Trail of the Butter Yeti
( Road Cone)

On track eight of this album, "Earth 2 Wood," Mae Starr and Shane DeLeon sing determinedly as loosed spirits. Their voices are demonic and angelic at once, harmonizing in furrowed crescendos and belting mysteriously amid a gorgeous background of invasive piano and sax. It's a sound of passion, and I want to hear it when I wake up, when I go to sleep, when I'm brushing my teeth, or crossing the street. I wish they would sing like this on every song on the album. But at Rollerball's core is their propensity for eclecticism, and that each track has its own distinct personality makes Trail beautiful and unique, rather than muddled or misdirected. Though it doesn't quite capture the unequalled phenomenon of their live performance, this album is filled with ambiance and increase, eerie experimentalism, and gypsy-jazz, all constructed (or deconstructed) truly brilliantly. JULIANNE SHEPHERD

Forever Changes

With Rhino's recent expanded, remastered reissue of the 1967 album Forever Changes, the Los Angeles-based quintet Love are finally getting another shot at life. Part of the Sunset Strip scene that spawned The Doors, Byrds, and many others, it's amazing that this remarkable band doesn't get more play--even just for the fact that their dangerous frontman, Arthur Lee, was one of the first black men to lead a rock band. But, politics and history aside, Forever Changes is a remarkable record. Love is like an American, psychedelic version of The Kinks. The devastatingly melodic opener "Alone Again Or" (later covered by The Damned), the drippy strings on "Andmoreagain," the pastoral '60s-isms of "Live And Let Live"--there's not a clunker in the 18 tracks, further testament to a delayed justice for Love. Go forth and set the balance right. JAMIE S. RICH

(Sub Pop)

After a recent break-up with a pre-med, post-addict fool, I spent some quality time spring cleaning while listening to my old Red House Painters discs, and my love for their plodding verses and slow phrasing came flooding back. When I first listened to Old Ramon, I heard a newfound sense of tempo: It was moderately fast, and it freaked me out. The basic elements of RHP's patented, slow-motion dynamics were there, but I found myself cursing them--why would the Red House Painters make a rock album? But, instead of giving in to my crusty myopia, I listened to it again... and again. Now I have accepted the gospel truth--Old Ramon is brilliant. Mark Kozelek delivers simple lyrical sentiments without the ironic posturing that's currently in alterna-vogue (read: Stephen Malkmus), and his vocal clarity knocks the wind out of me every time. A.J. ROSE