Mindpower: The Liberal Defense
Alkaline Trio I Lied My Face Off Asian Man Records This 4-song EP has great healing properties -- fast and furious but melodic and emotional -- when the four combine and live together in relative peace and harmony, there exists an equilibrium of soporific mirth. Um, at least there is for me. It's very cool and highly recommended.
7 Notas 7 Colores Buah! -- The Mixes Kool Arrow Records The first single from 7 Notas 7 Colores's debut album "Hecho, es Simple," gets the remix treatment. There are five versions of this song, including two different instrumentals, and an extra track, "Chico, no es un buen negocio." This is some of the best "Rap en Español" I've heard in a while.
7 Notas 7 Colores Hecho, es simple Kool Arrow Records I've listened to "Hecho, es simple" three times in a row, and I'm going for a fourth. This is no ordinary rap group. Dive Dibosso lays down simple yet powerful beats that serve as a background for Mucho Muchacho's conversational rap style. I dare you to keep up with him as he recounts the struggles of living in Spain's working class. They are already one of Spain's highest grossing groups, with a second album already released in Europe. If you like in your face rapping by the likes of Control Machete, Molotov, or Illya Kuryaki y Valderramas, this album is for you.
Against All Authority/The Criminals Exchange Sub City Florida's AAA and Cali's The Criminals team up to play some punk rock. This isn't a split CD where each band plays their own material. On this, the two bands play together, kicking out some uptempo punk rock with a snotty attitude. These two bands are very political and the album benefits the Berkeley Free Clinic and has information on cleaning needles. Buy it for the cause, listen to it for the music.
All Systems Go self-titled Coldfront Records Returning to punk rock are John Kastner (ex-Doughboys), Frank Daly and Mark Arnold (both ex-Big Drill Car). I don't want to leave out their drummer Matt Taylor, either. The vocal duties are divided between John and Frank. Personally, I love Frank vocals, as I'm a long-time fan of Big Drill Car -- and John has a damn good voice as well. The music is a blend of power-pop and punk rock, keeping mid- to uptempo pace and loaded with melodies. Bands like this can often end up sounding like a zillion others, but ASG has creative guitar work and tempo changes as well as distinct vocals that set them apart.
Allscars Introduction to Humanity Slowdime Recorded during three different performances, Allscars are an improv band of sorts combining jazz, noise, ethnic rhythms and occasional vocals to form a unique sound. The result is often abstract and lacks an underlying melody, but showcases the creativity and musicianship of the many that participate. Instruments vary with each track and include keyboards, trumpet, maracas, guitar, pennywhistle, alarm clock, reeds and more.
Aloha The Great Communicators, the Interpreters, the Nonbelievers Polyvinyl Records Aloha's new five song ep showcases the band's diverse array of sounds. Jazzy passages and prog rock flow together seamlessly. Aloha's use of instruments such as the vibes and synthesizers add greatly to the songs and their arrangements. I imagine these guys would be a very interesting live act, watching the musicians interact and seeing how the songs evolve in a live setting. This is very impressive.
Alpha Plan City of Bastards Earwig This New Zealand trio is pissed, but that's a good thing for you and me. Alpha Plan serves up some angry, dark post-punk that recalls fellow Kiwi rockers Bailter Space. The band's performance is incredibly tight, with the rhythm section providing a solid foundation for John Howell's aggressive guitar work. Lyrically, Alpha Plan attacks the socio-economic injustices of the modern world, with City of Bastards being a concept record centered around that general theme.
Alt.Country Exposed Roots K-Tel Records I think I got slipped a mickie. This country compilation is hardly alternative country. Not that I'm an expert, but this sounds remarkably mainstream. Hell, I recognize a couple of the songs and I barely listen to country music. If you like country music, this is a nice mix of artists and styles. Nuff said.
Althea Ladders To Climb and Stones To Throw Unshared Worldwide Hailing from the Tampa, Florida area, this three-piece has created powerful emo/indie rock. The emotional aspects of the music are intense and the vocals help to capture it. Some songs progress at a mid-tempo pace while others are a little more upbeat. Every song, though, drives forward in a progression that continuously crescendos a new energy revealed constantly.
Amber Amber Tommy Boy Amber is a hot chick with a good voice. Luckily, she has more going for her than just that. With powerful vocals (sometimes reminiscent of Madonna), dance beats and a disco sensibility, Amber creates some very fresh sounds (ranging from upbeat to ballad-tempo). Factor in that she writes most of her own lyrics (rare in the dance music world) and she gains even more clout.
Amen Sunglow Primal Music Amen are a Euro-synth dance music outfit. Not "electronica," but more in the vein of 80's dance groups the techno kids were wild about. This is danceable, with great electronic sounds and driving melodies and beats for all the new wave dance music fans. For all the accomplished bells and whistles, it's the dual vocals that win me over.
American Steel Rogue's March Lookout! Records This is straight-ahead punk with some emo thrown in. I really dig the breakdown on "Every New Morning." It starts off like a regular churning, hooky punk breakdown and then really slows down to some emo sound before kicking it up again. And "One of these days" is really cool, too. Hell, it's just cool overall.
Ann Beretta To All Our Fallen Heroes Lookout! Records Lookout! does it again. This new band (at least new to me) Ann Beretta is a kick-ass punk band out of Richmond, VA. They play around a little, touching on some rockabilly and ska, and even slowing it down for a punk "ballad" on "Vengeance," but mostly it's straight-ahead punk. And good punk at that.
