EW Staff
July 09, 2004 AT 04:00 AM EDT

Eight albums every alt rocker should have

FRANZ FERDINAND, ”Franz Ferdinand” (Epic) What it might sound like if David Bowie and David Byrne spent a long night at Glasgow’s top discotheque…and then decided to record an album on their way home. YOU’VE HEARD THEM ON ”The O.C.”

DEATH CAB FOR CUTIE, ”Transatlanticism” (Barsuk) Soaring, goose-bump-inducing anthems for guys (and girls) with thick glasses and romantic difficulties. Album opener ”The New Year” is an anti-holiday classic. YOU’VE HEARD THEM ON Surprise! ”The O.C.”

MODEST MOUSE, ”Good News for People Who Love Bad News” (Epic) After years spent making innovative but inaccessible art rock, the Northwest act has settled into an eccentric but unforgettable off-kilter pop sound. YOU’VE HEARD THEM ON A Nissan minivan commercial.

YEAH YEAH YEAHS, ”Fever to Tell” (Interscope) A messy mix of blues-rock stomp, garage-rock rattle, and punk-rock rage, the debut from this Brooklyn trio also includes the luminous ballad ”Maps.” YOU’VE SEEN THEM ON The MTV Movie Awards.

INTERPOL, Turn on the Bright Lights (Matador) With their lovely debut album, these Joy Division-worshipping New Yorkers were one of new-alternative’s earliest success stories. YOU’VE SEEN THEM ON The WB’s concert program Pepsi Smash!

THE POSTAL SERVICE, ”Give Up” (Sub Pop) Death Cab frontman Ben Gibbard teams up with laptop techno-dweeb Jimmy Tamborello; together they craft fey, ethereal electro-pop. YOU’VE HEARD THEM ON The trailer for the upcoming Zach Braff movie ”Garden State.”

THE SHINS, ”Chutes Too Narrow” (Sub Pop) A New Mexico band that makes irresistible retro power-pop. Once you hear their second impossibly catchy album, ”Chutes,” you’ll need a lobotomy to dislodge it from your brain. YOU’VE SEEN THEM ON ”Gilmore Girls.”

THE KILLERS, ”Hot Fuss” (Island) Does the new-alternative movement need a band influenced by Duran Duran? Sure, if they have songs as unabashedly infectious as ”Somebody Told Me.” YOU’VE HEARD THEM ON Nothing yet; one of their tunes is featured in an upcoming ”Six Feet Under.”

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