US Girls and Phantogram with the new and noteworthy 

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US Girls, Heavy Light (4AD) – Meghan Remy launched her Toronto experimental dance-pop sound more than a decade ago, with lo-fi four-track tapes and a brash attitude. Over six albums, she added more Canadian studio musicians, and her seventh employs a small production company. Remy’s genius comes in marrying brilliant imagistic lyrics with swaggering dance productions, emulating a modern Kate Bush. “Woodstock ’99” even samples Jimmy Webb’s “MacArthur Park,” allowing her to dwell in multiple decades at once.
Phantogram, Ceremony (Barsuk/Republic) – Electronic dream-pop duo Phantogram (Sarah Barthel and Josh Carter) have followed an arc across three albums suggesting the title of the Leonard Cohen album You Want it Darker. They may reference Bowie and the Cocteau Twins, but each album seems sadder than the last. The fourth, Ceremony, continues the trend. Yes, there is sparkly major-chord electronica, but songs like “Dear God” and “Let Me Down” are laden with doom. The trick Phantogram pulls off is making these songs light, even as fear for the future accelerates a downward spiral.


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