the beta band

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The Beta Band: The Three EPs (EMI)

The Beta Band: The Three EPs (EMI)

This alarmingly good album released in late '98 -- made up from three impossible-to-find EPs by the Glaswegian quartet -- blurs the boundaries so much between pop and dub, art rock and folk that it goes well beyond convenient pigeonholing. Just call it extraordinary. And an immediate, if late, contender in the "albums of the year"...

The Album Leaf: A Chorus of Storytellers (SubPop)

The Album Leaf: A Chorus of Storytellers (SubPop)

This quiet, mostly instrumental and discreetly seductive album by a band with a very confusing name has been slipping back into the player quite a lot recently -- and I suspect it came out a few months ago, but I've only belatedly discovered it. The Album Leaf has been the on-going project of the San Diego-based songwriter Jimmy LaValle whose...

BEST OF ELSEWHERE 2011 Iron and Wine: Kiss Each Other Clean (4AD)

BEST OF ELSEWHERE 2011 Iron and Wine: Kiss Each Other Clean (4AD)

The previous album The Shepherd's Dog by Texas' Iron and Wine (Sam Beam) was fully three years ago and was one of the Best of Elsewhere 2007 albums. So anticipation is high for this -- although might have been higher a year ago, but I guess he works at his own pace. And we forgive him because he delivered the excellent Around the Well...

Bill Callahan: Apocalypse (Drag City)

Bill Callahan: Apocalypse (Drag City)

After his last exceptional album Sometimes I Wish We Were An Eagle (a Best of Elsewhere 2009 album) it was hard to imagine how this Americana singer-songwriter -- who previously recorded as Smog -- could remain on the margins of mainstream acceptance. That the album demanded, but also commanded, attention might just have put him once more...

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