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november, 26th
"Torture Day (Loup)" 

Now that the genre's been officially declared dead, the U.S. debut of this krautrock trio reminds us why alternative was dubbed "alternative" to begin with: it didn't fit neatly into little boxes, and spilled messily into such seemingly incompatible categories as arcane art rock, ironically earnest anti-folk and Mall of America metal. Wisely bypassing the Beckian detour into rap that only Beck can pull off, The Notwist adds electronica to the equation -- a venture well served by the bedrock rhythms built by bassist Michael Acher and drummer Martin Messerschmidt on actual instruments. Though Markus Acher's junkie- on- the- nod vocals strive for mesmerism and sometimes simply bore, The Notwist has the good sense to reinvent his more self- indulgent lapses with their own remixes: "Torture Day ('loup')" redeems "Torture Day." They're also smart enough not to hide their knack for arena- size hooks that kick serious butt. 

Cree McCree