Guided Meditation

(Lame-O ***1/2)

nolead ends Summer isn't here for long, and the third album by Philadelphia trio Hurry, which has been out since April, wistfully captures the sun-kissed sadness of the season slipping away. Front man Matthew Scottoline - who played bass in Philly emo band Everyone Everywhere - steadfastly moves Hurry into classic chiming guitar territory on Guided Meditation. Pick your own touchstone: Matthew Sweet, Real Estate, the Beatles. Hurry specializes in the kind of melancholy melodicism that at its best is reminiscent of those bands as well as other catchy neo-classicists, like the Posies. The emotional range is wide: Scottoline is in a blue mood in the opening "Nothing to Say" ("What's the point of this? Go away"), cheerfully smitten on the crunchy "Fascination" and breezy "I'm With You," and mildly irked on "Shake It Off" (no relation to Taylor Swift's). But even when it's got "That Sinking Feeling," Guided Meditation maintains a power-pop tunefulness that lifts the spirits.

- Dan DeLuca

Hurry, with Frances Quinlan and the Goodbye Party, plays at Johnny Brenda's, 1201 N. Frankford Ave., at 8 p.m. Sept. 12. Tickets: $10. Information: 215-739-9684 or

nolead begins Dolly Parton
nolead ends nolead begins Pure and Simple
nolead ends nolead begins (Dolly Records/RCA ***)

nolead ends In the title song of her new album, Dolly Parton celebrates a love that is "pure and simple and sublime." It's a line that accurately describes the music here, which continues the latter-day thrust of the superstar's career: She eschews the pop-oriented gloss of her crossover years for a more unvarnished style that puts the spotlight on her still-considerable strengths as a songwriter.

The songs on Pure and Simple are framed by crisply spare arrangements that evoke Parton's rural Tennessee upbringing but are not strictly mountain music - there are drums and electric instruments, and in a couple of places, strings. On "I'm Sixteen," love has Parton bubbling over like a teenager; in another, it has her "Head Over High Heels." Only occasionally does she dig into darker corners, but when she does, she does so with nuance and heart, reflecting realities of adult life. In "Kiss It (And Make It All Better)," love is a salve for "all this hurt." And in "Can't Be That Wrong" and "Outside Your Door," she captures the conflicting emotions stirred up by that classic country subject - cheating. In those instances, at least, she vividly shows that life is not so simple.

- Nick Cristiano

nolead begins De La Soul
nolead ends nolead begins and the Anonymous Nobody
nolead ends nolead begins (AOI ****)

nolead ends Long before Frank Ocean was making avant-garde hip-hop, De La Soul - Dave, Maseo, and Posdnous - crafted weird, wordy, rapping 'hood prose and cut-and-paste collage soul for humorous (often scathing) critiques on the genre's overt machismo and consumerism. On silly, catchy, Prince Paul-produced albums 3 Feet High and Rising (1989) and the merrily mordant De La Soul Is Dead (1991) the trio of self-titled Daisy Agers sampled Hall & Oates, Chicago, and French-language recordings while rapping blowzily about hippie activities like potholes in their lawns and roller-skating Saturdays. They continued to make really good albums, but nothing with their initial spark - until now.

Sounding like the logical successor to its first two albums, and the Anonymous Nobody continues the piquant path of De La's oddball poetry, but now with the sage wit that comes with age and experience. Combine such snarky smarts with a speckled brand of Martian/Jamaican electro-hop that borrows from Damon Albarn's Gorillaz (De La appears on their records; Albarn repays the favor here on the dubby daffy "Here in After") and New Wave high-life funk (to which David Byrne contributes on "Snoopies"), and De La Soul make the perfect hosts. Add caramel-coated carnal R&B ("Greyhounds"), sparsely orchestrated atonal electronica ("Drawn"), and the good old-fashioned loping Long Island beats they started with, and De La Soul has (re)risen well past those initial three feet. - A.D. Amorosi


Angel Olsen, My Woman; James Vincent McMorrow, We Move; A Day to Remember, Bad Vibrations; Eluvium, False Readings On EndText