American Analog Set


(Tiger Style)

This EP is a collection of two American Analog Set rarities remixed by the band itself, and two remixes each by Her Space Holiday and Styrofoam. HSH props AAS's low-key drone-pop against trip-hop beats, an interesting, if not altogether convincing, reconceptualization of the original work. Both HSH's remixes and AAS's own are like a cheap CD-R: They peel apart at the middle and leave you with two pieces that don't fit together but aren't much use on their own. Styrofoam, however, fares better. In particular, his remix of "The Postman," in which he samples a Ping-Pong match and bounces the loop between the left and right channels, clearly furthers the track's possibilities. (Godfre Leung)

Marianne Faithfull
Kissin' Time
(Virgin Records)

On Marianne Faithfull's latest, sexcellent '90s stars such as Beck and Blur collaborate with the gritty-voiced veteran, dishing up a smorgasbord of fame, names and stylistic games. The result is a spotty but interesting record, one which sadly underemploys Faithfull's capacity for searing emotional delivery. It does play on her iconic role in rock history: Witness "Sliding Through Life on a Charm," where Jarvis Cocker has written lines like "I am a muse, not a mistress, not a whore...and I was only trying to please, I never got any royalties." Two of the three Beck tracks ache with resigned longing, though the other, "Sex with Strangers," kicks the album off to a moronic start. "I'm on Fire," featuring Billy Corgan, comes across as a surprise standout. Despite its shining moments, Kissin' Time is a strangely flat offering from such a glittering planetarium of stars. (Tiffany Lee Brown)

The Lords of Altamont
To Hell
(Sympathy For The Record Industry)

Thank God for metal. (Scratch that--thank Satan.) Where would music be without metal's fiery onslaught? Crying in the corner, bashfully bland and effortlessly ignored at parties, that's where. But thank the Lord--Lucifer, whatever--for bad-ass bands like the Lords of Altamont, who make music so mean, so tough, it rumbles under your skin, jolts your body and threatens to knock the wind out of you. To Hell speeds at a punk-rock pace but, weighted down by metal's darkness, eludes happy pop territory and secures the perfect middle ground between punk and metal. It's heaven and hell. But mostly hell, of course. (Jenny Tatone)

The Pixies
Eponymous compilation

This collection consists of the songs from the Pixies' infamous "Purple Tape," the 1987 recording session that also produced the tracks selected for Come On Pilgrim. Brings one back, no doubt, though none of these takes are substantially different from versions of the same songs on the Boston band's later albums. Still, there's a raw urgency--a quintessential Pixies feel, in other words--to the archival release. Several rare tracks, including the plaintive "Rock A My Soul" and the only studio version of "In Heaven," ensure this is not pure nostalgia. And "Subbacultcha"--subba-blime, if you'll forgive me. (Susie Meserve)

The Shift
Too Little...Too Late
(Wretched Records)

Local "wanna-wanna-wanna, gimme-gimme-gimme" grubster punks make good by making bad. Meaning: ultracrap sound recording, irredeemable sociopathic attitudes, artless "kill me/kill you" lyrics and unavoidably familiar old-school punk-rock chord progressions, all in the service of one unhappy fellow, singer Eddie Wretch. Following only the strictest tenets of punk philosophy, it's so wrong, it's right. (John Graham)

Various Artists

Never mind the stupid title--definingTECH will lick your poor, innocent ears and mercilessly seduce you with its retro-electro sounds. Even if you think you've got no use for neo-'80s reworkings of stark funk, New Wave, synth- and techno-pop, this compilation of well-selected gems may change your mind. An otherworldly catchiness moves this disc, from the frigid electricity of Adult to the nasty cooings of Peaches. If you've heard about artists like Miss Kitten, Fischerspooner and Felix da Housecat but never dipped your toe into the genre, here's your opportunity to take a dive. The water's cool and silky. (TLB)