New out today, in the U.S., on Too Pure Records is the third album by Monade, featuring Laetitia Sadier of Stereolab on vocals and songwriting duties. I haven’t heard the complete record so I can only speak of this track, “Regarde.” From those few minutes however I can tell you that Monstre Cosmic is more fleshed out than their bedroom debut, and more cohesive as a pop song than many tracks from A Few Steps More. Fans of Stereolab won’t need their arms twisted to give Monade a listen. I’m pretty sure they’re all in the know already. For those of you who haven’t heard Stereolab, an elite few I’m sure, you’ll quickly realize what you’ve been missing out on for years: a serious groove and a seriously gorgeous voice. The difference between Stereolab and this latest from Monade? A certain down-to-earthiness as Sadier trades the spacy effervescence of the latter for grittier, found sounds from her neighborhood.

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I’m taking the lazy way out today. But it’s a damn fine band, so that shouldn’t really matter. I spent the weekend in Waveland, Mississippi, helping with the relief effort there after Hurricane Katrina. Having seen the devastation in person, it’s still unbelieveable to me. So today’s offering of Laika provides both comfort and ease, two attributes that actually apply to the music itself. Margaret Fiedler and Guy Fixsen have been creating quite complicated music that somehow sounds so purposeful and, well, comfortable with an almost arrogant air of ease. “Sugar Daddy” and “Uneasy” are two of my personal faves.

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Given all the nominating going on, I offer mclusky’s The Difference Between Me and You Is That I’m Not on Fire as Album Title of the Year. The album’s music ain’t bad either. Producer Steve Albini’s influence continues to rub off on these talented lads in the form of increasingly noisy, sometimes sneering, and always witty rock to the roll. “Without MSG…” is but one flavor — the surprisingly thoughtful “She Will Only Bring You Happiness” being quite another — so check the album for the full menu.

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