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Fast reviews of recent releases

Boris/Sunn, Altar (Southern Lord). It was inevitable that Southern Lord's two biggest moneymakers (and cult favorites) would come together on one collaborative effort. It is also, predictably, everything to be expected from the supergroup: creepy exaggerated vocals, tone-heavy guitars and a sublime focus on drone that is impossibly good. And there's a gong! -- Tuyet Nguyen

PJ Harvey, The Peel Sessions 1991-2004 (Island). The late British DJ John Peel was a master at convincing important artists to perform on his BBC Radio 1 program, and recordings of the results can be exhilarating. That's certainly the case on this Session. Harvey excels in stripped-down settings, and her renditions of tunes such as "Sheela-Na-Gig" and "Snake" are fierce and fearless. -- Michael Roberts

Nirvana, In Utero: Classic Album Under Review(MVD). Under Review layers excellent concert and video footage with commentary by balding, bespectacled music-critic types, who offer up detailed analyses of many of the record's tracks but never get around to answering one important question: If Kurt despised his pop fans so much, why would he sit down for that angelic MTV Unplugged session before shuffling off? -- Keith Plocek

John Popper Project, John Popper Project (Relix). DJ Logic works his turntable magic here, but don't call this the John Hip-Popper Project. There's a little rap, and Logic tastefully inserts himself at just the right moments, but even as Popper chills to a more laid-back vibe, the disc still resides squarely in harmonica-heavy, Blues Traveler jam-rock territory. -- Glenn BurnSilver

Skid Row, Revolutions per Minute (SPV Records). Skid Row will never be able to recapture the glory of its self-titled debut or the anti-establishment rants of Slave to the Grind. But Revolutions Per Minute does manage to capture some of the humor/anger that made this one of the most volatile bands of the glam era. -- Brandon Daviet

T-Virus, Horror Thirteen(Blood & Guts). Looks like the Swedes are drafting kids right out of high school these days. Early on, the vocals on Horror are round and cavernous, but they become increasingly weak, as if the thing had been recorded in one take. The lyrics aren't even pedestrian; they're shut-ins. -- Rick Skidmore

Yusuf, An Other Cup (YA Records/Atlantic). Don't know if Cat "Yusuf" Stevens's belated pop return says "Death to America" when played backward. Frankly, though, that would be preferable to the insipid platitudes, feeble melodies and Raffi the Elder vocals heard when the disc spins in the proper direction. With the exception of the engaging "I Think I See the Light," the only threat here is tedium. -- Michael Roberts

 
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