7.9]

- Ayatollah: Now Playing
Longtime Queens-based hip-hop producer's official debut is an efficient album full of downbeat, soul-laced instrumentals. [Nature Sounds; 6.9]


>> Tue:02-21-06

- Maxïmo Park: Missing Songs
Warp's first rock signing caps a successful 12 months with this collection of B-sides and demos, most of which originally appeared on UK singles. [Warp; 6.4]

- Various Artists: Rough Trade Counter Culture 05
UK record store spreads 50 underground favorites from last year over two discs, including tracks by Sleater-Kinney, Boards of Canada, Low, Herbert, and the Long Blondes. [Rough Trade; 7.2]

- Heros Severum: Plague Dogs
Promising indie rock band comes at you with blustery post-rock and easygoing Peach State twang all at once. [Two Sheds Music; 7.9]

- Town and Country: Up Above
Thrill Jockey band gets assistance from Tony Conrad on its sixth album, the group's most vigorous and diverse collection to date. [Thrill Jockey; 7.2]

- Capitol K: Nomad Junk
After a move toward live-band instrumentation, Kristian Robinson returns to the sounds and themes of his breakthrough LP, Island Row. [Faith & Industry; 6.7]


>> Mon:02-20-06

- Destroyer: Destroyer's Rubies
Seventh album from Dan Bejar encapsulates and elevates the best of his back catalog, serving as a potent reminder that the intelligence of his songs has never obfuscated their emotional weight. [Merge; 8.5]

- Isolée: Western Store
Playhouse compilation collects tracks from the German tech-house producer's vinyl-only 12" releases. [Playhouse; 8.2]

- Alog: Catch That Totem! (1998-2005)
Norwegian duo offers the best from its previously released remixes and tracks from small-run EPs and singles. [Melektronikk; 8.0]

- Hudson Bell: When the Sun Is the Moon
Three-piece indie band concocts a nostalgic blend of acoustic balladry and fuzzed-out guitars. [Monitor; 7.4]

- Controller.Controller: X-Amounts
Toronto-based indie rockers follow an impressive EP with their debut Paper Bag full-length. [Paper Bag; 7.1]


>> Fri:02-17-06

- Man Man: Six Demon Bag
Sophomore album from Philly-based Waits/Zappa/Beefheart obsessives asks us this time out not to merely delight in its sounds, but in its songs as well. [Ace Fu; 8.3]

- Various Artists: Prog Is Not a Four Letter Word
Andy Votel-created compilation is a follow-up of sorts to Folk Is Not a Four Letter Word and features contributions from artists based in Poland, Italy, and Turkey, among other nations. [Delay 68; 7.5]

- Low Skies: All the Love I Could Find
Second album from Chicago's backwoods balladeers features a contribution from Kelly Hogan and shares the same spirit as the work of Jeffrey Lee Pierce. [Flameshovel; 8.1]

- Jason Collett: Idols of Exile
Broken Social Scene guitarist's latest features contributions from his Arts & Crafts mates Leslie Feist, Amy Millan, and Kevin Drew. [Arts & Crafts; 7.6]

- Toy: Toy
Curiously humorous and bold debut album from UK native Alisdair Stirling and Bergen-based composer/producer Jorgen Traeen was created using instruments designed for children. [Smalltown Supersound; 7.2]


>> Thu:02-16-06

- AIDS Wolf: The Lovvers
Much-hyped debut album from the Montreal no-wave revivalists and Wolf Parade compatriots seems designed to sell chaos as a lifestyle. [Lovepump United/Skin Graft; 3.9]

- Test Icicles: Boa vs. Python / Circle. Square. Triangle / What's Your Damage?
With the For Screening Purposes Only album getting a recent U.S. release we round up the band's trio of EPs and singles. [Domino; 7.7 / 4.2 / 6.0]

- Animals: Animalism
Hip-O-Select releases the British Invasion band's 1966 album of mostly covers, on which the group indulges its white-soul jones more heavily than at any other time in its career. [Hip-O Select; 7.5]

- Vandermark 5: The Color of Memory
Jazz great's latest is split between wild improvisation, abrasive textures, and intensity, and pieces offering a more lyrical, traditional perspective on his group's interplay. [Atavistic; 7.3]

- Shalabi Effect: Unfortunately
This live album was recorded at an arts festival in the genre-hopping Alien8 band's hometown of Montreal. [Alien8; 6.6]


>> Wed:02-15-06

- Mylo: Destroy Rock and Roll
More than a year after sweeping Europe, this charming, cheeky dance record-- house music as Saturday-morning cartoon, all bold lines inked in bright, primary colors-- finally gets its U.S. release. [RCA; 8.4]

- Johnny Boy: Johnny Boy
Londoners aim to build on their exceptional "You Are the Generation..." single with a record of politically informed indie pop. [Wild Kingdom; 5.2]

- Nine Horses: Snow Borne Sorrow
David Sylvian follows his excellent Blemish with an album that, likes its predecessor, reflects the state of the war-torn world and the crisis in its creator's personal life. [Samadhi Sound; 7.7]

- In Flames: Come Clarity
Slight return to form combines death metal's speed and vocals, powerful guitar harmonies and melodies, and rapid time changes. [Ferret Music; 7.3]

- The Subways: Young for Eternity
English trio is the latest group to earn buzz for its bubbly, youthful guitar pop. [Sire/Warner; 6.6]


>> Tue:02-14-06

- Various Artists: I Am the Resurrection: A Tribute to John Fahey
Co-organized by M. Ward, this 13-track collection pays homage to the folk legend and his brilliant, eccentric creations, and features contributions from Sufjan Stevens, Devendra Banhart, and Jack Rose among others. [Vanguard; 6.9]

- Elefant: Black Magic Show
Former NYC buzzband offers a digital release of its sophomore album roughly two months before it's available in stores. [Kemado/Hollywood; 3.6]

- Gerry Mitchell & Little Sparta: Scalpel Slice
Collaborative mini-album between photographer-cum-poet Gerry Mitchell and the rustic-yet-dark band Little Sparta. [Fire; 7.0]

- Hem: No Word From Tom
Odds-and-sods collection includes demos, live cuts, covers, alternate takes, and non-album tracks. [Waveland/Nettwerk; 6.2]

