* The Postelles — The Postelles (+1 Records)
Ten years after the release of Is This It, the first Strokes album, comes the self-titled debut by fellow New Yorkers The Postelles, who sound like their scrappier and happier younger brothers. Giving a stamp of approval of sorts is Strokes guitarist Albert Hammond Jr., who had a hand in producing some songs on the album (out now), which features lean, compact tunes about budding and bumpy relationships. Highlights include “123 Stop,” “Boy’s Best Friend” and “Hey Little Sister.”
* The Japanese Popstars — Controlling Your Allegiance (Astralwerks)
A threesome from Northern Ireland, The Japanese Popstars specialize in electronic dance music that occasionally touches the same territory as Depeche Mode and Kylie Minogue (two artists whose recordings they’ve remixed). The hypnotic, textured Controlling Your Allegiance (due June 21) is the group’s second album, and it marks the first time vocalists — some of them well known — have been featured. A spacey Robert Smith of The Cure is a good fit on “Take Forever,” and Jon Spencer (he of Boss Hog and Jon Spencer Blues Explosion fame) leaves an evil mark on “Destroy,” the first single.
* Spring Offensive — Pull Us Apart (Burning Building Records)
A mathematician going senile over his work, a shipwrecked person composing his final message, a man being forced to eat what’s in his wallet: These are not typical subjects for rock songs, but Spring Offensive makes them work on Pull Us Apart (due June 21). This quintet from Oxford, England, makes music that’s intriguing and intense, as well as serious and studious (think The Walkmen and World Leader Pretend), but they also know how to craft a good hook. “Every Coin” is the best of the bunch.
— By Chris M. Junior