Alright, Still (Capitol)
This Cockney-accented, potty-mouthed London girl has been hopping around magazine covers in her homeland and gaining a rep stateside via leaked tracks. Her debut album is a charismatic pastiche of well-worn Britpop-infused ska with club-ready, post-Gorillaz rhythms. Allen takes silly boys, bad girls and little brothers to task and gets a lot of mileage out of exposing everyone else’s drug habits. The single “Smile” is a wicked good time and the Northern Soul–style remix (included on this U.S. edition) is mighty fine, too.
The World As I See It (King Street Sounds)
New Jersey’s Ferrer is an artist’s idea of a house producer. He changes styles from track to track on this album of originals, emulating Afrobeat on “Son of Raw” and doing up gospel on “Run Free.” Top notch.
100 lbs (K!7)
On the 11th anniversary of their original release, Matthew Herbert’s seminal trio of EPs—“Radio,” “Ready to Rockit” and “Part One,” released under the aliases Wishmountain, Doctor Rockit and Herbert, respectively—are collected in one package with a bunch of extras. More than a decade later, Herbert’s take on techno and house is still smart, elegant and generally free of cliché.
All I Can Provide (Sonar Kollektiv)
Hill works with a who’s who of dance producers (Vikter Duplaix, King Britt and Georg Levin) on this electronic-soul album that’s meant for the European dance floor. Her vox works well with chilly, sci-fi versions of deep house, broken beat and more, and her foray into folk-lounge, with Levin, is a surprising success.
A Touch of Class
Still Sucks! (A Touch of Class Recordings)
This New York City–based, Swiss-born electro-trash remix outfit is credited with discovering the Scissor Sisters, but don’t go holding that against the group. On this collection, the duo puts a glammy, disco-rock edge on tracks by Erasure and Le Tigre. The highlights are a ballsy treatment of the Gossip and fey Swiss popsters Waldorf.
8-Bit Operators: The Music of Kraftwerk (Receptors Music/Astralwerks)
Cover versions of the Teutonic electronic gods rendered in the crisp fidelity of vintage video-game technology? Nerd alert. Even in fried circuit versions, classics like “Pocket Calculator” and “The Model” are recognizable. But as well executed as some of these tributes are, the 8-bit, vintage-Atari tweaking scene lacks the necessary authentic German accents to seal the deal.—John Dugan