Club d'Elf, Now I Understand (Accurate). The brainchild of Boston bassist Mike Rivard, Club d'Elf is a genre-shattering collective that merges jazz, hip-hop, electronic music, worldbeat and more with the help of collaborators ranging from DJ Logic to onetime David Bowie associate Reeves Gabrels. Now I Understand is both instrumentally compelling and utterly uncategorizable. The future starts here. -- Roberts
The Dears, Gang of Losers (Arts & Crafts). Shedding some of the symphonic bombast that made No Cities Left a melodramatic, cinematic treat, Murray Lightburn and company bring even more angst and drama with their third long-player. The sound and the nerves are a little more exposed than before, making this release as delightfully depressing as the last. -- Eryc Eyl
Headman, On (Gomma). Though producer and remixer Headman gets lionized as a pioneer of "new" disco, his guest-star-heavy disc sounds more like playful revisions of tracks from Kraftwerk and the Mad Professor. On borrows dub's spacey repetition but adds gangly layers of synth, a double-dealt rhythmic punch that leads you, cowbelled and hand-clapped, straight to the dance floor. -- Terry Sawyer
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Motörhead, Kiss of Death (Sanctuary). After thirty years in the game and 26 albums, Motrhead has had many hits and few misses. With Kiss of Death, the band has once again managed to keep its signature swagger intact while breaking new ground with tracks like "God Was Never on Your Side" and "Kingdom of the Worm." -- Brandon Daviet
Mountain Goats, Get Lonely (4AD). Compared with his last three albums, Get Lonely is nearly devoid of the sharp edges and biting soliloquies that made John Darnielle's past work as Mountain Goat so painfully delectable. But that's not necessarily a bad thing. Although it's a stark departure, Lonely is the kind of catharsis that everyone -- artist and audience -- really needed. -- Aaron Ladage
Various Artists, A Life Less Lived: The Gothic Box (Rhino). The presentation of this three-CD, one-DVD set, which comes laced in a slab of leatherette, is too clever by half; witness a liner-notes segment dubbed "The Lighter Side of Goth." But the mix of well-known doomsters (Bauhaus, the Cure) and worthy obscurities (Xmal Deutschland, the Rose of Avalanche) is suitably dark and danceable. Call it the great depression. -- Roberts
Various Artists, Butchering the Beatles (Restless). Roll over, John Lennon: Your worst nightmare just came true. Fifty metal luminaries (everyone from Lemmy to Yngwie to Winger) have joined ranks and taken on Fab Four songs. Suffice it to say, Butchering the Beatles is an abomination that more than lives up to its title. At least they own up to it up front. -- Herrera