Album: Nels Cline, Dirty Baby (Cryptogramophone)

A perfect present for that difficult-to-please boho friend.

Guitarist Cline (Wilco, etc) has written and arranged two discs of new music to accompany images by the noted LA artist Ed Ruscha. The large-ish band, with Jon Brion on squiggly synths, does avant-garde Americana, with the Pet Sounds-like sonorities of harmonica, cello and banjo on disc one replaced by buzz-saw guitars on disc two. There's a post-Iraq context, a set of poems in the deluxe edition, and not everything works. But yes, it's a real work of art.