Telling the Truth was made at Variety Recordings, New York's cheapest studio -- in exchange for a cheesy radio-style ad. Warm, soulful, occasionally political, Wright was a private-press gem who deserved more.
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Telling the Truth [Numero Group, available now]
First of all: Stop reading this and buy this album now. Do it. Are you playing it? OK, good. Another find by the always reliable Numero Group, Wright was an obscure soul singer born in the Deep South and raised in St. Louis and Harlem, who somehow ended up in Boston and Nantucket. In 1977 he went to NYC to record a sublime set of tunes that, if released by Marvin Gaye or Curtis Mayfield, would be recognized as stone-cold classics to this day. Instead, Wright sold 1,000 copies from the trunk of his car and it took more than 30 years for crate-diggers to share it with the world. Rare soul reissues seem to be pouring out of the archives these days — this one's special. Aren't you happy we made you go get it?
Slaughterhouse EP [Entertainment One, Feb. 8]
Ripping the plucked bass line and opening chant of Black Sheep's classic "The Choice Is Yours," Slaughterhouse, newly signed to Eminem's Shady Records, open their EP with "Back on the Scene." That title's a little misleading: No member of the supergroup — which consists of rap vets Joe Budden, Crooked I, Joell Ortiz and Royce da 5'9" — has ever burst through mainstream doors, but they've all worked steadily over the past decade or so. To nobody's surprise, all four bring vicious lyricism to this tape, and the beats wisely stay out of the way.
"Imagine Magic" demo [Self-released online, available now]
We've been impressed by local psychedelician Jesse Rakusin for quite a while now. While your marketing-savvier Edward Sharpes and Devendra Banharts are feted by Pitchfork and festival crowds, Rakusin mines a groove much closer to the weirdo, sunbaked legends of the '60s and '70s, making strange, guitar-drenched little songs about awareness, consciousness, etc., that would not be out of place on a Ya Ho Wa 13 album. Fans of Sun Araw who also like tighter song structures or fans of the Seeds (or recent Billy Corgan) who also like lo-fi will dig. You can listen and download them at soundcloud.com/awaken-2/tracks.
Hechizo: Las Canciones de Bunbury and Heroes del Silencio [Capitol, available now]
Heroes del Silencio was a Bowie-influenced '80s band from Spain that gained unprecedented success as a '90s pop-rock act. They disbanded in 1996, and leader Enrique Bunbury went on to become an iconic rocker/composer. Now his peers in the rock en español racket pay tribute with a collection that's more solid than any Heroes or Bunbury record: Argentina's Andres Calamaro, Colombia's Aterciopelados, Phil Manzanera (Roxy Music), even Spain's queer legend/bard of sensitive grandmas Raphael become the interpreters of Bunbury's little romantic fables with a rock & roll heart.