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+ Donato Wharton - Body Isolations
+ Svalastog - Woodwork
+ Tim Hecker - Harmony In Ultraviolet
+ Rosy Parlane - Jessamine
+ Jarvis Cocker - The Jarvis Cocker Record
+ Múm - Peel Session
+ Deloris - Ten Lives
+ Minimum Chips - Lady Grey
+ Badly Drawn Boy - Born In The U.K.
+ The Hold Steady - Boys And Girls Together
+ The Blood Brothers - Young Machetes
+ The Places - Songs For Creeps
+ Camille - Le Fil
+ Wolf Eyes - Human Animal
+ Christina Carter - Electrice
+ The Decemberists - The Crane Wife
+ Junior Boys - So This Is Goodbye
+ Various Artists - Musics In The Margin
+ Rafael Toral - Space
+ Bob Dylan - Modern Times
+ Excepter - Alternation
+ Chris Thile - How To Grow A Woman From The Ground
+ Brad Mehldau - Live in Japan
+ M Ward - Post-War
+ Various Artists - Touch 25
+ The Mountain Goats - Get Lonely
+ The White Birch - Come Up For Air
+ Camera Obscura - Let's Get Out of This Country
+ Coachwhips - Double Death
+ Various Artists - Tibetan And Bhutanese Instrumental And Folk Music, Volume 2
+ Giuseppe Ielasi - Giuseppe Ielasi
+ Cex - Actual Fucking
+ Sufjan Stevens - The Avalanche
+ Leafcutter John - The Forest And The Sea
+ Carla Bozulich - Evangelista
+ Barbara Morgenstern - The Grass Is Always Greener
+ Robin Guthrie - Continental
+ Peaches - Impeach My Bush
+ Oakley Hall - Second Guessing
+ Klee - Honeysuckle
+ The Court & Spark - Hearts
+ TV On The Radio - Return To Cookie Mountain
+ Awesome Color - Awesome Color
+ Jenny Wilson - Love And Youth
+ Asobi Seksu - Citrus
+ Marsen Jules - Les Fleurs
+ The Moore Brothers - Murdered By The Moore Brothers
+ Regina Spektor - Begin To Hope
+ The 1900s - Plume Delivery EP
+ Alejandro Escovedo - The Boxing Mirror
+ Function - The Secret Miracle Fountain
+ Sonic Youth - Rather Ripped
+ Loscil - Plume
+ Boris - Pink
+ Deadboy And The Elephantmen - We Are Night Sky
+ Glissandro 70 - Glissandro 70
+ Calexico - Garden Ruin (Review #2)
+ Calexico - Garden Ruin (Review #1)
+ The Flaming Lips - At War With The Mystics
+ The Glass Family - Sleep Inside This Wheel
+ Various Artists - Songs For Sixty Five Roses
+ The Fiery Furnaces - Bitter Tea
+ Motorpsycho - Black Hole/Blank Canvas
+ The Red Krayola - Introduction
+ Metal Hearts - Socialize
+ American Princes - Less And Less
+ Sondre Lerche And The Faces Down Quartet - Duper Sessions
+ Supersilent - 7
+ Band Of Horses - Everything All The Time
+ Dudley Perkins - Expressions
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+ Red Carpet - The Noise Of Red Carpet
+ The Essex Green - Cannibal Sea
+ Espers - II
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How To Kill The DJ [Part Two]
Kill the DJ/Tigersushi

Give the people what they want, or what you think they need? That's the choice facing every DJ, and the result isn't always pretty, as anyone still fielding requests for "In Da Club" could attest. So fine, forget 50 — pull out that sick, obscure Manzel reissue, and grimace when the room clears out.

Somehow the boys from Optimo, a weekly party at Glasgow's Sub Club, inverted the equation: They play what they want, and the people need it so bad that they'll wait in a line around the block. Not bad for a playlist that could be shouted out at the end of LCD Soundsystem's "Losing My Edge." (The Crrrrramps! Gang of Four, the Loose Joints! Suicide! ... Os!-Mu!-tantes!!)

How to Kill the DJ [Part Two], second in a series from the French label Tigersushi (the first was mixed by Black Strobe's Ivan Smagghe), is Optimo's stab at reproducing those parties on plastic. The result is the most mind-blowing mix CD since 2 Many DJs' As Heard on Radio Soulwax Vol. 2. Where Soulwax spliced pop with pop, or gave pop an edge (Salt N Pepa vs. Stooges is their best track ever), Optimo's blends are music geek squared. But their drug-punk electronics and analog raunch — "Nice n' Sleazy" by The Stranglers seems to be a mission statement — are the perfect palate cleanser for mash-up's current excess of cheese.

One key to this über-eclectic set's success is that the mixing skills of JG Wilkes ("a grungey slackey Irishman," reads their PR sheet) and JD Twitch ("a Scottish ex-techno DJ with a weird taste for camp rockabilly outfits") are as great as the songs they selected. The opening guitars from The Rapture's "Out of the Races and Onto the Tracks" stab away on top of the 20th Century Steel Band's rare-groove classic "Heaven and Hell." Old-school electro (Hashim's "Rocking the Planet") rubs up against jazz fusion (Miroslav Vitous' "New York City"), leading to a Soft Cell track ("Sex Dwarf") that practically requires a shower afterward. The disc even takes an unlikely detour into gospel with Larry Levan's remix of the Joubert Singers' "Stand on the Word" — not to be confused with the burping bass lines, go-go percussion and funky spelling lessons ("talkin' 'bout W-O-R and a Deeee") of the Junkyard Band's "The Word," which also makes an appearance.

That's a lot of ground to cover in an hour, and for such an ambitious mix, the number of missteps is shockingly low. Yes, playing Ricardo Villalobos' two best tracks at the same time takes some balls, but that doesn't mean "Dexter" and "Easy Lee" sound particularly good together. (And what's with the Chris Isaak slide guitar? Eek.) No matter, though — all the bad thoughts melt away after Suicide's "Dream Baby Dream" gets layered over the top.

In addition to all the musical highs, a dozen little bonus details make it clear that these guys love what they do. At one point in the mix, the Langley Schools Music Project version of "Good Vibrations" — the Beach Boys song, sung by 1970s grade-schoolers — provokes a "what the?!" reaction as the beat grinds to a halt. Turns out the move is purely practical: Wilkes' set is ending, Twitch is getting out his first record, and besides, didn't everyone need a breather? The duo are pictured on the cover in a clever rip-off of Andy Warhol's "Double Elvis" — not particularly surprising, since modern music in general, and dance music in particular, are awash in Warhol's pet themes of appropriation, repetition, and decadence. To provide that "you are there" ambience, the mix's first track features an irate cell-phone call complaining about line-jumpers, and the second-to-last is credited to the "Optimo End of the Night Choir," with a three-word lyric: "One more tune! One more tune!" (Has anyone ever really spun for a crowd this cool, or is it a little bit of myth-making? At any rate, in a coda worthy of the closing scene of Wes Anderson's "Rushmore," the shouters are rewarded with Love's "Everybody's Got to Live.")

Bringing the total to an insane 60 tracks, the set's unmixed second disc offers mood music to start or end the night (Angelo Badalamenti, Lee Hazlewood) as well as complete versions of some hard-to-find tracks that were used on disc one, like "A Minha Menina" by Os Mutantes. The more shameless among us might take this as an opportunity to grab a secret weapon or two for the ol' "check out this new stuff I'm listening to" CD-R to pass around. Whoops — now all my friends know where I got that killer Mo-Dettes track. ...

by Dave Renard

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