Pop culture obsessives writing for the pop culture obsessed.
Pop culture obsessives writing for the pop culture obsessed.

The crate-diggers of today should spend some time with two new compilations of vintage R&B. Night Train To Nashville: Music City Rhythm & Blues 1945-1970—Volume Two (Lost Highway) follows up last year's revelatory anthology of Middle Tennessee smashes and should've-beens. Highlights include Earl Gaines' deceptively easygoing "Don't Take My Kindness For A Weakness" and Frank Howard's easy-listening implosion "Judy." The narrower, guttier Searching For Soul: Rare And Classic Soul, Funk And Jazz From Michigan 1968-1980 (Ubiquity) offers some marvelous oddities as well, like Wendell Harrison's cosmic soul epic "Farewell To The Welfare," which sounds like a dozen blaxploitation theme songs blended into a super-suite…

But what about the crate-diggers of the future? If they're looking for folk-rock obscurities, they might scrounge a track from Robert Skoro's That These Things Could Be Ours (Yep Roc), particularly "All The Angles," which has the grandiose feel of '80s "big music" bands like The Waterboys and Simple Minds, only scaled down to the size of a modest, tastefully decorated room. Or they might spin Mt. Egypt's Perspectives (Record Collection), which contains wonders like the drained, post-honky-tonk "Sing Till I" and the syrupy, low-key pop-psychedelia of "Snow Through The Pass"…

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If the diggers are looking for a few good power-pop tracks, Oranger's New Comes And Goes (Eenie Meenie) has a plentiful supply, and none more immediately winning than "Sukiyaki," a Wilco-esque romp with pounding piano, cacophonous handclaps, and a chorus that takes the controversial position that feeling good is all right…

If DIY indie-rock is in order, it's hard to go wrong with Supercreep's Supercreep (Pat's Record Company), and its curiously constructed basement productions, like the frenzied, happily apocalyptic "Mushroom Cloud" and the whizzy, ersatz '80s earnestness of "Polite." Similarly, Carter Tanton's Birds & Rain (Park The Van) offers the arresting "18 And Drastic," a song that filters early Dire Straits atmospherics through early R.E.M. mysticism, with a brittle Jawbreaker coating…

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Or for those who go looking for the unclassifiable, The Teeth's EP Carry The Wood (Park The Van) sounds like… well, bassist Peter MoDavis compares it to the movie Punch-Drunk Love. That's not a bad way to describe songs that twinkle, swoop, sting, and bang. Other relevant movies: The Rocky Horror Picture Show, Harold And Maude, Head, and the last 20 minutes or so of Behind The Green Door.

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