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The ClienteleSuburban Light The first full-length by this British group actually comprises eight songs previously released on EPs, singles and comps, plus five new tracks. But it's the group's first official Stateside release and, despite its scattered timeline, is actually a consistent package, the sonic equivalent of a patchwork blanket whose squares have all been chosen and connected by the same soft hands. Similarly, the band's influences come together in soothing euphony — mainly The Byrds and Galaxie 500, but also Felt, The Velvet Underground, The Kinks, The Church, Nick Drake and Belle & Sebastian. Even a slowed-down version of Madchester ancestors The Stone Roses can be heard in Suburban Light's gaseous, snaking layers of guitar and indolent rhythms. Alasdair MacLean's vocals give the impression that he'd really love to beg, scream and shout, but he's just so comfy, all horizontal-like in the big brass bed, soothing his rough throat with tea, honey and maybe just a dash of whiskey. The end-product is a uniquely dreamy album, perfect for warm days when it rains, or days when you just wish it would. (Merge, www.mergerecords.com)

—Stefanie Kalem

Tom Petty and the HeartbreakersDamn the Torpedoes In all, I didn't have too much of a beef with VH1's recently minted survey of the 100 greatest albums of the rock era. Two glaring omissions came immediately to mind, though: The Band (and Music From Big Pink, for that matter) and Damn the Torpedoes. When The B-52s beats them out, well, it doesn't matter how elite the panel is, something's terribly wrong. The remastered reissue of Torpedoes (1979) simply puts a fine point on the injustice. Petty and his fellow Gainesville transplants simply made outstanding, honest rock 'n' roll that turned out the hits in a time plagued by the last gasps of disco and punk's collapse into the mainstream. The jangly guitars, the lunging vocals, the tight musicianship — extraordinary. The songs: Refugee, Here Comes My Girl, Even the Losers, Shadow of a Doubt (A Complex Kid), Don't Do Me Like That, What Are You Doin' in My Life? — essential. Universal has also re-released Petty's estimable Hard Promises ('81) and Long After Dark ('82). (MCA/Universal)

—Eric Snider

Joe LovanoFlights of Fancy Employing a series of trio configurations —tenor, bass and drums; tenor, harmonica and piano; bass clarinet, alto flute and drums, and others — reedman Lovano soars on Flights of Fancy. The disc opens with the spaciously swinging title track, which finds Lovano's tenor in an abstract sparring match with drummer Idris Muhammed and bassist Cameron Brown. It's immediately followed by a reconstruction of I'll Remember April, where Lovano and harmonica man Toots Thielmans weave lines over Kenny Werner's jaunty piano. And so it goes. Three of the tunes even segue from one trio to another mid-song. The best of these is On Giant Steps — the first part finds Lovano, Thielmans and Werner coyly hinting at the Coltrane melody, which gives way to Muhammed and Brown's muscular propulsion of a Lovano tenor solo. Flights of Fancy avoids the homogenous flavor of so many jazz sets that stick to one lineup. Yet the disc somehow manages to remain thematically coherent. (Blue Note)

—Eric Snider

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