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Welcome, this week's fine selection of new releases include the latest from Mahinarangi Tocker, George Harrison (his final recording), Groove Armada, Tony Bennett and KD Lang (with their tribute to Louis Armstrong), Missy Elliott, plus career retrospectives from NZ bands The Mutton Birds (featuring one new song) and Flesh D-Vice (the first time on CD), and there's the excellent debut from local hip hop outfit Nesian Mystik. If you enjoy the contemporary dancefloor end of things we have the newie from F Communications (home of Llorca and St Germain's 'Boulevard') artist Jori Hulkkonen, plus the latest in the excellent Playgroundcompilation series (Volume 5), and an excellent two disc set titled London Lounge

Tony Bennett & KD Lang - A Wonderful World both singers are in damn fine form, musical backing is largely provided by Bennett's tight touring quartet (with a little help from saxophonist Scott Hamilton), while production duties are handled with aplomb by T Bone Burnett (he last showed up producing the 'O Brother Where Art Thou' soundtrack) ...made with obvious love, respect and plenty of style $24.95

Missy Elliott - Under Construction Having forged her own utterly unique, fresh and funky style in partnership with visionary producer Timbaland, Missy's able to bust out smart and sassy lyrics packed to the brim with intelligence and humour, while Timbaland backs her up with mind-blowing beats. Missy's back with another brilliant and well-rounded album that's essential for all fans - recommended $24.95

Flesh D-Vice - Flaming Soul (2 CDs) the first time the recorded output of Flesh D-Vice has been available on CD, featuring 35 tracks over two discs covering tracks from all three albums (including the 'Dead Cat Juice' album which was licensed by metal label Roadrunner but never released), plus numerous singles including the immortal "Flaming Soul" - one of the best hardcore songs to come out of New Zealand. $26.95

Groove Armada - Lovebox adding amped up guitars and driving boogie to their now trademark disco house and Ibiza styled languid ballads...the result, while not the chill out vibe of old, is still quality gear, fusing dynamic rock and dance elements with ingenuity and skill...features vocal contributions from Neneh Cherry, Sunshine Anderson and soul survivor Richie Havens (on the deliciously smooth "Hands Of Time") $24.95

George Harrison - Brainwashed this final release from the "quiet" Beatle is a pretty decent listen, flitting stylistically between his excellent solo debut from many years back ('All Things Must Pass') and the first Travelling Wilburys release...with plenty of deliciously understated slide playing... this is a fitting tribute to a man who was once part of one of the greatest pop bands in history... recommended $24.95

Jori Hulkkonen - Different Finnish producer Jori Hulkkonen continues his run of great records for F Communications with another deep and delicious album...weaving a fine blend of sampled strings, synths, drum machines and countless other instruments into a solid, spacious and sonically pleasing hour long excursion into home-listening house music...For fans of Llorca, Groove Armada, St Germain $26.95

London Lounge (2 CDs) this time focussing their attentions on the recent audio output of urban London...32 of London-town's smoothest tracks and coolest club anthems from the past half a decade or so onto two full CDs (split between downbeat "London by Day" and upbeat "London by Night" flavours)...as much great music as humanly possible into the two and a half hour capacity... recommended $36.95

Mutton Birds - Flock: The Best Of The Mutton Birds the Mutton Birds, like Split Enz before them, have made a fine career out of making distinctly New Zealand flavoured commercial pop relying on a good old fashioned touring ethic and a slew of fine pop songs (largely from the pen of band leader and driving force Don McGlashan - also responsible for the wonderful Front Lawn albums)...a rich and unique listening experience. $24.95

Nesian Mystik - Polysaturated one of the hottest new acts to have blown up in Aotearoa in 2002, South Auckland youngsters Nesian Mystik have captured the nation's ear with an uplifting urban sound that's the freshest new Polyfusion flavour since OMC's worldwide chart-topping efforts...this cool and confident album is bound to spend plenty of time at the top of our charts... recommended. $24.95

Pink - Missundaztood her second album leaves behind the r&b flavour of her successful debut, instead focusing on a more rock influenced sound, no doubt aided by co-songwriter Linda Perry (the singer of 4 Non Blondes)...the result, including the dynamic hit singles "Get The Party Started" and "Just Like A Pill", is a belligerent yet human slice of pure unadulterated pop magic...catch Pink on tour. $24.95

Playground Volume 5 Austrian label Ecco Chamber have captured another great Playground mix for Volume 5 in their brilliant mix CD series, this time courtesy of Croatian DJ/producer duo Eddy & Dus...soulful, organic and a little bit leftfield...the cutting edge of club music that'll move both your feet and your mind... recommended. $26.95

Mahinarangi Tocker - Hei Ha! renowned Maori singer Mahinarangi Tocker returns with her first new album in five years...undoubtedly one of New Zealand's most talented songwriters, whose work has in the past been performed by the likes of Bic Runga, Greg Johnson and Moana & The Moahunters...recorded with simple, uncluttered arrangements these new songs are among some of Mahinarangi's best yet. $23.95


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