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Honor: A Benefit for the Honor the Earth Campaign
Daemon Records

HONOR IS MUSIC with a conscience, with dignity, composed by musicians brought together with a noble and just purpose: to create awareness, understanding and support for this nation's most overlooked and undervalued peoples, to encourage respect for the Earth, and to recognize our responsibility for and dependence on the Earth's resources. Richly textured, solemn and celebratory, the tapestry of original recordings of song and spoken word that comprise the two-CD set (including one track by poet Sherman Alexie) include contributions from Exene Cervenka, Luka Bloom, Bonnie Raitt, the Indigo Girls, Matthew Sweet, Victoria Williams, Soul Asylum, Jane Siberry, and many notable others.

-- Lisa Weeks


Love in Exile
PCP Entertainment

DEEP FROM THE grimy underbelly of New York's Lower East Side emerge slovenly punk misfits the Chrome Cranks. Lead yowler and guitarist Peter Aaron bellows tortured lyrics of dope travails and romantic burnout in the same tradition of Aussie smack 'n' murder progenitor Nick Cave. Like Cave's legendary swamp swill outfit, who first melded the punk aesthetic with fractured Americana blues rhythms, the Chrome Cranks pinpoint this bare-bones sound, clearly defining the genre but not venturing too far from the established formula. The Cranks lock into a gut-wrenching, death-row blooze march as gruesome and mesmerizing as a dirty spike plunging into a fat, throbbing vein.

-- Ron Bally


The Lost Weekend
Prima Records UK

DATELINE: FEBRUARY '85. Dream Syndicate's Steve Wynn, Green On Red's Dan Stuart, and assorted fellow bandmembers and pals from the Long Ryders assembled in an L.A. studio, trucked in a lot (we're talking a lot) of beer (did I say it was a lot of beer?), and laid down a New Sincerity honkytonk set that sold poorly but tweaked the bands' fans, some of whom would form New Depression bands like Son Volt, Wilco, Bottlerockets, etc. And this reissue (with one bonus track) really does capture the mood and spirit of a point in time which a lot of us remember with deep affection. If nothing else, the upbeat, ivory-tinkling country of "Song For The Dreamers," the moody bluesadelia of "Miracle Mile" (great verse-trading between vocalists Wynn and Stuart), and the epic, chiming folkrock of "Down To The Bone" (which would become a Green On Red showstopper) all stand up as classic tunes that any songwriter or band would be proud to claim.

--Fred Mills

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