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Sam Prekop   -  - Who's Your New Professor? -  -  Thrill Jockey    -  - Every summer needs a soundtrack, and Sam Prekop's - Who's Your New Professor? might be just the - thing for 2005. It has that cinematic feel, fitting for a - road trip or a muse in the grass. Not content merely to - yammer out an acoustic album, Prekop (on vocals, guitar - and piano) and his band of melodymakers blend just - enough plugged-in power to soup up the masses. - "Something" is simply sunshine, leading into a Latin - jazz/jam-band fusion in "Magic Step." And since you're - already laying in the grass, soaking in the warmth, - sleepy songs like "Two Dedications," which feature - Prekop's lazy, husky voice, will lull you gratefully to - sleep.
  • Sam Prekop

    Who's Your New Professor?
    Thrill Jockey

    Every summer needs a soundtrack, and Sam Prekop's Who's Your New Professor? might be just the thing for 2005. It has that cinematic feel, fitting for a road trip or a muse in the grass. Not content merely to yammer out an acoustic album, Prekop (on vocals, guitar and piano) and his band of melodymakers blend just enough plugged-in power to soup up the masses. "Something" is simply sunshine, leading into a Latin jazz/jam-band fusion in "Magic Step." And since you're already laying in the grass, soaking in the warmth, sleepy songs like "Two Dedications," which feature Prekop's lazy, husky voice, will lull you gratefully to sleep.

Crooked Fingers -  - Dignity and Shame   -  Merge   Promises, promises. The - artwork - on Crooked Fingers' Dignity and Shame is - chock-full of bullfighters and images from Spain. Indeed, - the introductory song, "Islero," doesn't disappoint as an - addictive, castanet-snapping ditty. Then the Crooked - Fingers ship changes course and heads straight for - Dullsville. To look into Crooked Fingers' past is to - acknowledge that they're sort of an Americana band, - anyway, but nothing excuses songs like "Weary Arms," - which sounds like an even-crappier Soul Asylum. And - the lyrics could be straight from a teenager's diary: - "Those fancy things your new boy bought you," the - singer moans, "won't save a jaded girl like you." Please. - Merge usually churns out great music, but there's not so - much dignity in Dignity and Shame.
  • Crooked Fingers

    Dignity and Shame
    Merge

    Promises, promises. The artwork on Crooked Fingers' Dignity and Shame is chock-full of bullfighters and images from Spain. Indeed, the introductory song, "Islero," doesn't disappoint as an addictive, castanet-snapping ditty. Then the Crooked Fingers ship changes course and heads straight for Dullsville. To look into Crooked Fingers' past is to acknowledge that they're sort of an Americana band, anyway, but nothing excuses songs like "Weary Arms," which sounds like an even-crappier Soul Asylum. And the lyrics could be straight from a teenager's diary: "Those fancy things your new boy bought you," the singer moans, "won't save a jaded girl like you." Please. Merge usually churns out great music, but there's not so much dignity in Dignity and Shame.

Death in Vegas   -  - Satan's Circus   -  The Lab    - Death in Vegas' latest foray, - Satan's Circus, might be for those who love rave - culture but don't necessarily want to leave home. Hot on - the heels of their bestselling Scorpio Rising, - Death in Vegas infuses Satan's Circus with much - of the same electronic dance-til-dawn tendencies, but - with almost none of the standout vocals. "Ein Fr Die - Damen" (that's "One For the Ladies," for those who didn't - take high school German) starts things off on a - repetitive, if surprisingly cheery, note. Death in Vegas - borrows heavily from Kraftwerk throughout the album, - especially on "Zugaga," but offers little besides - programming loops and more bloody synthesizers than - you can shake a glo-stick at. One perk is that the album - does come with a separate disc containing live - performances, so you can couch-potato party.
  • Death in Vegas

    Satan's Circus
    The Lab

    Death in Vegas' latest foray, Satan's Circus, might be for those who love rave culture but don't necessarily want to leave home. Hot on the heels of their bestselling Scorpio Rising, Death in Vegas infuses Satan's Circus with much of the same electronic dance-til-dawn tendencies, but with almost none of the standout vocals. "Ein Fr Die Damen" (that's "One For the Ladies," for those who didn't take high school German) starts things off on a repetitive, if surprisingly cheery, note. Death in Vegas borrows heavily from Kraftwerk throughout the album, especially on "Zugaga," but offers little besides programming loops and more bloody synthesizers than you can shake a glo-stick at. One perk is that the album does come with a separate disc containing live performances, so you can couch-potato party.

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