KWIT

Lars Gotrich

Carly Rae Jepsen, the pop star of our hearts, voices Odette in the animated film Leap!, which will see U.S. distribution in September. Her character is a caretaker who coaches a young girl (voiced by Elle Fanning) to become a ballerina in Paris. I sense whimsy and heartfelt speeches are in my future.

Absolutely Not are absolutely fab. After a few promising EPs of glammed-up garage-punk, the Chicago band is set to release Errors, its spastic and ridiculously fun debut full-length. This is a punk record dialed into an alien frequency with a heavy production that makes the spare instrumentation (guitar, keyboards, drums) sound like a spaceship crashing into Earth.

Chuck Johnson's music always finds the calm at the center of the storm. He's best known for his hypnotic, yet lyrical, solo guitar work, but for his new record Balsams Johnson meditates on — and through — the lush ambiance of the pedal steel.

The Holy Circle makes dark synth-pop that's velvet to the touch — and a sonic sawblade to the core. After last year's EP, Terence Hannum of the experimental metal band Locrian and his wife Erica Burgner-Hannum of Unlucky Atlas were joined by drummer Nathan Jurgenson (Screen Vinyl Image). The Baltimore trio's self-titled debut album finds that space between Ultravox's synthetic melodrama, Jesu's heavy shoegaze and The Knife's cold, yet sensual, vocal melodies.

Apart from from Buddhist temples, parts of Japan sure do look like Central Illinois. At least that's the story sweetly told in director Chris Strong's video for "My Instincts Are The Enemy," where Japanese and Japanese Americans sing along to the song while bowling, making noodles and getting tattooed.

"Where the birds sing a pretty song..." Worry not — no spoilers ahead.

Burial's been lurking in some subterranean realms lately.

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