Have You Reached Yet?
[Sing-Sing Records, available now]
An oldie in two different ways, but in here for two different reasons: It rules and it's finally showing up in L.A. record stores. (The) Clap were five North Torrance dudes who DIY-ed one of the snottiest garage-pop LPs ever smeared across Southern California but then disappeared into the pages of Bomp! magazine. Too bad for them it was 1973 — too early for punk and too late for the Pebbles-era '80s garage renaissance. And yet: Now-time rockers like King Tuff and Black Lips, behold the beautiful slime from whence you came. A thousand words couldn't capture the stubborn, fractured brilliance of this long-in-coming reissue, and we only got two words left anyway, so — eat it!
Rave On Buddy Holly
[Fantasy Records, June 28]
Buddy Holly died at age 22, leaving behind a body of work whose universal charm comes to life simply by looking at the track list of Rave On. Lou Reed piles distortion onto his cover of "Peggy Sue," Fiona Apple and Jon Brion turn "Everyday" into a tender duet, and Kid Rock — yes, that Kid Rock — actually delivers an impressive arrangement of "Well Alright" with bright horns and an ensemble of backup vocalists. The songs themselves are Buddy's, so of course they're masterful, but the artists are among the best of their respective genres and the choices they make in taking over these songs serve them — and Buddy — well.
An Empty Bliss Beyond This World
[History Always Favours the Winners, June 21]
James Leyland Kirby is fascinated by the idea that music leaves remnants, aural chemtrails through time and space, if you will. His Caretaker albums are beautiful evocations of lost sounds: Imagine a portal suddenly opens in your 21st-century reality and you catch a few minutes of a piano being caressed in a pre–World War I parlor, or on the Titanic a few minutes before someone notices the iceberg. A delicate gem, like artificial memories etched onto silk paper.
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101 Things to Do in Bongolia
[Electric Cowbell Records, June 28]
Fans of the vinyl-oriented imprint Electric Cowbell who are bereft of turntables will be thrilled at this release, which finally puts each of last year's 7-inch singles on CD. The Brooklyn-based label is officially without a genre-based agenda; even so, the bands here generally fall somewhere between world and electronica. There's funk (the CSC Funk Band) and Latin (Bio Ritmo) and noise jazz (Talibam!) and even improvisational jam-rock courtesy of Greg Ginn and the Taylor Texas Corrugators. (Yes, that's Black Flag's Greg Ginn, who semi-recently relocated to the Lone Star State.) Think Ubiquity Records via a Williamsburg loft party and you'll have the general idea.