**** Red Skelton
*** Bozo
Insane Clown Posse
* John Wayne Gacy

(Audio Dregs)

There is a certain kind of electronic music that makes me fold up inside and die. It happened for the first time when I was in high school listening to Tricky, Morcheeba, and Portishead (don't worry, they're now safely on the shelf behind the Cure records, brought out only for nostalgic purposes). The Grace Period is much more sophisticated than any of my high school loves, but they also have That Thing that does it to me. It's the quietly synthesized, raspy piano, a little drum, a sigh of a guitar sound. Or wait... Maybe it's a violin that softly wanders in over the drums. The first song on this album is particularly haunting, due to the lovely French phrases which are murmured by a woman who I imagine is very beautiful and elegant and sophisticated (the song is called "Paris au Printemps"). You should put this album on when you're walking down the street wearing headphones, and even the stupid Starbucks on the corner will appear tragic and delicate. KATIA DUNN

SCOTT KELLY Spirit Bound Flesh

Scott Kelly is one of the guitarists/vocalists from Neurosis. Spirit Bound Flesh came out in August, so if you don't have it already, it's probably because you're not a diehard Neurosis fan. Thusly, I should tell you that Scott's voice is deeper than the earth and, as with Neurosis, there is always an ominous element beneath the music that has a sort of epic, Celtic quality to it. Scott's solo music, which consists of layers of his voice and an acoustic guitar, is like a collection of Druid hymns--the simplicity and willful monotony of its coarse chords makes it sound serious, and his lyrics suggest Kelly's vision is intrinsically tied to nature. The other thing is that Scott's voice is so low and dead-stoic, at times this album is actually frightening, even though most of the songs are about love. I think it would be a good idea to listen to this record while reading some bloody mythology about primitive wars. Try the Vikings! JULIANNE SHEPHERD

SATURNINE Pleasure of Ruins
(Victorialand Records)

You can always tell a Steve Albini recording. The tones are muted, each instrument is distinct from the other, you can hear each little cymbal tap like it was right in front of you. (He should do a Sprint commercial or something.) And he did it to Saturnine's new album, which is what one might call "lovely." The vocalist has a middle-of-the-road, skinny-Irishman/horse-jockey voice, singing only occasionally, and the music goes from mellow rock to poppy with the high-pitched sweeping guitar strums, keyboards, and constant airy cymbals. My only complaint is that the keyboarding starts to sound organ-churchy--keeping the mood pretty down--so after a while it gets kind of depressing. KATIE SHIMER