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CD Reviews: Lee Fields & The Expressions and more

Lee Fields & The Expressions

Lee Fields & The Expressions Photo Credit: Lee Fields & The Expressions' "Faithful Man"

'Faithful Man'
Lee Fields & The Expressions

In some ways, the Lee Fields story personifies the cyclical nature of cultural appreciation: Stick with what you love long enough and, like a turntable set to 33 1/3 years per revolution, it will come back again. A minor figure in the original soul galaxy of the late '60s and early '70s, Fields' scattered singles were sought after by the rare-groove crowd on both sides of the Atlantic, but he remained a cult figure until he hit his stride once more in the late '90s with the NYC-based label Desco (predecessor of both the Daptone and Soul Fire labels), with whom he recorded an album of vintage, James Brown-inspired funk that drew new listeners to his dynamic beg-and-plead vocals. Recording now for Brooklyn's Truth & Soul label, Fields has delivered "Faithful Man," a finely crafted update of the cosmopolitan soul-pop once turned out by Willie Mitchell on the Hi Records label - especially the Al Green groove of "You're the Kind of Girl."

'Always'
Xiu Xiu

This California band marks their 10th anniversary with "Always," an album that deserves respect for its unswerving ethos alone: It takes guts to sing about the sexual degradation of Chinese migrant workers, abortion and incest in a semi-operatic drone.

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'Delta Spirit'
Delta Spirit
The third album from this indie-rock band is an exercise in experimentalism, with ambient drone edging into their classic sound.    

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