- A.R.E. Weapons: Free in the Streets
Paul Sevigny and co. follows their much-hyped debut with, for better or worse, a more mature second effort. [Defend Music; 6.0]


>> Mon:02-13-06

- The Knife: Silent Shout
Ditching the springy Europop of 2004's Deep Cuts, Sweden's the Knife here pits dark, ghostly electro backdrops against elastic vocals, which they mash through a wringer of digital manipulation. A far cry from the duo's friendly first singles, Silent Shout gorily births the Knife's mutant twin. The result is creepy enough to warrant its own genre: haunted house. [Rabid; 8.6]

- Aceyalone: Magnificent City
Freestyle Fellowship veteran teams his typically likable, big-hearted style with star indie hip-hop producer Rjd2. [Project Blowed/Decon; 3.2]

- Christina Carter and Gown: We've
Charalambides member delivers another successful psych-folk collaboration-- this time with kindred spirit Andrew MacGregor. [Digitalis; 7.1]

- P.O.S.: Audition
Latest from one of the crop of distortion-loving, snarky Minneapolis MCs, DJs, and producers features contributions from Slug, Craig Finn, and Bouncing Souls singer Greg Attonito. [Rhymesayers; 6.2]

- Earthride: Vampire Circus
Weedburning, mid-tempo riffs from this Southern Lord metal band. [Southern Lord; 6.0]


>> Fri:02-10-06

- Colin Meloy: Colin Meloy Sings trad. arr. Shirley Collins
Second solo covers EP from the Decemberists leader, this record collects interpretations of traditional folk songs arranged and recorded by 1960s folk troubadour Shirley Collins. [self-released; 7.1]

- The Minus 5: The Minus 5:
Also known as "The Gun Album", the Scott McCaughey-centered group's latest features contributions from members of Wilco, R.E.M., and the Decemberists. [Yep Roc; 6.7]

- The Ex: Singles. Period. The Vinyl Years 1980-1990
Touch & Go issues a decade's worth of singles from the Dutch punk band. [Touch & Go; 7.8]

- The Cardigans: Super Extra Gravity
Swedish group follows its underrated, melancholic Long Before Daylight by turning toward jagged country-rock. [Universal; 7.5]

- Audio Bullys: Generation
Scattershot collection from one-time UK garage chancers. [Astralwerks; 2.7]


>> Thu:02-09-06

- Various Artists: To: Elliott / From: Portland
Tribute record to the late Elliott Smith features contributions from Oregon-based artists such as the Decemberists, the Thermals, and Eric Matthews. [Expunged; 7.2]

- Belong: October Language
New Orleans band follows in the shimmery, usually electronics-led footsteps of JAMC, Fennesz, and Tim Hecker. [Carpark; 8.0]

- J Dilla: Donuts
Jay Dee continues to update soul music by paying homage to the selfsame sounds he's modernizing. [Stones Throw; 7.9]

- Greg Davis and Sebastien Roux: Paquet Surprise
Carpark issues this acrobatic electro-acoustic record, which teems with whispered field recordings, pretty experimentalism, and sunny pop. [Carpark; 7.8]

- Someone Still Loves You Boris Yeltsin: Broom
Fuzzily engineered indie rock from this dual-vocaled combo. [Generic Equivalent; 6.9]


>> Wed:02-08-06

- Beth Orton: Comfort of Strangers
After MOR disappointment Daybreaker, the English chanteuse teams with Jim O'Rourke on this mellifluously voiced collection of songs. [Astralwerks; 7.2]

- Clogs: Lantern
Strongest record yet from the adventurous post-rock band, which features the National guitarist Bryce Dessner. [Brassland; 8.2]

- Various Artists: Pop Ambient 2006
Sixth edition in Kompakt's annual collection of low-key house features contributions from Justus Köhncke, Markus Guentner, and Mikkel Metal. [Kompakt; 7.2]

- Lindstrøm & Prins Thomas: Lindstrøm & Prins Thomas
Debut full-length from the influential production team is, unfortunately, not a compilation of their frequently exquisite singles but an album of mostly new material. [Eskimo; 6.8]

- She Wants Revenge: She Wants Revenge
Modern rock radio-friendly new wave revivalism from Justin Warfield. [Geffen; 5.9]


>> Tue:02-07-06

- Prefuse 73: Security Screenings
Latest from Scott Herren features guest appearances by Four Tet, TV on the Radio's Tunde Adebimpe, and Mobb Deep's Prodigy, and finds the producer regaining some of the focus he lost on last year's Surrounded by Silence. [Warp; 6.9]

- His Name Is Alive: Detrola
Former 4AD mainstay Warn Defever relocates to Reincarnate and creates a winning record of slurry, ghostly pop. [Reincarnate; 8.4]

- Various Artists: The Best of Studio One / Full Up: More Hits / Downbeat the Ruler: Killer Instrumentals
Trio of compilations-- two new, one a reissue-- mine the vaults of Coxsone Dodd's incomparable Studio One label. [Heartbeat; 8.9 / 8.7 / 8.6]

- Directing Hand: Bells for Augustin Lesage
After a handful of CD-Rs, this is the proper debut from a prolific Scottish free percussionist who has played alongside Will Oldham, Richard Youngs, and Jandek. [Secret Eye; 7.5]

- Residual Echoes: Phoenician Flu and Ancient Ocean
Chaotic release from a band who's earned support and endorsements from Comets on Fire's Ethan Miller and Six Organs of Admittance's Ben Chasny. [Holy Mountain; 5.5]


>> Mon:02-06-06

- Belle and Sebastian: The Life Pursuit
Spanning glam, soul, country, and '70s AM rock, the latest from the indie pop group is a deceptively wry, wickedly tuneful testament to the fragile beauty of faith, in deities as well as in pop. [Matador; 8.5]

- José González: Stay in the Shade EP
Up-and-coming singer/songwriter follows his increasingly popular debut with this five-track EP, which features a Kylie Minogue cover. [Hidden Agenda; 6.0]

- T. Rex: Tanx / Zip Gun / Futuristic Dragon / Work in Progress
Four more Rhino-issued 2xCD reissues, these include the glam band's final three albums and a collection of tracks that were unfinished at the time of Marc Bolan's death. [Rhino; 8.3 / 5.9 / 6.7 / 7.0]

