Happy Songs For Happy People
Oh, just fuck off, Mogwai. For those of us who spend our days listening to unhappy songs for unhappy people--um, where exactly is that new Elliott Smith record?!?--it's not nice to be poked fun at, even if it is with an album of lush and sweetly dripping post-rock that drips even sweeter and sadder than the band's last album, 2001's Rock Action. These days, Mogwai is approaching the same heady territory that bands like Radiohead and Sigur Rös seem to be permanently perched atop, sling-shooting sonic experiments stamped "file under four star review" toward the earth's soil. But that doesn't mean they can't rock--or get crazy with the vocoder--and when they trick out their atmospheric operas with titles like "I Know You Are But What I Am" it's very much a beautiful thing. Now if you'd just wipe that smirk off your face. TREVOR KELLEY

"Dirty Thangs" b/w "Alma Mater" 12" single
(One Drop)
* * * 1/2
Slowly bobbing your head in a blunted daze to some indie-hop is alright, but it's more fun to bounce like it's 1995, with hands in the sky and ass in motion. Libretto and the Lifesavas' Jumbo, both from Portland's Misfit Massive crew, deliver many bounce ounces on this single. Jumbo's upbeat productions have a classic West Coast, P-funk influenced vibe with tweaked, high-pitched voices over skanky guitar riffs and keyboard punctuation. These tracks, like Libretto says, will no doubt "keep the dance floor wet." Dirty Thangs discusses life's literal funk, like "crime on the brain," "crackin' bed frames," and stolen Disneyland key chains. On Alma Mater, Libretto pays homage to his Watts, L.A. days and asks, "Can Watts get some paper?" Since this platter will be in every DJ's crate soon, I'd say it's paper time. AARON MILES

"I Luv U" 12" single
(XL Recordings)
For now, it's only available in America as an import, but if you ever wished Mike Skinner of the Streets would drop the cheemo and just rap, this Dizzee Rascal single makes swimming the English Channel seem like a good idea. Rhymed over a springy, sporadic beat which approximates the sound of a knife sharpener, 19-year-old Dizzee laments, "She keep callin' my phone/she don't leave me alone/ she just moan and groan/ she keep ringin' me at home." In a seriously Positive K moment, guest lady answers, "That boy's some prick, y'know/All up in my hair/ thinks that I care/ followin' me here, followin' me there/ these days I can't go nowhere." "I Luv U" captures two glib folks fronting cool as courting process. It also demonstrates the energy and humor of British emcees fusing with the sped-up, propellant crunk of UK garage. And by the end of the track, you'll believe "girl" to be one of the most amazing words in the English language--but only when it's pronounced "gahyrl." JULIANNE SHEPHERD

**** Neil Young

*** Robbie Robertson

** Geddy Lee

* Celine Dion, Avril Lavigne, Bryan Adams...