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Art Crimes, Susan Welch, Amiri Baraka, Edward Humes, Garry Wills, The Wife, Joseph Conrad's The Secret Agent, Sweet Nothing, Boz Scaggs, dEUS

Mind you, it isn't always so cohesive. In A Bar begins with an all-out assault on the senses: a low-fi acoustic blues rant followed by a sampled sound bite advising listeners to "be your own dog," interrupted by a James Brown breakbeat and a grunge guitar crunch; then comes a snappy bass-and-guitar groove, leading into a call-and-response rap/shout with a falsetto soul chorus, and into a middle section of synth dance-pop. Then they do it all over again. The next song, "Opening Night," overlays two different pop melodies by two very different singers, with guitar and piano lines weaving through. Then "Theme From Turnpike" uses a Mingus bass sample, Beefheartian vocals, sound effects, James Bond guitar/horn/string arrangements, Latin percussion, and free-roaming sax to create something both eerie and warm--not far from Tom Waits at his best. Keep going and you'll also hear pop-punk in "Memory of a Festival" and whispery cabaret jazz in "Nine Threads," set among more typically playful tunes. Adding together more sounds than it seems could fit into the diminutive state of Belgium, dEUS's sum total becomes a rich and dynamic chamber music for a postmodern world. (Roni Sarig)

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