STEREOLAB, NOT MUSIC (DRAG CITY)
Twenty years and 12 albums in Stereolab gives us Not Music, a record derived from the same sessions that produced 2008's Chemical Chords and released during their self-imposed hiatus. This mix of "new" songs and remixes of "old" ones is fantastic, but if you're a long-time fan of Stereolab, you'll feel like you've heard all these songs before; there's no change of direction or style, no deviation from their well-polished and immediately recognizable sound. That's all right though, because they're so good at what they do. Not Music is full of Stereolab trademarks: Laetitia Sadier's voice is still otherwordly, relaxed and seductive; they've got the same '70s krautrock and '60s pop sounds masked with colorful production and subtle electronic effects creating a hybrid retro-futurist feel. I just hope that this isn't the last we hear of Stereolab. They clearly haven't lost their edge, and I would expect them to go out with a much stronger record than Not Music.
TOMMY SANTEE KLAWS, RAKES (IMAGINARY MUSIC)
L.A.'s Tommy Santee Klaws makes folk-rock music that's a bit sad and a little spooky, full of tiny twinkling noises that come from an assortment of odd toys, and occasional bird sounds. Rakes sounds like leaves changing colors and falling into piles onto the ground while fall transitions into winter. The hushed vocals are comforting and warm, even as the lyrics become chilling and depressing. This is the kind of music meant to be listened to while sitting around a campfire in your backyard, wandering through a dark forest, or on a ship at sea at night.
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DUM DUM GIRLS - "BHANG BHANG, I'M A BURNOUT" 7" (SLUMBERLAND)
L.A.'s own Dum Dum Girls' are back with their new garage-pop single, "Bhang Bhang, I'm A Burnout." (b/w "Last Caress.") "Bhang Bhang" is a gritty-yet-cutesy song about psychedelics with an infectious chorus off their Sub Pop debut full-length I Will Be. It's a fun mix of classic 60's girl-pop and punk sensibilities. Side B is a cover of the Misfits' punk classic "Last Caress" which thankfully plays to Dum Dum Girls' strengths rather than trying to replicate--or even out-do--all previous covers of this Misfits song. There are only 400 copies of this single on blue vinyl, so get your copy fast.
GIRL TALK, ALL DAY (ILLEGAL ART)
Girl Talk's mashup mastermind Gregg Gillis released his latest All Day on online for free on his label Illegal Art's website. All Day is a 12-track album mixing 400 samples from Rihanna, Black Sabbath, Radiohead, The Notorious B.I.G., Aphex Twin, Fugazi, Beyonce, Miley Cyrus, Daft Punk, Jackson 5, Cyndi Lauper, and countless others--no less stunning in its range than 2008's Feed the Animals. Sounds great, right? Yeah, only if you're actually able to download the album--Illegal Art has been slammed all day, and it takes quite a bit of patience to grab the record.