Sonic Reducer

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I have a vague memory of unintentionally seeing Fischerspooner perform live somewhere, some years ago, and being thoroughly cheesed out by it. Billed as an "art pop performance project," this third album from the electronic duo—with its 10-cent rhymes, gratuitous application of synth-based sound effects and precious production—has a similar effect. How it is that I like the Pet Shop Boys and not this is confounding, as Fischerspooner’s pretty much the same thing except American and with a 20-year time gap. And not as "good," I guess. (JCC)

St. Vincent Actor (4AD)

There’s something a little bit sinister brewing beneath all the lovely, inviting overtones of Actor . Electronic murmurs sweep across ravishing orchestration that paints in broad strokes but grabs a smaller brush to fill in the details. St. Vincent’s enrapturing voice lulls you into a false sense of security while the building guitar barrage sneaks in. Even with hints that something evil is afoot, total madness never takes over. The seesaw between conventional indie rock and ethereal electronic weirdness keeps teetering back and forth. (SM)

A Hawk and a Hacksaw DŽlivrance (The Leaf Label)

On Délivrance, A Hawk and a Hacksaw—Jeremy Barnes on accordion, percussion, vocals; Heather Trost on violin, glockenspiel, vocals; and friends from at least two continents—creates music designed to storm heaven and force open the gates of ecstasy. This deleriously romantic, high-energy music may be rooted in Eastern European folk traditions, but it blends wildly disparate styles—klezmer, grunge, trance, Romani, Hungarian, rock ’n’ roll, jazz, classical (à la Bartók) and more. Unexpected textures, audacious rhythms and hypnotic melodies combine in a sound that evokes a triumphant longing that blues fans will recognize. (MM)

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