As with any highly anticipated release from a pop siren, there's sure to be predictable praise from diehard fans: think of all the Janet devotees who've supported her multiple failed attempts to relaunch as an pop icon, instead of a wardrobe-malfunctioning pariah. Also to be expected are the rip-to-shreds haters who will use any sign of weakness as bait. For miniature Aussie pop goddess Kylie Minogue, her 10th effort, X, was receiving equal amounts of love and hate many moons before its repeatedly pushed-back release date. Thanks to the cyberpirates of the techno-age, Minogue's aural goodies were offered up for all of the online world to hear even before the official tracklist was determined.
Leakage aside, opinion didn't deter this überpop-tart from bringing a fiercer, more sexed-up version of her already adorable self to the dozen tracks on the uneven but thoroughly enjoyable X. Highlights include the vampy swagger of opener "2 Hearts" and the frenetic disco-meets-electro jam "In My Arms," written and produced by Scottish electro prodigy Calvin Harris and laced with his signature warped, underwater synths and pert handclap percussion. In its weaker moments, X sounds like a mashup of modern pop heavies. The robotic chant of "Speakerphone" recalls a made-for-TV version of Daft Punk's "Harder, Better, Faster, Stronger" and "Nu-di-ty" is a Britney-esque banger, with jolts of ripping bass and nasally vocal "whoops" that would have fit perfectly into the guiltily pleasurable Blackout (2007). Back in her skyscraping stilettos, Kylie proves with X that her kitten-with-a-whip dance anthems still titillate. (Hayley Elisabeth Kaufman)
Eighteen years after debuting with the alluringly odd Pod (4AD), and 15 since careening full force into the mainstream for a few months with the bubble-bass alterna-anthem "Cannonball," the Breeders return with Mountain Battles, their fourth album in nearly two decades. While hardly prolific, the Kim Dealled enterprise has been successful in concocting fetchingly askew garage-pop, and their latest presents the band in marvelously fevered, fearless form, covering a considerable amount of stylistic and emotional territory over the course of 35 minutes.
Deal's exuberantly woozy vocals remain as cough syrupthick as ever, and the microphone give-and-take with sister Kelley once again yields delectable results. "Bang On" a fiercely minimal hip-wiggling thump à la ESG focuses around the chanting proclamation, "I love no one, and no one loves me," with Kim's sunny assertion of the phrase chased by Kelley's frowning echo. Elsewhere, the opiated melodica backdrops of "Istanbul" make for a seductive travelogue, as does "Regalame Esta Noche," an exquisitely vulnerable Spanish-language ballad rendered in the dustiest, huskiest of tones. Listeners seeking the familiar Breeders guitar-chug, however, will gleefully throw themselves face-first into the psychedelicized swirls of "Overglazed," an ecstatic thunderer set a-twitch by Kim's howling repetition of a simple, inarguable line: "I can feel it." Honestly, though: who couldn't? (Todd Lavoie)
With Colour Revolt
April 30, 8 p.m., $23
333 11th St., SF
Om: Miami 2008
Back when I was a younger young 'un, Om helped open my ears to the world of San Francisco house music. I'd waste gallons of gas I couldn't afford, driving around listening to the likes of Miguel Migs and Colette because my car had a decent sound system.