Anthem Eighty Eight Define A Lifetime No Idea Records You might wanna put on a bullet proof vest or some armor before you listen to this cause this hardcore assault can pierce skin. Featured are twelve tracks of intense, non-stop, pounding hardcore with breakdowns and tempo changes galore. The vocals are screamed and they fit the music perfectly. The lyrics are highly proactive, encouraging and empowering. Now that's good stuff!
Apocalypse Hoboken Inverse... Reverse... Perverse Suburban Home This is a collection of old and new stuff and it is good. Fast punk with a pop-punk feel -- this is a very-easy-to-listen-to disc. "Drunk Helen" and "Hopeless And Fucked" are two of the more noteworthy tracks on this 23 song disc. These guys have been rocking for a while and I hope to see more of them in the future.
Apocalypse Hoboken Microstars Kung Fu Records The thing that attracted me to punk rock was that some bands -- like the Circle Jerks and Fear- were more rock and roll than the rock and roll bands of the period. More sex, more gratification, more rage and destruction. Apocalypse Hoboken exceeds this bill. You can feel what they sing: the drunken coming delirium. Ahh, excess is best: get this lovely catchy disc.
As Friends Rust self-titled EP Doghouse Records This band is a pleasant surprise. Hailing from Gainesville, Florida, these five fellas play powerful hardcore with emo influences. Tempo changes are constant and creative, flowing from point to point seamlessly. There's an energy that grabs you with every track, sucking you into the deep melodies and intensely good vocals. AFR also displays intelligence with personal and socially-triggered lyrics. Sometimes I hear old Fuel seeping through songs here and there -- and that's a huge compliment. I can't wait to hear the full-length (out on Doghouse soon), ‘cause five songs just aren't enough!
Assholeparade Student Ghetto Violence No Idea Records These Gainesville rockers have released a compilation of "all of our previously released vinyl recordings." If you haven't heard these Florida freaks then you're in for some punishment. The music goes from hardcore to speedcore. The great thing about the music is the ability to put melody and hooks in songs this fast and intense. Little breakdowns here and there breakup the speedcore attack and create a more creative final product than just 30 seconds of screaming, pounding and strumming. Featured are 45 tracks and plenty of political attitude throughout.
Aunt Beaph 2000 AB Crustacean Records And the winner of the "odd disc of the month" award goes to S Aunt Beaph! This is kind of like Mr. Bunglemetal but they mix it up with piano and goofy stuff to keep it lively. It's different but good. If that's what you're after, stop reading now.
Badtown Boys Another Fine Day New Red Archives Fast-paced punk music with a middle of the road attitude. The guitars are a bit meatier than you'd expect from a punk band, which gives "Another Fine Day" a bit of an edge. The title of the record implies not what the singer is experiencing, but rather what he wishes he could. Just listening to the lyrics reveals that he is actually having a rather bad day. Broken relationships, political unrest, and desperation are some of the problems he's experiencing on a regular basis. Hopefully the singing will get him feeling a bit better.
Bane It All Comes Down To This Equal Vision Records Bane is a hardcore band out of the Northeast. They're not super-hardcore though. Well, I guess their songs are but they have these really cool interludes between songs that are really, musically speaking, amazing. Classical guitar, really great acoustic harmonics, they're almost chilling. It mixes things up very nicely and keeps you on edge. Nice disc.
Beaver Lodge Man's Ruin Records Lately it seems that Man's Ruin has been enjoying a lucky streak, releasing record after record that completely rocks you out and leaves you on the floor, mouth agape. Beaver's "Lodge" is no exception. Tempos change, guitars hit bottom as you sway your head to the beat. If you like anything that has come out by Man's Ruin in the last few months, you'll like this one. Keep ‘em coming!
Beefcake Rejected Fearless Records When I first saw this disc I thought that I was about to be faced with yet another pack of no talent retards who write funny songs (Bob Sagat, I Hate You). Happily, I was wrong. They are retards who play quite well. They have talent coming out of their asses and they would probably show you if you were to ask them. This is a fun, cool disc.
Believe It Or Nots There's a Great Future In Plastics EP Urinine Records Out of Kansas comes this four-piece of anything but country. Featured on this five-song EP are power pop tunes in the indie vein. There's an energy in every song, furthered by tight, solid melodies that will get you singing along in no time. These guys have opened for such acts as The Get Up Kids and Vitreous Humor great bands that they deserve to share the stage with.
Big Wig Stay Asleep S Kung Fu Records I heard "Sellout" on the Serial Killer comp, and this CD has that track plus 13 more (14 if you count the hidden track). This is filled with anthemic yet critical hardcore and pop punk songs. To their credit Big Wig are accessible and positive yet don't sound like they're "bringing it back." I really dig this: the music rocks, the vocals are sung with emotion (check "Smile"), and the whole record exudes an optimism despite less than positive situations.
Blanks 77 C.B.H. Radical Records This is old school raw punk rock. They make a big deal out of the fact that there are two punk lesbians making out in the cover, so I will pass along that information to you. Yippie Ding. There are some good tracks on this disc. Lots of energy and power. It's pretty good stuff.
Blotorch self-titled Wicked World So much violence in the world. So many ways to destroy yourself or others . Personally I find it difficult to imagine them all. Not so Blotorch. In songs with titles such as "King of Karnage" and "Bloodstains(Canvas of a Switchblade Solution)" they cover several. There are 7 other tracks on their selftitled CD that pretty well cover the rest of them. That said, they're a tight band with thrashing guitar and drums. The harsh voiced lead singer growls out his malevolence with the confidence of a man who has yet to be sued by the parents of an idiot teen follower. Driving beats make you wanna thrash. Gory lyrics may make you wanna hurl.
