- Luther Russell, Selective Memories: An Anthology
Luther Russell, Selective Memories: An Anthology (Hanky Panky) – Often, the biggest fun for a music fan can be diving into an overstuffed compilation from a session musician whose work is largely unheralded. Luther Russell, the Los Angeles-based founder of The Freewheelers, who has recorded with Jakob Dylan and Big Star’s Jody Stephens, here serves up 43 tracks from nearly three decades, the majority of them unreleased to date. The single-take feel to many songs may give the anthology a “best of Guided by Voices” vibe, but pop gems like “Your One Big Lie” more than make up for it.
- Rvzoo & The Sugar Spun Elephant Band, Guiding Star
Rvzoo & The Sugar Spun Elephant Band, Guiding Star (Sugar Spun Records) – If Dave Arvizu’s earlier recordings favored lively syncopation in a Zappa style, this latest outing emphasizes clear vocal-pop arrangements suggestive of Todd Rundgren or even Beck in his Sea Change era. The album also features Wayne Hammerstadt on guitar plus the strong bass stylings of Dan Nelson, who sounds almost like Jaco Pastorius on the track “Transmission Ends.”
- Typhoon, Offerings
Typhoon, Offerings (Roll Call Records) – The year’s first epic weeper has landed, courtesy of Portland’s Typhoon, a band that favors complex compositions of the Shearwater variety. The four-part suite may lack the simplicity of recent musings on death like Bowie’s Blackstar and Mount Eerie’s A Crow Looked at Me, but lyricist Kyle Morton crafts a beautiful and scary ode to losing memory as bursts of chaos emulate what psychologists call the “cocktail party problem” that leads to an inability to distinguish signal from noise. Be afraid.