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Fast reviews of recent releases

Counting Crows, New Amsterdam: Live at Heineken Music Hall (Geffen). Why are these guys still around? Haven't they already inflicted enough damage on music lovers? Isn't a 74-minute concert souvenir whose few tolerable moments are (as usual) stolen from other, better artists a classic adding-insult-to-injury situation? Wouldn't a nice, quiet retirement be better for all concerned? Don't have an answer for that, do you? -- Roberts

Dry Kill Logic, The Magellan Complex (Repossession Records). Sometimes a band releases a record simply because it wants to, and this is one of those times. The Magellan ComplexEP features a mix of originals and covers, including Guns N' Roses' "It's So Easy" and Danzig's "Dirty Black Summer." Intended to hold fans over until Dry Kill's next release, The Magellan Complexdelivers. -- Daviet

Erase Errata, Nightlife (Kill Rock Stars). Nightlife seethes with clawing anger aimed at war and superficiality. The album's songs furiously detonate the Delta 5 inside remnants of Riot Grrrl squalor. Just as shattering riffs build a punch-funk moment, they explode into feedback shrapnel, capturing the exhilaration of a band with chaos at its barbed beck and call. -- Sawyer

Grant-Lee Phillips, Nineteeneighties(Zoe). Nineteeneighties is Grant-Lee Phillips's wistful, country-tinged homage to the music of that decade. Featuring down-tempo, largely acoustic covers of such '80s alternative classics as Echo and the Bunnymen's "The Killing Moon" and the Cure's "Boys Don't Cry," Eighties is imbued with just the right amount of existential angst and melancholy. -- Tracy M. Rogers

Puffy AmiYumi, Splurge (Tofu Records). Gorillaz may have set a new standard for cartoon music, but the women of Puffy AmiYumi, who inspired Cartoon Network's Hi Hi Puffy AmiYumi, are, well, a lot more animated. Splurge ditties such as "Call Me What You Like" and "Radio Tokyo" are delightfully bouncy, bubblegummy fun. Take that, Josie and the Pussycats. -- Roberts

Jessica Simpson, "A Public Affair" (Epic). Okay, so this is just the title track from Simpson's forthcoming album. Still, from the artwork, in which a stunned Simpson looks like she fell into a Bacardi ad, to the vacuous beats and instrumentation of the track, which are cribbed directly from Madonna's "Holiday," there's enough data to confirm that Jess's beauty is only skin deep. -- Dave Herrera

Umphrey's McGee, Safety in Numbers (SCIFidelity). Does Umphrey's McGee hope to shake its jam-band tag? With more straightahead rock numbers, spacey/jazzy explorations, a little blues and a classic-rock castoff here and there...maybe. At least when the act jams -- and it does still jam -- the jazz and prog-rock backdrops form something more akin to Yes than, thankfully, Phish. -- Glenn BurnSilver

 
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