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Essential tracks: Cookie Duster, and more songs you need to hear


I am the Walrus

Michael Occhipinti & Shine On, featuring Elizabeth Shepherd, from The Universe of John Lennon (True North); streaming here.

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She is he, as you are he, as you are me, and we are all together. Jazzer Michael Occhipinti, who doesn't have all his eggmen in one basket, arranges an album of John Lennon compositions, using guest vocalists such as a goo-goo-g'joob-less Shepherd and the supple trumpet of Kevin Turcotte on a sublime mystery tour.



Frank Ocean (Def Jam); streaming here.

From the suave urban crooner, a 10-minute laidback, headphone epic which starts in Egypt and ends in a strip club, where "pyramids" are a smooth, lewd allusion and John Mayer waxes psychedelically on guitar.


After the Gold Rush

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Patti Smith, from Banga (Columbia); streaming here.

Patti Smith changes "the nineteen-seventies" to "the 21st century," but Mother Nature is still on the run. A poignant, plaintive cover of a Neil Young classic features Smith's own children – the future – chanting about a new home in the sun.


Two Feet Stand Up

Cookie Duster, from When Flying Was Easy (Maple); streaming here .

Sweetly euphoric crash-and-jangle rock, from Broken Social Scene's Brendan Canning and the sunny-voiced girlie Jeen O'Brien, an impatient type who always wanted to be heard. "We got something, it feels good." Yes, yes you do.

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Deep River

Bobby Womack; streaming here.

Not sure the acoustic guitar is all the way in tune, but the Across 110th Street singer is in too deep to mind. With his new album ( The Bravest Man in the Universe) out today, a weary Womack sits in his living room and reaches way back for a stripped-down but profound piece of gospel soul.

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