Welcome back to Rack And Opinion. What with the celebration of the birth of our nation last week, we took that week off. And you didn't miss much. But lo and behold, in the dead of summer we've got a pretty big release date, not just domestically, but also internationally. We'll concentrate solely on the domestic titles this week, the biggest one arguably being Thom Yorke's maiden solo voyage with The Eraser [listen here]. Sufjan Stevens disciples may quibble, asserting that this week's big release is the issuance of The Avalanche: Outtakes And Extras From The Illinois Album, a companion piece to the wildly successful Illinois concept record. We readily admit we were astonishingly late to the game on Mr. Stevens (we're overly suspicious of blogger fawning, and sometimes we're right and sometimes we're wrong), to the extent that we had to be sat down by The Monkey over pitchers of beer at Christmas time and talked to about what a great thing we were missing. We've since been listening to Illinois quite a bit and are big fans, and we promise here not to sleep on The Avalanche. If you haven't heard "The Henney Buggy Band" yet, right-click, save as and revel.
Stevens, et al.,'s Asthmatic Kitty has another trick up their collective sleeve this week too with Shapes And Sizes, whose record we've reviewed here and which band served as our first Show Us Yours guests here. Our favorite Shapes And Sizes joint is "Boy, You Shouldn't Have," but if you want to check 'em out how about right-clicking and saving as the number "Wilderness"? Those records and the rest of our picks for best best this week are listed below. Links go to relevant commercial opportunities provided by our former backup goalkeepers over at Insound.
James Figurine -- Mistake Mistake Mistake Mistake -- Plug Research
The Jesus & Mary Chain -- Automatic -- Rhino
The Jesus & Mary Chain -- Darklands -- Rhino
The Jesus & Mary Chain -- Psychocandy -- Rhino
Plaid -- Greedy Baby -- Warp
Shapes And Sizes -- Shapes And Sizes -- Asthmatic Kitty
Sufjan Stevens -- The Avalanche -- Asthmatic Kitty
Thom Yorke -- The Eraser -- XL