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Essential tracks: 4 tunes you need to hear this week

The Madwaska String Quartet


I Hate the 80s The Vaselines, from Sex With an X (Subpop, streaming at

The Vaselines released one album in 1989 and ascended into indie immortality when Nirvana covered three of their songs. Two decades later, the reunited Glaswegian duo return with their sophomore disc, and this amusing indictment of their formative period.

Bookface The Winks, from Twilights (Oh! Records/Castle in the Clouds, streaming at

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Just when social networking is about to save our lives and drive us nuts, the Winks fly in with mandolin and cello blazing to explain it all from back to front. The Montreal band takes the worry out of deleting stuff and friends, and make you feel smart while you dance yourself silly.

Spanish Garland Madawaska Quartet, from Prefab (Artifact Music)

Montreal composer Jose Evangelista took a bouquet of Spanish folk songs and teased their sinewy melodies into a luminous chord-free piece for string quartet. The Toronto-based Madawaska Quartet present the piece with all its varied perfumes, including occasional traces of "Moorish" North Africa.

Shotta Bonjay, from Broughtupsy (Mysteries of Trade)

The Toronto duo step out of their more usual dancehall mode to float this portrait of a dangerous guy, on a seething wave of beats by Pho and Alanna Stuart's soaring vocals. "All you want is mean," she sings, sounding almost like a voice from a James Bond soundtrack that never was.

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About the Author

Robert Everett-Green is a feature writer at The Globe and Mail. He was born in Edmonton and grew up there and on a farm in eastern Alberta. He was a professional musician for several years before leaving that task to better hands. More

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