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Sean Daly's picks: Lily Allen, the Hold Steady, Beck, Duffy, the Last Vegas, Flo Rida

Lily Allen

Album: It's Not Me, It's You (Capitol)

In stores: Now

Why we care: On her sophomore album, reformed Brit brat Lily Allen tells us that she's no longer a besotted, X-eyed wildster. In that breezy, accented delivery, she extols the virtues of Chinese take-out, sobriety and God. She goes for maturity over, say, pub crawls and jail. Where's the fun in that?!

Why we like it: Not nearly as good as debut disc Alright, Still . . ., Lily's new one swaps out the old ska beats and '60s jazzbo influences for Space Age garnish and soft technotic blankets, all courtesy of cheeky lounge-lizard producer Greg Kurstin. She's still an engaging personality (and a personal crush), but at 23, Lily shouldn't feel the need to sound so grounded.

Reminds us of: Allen has a third nipple. Cool.

Download these: Everyone's At It and Not Fair

Grade: B-

The Hold Steady, Beck, Duffy

Album: War Child Presents: Heroes (Astralwerks)

In stores: Now

Why we care: The best thing Lily Allen has done lately is on this fiendishly clever benefit album aiding children affected by war. The gimmick? Iconic musicians "request" various artists to cover their classics. The Clash's Mick Jones has Lily make over Straight to Hell. Paul McCartney asks soul star Duffy to reimagine Bond classic Live and Let Die; it's now a slow, sexy torcher.

Why we like it: Some pairings feel downright epic. Beck has long been called the new Dylan . . . so Bob has him try on Leopard-Skin Pill-Box Hat. The Hold Steady has openly crushed on Bruce Springsteen for years . . . so the indie grunts make Atlantic City a passion play.

Reminds us of: Go to for more info.

Download this: Duffy's Live and Let Die

Grade: A


The Last Vegas

Song: I'm Bad

In stores: On iTunes

Why we care: On a very special episode of Listen to This, you're getting not one, but two Songs of the Week! The first is a slice of hair-teased hellacity from Chicago's the Last Vegas. With all apologies to cities Windy and Sin, this quintet daydreams of being from West Hollywood, preferably birthed in a Sunset Strip dive hoovering drugs and cuddling pleather-clad kittens. You have to dream big to live big, kids.

Why we like it: Lead singer Chad Cherry wails like Motley Crue's Vince Neil, while guitarists Johnny Wator and Adam Arling launch an Izzy-and-Slash attack from GN'R. It's sleazy rawk, but it sounds sublime. A hair-metal revival wouldn't be the worst thing to happen to radio.

Reminds us of: Do my pleather chaps still fit?

Grade: B+


Flo Rida

Song: Right Round

Album: R.O.O.T.S. (Poe Boy/Atlantic)

In stores: On iTunes

Why we care: Your second Song of the Week is from none other than Miami's Flo Rida, whose rumpalicious jam Low was the top download of 2008. New single Right Round might top that; in its first week of release, the hearty stripper salute was downloaded 636,000 times, a new record.

Why we like it: Right Round borrows the hook from Dead or Alive's 1985 hit You Spin Me Round (Like a Record Player). It also features girl-snogging popster Katy Perry on the hook. You would think British New Wave, Southern hip-hop and cheeky pop would be an awkward mix. And you'd be right. It's crass and lazy, not nearly as Apple Bottom sublime as Low. Still, Mr. Rida has a sneaky way of selling sin, and this one sticks even when it shouldn't.

Reminds us of: '80s fans are going to plotz!

Grade: C+

Sean Daly's picks: Lily Allen, the Hold Steady, Beck, Duffy, the Last Vegas, Flo Rida 02/28/09 [Last modified: Saturday, February 28, 2009 3:30am]
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