Golden Street
(spinART Records)

In these days of fast-fashion entertainment, delivering a good piece of work is nothing to be ashamed of. And that's just what The Minders do on their third full-length, Golden Street: They commit to disc 43 minutes and 15 seconds of tunes purchased on Carnaby and resold in a hometown thrift shop. It's a pleasant surprise. The Minders used to be part of the Elephant 6 collective, and I was afraid that Golden Street might get bogged down by the self-importance that makes many E6 records so painful. But they've filtered the eclecticism, and only the good bits got through. Sure, they're still all over the place, but it manages to come out like a single thought. And though they occasionally stray into unfortunate, Quasi-style territories of flat melodies, they redeem themselves by getting all Turtles-like on great cuts like "Right As Rain." All in all, Golden Street is a solid record, and like I said, ain't nothin' wrong with that. JAMIE S. RICH


dulcet little love
Cut & Paste Collective)

Imagine lackthereof's songwriter/mastermind Danny Seim at his home in Cornelius, devising new and exciting ways to layer his drums and drum machine (and of course laughing deviously). Sein does an excellent job blending the ideals of a basement project with a computer-centric recording ethic, complete with cool samples (one of which will be recognized by MAX riders). In fact, I can't tell you how much I love the drum sound. It's organic and artificial simultaneously, making the drums the focus of the album, and the melodies more like light condiments. In parts, Seim's whispered singing sneaks in eerily; in others, there are echoes of keyboards or crashes of guitar. It all ends up sounding dark and airy, yet somehow exotic and surreal. For fans of lo-fi sprinkled with electronics, this is a little gem of an album. JULIANNE SHEPHERD


To Record Only Water for Ten Days
Warner Brothers)

The genius and insanity of roving Red Hot Chili Pepper John Frusciante's first two records is amplified by the pure normalcy of his new CD. In stark contrast to his prior four-track recorded releases, Frusciante's new songs consist of standard verse-chorus-verse, sing-along vocals, and cheap, cliché drum machine beats. A common theory of why this transformation has taken place may involve Frusciante kicking his heroin addiction and starting to interact with the outside world again. Giving off a mildly embarrassing "Choose Life!" inspirational feel, they are, at face value, decent pop songs. But for Frusciante, this may be a step in the wrong direction. Too straightforward and "sane" for his prior fans, and still too strange and lo-fi for the pop market, To Record Only Water makes for a confusing and unsatisfying listen. JOE FAUSTIN KELLY