Sonic Reducer

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My eardrums hurt. Not from a rock concert or a gun going off near my head, but from the bass beat that’s been pumping through large Philips headphones into my brain. Turn down the volume, stupid! I know, but I can’t—Daft Punk‘s new live album, Alive 2007 , is just too damn good. The only thing that could make it better would be the French electro-house duo sprouting from the ground in full robot gear with strobe lights flashing, causing everyone to burst into spontaneous, jovial dance. Alive 2007 shows Daft Punk’s ability to produce definitive dance hits, then dissect, rework and remix them into a commanding live performance. (AD)

Puscifer (Puscifer Entertainment)

A die-hard Tool fan who picks up Maynard’s latest side project will likely experience the sinking dread of foiled expectations. There’s a reason the second syllable of this dude’s name is a synonym for "testicle." What’s that? Too juvenile an insult for Rev. MayNARD? Not this time. Puscifer is crass, sexual, jokey, with the low-throated Tool frontman growling and howling over sultry sound environments. Sometimes the lack of traditional pop structure is tiresome. Other times, Puscifer is downright sexy. This disc accomplishes what Tool’s recent efforts have shirked and really commits to shapeless sonics. (MD)

The Future of the Ghost Freak Out (Self-released)

While it’s probably unwise to label Freak Out an example of a new direction in punk rock, it is a viable option for the advancement of the genre. Consistently unpredictable and always wary of songwriting shortcuts, the Salt Lake City power-trio has crafted a wholesome, unpretentious and delicately woven record reminiscent of the early Pixies with a gentler nature. Lead singer Will Sartain seems to know what note he wants to hit but his voice doesn’t always have the range. Still, his efforts, like the album itself, are an unwaveringly honest attempt to combine straight punk with the wiggle room of indie rock. (SM)

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