HorrorPops, Bring It On! (Hellcat Records). You can count Denmark's contribution to rock and roll on one bloody stump. Aqua? Attila Kovacs? Crowded Orifice? Unfortunately, HorrorPops, Copenhagen-bred rockers chasing Debra Harry's ghost through L.A.'s underbelly, don't offer any sonic treasure, either. Two doo-wop chicks in straitjackets, a guitarist from Nekromantix and a caterwauling bride of Frankenstein screaming "Go na-na-na-na yourself" do not a rockin' Norse god make. -- La Briola
Doomriders, Black Thunder (Deathwish Inc.). The debut by Doomriders, a side project of Converge's Nate Newton, sounds like it was slopped together in a sausage grinder. Which is exactly why it rules. Like Alabama Thunderpussy roasting Pig Destroyer on a spit, the disc is a still-bleeding slab of Southern rock, epic metal and nihilistic hardcore that stings with fire and fury. Pass the sauce. -- Heller
Greg Osby, Channel Three (Blue Note). Alto-saxophonist Greg Osby is a rarity: a major-label signee who plays genuine jazz rather than a watered-down approximation thereof. Backed by a spare, sympathetic bass-drums duo, Osby uses inspired covers of Ornette Coleman and Eric Dolphy tunes to frame a batch of originals that evoke the adventurous spirit of past masters. -- Roberts
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Messer Chups, Crazy Price (Ipecac). A first-rate oddity from Russia's cassette-trafficking Messer Chups, this sample-delic long-player chronicles the many obsessions of one Oleg Gitarkin -- namely surf music, Spike Jones, '60s horror films, old tube radios and Soviet analog synthesizers. Even the grandniece of Leon Theremin himself (Lydia Kavina) wrangles with sound waves, giving Ed Wood fans a reason to cheer during "Bing Bang Bang Bong Kong." -- La Briola
The Kingsbury Manx, The Fast Rise and Fall of the South (Yep Roc). Elliott Smith was never able to fully shed his indie-rock vestments and go stark raving retro. The Kingsbury Manx, though, isn't so modest when it comes to revivalism. Rather than expand boundaries, Fast Rise pulls the envelope in on itself and seals it with a kiss of soaring, pastoral folk pop on par with Ray Davies's wistful best. -- Heller
The Posies, Every Kind of Light (Rykodisc). Every Kind of Light isn't the Posies' finest work. Um, that would be Frosting on the Beater. Nonetheless, Ken Stringfellow and Jon Auer could breathe into a mike and still be ten times more melodic and compelling than any of the also-rans that followed in their wake. -- Herrera
Rihanna, Music of the Sun (Def Jam). Like fellow Def Jammer Teairra Mari, Rihanna is a Jay-Z-endorsed teen dream -- but her sound is more about the beach than the street. Sun is feather-light and thimble-deep, but when it works, as it does on "Pon De Replay" and other summer breezes, it's as catchy as mononucleosis. Kiss and tell. -- Roberts