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Our critics' picks in new releases



Lots of Gang of Four-like mock-alienation guitar clatter and deadpan vocals, but the passion and engagement--musically, politically, sensually, and otherwise--of this Bay Area quartet glows through, making the post-punk clatter kind of tuneful, actually. There's a sweetness, a goodness, a soulfulness in the purring high-hat rustle of Biana Sparta's drum playing, the rushed, urgent bass lines of Ellie Erickson, and the robot-funk guitar slashings of Sara Jaffe. "I am a bird of prey," lead vocalist Jenny Holyston insists on "Owls," but the best lyric is the semi-ironic "If I'm good, if I'm really really good" that the group chants at the end of the aptly titled "Let's Be Active c/o Club Hott." They are good, defiantly affirming hope and community in their effort to erase the world's errata.

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