• The Raveonettes, 'Raven in the Grave' (Vice)

    The Raveonettes, 'Raven in the Grave' (Vice)

    The Raveonettes haven't sworn off droning melodies and minimal percussion, but the duo's morbid Psychocandy métier gets a slight makeover on their fifth album. "Recharge and Revolt" and "Summer Moon" have a folk-tinged, ambient glow, while elsewhere, popping bass lines provide bewitching accents. "Forget That You're Young" implies a tender side with its seraphic vocals, but even this putative nod to innocence gives way to something more predatory, as though Humbert Humbert was lurking nearby. There's menace in the beauty, and beauty in the menace.

  • The Postelles, 'The Postelles' (Capitol/Astralwerks)

    The Postelles, 'The Postelles' (Capitol/Astralwerks)

    Having a Stroke on board--producer Albert Hammond Jr.--translates to more than cool by association for this youthful quartet, whose debut settles somewhere between Manfred Mann and Stax soul. "Can't Stand Still" represents their '60s Britpop side, with its acutely enunciated vocals and spiffed-up guitars. (These New Yorkers are rarely less than clean-cut--"Stella," a "Last Nite"-ish shuffle, even quotes "Hush, Little Baby.") But more stompers like "White Night" and "123 Stop," bubblegum throwbacks with a Wilson Pickett kick, would be welcome.

  • The Kooks, 'Inside In/Inside Out' (Astralwerks)

    For a young band that the English press has prematurely anointed as the next Arctic Monkeys, the Kooks actually boast an ingenious pop-rock sound: lovably gauche subject matter blended with pure Britpop melodies, a touch of classic-rock swagger, and eager guitar solos with a satirical edge. Opener, "Seaside," a tenderly swaying acoustic ditty, is followed by Strokes-ish romantic shenanigans of "Sofa Song" and the breezy swoon of "She Moves in Her Own Way." But it's frontman Luke Pritchard, with his confident, aching yelp, who's the real charmer. Now Watch This:The Kooks - "Naive" WINDOWS MEDIA Now Hear This: The Kooks - "Eddie's Gun" WINDOWS MEDIA | REAL PLAYER >> Listen to the Kooks on Napster BUY: iTunesAmazon

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