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Music Go Music

Expressions

Secretly Canadian

Buy if you like: ABBA, the Cardigans

For years, ABBA has resisted the lucrative temptation to reunite. But my top-secret investigation has determined that ABBA is back together and is operating under the band name Music Go Music. Just listen to the tight female harmonies and the effervescent pop melodies of Expressions songs like "Light of Love" and "Explorers of the Heart." Well, OK, maybe the lyrics are a bit darker and there's an occasional gothic edge to a few songs, such as "Reach Out" and "Love, Violent Love." So what? Benny Andersson and Björn Ulvaeus have obviously been getting into Evanescence lately. True, all of this may be just circumstantial evidence, and maybe it doesn't even matter who is and isn't part of Music Go Music. The important thing is that ABBA fans finally can turn to something other than Mamma Mia! when they want a fix of that famous sugar sweet pop sound. — Alan Sculley

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Bob Schneider

Lovely Creatures

Kirtland

Buy if you like: Wilco, Rhett Miller

Bob Schneider has so many bands, it's a wonder he doesn't release an album a week. But this restless genius, whose mind follows more tangents than a lost hiker, likes to take his time to get it right, and on Lovely Creatures, he does. The album has a cohesiveness, a completeness, that attests to the care he took, and the wisdom of producer Dwight A. Baker. Featuring two longtime live favorites — Latin-influenced movers "Tarantula" and "Bombonanza" — it also contains treats like the upbeat, boppy, Jack-Johnsonish "40 Dogs (Like Romeo and Juliet)," the seductive "Slower Dear," the slightly psychedelic pop-rocker "Realness of Space" and a jazzy "The Bringdown." But the aching "Changing My Mind," featuring vocals by Patty Griffin, is one that will stop you cold. It's this emotional depth that anchors Schneider's flights of fancy — and confirms his brilliance. — Lynne Margolis

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Drummer

Feel Good Together

Audio Eagle

Buy if you like: Weezer, Modest Mouse

Earlier this year, Dan Auerbach of the Black Keys stepped out for a well-received solo CD. Now the other half of the band, Patrick Carney, is getting into the act with his band, Drummer. Carney is, in fact, the volcanic drummer in the Black Keys, but here he ends up playing bass instead. The drumming in Drummer, courtesy of Greg Boyd, is notably more nuanced, befitting a band that boasts a considerably poppier touch than the Black Keys' raucous take on blues rock. A few Feel Good Together songs, like "Serious Encounters" and "Good Golly," could translate into the more stripped-down Black Keys sound. But otherwise, Drummer leans toward a more textured and melodic style, delivering some serious hooks on songs like "Connect to Lounge" and the title track. For those who consider Auerbach the musical brains behind the Black Keys, it may be time to re-evaluate. — Alan Sculley

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