Brian Hiatt
September 26, 2003 AT 04:00 AM EDT

From subterranean hip-hop to old-fashioned indie rock, here are five alternative choices for the soundtrack to your season:

SOUL POSITION 8,000,000 Stories Producer RJD2 and rapper Blueprint continue a fruitful collaboration on their first full-length CD together. As RJD2 wreaks sampledelic havoc with horns, breakbeats, guitars, and movie dialogue, Blueprint applies his flow to topics ranging from layoffs (”F — -ajob”) to childhood memories (”Candyland Part 1”). As with RJD2’s Deadringer (2002), Stories should reach beyond the backpack-wearing clique. (10/7)

BASEMENT JAXX Kish Kash While much of the dance underground hides within micro-genres, this duo’s explosive, song-savvy productions demand to be heard by everyone. Kish Kash continues their journey toward radio-friendly pop, with most tracks boasting a guest vocalist, including Siouxsie Sioux, Meshell Ndegeocello, and even ‘N Sync’s JC Chasez. (10/21)

THE RAPTURE Echoes On their first album since their hipster-beloved 2002 dance-rock single ”House of Jealous Lovers,” the post-punks have made two smart moves: They included ”House,” and they tried to follow its thump-meets-crunch example. The results (heavily tweaked by dance producers the DFA) evoke the Cure and Public Image Ltd. — plus Duran Duran and, well, A Flock of Seagulls. (10/21)

THE SHINS Chutes Too Narrow These Albuquerque, N.M., guitar-pop purveyors awed critics with Oh, Inverted World, their retro-gorgeous 2001 debut. Chutes again offers enigmatic lyrics and so-pretty-they’re-melancholy choruses, but with a more forward-looking tilt (is that a synthesizer on ”So Says I”?)and more aggression (if the gentle boogie of ”Turn a Square” can be considered such). (10/21)

THE STILLS Logic Will Break Your Heart The Montreal quartet occasionally, er, echoes Echo and the Bunnymen and the Smiths, but their uncommonly tuneful debut makes the most of its obvious influences. Appealingly anguished lead crooner Tim Fletcher (sample lyric: ”Love and death are always on my mind”) is less aloof than his ’80s idols, and the album’s meaty arrangements (intertwined guitars, fatback drums, hummable bass lines, the occasional glockenspiel) are as forceful as they are dreamy. (10/21) — BH

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