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CROCODILES

Summer of Hate

(Fat Possum)

If it's 1988 all over again, Crocodiles are our Spacemen 3, ready to deliver the perfect prescription: drum machines. vintage organs, drugs = god lyrics. They've got the best Jesus and Mary Chain death anthems too, and the occasional burst of energy, trading 'ludes for upper-spiked punk on "Soft Skull (In My Room)." The poise and epic production here are surprising for a debut.

GRASS WIDOW

Grass Widow EP

(Make a Mess)

Bullseye. Times four.

BARBARA LYNN

Here is Barbara Lynn

(Water)

A lost gem of Atlantic, saved by the boys of Water in Oakland. The clarity and purity of Lynn's voice are rare — and don't let those adjectives fool you into thinking she's a frail flower. Here, the left-handed guitarist makes wise ballads she wrote as a teen burn as strong and steady as anything by Irma Thomas. It's all in the voice.

EMITT RHODES

The Emitt Rhodes Recordings [1969-1973]

(Hip-O-Select)

Oh, Emitt. At your peak you were picture-perfect: thick brown hair parted down the middle, angelic face with a doll's complexion. The music business' merry-go-round was cruel to you, but what glorious pop songs you've given us: "Live Till You Die" has been holding me together the last week or two, and it's just one of many beauties from your self-titled 1970 LP.

SALLY SHAPIRO

My Guilty Pleasure

(Paper Bag)

The mystery girl who goes by the name of Sally and her partner in song Johan Agebjörn trade the melancholic depths of their first synth pop collection for lighter, sunnier fare. But the Expose-like "Save Your Love" has its charms, as does the song that pits love versus people dying in Africa.

SORCERER

Neon Leon

(Tirk)

On his second album, SF's Daniel Judd veers away from the Hawaiian and beach themes and takes inspiration from novelist Elmore Leonard while adding some funk touches. But the tracks here still bloom and glisten like a tropical flower seen through time-lapse photography. "Dayglow" is gorgeous and many-faceted. "Raydio (Play It)" is the loveliest tribute to Ray Parker Jr. in the history of recorded sound.

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