Sonic Reducer

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As hard as it is to admit, mostly because the band is targeted at prepubescent girls and its lead singer looks like a prepubescent girl, I have a soft spot for The Killers. Still, this collection of b-sides, intended to keep fans satiated until the next studio album, proves what followers of the band have known all along: When The Killers try to go epic, it falls flat on its makeup-caked face. When The Killers keeps it simple, and under three minutes, it does a mean Brit-pop impersonation that’s hard to hate. (SM)

The Hives The Black and White Album (A&M/Octone Records)

Swedish outfit The Hives is the IKEA of garage rock: It’s cheap and goes with everything. This disc will find its way into every suburban white twentysomething’s stylishly furnished home. When you see Pharrell in the liner notes, you know someone’s making a run at new heights of "selling out." That said, Pharrell is a good producer, and this disc supplies a lighthearted, reasonably varied good time. Triple-thick vocals, licks that are easy to sing back and the requisite driving beat make this perfect for blasting over your vacuum while you get the dog fur off your new red armchair. (MD)

Sole & The Skyrider Band Sole & The Skyrider Band (Anticon)

The cofounder of Anticon, one of hip-hop’s most alternative collectives, is devoted to music in the minor key and lyrics full of dense insight and eccentric delivery. Conceptually, this self-titled effort is pointed in the same direction as Sole’s previous work, Live From Rome . Accompanied by Florida trio The Skyrider Band, Sol is like a subway car traveling through the dark, subterranean rhythm of raw snare taps and cellos, merging into the great unknown that Sole calls "a hundred light years and running." (JH)

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