Trans Am

Many artists have offered up the requisite anti-Bush song this summer; Trans Am opted for an entire album’s worth with Liberation. Not every track holds its own: “Uninvited Guest” is unoriginal B-side material, based on the well-circulated “Bushwhacked” MP3s. But the other two cuts featured here prove that Trans Am can make their point quite effectively by speaking softly and carrying a big bassline.

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Mouse on Mars

Mouse on Mars have mastered many genres by showing allegiance to none; rather, they rely on sound songwriting to make even their most adventurous work feel just right. This cut off their eighth LP, Radical Connector, is a case in point: a breathy vocal pop track sliced ‘n’ diced in a vocoder-stutter-funk stylee without once losing sight its memorable tune.

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Tortoise

Tortoise’s latest track cuts to the chase with a tight, driving dose of spacial jazz. While you still won’t hear them on commercial alternative radio anytime soon, it’s as close to a “single” as you’ll ever get from these cats.

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