(FORTUNE Magazine) – Kaito Band Red SpinArt
Apparently '80s New Wave is hip again (like it was really all that hip the first time around--remember A Flock of Seagulls?). Still, if them's the rules, then Kaito's singer, Nikki Colk, sounds like a sassier version of Missing Persons fembot Dale Bozzio--howling like a banshee caught in an electrical storm, searching frantically for her Simon LeBon.
Kristin Hersh The Grotto 4AD
Too bad they didn't need a fourth lead for The Hours, because Kristin Hersh would've been perfect. Her latest batch of haunted, heartsick acoustic lullabies are, as always, sung with the spooky voice of an abandoned doll. They're also so beautiful you want to cry. It would almost be a shame if Hersh ever cheered up.
The D4 6Twenty Hollywood
Detroit is the undisputed capital of garage rock thanks to the MC5, the Stooges, and the White Stripes. But we'd nominate Auckland, New Zealand, as a sister city. It's home to the D4, whose debut is full of big, loud, messy party anthems--what Cheap Trick might've sounded like if they never showered.
The Who Who's Next: Deluxe Edition MCA
From the opening notes of "Baba O'Riley" to the throat-shredding, guitar-windmilling finale of "Won't Get Fooled Again," Who's Next is a masterpiece. In other words, don't mess with it! That means you, MCA! Man, isn't it just like record execs to screw around with ... wait, what's that? Oh, they added 20 rare demo and live tracks? Awesome! MCA rules!
Various Artists Nick Hornby/Songbook McSweeney's
Like all products hatched in the McSweeney's laboratory of self-acknowledged genius, this book of essays by author/music critic Hornby about the pop songs he loves (many of which are included on a throw-in CD) can be viewed as really clever or a smidge too precious. Still, it's hard to be cynical when a grown man gushes about the J. Geils Band. That's just good taste.