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Brian Setzer Orchestra

Dirty Boogie ~ Brian Setzer has spent much of his career revving up already hot retro styles to a booming pitch. While this generally worked in his early years with the rockabilly Stray Cats, it largely fails with his swing orchestra. Louis Prima--whose "Jump Jive an' Wail" is faithfully remade here--wasn't exactly the king of subtlety himself, but even he might have covered his ears at the blare produced by the combination of Setzer's (admittedly sharp) guitar playing and a too-bright horn section. A couple of The Dirty Boogie's cuts are cute ("You're the Boss," an Elvis Presley/ Ann-Margret duet, is recast for Setzer and No Doubt frontwoman Gwen Stefani), but fans of the Cherry Poppin' Daddies and Big Bad Voodoo Daddy might think twice. --Rickey Wright

Smashing Pumpkins

Adore ~ With Adore, Smashing Pumpkins return to the forefront of rock to do a dance with a new partner. Trading white-noise vocals and guitars for caramel crooning and dense synthesizers, frontman Billy Corgan drives bandmates James Iha and D'Arcy to a lush aural plateau. The darkness is still there--evidenced in the techno throb of the single "Ava Adore"--but the Pumpkins also tinker with Lennonesque lullabyes ("Behold! The Night Mare"), midtempo electronica ("Appels and Oranjes"), and tender calliope music ("Once Upon a Time"). Smartly, Corgan rarely upstages the watery sounds going on behind him; the trademark midsong blowouts are almost completely absent. Adore will strike your ears and heart in a way you didn't think the Smashing Pumpkins could. --Jason Josephes



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