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Banga by Patti Smith
Released: Jun 2012
Label: Columbia
With guest appearances from Television's Tom Verlaine and longtime co-conspirator Lenny Kaye, the pre-punk pioneer's 11th album features the blend of styles and spoken word poetry Smith is known for. While lead single "April Fool" is a fairly straightforward pop song, it's the cultural mining and left-field ethos of "Fuji-San," opener "Amerigo" and the title cut that veteran fans will be after. Her cover of Neil Young's "After the Gold Rush" is creepily appropriate in the '10s.
Mike McGuirk