The Both, "The Both" (Super Ego)

Aimee Mann and Ted Leo forge an unlikely partnership as the Both. She specializes in well-crafted, melancholy pop laced with sardonic wit; he comes from a punk-rock background and writes bracing, emphatic songs with rousing choruses. They share a words-first songwriting sensibility. A tour together led to shared stage time, which led to long-distance songwriting. They co-wrote all 11 songs here, and the results are less a seamless whole than a fascinating, and usually successful, amalgamation.These songs, mostly duets, bristle with electricity and rock harder than what Mann has done in the past, and it seems less alien to hear Leo join in on a mid-tempo ballad like "Hummingbirds" than it is to hear Mann rev up on a rocker like "Milwaukee." The skillful songcraft — and obvious joy in the collaboration — shine through.

Steve Klinge, Philadelphia Inquirer

streaming audio

Canada's Tokyo Police Club returns with its third full-length, "Forcefield," a polished collection of well-crafted guitar indie pop. Due on Tuesday, it's now streaming at New York Times "Press Play"

jon bream