- Lupe Fiasco: Fahrenheit 1/15 / Pt. II / Pt. III
Rising Chicago emcee and could-be disciple of Rawkus primes for his debut LP with a series of sharp mixtapes, including an EP that only uses beats from Gorillaz's Demon Days. [mixtapes; 7.8 / 7.0 / 6.8]

- Damo Suzuki's Network: 3 Dead People After the Performance
The former Can member's latest is a live recording from a 2003 festival. [Ektro; 6.5]


>> Fri:02-03-06

- Four Tet: Everything Ecstatic 2
This companion piece to Kieran Hebden's 2005 album features film shorts commissioned for each of that album's 10 tracks as well as a 35-minute bonus CD of new material. [Domino; 5.8]

- Various Artists: Eccentric Soul: The Deep City Label
Another tremendous reissue from Chicago's Numero Group, this is the third in the Eccentric Soul series, this time collecting the best from Miami's Deep City label. [Numero Group; 8.7]

- The Caribbean: Plastic Explosives
This D.C. band wraps its tales of modern life-- office supplies, airport security, long-distance correspondence, and dayjob malaise-- in constantly shifting arrangements. [Hometapes; 7.2]

- Swearing at Motorists: Last Night Becomes This Morning
Clever song titles and intertextuality color the latest from this Secretly Canadian indie band. [Secretly Canadian; 6.9]

- The Dolls / Vladislav Delay: The Dolls: / The Four Quarters
Pair of releases from the Finnish producer, one glacial and melodic, the other a bit too smooth jazz. [Huume; 2.4 / 7.4]


>> Thu:02-02-06

- Bob Marley & the Wailers: Africa Unite: The Singles Collection
Twenty-track compilation repeats most of frathouse standard Legend and includes a new track cobbled together from 1979 acoustic recordings as well as remixes from Ashley Beedle and will.i.am. [Island; 7.0]

- Ricardo Villalobos: Achso
Latest from the Chilean producer, one of the central figures in minimal techno, is technically an EP, but its four percolating tracks stretch to nearly 50 minutes. [Cadenza; 8.9]

- Steve Reid Ensemble: Spirit Walk
Soul Jazz release features the first studio collaborations between the veteran jazz drummer and Four Tet. [Soul Jazz; 7.8]

- Larkin Grimm: Harpoon
Solo album from former Dirty Projectors member is an idiosyncratic take on rustic Appalachian folk. [Secret Eye; 7.6]

- Various Artists: Future Retro
1980s new wave hits remixed by producers such as Richard X, Tiga, and the Crystal Method. [Rhino; 3.9]


>> Wed:02-01-06

- Various Artists: Tropicália: A Brazilian Revolution in Sound
Soul Jazz comp presents a superb introduction to one of the 20th century's most singular musical moments by focusing only on the movement's leading lights: Gal Costa, Gilberto Gil, Os Mutantes, Caetano Veloso, Tom Zé, and Jorge Ben. [Soul Jazz; 9.5]

- Darkthrone: Too Old, Too Cold EP
Teaser for the The Cult Is Alive finds the black metal group covering Siouxsie & the Banshees and creating the most crisp music of their career. [Peaceville; 6.2]

- Röyksopp: What Else Is There? EP
Astralwerks EP features remixes from first-tier producers such as Vitalic, Anders Trentemøller, and Jacques Lu Cont. [Astralwerks; 7.6]

- Cave In: Perfect Pitch Black
The once-abrasive Hydra Head band continues to work with catchy melodies, infectious riffing, and smooth vocals. [Hydra Head; 7.3]

- Glen Hall/Lee Ranaldo/William Hooker: Oasis of Whispers
Alien8 collaboration between these Downtown-approved artists: Canadian everything guy Glen Hall, "loft scene" free jazz'er William Hooker, and Sonic Youth's Lee Ranaldo. [Alien8; 6.7]

NY Times: Critics' Choice: New CD's: January 2006


Pitchfork Albums: January 2006

>> Tue:01-31-06

- Richard Ashcroft: Keys to the World
Another collection of maudlin strings, chintzy brass, and anguished, bombastic vocals from the once-charismatic Verve singer. [Parlophone; 2.0]

- William Basinski: The Garden of Brokenness
More sad, slow yet beautiful piano loops built from recently reconstituted old tapes. [2062; 7.5]

- Ghislain Poirier: Breakupdown / Bounce Le Remix
Two records-- one a Chocolate Industries release featuring appearances by Beans and Seba, the other a self-released remix project-- from the hotly tipped Quebecois. [Chocolate Industries / self-released; 7.9 / 7.5]

- Mark O'Leary/Tomasz Stanko/Billy Hart: Levitation
Best of four albums released last year from Irish jazz guitarist O'Leary documents a five-year-old session with trumpeter Tomasz Stanko and veteran drummer Billy Hart. [Leo; 7.7]

- Matthew Shipp: One
Latest Thirsty Ear release often resembles the early 20th century piano studies of Ravel or Debussy as closely as it does modern jazz. [Thirsty Ear Blue Series; 7.3]


>> Mon:01-30-06

- Robert Pollard: From a Compound Eye
Former Guided by Voices leader starts the next phase of his voluminous career with this, his debut solo album for Merge. [Merge; 7.1]

- Rocky Votolato: Makers
Seattle singer-songwriter retools and finally issues this Barsuk release a year after his rough draft started making the file-sharing rounds. [Barsuk; 4.2]

- Excepter: Sunbomber EP
Five-song EP displays the NYC free/noise/improv band's most overt minimalist pop gestures yet. [5RC; 7.2]

- Burning Star Core: The Very Heart of the World
C. Spencer Yeh's latest batch of ambient drone features contributions from members of Wolf Eyes, Hair Police, and Eyes, among others. [Thin Wrist; 7.0]

- The Standard: Albatross
Melodramatic Yep Roc band builds a quiet tension between guitars, pianos, and Tim Putnam's terse yelp. [Yep Roc; 5.8]