Bob Tilton The Leading Hotels of the World Southern Records Keying in on their aggressive indie rock stylings, Bob Tilton is ready to rock your world. This is a five-piece of British lads, none of which are named Bob or Tilton (the name is taken from that of an American evangelist TV star). Their sound is akin to that of Jawbox, The Dismemberment Plan and other indie-emo rock groups. But, Bob Tilton has a creative aggression all their own, with solid vocals and music that kicks your ass seconds after it lulls you into a melodic trance.
Bob Tilton Crescent Southern Records I was really pumped about hearing this after reading their press release but, as it usually is, they don't justify the hype. This is emo rock that really didn't do much for me. Musically it's not bad, maybe a little too twangy, but the singer lacks a lot.
Bozart Kurth Frenetic Records Bozart perform guitar and drum compositions for those interested in instrumentals. It's fairly accessible, as they set up a rhythm then build minor progressions onto it. About half the tracks are soothing, the other half are aggressive.
BQE (Brooklyn Queens is Enough) Live You & I OPE Entertainment Straight out of the 718 area code, BQE (Brooklyn Queens is Enough) throws a lyrical brick at your head with their aggressive, yet laid back beats. Whether purposefully or not, the sound is recorded a bit too hot, creating an overmodulated effect. Their samples of communications equipment (cell phones, police radios) give the music a nice touch. BQE's rapping is also very good, although the skits that populate rap albums seemed a bit lame.
Bright Eyes Every Day and Every Night Saddle Creek Records Every Day and Every Night is the latest effort from singer-songwriter Conor Oberst. Oberst's songs are reminiscent of East River Pipe's lo-fi home recordings with emotionally charged lyrics. The power of Oberst's lyrics coupled with his delivery is absolutely stunning. This is a hauntingly beautiful ep.
Bughead Kung Fu'd Locked Groove I'm probably the wrong person to be reviewing this. I've seen Bughead for years now, seeing them where they started in downtown Ft. Myers, Florida to their current home of Orlando. I've never been impressed. They play some reggae/punk/funk/ska sound that has no originality and meanders all over the place. I guess they figure if you have all those good sounds and you put them together it should make a great sound, but not so. If they'd find one sound and stick to it they might be good.
Built To Last S And Knowing Is Half The Battle Resurrection AD Records Built To Last has a hardcore intensity that allows it to be a step above the rest. Capturing the melodic, old school hardcore feel and adding an emotional aspect, this five-piece creates a non-stop aural assault. All ten tracks are tight, fierce angst-filled tunes.
Bustin'Roids Sucka Punch Fishbowl Records Another dumb song about a girl. This is track 2 of this powerSKA disc. This is a good disc from six dudes who really give their music their all. It is fast and fun. Reminiscent (in a strange way) of the VooDoo Glow Skulls.
By A Thread The Last of the Daydreams Revelation Records By A Thread is a Canadian four-piece that has wrapped itself around my musical mind and devoured it. The melodies are deep-rooted and driving while the emotion seems genuine and empowering. The vocals are intense but not overdone or over-screamed. The guitar and bass parts are creative, intricate and ever changing. At the same time, the drums are pounded with a fierce intensity, not getting ahead of the mid- to fast-paced music and not forgetting the tempo changes keep the music interesting. If Sunny Day Real Estate could still rock, and I mean rock, this is what they'd sound like.
Catch 22 Washed Up! Victory Records Ah yes, Don MacLean's "American Pie" covered by a ska-punk band. You just gotta love it. There's also a contest to attempt to decpiher the lyrics of one of Catch 22's live favorites, "The Death of My Blood is Your Indulgence." Best of luck, kids. There are some hidden live tracks at the end of the disc for your listening pleasure as well. All in all, this is a very cool ep.
Chigger Trampoline Satellite Records This is a five-song EP of indie pop. But it's not noisy, "didn't we just hear this song?" pop. It's fun, happy pop. Italia has a really pretty voice and the band is tight. It's a welcome change. Give your ears a treat.
D.U.I. The Assertion of Collaberation Napalm Ape Records Kevin Allesee is the front man for this punk rock assault on your ears. Screamed/shouted vocals are delivered at a rapid pace while the speed-punk (think: DRI, Agnostic Front, etc.) music is forced into your brain. Although the sound is a bit amateur, recording quality isn't very important on a release with such an aggressive sound in this case it is actually better that way.
Daddylonglegs Horse Pussyfoot The album opens with a smoothed out beat that made me wish I was rollerskating. From there, the rhythm goes on and the music bounces from track to track -- a mix of jazz and funk styles all put forth in an electronic format. Often opening with an ambient flow, every track seems to slowly drifts into dope beats and mixes.
DAMA 2000 A.D. Pussyfoot The album opens with a smoothed out beat Eternity Records · This is one of those discs that comes with a little explanation of each song. I hate those. If the song doesn't say what you want it to say, rewrite it. The music is heavy metal in the Stuck Mojo vein. It is okay, but not really special. It sounds almost as if they are trying too hard, like they are not enjoying what they are doing.
