The Fletch Fetch

Ramallah…But A WhimperBridge Nine Records

Four out of five stars

Blood for Blood alumnus Rob Lind has extracted DNA from his famed alma mater, spliced it with some metal genes and a fistful of politically fueled disgust, and created a monster. This beast, armed with good old Boston throwbacks (“Sleep”), hints of Slayer mayhem (“Al-Shifa”) and even acoustic sincerity (“True Crime”) was dubbed Ramallah. Unleashing its Frankenstein-fury on a world lacking in sanity, …But a Whimper burns bridges, crushes tall buildings and invokes all other forms of monster-movie-madness to cement one altruistic point: This world is f***** up.

M.I.A.ArularXL Records

Three and a half out of five stars

M.I.A. drops dancehall reggae and dance club pop into a blender of U.K. grime, hits frappe and pours out a tropical cocktail, titled, Arular. The album pumps pure pheromones as hard as its heavy house backbeats-“Amazon” could easily be mistaken for a sugar-free b-side from Gwen Stefani’s Love Angel Music Baby, bootlegged straight off a dirty London sidewalk, while “Pull Up the People” and “Hombre” share in the subterranean rhythms and add mind-snaring reggae hooks. M.I.A.’s music is hot, her sex-laden sound system rhymes are even hotter, and in turn Arular is bound to set America ablaze.

The FramesBurn the MapsAnti-

Two out of five stars

Fifteen years and five albums have seen The Frames climb from Dublin clubs to Dublin stadiums on the rungs of their humble-hearted Brit-folk-rock. Tragically, the humility of the post-platinum Frames was cast off and in the making of Burn the Maps, a bane of arena-rock-grandiosity crept in. The rewritten alt-rock and radio-ready refrains of “Fake” see this infection take hold, and while Burn the Maps is sure to propel The Frames into the bright lights of Wimbley Stadium, the brightest lights in this band’s future will be the great pearly gates.

StarsSet Yourself on FireArts & Crafts

Three and a half out of five stars

Stars steal the influence of idols The Smiths and compatriots Broken Social Scene, expose it to their Canadian frost and revel in setting its frozen body ablaze. Set Yourself on Fire is the ashes-a collage of post-punk gloom, lush orchestration and honest-as-open-heart-surgery confessionals. The Smiths-on-Ritalin storytelling of “Soft Revolution” reveals a band stepping into their own, and as “Sleep Tonight” trades male and female vocals so smooth they would make the Moz himself jealous, these Stars shine.

Sage FrancisA Healthy DistrustEpitaph Records

Four out of five stars

Sage Francis-America’s most infamous indie-minded, politically-fueled, straightedge-sober, veggie-friendly, hip-hop historian/white boy bastard son-is back and A Healthy Distrust shows Francis breathing brighter flames than ever. Francis spits socio-political bullets straight from his burning heart on the insurgent “Slow Down Gandhi,” while “Crumble” sees this very same heart crumble, over the emcee’s hopeless romanticism. A Healthy Distrust cooks up Francis’ unabashed ethics, injects it into a masterpiece of indie hip-hop beatwork and will leave even the most closed-minded aching for more. Compiled by Dan Fletcher