The Drop (3/5): Chronicle’s guide for the music store

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The Body BeneathCompelled to SufferLost Archives Records

Metal’s recent mainstream success has unleashed a flood of At The Gates carbon-copies into the heavy music scene — gravely vocals, soaring Maiden-melodies, punishing distortion and all. Minnesotans The Body Beneath manage to steer clear of the cliches through mathematical technicality and uncompromising sonic assault in the vein of tech-metal legends Suffocation and recent scene-stars The Red Chord — an excruciatingly pleasant departure from the masses.

Idiot PilotWolvesReprise Records

Idiot Pilot’s 2004 debut, Strange We Should Meet Here, uniquely blended the electronic atmospherics of Radiohead with a bizarre brutality akin to indie screamers The Blood Brothers. Wolves follows suit but finds the Washington duo cleaning up its act under the wings of co-producer Mark Hoppus and the graces of some good old growing up: voices are stronger, melodies catchier and instrumentation has merged the duo’s Jekyll and Hyde moments into a focused, signature sound. Wolves might not be the next OK Computer, but even Radiohead had its The Bends.

Dengue FeverVenus on EarthM80 Records

Venus on Earth‘s opening track, “Seeing Hands,” says everything that needs to be said about avant pop phenom Dengue Fever: Cambodian frontwoman Ch’hom Nimol’s blend of western pop hooks and far eastern mystique overlay an eclectic blend of dark pop from Nimol’s virtuoso, American band mates. Dengue Fever’s music has graced the soundtracks of indie flicks from “Broken Flowers” to “Must Love Dogs” promising the act a lengthy career of scoring the heartbreaks of America’s indie youth.

What Made Milwaukee FamousWhat Doesn’t Kill UsBarsuk Records

It’s hard to write, and even harder to find, a modern rock ‘n’ roll record that doesn’t sound like its made up of 12 versions of the same song. This skill is what will make What Made Milwaukee Famous famous. The band channels everything from Neil Young folk to Bowie pop to Ramones angst into its ballady rock tunes and tops it all off with a voice that’s well on its way to the lofty heights of the late Jeff Buckley. What Doesn’t Kill Us will restore your faith in the feel-good potential of the rock ‘n’ roll single.

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