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Sound Advice

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Tinted Windows

Tinted Windows

S-Curve Records

Sounds like: A power-pop supergroup, of sorts

Short take: Alt all-stars pull a cheap trick

Power pop, as anyone who lived through the '80s knows, isn't necessarily about fine songcraft. It's about guilty pleasures. Like "My Sharona," or anything Cheap Trick did. So when it came to cementing their power-pop (and supergroup) pedigree, guitarist James Iha (Smashing Pumpkins), bassist/guitarist Adam Schlesinger (Fountains of Wayne) and Taylor Hanson (you know who) got Cheap Trick drummer Bun E. Carlos to join the band. On its debut album, Tinted Windows provides a crochet factory full of hooks, held together with the kinds of verses you don't want to analyze too closely — not only because you'll notice their thinness, but because you'll spoil the fun. And tunes like "Kind of a Girl" or "Doncha Wanna" are nothing if not fun. This is the kind of band that could do justice to the Archies' "Dizzy." Remember, guilty pleasures. Nobody has to know. Purchase the CD: Tinted Windows - Tinted Windows —Lynne Margolis

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Peaches

I Feel Cream

XL

Sounds like: A club where folks are fucking in the corners

Short take: Beats finally overpower bawdiness

Most laypeople who know sexually charged Canadian electroclash princess Peaches are familiar with "Sucking on my Titties." Yet something after the orgy lasted from "Fuck the Pain Away" to the lyrical orgasm on 2006's Impeach My Bush: The beats took over. I Feel Cream shows dedication to soundboard dominance unparalleled in Peaches' career. With help from Belgian super-DJs in Soulwax, she drops a soulful, Motown-flavored dance sound on "Talk to Me." The party continues with disco-derived "I Feel Cream," its debt to Donna Summer buried in electro buzz. The Latin freestyle sentimentality of "Lose You" is surprising, but the sexuality is understated. She rhymes "Show Stopper" with "panty dropper" and fills "Trick or Treat" with a taste for "raw meat," but the basslines provide the steadiest throbbing. Purchase the CD: Peaches - I Feel Cream — Jason Notte

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Ben Folds Presents

University A Cappella

Epic

Sounds like: A love letter to Andy Bernard

Short take: A crappolla

Ben Folds has officially lost his mind. As strange as collaborating with William Shatner may have seemed earlier in the decade, Folds' new album is nothing short of "Beam me up Scotty" bat-shit crazy. Folds appears to be intoxicated with college a cappella groups, which has led the Gen X piano-man to produce a new album featuring no fewer than 15 college outfits interpreting tunes from Folds' own catalog. If you've been tortured by Barbershop Quartet Nation, A Cappella is your worst nightmare, from the somber "Brick" by the Ohio University Leading Tones to the beat-box driven "Not the Same" by Greensboro, N.C.'s Spartones. Even sadder, Folds joins in on the a cappella action with a vocally layered and forgettable performance of "Effington" (from last year's Way to Normal CD). Even Folds' staunchest fans should beware. Purchase the CD: Ben Folds - Ben Folds Presents: University a Cappella! — John Benson

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