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Sean Daly's CD picks: M.I.A., Estelle, Pink, Katy Perry, Rodney Dangerfield, Black Gold, Fleet Foxes

M.I.A., Estelle, Pink, Katy Perry

Album: Grammy Nominees 2009 (Grammy/Rhino)

In stores: Now

Why we care: Although Coldplay will clean up at tonight's 51st annual Grammy Awards (even though they shouldn't; their latest disc is a brain-numbing snore), the show itself could still prove entertaining. As this 20-song comp proves, the '09 nominees are a wild, trouble-making crew, especially such sassy lassies as M.I.A, Katy Perry, Estelle and Pink.

Why we like it: With the death of the album, and the domination of iTunes, the music industry is a singles market again. But that's easier to stomach when the nominated hits are hot and hooky. This includes Estelle's American Boy and Pink's snotty nose-thumber So What.

Reminds us of: Chicks rule, boys drool.

Download this: Paper Planes (M.I.A.)

Grade: B

Rodney Dangerfield

Album: Greatest Bits (Shout Factory)

In stores: Now

Why we care: When I was 11, I saw Rodney Dangerfield perform at the Chateau Deville, a club outside of Boston. One of my first R-rated movies was Rodney's classic Easy Money. I was 13. My parents took me to both; John and Mary cringed throughout both. But bless them. I'd never be the same.

Why we like it: "Oh, I was an ugly kid. When my old man took me to the zoo, they thanked him for returning me!" "My wife is such a bad cook, the flies chipped in to fix the screen door!" "My daughter, she's no bargain. In public school she was voted most like to conceive!" "I tell ya, I get no respect, no respect!"

Reminds us of: "You know my doctor? Dr. Vinny Boombotz! Oh, he's a strange doctor . . ."

Download this: Rappin' Rodney

Grade: A

Black Gold

Album: Rush (Red Bull)

In stores: Now

Why we care: NYC duo Eric Ronick and Than Luu have booked time touring with Panic at the Disco and Rachael Yamagata. Appropriately enough, their new project confidently strums out frisky indie rock with quirky touches of theater, fun and Radiohead (or at least Coldplay before it stunk.)

Why we like it: It's not going to blow you away. But there's a dearth of cool new music out these days, so they're worth a listen. As the album shines on, the boys indulge poppier urges, stealing beams of light from Rilo Kiley.

Reminds us of: Their PR sheet sells a "Kinks-meets-Spoon" vibe. But I'm hearing more of a "if-Fountains-of-Wayne-moved-into-a-garage-and-had-their-electricity-cut-off" thing.

Download these: Detroit and Breakdown

Grade: B


Fleet Foxes

Song: White Winter Hymnal Album: Fleet Foxes (Sub Pop)

In stores: Now

Why we care: Seattle's five-piece Fleet Foxes are often compared to Brian Wilson. Phil Spector, too. But in all those harmonies and chiming walls of sound, I'm hearing Simon & Garfunkel circa The Graduate, warm but also slightly chilly.

Why we like it: High school pals Robin Peck-nold and Skyler Skjelset, the band's leaders, cite Bob Dylan and Neil Young as heavy influences, and lyrically that makes sense. This song, seemingly born in '67, plays like a vaguely sinister lullaby, something bad, or maybe purely innocent, happening in the snow. Either way, the cooing harmonies, rolling beat, cowboy licks and loopy lyrical repetition will do nothing but mesmerize, hypnotize, mellowize.

Reminds us of: "April, come she will . . ."

Grade: A

Sean Daly's CD picks: M.I.A., Estelle, Pink, Katy Perry, Rodney Dangerfield, Black Gold, Fleet Foxes 02/07/09 [Last modified: Saturday, February 7, 2009 3:30am]
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