Those impatiently awaiting the arrival of the Espers ' follow-up to their dreamy self-titled debut will have to sit tight for a few more months until Drag City unleashes Espers II. In the meantime, check out their seven-song covers disc The Weed Tree (Locust), on which Philadelphia's folk-psych finest - now expanded to a six-piece - put their marvellously melancholic stamp on forgotten faves by Blue Oyster Cult (Flaming Telepaths), Michael Hurley (Blue Mountain), Nico (Afraid) and Durutti Column (Tomorrow). Not to be outdone, their folkishly inclined New York counterparts, Hem , are releasing their own covers-stacked compendium of rarites, outtakes and live recordings called No Word From Tom (Nettwerk) on February 7, which allows bewitching vocalist Sally Ellyson to work her magic on Tony Joe White 's Rainy Night In Georgia, R.E.M. 's So. Central Rain, Pee Wee King 's Tennessee Waltz and Ray Price 's hit Crazy Arms. Sweet.
Anyone who's written off Springfield, Missouri's, magnificent Morells as a cut-rate NRBQ probably hasn't seen Lou Whitney , D. Clinton Thompson and crew get busy in a beer joint, because those knuckleheads cook. Need proof? Pick up a copy of the four-CD stunner The Morells Anthology Live (Almeron), recorded at five near-hometown shows when these smart-ass hayseeds were at their roaring peak in the early 80s. Along with choice covers of You're The One That Done It, I'm Sorry (But So Is Brenda Lee) and Lookin' For A 7-11, you get loads of their own overlooked gems like Wepp (I Smell Your Breath), Ugly And Slouchy, Coordinated Jogging Outfit, Don't Let Your Baby Buy A Car, the heartbreaking I'm In Love With A Girl That I Can't Stand and the cautionary tale Sour Snow. There are only 500 numbered copies, so don't sleep.
Back around the time Rhymesayers put out the great MF Doom album Mm... Food? in 2004, there was a very limited promo run of a session outtakes collection called Mm... Leftovers assembled by Rhymesayers in conjunction with Hiphopsite that vanished before most people even knew it existed. Last week a generic-looking white-label vinyl version of Mm... Leftovers in a plain black sleeve, containing 10 unlabelled tracks of pure Doom dopeness, began turning up in local stores. Just because these cuts didn't make the album, don't think for a second that it's just a bunch of wack throwaways and half-assed demos. This is primo Doom craziness that pisses all over that horribly misguided Danger Doom project. Spin it and see.