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Jens Lekman, Celebration and Radiohead

click to enlarge Jens Lekman  - Night Falls Over Kortedala  -  -  - Secretly Canadian  -  - Sounds like: Stephin Merritt's younger, - Swedish self -  - Short take: Lekman offers a wonderfully - precocious, heartbreaking album -  - Swedish heartbreaker Jens Lekman is an adorably - accented protg of The Magnetic Fields' Stephin Merritt, - singing with the same glassy-eyed intellectual - romanticism and clever, caustic observation. Night - Falls Over Kortedala, Lekman's third album, is - cohesive and compelling. As usual, he employs samples - for one to reminisce upon, bringing in sounds from '60s - soul tracks and '70s sitcoms, big bands and melancholy - orchestras. The whole thing seems lifted from a well- - aged home movie. In the end, Night Falls is like - a record-store treasure, and Lekman is more like a great - find than a burgeoning, young artist. He sounds - comfortable in whatever pasts or moods he puts himself - into. Pretty impressive for a 23-year-old.  - Matt Martin
  • Jens Lekman

    Night Falls Over Kortedala

    Secretly Canadian

    Sounds like: Stephin Merritt's younger, Swedish self

    Short take: Lekman offers a wonderfully precocious, heartbreaking album

    Swedish heartbreaker Jens Lekman is an adorably accented protg of The Magnetic Fields' Stephin Merritt, singing with the same glassy-eyed intellectual romanticism and clever, caustic observation. Night Falls Over Kortedala, Lekman's third album, is cohesive and compelling. As usual, he employs samples for one to reminisce upon, bringing in sounds from '60s soul tracks and '70s sitcoms, big bands and melancholy orchestras. The whole thing seems lifted from a well- aged home movie. In the end, Night Falls is like a record-store treasure, and Lekman is more like a great find than a burgeoning, young artist. He sounds comfortable in whatever pasts or moods he puts himself into. Pretty impressive for a 23-year-old. Matt Martin

click to enlarge Celebration  - The Modern Tribe  -  -  - 4AD  -  - Sounds like: Dance floor meets the bedroom -  - Short take: A little less wigged-out, though no - less hypnotic -  - Celebration's second full-length release, The Modern - Tribe, is full of driving dance beats and tribal - thumps  just right for swoonin' on the couch. - Immediately apparent is how much more laid-back this - album is than earlier efforts  but that's not to insinuate - that the trio's lost its bite. Katrina Ford remains a - wildcat, whose extensive range and often-androgynous - delivery makes her one of the more interesting female - vocalists. Meanwhile, backup from TV on the Radio helps - flesh out the glorious "Heartbreak" and "Hands Off My - Gold." Just as with Celebration's first album, this one - offers a lot of similar-sounding tracks  but that's - entirely forgivable when you hear the intense build-up of - "Our Hearts Don't Change." Never has chaos sounded so - damn sexy.  Kara Luger
  • Celebration

    The Modern Tribe

    4AD

    Sounds like: Dance floor meets the bedroom

    Short take: A little less wigged-out, though no less hypnotic

    Celebration's second full-length release, The Modern Tribe, is full of driving dance beats and tribal thumps just right for swoonin' on the couch. Immediately apparent is how much more laid-back this album is than earlier efforts but that's not to insinuate that the trio's lost its bite. Katrina Ford remains a wildcat, whose extensive range and often-androgynous delivery makes her one of the more interesting female vocalists. Meanwhile, backup from TV on the Radio helps flesh out the glorious "Heartbreak" and "Hands Off My Gold." Just as with Celebration's first album, this one offers a lot of similar-sounding tracks but that's entirely forgivable when you hear the intense build-up of "Our Hearts Don't Change." Never has chaos sounded so damn sexy. Kara Luger

click to enlarge Radiohead   - In Rainbows  -  -  - Self-released  -  - Sounds like: A re-energized Radiohead -  - Short take: Vibrant Yorke and Co. embrace - past, forge future -  - Hit or miss over its last few releases, Radiohead has truly - found common ground with its entire heritage on In - Rainbows. From the anthemic quality of The - Bends to the songwriting genius of OK - Computer and the jazzy experimental nature of - Kid A, it's all evident on what amounts to the - band's most soulfully engaging album. Notable tracks - include the guitar grind of "Bodysnatchers" and the - disconnectedness of "All I Need." But the real gem here is - the deconstructive love letter, "House of Cards." This - alluring, mid-tempo track is both ethereal in ambience - and destructive in nature. Considering that Radiohead is - now a music-industry free agent, the timing of In - Rainbows couldn't be any better. Arguably, the - world's best alt-rock act just turned it up a notch. -   John Benson
  • Radiohead

    In Rainbows

    Self-released

    Sounds like: A re-energized Radiohead

    Short take: Vibrant Yorke and Co. embrace past, forge future

    Hit or miss over its last few releases, Radiohead has truly found common ground with its entire heritage on In Rainbows. From the anthemic quality of The Bends to the songwriting genius of OK Computer and the jazzy experimental nature of Kid A, it's all evident on what amounts to the band's most soulfully engaging album. Notable tracks include the guitar grind of "Bodysnatchers" and the disconnectedness of "All I Need." But the real gem here is the deconstructive love letter, "House of Cards." This alluring, mid-tempo track is both ethereal in ambience and destructive in nature. Considering that Radiohead is now a music-industry free agent, the timing of In Rainbows couldn't be any better. Arguably, the world's best alt-rock act just turned it up a notch. John Benson

  • Jens Lekman, Celebration and Radiohead

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