One of the hottest names in dance-pop -- he helmed sessions for Britney Spears, though they ended disastrously, and he rejected a plea to work with Janet Jackson -- James Murphy, the driving force behind LCD Soundsystem and the Brooklyn-based DFA label, has deep, deep roots in the too-cool world of indie-rock. His merger of these two disparate universes creates a dynamic explosion on this two-CD set, which consists of one proper nine-song album and a collection of singles and alternate mixes.

If it weren't for the irresistible electronic grooves and platinum-tipped hooks, LCD Soundsystem could be dismissed as a rock critic's guilty pleasure. With much greater skill than label mates the Rapture, Murphy shamelessly plunders riffs and mannerisms from post-punk gods such as the Fall, Gang of Four and Suicide, and he cheerfully mocks -- while simultaneously feeding -- that whole hipper-than-thou indie mindset. In a deadpan voice laid over the riveting groove of "Losing My Edge" from the second disc, he claims to have been at the first Can show in Cologne in 1968, adding that he told Captain Beefheart's first band, "Don't do it that way, you'll never make a dime."

But the fact is you don't need to know any of these rock-school references in order to lose yourself in the throbbing bass lines, cowbell- and handclap-heavy grooves, and anthemic melodies of tracks such as "Daft Punk Is Playing at My House," "Movement" and "Disco Infiltrator," and this of course is the reason that Murphy appealed to Spears and Jackson in the first place.

"Intelligent dance music" is a phrase much-bandied-about by underground critics, but Murphy's biggest gift is that he could care less how his music is labeled or what it means, as long as everyone is having fun. "It's like a movement/Without all the bother/Of all of the meaning," he sings, and more power to him.



Brit-pop fans hungry for the new Coldplay album could do worse than checking out the third release from Doves, which debuted last week at No. 1 on the U.K. albums chart, propelled by the delectable Motown-flavored single "Black and White Town."

Debuting with "Lost Souls," (2000), the trio introduced a mix of vintage Pink Floyd atmospherics and modern dance-club energy. It strays even further from that sound here than it did on "The Last Broadcast" (2002), but this is a much stronger album, thanks to a bounty of indelible hooks powering what would otherwise be a collection of downer songs portraying hard times in their native Manchester, a city in the throes of industrial decline and urban decay.

Like the best bands from the early-'90s "Madchester" scene, Doves responds to the sadness of its surroundings by pushing the motivational grooves, turning up the sing-along choruses and dancing until the worries fade, and those are hard impulses to deny.