Deadbolt Voodoo Trucker Headhunter Records Did you make it to that haunted house that played Rockabilly music this year? If so, the music you heard was Deadbolt. If you like Rockablilly/surf guitar rock, you should check this out. It's fun to listen to the music set to the story of the Voodoo Trucker. Beware the Mocker S
Death on a Stick Industrial-Strength Jazz Just Cleveland's Past This retrospective chronicles the career of Cleveland's short-lived Death on a Stick. The Stick was a project of Cleveland area college radio dj's and friends in the mid-80's. The band's line-up changed frequently, adding to the diverse mix of sounds. There are elements of everything from psychedelic rock to free jazz and experimental noise. The Stick even covers artists such as Led Zeppelin and Thelonious Monk. While not for those who enjoy well-defined melodies and three minute pop songs, Death on a Stick is an interesting listen. So, when's the reunion tour?
Deep Reduction self-titled Get Hip Sounds ranging from '70s punk to The Doors to blues and pop, Deep Reduction refuse to be pigeon-holed in a particular style. Through and through, this album is rock twelve great tracks worth.
Divit Low Speed Chase Coldfront Records This is high energy punk with a definite hard edge. The sound is fast, raw and polished all at the same time. Thirteen tracks and some very cute Viking hats come together in a way that makes this disc an aural treat to feast your ears upon.
DJ Spooky That Subliminal Kid Subliminal Minded EP Outpost Recordings/Bar None Records In an effort to keep things in a constant state of change, DJ / roaming artist Paul Miller, a.k.a. DJ Spooky, releases Subliminal Minded EP, featuring deconstructed and reconstructed remixes of tracks from his last release, Riddim Warfare. Some of his guests (musical surgeons) include the Dub Pistols, Kevin Shields, Prince Poetry and Pharaoh Monche, Thuston Moore, Talvin Singh, Karsh Kale and DJ Wally. For those who enjoy DJ Spooky's mix of ambient, drum and base, hip hop, and illbient, this should hold you over just fine.
Donovan's Brain Eclipse and Debris Get Hip Recordings It's been two years since Eclipse and Debris was completed, and now this double album is finally ready to be released. Recorded between 1995 and 1997, it features two different lineups and includes a guest appearance by the Young Fresh Fellows on Tad's New Cymbal Stand Skips The Tour. Donovan's Brain's sound can best be described as pure psychedelic pop, with a few Beatles and Jimi Hendrix sounding parts. If you're into reverb and guitar effects, this CD is for you.
Dragbody Flip The Kill Switch Now or Never Records With the legendary Steve Albini working the controls, Florida's Dragbody delivers throat-slitting, heart-stomping scream-core. Musically agile, Dragbody isn't just screams and speed, there's much more to the music -- indie, emo and punk rock aspects keep this well above the rest.
Dynamite Boy Finder's Keeper's Fearless Records Dynamite Boy is ready to explode through your stereo with killer power pop-punk tunes loaded with melodies, hooks, catchy choruses and girl-related lyrics. Dynamite Boy fits in the same class as Digger, Loose Change and the sappier ALL tunes. Whether you're feeling blue or just fell in love, you'll smile to this.
Earlimart Filthy Doorways Devil in the Woods Earlimart takes its name from a small California town where kids have nothing better to do than put water balloons in the streets and wait for cars to run them over. (The water balloons, not the kids.) Well, this California quartet probably spent more of their time listening to music than engaging in childish pranks. Filthy Doorways is a diverse sounding record, with elements of indie rock, punk, and country for your listening pleasure.
Edaline I Wrote The Last Chapter For You Law Of Inertia Records Edaline gathers ex-members from Nuisance, Kid Dynamo and Conspiracy. They play emo rock like it should be played: loud and passionate. Their sound is a cross between Sunny Day Real Estate, Hum and The Flaming Lips. Lyrically, I Wrote The Last Chapter For You deals with an unfortunate breakup, recounting the unfortunate evening. The booklet expands a bit on this, giving the reader/listener more insight into the episode.
Enemy You Where No One Knows My Name Panic Button I'll be frank here. As a rule, I do not particularly like Japanese punk. Maybe it's the cryptic and alarming lyrics, I don't know. When I saw a couple of Japanese guys in this band I thought, "Crap... More Japanese punk." Today's lesson is: Do not judge a band by its ethnicity. This is good pop-punk. It's catchy and bouncy and very well produced. This is a disc that you will want in your collection.
Fifteen Allegra Sub City Whether you've seen ‘em live before or not, you've got to get this record. Fifteen has an energy unlike any other band. It's a combination of great music and honest dedication to a cause that makes it so amazing. Jeff Ott is committed to being an activist and he won't let you forget it. He's got great things to say and he lets it all hang out on this live recording from a '96 show in Berkeley. A mix of punk rock and hippie attitude combines to form some great, melodic, uptempo rock.
Grade Under The Radar Victory Records I am totally blown away by this powerhouse of an album. Grade is fierce and melodic at the same time. They can make you pound your fist and sway your hips in sync. Single songs travel from hardcore with screamed, intense vocals to a more emo sound with thick melodies and solid, well-sung vocals. At times, I wish the lead singer (Kyle) would not scream as much. He has such a great voice. Although, I understand the emotional intensity of it, sometimes it is just too much. In the end, though, I find myself enjoying both the screamed vocals and otherwise. This album is too damn good to be set back by something that minor.
Handsome Boy Modeling School So ... How's Your Girl? Tommy Boy Allow me to introduce, the gorgeous Nathaniel Merriweather and Chest Rockwell. You may know these "hotties" as Dan the Automator and Prince Paul. Welcome to the compilation of their look, feel and model schooling. As dope as their "good looks," Merriweather and Rockwell have enlisted such artists as Del Tha Funkee Homosapien, Encore, Mike D, Grand Puba, Dave from De La Soul, Sensational, DJ Shadow, EL-P from Company Flow and others. The result is a hot-ass mix of some of the freshest sounds in hip-hop today. One listen and you'll be better looking.
