• Mouse on Mars, 'Varcharz' (Ipecac)

    This duo's tenth album is a masterful blend of electronic genres, pulling from older works like their more ambient 1994 debut, Vulvaland, and gleaning the best from recent forays into glitchy vocal house (2004's Radical Connector). Varcharz is all textures and contrast: fractured, propulsive beats, catchy pop hooks, eight-bit video-game bleeps, booty-friendly jams, and moments of well-earned tranquility. Now Hear This:Mouse on Mars - "Chartnok" DOWNLOAD MP3 BUY: iTunesAmazon

  • The Hidden Cameras, 'Awoo' (Arts & Crafts)

    Joel Gibb, frontman for this self-described "gay folk church music" band, is the seamy, sex-fueled yang to the ascetic yin of the Magnetic Fields' Stephin Merritt. Backed by a flea-market chamber-pop orchestra and surprisingly danceable beats, he sings about lollipops (yes, it's a metaphor) and "working in the boneyard" (on the album's sunny title track). You can almost see Gibb's smile as he rips religious intolerance a new you-know-what. Now Watch This: The Hidden Cameras - "Awoo" QUICKTIME HIGH COMMENT BUY: iTunesAmazon

  • Broken Social Scene, 'Broken Social Scene' (Arts & Crafts) Metric, 'Live It Out' (Last Gang)

    Broken Social Scene, 'Broken Social Scene' (Arts & Crafts) Metric, 'Live It Out' (Last Gang)

    Being a Canadian supergroup has to be tough these days. U.S. passport checks for a dozen-plus band members? Bring a sleeping bag. Kool-Aid jokes implying that your music commune is a cult? Demoralizing. Labatt Blue runs for guest artists, roadies, girlfriends, and merch flacks while on tour? More expensive than you'd think. But if there's an argument for the collective musical process, let it be Broken Social Scene's third full-length and the bonus EP that comes with the first pressing.

  • Dungen, 'Ta Det Lugnt' (Kemado) Dungen, 'Dungen' (Subliminal Sounds)

    Dungen, 'Ta Det Lugnt' (Kemado) Dungen, 'Dungen' (Subliminal Sounds)

    Since ax-wielding, flesh-piercing Norse gods once ruled Scandinavia, it's not surprising that black metal still thrives today. But while the land of the midnight sun has recently spawned a slew of guitar-shredding warlords, rural southwest Sweden has become a breeding ground for gentler beasts. From this bucolic countryside cometh Dungen, whose music sounds like it was unearthed in the type of poppy field that inspired both Europe's late-'60s acid-rock scene and America's concurrent psychedelic explosion. At times, it's hard to believe that Dungen is essentially a one-man show: 25-year-old Gustav Ejstes plays the majority of the instruments on Ta Det Lugntand Dungen (including fiddle, organ, bass, drums, flute, and mellotron) while heavily multitracking his vocals Phil Spector-style.

  • The Records That Changed My Life: Bernard Sumner of New Order

    "I picked the records I got before I became a musician, because I listened to music in a completely different way then," he says. "We just spent seven months making a new record [Waiting for the Sirens' Call], and the last thing you want to do is hear music when you come out of the studio after a 14-hour day." Ennio Morricone, A Fistful of Dollars: Original Soundtrack (RCA, 1967) "I grew up in a house without a record player. I wasn't that interested in music. Then I got to the age of 15, 16, and I became completely obsessed with it. My mother finally bought me a player, and the first single I ever bought was 'Ride a White Swan' by T. Rex. But I got fed up with having to get up and put it back on. I thought, 'This is shit, I need to buy an album,' but I didn't know where to start.

  • DJ Hell, 'Electronicbody-Housemusic' (React)

    DJ Hell, 'Electronicbody-Housemusic' (React)

    DJ Hell's foppish Flock of Seagulls coif screams "fashion casualty," but his new mix CD is more than a trendoid cheat sheet. Disc 1 gives electroclash a supple house makeover, segueing tracks by Metro Area and the Juan Maclean into computer funk from Detroit's Recloose and Chicago house auteur Derrick L. Carter. On Disc 2, Hell digs even deeper, retooling weirdly contemporary-sounding industrial cuts by Nitzer Ebb and Front 242 as steel-toe floor-fillers. You can almost hear the price of vintage Ministry T-shirts skyrocketing.

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