Mink Stole and her Wonderful Band
Do Re Mink (self-released)
Stole, who’s best known for appearing in John Waters’s films, is a heckuva cabaret singer. Backed by an all-star ensemble (drummer Skizz Cyzyk, guitarist Walker Teret, and keyboardist Glenn Workman) she interprets these 12 tunes with elegance and taste, all of it good. From torch-singing chanteuse (“Bang Bang”) to swinging raconteur (“No Nose Nanook”), Stole exudes a noir-ish charm. She also duets beautifully with honky-tonk hero Arty Hill (who channels Tony Bennett!) on “Yours and So Am I.”
1/2 Gentlemen/Not Beasts
Half Japanese (Fire Records)
In the late-1970s, brothers Jad and David Fair recorded this punk masterpiece at their parents’ Carroll County home. Released as a triple album, it influenced many bands, including Nirvana, who tapped Half Japanese as an opening band for its last U.S. tour. This reissue expands the original set to four LPs and includes 36 previously unreleased songs. From warped covers of Velvet Underground tunes to sudden blasts of noise and shout-outs to heroes like Patti Smith, it’s a testament to a DIY ethos that shaped an entire generation of indie rock.