RECORD REVIEWS: NEW RELEASES

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The Independent Culture
Gorky's Zygotic Mynci: Bwyd Time (Ankst, CD/LP/tape). The most fascinating new British group to emerge in many an aeon, Gorky's (average age: 20) are already on their third album. This is quieter and more contemplative than last year's vibrant Tatay, but it's just as thrilling. The Sound of Young Carmarthen paint with a far broader palette than most of their Brit-pop contemporaries: imagine Brian Wilson impersonating The Fall in a playful bid to disorient a Syd Barrett fan convention and you're still some way off. Enigmatic and magical: give them half a chance and they'll hold your brain captive. Ben Thompson

Chet Baker: Embraceable You (Pacific Jazz, CD). Winsomeness meets incipient narcolepsy in this incredible selection of unreleased takes from 1957, with the swoonable Baker's whipped-cream vocals featuring on most of the tracks. Backed by only a gently strummed guitar and an apologetic double bass, Chet sings as well as he ever did. Highlights include two versions of Rodgers and Hart's immortal "Little Girl Blue". With enough ennui to fill an anthology of 19th-century French poetry, there won't be a more affecting jazz release this year. Sublime. Phil Johnson

Javon Jackson: For One Who Knows (Blue Note, CD). At last, a new tenor player tough enough to trash the opposition. With a repertoire that more than tips a wing to the past (with tunes by Bud Powell, Wayne Shorter, Sonny Rollins and AC Jobim, plus two cracking originals), this is steaming post-bop jazz to play loudly and often. PJ

Seal: Kiss From A Rose (ZTT, single). Epic pop swirl gets a well-deserved second chance via the Batman Returns soundtrack. BT

Palace Music: Mountain EP (Domino, single). Songs of scenery and lust from Will Oldham, Kentucky's crown prince of country gothic. BT

Jonathan Richman: You Must Ask the Heart (Rounder, CD/LP). Rejoice! Rejoice! A whole new album of Richman magic! Like tasting ice cream for the first time. Nicholas Barber

PJ Harvey: C'mon Billy (Island, single). The star of Glastonbury '95 gets all romantic. NB

Charlie Haden and Hank Jones: Steal Away (Verve, CD). Delightful reworkings of spirituals, protest songs and campfire fovourites. PJ

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