25 SUAVES
I Want It Loud
(Bastard Sun/Bulb Records)
***

The only arena for a band at 25 Suaves' cult level is the one in guitarist Pete Larson's head; this duo is better set for buckling dive-bar sound systems and forcing neighbors at basement shows to put the police on speed dial than tackling stadiums. Partnered with his wife/drummer Fumie Kawasaki and guest bassist Dave Sahijdak (ex-Melvins), Larson is like the Mot-rhead fan in a noise-aficionado frame who pours the sludge on thick, moving through monolithic rhythms on "Born Dead" and pummeling the album title through your skull on "Turn Up the Music." And with lyrics this straightforward--"My life is making rock from underground/ I pray my life to have time to have this sound/Loud I want it loud"--the only thing you need your head for is banging. JENNIFER MAERZ

Dungen
Te Det Lugnt
(Subliminal Sounds)
****

Real drug-rock is hard to come by these days. And sprawling psych-pop is nearly dead. In our world of instant gratification it figures that most prefer to simply twist knobs on a computer sequencer, rather than devote themselves to mastering difficult instruments. But Sweden's Dungen, led by multi-instrumentalist Gustav Ejstes, are true romantics--infatuated with raw instrumentation and the massive compositions of the late '60s, where musicians truly explored the studio for songs without limit. Te Det Lugnt weaves effortlessly through many different styles. The albums vocals are sung in Swedish, which gives the album an ethereal quality (and just like with Sigur Ros, I prefer not knowing what the lyrics mean). A song that begins with big drum fills, thundering bass and walls of guitar melts into folk, and later dissolves into jazz. Ghostly orchestral movements give way to straight pop hooks. There are waltzes, break beats and angular guitar stabs, but the different movements always flow together with ease and purpose. The amount of ground covered is absolutely staggering. ANDREW TONRY

THOMAS FEHLMANN
Lowflow
(Plug Research)
****

This Swiss-born producer has been releasing music for 25 years, but, defying logic and typical career trajectories, he continues to forge vital music that holds its own with the most creatively acute whippersnappers. Revered for his dubalicious work with the Orb and his cool-headed schaffel techno for Kompakt, Fehlmann here deviates into a highly stylized form of downtempo funk. Now, downtempo funk hasn't been exactly pushing envelopes lately--not since, say, 1997. But in Fehlmann's liver-spotted hands, the genre (or triphop, clickhop, glitchhop, dubhop--they all apply) becomes a thing of unearthly beauty. Ghostly International goldenboy Dabrye puts his distinctively lush, stuttery stamp on three interludes, but this is Fehlmann's show, and the Mensch reaches a new peak on Lowflow, a title that aptly sums up its aquaspheric, bassomatic pressure. DAVE SEGAL

**** Judge Dredd
*** Judge Joe Brown
** Judge Reinhold
* Judge Alberto Gonzales