This Week’s Best Albums: November 24, 2009

This Week's Best Albums

the_slewThe Slew: 100% (Puget Sound)

Built around the inspired turntablism of Kid Koala and Dynomite D, The Slew began as a psych-rock score for a documentary based on the influential but obscure work of the 1970s band of the same name.

Though the film never came to fruition, the two were heavily into the project and enlisted the aid of the ex-Wolfmother rhythm section to tour with six turntables and a full band. And if you weren’t fortunate enough to catch the modern Slew as a touring outfit this October, fret not — the originally intended “live-only” project has succumbed to demands for a recorded album.

On 100%, circular blues-rock riffs are tweaked and spliced with tactical precision, firmly guiding the grooves, samples, and beats that accompany them. Fans of Kid Koala will recognize large chunks of 100% that appeared on his great 2006 effort, Your Mom’s Favourite DJ. Nevertheless, there’s plenty of goodness to go around, and fans of both DJ skills and old-school rock and roll will dig this.

jaga_jazzistJaga Jazzist: One-Armed Bandit single (Ninja Tune)

รœber-melodic chamber-rock ensemble Jaga Jazzist attains a remarkable combination of complexity and accessibility. Yet despite its success and appeal, the group has been devoid of releases for the latter half of this decade.

By the time that we see the release of the group’s new album (also titled One-Armed Bandit — so confusing), it will have been five years between full-length albums. Thankfully, in the meantime, we can enjoy this outstanding single from the forthcoming album that was mixed in Chicago this year by Tortoise‘s John McEntire.

“One-Armed Bandit” is a frantic, scurrying piece that features a dueling harpsichord and horn, a 1970s rock lead, and a fuzz-bass foundation that shifts gears to a rhythmic breakdown and a dreamy electronica interlude. Elements of golden-age Frank Zappa and Norwegian countryman Jono El Grande are apparent, and this should foreshadow a great progressive album.

zombielandDavid Sardy: Zombieland soundtrack (Relativity Music Group)

A diverse producer and former member of quirky 1990s rock outfit Barkmarket, David Sardy has plied an additional craft as a film-score composer and contributor for the past dozen-plus years.

Tabbing Sardy to pen a soundtrack for Zombieland seems like a great fit, and the result is a dark, highly percussive score that oscillates between brooding minimalism, blood-curdling neo-classicalism, and horror-infused rock and roll.

Honorable mentions:

Erik Deutsch: Hush Money (Hammer & String)
Fin Fang Foom: Monomyth (Lovitt)
Sajjanu: Pechiku!! (Tzadik)
V/A: Daptone Gold (Daptone)