Imitation Electric Piano Blow it Up, Burn it Down, Kick it 'Til it Bleeds

There’s a good chance that nobody will pay much attention to this release, and it’s a shame. The indie rock market is saturated with newer records and the ADD-afflicted iPod market has limited interest in seven-year-old Stereolab side projects, regardless of whether or not their new lead singer sounds like a twee version of Sandy Denny. If you have the space on your hard drive, however, then hear me out. Imitation Electric Piano have been referred to as "experimental pop” because their sound is slightly out of the ordinary — but in practice they do exactly what pop music should, and that is perk up the listener. There’s absolutely no reason why "Tension” or "I Mean Now” couldn't compete with the best of Lily Allen or Camera Obscura for catchiest alternative hits of the year, and those are only two tracks out of ten. IEP have a way with bouncy, contagious melodies, and the fact that their hooks are wrapped in cool packaging — think a more hyperactive, streamlined and cuter Stereolab — is just icing on the cake. Old school indie rock fans with eroded expectations might find this release to be a beacon of hope, and restless music consumers should bite, even if they don’t. (Drag City)