Lizz Wright, “The Orchard” (Verve/Universal) 4/5
Solid rootsy jazz/blues crossover album. Calexico make a surprise guest appearance.
ipod essential – My Heart
Raya Yarbrough, “Raya Yarbrough” (Telarc/Elite) 2/5
Smooth vocal jazz – a little too slick for its own good, but maybe that’s the point?
ipod essential – Early Autumn
Bob Mould, “District Line” (Beggars Banquet/The Label) 3/5
New solo LP from the aging punk legend (and godfather of emo?). Best moments recall Sugar.
ipod essential – Very Temporary
Kinky, “Reina” (Nettwerk/Shock) 3/5
Quirky but patchy amalgam of electro, guitar pop, new wave, and disco, with Latin roots.
ipod essential – Una Linea de Luz
Otis Taylor, “Recapturing the Banjo” (Telarc/Elite) 4/5
All-star trad pre-war acoustic blues set, heavy on the banjo and homespun wisdom.
ipod essential – Live Your Life
The Bing Turkby Ensemble, “Are You Ensembled?” (Turkby Tone Rekkids) 3/5
Schizoid self-referencing Palmerton North indie band. Slightly tiresome but quite fun.
ipod essential – High Class
The Roulettes, “You Want it” (The Roulettes) 3/5
Promising local indie rock outfit stradling grunge and postpunk.
ipod essential – Lines
Ronnie Earl and the Broadcasters, “Hope Radio” (Stony Plain/Elite) 3/5
Collection of gospel-blues guitar workouts (mostly electric), mercifully free of vocals, and therefore lyrics.
ipod essential – Kay My Dear
Eric Bibb, “Get Onboard” (Telarc/Elite) 4/5
Affecting, appealing, but occasionally twee, translation of classic blues and soul to the modern milieu.
ipod essential – If Our Hearts Ain’t In It
Sixx A.M., “The Heroin Diaries Soundtrack” (Eleven Seven Music/Shock) 2/5
Motley Crue bassist wrestles with his junkie demons with truly awful results. William Burroughs he is not.
ipod essential – Tomorrow
Christian Prommer’s Drum Lesson, “Drum Lesson Vol. 1” (Sonar
Jazz ensemble records cover versions of melodic techno classics from Kraftwerk to Isolee. Surprsingly awesome.
ipod essential – Strings of Life
Recloose, “Perfect Timing” (Loop) 4/5
Heavy Prince fixation dominates the first half, but later there’s some classic dubby soul tunes.
ipod essential – Solomon’s Alive