A Lifetime of Temporary Relief

(Chairkickers Union)


Compilations tend to service one of two roles for the material that they stand to illuminate--measured either for their comprehensiveness or quality of song selection--and rarely without costing one for the other. For better or worse, A Lifetime of Temporary Relief--the sprawling rarities box set recently released by Duluth's favorite children, Low--digs its heels deeply into the former category. As the last slow-core band standing, Lifetime crosses nearly all of Low's Ts with over 50 rare and unreleased recordings (plus a DVD)--mapping a difficult terrain to traverse even for the faithful. To their credit, however, Lifetime is a veritable (if spotty) goldmine for completists, finally consolidating a mountain of nebulous material that may have otherwise squandered away in obscurity (highlights include the long lost Finally EP, the Joan of Arc single, and a quaintly Mormon cover of Tom T. Hall's "ÉI Love," which obscures sinful references to both coffee and "grass"). All in all, Lifetime might have benefited from a little more mindful editing--a pared-down single disc, perhaps--but Low's gluttony here is admirable. ZAC PENNINGTON


Bring the Neon War Home



In the 1990s, the concept of "Ecstasy" became as voguish in the world of experimental music as its chemical embodiment did in the newly mainstreamed rave culture. Examples could be found in the most ferocious arm of new free music, termed "Ecstatic Jazz." This was a period of apparent mutation beyond the righteous anger that fueled early punk rock (and much of the high energy improv music since) of the past four decades. The Yellow Swans' music reflects a true synthesis of these two veins--they contain both a contaminating power and a love supreme. With a song titled "High on the Mountain of Love" and liner notes informed by modern life's crushing momentum towards class warfare, it is self-evident that Yellow Swans (inexplicably sans-"D" of any kind) are true artists in their dealings with this joy/fury dichotomy. SAM MICKENS


More Adventurous

(Brute/Beaute Records)


This Los Angeles outfit received plenty of press for their last album, The Execution of All Things, as well as their affiliation with Saddle Creek Records and the Omaha, Nebraska scene it sprang from--but it was their Barsuk debut that I loved. Their latest album is both a return to form and a departure, as proclaimed by its title. The 11 songs range widely from indierock to power pop with countrified touches. Rumor has it that Elvis Costello contacted the band to tell them the album opener, "It's a Hit," was the best song he'd heard in 10 years. It's damn good--a horn-laced, handclap-enhanced pop song with lyrics like, "It's a sin when success complains." They will most likely have a lot to complain about after this album hits. NATE LIPPENS

**** Levitra

*** Viagra

** Neobax

* Foreplay