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Mighty Rearranger

CODE: B0007Z4S4C

Price : $18.98

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In the weeks leading up to this album's release, Robert Plant was the unlikely hit at the South By Southwest music festival, delivering such a scorching set with his band the Strange Sensation rockers a quarter of his age simply got back on their planes and went home without playing a note. This can most likely be attributed to the fact that, unlike most his classic rock peers, Plant has rarely settled since moving on from the Led Zeppelin behemoth. Over the course of eight solo albums, he's experimented with doo-wop, synth-pop and even drum'n' bass. But it's only at 56 that the Golden God is hitting his stride. On "Tin Pan Valley," he sings, "My peers may flirt with cabaret/ Some fake the rebel yell/ Me, I'm moving up higher ground/ I must escape their hell." Mighty Rearranger draws out the best qualities of his otherworldly voice, surrounding it with rich Middle Eastern textures, soft blues accents and gorgeous psychedelic swooshes. It's in keeping with the spirit of 2002's exotic and lush Dreamland, only it sounds more refined. The quiet bits are quieter and the loud bits are timely reminders that Plant was once a man possessed by a dozen dead wolverines. He's not kidding when on "Shine It All Around," he sings, "These are the days of my life/ Bright, strong and golden." --Aidin Vaziri
 

Rock of Ages: The Definitive Collection

CODE: B0009299LU

Price : $19.98

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While many of their peers were abandoning '70s metal and arena rock to hop the punk/new wave bandwagon, Def Leppard smartly stripped the earlier era's music of its excesses, bolstered it with energetic, pop-savvy hooks and quickly found itself the vanguard of the UK's new metal revival and one of the '80s most spectacularly successful rock acts. The first disc of this 35-track, two-and-a-half hour double-disc retrospective focuses on the familiar hits of their early MTV, platinum-selling prime, though the inclusion of the video edit/remixes of "Pour Some Sugar On Me" and "Rocket" attempts to cast them in a more club-friendly contemporary groove. But the grittier second disc showcases some of the early, overlooked roots of On Through the Night and High 'N' Dry, as well as underappreciated later gems like '99's "Promises" and a power-pop-perfect take on Badfinger's "No Matter What" from an upcoming covers project. --Jerry McCulley
 

The Life Aquatic with Steve Zissou

CODE: B0006JMLI4

Price : $18.98

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Director Wes Anderson's jewel of a comic-character study revolves around the quirks and obsessions of Bill Murray's titular Cousteau-esque deep-sea adventurer and his motley crew of associates. As they did for the director's equally sublime Royal Tenenbaums, Anderson and music super Randall Poster stitch their eclectic source material into a warm, subtly focused new cinemusic whole. Mark Mothersbaugh's original Casio-baroque cues are the perfect complement for Australian film composer Sven Libaek's compelling slices of vintage exotica, while Ziggy Stardust-era David Bowie largely provides the musical subtext, either directly or in earnest, through live acoustic renditions by Brazilian troubadour/film costar Seu Jorge. Seasoning the mix to near perfection are smart, vintage Britpop contributions by Scott Walker and the Zombies, Iggy and the Stooges thrashing "Search and Destroy," the evocative Iberian fire of Paco DeLucia, and Joan Baez's dramatic read of Morricone's Sacco & Vanzetti theme, "Here's to You." -- Jerry McCulley
 

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