ALISON STEWART, host:

Okay, regular listeners, here's our excuse for not giving you new music Tuesday yesterday. Well, it could have been because Fidel Castro stepped down from power and we make room for el jefe news. Or it's because we lost our copy of the new Raveonettes record saving puppies from a fire in an orphanage.

RACHEL MARTIN, host:

Yeah, it was that.

STEWART: Or our editor's daughter stole our "Kidz Bopp" CD and refused to give it back until she was allowed to go to Bunnytown.

(Soundbite of laughter)

STEWART: One of those might actually be true, but maybe not. Anyway, a ton of good music out this week. Blender magazine's Lizzy Goodman is here today, Wednesday. Better late than never, right, Lizzy?

Ms. LIZZY GOODMAN (Blender Magazine): Exactly, exactly.

STEWART: Let's start out by talking about the Raveonettes. The Danish duo has a new album out called "Lust, Lust, Lust." Give us a little background on this group that sounds like it should actually be in like a '60s revival with beehives playing in Atlantic City.

Ms. GOODMAN: Yeah, you known, I mean, you see Amy Winehouse sporting that look, but the Raveonettes have been on at least the sonic version of that for a while now. I mean, this is one of - they're one of my favorite bands from the sort of the band era of earlier this decade, with The Strokes and The White Stripes…

(Soundbite of laughter)

Ms. GOODMAN: …Yeah Yeah Yeahs and so on. They sort of came up around the same time with their first album. And at that point, their sound was just sort of way more like what you're describing, sort of late '50s, early '60s influenced, kind of rockabilly, garage rock type of thing. And they've really evolved throughout - this is their fourth album, I think - throughout these records. And it's really cool to see them still at it at this point.

STEWART: All right. Let's take a listen to "Blush" from the Raveonettes.

(Soundbite of song, "Blush")

Ms. SHARIN FOO (Singer, Raveonettes): (Singing) Take everything we had away from you and you away from me. I can't keep you…

STEWART: Okay. So Lizzie, I hear sort of a Phil Spector wall of sound meets Jesus and Mary Chain.

Ms. GOODMAN: Yeah.

(Soundbite of laughter)

Ms. GOODMAN: I mean, when I first put this album on, I thought, you know, oh, yeah, like, I'm going to get, you know, oh, I love you the Raveonettes. This is going to be fantastic. And they sound even more like Jesus and Mary Chain now than they did before, which it seemed impossible to do that. But, you know, Jesus and Mary Chain aren't releasing albums anymore. So if we can get the Raveonettes to do a fair approximation, then, you know, everybody wins.

(Soundbite of laughter)

STEWART: Do you have to like this sound to like this record?

Ms. GOODMAN: You know, that's a really good question. I think one of the things that really stands out about this band, especially at this point when we've seen sort of what's happened to some of their contemporaries who maybe became more famous in the earlier part of this decade, they're still writing great songs. They write really good songs. And the production is what it is. It's, as you described, sort of very - a combination of girl group and, you know, British scuzzy new wave type sound, which is a fantastic combination. But you really could produce them any way. The songs are there. So, in that sense, I think that they're pretty - people - anyone who likes good pop songs should be able to appreciate this record.

STEWART: Speaking of good pop songs, you can get a new wave pop history lesson this week, a re-issue of Nick Lowe's classic '78 album "Jesus of Cool," featuring this classic, one of my favorites.

(Soundbite of song, "Cruel to Be Kind")

Mr. NICK LOWE (Singer, Songwriter): (Singing) Oh, I can't take another heartache, though you say you're my friend, but I'm at my wit's end. You say, your love is bona fide, but that don't coincide with the things that you do. And when I ask you to explain, you say, you've got to be cruel to be kind, in the right measure.

STEWART: (Singing) Cruel to be kind, in the right measure. Cruel to be kind…

Mr. LOWE: (Singing) Cruel to be kind, it's a very good sign.

STEWART: I can't help myself whenever I hear this. When you listen to this record, it's 30 years old at this point, does it still sound fresh, or is it a stroll through history?

Ms. GOODMAN: It really sounds fresh to me. I mean, you know, Nick Lowe is kind of a genius. And this is a good excuse, this reissue, to re-examine why. He's done everything from, like, releasing incredible solo records, to produce some of the best albums by his contemporaries during the new wave era. And, you know, to kind of revisit this record, and it's being re-issued in the original - when it was originally released, it was released with a certain track listing in the U.K., and then a different track listing and a different title in America. "Jesus of Cool" was I guess too wild for us back then, huh?

