May Music Reviews: LCD Soundsystem, Band of Horses, CocoRosie

LCD Soundsystem, This Is Happening (DFA/Virgin) Few musicians can tease a pop song for three minutes and keep it interesting. On This Is Happening, the third offering from LCD Soundsystem, James Murphy pulls it off. “Dance Yrself Clean” tiptoes gently across Murphy’s analog vocals for the length of most pop songs, before an eruption of deep synths and LCD’s trademark cowbells. On “I Can Change,” Murphy bellows, “I can change/ If it helps you fall in love,” but it’s precisely because he doesn’t change—while doing what he does best—that we love him in the first place. Happening is another classic of the dance-rock genre from the man who helped create it. —Ben Barna

The Black Keys, Brothers (Nonesuch) Akron’s reigning kings of blues-rock are busy guys. Last year, guitarist-vocalist Dan Auerbach released his debut solo album, drummer Patrick Carney formed another band named, er, Drummer, and, as the Keys, they unveiled Blakroc, a collaborative rap album featuring Mos Def and Raekwon. But despite their frenzied output, the Ohio-based duo’s sixth album, about—what else—breaking up, is a return to their unhurried roots. On “Sinister Kid,” Auerbach sings, “I’ve got a tortured mind and my blade is sharp/ A bad combination in the dark.” If only heartbreak felt as good as these two make it sound. —Averie Timm

Band of Horses, Infinite Arms (Brown/Fat Possum/Columbia) Three years have passed since Band of Horses released their second album, Cease to Begin. Without stagnating or entirely reinventing their sound, the five-member group (touring musicians Tyler Ramsey and Bill Reynolds are now official Horses) has sharpened its mastery of southern rock/indie pop fusion. Recorded during a 16-month cross-country journey, Infinite Arms blends travel imagery and homesickness into their subdued sound. —Eiseley Tauginas

Holy Fuck, Latin (Young Turk/XL) Holy fuck, indeed. Our two favorite plugged-in Torontonians surge into their third album with enough frantic energy to cause a power outage. Although it was recorded in a studio, Latin showcases rollicking instrumentation and the improvisatory bedlam of the group’s live performances. With sonic blips reminiscent of video games, saturated melodies and trance-inducing ambient noise, Fuck continues to change the electronic game. —Hillary Weston

CocoRosie, Grey Oceans (Sub Pop) CocoRosie combines graveyard musings and hip-hop beats on their fourth record, offering up the type of otherworldly escape we’ve come to expect from the freak-folk sisters. This time, however, there’s a twist: Grey Oceans is an eclectic amalgam of cross-cultural sounds, as if the duo plucked and poached from every stop on their just-completed global tour. Jungle beats underscore the jazzy “Hopscotch” and Cherokee murmurs introduce the wistful “Undertaker.” With all the sampling, Oceans risks getting lost at sea. —Ashley Wetmore Simpson

Jamie Lidell, Compass (Warp) On his fourth electro-retro release, Jamie Lidell leaves behind the soul-encased self-doubt of 2008’s Jim to embrace a new kind of funk. The blissfully schizophrenic title track—a beat-ridden descendant of junkyard blues—is proof of how far Lidell’s once-inaccessible creations have come. He now croons simple love melodies (“The only compass that I need leads back to you”), while balancing his many influences, from Stax to experimental electronica. —AWS

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