Some more things that I regret not paying more attention to in the past year (see last week for part 1):

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Various Artists — Crunk Hits Vol. 4

Could it be that I haven't paid enough attention to Crunk Hits Vol. 4 this year? Well, no: The compilation only showed up a couple weeks ago. But it might be true that I haven't paid enough attention to the individual hits contained therein (which, for the record, are as much snap or just plain old club rap as they are "crunk"). It's easy to dismiss this stuff as so much disposable radio filler, and it is, but that doesn't mean some bona-fide hits aren't passing you by while you're busy listening to local noncommercial radio or trolling indie MP3 blogs. So, this thoughtless, money-maker comp isn't a bad place to start if you've been ignoring mainstream party rap—Unk, MIMS, Shop Boyz, et al.—for the past year. Only, don't pay for this shit, just go find it at Hype Machine or something.

Panda Bear — Person Pitch

So, this is Pitchfork's best album of 2007, and I've listened to it in passing maybe twice. My loss. Person Pitch is the perfect isolation of Panda Bear's Brian Wilsonian pop sensibilities, discernible but so often buried in the spastic, ecstatic clutter collage of Animal Collective's group efforts. Which is not to say that Person Pitch is without its psychedelic spaces; on the contrary, songs like "Good Girl/Carrots" and "Search for Delicious" contain long stretches of untethered sound. But, through these clouds, pop moments appear like shafts of sunshine. I overslept on this one.

We Are Wolves — Total Magique

We Are Wolves emerged from the same French-Canadian no-wave art-school stew that birthed acts such as Les Georges Leningrad, Duchess Says, and the like. Some familiar formulas are at work here: distorted budget keyboards, mindless disco drumming, and pants-one-size-too-tight screaming. We Are Wolves don't do anything new with these elements, but they do assemble them into some pretty catchy synth-punk songs.

Various Artists — Butter

Bookmobile + Zapan — Boopanschwing

Basement breaks, jazzy loops, and lo-fi electronics from Seattle's never-sleeping Fourthcity crew. Highlights of Butter include e.R.DoN, Snowman Plan, Plan B, Truckasauras, and Plastiq Phantom. Where Butter is a patchy showcase, Boopanschwing is an even collaboration full of laid-back grooves and lively drum programming and digital dub.

Viva Voce — Lovers Lead the Way & The Heat Can Melt Your Brain

Reissues of the matrimonial Portland duo's first two albums, filled out with bonus material—some live recordings, a remix from Tunng, and two unreleased demos. The second disc is especially rewarding, both as a document of the band's evolution, for standout songs such as "Alive with Pleasure" and "The Center of the Universe," as well as for the bonus live tracks, which hint at the duo's onstage magnetism. It's a handy and thorough (re)introduction to the band.

Dan Deacon and Jimmy Joe Roche — Ultimate Reality (DVD)

I was going to write about this collaborative DVD the week I got it in the mail. But then I saw Pitchfork writer William Bowers's smart, funny, personal exegesis on the neomythologies of Conan and Schwarzenegger and Wham City, and I lost my nerve or at least thought I'd wait till the Ultimate Reality tour came through town. But this bizarre work of art deserves some acknowledgement before that happens. Mirrored four-way split screens. Digital-video psychedelia. Dan Deacon's cracked-kiddie electronica. Crom! If you have retinas to burn, you must watch this beautiful abomination.

My home record player

This is embarrassing to admit, both as a music critic and as a sometime DJ, but my home turntables have been packed away for most of the past year. I needed the extra room, I figured I had all my stuff backed up as CDs or MP3s anyway, and I played out enough to stay in decent technical shape. But recently, I got a new mixer and made room for my turntables, and it's been a joy digging through years of old records, revisiting and reappraising the old favorites that I hadn't updated to digital—Halo Benders, Superchunk, Jets to Brazil. I tend to avoid New Year's resolutions, but I swear I won't let these things gather dust again this year.

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Support The Stranger

Finally, following up on last week's lament for the Crocodile, some good news for the jilted employees of the beloved bar: This Sunday, December 30, Chop Suey is hosting an "Unscrew the Crocodile Employees" benefit show featuring members of Fleet Foxes, J. Tillman, Damien Jurado, Peter Parker, Pale Pacific, Siberian, and Pleasureboaters. Not only will the show help out the newly unemployed Croc staff, but it will offer patrons the chance they never had to commiserate and remember the suddenly shuttered historic venue. recommended

egrandy@thestranger.com

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