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SHORT SPINS

Pop/The Ditty Bops, The Ditty Bops (Warner). Picture the Indigo Girls after the duo had ingested a handful of candy-colored hallucinogens, a sort of folk-pop run through a Willy Wonka technicolor machine. That's what California the Ditty Bops sound like; Call it clever pop that delights in its own silliness, a trifle that is quite pleased with its status as such. Produced by studio auteur Mitchell Froom, the Bops' debut sparkles and shimmers, as acoustic guitars and mandolins flitter about in jug band arrangements, and the vocals of Amanda Barrett and Abby Dewald float atop it all in tightly-knit harmony. Not particularly profound, but pretty, like that favorite piece of thrift-shop jewelry you'll never part with. Review: 3 stars (Out of 4) (Jeff Miers)

Jazz/Russell Gunn, Ethnomusicology Vol.4: Live in Atlanta (Justin Time). Some of the best of the new (and infinitely improved) brand of omni-jazz fusion around has been made recently in a disc series by trumpet player Russell Gunn under the only half-kidding title "Ethnomusicology." Manic wah-wah pedaling, hip-hop turntables, Chicago blues guitar, electric piano and a Miles tune from "Kind of Blue" whirl wildly and entertainingly in the eclectic cuisinart. The result is nothing if not savory. Review: 3 stars (Jeff Simon)

Rock 'n' roll/The Rolling Stones, Live Licks (Virgin). A twin-disc document of the Stones' Licks world tour, during which the world's greatest rock 'n' roll band -- or is that the world's only rock 'n' roll band? -- played club, arena and stadium shows in major markets around the globe, "Live Licks" proves what a hot little number this most eminent of bar bands still is. Minus the visual spectacle, what you get is a band that is playing at the top of its collective abilities, occasionally sounding better than ever, and always sounding at least gloriously roughshod and sloppy. Disc one of this collection compiles all the very obvious hits. Ah, but disc two is the genuine article, a host of unlikely deep cuts and choice covers that reveals the true heart of the band. It's sublime, all of it. In short, the Stones as God intended them; rough, nasty, sloppy, but somehow incredibly together. And Keith ... ah, Keith. What can be said? The man is rock 'n' roll, and his syncopated stabs are still unrivaled. A must for serious fans. Review: 3 stars for Disc One; 4 stars for Disc Two. (J.M.)

Jazz/ The Elvin Jones Jazz Machine, The Truth: Heard Live at the Blue Note (Half Note). It was literally true that right up to his last days in May, Elvin Jones was taking an oxygen tank up to the bandstand with him. Greater spirits hath very few jazz musicians. Fortunately, this live gig from five years before finds him in late-era prime with the kind of monster group he deserved five times over, especially Michael Brecker and Antoine Roney on saxophones and his old friend Gene Perla on bass. Because of Brecker it's more reminiscent of Coltrane than some ("Wise One," "A Lullaby of Itsugo Village"). Review: 3 stars (J.S.)