CD Revue 

The Strokes, The Aristocrats, Frankel, Twilight, The Elected, Film School, Bo Bice

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THE STROKES First Impressions of Earth ****

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Diff’rent Strokes? Uh, sure. The third-album stylistic shift after two identical releases (a rock & roll standard) had Strokeheads fainting the second they heard the heavy-riffy “Juicebox,” but why impress them? Julian Casablancas’ mumbling is high art, the guitars are sharper than ever'you could have worse Saviors of Rock. (TheStrokes.com)

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SOUNDTRACK The Aristocrats ****

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Need to really offend that special someone, but couldn’t drag them to an art-house theater last summer? Here’s The Aristocrats, the filthiest joke ever told, in convenient portable audio form for that road trip to Tuacahn with the folks. If you buy only one CD featuring both Doug Stanhope and Larry Storch, this will definitely have to be it. (V2Music.com)

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FRANKEL Chatterbox ***.5

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If I Heart Huckabees 2 ever gets a greenlight, Los Angeles singer-songwriter Frankel already has half of the soundtrack here in six dreamy slow-pop concoctions nearly equal to Jon Brion’s heart-tugging backdrops. Frankel’s wispy voice and ornate arrangements (particularly on “Don’t Leave”) come beautifully widescreen-ready. (FrankelMusic.com)

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TWILIGHT Twilight ***

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A black-metal supergroup culled from Xasthur, Krieg, Nachtmystium, Draguar, Leviathan and Lurker of Chalice (surely, you’re familiar with all of their work), Twilight are a pure old-school ’80s thrash primer conjuring days of Kerrang! and Venom. If either of those mean anything to you, Twilight is just your goblet of evil. (SouthernLord.com)

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THE ELECTED Sun, Sun, Sun **.5

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Rilo Kiley’s Blake Sennett (you know, one of those guys behind Jenny Lewis) debuted his side project The Elected masterfully with 2004’s Me First; the follow-up, Sun, Sun, Sun, not so much, much, much. Sennett’s faux-earnest kitchen-sink pop approach here comes off slightly forced, show tunes with no show. But hey, it’s purdy. (SubPop.com)

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FILM SCHOOL Film School **.5

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If you’re unacquainted with The Cure, My Bloody Valentine, Pink Floyd, Robitussen and horse tranquilizers, San Francisco’s hazy-spacey Film School will sound like shiny new pennies. Where bands like NorCal neighbors Low Flying Owls put a distinct spin on the narcotic jangle, FS just go with the flow … and flow … and … (FilmSchoolMusic.com)

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BO BICE The Real Thing *

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Actually, American Idol-related singers are contractually obligated to release a soulless, overproduced pop-crap album before finally getting to The Real Thing'therefore, this ain’t for “rocker” Bo Bice, nor anyone who likes music. It’s end-cap impulse-buy product for Wal-Mart zombies. But, by ’08, Bo could be a Kelly … or a Clay. (BoBice.com)

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