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Sound and Fury 5-03-07

New releases from Neil Young, Son Volt, Grinderman, and DJ Ti»sto

Neil Young

Live at Massey Hall 1971

Reprise/Wea; March 2007

Neil Young grew up while a part of Buffalo Springfield. His first widely accepted epoch came about with the release of Harvest, an incisive album made with the sweet garage band Crazy Horse. This live solo acoustic CD catches a youthful Young poised between maturity and first greatness. It’s gorgeous, snotty, and revealing. His fluid affinity for varied melodies is plain, yet Young rarely makes sense in lyrics: “Old enough to change your name, when so many love you is it the same? It’s the woman in you that makes you want to play this game.” On the other hand, Young delivered us “Ohio” and “The Needle and the Damage Done” exactly when needed. -D.J. Palladino

Son Volt

The Search

Transmit Sound/Legacy; March 2007

A couple years ago, when Jay Farrar announced the resurrection of his much-lauded Son Volt, it seemed as though alt-country’s stars were once again coming into alignment. But with Farrar the only original member to return, the album fell short of the band’s impressive musical legacy and Son Volt’s cosmic sparkle dulled somewhat. In following up with The Search, Farrar not only returns to his roots, but he infuses Son Volt with the musical bravery that gave the outfit its original spark. From the plaintive “Slow Hearse” to the brass of “The Picture,” this is precisely the type of musical voyage that first inspired all the excitement about the band. -Brett Leigh Dicks

Grinderman

Grinderman

Anti Records; April 2007

Grinderman is basically a pared-down Bad Seeds lineup featuring Nick Cave, Warren Ellis, Martyn P. Casey, and Jim Sclavunos. But the group is far more unhinged than the Bad Seeds, sounding more garage revival than avant-punk slaughter. Its self-titled debut album, arriving stateside after its appearance in the U.K. last month, is a crushing, primitive rock record loaded with foul-mouthed and bizarre missives from Cave and incendiary, minimalist musicianship from the rest of the group. A few tracks stray into mellower territory, but they are welcome respites from fierce fare such as “No Pussy Blues.” Grinderman is as elemental and essential as rock ‘n’ rollsexy, threatening, and passionate. -Max Burke

DJ Ti»sto

Elements of Life

Ultra Records; April 2007

Somewhere between his multimillion-dollar gigs and onstage Jesus poses, DJ Ti»sto still finds time every once in a while to release new albums like Elements of Life, reminding us of just how little he deserves his fame. There is nothing revolutionary about Elements of Life; listeners will find the same old, watered-down trance that DJ Ti»sto has been putting out since the ’90s. Back when dance music was still finding its legs, DJ Ti»sto’s style was quite a step forward, but by today’s standards, Elements is just white noise. Granted, the album does have its moments, such as the soaring synths of “In the Dark.” But even guest appearances from BT and Maxi Jazz can’t save this album from itself. -Levi Michaels

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