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Kevin Ayers, ‘The Unfairground’ (Gigantic)

Like his fellow English psychedelic contemporary Syd Barrett and folkie vocal doppelganger Leonard Cohen, this former Soft Machine bassist’s career has been marked more by underground influence and self-imposed exile than by pop hits. For his first album in 15 years, and best in more than 30, he teams with members of the Ladybug Transistor, Teenage Fanclub, and others for songs heavy on remembrances but energized with chin-up horns and strings that’ll sound fresh to fans of the Decemberists and Arcade Fire.