We’re not gonna lie — one of the best benefits to covering music, film, and books at a newspaper is the relentless barrage of review copies that come our way. There are far too many every week to feature adequately, but the following list of recent highlights sheds a little light on some newly released material.
1. Pete Philly and Perquisite’s Mindstate: This groovy concept album — each song reflects a particular mood or emotion — is the promising product of an Aruban-born Dutch rapper and an American DJ.
2. Iron Weed Film Club: With mailed monthly DVDs aimed at inspiring progressive activism — recent releases include Seoul Train and Street Fight — this club ups the Netflix ante.
3. Phoenix’s It’s Never Been Like That: The French four-piece drops a new sugar-pop, synthy rock album that’s more addictive than MSG. Due out June 13.
4. Mexico In Mind: An Anthology: Filled with writings about Mexico — from William Burroughs’ junky antics to Tennessee Williams’ playwriting and Ann Louise Bardach’s journalism — this is a must-read for south-of-the-border fans.
5. The Coup’s Pick a Bigger Weapon: Oakland’s politically brilliant duo drops its best album yet, fresh with conscious, presidentially aimed lyrics and eardrum-pleasing beats.
6. Home Movies Season Four: The three-DVD collection of this Comedy Central cartoon about “children who are more like adults” is a constant kick.
7. The Aggrolites’ self-titled album: This SoCal ska and reggae outfit looks mean, but its songs — which sound eerily like both the Skatalites and Toots and the Maytals — are as happy as can be.
8. Wild Ducks Flying Backward’s The Short Writings of Tom Robbins: Yep, the wacky novelist drops non-fictional shorties, too, and they’re way worth your time.
9. T-Bone Burnett’s The True False Identity: The movie-music master’s first fully new album in 14 years, we’re quickly reminded on this genre-jumping album of why his name should be household. (He comes to the Lobero with Jakob Dylan on June 17.)
10. Jack Kerouac’s Windblown World: This collection of journals by the Beat master from 1947 to 1954 reveals insights into his formative years as a writer.