Endtroducing . . . (Deluxe Edition)
Musicians often pay homage to influences in lyrics or liner notes, but DJ Shadow, a self- proclaimed collage artist whose 1996 Mo' Wax debut, Endtroducing . . . ,was based entirely on samples, placed on the album's cover a Sacramento shop simply named Records, a fitting tribute to the pieces of his puzzle. After a series of legend-making 12-inches, Shadow (Josh Davis) continued to be inspired by turntablist pioneers like Double Dee and Steinski (whose three-part "Lesson Mix" was never officially released due to sample-clearing legalities), constructing Endtroducing . . . from untraceable records in every genre. With a reverence for funk, an affinity for unconventional time signatures, and a cinematic sense of flow, he updated the breakbeat party records of the '80s as a headphone-compatible stoner soundtrack for the fading millennium. Nine years later, Island/Universal has packaged a deluxe edition with a second disc, dubbed "Excessive Ephemera." The 14-song "Ephemera" includes a 12-minute Radio One clip from his first U.K. performance amid its bundle of demos, alternate, and extended takes. Of those, highlights include "Building Steam With a Grain of Salt" and "Mutual Slump"—both still haunting with the overdubs removed—and the two-minute "Organ Donor" fleshed to nearly five. Shadow's Bay Area friend Cut Chemist improves on "The Number Song" by burying its rumbling bass, clearing room for Latin guitar and more diverse vocal samples and creating a laid-back vibe. Peshay gives "What Does Your Soul Look Like" a jazzy sheen, a Mo' Wax time capsule of drum and bass' mid-'90s rise. "Ephemera" gives props to Shadow's peers while Endtroducing . . . 's reissue whets appetites for the upcoming Continuum book about its creation. RACHEL SHIMP
Face the Truth
When Stephen Malkmus released Pig Lib two years ago, Pavement fans smelled a hint of the indie demigod's concrete origins, and many started quietly hoping for a reunion. Sorry, suckers, because from the sound of Face the Truth, that ain't happening. Malkmus has finally realized that he has control over that instrument in his hands, an able band with its own groove-centric sound compatible with his classic rock leanings, and lyrical habits that, at least half the time, some sense can be gleaned from. Face the Truth is a patchwork of an album, jumping not so subtly from disparate musical realms: "Pencil Rot" starts with a call to arms fit for the intergalactic robot army, while the ballad "Freeze the Saints" is so endearing it's nearly hard to take seriously and "Mama" is a candy-coated Big Star send-up. But Malkmus' guitar work is the star here—like Pig Lib, only tighter. The proof of Malkmus' prowess is in the eight-minute "No More Shoes." Within the first three minutes, there are two rattling guitar solos; then he begins to show off, starting first with a mewling slide solo that folds into a delicate vamp, climbing the scales before cascading down into some incredibly pretty sludge. It's the furthest thing from wankery, and just in case you forgot who you were listening to, the song ends with Malkmus bellowing, "I want my Alka-Seltzer." MARK BAUMGARTEN
Stephen Malkmus and the Jicks play Neumo's with Martha Wainwright at 9:30 p.m. Sat., June 18. $15.
YO LA TENGO
Prisoners of Love: A Smattering of Scintillating Senescent Songs 1985–2003
Listening to this "smattering" of "scintillating senescent" (who comes up with this crap?) songs spanning Yo La Tengo's career, you'll feel old if you remember the first time you contemplated New Wave Hot Dogs or laid your ears on "Big Day Coming" and really imagined, in those seven minutes, that you could sense it coming up around the bend. Not to mention if you also recall hearing bands like Death Cab for Cutie and Grandaddy and going, "Hmmm . . . this sounds awfully familiar." That's the way it goes, Grandmommy; you can't stack 20 years of feedback waves, droning melodies, and literate lyrics on top of each other without feeling the weight. Still, it begs the question: Who is all this plastic for, anyway? Actually, this time I think I know—it's for people like me, who lost their YLT discs in a breakup. Compiled by the band, the collection goes through 25 of the band's previously released "hits" ("Barnaby, Hardly Working," "Sugarcube") and a third disc with the usual assortment of rarities and demos (do we need a rough draft of "Big Day Coming?"), unreleased tracks (fuzzy, dreamy, and largely forgettable), remixes ("Autumn Sweater" is redone by Kevin Shields with exactly zero earth-shattering surprises), and acoustic versions ("Tom Courtenay"). These are the interest you've earned in the past few years while your ex has had custody of Fakebook. Unfortunately, rates are low these days—still, anything beats stuffing your assets under a mattress. LAURA CASSIDY