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Fast reviews of recent releases

Clear Static, Make-Up Sex (Maverick). Clear Static is bad, and not in a good way. With a puke-inducing mix of hipster fashion, Debbie Gibson-on-a-bad-day vocals and recycled '80s rock, this teenage quintet is everything that's wrong with major labels today. Props for gigging at the Viper Room at age thirteen, but bad is bad. Sorry, boys. -- Morgan Wells

Joris Voorn, Fuse Presents Joris Voorn (Music Man). Joris Voorn's hard-hitting, dark and funky techno mix evokes a thousand sweaty partyers bouncing inside a European nightclub. It seems fitting, then, that this nineteen-song stomper is part of a series released by Belgium's premier techno spot, Fuse, highlighting its world-famous residents and guests. -- Wells

The Go-Betweens, That Striped Sunlight Sound (Yep Roc). Entertainment Weekly says, "Twenty-seven years into their career, they remain one of rock's most pleasurable hand-me-down discoveries." Well, I've never heard of the Go-Betweens before now, and judging from the lame songs on this live album, I wish I could go back to that innocent time. -- Dave Garner

Ozzy Osbourne, Under Cover (Epic). Just in time for Black Sabbath's induction into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame, the ol' bat chomper returns with what's inarguably the worst album of his career. Cover opens with a version of "Rocky Mountain Way" embarrassing enough to depopulate the entire region and goes downhill from there. Going, going, guano. -- Roberts

Nina Simone, Nina Simone Sings the Blues (RCA/Legacy). Plans to produce a new Simone biopic have convinced RCA/Legacy to put three of her '60s-era titles back in stores, and they deserve to be there. Silk & Soul and Forever Young, Gifted and Black are striking, but Blues is even better. To quote Simone, it'll "make you quiver from your head down to your liver." -- Roberts

Towers of London, How Rude She Was (TVT). Shortly after signing this U.K. five-piece -- which evokes Appetite-era GNR while trying to emulate the Sex Pistols -- TVT sent out a pre-emptive apology for what it was about to unleash on these shores. Well, based on what we've heard from the two singles that have been issued in advance of the act's forthcoming debut, the label should be sorry for this godawful shit. Fucking poseurs. -- Herrera

Craig Wedren, Lapland (Team Love). Craig Wedren, former singer/guitarist of Shudder to Think, never made his prog-rock aspirations a secret -- even while serving as an unwitting godfather of emo in the early '90s. On his solo debut, Wedren reconciles his ornate chord twists and sinus-clearing falsetto with a sweet tooth for pure pop. Art, folk, glam and androgyny: Antony, look out. -- Jason Heller

 
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