DJ Kicks

Nine sane and rewarding life choices we promise you will not get punished by God for

RUN THE ROAD
(Vice/Atlantic)

One so wants to give British MCs the benefit of the doubt. They're sincere, they're determined, and they've paid their dues. So this useful little collection will be praised like The Harder They Come when it's more African Underground Vol. 1: engaging yes, delightful no. As with African Underground, there's a language barrier, albeit a less insuperable one. But with grime there's also a music barrier: The beats are so squelchy (complexly squelchy here, but still) that when Dizzee Rascal and the Streets come on, they could be Just Blaze bum-rushing the permissions department. Three female voices also provide welcome illusions of grace. In fact, Lady Sovereign's cheap, cute "Cha Ching" is delightful. A MINUS

SCISSOR SISTERS
(Universal)

Great start: two songs in which gender spirals down the rabbit hole are followed by a Pink Floyd cover done Bee Gees-style. These star-time party boys never get brasher, funnier, or better, and their midtempo Elton isn't ironic enough. But this has more pride than competing gay masscult takeovers, which makes it more liberating for us all. Bless them for lending a queer ear to an ominously straight year. B PLUS


Dud of the Month

RUFUS WAINWRIGHT
Want Two
(Geffen)

Want One moved well-wishers to decry the evil corporation that forbade its prestige artiste to pile all the post-rehab "songs" he recorded with Björk hand Marius deVries onto one glorious double CD. But had any of them actually heard the lachrymosities he saved for part two? Get Jon Brion in here quick, Van Dyke Parks even, "The Art Teacher" is worth saving. His mom will still love him, that's something—thank God for her cameo. For less sanguine admirers, however, this is too classical, too romantic, and too I-yam-what-I-yam all at once. B MINUS


Additional Consumer News
Honorable Mention

EAGLES OF DEATH METAL
Peace Love Death Metal
AntAcidAudio

Dark secrets of the counterculture revealed—sexism! greed! hooks! ("San Berdoo Sunburn," "Kiss the Devil").

WAR (IF IT FEELS GOOD, DO IT!)
Hiphop Slam

Mash up the bushit (Azeem, "Bush Is a Gangsta"; DJs of Mass Destruction, "Liberate the Children (Live)"; 4AM, "InDaClub").

A.C. NEWMAN
The Slow Wonder
Matador

Compulsive craftsmen have feelings too—they're just nervous about letting them show ("Miracle Drug," "Come Crash").

CYOD
Better Sh!*$ on the Way!
Trust Me

Sound kind of Giant Sand, think more Hold Steady ("Hey Moe—You Kicked Ass," "Apt. K").

THE REVEREND AL GREEN
Everything's OK
Blue Note

Not great—OK ("I Can Make Music," "I Wanna Hold You").

BEMBEYA JAZZ NATIONAL
The Syliphone Years
Stern's Africa

Guinea's socialist dream in one decade and two CDs ("Armée Guinéene," "Telephone").

THE ROUGH GUIDE TO REBETIKA
World Music Network

From the sound of these old Mediterranean café songs, it could be Jews or North Africans singing, but it's Greeks (Roza Eskenazi, "Enas Mangas Sto Teke Mou"; Markos Vamvakaris, "Antonis Varkaris Seretis").

BLAKE SHELTON
Blake Shelton's Barn & Grill
Warner Bros.

Humanist country, Bobby Braddock-style ("Cotton Pickin' Time," "The Bartender").

DIPLO
Florida
Big Dada

Unlike true turntablism fans, I'm glad Shadow casts such a shadow ("Big Lost," "Sarah").

I CAN LICK ANY SONOFABITCH IN THE HOUSE
Menace
In Music We Trust

It's the right historical moment for pissed-off catharsis and praise songs to your dead Christian grandma ("Westboro Baptist Church," "Pauline").

RAHSAAN PATTERSON
After Hours
Artistry Music

An hour of foreplay and he's ready for more ("The One for Me," "So Hot").

THE HOLY MODAL ROUNDERS
Bird Song: Live 1971
Water

Different songs, good drummer ("Boobs a Lot/Willie & the Hand Jive," "Smokey Joe's Cafe").

DE LA SOUL
The Grind Date
Sanctuary

Weary blues from waiting ("The Grind Date," "Rock Co.Kane Flow").

J-ZONE
A Job Ain't Nuthin But Work
Fat Beats/Old Maid Entertainment

Rapper wants a tuna sandwich with all the fixings, hold the tuna, and can you supersize a tap water with that? ("Disco Ho," "Kill Pretty").

GIANT SAND
Giant Sand Is All Over the Map
Thrill Jockey

In Denmark and the desert, Howe Gelb lives and is ready to brag about it ("Classico," "Remote").


Choice Cuts

MICHAEL JACKSON
"Shake a Body," "Monkey Business," "Sunset Drive"
(The Ultimate Collection, Epic/Legacy)

SOLOMON BURKE
"I Need Your Love in My Life"
(Make Do With What You Got, Shout! Factory)

MARTHA WAINWRIGHT
"Bloody Mother Fucking Asshole"
(Bloody Mother Fucking Asshole, Zoe)

JOHN LEGEND
"I Can Change"
(Get Lifted, Getting Out Our Dreams/Sony Urban/Columbia)

THE EX
"In the Event," "Listen to the Painters"
(Turn, Touch and Go)


Duds

DELAYS
Faded Seaside Glamour
(Rough Trade)

JOLIE HOLLAND
Escondida
(Anti-)

SHOOTER JENNINGS
Put the O Back in Country
(Universal South)

JIN
The Rest Is History
(Virgin)

LADYSMITH BLACK MAMBAZO WITH THE ENGLISH CHAMBER ORCHESTRA
No Boundaries
(Heads Up)

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