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So here’s the deal: I have a little more than 70 CDs to review. So I’m going to do a few batches of these short, one-sentence reviews to get caught up.

Here’s the second batch!

Passion Pit “Manners” – The full-length follow-up to their well-received EP “Chunk of Change,” Passion Pit dishes out eleven new tracks of (what I like to call) synth-whine that fans are sure to go totally bat-shit over; but while I definitely dig a few tracks (particularly “Little Secrets”), I find my mind wandering about halfway through the disc, wondering, “Is Passion Pit more effective in smaller doses?”

The Crystal Method “Divided By Night” – After five years away, Ken and Scott return with an album that is definitely more diverse than their previous dance-floor days, but also a bit more scattered in its tone; the proof is in the guest line-up which features vocalist Matisyahu, drummer Samantha Maloney of Peaches/Hole, and bassist Peter Hook of… New Order?

La Forza “Dance Music For Your Mind: Volume 1” – A dozen tracks of the kind of subtle, DJ instrumental music you’d expect to hear playing in the background of a hipster martini lounge; admittedly, I hate those types of places, but a lot of these tracks work, especially the piano-heavy closer “The Sound of Clouds.”

Foma “Inverness” – Laced with more strings than sex with an ex, this Albuquerque-based sextet mixes standard indie rock with a hint of a mini stringed symphony (ukulele, cello and viola) giving listeners a new take on an old sound.

Various Artists “Punk Goes Pop 2” – Shitty pop songs as redone by crappy pop-punk bands… ugh. These songs sucked enough the first time around; did we really need equal or even-more-shitty new versions of them?

Evil Twin “Evil Twin” – Much to my surprise, Evil Twin doesn’t appear anywhere on the “Punk Goes Pop 2” compilation; believe me… I looked.

Valina “A Tempo! A Tempo!” – Valina’s third full-length of pop-punkness opens with the lyric: “You are gently requested to shit like a swan.” Can you hear my eyes rolling in my skull?

Deastro “Moondagger” – Eighties-retro synth-pop from Detroit’s Randolph Chabot (who, oddly enough, barely even saw the eighties) that pretty much everyone but me is sure to fall completely in love with.

Fireworks “All I Have To Offer Is My Own Confusion” – Pop punk that claims to be different than the standards being produced today, but is in actuality a mirror image of them: the same old guitar hooks, the same old fast-paced drumming, and the same old whiny-voiced singer.

Schleusolz “Running Out Of Time” – If Terry Gilliam were to direct a post-apocalyptic disco film that takes place on a German space station/roller-skating rink, this would be the perfect soundtrack to accompany it.

Drifting In Silence “Facewithin” – The project of Chicago-based composer Derrick Stembridge, “Facewithin” is a gloomy instrumental trip back to the early days of Ministry and Skinny Puppy, but with a bit of a dancier edge thrown in to appeal to the younger set.

Pill Hill Radio “Pill Hill Radio” – Early nineties rock is apparently alive, well and living in Brooklyn; and while it’s definitely not my cup of tea, it did evoke a bit of nostalgia in me for my high school years.

Starfucker “Jupiter” – Yet more synth-pop that does little for me, though I did enjoy their cover of Cyndi Lauper’s “Girls Just Want To Have Fun”… but that’s probably only because I wanted to sleep with her when I was a kid.

Larry McDonald “Drumquestra” – Legendary Jamaican percussionist Larry McDonald has been in the music-making business for decades and has played with everyone from Toots & The Maytals and Bob Marley to the Skatalites and Dub is a Weapon. Amazingly, this is his first solo album. Buy it. That is all.

Chali 2na “Fish Outta Water” – Finally finally finally Chali 2na’s solo album is out, giving us fifteen fantastically fresh tracks from Jurassic 5’s brazen baritone, with guest appearances from Talib Kweli, Choklate and Damian and Stephen Marley. The loop track: “International.”

Ray Charles “Genius: The Ultimate Ray Charles Collection” – Another great Ray Charles compilation collecting 21 of his greatest hits (to be read: “songs they play on the radio”) including “I’ve Got A Woman” and “Drown In My Own Tears”, though I gladly would have traded both “Yesterday” and “America The Beautiful” for “Mess Around.”

Heavyweight Dub Champion “Rise Of The Champion Nation” – More than 25 musicians contributed to this dub/scratch/hip-hop/rock/reggae album (including KRS-One, Dr. Israel and Killah Priest, among others), creating a genre-defying gem in the process.

And still more to come,

-Shady

Old Poop!