East Of UndergroundEast Of UndergroundWax Poetics
The back story behind this LP is reason enough to give it a listen: a group of US troops stationed in Germany during Vietnam get together and record a bunch of funk and soul covers, and leave one lone copy in the Army archives. On top of that, the tracks are amazing. This is pummeling early ’70s funk at its most poignant.

Matthew AfricaDirty R&B: The Best of R. Kelly Mixed By Matthew AfricaHubba Rock
What’s better than two discs (and 69 tracks) of Kells’ greatest hits, remixes, and collaborations? Our man Matthew Africa pulls out the big guns, mixing “Slow Wind (featuring Sean Paul)” with the underestimated slow jam, “I Like the Crotch on You,” and just about every other amazingly perverse hit from the king of R&B. And you thought Dirty Raps: Too $hort was your favorite mixtape?

Various Bugged Out ClassicsBugged Out!
This compilation crams every hyped 12” dance track from the last few years into three discs. It’s like a hipster-dance retrospective: French touch (Daft Punk, Stardust), electro-clash (Miss Kitten, Fischerspooner), tweek-house (Solid Groove), electro-house (Justice, Digitalism), big beat (Chemical Brothers), cosmic disco (Lindstrøm). Vinyl just shed one big tear.

Franki Valli & The Four Seasons “Beggin’ (Pilooski Re-Edit)” 679 Records
The last space disco comp from the dirty crew garnered so much praise here at XLR8R, that at this point, Pilooski could edit a Third Eye Blind track and we’d probably still call it gold. This 12” finds the man re-touching a soul classic, and the result is a churning, smooth treasure of a record.

Mock & Toof K-ChoppersDeath From Abroad
This first 12” release from DFA’s new overseas branch, Death From Abroad, is a welcome return to the type of sounds that made DFA so refreshing back in 2002. “K-Choppers” is a top-form afro-disco burner complete with congo rhythms, hand-claps, and just about the most infectious bass-line we’ve heard in some time.

YeasayerAll Your CymbalsWe Are Free
Brooklyn-based outfit Yeasayer describes its sound as “Middle Eastern-Psych-Pop-Snap-Gospel,” but we’d be more inclined to call it good indie-rock. With a mix of falsetto harmonies, bizarre psych-folk rhythms, and restrained experimentation, Yeasayer’s debut LP tackles sounds both grand and minute.

Air “Mer du Japon (Teenagers Remix)” Virgin
When Air releases a single, it’s safe to assume that it’s going to be cinematic and slow riding. While “Mer du Japon” is just that, London-based indie-poppers The Teenagers mix the French duo’s newest offering into a bass driven, synth-paradise that’s car and club friendly. This track is the most overlooked blog sensation of the year.

9th WonderDream Merchant 2Six Hole
Wonder’s solo debut has been one of those anticipated hip-hop releases for months and months. Rest assured, Dream Merchant Vol. 2 doesn’t disappoint. True to his underground roots, the producer has tons of guest MC spots (Mos Def and Camp Lo among them), drops the most soulful of beats, and canpresent lyrics taht are uplifting without entering cheesy territory.

VariousDJ-Kicks: Booka Shade!K7
They might be known for some of the most interesting live sets in the electro-tech-house zone, but the Berlin-based duo is now ready to show the world its DJ skills with the latest installment of !K7’s acclaimed series. the Shade certainly likes its variety, dropping John Carpenter, The Streets, Matthew Dear, and two new tracks into the same continuous mix. We’d expect nothing less from these guys.

Jens LekmanNight Falls Over KortedalaSecretly Canadian
Jens Lekman is Sweden’s answer to Morrissey. This witty, pop master makes orchestral hits that are as comparable to Lindstrøm as they are to Tom Jones, and every string-heavy hit-maker in between. Night Falls Over Kortedala is filled with songs for a sunny, introspective day in the park or a depressing late night drive. Is it something you’ll find in the pages of XLR8R? Probably not. But it still may be this writer’s album of the year.