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Titus Andronicus

Local Business

XL Recordings

File next to: The Pixies, the Strokes

It was almost inevitable that Local Business would be a less ambitious album than Titus Andronicus' last effort, the Civil War concept album The Monitor. Instead, the Jersey band unleashes its rock 'n roll side with densely worded songs and a live-band feel. Singer Patrick Stickles isn't one to hold anything back. So rather than fill these lyrics with history and metaphor, he goes confessional on "My Eating Disorder" and "(I Am the) Electric Man." As befits a band whose name is borrowed from Shakespeare, the group's songs are stuffed with words that don't always rhyme, but are always thought-provoking. Musically, Titus Andronicus revs things up with Replacements-style jangle, drawing on New York Dolls glam for songs like the one-minute "Food Fight!" And once they start chanting "I'm goin' insane" on the rip-roaring "Titus Andronicus vs. the Absurd Universe (3rd Round KO)," who can resist? — L. Kent Wolgamott


Rosie Flores

Working Girl's Guitar


File next to: Wanda Jackson, Elvis Presley

Working Girl's Guitar is one satisfying roots music album, a tour de force from the underappreciated, but always excellent Rosie Flores. Opening with the rolling title cut, an ode to one of her guitars, Flores stakes out her rockin' territory with "Little, But I'm Loud," and delivers a beautiful pedal steel-tinged tribute to her late friend, Duane Jarvis on "Yeah Yeah." She also serves up a slinky surf instrumental ("Surf Demon #5"), a killer cover of Elvis Presley's "Too Much," a bluesy wail on Miss Lavelle White's "If (I Could Be With You)" and, finally, a cover of the Beatles' "While My Guitar Gently Weeps" that, against all odds, makes the song feel fresh and all hers. It's no surprise that Flores manages to pull it off: She's a great guitarist and knows how to find the emotional center in every song. At 62, Flores has made her best record ever. — L. Kent Wolgamott

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