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New Music July 21 2009: Jordin Sparks, Fiery Furnaces, Modest Mouse

What to Download: New Music Today

Tuesdays are big in entertainmentville: not only do all the new DVD releases hit Netflix, but new music also pours into stores. So I take a spin through each week's music releases and pick out some albums and tracks worthy of a download.

Pop idol: Jordin Sparks, American Idol's sixth winner, is back today with her second album, and it sounds like a solid collection of the pop/R&B tunes we've come to expect from this teenager. Battlefield kicks off with some driving beats in songs like "SOS" and "Walking on Snow," then later slips in some ballads like "Was I the Only One." The song "Emergency (911)" reminds me of Rihanna, and I could see "It Takes More" doing well on the radio.

Everything all at once: The Fiery Furnaces is a band that does "weird" in the best sense of the word. Brother-and-sister duo Matthew and Eleanor Friedberger's releases aren't necessarily easy listens, but they contain some of the most creative indie rock around. The new I'm Going Away is relatively straightforward for a Fiery Furnaces release, but that's only if you consider things like wild syncopation, jazz-influenced riffs, and breathlessly rushed lyrical delivery "straightforward." I'm digging "I'm Going Away," which has an old-timey vibe that got me bouncing in my desk chair, and the folky "The End Is Near."

For one more release to check out, just


A modest proposal: Modest Mouse has been releasing new material and old B-sides for a while now leading up to August's No One's First, and You're Next EP, and today, the latest of those singles is out. Perpetual Motion Machine contains two tracks: the title song, which has a swingy, big-band, brass-backed feel, and the guitar-based, slightly more expected "History Sticks to Your Feet."

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