Z-Trip | Shifting Gears
Check out the first major label release by one of the best true turntablists out there, DJ Z-Trip. See how many of the MC cameos you can recognize. This guy flat out knows how to rock a party on the wheels of steel. - MY

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Roots Manuva Awfully Deep: Manuva is back at it with his recipe of super blunted experimental Hip-Hop and Dub. Subtly humorous and political, Roots vocal stylings coupled with some chunky beats are just what the doctor ordered. - MY  Posted by Hello

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ISIS | Panopticon
Grinding, droned-out metal core, but don't let the phrase "metal core" scare ya. Besides the rare moments of compltely contrived almost unlistenable scream/singing, the music is downright amazing. With little, if any, care for what you think, ISIS go to the center of the dark universe and drill your at your soul with their heavy guitar-centric attack. - Kayceman
TK Note: ISIS was top 5 performance at SXSW2005.

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Flaming Lips | The Soft Bulliten
RfK says the Flaming Lips have a similar musical progression as Pink Floyd- a long, strange career, true artists who stayed true to their visions and became more commercially acceptable with each passing release, getting more mainstream. Pru wrote of The Soft Bulliten, "An amazing album from end to end, the Lips finally made their brilliance apparent to everyone with this 1999 album. A nakedly humane record draped in seemingly surreal elements, the disc made everything old seem new again. It's bizarre, beautiful orchestral pop music, and also the last great pop album of the 1990s."

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Weezer | Weezer (1994): Deluxe Edition
A decade after the seminal power pop "blue album" went triple platinum, Weezer fans can now bask in the glow of a reissued and remixed edition, replete with a second disc full of B-sides, acoustic demos, rarities, garage recordings, and the previously unreleased "Kitchen Tapes." Count 'em: 14 epic bonus songs! And My Name is still Jonas! - Eric S.

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Matisyahu | Live At Stubbs
The Hasidic Jew sings spirituality-rich songs set to thick reggae beats that sometimes wander into jam rock territory -- it's sort of a Yahweh-meets-"Ya, mon" vibe, if you will. But Matisyahu also throws hip-hop into the mix; his reggae scats often morph into super fast raps that could rival Twista's. - Linda R.
(Matisyahu other album:
Matisyahu | Shake off the Dust...Arise

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Tom Waits | Swordfishtrombones
Witnessing the progression of the Tom Waits sound is like having a semi-religous, peak experience. And Swordfishtrombone makes the most sense in context with his past albums. Gone are the images of happy hobos and beat poets and in saunters a freak show of cigar chomping, circus clowns and poodle murdering, ex-husbands. The sound is like a merry go round warped by the doppler effect with clanking bottles, twisted tunings and smashed vibes. And of course over all of that is a darker, more mature and forlorn Waits growling about those things that haunt us when we peak. - Jay F. (OG)

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Benevento Russo Duo | Best Reason to Buy The Sun
So our boys The Duo are all grown up and have moved out of Jamville, got a big macher to manage the circus, a real record label, a top notch producer who did Beck and REM, and even caught the ear of D. Fricke at SXSW. And for good reason. This record is solid throughout, it sounds amazing, the sound is really vast and expansive. Some standout tracks include "Welcome Road" is the scenic road I want to walk down after an epic night gallavanting. "Sunny's Song" creates a truly epic feeling and "9x9" is just an amazing song, I recall being blown away by it at the ropeadope new music seminar. The drums are telling you that this is a beats album, the keys are rooted in jazz, and the complete package sounds like it fell off the indie rock truck, so tight and melodic, yet dissonant, just waiting for nasal vocals to chime in. For The Duo, I am happy as a clam that no one sings, their music does enough justice on its own. Don't try to classify them, just listen to them. - TK

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Andrew Bird | The Mysterious Production of Eggs
Andrew Bird is a previously unimaginable combination of songwriter, violinist, guitarist, vocalist and professional whistler. His unfailingly unique and striking music is jawdropping. Seriously, he is one of the amazing performers I have seen in a long while, taking his often dense, orchestrated recordings and rewrites them anew each night, adding hypnotic layers of bowed violin, pizzicato violin, multiple electric guitar parts, and glockenspiel to his vocals and other-worldly whistling - you have to see it to believe it, melodies only a Bird could make.

He is a classical composer playing the whole orchestra, save for the drums, by himself, building a mini-symphony underneath his beautiful vocal and whistling parts. You think the loops are amazing on their own, and then he starts to sing, and you hear these incredible songs, some Lou Reed, lots of Jeff Buckley and a few parts Stephen Malkmus. In between lyrics are these complex instrumental "interludes", like classic movie soundtrack music.

Listen to "A Nervous Tic Motion of the Head to the Left" off of his The Mysterious Production of Eggs. Bird is touring in support of this new record, his first studio album in nearly two years, and his second on Righteous Babe Records.

(Mp3 link today, as Righteous Babe is not up on Rhapsody....yet - putting R.B.Records at the top of my list of labels to sign)
- TK

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Robert Wyatt | Rock Bottom
Fearing that the idea of progressive rock was becoming too muddied and cluttered, Robert Wyatt created this low-key masterpiece in 1974. His fluttering vocals detail everything from rediscovery to redemption, while the sparse instrumentation (guided by piano) takes you through his incredibly understated arrangements. Check out a great use of space and horns together in "Little Red Riding Hood Hit The Road"

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Moped | The Early Years
so, i went to the Moped show last night. i gotta say, i enjoyed the band. it was basically two guys (peter and a drummer). peter would do stuff on his computer and then play bass and loop it and play kind of ethereal sax accents and loop them as well. it morphed between sort of driving electronic tension and release building-type of a sound and new jazzy hip-hop. i think they'll be at amnesia this week too (if you are an SF local). - Adam G.

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Robert Plant | Dreamland
The unmistakable voice of Robert Plant is back with a new offering. Older and wiser, the voice is still the one you rocked out to in your high school bedroom. Dreamland is becoming regarded as his best solo effort ever, the ex-Zep front man takes Tim Buckley's "The Siren Song" to heaven, tours purgatory with Dylan's "One More Cup of Coffee," recasts Hendrix's "Hey Joe" in Hades, and "Morning Dew" is more Moroccan than Marin/Dead. Even on these cover songs, Plant can't help tripping to his own light fantastic.

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Sam Roberts | We Were Born In A Flame
"Catchy" doesn't do enough to describe Sam Roberts' acoustic-based pop songs. His warm, adult alternative-oriented sound is quickly absorbed, leaving behind strong, inventively melodic pop songs that recall the post-Beatles pop of the 1970s as well as some of the Gomez of today. Very listenable, give it a run. - Jon P.

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