In which I’m taking a few short minutes to credit major labels with a few good releases of late. I won’t do this often, but I’m doing it just this once. . .
Glossy, catchy postpunk a la Franz Ferdinand. Some of the songwriting here is quite impressive, and worth your time.
Crazy (Gnarls Barkley cover) (live recording)
Naive-Lily Allen covering the Kooks
YOUR VEGAS-“A town and two cities”
Yeah, it’s on Universal, but we should encourage the biggies when they offer sample mp3s for listeners. Your Vegas was written up in this space several months ago, when they only had a single. The full-length pop-shoegazer is out now.
ERYKAH BADU “New Amerykah: Part One (4th World War)”
Erykah Badu has been mostly underground for several years, with her smooth R&B station being dominated by folks like Alicia Keys and Jill Scott (and, even worse, American Idol). In ’08, she returned with her third full-length, “New AmErykah, Pt. 1: 4th World War,” a remarkably different album. It’s a concept record, with each song flowing into the next, and it’s infected by Outkast rhythms and bizarre, apocalyptic themes. The first track is a cover (Roy Ayers’, “The American Promise”) but the rest is all Erykah. And unlike her prior works, the fairly straightforward “Baduizm” and her introspective second album, this one is hip hop to the core, with production by no less
than the likes of Madlib and 9th Wonder, among others, and explicit (or sometimes less-than-explicit) music references to Curtis Mayfield and George Clinton. She manages to do the Sly Stone political funk thang without sounding dated, and the results are excellent.
This album should be selling much better than it is.