Eric Strickland, Eleanor Friedberger, Classixx: Critic’s Notebook

Notable recordings from the world of pop music.


Eleanor Friedberger shines as a storyteller. (Roger Kisby)

Eleanor Friedberger

As heaps of rock-and-roll memoirs continue to pour from the publishing houses, Friedberger isn’t waiting her turn. Her cleverly titled second album, “Personal Record,” is full of songs that unfold like journal entries – recounting strange places, cool characters, what everyone was wearing and regrets about commenting on what everyone was wearing. The music itself is slack, stylish rock with slight glam flourishes – stray grains of sonic glitter stuck between the diary pages.

Eric Strickland and the B Sides

On his satisfyingly straightforward new album, “I’m Bad For You,” this North Carolina songwriter sounds best when he’s singing about things that are far worse for you. “The Whiskey Seems to Always Change My Mind” channels Waylon Jennings in his sleepless prime, and “Methamphetamines” is appropriately twitchy. And though Strickland leans old-school, the opening line of “Crude Oil Blues” confirms that he’s living in 2013: “I pulled up to the gas pump and it was $5 a gal.”

Classixx

If you’re tired of partying like it’s 1999, then Daft Punk’s new album will take you to 1979, the new Disclosure album will transport you to 1989 and “Hanging Gardens” – the latest from Los Angeles duo Classixx – rewinds to somewhere around 1983. Fellow time travelers include LCD Soundsystem’s Nancy Whang and Pat Grossi of Active Child, who make memorable vocal cameos atop these foamy, post-disco dance tracks. But the album’s creamiest cuts are instrumental, including “A Fax From the Beach,”
a tune as strangely evocative as its title.

Chris Richards became the Post's pop music critic in 2009. He has covered D.I.Y. house shows, White House concerts, go-go and Gaga.
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Ron Charles · June 3, 2013