>> Fri:01-27-06

- Tarkio: Omnibus
Early work from the Decemberists' Colin Meloy, this record collects the best from an indie-folk band he fronted during his days as an undergraduate in Montana. [Kill Rock Stars; 5.7]

- Clearlake: Amber
English band unveils its third album of sleepy, sylvan pop, which harmoniously meshes fiery guitars and ostentatious instrumentation. [Domino; 7.4]

- Meredith Bragg and the Terminals: The Departures EP
Appropriately titled EP deals with holding off the heartbreak and daunting logistics of moving on after a breakup. [Kora; 7.6]

- Samara Lubelski: Spectacular of Passages
Idyllic bedroom psychedelia takes pop orchestrations to previously unimagined levels of insulation. [The Social Registry; 6.5]

- Ariel Pink: House Arrest
Latest record from Paw Tracks' lo-fi, nostalgia-obsessed singer-songwriter. [Paw Tracks; 6.2]


>> Thu:01-26-06

- Bonnie Prince Billy and Tortoise: The Brave and the Bold
Indie greats team for a covers album, which features interpretations of songs by Bruce Springsteen, the Minutemen, Devo, and Elton John, among others. [Overcoat; 5.4]

- Pearls and Brass: The Indian Tower
Drag City power trio are another in a line of indie bands re-discovering the joys of classic rock. [Drag City; 5.8]

- Boduf Songs: Boduf Songs
Kranky reissues the debut LP from English bard Mat Sweet, originally released as a CD-R in 2004. [Kranky; 7.0]

- Ulrich Schnauss: Far Away Trains Passing By
First issued on City Centre, this ambient techno LP is expanded to a 2xCD set for its U.S. bow. [Domino; 6.9]

- Marah: If You Didn't Laugh, You'd Cry
Latest from the Springsteen-aping Philly band. [Yep Roc; 5.5]


>> Wed:01-25-06

- Arctic Monkeys: Whatever People Say I Am, That's What I'm Not
Their LP was only released two days ago but these Sheffield teens are already considered the UK's biggest new band since Oasis. [Domino; 7.4]

- Plastic Constellations: Crusades
Anthemic indie band goes for expertness in place of pure exuberance on its Frenchkiss debut. [Frenchkiss; 7.8]

- Delta 5: Singles & Sessions 1979-81
Kill Rock Stars collects striking examples of the Leeds post-punk band's tense, barbed dark pop. [Kill Rock Stars; 8.3]

- volcano!: Beautiful Seizure
Debut album from the Chicago art-rock trio is full of unpredictable, volatile compositions. [Leaf; 7.4]

- BARR: Beyond Reinforced Jewel Case
Odd yet striking work from Brendan Fowler, who has been referred to as a motivational rapper, a comedian, and a performance artist. [5 Rue Christine; 6.4]


>> Tue:01-24-06

- Jenny Lewis With the Watson Twins: Rabbit Fur Coat
Rilo Kiley leader steps out on her own with an indie-yuppie soul/country record released via Conor Oberst's Team Love label. [Team Love; 6.1]

- The Elected: Sun, Sun, Sun
Blake Sennett creates a modern pop simulacrum of traditional country, devoid of the electro accents that pocked his most recent record. [Sub Pop; 6.8]

- Acid Mothers Temple and the Cosmic Inferno: IAO Chant From the Cosmic Inferno / Cosmic Funeral Route 666
Kawabata Makoto's group, now backed by the Cosmic Inferno, continues to be as prolific and awe-inspiring as ever. [Ace Fu / Acid Mothers Temple; 7.9 / 6.7]

- East River Pipe: What Are You On?
Merge issues the latest from singer/songwriter F.M. Cornog. [Merge; 5.8]

- Made in Mexico: Zodiac Zoo
Former Arab on Radar guitarist Jeff Schneider leads this noise-rock combo. [Skin Graft; 5.6]


>> Mon:01-23-06

- Cat Power: The Greatest
On her seventh album, the enigmatic singer-songwriter aims to make her Chan in Memphis, employing veteran soul musicians and splitting her record between visiting their sonic space and inviting them into hers. [Matador; 7.9]

- The Advantage: Elf-Titled
Second album of covers of classic video-game music from the 5RC-signed quartet. [5 Rue Christine; 7.9]

- Sparrow: The Early Years
Absolutely Kosher presents a collection of first steps from Jason Zumpano. [Absolutely Kosher; 7.1]

- Film School: Film School
Now a quintet, the Bay Area band follows a handful of well-received demos and EPs with this LP of atmospheric rock. [Beggars Banquet; 6.9]

- John Cale: Black Acetate
Disappointingly tame effort from the usually unpredictable Welshman. [Astralwerks; 4.4]


>> Fri:01-20-06

- Various Artists: Fonotone Records
Third release from the incomparable Atlanta label Dust-to-Digital compiles 131 tracks from Joe Bussard's Fonotone Records, "the last of the 78 rpm record labels," over five discs, and adds a 160-page book, 17 color postcards, three record label reproductions, and a nickel-plated pop-bottle opener. [Dust-to-Digital; 8.8]

- Various Artists: All Tomorrow's Parties 3.1
Belated compilation celebrating the Matt Groening-curated festival features Modest Mouse, Sonic Youth, the Stooges, and the Shins, among others. [ATP; 8.0]

- Chrome: Straight to the Pros: Dragged-N-Chopped
Debut album from the protégé of Three-6 Mafia house producers DJ Paul and Juicy J. [Hypnotize Minds; 7.8]

- Paul Weller: As Is Now
Yep Roc issues the latest from the former Jam leader and current elder statesman for Britain's trad-rock community. [Yep Roc; 7.2]

- Steve Spacek: Space Shift
Former Spacek head offers his solo debut, highlighted by a J Dilla-produced single. [Sound in Color; 6.0]


>> Thu:01-19-06

- Spoon: I Turn My Camera On EP / Sister Jack EP
Two Gimme Fiction EPs-- one superfluous thanks to an LP bonus disc; the other more rewarding and featuring a John McEntire remix. [Matador UK / Merge; 3.4 / 6.3]

- Tall Dwarfs: Weeville / Fork Songs
Reissues of two of the lo-fi New Zealand band's LPs, one of which is boosted by the addition of the Dogma EP. [Cloud; 7.0 / 6.9]

