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Sound Advice


Franz Ferdinand



Sounds like: The best dance rock since Bowie

Short take: A how-to guide for the Kaiser Chiefs, Black Kids, Justice, etc.

Dance pop can make you feel old. It's too bouncy, too energetic, too technologically advanced and requires too much caffeine or cocaine to be enjoyed by anyone not currently in college. How do you adapt if you're a Scot playing to a fandom that's slowed a step since "Take Me Out" dropped in 2004? Kick up the fuzz, belt out those bass lines and show the kids how it's done. Though tracks like "Live Alone," "Dream Again" and "Lucid Dreams" are saturated with synth and bleeps that'd seem more comfortable on a CSS record, "Turn It On" and "No You Girls" let Alex Kapranos' vocals take this dance party center stage. With a faster tempo, subtler synth and a bolder bounce, Franz Ferdinand delivers its matured rock minions the message David Bowie tried to send more than two decades ago: Let's dance. Jason Notte


Johnny Cash


Compadre Records

Sounds like: Chronic country with fat beats and booming basslines

Short take: We did nothing to deserve this

Snoop Dogg collaborating on "I Walk the Line"? What's next? George Jones jumping in on "Gin and Juice"? This bevy of remixed Johnny Cash classics may have you begging for an empty cell at Gitmo, just to get some quiet. The Man in Black's music was an uncompromising blast of chronic country, and his street cred has never been in question. Hell, Cash booked prison gigs like some country stars played the Grand Ole Opry. But when Pete Rock takes on "Folsom Prison Blues," the first reaction is "Why?" If the idea sounded interesting during a label brainstorming session, it seems someone should've come to work the next day and realized its absurdity. Then again, who knows? Maybe people are lining up Dick Cheney to remix old Pigmeat Markham tapes. Just say no. Now. Bill Bentley


The Von Bondies

Love Hate and Then There's You

Majordomo Records

Sounds like: Trading angst for poppy anthems

Short take: Motor City band sounds sleeker

Prior to the Von Bondies tune "C'mon C'mon" being pegged as FX-TV's Rescue Me theme song, the Detroit-based act was known primarily for its lead singer being involved in a fistfight with the White Stripes' Jack White. But don't sell them short. This new album finds the Von Bondies shedding their garage-rock skin for a power-pop sheen, with Jason Stollsteimer putting forth his underlying feelings of desperation and despair. "Blame Game" finds the singer bellowing in "C'mon C'mon" fashion, with a frenetic, mid-'80s New Wave vibe. Then there's "Chancer," with its Supergrass feel, while "Earthquake" surprisingly takes the Motor City act into a male-female dynamic similar to that of the New Pornographers. Love Hate and Then There's You is downright decent, and you get the feeling the band will make its power-pop sound even tighter next time around. John Benson

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