(Soundbite of laughter)

Ms. GOODMAN: And, you know, it's just neat to sort of have it in your hands in its original version here in the States and kind of be able to go back to 1978 and have it still feel like it makes complete sense now. So, yeah, I think it sounds really fresh. And it's a good excuse to revisit a classic album.

STEWART: Let's talk about "Kidz Bopp 13."

(Soundbite of laughter)

STEWART: It's sort of…

Ms. GOODMAN: Sort of a little switch up there.

STEWART: Yeah, it's sort of those "Now That's What I Call Music" compilations, except they're kidified.

Ms. GOODMAN: Yes, exactly.

STEWART: So let's give people audio examples. Here's an original, "Party Like a Rockstar" from Shop Boyz.

(Soundbite of song, "Party Like a Rockstar")

SHOP BOYZ: (Rapping) Party like a rock star, party like a rock star.

STEWART: Okay, you get the idea. Now let's hear the version from the new edition of "Kidz Bopp."

(Soundbite of song, "Party Like a Rockstar")

KIDZ BOP: (Rapping) Party like a rock star, party like a rock star, totally dude. Party like a rock star…

STEWART: Cute? Disturbing? I'm not even sure what the point is, Lizzy.

MARTIN: Totally, dude.

Ms. GOODMAN: All of the above, I'm going with. No, I mean I love these. I actually - I think it's really funny, because there's something sort of non-cheesy, ironically, about this. It's like they - some of these kid's takes on recognizable hits can be really cornball. And some of these songs I kind of like their versions better than the originals.

(Soundbite of laughter)

STEWART: Really?

Ms. GOODMAN: That is, I'm thinking, hey, wait. Not all of them. But some of the sort of more kind of mainstream hits that they just translate, I kind of think, well, this is just as good this way as it was the original way.

STEWART: Well, the funny thing is you can actually hear all the lyrics when the kids sing it.

Ms. GOODMAN: Yeah, which is maybe a good and a bad thing, depending on the song. But, no, this is cute, and it's a total phenomenon. And it is one of the sort of kid's interpretations of pop songs that's not horrifyingly offensive, and that's in the plus column in my department.

(Soundbite of laughter)

STEWART: All right. Let's turn to the group that started in Claremont, California, The Mountain Goats, back with their 11th full-length recording, "Heretic Bride." Now this band, or duo, or whatever they are at this time, they are really, really, really prolific.

Ms. GOODMAN: Yes.

STEWART: But prolific doesn't always mean good.

Ms. GOODMAN: Yeah, you know, it's true. They're really an interesting and unusual, and kind of unparalleled in this moment in time in music, group. And today, it's really him.

STEWART: Mm-hmm.

Ms. GOODMAN: But there is - they are very prolific, but their music has changed very significantly over the years, and started as sort of way more lo-fi and has now merged to kind of be really quality folk pop. The songs are really good, and the songs have always been good, but I think the listenability of the songs has evolved over the last couple of years. And this record is really strong.

STEWART: All right. Let's listen to a track from The Mountain Goats, from its - their - his new record.

(Soundbite of laughter)

STEWART: Sax Rohmer #1.

(Soundbite of song, "Sax Rohmer #1)

Mr. JOHN DARNIELLE (Singer, Songwriter, The Mountain Goats): Ships loosed from their moorings, capsize and then they're gone. Sailors with no captains watch awhile and then move on. And an agent crests the shadows and I head in her direction. All roads lead toward the same blocked intersection. I am coming home…

STEWART: So, Lizzy, do you have to like The Mountain Goats to like this record, or can you just jump in at record number 11, if you don't know about them?

Ms. GOODMAN: Well, I would say now is as good a time as any to jump in. You know, he - I think it's John Darnielle.

STEWART: Yeah, Darnielle. I'm not sure how to pronounce it.

Ms. GOODMAN: Yeah, I'm not sure how to pronounce it. But he's - like I said, he writes really good songs, and sometimes they're more accessible than others. And I think this is his - on this album, they're as accessible as they're probably going to get. And, you know, like you just heard there, he's a very literary, sort of quirky songwriter, but the melody and the music behind these songs is really sort of broad in its appeal, I think. So, yeah, this is a good time to get in, get in on The Mountain Goat thing.

STEWART: Broaden its appeal. That's going to take us to our next segment, by the way. Lizzy Goodman, editor-at-large at Blender magazine. Thanks a lot, Lizzy.

Ms. GOODMAN: Thank you so much for having me.

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