- Various Artists: American Primitive, Vol. II: Pre-War Revenants (1897-1939)
Subtitled Pre-War Revenants (1897-1939), this exquisite collection of classic folk was the final record curated by John Fahey. [Revenant; 8.6]

- The Universe: The Outer Void Intrepid Sailor:
Microindie-released space-pop odyssey from a band led by Architecture in Helsinki's Gus Franklin. [Microindie; 7.1]

- Jarboe: The Men Album
Former Swans leader drafts Low's Alan Sparhawk, Chris Connelly, Blixa Bargeld, and others to assist with this 20-track, 2xCD release. [Atavistic; 4.8]


>> Wed:01-18-06

- Miles Davis: The Cellar Door Sessions 1970
6xCD set contains six sets recorded at Washington D.C.'s tiny The Cellar Door, including material that was rearranged and issued on 1971's Live-Evil. [Columbia; 9.4]

- Various Artists: New York Noise 2
Soul Jazz follows its 2003 collection of Big Apple late-70s/early-80s no wave and post-punk with a sequel featuring Sonic Youth, Glenn Branca, and Arthur Russell. [Soul Jazz; 8.1]

- FM3: The Buddha Machine
What looks like a small transistor radio, complete with two AA batteries, turns out to be an ambient machine programmed with nine continuous loops. [Staalplaat; 8.2]

- Arizona Amp and Alternator: Arizona Amp and Alternator
New record from the prolific Howe Gelb features contributions from M. Ward and members of Grandaddy and the Arcade Fire. [Thrill Jockey; 7.3]

- Gogogo Airheart: Rats! Sing! Sing!
Veteran San Diego band blend bratty discopunk, brooding college rock, and dub. [GSL; 6.3]


>> Tue:01-17-06

- David Thomas Broughton: The Complete Guide to Insufficiency
Like Richard Youngs, Ben Chasny, and early Devendra Banhart, this Leeds native explores the apocalyptic, alchemical side of contemporary folk-pop. [Plug Research; 8.4]

- DJ Shadow: Funky Skunk
Limited-edition mixtape blends Shadow's typical production style with sections devoted to grime, mainstream hip-hop, crunk, and Miami bass. [Obey; 8.0]

- Modeselektor: Hello Mom!
Crossover-ready electro-pop from Bpitch Control. [Bpitch Control; 8.3]

- Various Artists: Congotronics 2: Buzz 'n' Rumble from the Urb'n' Jungle:
Second volume in this Crammed Discs series is a comp that reveals the depth of the unique, vibrant Kinshasa music scene. [Crammed Discs; 7.9]

- Omar Rodriguez: Omar Rodriguez
Mars Volta star takes a rewarding solo turn that mixes guitar solos, spasmodic drumming, and computer and tape effects with traditional jazz elements. [Willie Anderson; 7.1]


>> Mon:01-16-06

- Sonic Youth: SYR6: Koncertas Stan Brakhage Prisiminimui
Sixth volume in the avant-rock band's SYR series was recorded live (with help from Tim Barnes of the Silver Jews) at the Anthology Film Archives in 2003 as a memorial tribute to experimental filmmaker Sam Brakhage. [SYR; 7.0]

- Coil: The Ape of Naples
This collection was assembled from the late Jhonn Balance's final recordings and earlier, uncompleted material originally recorded at Trent Reznor's New Orleans studio. [Threshold House; 7.9]

- Safety Scissors: Tainted Lunch:
Intricate digital disco, squishy laptop house, and fabulous left-field pop delivered with warmth and intimacy, humor and whimsy. [~scape; 8.5]

- 13ghosts: Cicada
Originally self-released in 2004, this LP-- chockablock with ideas, encompassing an impressive breadth of styles and sounds-- is given a welcome reissue. [Skybucket; 7.8]

- Edith Frost: It's a Game
On her latest Drag City release, the singer-songwriter crafts a country-folk tribute to co-dependency. [Drag City; 5.8]

>> Fri:01-13-06

- Nine Inch Nails: Pretty Hate Machine
Out of print for three years, Trent Reznor's debut is reissued by Rykodisc with neither bells nor whistle [Rykodisc; 5.6]

- Seu Jorge: The Life Aquatic Studio Sessions featuring Seu Jorge
Acoustic, Porteguese-langugage covers of David Bowie songs, as heard in the Wes Anderson film. [Hollywood; 6.8]

- Lil Wayne: Tha Carter II
Veteran rapper breaks from Mannie Fresh and grows up quickly, displaying a flexible flow and more layered lyrics. [Cash Money; 8.1]

- Holy Fuck: Holy Fuck
Rhythmically adept Beans backup band aims to create the equivalent of modern electronic music without actually using the techniques-- looping, splicing, programming. [Dependent; 6.9]

- Sunroof!: Silver Bear Mist
Former Skullflower leader Matthew Bower unveils his latest, lengthy drone excursion. [VHF; 6.0]


>> Thu:01-12-06

- Belle and Sebastian: If You're Feeling Sinister: Live at the Barbican
iTunes-only charity album was recorded as part of ATP's Don't Look Back Series and presumably released in part to finally match the Scottish band's best set of songs with a proper recording of their arrangements. [iTunes; 9.1]

- George: A Week of Kindness
Mancunian duo follow its underrated 2003 cult-fave The Magic Lantern with another record of rain-soaked indie pop. [Pickled Egg; 7.9]

- Matt Elliott: Drinking Songs
As indicated by its title and dissolute Parisian artwork, here the former Flying Saucer Attack member has created an album steeped heavily in spirits, both alcoholic and otherwise. [Ici d'Ailleurs; 7.2]

- Coptic Light: Coptic Light
Debut from the post-rock supergroup-- it features members of Don Caballero, Storm and Stress, and Antioch Arrow-- swells with fluid improvisational riffs and dizzying rhythms. [No Quarter; 6.9]

- Comet Gain: City Fallen Leaves
KRS issues the band's latest album of wistful jangle pop. [Kill Rock Stars; 5.9]


>> Wed:01-11-06

- Morningwood: Morningwood
Next in a line of NYC retro-fetishists, Morningwood's LP reads like their AudioScrobbler, systematically tallying new wave and glam ingredients with the utmost clarity. [Capitol; 3.9]

