The Songs We Can't Escape

Julian Casablancas
"11th Dimension"

Phrazes for the Young? Based on this first single, very literally so: double- or triple-entendre advice, depending on who's listening, that may or may not be part of the playbook the big-time music business should've fed through a paper shredder a few years back en masse. Of course, Julian holds forth with elan while doing battle with frantic synth-pop hordes from the fifth crab nebula: They're brandishing blinding headbands and impudent leg warmers, he's imperviously bored. A-

Kid Sister feat. Kanye West
"Pro Nails"

Oh, Chicago. In this case, less isn't more. More like: less, as less, is less. Kid Sister's nail-clinic squad brings all the she-MCs-in-waiting to the yard, Kanye wishes MC Hammer had a bigger dick. Not a single, barely a song. C-

Needle Gun
"Dirge"

For these Baltimorians, inscrutability apparently ain't what it used to be, so even as their Myspace dispatches waiver between "we're kinda doing stuff" and "we're kind of on a break," Afternoon Computer Umbrage—which boasts at least two Nautical Almanac connections—shrugs off the kitchen-sink mystery they started off with. "Dirge" seethes curiously if uncertainly, though, like Needle Gun fed distortion through an electric rubber-band harp they built at home. Almost turns into the Beatles "All My Loving" at the end there. B

Ogun
"Hustle"

Underknown Baltimore MC wants to be Young Jeezy—right down to the signature ad-lib, even—isn't, yet somehow encapsulates The Recession in a single, roving bit of urban fiction. Or maybe it's all true—maybe the quick-hit vignettes of folks struggling to get by by any means necessary spit over this taut, nagging beat is actual. If that's so, better yet. B+

Alec K. Redfearn & the Seizures
"Rise"

Oh, you doubting Thomases, you. Questioning the conviction of these Providence, Rhode Island, furies? Don't you dare. Don't believe that sans-guitar, accordion-centric experimental rock can get crunk, bring the Fiddler on the Roof ruckus, burrow a bloody hole through your mid-morning reverie? You will. B+

 
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