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Sean Daly's CD picks: Ben Harper and Relentless7, Chairlift, David & David, 3OH!3

Ben Harper and Relentless7

Album: White Lies for Dark Times (EMI)

In stores: Now

Why we care: Ben Harper has been a lot of things: bluesman, folk singer, crazy-sick slide-guitar specialist. But what the 39-year-old has never been is obvious. Same goes for this sexy, gritty, great rock album; it's hip, headphone-trippy and casually removed from anything overtly commercial — although you could make one wild clothing ad with the slippery blues-rock wallop of Why Must You Always Wear Black. Kapow!

Why we like it: Harper is a restless collaborator; in 2005, he won a soul-gospel Grammy with the Blind Boys of Alabama. Here he teams with Austin-L.A. trio Relentless7, and together they unload fever ballads and gutbucket thrills.

Reminds us of: Lenny Kravitz for indie kids

Download this: Lay There & Hate Me

Grade: A

Chairlift

Album: Does You Inspire You (Sony)

In stores: Now

Why we care: Dream-pop trio Chairlift originally formed not to sedate, but to spook: The Brooklyn band wanted to make background music for haunted houses. (That might be the coolest job EVER, but I digress . . .) Instead, vocalist Caroline Polachek & Co. opted for lush, synthy, gauzy soundscapes with vaguely creepy underbellies. Think Brian Eno on MTV. Or maybe Ennio Morricone as a high school frosh.

Why we like it: Chairlift's breakout single Bruises (plucky, but ominous: "I tried to do handstands for you . . .") was featured on a commercial for iPod Nanos, making the naughty nursery rhyme a fast, unlikely hit.

Reminds us of: Remember Mazzy Star?

Download these: Bruises and Garbage

Grade: C+

David & David

Album: Boomtown (Fontana A&M)

In stores: Now

Why we care: I just bought David & David's 1986 Boomtown album on sweet, glorious vinyl. Cost? $1. (Thanks Daddy Kool in St. Petersburg.) The album, still available on CD, and still vital after all these years, is a bleak dissection of '80s L.A. It spawned two MTV hits, Welcome to the Boomtown and Swallowed by the Cracks.

Why we like it: "The ambulance arrived too late / I guess she didn't want to wait . . ." The poetic, piercing Davids were Baerwald and Ricketts, and the Cali stars were sparring partners at best. David & David were one & done after this masterpiece, but they later helped on Sheryl Crow's Tuesday Night Music Club.

Reminds us of: Robert Downey Jr.

Download this: Welcome to the Boomtown

Grade: A

SONG OF THE WEEK

3OH!3

Song: Don't Trust Me

Album: Want (Photo Finish)

In stores: Now

Why we care: I hated this song when I first heard it. But then 3OH!3's smart-alecky club hit was cranked right before Katy Perry took the stage in St. Pete last month, and I got all caught up in the crowd bounce-along. Yep, just me and 1,000 15-year-old girls getting silly with it. Wheeeee! These Boulder, Colo., electro-poppers are pretty annoying, but I dig that synthy chorus. Am I right, kids? Wheeeee!

Why we like it: "She wants to touch me! Woo hoo!" Don't Trust Me, a huge hit on iTunes, hovers in the novelty-song genre, somewhere between "Weird Al" Yankovic and Andy Samberg's Lonely Island. The disposable song is perfect for dark, dizzy discos: loud, obnoxious and puffed up with get-crazy crescendoes.

Reminds us of: Angry White Boy Polka

Grade: C+

Sean Daly's CD picks: Ben Harper and Relentless7, Chairlift, David & David, 3OH!3 05/16/09 [Last modified: Saturday, May 16, 2009 4:30am]

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