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Interpol

‘The Heinrich Maneuver’

With the first single off their third album, Our Love to Admire, Interpol doesn't make any radical departures from Antics, sticking to the choppy guitar riffs, pounding drums and cyclical chord progressions that have come to define their sound. And with a band like Interpol, a steady structure is exactly what we’ve come to count on.

Lyrically, “The Heinrich Maneuver” is less like an impossible code to crack than previous efforts, though it still retains remnants of their cryptic style. Singer Paul Banks croons to an ex-lover, asking sarcastically, “How are things on the West coast?” His voice is less somber and remote than in the past, emitting a touch of bitterness.

As a more straightforward track, “The Heinrich Maneuver” is one that begs to be repeated, without becoming obnoxiously catchy.

—Gazelle Emami

The Flaming Lips

‘The Supreme Being Teaches Spider-Man How To Be in Love’

Spiders and superheroes inspire two of the songs on the Flaming Lips album The Soft Bulletin (“Spiderbite Song” and “Waitin’ for a Superman”), so taking on your friendly neighborhood web-slinger was a natural fit. And in keeping with tradition, Wayne Coyne and Co. make it as weird and wonderful as possible.

They pose Spider-Man as a sort of Rocky Balboa, trapped in the boxing ring against Muhammed Ali, with only an unidentified Adrian to call his name.

The Flaming Lips have somehow created a song that is two degrees removed from reality, yet deeply resonant. Coyne uses the ring of a boxing bell to put the listener in Peter Parker’s shoes, and soaring lyrics of his usual love-can-save-the-world variety somehow let the listener know what it feels like to have Mary Jane be your Adrian.

—Ryan McDonald

John Cale

‘All My Friends’

John Cale played viola in the Velvet Underground before his contemptuous relationship with Lou Reed sent him packing. Since then, Cale has carved out a comfortable niche, using his broad talents (he plays any and every instrument well) and pained vocals to craft poignant, yet often angry, songs.

On his new cover of LCD Soundsystem's "All My Friends,” that pained voice is foregrounded on top of customary LCD double-drums and a Cale guitar jangle. There's that viola, too, but it's swamped by a near-Spector wall of sound engineering genius. Despite that bouncy danceability, Cale's weathered singing lends the track credibility: he must know what he's talking about, he's lived this. His ache feels real when he keeps pleading, “Where are your friends tonight?” against “If I could see all my friends tonight ...”. If he could see Lou, would John feel a little better?

—Ryland Walker Knight

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