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Fast reviews of recent releases

Wild Billy Childish and the Musicians of the British Empire, Punk Rock at the British Legion Hall (Damaged Goods). Quintessential eccentric British musician, writer, painter and poet Billy Childish broke up his scintillating Buff Medways in favor of this outfit featuring his wife, Nurse Julie, on bass. Fact is, the guy has never entered a career phase he couldn't sabotage. Hall offers more topically aggressive punk rock from one of the genre's supreme practitioners. — Mark Bliesener

Corey Harris, Zion Crossroads (Telarc). Denver-born, Louisiana-raised Corey Harris once embraced the blues, even appearing in Martin Scorsese's Feels Like Going Home. Now Harris has opted for a pure reggae album packed with typical spiritual trappings and rebel righteousness. It's top-ranking, sure, but at least with the blues, Harris was individually recognizable. Not so much anymore. — Glenn BurnSilver

Ian Hunter, Shrunken Heads (Yep Rock). Ian Hunter's authoritative voice and vitality transcend a forty-year career in a manner matched only by Bob Dylan. Hunter writes with sage wisdom, but he delivers it in a reckless style unmatched by most artists half his age. Hope he gets older before he dies. — Bliesener

Paul McCartney, Memory Almost Full (Hear Music). Each new McCartney disc is supposedly "his best since (fill in the blank)" — but such superlatives mean squat. Despite often shmaltzy lyrics, Memory is a pleasant-enough collection with some decent tunes, including "That Was Me" and "House of Wax." Still, it's being overpraised because of Paul's past, not his present. Ideal for listening to once and then forgetting. — Roberts

Shop Boyz, Rockstar Mentality (Universal Republic). "Party Like a Rockstar" is a slice of silly summertime fun that sounds good on the radio thanks to its novelty. Too bad Mentality keeps reworking the same style like a horny twelve-year-old who won't stop pleasuring himself even after working up a bunch of blisters. Hands off, guys! It doesn't feel good anymore! — Roberts

Various Artists, Super Cool California Soul 2: Raw and Rare Soul From the West Coast 1966-1982 (Ubiquity). Packed with vintage soul grooves from lesser-known but exceptional artists lost in time, Super Cool rides huge Hammond B-3 organ waves, Shafts on funky wah-wah guitar, shouts with soul shakers, stomps on the funk and cools down with silky strings and lush harmonies. It's a time trip everyone needs to take. — BurnSilver

 
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