- Nurse With Wound: Livin' Fear of James Last
Steven Stapelton attempts to sum up his prolific career of gothic song titles and experimental tape loops in a mere two discs. [Castle; 8.2]

- Awesome New Republic: ANR So Far
Neurotic indie rock party tracks from the Miami-based duo. [Sutro; 7.9]

- Anthrax: Anthrology: No Hit Wonder (1985-1991)
2xCD compilation gathers the best from the New York trash metal band's classic Joey Belladonna-led lineup. [Island; 7.7]

- The Foxymorons: Hesitation Eyes
Pop/alt-country duo issue their third LP and first created via the ever-popular tapes-through-the-mail technique. [Heatstroke; 7.3]


>> Tue:01-10-06

- Boris: Pink
Japanese sludge trio unleash their most melodic, conventionally structured, and aggressively addictive LP to date: Flirting with shoegaze and ambient, Pink is a 47-minute frenzy that welcomes 2006 with open arms, bludgeoning fists, and a call to arms against MOR complacency. [Southern Lord; 8.7]

- Steve Reich: You Are (Variations)
The composer's first new work since 2002's Three Tales finds him working with choral and orchestral elements, but is as rhythmically driven as anything he's done in years. [Nonesuch; 8.0]

- Ian Brown: The Greatest
Best-of collection from the uneven solo career of the former Stone Roses leader. [Polydor; 7.0]

- Rah Bras: Whohm
An attractive disjunct between spazz rock, rhythmic linearity, and a surprising touch of tenderness. [Lovitt; 6.8]

- Thomas Brinkmann: Lucky Hands
Floor burners, sonic experiments, and punchy, dubby techno from the artists also known as Soul Center. [Max Ernst; 6.6]


>> Mon:01-09-06

- Various Artists: Pixies: Hey!: Live Pixies 2004-2005
Download-only, band-selected set features 28 live tracks recorded on the group's wildly successful comeback tour. [eMusic.com; 8.2]

- Various Artists: Trojan Dub Rarities
3xCD set features work by the Upsetters, Augustus Pablo, and Tapper Zukie, among others. [Trojan; 7.0]

- Guitar Wolf: Golden Black
Narnack issues a 26-track collection of the best from the 50s rock'n'roll- and punk-obsessed Japanese band. [Narnack; 7.0]

- Mark Eitzel: Candy Ass
Selections from a film score are oddly paired with more traditional singer/songwriter work on this solo record from the AMC leader. [Cooking Vinyl; 4.0]

- Ministry: Rantology
Poorly executed and ultimately unnecessary odds'n'sods compilation from the industrial legends. [Sanctuary; 2.0]


>> Fri:01-06-06

- Various Artists: OHM+: The Early Gurus of Electronic Music: 1948-1980
Recently reissued and expanded 3xCD set-- now with the addition of a DVD-- collects three generations worth of electronic music landmarks. [Ellipsis Arts; 9.0]

- Richard Youngs: The Naïve Shaman
Latest Jagjaguwar release from the prolific Glaswegian free music maverick. [Jagjaguwar; 7.7]

- Bound Stems: The Logic of Building the Body Plan EP
Generous seven-track EP from the quickly developing indie rock band. [Flameshovel; 7.1]

- Circle: Forest
Proggy metal riffed on keyboards and organs and operatic vocals color this Finnish band's latest release. [No Quarter; 6.4]

- The Paddingtons: First Comes First
Owen Morris-produced Brit band sound like, you guessed it, mid-90s UK guitar rock. [Vertigo; 5.5]


>> Thu:01-05-06

- T. Rex: The Slider / Zinc Alloy & The Hidden Riders Of Tomorrow / Dandy in the Underworld / The T. Rex Wax Co. Singles: A's and B's 1972-77
Following Universal's 2004 T. Rex reissue campaign, the first of two runs of Rhino's expanded, 2xCD Marc Bolan-led releases is highlighted by the glam-rock classic The Slider. [Rhino; 9.8 / 5.8 / 7.9 / 7.0]

- Espers: The Weed Tree EP
A short collection of covers in the most stouthearted folkloric tradition, this EP features re-interpretations of works by Nico, Durutti Column, and Blue Öyster Cult. [Locust; 7.9]

- Nadja: Truth Becomes Death
Heavy and abstract, this Alien8 band plows the increasingly popular territory between slow metal and staticy ambiance. [Alien8; 7.5]

- Quintron & Miss Pussycat: Swamp Tech
NOLA duo blends electroclash, heavy-handed satire, skate-rink jams, and White Stripes-like rock. [Tigerbeat6; 7.2]

- Various Artists: High School Reunion
Subtitled "A Tribute to Those Great 80s Films" this release features Frank Black, Kristin Hersh, Matthew Sweet, and more covering tracks from two-decades-old teen flicks. [American Laundromat/Face Down; 6.2]


>> Wed:01-04-06

- The Notorious B.I.G.: Duets: The Final Chapter
Shameless holiday cash-grab recycles old Biggie verses in new songs that feature contributions from Jay-Z, Just Blaze, and, um, Korn. [Bad Boy/Atlantic; 4.2]

- Dreamies: Dreamies: 2006 Special Edition
Bill Holt's brilliant, odd one-off-- inspired by John Cage and the Beatles' "Revolution 9"-- is given a reissue. [Wilmington Studies; 8.7]

- Windy & Carl: The Dream House/Dedications to a Flea
Kranky pairs a new record from the dream-pop duo with a previously released pair of tracks written in honor of a lost pet. [Kranky; 7.3]

- Books on Tape: Dinosaur Dinosaur
Deranged, abrasive beatscapes and densely detailed and riotous mini-compositions from Alien8. [Alien8; 7.1]

- Les Angles Morts: What's Real?
Former Arcade Fire members head this post-rock meets post-punk band. [Blue Skies Turn Black; 5.7]


>> Tue:01-03-06

- The Strokes: First Impressions of Earth
The New York band, once the supposed leader of a new rock revolution, follows its underrated second album by simultaneously settling into diminished expectations and ratcheting up its sound, trying new things, going for broke. [RCA; 5.9]

