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Go retro: new New Order, X reissue, and shoegazing Sianaspheric.

New Order
Get Ready
Reprise Records
The opening sounds of Get Ready promise something more than recent releases from New Order. This may seem to be a softer, less ironic and more immediate album, with more tinkling of piano and an occasional blurring guitar, yet still built on the all-inclusive electronic soundscape. Instead, prepare to be disappointed, because what unfolds is perhaps the most predictable album of their entire discography, if not of this entire year. Lyrics are the most routine of the most bland radio rock, “… why don’t you run over here and rescue me. I’ll be there when you want me to. I’ll stand by your side like I always do.” Verse, chorus and repeat. Now add a guitar solo, and you have Get Ready. What New Order does accomplish is to make an entire generation nostalgic for the Jesus Jones era of alterna-radio. Any moment you expect EMF to shout “Unbelievable!” Billy Corgan even croons an anthemic prom theme on “Turn My Way” (although in fairness, this is by far the most interesting song on the album), and the beginning of “Close Range” is an impossibly blatant Depeche Mode rendering. In practicality this may be the most profound revelation of the influence that New Order had on New Wave, the third British musical “invasion” and everything after.

However, in their own words, “How can we be so far apart, when I have this message to send?” and “I don’t want the world to change. I like the way it is.” Get Ready does everything possible to accomplish this last wish, with a new order that is anything but.

Jason G. Damron
Los Angeles (reissue)
This disc is a long-overdue reissue of one of the greatest punk records of all time. X’s Los Angeles is a must for any collections. Exene Cervenka’s urgent wail and John Doe’s rootsy lyricism, along with Billy Zoom’s Chuck Berry-isms and DJ Bonebrake’s crushing beats, are imbedded forever in the history of music.

Highlights include the title track, the synch-marked “Sex and Dying in High Society,” and “The World’s a Mess; it’s in My Kiss.” This Rhino special product includes five bonus tracks, but the original album re-mastered alone is worth the purchase price. Remember LA in ’78, back when trash was trash the palm trees seemed to mean so much more.

Gavin Adair
The Sound of the Color of the Sun
Sonic Union
Now that the term shoegazer has pretty much been banished from the vocabulary of the music critic, we must find other terms to describe swirly guitar bands. I am without one. This outfit from Canada brings five years of reverb and fuzz to the table, and proves it has what it takes. The Sound … is a headphone album that sounds akin to Flying Saucer Attack, and could be the perfect headphone soundtrack to a lonesome walk in the Oregon rain. Let the guitar wash down your mind even as the water gets into your shoes. This music takes patience, so don’t expect to be grabbed by the nape of the neck and begin head snapping. Turn it up and do whatever you need to do, and if you fall into a trance, go with it.

Gavin Adair