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CARINA ROUND The Disconnection HHHH


From Carina Round’s open, heart-shaped face and rosebud lips issues forth the frightening march of a million scarlet demons. Although it wouldn’t be surprising to find that PJ Harvey was the main influence on Round’s soulful musical minimalism and dark, slicing poetry, a collage of other sounds bleed through: Fiona Apple, trip-hop, old Mississippi blues, ritualistic superstition, Nikka Costa. But make no mistake: Ms. Round’s sound is her own. The Disconnection is an example of the forceful, primal eruptions that explode only from the untainted core of a genuine artist. (Interscope)


NELLIE MCKAY Get Away From Me HHHH


Nellie’s disco, rap and jazz ditties are hysterically funny, shot through with bitter sarcasm and political commentary. Get Away From Me is like a Broadway musical on crack. Peaches, Saturday Night Live and Crank Yankers better watch their backs. Best lyrics go to “Won’t U Please B Nice:” “If you would sit/ Oh so close to me/ That would be nice ... if you don’t/ I’ll slit your throat/ So won’t u please b nice?” (Columbia)


SHAKIRA Live & Off the Record HHH


Why Shakira bleached her hair before beginning her huge U.S. marketing push is such a mystery! But ultimately, it just looks fried. Shakira’s strong, sensual voice is captured perfectly on this live album, un-tinkered with via ProTools, which is more than one can say for most modern-day divas. Now she just needs to lose those nasally moan dives that seem like a cross between Celine Dion and Kermit the Frog. (Epic)


THE BAD PLUS Give HHHH


Improvisationalists The Bad Plus, sure to become a favorite among indie elitists universe-wide, recorded almost every song of this free-form jazz juggernaut in one take, with only two minor edits. Piano, drums and earthy stand-up bass coalesce in a random focus, a wandering journey of calculated chaos. Give contains three jazz takes on rock covers (like Salt Lakers SLAJO); which include “Velouria” (Pixies) and “Iron Man” (easily the best track). (Columbia)


PRE-THING 22nd Century Lifestyle H


This album is worse than waking up in the morning and realizing you have a bladder infection. Pre-thing tries to incorporate the image of Kid Rock with straight rock and fails miserably. And, although 22nd Century Lifestyle might make fitting background music at the next WWE pay-per-view, there’s really no other place where it could—or should, legally—be played. Exceptions to the overall despair are ballads “Faded Love” and “Sunshine.” (V2)

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About The Author

Rebecca Vernon

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