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Joanna Newsom, Ys (Drag City)

Joanna Newsom, Ys (Drag City)

Arriving at the tail end of last year, this album was too late for it to be considered by reviewers and so has largely gone unacknowledged. But it has appeared on numerous international "best of 2006" lists. However be warned, this baroque folk is not an easy proposition: Newsom sometimes sings like Bjork channelling Shirley...

BEST OF ELSEWHERE 2009 Bill Callahan: Sometimes I Wish We Were An Eagle (UK Spin)

BEST OF ELSEWHERE 2009 Bill Callahan: Sometimes I Wish We Were An Eagle (UK Spin)

At a time when yet another Neil Young album and a truly dire Stevie Nicks live outing command major media attention, it could be slightly depressing that this one by the great Bill Callahan will probably go straight past most reviewers, and his potential audience. Often appearing under the name Smog, Callahan has always appealed to people...

Elliott Smith: An Introduction to Elliott Smith (Kill Rock Stars/Southbound)

Elliott Smith: An Introduction to Elliott Smith (Kill Rock Stars/Southbound)

It seems curious that the intelligent, melodic and very dead Elliott Smith hasn't engendered a cult following: his albums were consistently good and the circumstances of his death (if it was suicide it was a strange one in which questions needed to be asked) should have guaranteed him t-shirt status at least. Smith had half a dozen songs in...

Smog: Rock Bottom Riser (EMI)

Smog: Rock Bottom Riser (EMI)

Smog is the astonishingly prolific Bill Callahan who has moved from a deliberately untutored style into what might be loosely considered alt.country. This four track EP (with Jim White, Joanna Newsom and others) is elegantly plain and unadorned, and sets you up for a new album early next year. If you haven't heard Smog you need to...

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