The Cardigans: Mattias Edwall
Ryan Dombal
September 22, 2006 AT 04:00 AM EDT

New tunes by the Cardigans and Ima Robot

THE CARDIGANS, ”I  NEED SOME FINE WINE AND YOU, YOU NEED TO BE NICER”
Since their brief dalliance with alt-rock stardom in the ’90s, this Swedish quartet has gotten better, rougher, smarter. This track may have an emo-worthy title, but its stark chronicle of the psychological battles between longtime lovers is anything but. ”It’s been a long, slow collision/ I’m a pit bull, you’re a dog,” sneers frontwoman Nina Persson. Not exactly Valentine’s Day material, but it’s got bite. Watch the video at the Cardigans’ site.

IMA ROBOT, ”CREEPS ME OUT”
Unconditional adoration can be scary. Sounding like a collaboration between Devo and Weird Al, the goofy ”Creeps Me Out” tells of a robot-like girlfriend who has a knack for looking past her significant other’s faults — riding the tenuous line between love and cloying stalkerism. Watch the video on YouTube and buy the track on iTunes.

THE ZUTONS, ”VALERIE”
This would just be another lost-love sob story, except the pair at the center of this deceptively upbeat Rolling Stones-style track seem to be separated by cold penitentiary bars. ”Are you shoppin’ anywhere?/  Changed the color of you hair?/ Are you busy?” wonders singer David McCabe. The accompanying jailbreak video provides a rewarding conclusion to the track’s drama. Watch the video at the band’s site and buy the track on Rhapsody.

BEACH HOUSE, ”MASTER OF NONE”
Subtlety is key when it comes to this Baltimore male-female duo. They wring strong emotion from slight drum-machine beats, soft organs, and polite guitars. Completing the dreamy soundscapes is Victoria Legrand’s tranquil vocals, which float above the fog with ease. Download the track for free courtesy of Carpark Records.

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