By Bobby Tanzilo Senior Editor/Writer Published Jun 16, 2008 at 11:01 AM

Here's a look at the CDs spilling off my desk this month.

 

If you want the summer party started, check out DJ Ellen Allien's megamix "Boogie Bytes Vol.04," part of a series from Berlin's BPitch Control. Interpolating tunes by Richard Seeley, Kassem Mosse, Little Dragon, Lucio Aquilina and others, Allien's mix is subtle, trippy and sufficiently surprising to make not only for great dance music but good ol' plain listening, too.

The same can be said for "Third" (Mercury) the long-awaited new disc from Britain's Portishead. It's been 11 years since Beth Gibbons, Geoff Barrow and Adrian Utley dished up the brilliant self-titled disc. "Third" doesn't reach the heights of those previous discs -- which is a little disappointing since there was plenty of time to get it right. But Gibbons' trademark voice is there and to its credit, Portishead didn't play it safe and give us more of the same. "Third' explores the same territory as its two predecessors, but it's rougher, sharper along the edges.

Alex Moulton's "Exodus" (Rephlektor/Expansion Team) is trippy electronica, too, but in a much smoother, synthier version. Packaged in an amazing cover that looks like a 1970s vinyl gatefold sleeve with artwork straight off the cover of a romance novel, "Exodus" sounds like the kind of music you'll hear in boutiques along the Champs Elysees or Chicago's Miracle Mile.

Kaskade's "Strobelite Seduction" (Ultra) is a thumping, Eurodisco dance extravaganza with wispy female vocals. Part early Madonna, part modern Italian disco, these 10 songs have a breeziness that begs for listening with the top down on a hot summer's day. Born in Chicago, DJ Kaskade lives in San Francisco and has remixed tunes by Nelly Furtado, Justin Timberlake and Britney Spears, among others.

To dig down to the origins of spacier music, check out ROIR's "Essential Dub," with tracks by New York's Terrorists and Dub Trio, Jamaica's Oku Onuora, Niney the Observer and Ras Michael, Britain's Alpha & Omega, and others. The disc is a nice introduction to the dub discs released by ROIR and has some great moments. But since it sticks to the label's catalog, the "Essential" part might be overstating things a bit. However, it's great to hear Bad Brains' "Leaving Babylon" again.

The band has decried it and so have many fans and critics, but who can be surprised that after 10 years with EMI, the label has issued "The Best of Radiohead"? The two-disc set has everything that can be called a hit and then some from all of the band's LPs before "In Rainbows." Disc two has some b-sides and rarities and all-told, it's a great introduction to perhaps the most engaging British band of the past 20 years. Hardcore fans will likely be more interested in the DVD, which has 21 promo videos, from "Creep" to "2+2=5" live.

Just a Memory Records reissues a pair of great discs from drummer Alvin Queen's Nilva imprint. Organist John Patton's 1983 "Soul Connection" is a bit what you'd expect - Hammond-fueled soul jazz -- but with a twist that comes in the form of adventurous trombonist Grachan Moncur III. Moncur contributes two originals and shines especially on the lengthy workout "The Coaster." The second disc is Queen's own 1985 "Jammin' Uptown" sextet session with trumpeter Terence Blanchard, pianist John Hicks and trombonist Robin Eubanks, among others.

Nashville's Silver Jews -- that self-described sister band to Pavement -- have a new record out. "Lookout Mountain, Lookout Sea!" on Drag City is a melodic, ethereal alt.country record that has a lot in common with Son Volt's great debut "Trace": understated vocals (that also conjure Lou Reed at times), memorable melodies. But there are also reverb-laden female harmonies and blues-rock guitar flourishes, too. The result is a roots rock record with a voice all its own.

Bobby Tanzilo Senior Editor/Writer

Born in Brooklyn, N.Y., where he lived until he was 17, Bobby received his BA-Mass Communications from UWM in 1989 and has lived in Walker's Point, Bay View, Enderis Park, South Milwaukee and on the East Side.

He has published three non-fiction books in Italy – including one about an event in Milwaukee history, which was published in the U.S. in autumn 2010. Four more books, all about Milwaukee, have been published by The History Press.

With his most recent band, The Yell Leaders, Bobby released four LPs and had a songs featured in episodes of TV's "Party of Five" and "Dawson's Creek," and films in Japan, South America and the U.S. The Yell Leaders were named the best unsigned band in their region by VH-1 as part of its Rock Across America 1998 Tour. Most recently, the band contributed tracks to a UK vinyl/CD tribute to the Redskins and collaborated on a track with Italian novelist Enrico Remmert.

He's produced three installments of the "OMCD" series of local music compilations for OnMilwaukee.com and in 2007 produced a CD of Italian music and poetry.

In 2005, he was awarded the City of Asti's (Italy) Journalism Prize for his work focusing on that area. He has also won awards from the Milwaukee Press Club.

He can be heard weekly on 88Nine Radio Milwaukee talking about his "Urban Spelunking" series of stories.