June 12, 2006

Free Range Music: The Juan McLean, Small Sins, Cat Power

Small Sins -- Small Sins>> This week's batch of AOL Music pre-release album streams offers little in the way of surprise. Two of the bigger releases of the summer, if not the year, are posted (Sonic Youth's Rather Ripped and the new Replacements best-of collection), but we've already pointed you to streams in previous weeks. So, frankly, if you haven't heard them by now, you haven't been doing your homework.

There are other records of note, including The Juan McLean's two-disc '80s electro party Visitations. Fun fact: apparently Turing Machine drummer Jerry Fuchs drums with The Juan McLean, or so saith Pfork in a news item this morning here. Anyway, the download-only album Visitations is an aurally interesting set of spacey 4/4 disco comprised of numerous remixes and a new track here and there. It's worth a listen. We didn't expect much of anything from the heretofore-unheard-by-us Small Sins, whose self-titled set is also in the AOL corral this week, but we were pleased by the very pleasant, understated synth-oriented indie pop it contains. Incidentally, AOL Music thinks Toronto-based Small Sins (the brainchild of one Thomas D'Arcy, who has enlisted four collaborators for touring, which the band is doing for several weeks beginning today) sounds like Radiohead -- this couldn’t be further from the truth. But if you like what Jimmy Tamborello has been up to for the last several years (The Postal Service, James Figurine), you will like most of this record, which is being released on Astralwerks. Definitely check out the cut "All Will Be Fine."

The Juan Maclean -- Visitations -- Astralwerks

The Replacements –- Don’t You Know Who I Think I Was -- Rhino/Warner

Small Sins –- Small Sins -- Astralwerks

Sonic Youth –- Rather Ripped -- UMG

>> The 'Nac has Cat Power's recent performance at Boston's Berklee Performance Center. Catch the stream at The Hype Machine here, or grab the MP3s as you read Brad's take on the event here. Anybody else think that tune "Soul Serenade" sounds like Jerry Garcia Band's "Sugaree." Just sayin.'

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