If there’s a place in the modern-rock world for an indie-pop version of Norah Jones, then Russian-born, NYC-based, classically-trained pianist Regina Spektor seems determined to claim it. Soviet Kitsch, her 2004 debut for Sire, was misleading in its title and its aesthetic, geared more toward the broken mystique of Fiona Apple or Chan Marshall. On Begin to Hope, Spektor begins to come into her own, using string arrangements to augment the standard pianist-backed-by-a-rock-band sound, flitting about from anti-folk caustic to girl group sweet to torch song allure. Somehow, it all fits perfectly well together, as if this were the album she’d be planning all along.
This week also brings choice cuts from the vaults. Matthew Sweet’s ’91 masterpiece Girlfriend (Volcano), gets the deluxe two-disc treatment, expanded to include reworkings of the title track, a sizzling cover of “Cortez the Killer,” and some of the finest guitar playing downtown NYC has to offer, thanks in part to the late Robert Quine. Meanwhile, Boston’s first two albums, Boston and Don’t Look Back, have been given the deluxe Legacy Digipak treatment. Neither boasts any bonus material. And, until now, anyone who tried to compile the Replacements outside of a mixtape or a their iPod, had to contend with two different labels (and almost two different bands), the early Twin/Tone ’Mats, and the latter Sire band, who seemed to lose another member with every release. The new Don’t You Know Who I Think I Was? The Best of the Replacements (Rhino) is the first Replacements collection that includes material from both end of the band’s career along with two tracks that are being called “new recordings.” Guess that paves the way for a box set, a reunion tour, or maybe both.
: Music Features
, Entertainment, Music, Music Reviews, More