A Little Deeper
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Singing British wunderkind Ms. Dynamite, who many half-accurately classify as Lauryn Hill's successor, flows with a deeply resonate, crackly alto, and beats that aren't as influenced by the UK dance scene as many have reported. A couple songs include dancehall bashment and 2-step rhythms, but the prevailing theme here is sassy R&B with layered beat embellishments akin to the more adventurous end of American mainstream hiphop (somewhere between Timbaland and the new Prefuse 73). Deeper's intro declares "Fuck coke/fuck ecstasy/my music get me as high as I need." This defiantly strong attitude pervades each track, from the stellar single "Dy-na-mi-tee" to the tightly funky number "Krazy Krush." Ms. Dynamite is outspoken against bad men--druggies, thugs, and neglectful lovers--which is really ironic considering her forthcoming collaboration will be with Dr. Dre. Regardless, America is definitely ready for this jelly, and Ms. is poised for the blow-up. JULIANNE SHEPHERD

My Name is Frank Furter
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While Portland is literally teeming with musicians trying to make their name by running around town in a hot dog costume, there's only one name you can truly trust: Frank Furter. And if you've missed his outdoor gigs at The Doghouse on Burnside, pick up his new CD, My Name is Frank Furter. A deeply personal peek inside the bun, Furter's latest musical offering runs the emotional gamut from ketchup to relish, performed in the blistering rockabilly Delta blues style that defies your ass to stay in its seat. From the self-aggrandizing and foot-stompin' title track to his jealous rage after discovering a cheating lover in "(You Make Me Feel Like a) Corn Dog," Furter does the hot dog blues better than any of those nitrate-filled fakers. When he claims he's "100% pure beef, baby," you'd best believe he ain't foolin' around. WM. STEVEN HUMPHREY

Up in Flames
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Manitoba literally set the standard for intricate laptronic music with Start Breaking My Heart in 2001. Dan Snaith, the lone swordsmen of Manitoba, must've accepted some sort of triple-dog dare to the effect of: "Yeah, but can you make a blessed-out indierock record with scores of real drum kits?" The answer is an almighty yes. Up in Flames sounds nothing like the Manitoba we've grown to love. Instead, it fuses swirling drum corps, vocal layers as thick as Portland cloud covers, and AM radio-shackled guitars. On "Skunks," a pixilated guitar triumphantly ushers forth a victorious chant followed by four drum sets erupting into a percussionistic séance. Essentially, he has created a sort of beat-centric psychedelic Spaceman 3-esque offering, mingling with the offspring of a Loveless-Pet Sounds, but sporting the flex of blessed DNA. KEVIN O'CONNOR

* * * * Springtime
* * * Spring Rolls
* * Springer Spaniels
* Jerry Springer