Hate Eternal Conquering the Throne Wicked World The name of the band says it all. There's no doubt that they hate something or everything a whole lot. You have to admire the speed at which they play even if you can't discern a melody. Guitarist Erik Rutan has no mercy on his instrument and Tim Yeung, the drummer, must have at least two extra limbs to pull off his part. If you dig speed metal this is good, not great but good.
Haywood Men Called Him Mister The Self-Starter Foundation If you take your time to let the jangle set in, it'll be too late and the rock will hit you. And you'll rock. And then you'll settle back in to more sentimental, heartfelt indie pop, only to be slapped with more rock. The music has a quirkiness that is familiar and the vocals have a shyness that is perfect. Each track flows naturally, nothing forced; a genuine piece of musical accomplishment. I have fallin' in love with a man called mister, or wait, is it Haywood? Either way, this is a hell of a record. Throw away your lacking Archers albums and inconsistent Modest Mouse seven-inches and bite into something real.
High School Sweethearts Passing Notes Get Hip Featuring powerful, lovely female vocals and pop melodies that make your toes tap, all sixteen tracks will transport you to the nearest sock hop. Ok, so maybe they're a little more punk than those Leave It To Beaver kids would like, but so what! This band includes ex-members of Electric Frankenstein and hardcore great Lifetime. As a bonus, Peggy Davison (original lead singer of ‘60s girl pop band The Angels) guests on a track.
Himsa Groundbreaking Ceremony Revelation Records Prepare to be aurally assaulted by this five-piece from Seattle. Although they don't want to be labeled as a hardcore band, I think it's fair to say they are. Himsa, though, breaks boundaries of that label, creating pleasant and unpleasant sounds that combine to form intense works of musical mayhem. Emotional, politically-aware and furious, Himsa delivers energized rage ten-tracks deep.
Hostile Omish One Horse Power Punge Records Sounding like a sloppier, less-skilled Dead Kennedy's, Hostile Omish deliver quick-paced tunes of stupidity. They lack any of the social commentary found in DK material, but the attitude and slop is right on point even the vocals are Biafra-like at times. I think this band would be better live than they are recorded.
I.C.U. Mad Truth Radical Records NYC's Intensive Care Unit is back with their third album, produced by Wharton Tiers (Sonic Youth, White Zombie, Helmet). Female vocals are the focus of ICU's melodic, sometimes heavy power rock. Pee Wee is a strong vocalist, delivering often insightful lyrics over simple, but intense riffs and a mid to uptempo beat (with a NYC punk feel). This is a solid release combining old school punk attitude and new school power rock.
Jeremy Boyle Songs From The Guitar Solos Southern Records I'll be the first to admit I don't know much about ambient music. This being ambient, I can't rightfully say yea or nay. I can say that it's trippy though. Trippiest stuff I've ever heard, makes Enya look like a bore. It's actually pretty cool because it all revolves around old guitar rock -- Kiss, Van Halen, Hendrix, etc. It's worth a spin.
Jersey The Battle's Just Begun Fueled By Ramen At first listen, Jersey gave me the impression they were trying too hard to be hard. But their catchy pop punk numbers had me singing along in short time, and some shortbacks in life have shown that the fighting they sing about can be interpreted as a metaphor for the daily struggle and the need for mental (and physical) toughness to stay sane. And all this with male and female vocals! Give yourself the joy of Jersey this X-mas.
Jonah's Onelinedrawing Sketchy EP #1 Crank! Records I was right! When I picked this up I thought "this looks like the worst one, it will probably be the best." This is one dude, his guitars, some other stuff and him just singing. It's cool, it's real and it's great. Side note: Jonah was the front-man for the great power-emo-rock band Far.
Jughead's Revenge Pearly Gates Nitro Records As dynamic as you can be while playing punk music, Jughead's Revenge manages to change things up a bit here and there on Pearly Gates. Most of this CD is raw and aggressive, but these punk pranksters throw in some surf rock (Swell), and a pretty good cover of The Cars' Just What I Needed. They do this quite on purpose, if only to piss off people who would like to tell them what punk music should sound like.
Julie Dorion and the Wooden Stars self-titled Tree Records With a solid pop sense and an indie attitude, Julie Dorion brings her acoustic-styled guitar pop and vocal skills to the forefront. The music is intricate, weaving guitar parts in and out, drums pounding a steady rhythm with precision while the vocals sway, strut, and slither along. Canada must be proud of this singer/songwriter/guitarist's ability to deliver smart, creative guitar-pop gems.
King for a Day Before I Go Initial Records King for a Day's latest contains some new and old material. Two of the songs are from King for a Day's now out of print self-titled 7". The band plays a heavier brand of emo, and with very good results.
Koufax Koufax Doghouse Records Koufax is the latest project from Rob Suchan, former frontman of the Leftovers. On this four song ep, Koufax skillfully incorporates keyboards into their emo-ish style. At times, they sound like a heavier version of the Rentals. The ep closes with the slow-building "So Long to You and I", a powerful ending for an impressive debut.
Land Speed Record The Corporate Secret Resin Records Borrowing from Devo as well as the Talking Heads, Land Speed Record let you in on "The Corporate Secret." Before revealing this secret, they clue you in on some personal feelings. Whether it's having sex with fax machines ("Interoffice Copulation") or corpses ("Dead Girlfriend"), you know this Baltimore trio has more than its share of sexual "issues." Finally, after learning about "someone's" penile dysfunction ("Viagra Orgy") The Corporate Secret is revealed. Unfortunately, the secret is not actually so. You'll have to listen to find out.
