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Music to Pick Up/Download 

Thursday, Mar 17 2011
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HUNX AND HIS PUNX

Too Young to Be in Love

[Hardly Art, March 29]

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Seth Bogart fronts Oakland's bubblegum-garage band Hunx and His Punx, a group that makes dramatic homoerotic music from girl-group vocals mixed with vintage organ hooks. Tracks like "Lovers Lane" and "Bad Boy" combine the palpable teen angst and lovesickness of artists like Lesley Gore or the Angels with the production of the New York Dolls to make cry-by-the-phone party anthems.

PHEO.

WRIOT!

[Online, available now]

Despite the title, the only disturbance Pheo. plans to create is between the sheets. WRIOT! details the courtship rituals typical of modern-day Romeos — explicit texts from somebody else's girlfriend and a "Pink Champagne & Purple Weed"–expedited trip to the bedroom. But Pheo.'s romantic insouciance doesn't extend past his lyrics. Even as he drops consonants over producer J.Bizness's Prince-inspired "Last Night Morning," he maintains a tighter grasp on his flow than his obvious counterpart, Wiz Khalifa (whose frequent producer, Cardo, contributed a track). Couple of small glitches in this affair, but we played it 10 times in two days. Enough said.

J MASCIS

Several Shades of Why

[Subpop, March 15]

First solo studio record from the former Dinosaur Jr. frontman, featuring guests such as Broken Social Scene's Kevin Drew, Band of Horses' Ben Bridwell and guitarist-singer Kurt Vile. The result — a collection of gentle, almost folklike songs that feature Mascis' vocals front and center, as he sings about themes such as growing old, love and disappointment — is unmuddied from the distortion and sludgy effects that characterized his earlier projects. The album is characterized by restraint; still, there is a toe-tapping energy and lurking darkness behind each tune.

HOWLIN' WOLF

This is Howlin' Wolf's New Album. He Doesn't Like It. He Didn't Like His Electric Guitar at First Either.

[Get On Down, vinyl edition, March 22]

Howlin' Wolf was a ferocious, raw blues singer, hurling unbridled salvos of gruff vocals in secret classics like "Smokestack Lightnin'" and "Moanin' at Midnight." This re-released 1969 album was his label's attempt to infuse his signature sound with electric guitars and psychedelia. Remastered from the original tapes on Stoughton-pressed vinyl.

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