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Monday, January 12

The Fontaines
“You even turn me down in my fantasies,” Charlotte Fontaine chides one of her heroes in The Fontaines’ poppy new ode “Dustin Hoffman.” But it’s hard to see how anyone can resist her yearning entreaties, so charmingly wrapped in sugary close harmonies and her brother Hank’s bubbly guitar riffs. Continuing the duo’s series of celebrity homages, “Paul Newman” bounces along with a perky beat as Charlotte gushes about the actor’s blue eyes. The name-dropping continues on The Fontaines’ upcoming debut EP with tracks including “Dusty Springfield” and “Cate Blanchett.” Hank Fontaine moved from the family’s home in Texas to Silver Lake a few years ago, but his musical career didn’t really get going until 19-year-old Charlotte tagged along later and started the band with him. — Falling James


Tuesday, January 13

Grace Weber, Leighton Meester
Unlike her Gossip Girl co-star Taylor Momsen, who defies her preppie character’s image with hard-rock reprobates The Pretty Reckless, Leighton Meester wraps herself in softer, gauzier sounds on romantic dream-pop tunes such as “Heartstrings.” Purring in French, Meester is captivating even amid the slickly anonymous dance-pop production of “Somebody to Love,” a duet with Robin Thicke. Don’t be freaked out if Grace Weber catches your eye when you’re walking down the street. “I see myself in perfect strangers,” the Brooklyn singer confesses on her second album, The Refinery. “I know it’s rude to stare too long, sir/But were we friends three lives ago?” Weber gets away with being a shameless voyeur because she reveals her sly observations with a powerful, R&B-infused voice that pumps up her singer-songwriter ballads to a grander level. — Falling James

Wednesday, January 14

Run the Jewels
“I’m the foulest, no need for any evaluations,” El-P warns on “Blockbuster Night, Pt. 1,” from Run the Jewels’ second full-length album, simply titled Run the Jewels 2. “This Run the Jewels is murder, mayhem, melodic music,” partner Killer Mike adds for emphasis. The hip-hop duo’s messages are anything but escapist and cheery as they paint a bleak picture of modern America filled with drugs, violence and corrupt police. “Tiptoe on the track like a ballerina/Ski mask in a Pontiac Catalina,” Killer Mike declares on the hardly romantic “Oh My Darling (Don’t Cry),” setting up his own private crime scene: “You can run the jewels or lose your fingers.” The music El-P cranks out is as sinister as the lyrics, a rat-a-tat combination of militant drum beats, eerie echoes, disembodied voices and surging, distorted riffs. — Falling James

Thursday, January 15

Chain & The Gang
There’s one thing Chain and the Gang have in spades, and that’s this crucial little thing called authenticity. The wickedly witty, heavily rocking “crime rock” combo is led by the charismatic and not-dumb Ian Svenonius, the former big cheese atop such estimable aggregs as Nation of Ulysses and The Make-Up. On the band’s latest platter, Minimum Rock N Roll (Radical Elite/Dischordl ), the Gang plays one super-tough brand of fuzzed-out rock noise, all decked out in an arty-retro bag full of lurching blues, sweet-toned gospel and swoony, doo-woppy stuff. The album’s got a kick on it like a mule, and live, suave and sassy Mr. Svenonius and crew, in their matching silver suits, are a hip-swiveling, greasy powerhouse of humpin’, heavin’ rock & roll. — John Payne

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