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Fast reviews of recent releases

Buffalo Tom, Three Easy Pieces (New West). Buffalo Tom returns with its first album in seven years. Three Easy Pieces finds the act mixing pop rock and Americana values with hints of alternative jangle and grungy riffs. Trouble is, it's seven years too late. The question here isn't really who unlocked the time vault, but why? — Glenn BurnSilverThe Defectors, Bruised and Satisfied (Bad Afro). This slide show of B-movies and '60s garage punk has just enough menace to incite real fear. The cartoonish "Bring on the Dancing Ghouls" seems goofy, but the underlying threat has to be taken seriously, while the nightmare-inducing title track could be the sadistic flip side of "I Wanna Be Your Dog." — Rick Skidmore

The Hard Lessons, Hey Hey, My My (Self-released). With previous releases, Detroit's Hard Lessons has proved itself capable of no-frills heartland rock elevated by crushing guitar lines and alternative male and female vocals. This CD single, however, seems rather superfluous. Two nearly indistinguishable versions of Neil Young's "Hey Hey, My My" and a faithful cover of "Harvest Moon" are neither inspired nor inspiring. — Eryc EylEnrique Iglesias, Insomniac (Interscope). The CD title chosen by the son of Julio practically dares reviewers to make jokes about sleep aids and narcolepsy — and during the soporific "Somebody's Me," Iglesias deserves whatever he gets. Other material vacillates between the almost decent ("Ring My Bells") and the commercially desperate ("Push," co-starring an out-of-place Lil' Wayne). Wish I'd slept through that last one. — Roberts

Cheb i Sabbah, La Ghriba: La Kahena Remixed (Six Degrees Records). La Kahena, issued in 2005, was a fine introduction to an intriguing Algerian artist — but dance mavens are likely to be more impressed by this beguiling hybrid of North African folk music and modern mixology. Highlights: DJ Sandeep Kumar's propulsive recasting of "Toura Toura" and Temple of Sound's BPM-bumping version of "Esh 'Dani, Alash Mshit." — RobertsWhite Rabbits, Fort Nightly (Say Hey Records). Six Midwesterners made their way to New York City and made a gem of a summer pop record. Vocalists Greg Roberts and Steve Patterson manage to pull off sweet harmonies and garage-rock yelps with equal skill and joy. Bittersweet melodies, sparkling piano lines and jangly guitars make this an addictive listen. — Eyl

 
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