The Drop (3/13): Chronicle’s guide for the music store

By and

The KillsMidnight BoomDomino Records

Eight years after ditching their punk rock roots for the minimalist electro-rock of The Kills, Alison Mosshart (ex-Discount) and James Hince (ex-Blyth Power) have birthed their third full-length album, Midnight Boom.

Experimental without being off-the-wall and still fueled by a fierce, DIY punk ethic, the album progresses from past efforts in its eclectic rhythms and mature hooks. “What New York Used to Be” illustrates this progression best as an almost-industrial drone overlaps Peaches-esque rhyming and The Kills’ now-signature layers of drum-machine slap, ’90s alt-fem-rock moan and fuzz guitar haze.

Midnight Boom masters The Kills’ initial sound. Time will tell if they can push its limits.

The MatchesA Band in HopeEpitaph Records

The Matches has mastered modern pop tunesmithing. Ska-punk? Check. ’80s pop? Check. Dancy, indie rock? Check. Pop punk? Triple check.

The band has gone for the gold with its third full-length album, A Band in Hope, penning the double-ott-pop version of an Oingo Boingo masterpiece. Problem is, without the virtuosic chops of the Boingo and fellow pop psychotics, The Matches craft a respectably avant-garde collage of just-nearly endearing pop tunes.

Pop hits? Check. Pop icons? That honor still wait in the wings.

drmanhattandrmanhattanVagrant Records

Drmanhattan is bound for glory.

When superstars My Chemical Romance and Coheed and Cambria released their first indie records, most wrote them off as eccentric art nerds — until the right record execs and die-hard fans noticed the platinum potential beneath their bizarre exteriors.

Drmanhattan’s gritty pop punk opuses have bizarre pop-star preening written all over them. “You Put the ‘I’ in Team” weaves classical piano lines through gritty, fast punk rock. Macabre orchestration a la Danny Elfman introduces the dark hooks of “Dirty Scandalous Dirty.” And lead single, “Big Chomper Big Chomper” lightheartedly merges The Faint’s electronica with a Clashy, white-reggae strut that’s got indie kid adoration mascara-ed all over it.

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