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Albums: Aug. 5, 2011

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Victorious Cast, Victorious
Nickelodeon star Victoria Justice & Co. play dress-up with a closetful of song and personality styles, but never find the right fit. Justice is best as the prom queen scorned (the edgy, jangly ”Beggin’ on Your Knees”), though she otherwise gets lost in a mirror maze of impeccably dull tween popcraft. B-Kyle Anderson

The Decemberists, iTunes Session
Covering favorites from their 10-year career as well as tracks by Leonard Cohen and the Fruit Bats, Portland, Ore.’s best chamber-rock quintet strip down to acoustic strums and quiet accordion squeezes. All the better to hear the magnificent storytelling on ”Shankill Butchers,” the gentlest hymn ever written about throat slashers. A-Melissa Maerz

Mat Kearney, Young Love
The Grey’s Anatomy stalwart punches up the rhythms on his latest batch of earnest folk-pop ditties, riding a sunny hip-hop beat on ”Hey Mama” and juicing ”Count on Me” with some African guitar action. BMikael Wood

Archers of Loaf, Icky Mettle
The ’90s indie-rock heroes had a wild-eyed energy and a knack for dropping sugary sweetness into shaggy blasts of feedback. The reissue of their 1993 debut rescues a bevy of lost singles (including the caustic ”What Did You Expect?”), further cementing Icky’s status as a holy grail of lovely, rumpled passion. AKA

Kendrick Lamar, Section.80
This new indie set from the Cali rhymer finds him surfing on the kind of jazz-infused beats A Tribe Called Quest and Guru did some 20 years ago. That, along with the heady lyrics on cuts like ”Rigamortus,” makes .80 worth a visit. BBrad Wete

Dir En Grey, Dum Spiro Spero
Japan’s finest shapeshifting metal machine’s latest may be their most bipolar, but it’s also their most complete. The moments of beautiful brutality help clear the muck occasionally built up by punishing slogs through the grind-and-growl swamp. B+KA

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