There are the records you like that everyone else seems to like, and the records you like that very few people have heard. And then there are the records you like that everyone else who has heard them seems to despise, the records that sank, or nearly sank, musicians' careers. At the top of that third stack, for me, is Bob Mould's modulate. Before it came out in 2002, Mould was known as an indie-rock guitarist, writing grim, angry, straightforward songs. modulate, though, was half mumbled and half AutoTuned, flipping disconsolately between dirty guitars and a low-budget version of the Pet Shop Boys, composed partly on synthesisers that sounded as if he'd just bought them; it was dance music that nobody could dance to, a collection of could-have-been hits undermined and overrun by brassily programmed samples, police sirens, bells, boxy electronic drums, and other touches that repelled a rock audience without going out of its way to grab anyone else.