Sound Bites

Hootie & the Blowfish, Looking for Lucky (Vanguard Records). "Smile at your enemies," Hootie caterwauls in a modestly politically charged track off the new disc. Guess that means we'll be seeing Darius Rucker's pearly whites plenty. If you didn't hate the Blowfish before, take a listen. This bland assortment of pop tripe is shitty enough for even Clear Channel to see through. -- Adam Cayton-Holland

Githead, Profile (Swim). Wire's recent reunion yielded a startlingly decent album, Send. Githead, Colin Newman's new project, is a logical extension of his old group's cryptic post-punk; aided by Scanner's Robin Rimbaud, who swaps his silicon chips for six-strings, Newman delivers a churning, mature work that makes Bloc Party look more like a slumber party. -- Heller

Gogol Bordello, Gypsy Punks:Underdog World Strike (SideOneDummy). New York City's premier cabaret punk act soothes the burning irritation of its last effort, Yeast Infection, with the Midas touch of producer Steve Albini. Frontman-turned-actor Eugene Hutz (co-starring with hobbit heartthrob Elijah Woods in the upcoming Everything Is Illuminated) turns the cruel immigrant experience into a good excuse to break plates on your head. -- La Briola


Sound Bites

Bob Mould, Body of Song (Yep Roc). Although Mould's first outing since Modulate, a 2002 electro-experiment, includes some leftover vocoder, it's built upon guitars. The disc starts strong, flags in the middle, then closes with a flourish called "Beating Heart the Prize." The CD won't make anyone forget Zen Arcade, but it's a solid addition to Mould's Body of work. -- Roberts

They Might Be Giants, A User's Guide to They Might Be Giants (Rhino). Brooklyn's They Might Be Giants has always made educating the listener a priority, whether it's explaining the sun as a mass of incandescent gas or referencing no less than nine U.S. presidents over the course of eleven albums. Pooling heavily from 1990's breakout, Flood, and its followup, Apollo 18, John Flansburgh and John Linnell pad their retirement nests with yet another redundant collectible. Got Malcolm? -- La Briola

Lords, Swords (Jade Tree). Kentucky's current crop of hardcore heavyweights -- Black Cross, Breather Resist, Coliseum -- are blessed with ex-members of legendary bands like Endpoint and the National Acrobat. Lords, though, kind of came out of nowhere. But the trio's jabs of stinging, metallic punk are every bit as raw and raging as those of its big brothers. -- Heller

Slim Thug, Already Platinum (Geffen). This hip-hop salvo from Screwston, Texas, isn't lyrically distinctive, and with the Neptunes shaping grooves, it's not musically unique, either. The draw, then, is the drawl. Slim's subterranean flow makes him sound as if he's just been smacked in the skull with a shovel, but for some reason, it works. Get low. -- Roberts


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