Lauren Hoffman From the Blue House Free Union Records This is a CD I didn't expect to appreciate so much. The songs have a catchy sensibility yet retain their own integrity. This is more reminscent of 80's female fronted groups like Edie Brickell. Lauren Hoffman bowled me over with her vocal delivery and the accountability in her lyrics. The only slight I can say is that the acoustic tracks are a bit too folky for me at times.
Maharahj Chapter One: The Descent Now or Never Records The guitar work on this hardcore-metal album is awesome -- it soars, it throbes, it grinds. Each track drives forward with a killer intensity and intricate sound --layers of music throughout each song. If you're looking for something fierce, but you want something creative, skillful and definitely not the same old thing -- bang your head to this.
Men Of Porn Porn American Style Man's Ruin Records This band gets my vote for best name. Because, if you think about it, aren't we all men of porn? Featuring former members from Ritual Device, Acid King, Swans and Helios Creed, MOP ride a wave of distortion right into the middle of your cranial cortex. It is best described as "slaughterhouse muzak."
Metropolitan Side Effects Crank Automotive Metropolitan catches you off-kilter from the very beginning, offering as a first track a haphazard nailing together of odd sound effects. But then this duo takes you into an amateurish but very emotional CD of sometimes-poppy, sometimes-soft music that's got some pretty impressive guitar and great lyrics.
Misfits Famous Monsters Roadrunner Records I know that I sound like a suck-up, but Roadrunner is a kick-ass label. They put out good shit and this is no exception. The Misfits have been around since the time of the dinosaurs (or at least disco) and though they are at least a decade older than me, they could kick my ass. The music is heavy and the lyrics are downright distasteful. I love it. This is the disc to buy this Christmas season. Give it to your Great Aunt Ethel. She'll love it.
Mr. T Experience Alcatraz Lookout Records More than a decade has passed and Mr. T Experience's Dr. Frank still has a sense of humor. The punk in their pop-punk has toned down a little bit, letting the pop shine through, like in "Naomi," a radio friendly tune about author Naomi Wolf. Not all songs are the same, though. In fact, MTX wanted to achieve a different emotion with each song. So much so, that they went through the trouble of recording each song in a different setting, in one case actually making the room hotter to affect the vocals. "Alcatraz" is a CD that should allow MTX's music to reach new audiences without alienating old ones.
Mutiny Rum Rebellion Hell's Ditch Though they've probably heard this a thousand times before, Mutiny sounds like an Australian version of the Pogues. Rum Rebellion is even released on the label Hell's Ditch, which is named for after the classic Pogues' album. But to dismiss them as being purely derivative would be quite unfair and totally inaccurate. Mutiny incorporates their own Australian roots into the traditional Irish folk stylings, and the results are impressive. This comes highly recommended.
Naïve Post Alcoholic Anxieties Kool Arrow Records You thought it as tough to be punk in the United States. Try Russia! Naïve really has problems to bitch about. Their country is in shambles, and they are almost pre-destined to die from alcoholism. Luckily, they have their music to keep them afloat. They realize that they are destroying themselves with alcohol, but at least that's better than killing yourself with heroin, or so their logic goes. Even though the lyrics are in Russian, you can feel the desolation and pain these guys are feeling.
New American Mob All Mob Cons EP RAFR Records Featuring Henry and Gabby from Spent Idols, New American Mob is drunk with rock and roll fury. I can almost see them flailing across the stage as the guitar soars and the vocals are delivered, angst-filled yet sexy. NAM is not short on melodies or hooks and these six songs will definitely reel you in.
NOFX The Decline Fat Wreck This may be NOFX's greatest accomplishment yet. Although this new release is only one song, it's better than anything they have ever done. More a musical composition than just another punk tune, the 18-minute anthem is wildly good. The music is melodic as hell, loaded with tempo and style changes -- from melodic power punk to slower pop punk to ska riffs -- and the lyrics are amazing, insightful and intelligent. At no time during the nearly twenty minute onslaught did I find myself bored with the music because it is constantly melting into variations, blasted through with breakdowns and harmonies. The hooks are absorbing, the pace is captivating and driving while the vocals are as good as always. Few bands could pull something like this off as well as NOFX has done.
Oblivion Sweatpants U.S.A. Suburban Home This patriotic trio plays some hard driving guitar rock. Their sound is very straight-ahead and melodic. Now, all they need is the Gap to use one of their rockin' tunes in a commercial. Everyone in sweatpants??? I smell an ad campaign.
Paris, Texas So, You Think It's Hot Here? Polyvinyl Record Company Paris, Texas has got all the makings of a great band. The various musical styles blend on So, You Think It's Hot Here? to make for a CD that is going in my collection. A mix of indie rock, pop and punk from the varied background of all the members. Check out the first ("Cadillac of High Hair") and eighth tracks ("Lt. Peterson").
Park Ave. When Jamie Went to London Urinine Records So the story goes, another band departing before I got to really know them. Curse Jamie for going to London (well, don't really curse her). Anyway, here's the deal, Jamie went to London and a great indie pop band has moved on (to such other projects as Bright Eyes and The Faint). The vocals go between male and female members of the band and are always great. You'll be bobbing your head in no time to the melodic, quirky music and singing along to each pop gem.
