Music for September: Brazilian Girls to Girl Talk

Brazilian Girls, New York City (Verve Forecast). As the title of their art-groovy third album suggests, Brazilian Girls make music for urban spaces: airports, nightclubs, deserted streets. The trio — only one of whom is female, and Italian — are residents of New York City but citizens of the world. There are songs here in four languages, about “St. Petersburg,” “Berlin” and a plethora of cities name-checked in “Internacional.” Riff genius, immaculate drummer and fashion diva: The Girls resemble Blondie more and more every year. And that’s a good thing. — Evelyn McDonnell

Girl Talk, Feed the Animals (Illegal Art). On his fourth album, Gregg “Girl Talk” Gillis, the math-pop master of layered remixes, multiplies his sonic equations to irksome effect. The tracks are too dense for their own good, despite outstanding moments: Avril Lavigne’s abysmal “Girlfriend” is apotheosized into a hip-hop anthem courtesy of Jay-Z’s big pimpin’, and M.I.A.’s politico wail suffuses the Cranberries’ plaintive “Dreams” with spark. The problem here is that Gillis seems a little precious about his gimmick, overheats his laptop and ultimately leaves listeners unable to fully appreciate his ingenious proofs. — Nick Haramis

The Verve, Forth (On Your Own). From the Pixies to the Stooges, rock has reunion fever, and now Britpop’s finest has joined the trend. On Forth, the Verve’s long-awaited fourth album, “Sit And Wonder” evokes the band’s early tribal psychedelia, while “Rather Be” suggests the soulful country-rock of Urban Hymns. “Love Is Noise,” meanwhile, is an anthem that would sound great bouncing off the rafters at Wembley. — Matt Diehl

Theresa Andersson, Hummingbird, Go! (Basin Street Records). If this album sounds homemade, that’s because it was recorded in Theresa Andersson’s kitchen. The Swedish-born, New Orleans-based singer-songwriter plays every instrument on her fourth solo outing — with some help from a loop pedal — accenting her textured tunes with naturalistic sounds (think fizzing soda bottles and buzzing locusts) and her airy alto. Like Feist’s more granola sister, she delicately traverses sentimental territory, cooking up lovely moments (the breezy, violin-flecked “Hi-Low”) and slow-burning songs (“The Waltz”) that slip under the skin and linger. — Brian Orloff

Amanda Palmer, Who Killed Amanda Palmer (Roadrunner Records). It takes resplendent levels of sneering self-possession to label one’s own music “Brechtian.” But the gloriously savage Amanda Palmer and her extravagant Dresden Dolls have persistently lived up to it. On her solo debut, she and her hard-bitten piano take us on another trip through a mine field of emotions backed by the machine gun, Teutonic glam rock she has so rigorously perfected. Yet the ultimate femme incomprise also pauses here for moments of stirring, elegiac beauty and vulnerability. — Ken Scrudato

Solange, SoL-AngeL and The Hadley Street Dreams (Geffen). Solange Knowles’s sophomore album is an intrepid leap out from underneath her big sister’s shadow, a ballsy throwback record that reaches out into the future. The soul-baring opener “God Given Name” could be a lost Zero Seven track, “6 O’Clock Blues” is her winning ride on the Ronson train, and second single “Sandcastle Disco” is a beachy toe-tapper. All this, plus Boards of Canada produce “This Bird,” an intoxicated declaration of independence.— Ben Barna
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Snobbery and Entitlement at All Points West

VIP access to this weekend’s All Points West Music and Arts Festival means hanging with the artists, but not actually watching them perform. Ignore the tempting buffet because there is too much beer to drink. Score a bunch of free shit and feel very important because of it. At the entrance, unimportant and important people alike wait in long-ass lines while their are bags checked. But we very important folk waltz right in.

Pass the Brazilian Girls and one gay man of CSS on the second stage, ignore Underworld on the main stage, and go straight to the VIP tent/area. Once inside the haven of exclusivity, I can breathe again, finally amongst my very important people. But when I go for a beer and the bartender has the gall to ask for money, it became very clear, very fast, that the whole thing was a sham, a put-up. Even the food had prices — a cardinal sin in VIPville. My lungs pinched up and the Statue of Liberty laughed at me. I’ve been had by promoters looking to grant concertgoers a quick fix of upper-crustery. I had to get out of this make-you-believe world and into the real, which meant only one thing: backstage.

Passing security is no big deal — I belong there, after all. Beyond the metal railing, behind the stage, is a world of artists golf-carting to and fro, and celebrities picking at fruit plates. Vice co-founder Suroosh Alvi hangs out with the hipster set. Natasha Lyonne (looking a little plump these days) is flanked by Animal Collective. There’s Liv Tyler bringing her son onstage to watch Kings of Leon (probably dating the whole band). Jessica Stam just walked by. Rosanna Arquette eats cantaloupe. Mary-Kate Olsen watches the show. Tim Robbins and Susan Sarandon are there too. Miso too salty, chocolate cake too decadent. And when headliners Radiohead finally start playing, their music sounds so much better from behind the stage, muffled as it may be. It’s the music only very important ears get to hear.

Studio B Goes Topless!

“I want to be associated with not doing what people want me to do,” said Sabina Sciubba, the seductive Italian-German lead singer of Brazilian Girls, as she flicks a lighter on stage at Studio B during Friday’s party for the club’s new rooftop level. Her multilingual, electro-lounge performance, along with a gamine outfit of red tights under a see-through tutu, an Obama T-shirt, and white plastic sunglasses, literally brought down the upstairs crowd.

Heavyhanded guards manning a candlelit staircase at the back of the venue kept the rooftop from getting too packed before and after the New York quartet’s performance, but could do nothing to prevent the upstairs cocktail menu from selling out fast. “Interdisciplinary creative team” Andrew Andrew sipped matching Coronas amidst the palm trees dotting the 9,000 square-foot space, complete with an extra-long bar, skyline views, and DJ booth. Coming soon: a retractable glass covering that will keep crowds coming to Greenpoint’s outskirts year-round, eternal lack of taxis notwithstanding.