The Young Gods Super Ready/Fragmenté (Ipecac Recordings)
Great things to merge in an album: guitars, synth, cymbals, wispy vocals and dance beats. Bad things to merge in an album: English and French. At least, as merged by The Young Gods. What The Young Gods do well in Super Ready/Fragmenté they do really well—the sound is tight, the beats are slick, the mix is vibrant, the French is superb. But their use of English makes me wonder when Bono turned Swiss, acquired a bad accent, started a dance/synth band and subsequently forgot how to write in complete sentences. At least the music is good.
Porcupine Tree Fear of a Blank Planet (Atlantic/Wea)
Praise be the music deity—we have an indie rock album. While it's no miracle or immaculate conception (as indie albums are a dime a couple hundred nowadays), Porcupine Tree has brought unto us something of grace and divinity. From the first track on, Fear of a Blank Planet is driven and completely satisfying for rock ’n’ roll lovers of any genre. If it's sacrilegious to worship big-rock rifts then I'll see you in Tartarus with a copy of Fear of a Blank Planet in hand.
Babelshack Return of the Bottomfeeder (Self-released)
Santa Fe rockers Babelshack have produced a quality album in Bottomfeeder. While they stick to very well-worn grunge/punk paths, the occasional diversion onto the brush-covered side trails of new musical territory creates a diverse and enjoyable album. Barnaby Hazen has strong vocals—but in some areas they fall flat. As these boys keep tightening up their audio prowess, the quality will grow exponentially.