RECORDS

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The Independent Culture
Rock

Nick Cave and the Bad Seeds: The Boatman's Call (Mute, CD/ LP/tape). These 12 lugubrious chansons d'amour from an after-hours piano bar - two of which are about PJ Harvey - tell of a love either decaying, doomed, embittering, or all of the above. Musically, the tone is subdued, redolent of "The Kindness of Strangers" from the last Bad Seeds album, or of Lou Reed's "Perfect Day". If not quite Saint Nick at his most inspired, this is a moving, unusually personal album; it confirms, as he hits 40, that he will be able to make records prolifically and with dignity until he is well past his rock'n'roll years. Nicholas Barber

Various artists: Nu Yorican Soul (Talkin' Loud, CD/LP/tape). This ambitious side-project by nightclub eminences Masters At Work (aka Louis Vega and Kenny "Dope" Gonzalez) will warm March's most frosted cockles. With a people's army of distinguished guests, Vega and Gonzalez fashion a tribute to the Hispanic roots of contemporary dance music that is both joyfully sinuous and very, very modern.

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