Check it twice - Page 3

Year-end music-list mania continues

There's a whisper of "Gallows Pole" in "Fortune Teller" and "Going to California" in "Please Read the Letter," and that's the great pleasure here: an almost mystical Led Zeppelin overlay in music that's nowhere near classic rock.

(6) <0x0007>Black Moth Super Rainbow, Dandelion Gum (Graveface). Psychedelia wouldn't have a bad name if more of it were like this. The rural Pennsylvania group counters séance vocals and guitar and keyboard spazz-outs with focus and snappy drums.

(7) <0x0007>St. Vincent, Marry Me (Beggars Banquet). Anne Clark is a Sufjan Stevens crony, but Marry Me is eventually hers alone. Sinister electrofuzz, deft polyrhythms, and scarily chameleonic vocals give her indie pop a postmodern turn.

(8) <0x0007>Blitzen Trapper, Wild Mountain Nation (Lidkercow). At turns pure classic rock — all jammy blues riffs and sun-dappled vocals — countrified songwriter stuff, and something loudly proggy and textural, Wild Mountain Nation sends salvos in several directions.

(9) <0x0007>UGK, UGK: Underground Kingz (Jive). Bun B and Pimp C sound ecstatic to be back at it, and they turn in a two-disc Southern hip-hop epic with cameos that are actually exciting. André 3000 is drawly and perfect on "Int'l Players Anthem," and hearing Dizzee Rascal over this beat is a treat.

(10) <0x0007>Miracle Fortress, Five Roses (Secret City). Montreal's Graham Van Pelt shoots straight for the Beach Boys here, which means his songs sound a little derivative and a lot lovely. Pop's melodic purism, dressed up for audiophiles.



<\!s><0x0007>Percee P, Perseverance (Stones Throw)

The long-awaited solo album from Bronx legend Percee P does not disappoint, with its intricate rhyme schemes and exceptional production from Stones Throw's resident maestro Madlib. Alarmingly dope from start to finish, with collabos with Diamond D and Vinnie Paz. Look for the remix album in January.

<\!s><0x0007>Prodigy, Return of the Mac (Koch)

A lot of older fans gave up on Mobb Deep years ago, and their horrible last record seemed to be the final nail in the coffin. But on this independent release, Prodigy comes alive, spitting flagrant murder raps over Alchemist's outstanding blaxploitation-style beats. Unfortunately, P is heading into a three-and-a-half-year bid — I hope he finishes his new solo joint first.

<\!s><0x0007>Kamackeris, Artz and Craftz (Mindbenda)

Also known as Kwite Def or KD, Kamackeris is a New York rapper best known for his work with Monsta Island Czars and a show-stealing appearance on the first MF Doom album. He's blessed with one of the grimiest voices in hip-hop, and his rugged yet introspective wordplay shines over X-Ray's cinematic tracks. Completely slept on but crazy good.

<\!s><0x0007>Camp Lo, "Ticket For 2" (self-released)

These cats have been MIA for a minute, and it's been a full decade since their classic debut, but Cheeba and Suede come back something serious on this ultrasmooth single produced by longtime homey Ski Beatz. Unfortunately, it's not on their recent album, but it's all over the Internet.

<\!s><0x0007>Snoop Dogg, "Sexual Eruption, a.k.a. Sensual Seduction" (unreleased)

Man! While T-Pain, Akon, and countless others assault the airwaves with their hypercomputerized, later-era Cher-style "R&B," Big Snoop takes it back to the Roger Troutman essence, freaking the (virtual) talk box on this ode to female orgasm.

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