Sound Advice 

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Fall Out Boy

Folie Deux


Sounds like: Rocking the junior high jukebox

Short take: They're over the Cameo thing

Fall Out Boy accomplishes the impossible by finding a happy rock-meets-R&B medium on this release. The 13-track Folie Deux, a follow-up to last year's '80s urban homage Infinity on High, finds the Windy City act concentrating on its pop-rock writing strengths and eschewing any hint of crazy Cameo fascination. Specifically, you can sense Pete Wentz exorcising his screaming teenager past and poster boy status on the rousing "Disloyal Order of Water Buffaloes"; Mr. Ashlee Simpson belts, "I'll promise you anything for another shot at life ... Nobody wants to hear you sing about tragedy." There's also the crunchy "I Don't Care," the catchy "She's My Winona" and the anthemic "The (Shipped) Gold Standard." Thankfully, if it truly is a Fall Out Boy world, at least the band has decided to rock rock instead of "Dance Dance." John Benson

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Mike Bloomfield

I'm With You Always

Benchmark Records

Sounds like: Guitar glory from a blues genius

Short take: Bloomfield up close and personal

One of the greatest guitarists of our era, Mike Bloomfield understood the blues and translated them into a stratospheric elegy for the human heart. As a boy, he went to Chicago's south side to learn where the music came from and how to play it. He was soon terrorizing stages with the Paul Butterfield Blues Band and the Electric Flag, but later turned his back on stardom and, in 1981, died from an overdose. I'm With You Always is an unadorned affair, recorded at a small Southern California club, but within its restrained sound is the raging feeling of a blues fanatic. Switching from acoustic to electric, solo to band, Bloomfield lays out every lick he's ever loved and sings like a man in the throes of pure passion, his inner spirit conveyed for a short moment in time but captured forever. Bill Bentley

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Von Iva

Girls on Film


Sounds like: A different shade of Yeah Yeah Yeahs

Short take: Von Iva looks to the future

There's a certain amount of '80s soul in the vibe and motivation behind San Francisco act Von Iva's Girls on Film EP, which contains a few tracks from 2007's Our Own Island, as well as new songs "Living for It" and "Emerald Eyes." While the former could have fit perfectly on the Beverly Hills Cop soundtrack, the latter bodes well for the all-female group's future. The spooky song combines mid-tempo ambience (including mesmerizing synths) and Jillian Iva's mysterious vocals to create an enticing thought piece without the use of an overarching melody to sell the track. Von Iva can also change things up, as it proves with the bass-heavy dance anthem "Guise." If the Yeah Yeah Yeahs are your bag, that's a good jumping-off point; however, this offers more diversity in the long run. John Benson


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