- Jane: Coconuts EP
Originally self-released as a limited-edition CD-R, this 46-minute EP from Animal Collective's Panda Bear and DJ Scott Mou features two lengthy skeletal jams. [Psych-O-Path; 7.0]

- Kites: Peace Trials
Load artist offers a mix of distracted psych, gritty electronics, self-made machines that don't work half the time, and a mostly implied ultra-left politic. [Load; 7.7]

- Bright: Bells Break Their Towers
After a half-decade wait, the improvisational duo issue another LP of finely-textured ambient rock. [Strange Attractors; 7.2]

- Kind of Like Spitting: Learn: The Songs of Phil Ochs
Indie band not only revives the 60s protest singer's songs on this covers album but studies and evangelizes them. [Hush; 7.2]


Pitchfork Albums: December 2005

>> Fri:12-16-05

- Ryan Adams: 29 Prolific singer/songwriter issues his third full-length of the year, a conceptual work on which each track portrays the singer, now 31, at a different year in his twenties. [Lost Highway; 6.8]

- Piano Overlord: The Singles Collection 03-05
Sixteen-track collection of Scott Herren work features remixes by Diplo and Adventure Time, among others. [Money Studies; 3.0]

- Soulwax: Nite Versions
Remix album greatly improves on last year's disappointing Any Minute Now. [PIAS; 8.2]

- Richie Hawtin: DE9: Transitions
Third and final entry in the DE9 series following 1999's Decks, EFX & 909 and 2001's DE9: Closer to the Edit. [Mute; 7.8]

- The Beautiful New Born Children: Hey People!
Retro garage-punk band fronted by Michael Beckett (Kpt.Michi.Gan, Schneider TM). [Domino; 6.0]


>> Thu:12-15-05

- The Clientele: It's Art Dad
Archival collection, originally sold on the Merge group's recent U.S. tour, compiles early demos recorded between 1991-96, when songwriting duties were split between current band leader Alasdair MacLean and former member Innes Phillips (the Relict). [self-released; 6.3]

- Various Artists: 1980 Forward: 25 Years of 4AD
The 25-year history of the influential 4AD label is compressed into this 18-track LP, which features the Breeders, Cocteau Twins, Throwing Muses, Mountain Goats, and Pixies, among others. [4AD; 7.4]

- Shooting at Unarmed Men: Soon There Will Be... EP
Debut release from former Mclusky guitarist John Chapple. [Beggars; 7.5]

- Milemarker: Ominosity
Fifth album from the shapeshifting post-hardcore band. [Eyeball; 6.8]

- Magnolia Electric Co.: Hard to Love a Man EP
Latest from Jason Molina's band includes three new songs and a cover of "Werewolves of London". [Secretly Canadian; 6.7]


>> Wed:12-14-05

- Sunn 0))): Black One
Sixth album from the doom metal duo nearly matches their ferocious live power, and features assistance from noise icon John Wiese and experimental guitarist and percussionist Oren Ambarchi. [Southern Lord; 8.9]

- Okkervil River: The Black Sheep Boy Appendix EP
Seven tracks that develop ideas suggested on its parent album and introduce some new musical motifs. [Jagjaguwar; 8.2]

- Boris: At Last: Feedbacker / "Sun Baked Snow Cave" With Merzbow / Akuma No Uta
Ahead of the early 2006 U.S. release of Pink, we round up three recent releases from the prolific Japanese band, including a collaboration with Merzbow. [Conspiracy / Hydra Head / Southern Lord; 7.7 / 6.5 / 8.2]

- Ocean: Here Where Nothing Grows
Three-song, 65-minute debut from the Maine metal band. [Important; 7.9]

- 31Knots: Talk Like Blood
Spacious, intricately polished guitar rock meets chorus-busting emo. [Polyvinyl; 7.0]


>> Tue:12-13-05

- "Walking With A Ghost" - The White Stripes
Jack and Meg White cover Tegan and Sara, and add a handful of live tracks to pad out this stocking stuffer. [V2; 6.1]

- Liars: It Fit When I Was a Kid EP
Four-track, three-video EP from the unfairly maligned Brooklyn-to-Berlin group. [Mute; 6.0]

- Friends of Dean Martinez: Lost Horizon
On its sixth album the indie pop band explores wide-open, arid spaces and increasingly darker territory. [Aero; 7.8]

- Blockhead: Downtown Science
Relatively sedate instrumental hip-hop from Ninja Tune. [Ninja Tune; 6.6]

- Growing: His Return
Now a duo, the band hides stacks of amplifiers and big guitar chords behind an extreme polish. [Troubleman/Megablade; 6.1]


>> Mon:12-12-05

- Beck: Guerolito
Track-by-track Guero remix album features nine previously unreleased mixes and contributions from Air, Boards of Canada, Diplo, Islands, and El-P, among others. [Interscope; 6.2]

- Xiu Xiu: Life and Live
Live album collects 15 solo, often acoustic performances culled from a tour with Devendra Banhart. [Xeng; 7.7]

- Jackie-O Motherfucker: Flags of the Sacred Harp
Portland-based collective builds on the lessons of The Sacred Harp and other traditional blues and gospel sources on this evocative yet deeply personal LP. [ATP; 8.1]

- Amandine: This Is Where Our Hearts Collide
These Swedes' Fat Cat-released LP is reminiscent of the windswept Americana of Sun Kil Moon, Songs:Ohia, or pre-Z My Morning Jacket. [Fat Cat; 7.6]

- Stunt Rock: This Is Stunt Rock Volume Three
Sixteen seamless, bizarrely titled pieces from William Flegal. [Cock Rock Disco; 6.5]


>> Fri:12-09-05

- Various Artists: The Complete Motown Singles, Vol. 3: 1963
Third volume in Hip-O Select's Motown series features every A- and B-side the legendary Detroit label issued in 1963. [Hip-O Select; 9.2]

- Robert Pollard: Zoom (It Happens All Over the World) EP / Music From Bubble EP
Two EPs from the prolific former Guided by Voices leader, one of which was written for a Steven Soderbergh film. [Recordhead; 6.2 / 4.0]

- Tujiko Noriko: Blurred in My Mirror
Japanese singer's sixth album blends the emotional resonance of pop with the challenges of the avant garde. [Room40; 7.8]

