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RAGE AGAINST THE MACHINE Live at the Grand Olympic Auditorium ****

Rage Against the Machine broke up and all you can do is cry, kids? Savor this CD of their final live performance and/or just learn to accept Audioslave. Seeing Rage live in their heyday left me hugging my blankie and crying for mommy. This CD does no less, capturing the pristine fury of Rage’s hatred of injustice that cleanses as it awakens. Big, fat riffs that tug at your mind like thorny burrs, Roche’s guttural cry and all your favorite hits are here in their raw glory. (Epic)

GARY NUMAN Mutate ***

This album is incredible. So what if it’s almost all songs you’ve heard before? Gary knocks himself out on this Flood/Curve/Andy Gray etc.-produced double-disc remix of his classics, with three new ones thrown in for good measure (note the NIN-inflected “Crazier”). Including two versions of “Down in the Park” may have been going a bit overboard, but the plush, dark majesty of this fantastic album makes up for any incidental bobbles. (Psychobaby)

G UNIT Beg for Mercy ***

Guns, ice, dinero and tats—empty gestures without good music, which G Unit, headed by 50 Cent, has in spades. Wild flute, strings and infectious, hooky grooves, on the other hand, make this record stellar. And if you were wondering, G Unit are A-1 sauce lovers (“Groupie Love,” “Wanna Get to Know You”), they’ll waste you if you cross them (“My Buddy,” “Eye for Eye,” “Salute U”) and they’d like to give a shout-out to God (“Footprints”). (Interscope)

GARAGELAND Last Exit to Garageland **.5

So, is this reissue of Garageland’s 1997 debut an attempt to cash in on the modern garage burst, which they preceded about four years too early? With 22 tracks, you’d think half of Last Exit would be filler, but au contraire. Poppy garage hits with a touch of grunge and Sonic Youth belie Garageland’s lame name and cover art. But an ever-present fake, plastic-y quality leaves a bad aftertaste. (Flying Nun/Foodchain)

PATTY LOVELESS On Your Way Home **.5

Country’s sometimes tough to review because it’s so easy to hate. The music’s almost always frustratingly uniform, even more so than rock, rap or, yes, polka. But Patty Loveless acquits herself nicely, landing on the bearable, traditional side of the country fence, albeit still feeding on the young, healthy grass of Mainstream Ranch. “I Don’t Wanna Be That Strong,” “Born-Again Fool” and “Higher Than the Wall” tell the best stories. (Epic)

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Rebecca Vernon

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