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Singles of the week

 

AZEALIA BANKS

BBD (Interscope)

While she does briefly mention Michael Bivins, there's no Poison sample to be found here, and BBD doesn't stand for Bel Biv Devoe - it stands for 'bad bitches do it' - and does she ever. A rumbling bassline, jittery beat, and dubstep tendencies combine in this sub-genre the kids are calling 'trap-rave' and make for the freshest track Missy Elliott never released. 3 1/2 stars

 

BLINK 182

When I Was Young (Blink 182)

Blink 182's brand of sugar-punk is nothing if not reliable. Taken from their self-released Dogs Eating Dogs EP, this is more or less exactly what you'd expect from the recently reformed trio, except instead of being bratty and carefree, now they're grumbling about getting older. Oh, woe is me! 3 stars

 

CHAMILLIONAIRE FEAT. D.A.

Show Love (Chamilitary)

Chamillionaire has one of the most underrated and distinctive flows in rap music, yet most people consider him a one-hit wonder thanks to his mega smash Ridin'. This probably won't be the song to break that consensus, but the cool, bluesy guitar/organ combo, and a decently catchy chorus make it worth a listen. 3 stars

-- reviewed by Steve Adams

 

Boats

A Fairway Full of Miners (Kill Rock Stars)

WINNIPEG-BASED combo Boats is ostensibly a one-man band with accompaniment, fronted by hirsute singer/songwriter Mat Klachefsky. The outfit's third album, A Fairway Full Of Miners, doesn't stray from its established sonic template. As always, the band derives most of its unique sound from the unusual tone and timbre of Klachefsky's vocals. His voice, a kind of Ace Burpee-on-helium croon, suspends disbelief, considering it comes from such a woolly bear of a dude.

The music is a blend of affected indie-pop that cobbles together weird, vintage synthesizer sounds and trumpet bleats with the standard issue electronic drums, bubbling bass lines and nonsensical lyrics. Ace-in-the-hole team member Ashley Roch again gets high marks for her sterling support, and it's her clever, intuitive playing that drives most everything here. Klachefsky has a "man" voice that he uses only two times here (we counted), and if he could just push outside his self-imposed trademark squawk a little on the next album, he might find a broader reach with his music. This time he's only on par, no more, no less.

Boats' CD release show is Feb. 2 at the West End Cultural Centre. Tickets are $12 at the WECC, Ticketmaster, Music Trader and WFF Music Store. 3 1/2 stars

DOWNLOAD THIS: Advice On Bears

-- Jeff Monk

 

Martha Wainwright

Come Home to Mama (V2/Cooperative Music)

AT No. 11 on my (and, I suspect, many others') 10 best albums of 2012 list is Out of the Game, Rufus Wainwright's funny, funky collaboration with producer Mark Ronson. But if Out of the Game got a bit lost in the Frank-and-Fiona shuffle, it at least made a bigger splash than the latest from Wainwright's younger sister Martha, who, like Rufus, was born to the urbane folksingers Kate McGarrigle and Loudon Wainwright III.

McGarrigle died in early 2010, weeks after Martha became a mother herself, and that's the experience she recounts on Come Home to Mama, a powerful set of songs -- including the last one written by McGarrigle -- released to minimal fanfare in mid-October. It's worth your attention now: In eloquently rendered tunes such as Leave Behind and Everything Wrong, Martha ponders the intricacies of life and death with the kind of clear-eyed honesty we rarely get from someone as close to them as she still is.

And working with producer Yuka Honda (of Cibo Matto), she makes her music move like it never has before, as in the swaggering Radio Star and the horn-enriched soul-rock of Can You Believe It? Even McGarrigle's Proserpina, a hushed piano ballad about the ancient goddess of springtime, oozes a humid sensuality. HHHH

DOWNLOAD THIS: Everything Wrong

-- Mikael Wood, Los Angeles Times

 

Solange

True (Terrible Records)

A shimmering New York dance EP originally released as a digital download in late November, True became objectified on CD and vinyl Tuesday, and though the physical release doesn't feature any new stuff, it's nice to have such an infectious record occupy space in the world.

Solange Knowles, as you may know, is Jay-Z's sister-in-law, but ignore the Beyoncé connection, at least when it comes to nepotistic skepticism. Solange crafts her own brand of dance music, one thick with wobbly bass and a dense dose of late-1970s loft music, early-'80s post-disco and syrupy early-'00s NYC house music.

A collaboration with the British producer-musician Dev Hynes, True'sseven funky tracks are smooth without being cheesy, and well-lubricated with solid, snare-driven rhythms.

At its best, Solange offers beat-heavy seduction that dwells in that mystical moment when Saturday night collides with Sunday morning on the dance floor. Anyone looking for a beat-heavy record to crank at full volume while stuck in traffic need look no further. 3 1/2 stars

DOWNLOAD THIS: Lovers in the Parking Lot, Bad Girls

-- Randall Roberts, Los Angeles Times

Republished from the Winnipeg Free Press print edition January 10, 2013 ??65531

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