ANNA OXYGEN

All Your Faded Things

(Cold Crush Records)

***

Arriving (hopefully) on the downslide of pure '80s redux and the plateau of messy "reinterpretation" is an artist capable of combining the zip and boing of synth-pop bands like Erasure and Berlin with the craft of the decade's more textural acts. Anna Oxygen's approach on All Your Faded Things is smooth and her faultless landing is fluidly expansive. The vocal layers stepladder over one another, and then the composition charges off in an unexpected, but not jerky, direction. Oxygen's voice and those of her helpers exhibit a like tone, but the expression is impressively versatile, be it a full-lunged staccato, a sugary pop harmony, or a glassy angelic lilt. Though the Seattle artist's influences are anything but faded, her use of them is the brightest thing to happen to those older sounds in quite a while. KATHLEEN WILSON

VARIOUS ARTISTS

Jus' Family Militia Mixtape Vol. 1

(Jus' Family Records)

***

Did you hear Cool Nutz is comin' this summer? If you didn't know before, you do now: the man with the undisputed best ride in town has made available this hiphop sampler on his Jus' Family label for free at local record stores and shows. Monsieur Nutz himself, Maniak Lok, Brotha Luv, Poppa LQ, The Phranchise, Siren's Echo... practically the entire Jus' [extended] Family's here. While much of the CD consists of your standard West Coast gangsta/money/hoes fare, the production is totally seamless and occasionally, themes are offered in new terms. For instance, Bosko's fantastical ode to hitting it with the "baddest bitch in the party" who's "moving that ass, mami, making me hot" is well-put, if blunt. Japan's T-Saki drops a sick track about getting "turned down for his green card because I practice lookin' hard." Ultimately it'd be better if some of these artists would explore some different topics for diversity's sake, because they're clearly talented in both style and flow--but it's awfully nice to hear Irvington Park references. One hundred percent homegrown. JULIANNE SHEPHERD

MICHAEL YONKERS BAND

Microminiature Love

(Sub Pop)

***

Slated for released by Sire in 1968, then shelved, Microminiature Love by Minneapolis' Michael Yonkers Band was too strange for major labels, even when those companies were regularly issuing oddities to satiate acid-addled kids' psychedelic appetites. Out of generosity and keen taste, Sub Pop gives Microminiature Love digital life with six strong bonus cuts. What's striking is its downcast aura, which evokes post-punk's grim rancor more than it does the free-lovin' American '60s ("Puppeting" is a dead ringer for The Fall's "Pay Your Rates" and a Mission of Burma-esque anthemic fervor surfaces throughout). Further setting MYB apart from the hordes is a unique open-tuned guitar sound, which shrouds his exhilaratingly primal riffs in abrasive fuzz. DAVE SEGAL

**** Gold Lacquer, Aerosol

*** Patio Sealant

** White-Out

* Airplane Cement