the bird and the beePlease Clap Your Hands(Blue Note)8.89157Goes well with: Tropicalia, Austin Powers, dry martinisIf you missed this duo the first time around, here's the Cliffs Notes. She: Inara George, Grey's Anatomy darling and daughter of the guy from Little Feat. He: Greg Kurstin, quietly genius session player for Beck, Chili Peppers and Jane's Addiction. Their first record: trippy movie-soundtrack lounge-pop that your cool, mid-century-modern friends play at cocktail parties. This surprisingly quick follow-up EP lets Inara (who's introspective and sorta solemn when solo) fly her freak flag even higher. 'Polite Dance Song' opens this five-tracker with George's tongue planted resolutely in cheek, robotically reciting 'Give it up for me please / put your hands in the air' like a Speak 'n' Spell paraphrasing Kanye raps. Kurstin sounds like he's having just as much fun noodling around with harpsichords and whatnot; the disc culminates with a cover of The Bee Gees' 'How Deep is Your Love' (with Sia singing backup) that practically demands a fireside makeout session on a bearskin rug. -Maya KrothThe bird and the bee opens for Rilo Kiley at Soma on Oct. 12. 619-226-7662.
The Distances From Everyone To You(Pineapple/Atlantic)8.14069Goes well with: Convoy, Ziggy Stardust and the Spiders From Poway, PeachesLeading off with 'There's a Traitor in This Room,' the only track included from their still-untitled January 2008 record, we find a lot of the same stomp, attitude and innuendo on this placeholder EP that made Louis XIV famous. The kings of anti-subtlety don't disappoint with Jason Hill nuggets like 'All you wanted is my love in your mouth' screeched alongside a Toxic-style violin line. The production is denser, but they still always manage to have the punchiest sounding vocals, hooks and music around. Even their self-produced studio outtakes sound better than most bands' ever will. The four-song EP also includes a version of Queen's 'Flash's Theme,' recorded for the Sci-Fi Channel's new Flash Gordon series. Recreating the stacked vocals and guitar harmonies was no doubt a fun homework assignment for one of the few bands still making instant classic rock.-Adam GimbelGOTTA. HEAR. THESE.The HorrorsStrange House (Loog)The singer for this U.K. band does rambling mad troglodyte the way Iggy would've done it on Fun House if he'd actually had good recording equipment. Don't be scared by their fashion-whore appearance-this is some delightfully deranged, arty garage rock, with some keyboards that add to the someone-got-killed-at-the-circus mood. O'DeathHead Home (Ernest Jenning)Dude is ravaged, feral, like someone buried alive trying to scream even though there's dirt in their throat. There's a violin and clinging and clanging and dreary chain-gang feel to the whole thing, until the band speeds up and vamps off an Eastern European party jam that would make Gogol Bordello take 'em on tour.Lucinda Black Bear‘Capo My Heart and Other Bear Songs(Eastern Spurs)More beautiful sad-man folk music from New Yorkers. And, like a lot of the talented fakers, it's worth a listen.-Troy Johnson