- Juelz Santana: What the Game's Been Missing!
Dipset member's latest studio album features highlights from his Back Like Cooked Crack mixtape series, plus previously unreleased material. [Def Jam; 6.9]

- Starsailor: On the Outside
Former NME hypes, still plugging along. [EMI; 4.7]


>> Thu:12-08-05

- New Order: Singles
Double disc collects every UK A-side from the dance/indie/pop band's legendary career. [London; 8.3]

- Shugo Tokumaru: L.S.T.
Second album from this Japanese artist is more song-based and less evocative than his intriguing debut. [Compare Notes; 7.0]

- Wooden Wand & the Vanishing Voice: Xiao / Buck Dharma / The Flood
Trio of recent releases from the unhurried NYC/Tennesse troupe. [Troubleman Unlimited; 7.3 / 7.8 / 8.2]

- Norfolk & Western: If You Were Born Overseas
On this tour-only, self-released album, frontman Adam Selzer comes across like a mix of Colin Meloy and Mark Kozelek. [self-released; 7.5]

- Explosions in the Sky: The Rescue (Travels in Constants Vol. 21)
Post-rock band contributes the latest volume in Temporary Residence Limited's mail order-only Travels in Constants series. [Temporary Residence; 7.2]


>> Wed:12-07-05

- The Drones: Wait Long By the River and the Bodies of Your Enemies Will Float By
Australian quartet plays tight, working-class rock, creating vocal-shredding songs crammed with crammed with drunkenness, night sweats, and suicide notes. [ATP; 8.3]

- Ennio Morricone: Crime & Dissonance
Ipecac's 2xCD compilation digs beyond western scores and 1980s digital experiments to his music for 1960s and 70s Italian crime and exploitation movies. [Ipecac; 8.0]

- Jan Jelinek: Kosmischer Pitch
On his latest album, the German producer draws from the obsessed-over rock produced by his countrymen in the 1970s. [~scape; 8.0]

- Capillary Action: Fragments
Virtuosity, power, and guitar solos are on display on this Pangaea release. [Pangaea; 7.5]

- Landing: Brocade
Swans co-founder and former La Monte Young drummer delivers his solo debut. [Strange Attractors; 7.1]


>> Tue:12-06-05

- Eminem: Curtain Call: The Hits
Hip-hop legend frustratingly collects the hits, saves some of his best work for a tack-on bonus disc, and adds a few mostly insignificant new tracks. [Interscope; 6.9]

- Mindflayer: Expedition to the Hairier Peaks
Latest from Lightning Bolt's Brian Chippendale and Forcefield's Matt Brinkman is rawer and more cavernous than its predecessors. [Corleone; 6.0]

- Koenjihyakkei: Angherr Shisspa
Fourth album from this Japanese band featuring Ruins' Tatsuya Yoshida, godfather of today's blossoming art-rock-noise-pop scene. [Skin Graft; 8.3]

- Dengue Fever: Escape From Dragon House
L.A.-based band fold Ethiopian touches into a Cambodian style of pop heavily influenced by classic American surf rock and Nuggets-era garage-psych. [M80 Music; 7.7]


>> Mon:12-05-05

- Love Is All: Nine Times That Same Song
Swedish lo-fi indie pop group follows two singles of gritty heartache with a stellar debut for New York's What's Your Rupture? label. This is the first great band of 2006. [What's Your Rupture?; 8.7]

- Tarantula A.D.: Book of Sand
Debut LP from the prog-chamber trio combines classical instrumentation and techniques with elements of metal, flamenco, and various pan-global folk forms, and features appearances by Devendra Banhart and CocoRosie's Sierra Cassidy. [Kemado; 5.8]

- DJ Koze: Kosi Comes Around
Debut LP from one of Kompakt's more underrated producers is also the label's best artist album of the year. [Kompakt; 8.0]

- Chamillionaire: The Sound of Revenge
Sly, quick-tongued Houston emcee and former partner with Paul Wall trades candy paint for more serious subjects. [Universal; 7.0]

- Annie Hayden: The Enemy of Love
Merge issues the second solo album from the former co-leader of Spent. [Merge; 6.3]


>> Fri:12-02-05

- Various Artists: Music From The O.C. Mix 5
Latest compilation from the teen drama features Gorillaz, LCD Soundsystem, and Kaiser Chiefs, among others. [Warner Sunset/Warner Bros.; 3.5]

- The Orb: Okie Dokie, It's the Orb on Kompakt
Dr. Alex Patterson's first full-length for Kompakt is full of eerie polyrhythms and slurry dream-techno. [Kompakt; 7.3]

- As Mercenárias: The Beginning of the End of the World
Venerable reissue imprint Soul Jazz collects the best from this 1980s Brazilian post-punk group. [Soul Jazz; 7.8]

- Dead Can Dance: Memento
Compilation of the most memorable releases from the famed 4AD duo, which moved between soft, ethereal ambience and intense, ritualistic vocalizations and Wall of Sound production. [4AD; 7.6]

- Rosie Thomas: If Songs Could Be Held
This album from the Sub Pop songstress is her first since moving to L.A. [Sub Pop; 5.9]


>> Thu:12-01-05

- Patti Smith: Horses [30th Anniversary Legacy Edition]
New York poetess and singer's proto-punk classic is reissued with a live track-by-track recital of the LP, recorded this past June, tacked on as a bonus. [Arista; 9.4]

- Hot Chip: Coming on Strong
Long-awaited U.S. release from this at times perplexing electronic British outfit, who come across like a mellow, hip-hop-lovin' version of LCD Soundsystem. [Astralwerks; 8.0]

- Men's Recovery Project: The Very Best Of
5RC presents a 40-track comp from this post-Born Against, Residents-like group. [5 Rue Christine; 8.2]

- Metal Fingers: Special Herbs 9 + 0
Latest collection of MF Doom instrumentals-- some previously-released backing tracks from his or other's albums, some unreleased beat sketches or stand-alone compositions. [Shaman Work; 7.0]

- Amina: AminaminA EP
Promising EP from this Icelandic quartet and ancillary members of Sigur Rós. [The Worker's Institute; 7.0]