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Soundbite

Our critics' picks in new releases

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The French group Metal Urbain made a big splash in early punk days (mid-70s), then disappeared except to the most nerdy of punk proteges (a big influence on Steve Albini and Big Black, for instance). Like the best punk, their fist-clenched music, combining electronic guitar, homemade synthesizer swoop, and French ranting on topics such as "Anarchie Au Palace" is angry and joyous all at once, imploding and exploding simultaneously, demanding freedom now, at all costs. Never before available on CD in the U.S., the music is as seethingly alive now as it was then.

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