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SADE/ Lovers Rock
(Epic)

SADE / Lovers RockIn her introduction to Nigerian/English "international recording star" Sade' first album in eight years, Japanese jazz singer Monday Michiru sums up Sade's approach as "philosophy of strength in subtlety." This description perfectly fits Lovers Rock, which makes absolutely no concessions to developments like trip hop in the intervening years since her last album. An intensely personal artist, Sade's melancholic, sultry voice hasn't cracked with age, and her lyrical concerns remain with love ("All About Our Love," "Lovers Rock,") and heartbreak ("Somebody Broke My Heart"). Having given birth to her first child in 1997, Sade is clearly at a different stage in life, yet her music remains timeless.


LTJ BUKEM / Earth
(Good looking)


LTJ Bukem / EarthThe last thing anyone needs is yet another dance compilation, or is it? Maybe the old dark prince of drum 'n' bass LTJ Bukem has given us reason to go out and get another one. It turns out that giving the man the benefit of the doubt rewards, as with his new Earth compilation, Bukem weaves a spell of wondrous house magic. The fourth in Bukem's Good Looking Records Earth series segues from the James Bond '60s trash of label mainstay K-Scope to Detroit master Jon Beltran's deep house number, "Seven Miles High," with stops at jazz-funk, deep house and Latin along the way. Bukem's "quest for the rare groove of the future" continues with determination.


HOWLING LOOCHIE BROS. / Howling Loochie Bros.
(Robin's Rockin' Records)


Howling Loochie Bros.Big band blues rock. Those four words say more about Tokyo's ubiquitous Howling Loochie Bros. than any elaborate explanation could. But seeing as we're writing a review let it be known that the long awaited debut release by Canadian expat Robin Suchy and his motley crew of Japanese musicians (including the best horn section in town), was worth wait. From "Musashi Maru Boogie" to the hard swing of "The Queen" to a funked-up cover of the Grateful Dead's "Shakedown Street," this is a well-oiled blues machine of a big band crankin' it out as if their lives depend on it (which for some of them, it probably does).


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Sade
LTJ Bukem
Howling Loochie Bros.
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