Peggen My Fluffy Period Primal Music This 5-song EP is the first release for Swedish singer-songwriter Per Erik Gustav Franchell, who goes by the shortened moniker of Peggen. Now living outside of Detroit, Peggen is immersing himself in American culture, enjoying things such as country music, karaoke, and fast-food. The country music influence hasn't quite set in just yet; Peggen performs catchy mellow pop that is reminiscent of the Eels. This is a good preview for his full-length debut which should be released early 2000.
Phobia Destroying The Masses Pessimiser Records Hardcore, grindcore, speed metal. It's loud, it's fast and I can't understand a f'ing word this guy is saying. Next S
Pinback Pinback Ace Fu Records Pinback is another of prolific singer-songwriter Rob Crow's many musical outlets. Previously known for his work with Heavy Vegetable, Crow now splits his time with several bands. With Pinback, Crow shares the musical load with fellow multi-instrumentalist Arimstead Burwell Smith IV. The duo plays a mellow indie-pop that is at times reminiscent of Lou Barlow's work with Folk Implosion. Maybe we could get Crow and Barlow together and they could spit out an album every other week or so.
Planes Mistaken For Stars Knife In The Marathon EP Deep Elm Hardcore has never had so much emotion. PMFS has injected straight-ahead, hardcore with heartfelt attitude. Characterized by vocals that are often screamed, sometimes sung, but always full of intensity, PMFS has created an original sound. The music is intricate, feeding off of complex breakdowns and weaving guitar parts.
Reach The Sky So Far From Home Victory Records The energy on this album is overflowing. Reach The Sky pack an emotional hardcore punch that you can't duck. The vocals are aggressive but not screamed, while the music has enough melody and tempo changes to make you dizzy. Reach The Sky play tough music that's akin to hardcore bands of the past like Insted and Gorilla Biscuits and more current bands such as Heckle and Lifetime so grab your board and show me how high you can ollie.
Saves The Day Through Being Cool Equal Vision Records With an average age of 20, Saves The Day seem to have their act together. Sounding a bit more mature than on their previous release, Can't Slow Down, STD plows ahead with their melodic but powerful sound, exploring heartbreak, youthful romance and teenage insecurities.
Scott Ritcher s/t Initial Ritcher plays solo acoustic, and I think he might fare better with a couple of people helping him out. The music isn't bad, but there's something missing good vocals, for one thing, and a little bit of percussion might make everything a little better.
Sense Field Part of the Deal GrapeOS Records After a three-year hiatus, Sense Field are back with a new five-song ep, Part of the Deal. The ep features two songs which will appear on the their new full-length, including the standout track "Open-Heart Surgery." This is an excellent preview for their upcoming album.
SIANspheric Else Sonic Unyon Recordings After 1995's critically acclaimed debut, "Somnium," SIANspheric has been less than lucky. One of the original guitarists quit the band, and the bassist left the group only four days into a tour as the opening act for Swervedriver. His replacement quit a year later. But they keep goingSgetting ready to release their second album. In the meantime, you can delight yourself with "else," a collection of remixes of "Planets," live performances of their electric guitar-backed ambient sounds, and an unreleased instrumental track.
Sixteen Deluxe The Moonman is Blue EP Sugar Fix Records After the lack of commercial success of their critically acclaimed "Emits Showers of Sparks," which caused Warner Bros. to drop them from their roster, Sixteen Deluxe returns with "The Moonman is Blue EP," an 18-minute jewel of sugar coated pop. The tone is a bit darker, but their affinity for noise remains, as evidenced in the nameless instrumental tracks. It's worth checking out while awaiting the release of their next full-length.
Softball Tenku Asian Man Records A little bit of pop-punk from this Japanese trio to keep you rockin' for about a half an hour. The singer sometimes sounds a bit aggressive, but that's all right. No groundbreaking material here, just straight melodic music.
Sons of Otis Temple Ball Man's Ruin Records As the large stack of speakers on the CD cover suggest, an immense wall of sound awaits the listener as he ventures into the world of Sons of Otis. Hailing from Canada, they specialize in "psychedelic space blues doom," full of heavy guitars and echo effects. Goes well with Acid King, Electric Wizard, Unida, Men of Porn, Lord Sterling and the Obsessed.
Spoon s/t Saddle Creek Spoon is a band with a full, complete acoustic sound. The music truly speaks for itself, as the vocals contained within perfectly complement each other. Definitely worth checking out.
Sri Gravity Reminds Me Blue Boy Records Sri has a pretty enough voice, and the music has enough of a poppy feel to make it fun and enough edge to keep you from overdosing on poppy. I still didn't like this cd. Sri's vocals go so poorly w/the music it's just annoying to listen. No new ground is covered in the lyrics, either. Everything's already been said on the subjects of love and angst, both heavily covered here, and said better.
Stubborn All-Stars Nex Music Stubborn Records For their third full-length album, the Stubborn All-Stars keep the beat going in a relaxed style with their classic sound. Guests include King Django, Victor Rice, Agent Jay, Victor Ruggiero, Eddie Ocampos, Lord Sledge and others. There's even a song in French and one in Spanish. This one's for fans of the early ska sound.
Sugar Spun Hollywood & Vine Orange Peal Records Well, this is sweet, they got that right. And I don't mean Cartman sweet, I mean dreamy, sugarcoated pop. This is one of the bands Hootie probably started as. It's just harmless, no frills pop. Bland but calming.
