Music News

Top 10 Reissues and Compilations of 2012

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Tim Maia, Nobody Can Live Forever: The Existential Soul of Tim Maia [Luaka Bop]

It is incredible that Brazilian songwriter Tim Maia's music can actually match his singular story in quality.

Maia effortlessly mixed samba and baião with American R&B, soul, funk, and rock in the early 1970s, and the songs presented on Luaka Bop's excellent retrospective are prime groovers. Maia lived his life as a radical, dedicating himself to the Cultura Racional cult, a fringe group that believed humans were from outer space and needed to dedicate themselves to the instructions laid out in the book Universo Em Desencanto (Universe in Disenchantment). Sci-fi psychedelicism aside, Maia's work is irrepressible: "Let's Have a Ball Tonight" is a sublime party jam, with cresting horns, clipped snare hits, and layers of woozy synth. The tender "Where Is My Other Half" is a gorgeous heart-breaker, and the album's closer, "Rational Culture," would sound just as stellar cruising down the freeway in a lowrider as it probably did soundtracking some UFO-obsessed fireside chat.

Elton Duck, S/T

It took a little time -- over thirty years worth of "little time" -- but the recordings of L.A. -via-Phoenix power pop group Elton Duck finally saw the light in 2012.

Featuring bassist Micki Steel, who went on to join The Bangles, singer/guitarist Mike McFadden (Goose Creek Symphony/Superfine Dandelion) , drummer Andy Robinson (Invisible Zoo), and guitarist Mike Condello (The Wallace and Ladmo Show), Elton Duck signed to Arista in the late '70s, but the band's tight collection of pop tunes was shelved. But this year, Phoenician Lee Cooley launched and successfully funded an Elton Duck Kickstarter project to release the material, dubbed "The Greatest Album Never Heard."

The proceeds went to the Phoenix Union Foundation for Education, and a donation to the PUFE is the best way to get a copy.

See also:

-Kickstart The Lost Album by Elton Duck, L.A. Power Pop Band Featuring Micki Steel of The Bangles and Mike Condello -The Psychedelic Pop of Mike Condello Remembered With Two New Releases

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Jason P. Woodbury is a music and pop-culture writer based in Phoenix. He is a regular contributor to the music blog Aquarium Drunkard and co-host of the Transmissions podcast.