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Review Round-Up 9/20/12

By Andrew McNally Columnist

The Killers – “Battle Born” The Killers’ first album in four years is exactly what you expect from the Killers – huge ideas, bombastic, grandiose, alt-pop songs, and Brandon Flowers always sounding like he wants to sing just a little higher than he is. It’s slightly better than 2009’s “Day and Age,” in that it revels in its corniness instead of trying to overcome it. But I still found myself checking Spotify on almost every song’s opening, thinking it was an ad. There’s no progression for the band here, just another collection of radio-friendly songs that make you want to listen to “Hot Fuss” instead. Grade: C- If You Like: Coldplay, U2

Carly Rae Jepsen – “Kiss” I don’t know how to review pop, but as far as pop albums go, this one seems like it’s really pretty good. If you thought “Call Me Maybe” was an innocent, infectious song, then you’ll like eleven other songs of the exact same nature. “Kiss” is unique in days like these – there’s only two collaborations, one with Owl City and one with Justin Bieber (that I skipped over), Jepsen wrote or co-wrote most of the songs herself, and it is relentlessly innocent, invoking memories of 1998. It’s the same song, eleven times over. But damn if it isn’t infectious. Grade: B+? If You Like: 1998 Britney, those 1D kids

Gallows – “Gallows” The optimistic way to look at “Gallows,” the third album from the British hardcore punk band of the same name, is to see the album as angrier, more concise, and with harsher vocals, courtesy of a new singer. The pessimistic, and inescapable, way of looking at the album is realizing that “Gallows” does nothing to separate itself from other hardcore punk albums. It’s intense, well-produced, and keeps itself interesting. But Gallows’ two previous albums were unique in their instrumentation, blending of punk and metal, and flow. “Gallows” might remind you of other great punk records, but it won’t remind you of Gallows. Grade: C If You Like: Cancer Bats, The Bronx

TV That Matters 9/20/12

Bubbling with excitement for Bubble Tea in the Netherlands