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The Independent Culture
NEW RELEASES

Neil Young: Mirrorball (Reprise, CD/LP/tape). Following last year's triumphant Sleeps With Angels, the Canadian croaker has put Crazy Horse out to grass once again, and hitched up with a new backing band, some young chaps called Pearl Jam. They're grungy, murky, and ... well, not that different from Crazy Horse, actually. Still, they and Young sound as if they've put in a good half-hour's rehearsal, and have come up with a scrappy, swirling set of anthems. In between the mystical imagery there are signs that Young is feeling old, acknowledging that "people my age, they don't do the things I do" in "I'm the Ocean", and remembering the Sixties in "Downtown": "Jimi's playin' in the backroom, Led Zeppelin on-stage". Mirrorball is not as varied as Angels - with only a clunk of piano and a gasp of pump organ to compete with the distinctly familiar guitar blizzard - but Young has a fund of riffs and melodies as compelling as any in rock. These days, try as he might, he seems to find it impossible to put a foot wrong. Nicholas Barber

U Roy: Original DJ (Virgin, CD only). Crying or crooning, chatting or cooing: in the entire history of pop music there are few more flexible and persuasive instruments than the voice of Kingston, Jamaica's Ewart Beckford, professionally known as U Roy. In the late Sixties and early Seventies it was Mr Roy who - with a little help from King Tubby and Duke Reid - began the DJ craze for talking over records, without which Pato Banton, Snoop Doggy Dog and post-modernism would never have existed. But this epic and delectable 25-track compilation, also featuring extensive samples of U Roy's mid-Seventies Second Coming, is of far more than just historical interest. Anyone who can stay miserable through the entirety of "Say You" or "Natty Rebel" seriously needs to reassess the direction their life is taking. Ben Thompson

Brian Auger: The Best of Brian Auger (Tongue & Groove, CD/LP/tape). Vintage keyboard derangement from the Godfather of Acid Jazz. BT

Bartok: Piano Works. Zoltan Kocsis (Philips, four CDs). Establishes Kocsis as the Bartok pianist: every performance a bench-mark. Michael White

Gorky's Zygotic Mynci: Gewn Ni Gorffen (Ankst, single). Deliciously maudlin melody from upsurgent pastoral psychedelicists. BT

A Guy Called Gerald: Finley's Rainbow (Juicebox, single). An instant summer anthem: get out of bed to this and the day is already made. BT

Boy George: Cheapness and Beauty (Virgin, CD/LP/tape). A sensitive, bitchy, hard-rocking, guitar-strewn pop treat: George slays his dragons. NB

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