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Really quick spins: New albums from Azure Ray, Black Milk, Mavis Staples and a David Bowie tribute

Mavis StaplesThe legendary Mavis Staples has teamed up with Wilco's Jeff Tweedy. (Marvin Joseph/TWP)

After a lean and languid summer, the world of pop music dumped its cornucopia on the September calendar with new albums from resurgent classic rockers (Robert Plant, Neil Young), marquee indie troupes (Interpol, Walkmen), Nashville headliners (Zac Brown Band, Billy Currington) and a gazillion others.

Click Track decided to play catch-up on this profusion of pop with a recap on some of last month’s finest releases that we didn’t get to on the proper drop date.

Today, Allison Stewart picks some September highlights. (Chris Richards and David Malitz shared their picks earlier in the week.)


Azure Ray, “Drawing Down the Moon”
The ambient/folk/pop girl-girl duo are back on Nebraska indie label Saddle Creek after a seven-year break (and solo careers that never went as well as they might have). “Moon” picks up where they left off: It’s a floaty and charming wisp of an album.

Black Milk, “Album of the Year”
The enterprising Detroit MC uses horns, strings, guitars and jazz riffs to assemble a smart, sprawling disc with an old-school vibe. Sometimes too sprawling: The shambolic “Gospel Psychedelic Rock” is pretty much what it advertises.

Mavis Staples, “You Are Not Alone”
The beloved Staple Singer gets an assist from Jeff Tweedy and members of Wilco on this standout set of R&B and gospel covers. It may not make Staples a household name again, but she’s now the coolest senior citizen since Betty White.

Various Artists, “We Were So Turned On: A Tribute to David Bowie”
This two-disc set isn’t the definitive Bowie tribute, but it is the nuttiest and most broad-reaching. There’s something for everyone: hipsters (Warpaint, Chairlift), freak folk supergroup enthusiasts (Megapuss), ’80s nostalgists (Duran Duran) and fans of France’s first lady Carla Bruni, who does a nice job on a throaty, English-language version of “Absolute Beginners.”

By Click Track  | October 1, 2010; 12:00 PM ET
Categories:  Really quick spins  | Tags:  Azure Ray, Black Milk, Mavis Staples  
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Next: List: The 21 best Matador Records albums

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