A People's History of the Dismemberment Plan



Having no recollection of any Dismemberment Plan songs, I am perfectly qualified to review this remix collection on its own merits. From my extensive research, I gather the Plan are a well-loved DC group with dazzlingly diverse musical taste, which filtered its way into their music with panache (they may have ignited this whole dance-punk thing, too). Judging from these reworkings, DP earned their kudos. I don't know ASCDI from Adam, but he/she's turned "Time Bomb" into a chaotic, Cubist IDM/space-funk masterpiece. And on "Pay for the Piano," Grandmaster Incongruous has executed a thrillingly jittery dance-rock number with a walloping sample of Elvis Costello's "Pump It Up." Cex, the best-known remixer here, perpetrates a fine Squarepusher homage with "Academy Award." So if DeSoto's goal was to spur an old, jaded critic to investigate DP's back catalog, A People's History succeeds. DAVE SEGAL


Amigo Row



The fact that recent advertisements for Amigo Row--the gorgeous new album from forlorn tunesmith Matt Suggs--have included the words "former Butterglory frontman," is like pretending the star of the New Testament was actually John the Baptist. Look, man, no one cares. Even a footnote in the history of central California indie pop hasn't surfaced, as the area remains personified by Pavement, Grandaddy and, uh, Earlimart. No matter: Suggs has found a second life as a real deal songwriter, with a record full of wobbly bar-stool folk and charming lo-fi pop that's so honest and bleary-eyed its joys only emerge when no one is looking. Thus it's quite fitting that Amigo Row sounds like the comeback record of the year, written by a man most people have already forgotten about. Feel free to spend your time analyzing that last Pernice Brothers album all you want. Suggs will still be sitting quietly in the corner, hoping you kept the receipt. TREVOR KELLEY


The Concussive Caress

(K Records)


It's a difficult equation to tackle--and by all stretches of the imagination, the math just can't possibly add up: a record that proposes to be aggressively minimal and engagingly intimate, combining high-concept and lo-fi aesthetic, all French-braided into the loose knot of a relatively accessible (if skewed) sequence of pop songs. But approach it from any of its incongruous angles and the Blow's debut full-length still comes out with nearly all of its meandering ducks in a row--and with surprising ease. Marrying lone-member Khaela Maricich's familiar undulating synths, driving strings, basement beats, and breathy vocal stratum with a series of willfully oblique narratives, The Concussive Caress offers the cognitive canyon's leap in conceptualism that fully realizes the long-palpable potential of its gifted creator. ZAC PENNINGTON

**** Harry Houdini

*** Lance Burton

** David Copperfield

* Doug Henning