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CDs: Now hear this

Gary Wilson, moe

Hauled out of obscurity, Wilson reissued "You Think You Really Know Me?" last year, with explanatory liner notes for the majority of us who did not catch it the first time around. The renewed interest in his work has prompted a new album, "Forgotten Lovers," a compilation of music from Wilson's early EPs, his work leading up to "Know Me?"

The off-kilter funk and pop of "Forgotten Lovers" is signature Wilson, and the album is more listener friendly than "Know Me," which is still ahead of its time and antagonistic enough to deny the man a "Behind the Music" feature any time soon.

The ease with which "Lovers" goes down is not surprising. This was Wilson's early material, and it was only afterward that he took his strange creativity in a challenging direction. This role reversal could be puzzling to the newly initiated, but it's a strong rarities compilation just the same.

For the fans, both longtime and new, Wilson is said to be working on new material. Will he be as daringly iconoclastic as he was in 1977? Here's hoping we get something completely unexpected. Here's hoping that we don't really know him. — Wayne Melton

moe. "Wormwood" (iMusic/ARTISTdirect) ****

OK so jam bands are really a live thing. No matter how much they try to write tight, little songs, the magic is in what they do with those songs onstage. So usually after said jammers put out the pop attempt, they figure they should just go with live albums. But there's a fault in that logic, too. If you weren't at that show, or don't have the patience for 10-minute songs, something is lost in the recordings.

Finally a "jam" band has come up with a way to merge the tightness of a studio album with the unexpected directions and segues that can only happen during a live show. It took moe. 10 albums to figure it out. On their 11th album, moe. recorded 14 new songs live, then went into the studio to overdub and edit. The result is full of energy, complemented with precise solos. The album serves as proof that this band deserves much more recognition than it gets. moe. plays straight-up rock with intricate guitar playing, creative percussion (not bongo-heavy hippie percussion either) and vocal harmonies. Granted their lyrics are not deep, but their rock is thick and wild and contagious, especially when edited. — Carrie

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