1rAymond Scott Manhattan Research Inc. (Basta)A fascinating look at the electronic music pioneer's groundbreaking early experiments with commercial jingles.
2EGO TRIP's THE BIG PLAYBACK (Rawkus)A brilliant refresher on the New York roots of rap, presenting forgotten classics by old-school playas Grandmaster Caz, Positive K, the Bizzie Boyz, Ultimate Force and others. Dope.
3john lennon & YOKO ONO Double Fantasy (EMI)Amid the Beatles cash-in hoopla, Double Fantasy gently reaffirms Lennon's position as a peerless songwriter. Heartbreaking as it is to hear him intone, "I can hardly wait/ to see you come of age" in Beautiful Boy, Lennon's epitaph stands as a high-water mark.
4Art ensemble of ChicagO Les Stances A Sophie (Universal Sound)The Art Ensemble at its funkiest and most outlandish, worth the money if only for the anthemic Theme De Yoyo featuring a bellowing Fontella Bass.
5sUN RA Lanquidity (Evidence)His Ra-ness lands the interplanetary Arkestra on the disco dance floor with a bass-heavy bounce.
6Bollywood Funk (Outcaste)The booty bumpin' side of Bombay film music, in which spy guitars frequently clash with snapping tablas, screaming sitars and fiendish moogular madness. Awesome.
7BETTY LAVETTE Souvenirs (Art & Soul)Under-appreciated southern soul diva has her long-buried Muscle Shoals recordings pried from the Atlantic vaults for all to enjoy -- albeit 30 years late.
8JOE MCPHEE Nation Time (Atavistic)The funkiest free jazz record you've never heard, rescued from obscurity thanks to Ken Vandermark and the Guggenheim Foundation.
9DAVID AXELROD SONG Of Innocence/Songs Of Experience (EMI)Even in the hippie era, producer David Axelrod's two-album homage to the work of William Blake, complete with swinging strings, badass beats and waves of ambient weirdness, must've seemed wacky. Now they're a sampler's dream come true -- who knew?
10Speedealer Here Comes Death (Palm Pictures)Nearly sidelined by the humourless shits in REO Speedwagon only to watch their label go tits up, the Texas terrors get a new lease on life via Palm Pictures, who salvaged this crucial 99 set. Thank god, because Here Comes Death smokes from top to bottom, with the thickest guitar sound this side of Motörhead.
A fascinating look at the electronic music pioneer's groundbreaking early experiments with commercial jingles.