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Review: Califone Quicksand and Cradlesnakes

Label: Thrill Jockey

Califone's second full-length inhales sun-baked dust and exhales pure shimmer. Combining desert mirages, slow motion tumbleweed sweeps, and shards of glitch, Ben Massarella and Tim Rutili get inventive, unafraid to mix startling tech textures into their alt-country palette. Deftly manipulated feedback and under-the-radar effects make for an album at once simply present and elegantly prescient. Gorgeously elliptical lyrics give way to subtle tool shed jam sessions that are anything but hokey. Think you hate country? Read more » 

Review: Pitch Black Errie (Jiggle Like Jello)

Label: Solidarity Records

Bay Area MC/poet Pitch Black sets it off fittingly with the uptempo "Errie," the greeting of choice among Frisco gangstas. It showcases Black's intense vocal style, something akin to a heated whisper. The flipside's "Communication," however, steals the show, alternating between frustrated flows and calm cadences over sparse, plucked-string soul. Read more » 

Review: Hedonizm Sampler

Label: TCR

Breaks vet Ellis Dee offers two bits from his upcoming comp. "The Chase" sees Dee team up with his man Syrus for some dubby and cinematic thrust, while the flip finds the Autobots build "Blogger," an electro-tinged bassline burner. An exercise in necessary boom. Read more » 

Review: King Tubby 100% of Dub

Label: Select Cuts

At first glance, 100% of Dub may seem like just another "Best of" title, and if you're familiar with reggae comps, that's reason enough to be wary. But 100% should be considered one of the most significant dub reissues of the last 20 years for reasons other than its impeccable recording quality and content selection. It also represents just how closely Tubby was involved with some of Jamaica's best ever recordings. Read more » 

Review: N.E.R.D. Provider (Zero 7 Mix)

Label: Virgin

As Zero 7 did with the never-released remix of Mos Def's "Ummah Says," they now offer this sublime acoustic arrangement with beautiful strings. An instant classic. Read more » 

Review: The Bug Pressure

Label: Tigerbeat6

Antonio Gramsci said, "We are forced into an interregnum in which the old is dying and the new cannot yet be born." He might as well have been talking about contemporary electronic music. But Kevin "Techno Animal" Martin, hardly a newcomer to harsh, rhythmic music, gives birth to the new on this mandatory record, which rounds up the best ragga vocalists in the UK and Germany to voice heavy, swollen, lease-breaking rhythm tracks. Don't worry, Tikiman is in full effect, alongside Daddy Freddy and Roger Robinson. Read more » 

Review: Plump DJs In Stereo

Label: Fingerlickin'

Andy Gardner and Lee Rous bring another dancefloor pleaser in "In Stereo," with its requisite disco vocal and funky slap bass for booty-shaking. Glitch programming gives it an edge, with an infamously Plump mindfuck breakdown. On the flip, the evocative "Mantra" delves into less familiar territory, with an electro backbone supporting solid, trancelike programming. Read more » 

Review: Sappo Sudden Impact EP

Label: Advisory

After a longish break, our man Sappo vengefully resurfaces with four impressive cuts of soulful rump-up. Simplicity rules the breaks and basslines here, and the ragga touch of "Ease Off" and white-hot female vocals on "Can't Wait" and "Free Your Mind" shoo this one into serious contention. Read more » 

Review: Various Artists Rewind 2

Label: Ubiquity

An album of cover songs is only successful if it does more than stimulate nostalgia for the originals. Like its predecessor, Rewind 2 works well up against this standard, providing versions that are satisfying on their own. The song selection ranges from familiar (Terry Callier's take on The Temptation's "Just My Imagination" and Roy Davis Jr.'s lively tribute to Curtis Mayfield's "People Get Ready") to rare (Fruitbeard's cover of Chrissie Hynde's obscure "Private Life"), so only ardent music collectors will know every song. Read more » 

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