Auktyon, Girls Sing (Geometriya). Guitarist Marc Ribot describes Auktyon as "punk-rockers with a kind of surrealist edge." Ribot reached this conclusion after he flew to Moscow with John Medeski and Frank London to record this album, the avant Russian bohemian outfit's first release in twelve years. — Jon Solomon
Digital Underground, Cuz a D.U. Party Don't Stop (Jake Records). Talk about crushing a groove: After years of searching for a label for its final album, the normally brilliant Oakland hip-hop group messes the bed big time. Instead of going out with a bang, D.U.'s released a shitstorm filled with minimal rhymes, non-hysterical interludes and recycled raps toting new names. — Brandon Daviet
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Indian Jewelry, Free Gold (We Are Free). Equal parts psych-electro experimentalism and bold forays into primitivistic musical styles borrowing heavily from Middle Eastern ragas and drones, Free Gold sounds like what might happen if a hive of bees came up with the soundtrack for the harmonic convergence. Ghosts of My Bloody Valentine haunt the peripheries of these soundscapes. — Murphy
Intervision, Shades of Neptune (Virgin). Shades of Neptune is an accomplished and polished modern-jazz album with vocals ever so slightly inflected with the lyrical delivery style of hip-hop. "10,000 Years" sets the stage with a sense of yesteryear akin to that of Donald Fagen's The Nightfly. The expansive rhythmic phrasings, however, deftly veer this album from consideration as smooth jazz. — Murphy
Kaki King, Dreaming of Revenge (Velour Recordings). On Revenge, King attempts to make the transition from virtuoso guitarist to singer-songwriter, juxtaposing dreamily eccentric instrumentals such as "Montreal" against tracks built around her singing. Those in the latter category are spotty, but the persuasive "Saving Days in a Frozen Head" offers evidence that King's tunesmithing may someday rival her playing. Just not yet. — Roberts
Jim Noir, Jim Noir (Barsuk Records). "I've broken all my favorite CDs," Jim Noir declares in "Good Old Vinyl" — and judging by the musical influences heard on the beguiling disc that shares his name, he may be telling the truth. Rather than draw upon current trends, he harks back to classic Brit pop, served with a delectable layer of highly polished psychedelia. Good old vinyl, indeed. — Roberts