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Garbage releases your kind of album


“Not Your Kind of People”

(Stunvolume Records)

For a band that’s been around for almost two decades, Garbage has released surprisingly few studio albums. Their fifth, “Not Your Kind of People,” comes on the heels of a seven-year hiatus, which makes it all the more anticipated.euro

Fans who have missed Shirley Manson’s powerful vocals and scenic presence will revel in this blast-from-the-past album, released on their own label for the first time. This artistic freedom allowed them to make just the kind of album they want -- bold, honest and accessible to those not of rock sensibilities. The 11 songs on “Not Your Kind of People” -- all written and produced by all four Garbage members -- cohabit wonderfully, each bringing to the mix something the others don’t have.

“Man on A Wire” is the petulant, self-destructive one of the group, whose drum-and-bass sets the rhythm for the argument.euro “Battle in Me” is its twin in tone but not in temperament; together they work the crowd, like a bad cop, good cop routine trying to get a confession of love out of the listener.euro “Blood for Poppies” is the cool, trendy one who’s nonchalantly talking up strangers, while “Sugar” is the incurably romantic, the perpetually lovesick one whose plaintive whispers haunt you.

The volcanic red-haired, high-priestess of alternative rock shows off her range with gusto throughout an album with a sound and lyrics that don’t disappoint. There’s good reason to celebrate that Manson, Duke Erikson, Butch Vig and Steve Marker are back.

Check this track out: “Not Your Kind of People” echoes a languorous swinging 1960s vibe that is vaguely reminiscent of the band’s big James Bond soundtrack hit, “The World Is Not Enough."


Ditto & Co. deliver delightful dance tunes


“A Joyful Noise”


There is no one like the punkish Beth Ditto, and thus there is nothing like Gossip and their fifth and finest studio album “A Joyful Noise.” It’s electronic, bombastic, self-assured and a righteous floor-rocker thanks to one of the best voices in the business.

“Perfect World” gives us an early taste of what Ditto can do with her voice -- namely, anything she wants. She delivers soothing undertones followed soaring refrains while maintaining a thread of urgency on this rock-based track with a growling dance beat.

On “Get A Job,” drummer Hannah Blilie holds down a perfectly funky pace in spots where it’s needed. “I’d love to stay and party but I’ve got to go to work,” Ditto sings over an almost 8-bit backbeat that should thrill lo-fi fans, at least until the raucous hook comes around.

Even when things slow down, as on “In The Wild,” Ditto delivers it so sweet it’s a welcome respite from the rump-shakers that provide the fire on most of the songs. One track later Ditto urges us to “Get Lost” and shed the baggage of past emotions in favor of freeing the soul -- to the beat.

Coincidental plus-size body politics aside, Beth Ditto is the singer I keep hoping Adele will be -- more varied and carefree and never missing a note and an opportunity to both shock and shine. Adele does some of that. Ditto does it all.

“A Joyful Noise” is an album that no dance floor -- nor iPod playlist -- should be without.

Check this track out: “Move In The Right Direction” would be a dance-floor anthem in any era, from the Studio 54 days in 1970s New York to the remix-ready clubs of 2012. Pop producer Brian Higgins‘ magic shines through on this put-it-on-repeat song about facing fears and staying on a healthy life path.

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