Commodore Rock
(Invicta Hi-Fi)

Attention all upwardly mobile 20-somethings! This is that annual, must-own CD that boosts your hipster cred. Commodore Rock, a four-song EP, is timeless in that it could've been made anytime in the last 20 years, referencing both mid-'90s techno and shellacked with the circuit board sheen of the early '80s. Based primarily on one-hook keyboards and ladies speaking/singing in British accents (and British-accented French), its cool posturing supercedes all substance; like being aloof at a dance club because you're afraid of perspiring or fucking up your hairstyle. So if you like lycra material, stylized mixed drinks, or Wieden & Kennedy, buy this and play it at your next robot-themed invite-only. I'll call you in 3 months when you're over it and have moved on, OK? JULIANNE SHEPHERD


After 10 years, New York's Versus still doesn't get the respect it deserves. Even Mercury smarty-pants Julianne Shepherd dissed the band when giving me this CD. ("It's bad," she said, before sticking her nose back into The Virgin Encyclopedia of Indie & New Wave.) Well, I'm sorry, Miss Shepherd, but I disagree. Sure, Versus don't consistently raise Hell from their amps as in their earlier work, but give them some leeway for that rock-killer known as "maturity." That's right, Versus has released an album with so many breezy numbers it's easy to miss their signature guitar-squall that still breathes, although slightly hidden, in this new set of tunes. Richard and James Baluyut may strum nicely to catchy '60s, AM radio-styled beauties like "Play Dead" and "The Spell You're Under," but they still cause a racket in the heaving "Eskimo" and "Fredrick's of Hollywood" (a socio-political nephew of Sonic Youth's "Swimsuit Issue"). Like Yo La Tengo, they've stretched their dynamics and have proved they can do it soft or loud. KEVIN SAMPSELL

For Him and the Girls

(Isadora Records)

Rumor has it that in darkest night, with no moon in the sky, gypsies stole the eldest son of an earl and raised him on a diet of wormwood, rose petals, and David Bowie. This fantastically named lad from Ontario, Canada plays nearly all the instruments on For Him and the Girls, which careens drunkenly from the poisonous intoxication of "Tarantulove" to the drowsy clip-clop of country and western hooves in "Safe and Sound." Workman's soaring vocals and clanging, demented production lend the whole thing an air of "the circus is burning and the freaks have gone mad." A funny and charismatic debut from a fop to watch. TAMARA PARIS