Swank The Think for Yourself Movement Fueled by Ramen For some reason this feels longer than it is. Or rather, the experience is extended due to the shifts in sonic styles between songs. You have horns, but it lacks ska's upbeat and at times the brass subtracts from the song's power. Sonically they recall Fugazi and The (Young) Pioneers. If you can follow the various textures you may find this to be rewarding.
Swingin' Utters/Youth Brigade Split Series Vol. II BYO Records With vocals often reminiscent of Social Distortion, the Swingin' Utters deliver six tracks of punk-infused rock. The melodies are striking and attention-grabbing with sweet-ass hooks and a killer pop sense. Following SU are six tracks by punk legends Youth Brigade. They're still delivering their own brand of uptempo punk rock and coming through with damn fine material once again. Loaded with sing-a-long opportunities, speedy melodies and tempo changes, Youth Brigade captures a part of punk missing from the scene for the most part.
The Tone Wide Eyes and Nonsense Broken Rekids It's hard to tell that this CD is not a comp as each song has strong stylistic differences from the other. "Pauline" is a 2 Tone dance number, "This is a High" has the energy of The Jam, and "Roadkill" is plain awesome. What connects all of these together? They allude to late 70's/early 80's new wave music. The lyrics of working class escapism are the piece de resistance, so get this!
The Chicken Hawks Siouxicide City AFR Records Open wide S here comes your daily dose of extreme rock and roll, nothing more, nothing less. There's a garage feel and a pissed attitude throughout. The female vocals are an added touch to the already grungy, aggressive, garage-ified rock.
The Derita Sisters Ain't Street self-titled To The Left Records These goofy four guys play mediocre power pop/punk. The lyrics are somewhat funny, lending the entire album to have a silly feel. This fits in the same bin as kooky punkers like The Vindictives and Boris the Sprinkler (but not quite as accomplished).
The Drags 45x3 eMpty Records The Drags have been around for a while and fans will really dig this compilation of more than 20 tracks from various previous releases. CJ, Lorca and Keith have never left the garage and their brand of rockin' guitar music has stayed true. Garage punk, blues, and soul all have a place in the mix of The Drags music and nothing seems out of place.
The Faint Blank-Wave Arcade Saddle Creek Records As soon as I heard the first track from "Blank-Wave Arcade," I immediately thought, Thomas Dolby. While I Listened, other names came to mind: Devo, Duran Duran, Depeche Mode. But I also felt the driven edge of powerful rock, simmering under the surface. The Faint combines synth-pop with electronic arcade-sounding noises on top of guitar melodies. It's what in twenty years we'll be looking back on as "retro."
The Frogs Bananimals 4 Alarm Records Somebody just learned how to use to use the panning dial on their audio board. The direction the vocals come from changes with each song, as does the musical style. One thing they all have in common: these songs are all whacked out. Listen of the lyrics of La da da da, la da da dee, la da da dum dum and you'll see it's not as playful as it's title. Love Me or Die, Bitch seems to be sung by someone at a piano bar after too many cocktails. Listen to this CD for its humorous content, instead of for its musical accomplishments.
The Gadjits Wish We Never Met Hellcat Records Say hello to the four music-makers in The Gadjits arsenal -- Hillary (Keyboard/Vocals), Brandon (Guitar/Vocals), Zach (Bass, Vocals) and Adam (Drums). Trying to fight against the shrinking ska hype, The Gadjits break loose with a mix of traditional ska and pop-infused styles. The melodies are so perfect that anti-ska listeners won't even care about the ska-like guitar riffs keeping the tune going. Through the varying approaches to each song on this album, the commitment, solid sound, great beats and killer vocals leave a mark that won't wash off.
The Hades Kick até Thick as Thieves Records This posthumous release documents the fourteen-month career of the Hades Kick. The short-lived Austin band, which featured former members of At The Drive-In and Carbomb among others, produced some intense and hypnotic rock. Hopefully, their new respective bands will come close to matching this effort.
The Icarus Line Red and Black Attack EP New American Dream From the mean streets of LA comes the intense, fractured, spastic rock of The Icarus Line. This four-song EP is just a suicidal tease for future assaults. The quartet is characterized by screamed vocals and chaotic music that jumps from one place to another before you have a chance to contemplate how good it sounded. Despite the rapid fire pace, the music finds time to create melodies here and there. If you want to have your head hurt for all the right reasons, this disc is for you.
The Jazz June Breakdance Suburbia Initial Records The bio says "Pennsylvania's energetic and melodic The Jazz June." Two out of three ain't bad. They have energy. It shows on every track. Sometimes they lose the melodic in the energetic though. Don't get me wrong, track 6 ("Nothing") and 8 ("Bleach In our Eyes") are a perfect blend, but they lose control and just go balls out occasionally. It's a compilation of other EP's so you can find some goodies you'll like on this.
The Radiation Kings Early Years Stubborn Records Confident that they'll have a long and prosperous career, The Radiation Kings titled their debut CD Early Years. Recorded in Stubborn Records' Version City Studio and produced by ska/reggae master King Django, TRK combine the traditional ska sound with rhythm and blues, rocksteady, and dub-rhythms, accentuated by Lisa White's sensuous vocals.
The Resonars Bright and Dark Get Hip Who says ‘60s guitar pop is dead? Sounding like a hippie version of Material Issue, The Resonars are a psychedelic rock and roll party. Harmonies are constant, wound through every song, topped off with great vocals and a bouncing beat.
The Sorts Contemporary Music Slowdime The new wave of jazz is a hard thing to weed through. Some of it is so abstract and ambient that I have a hard time finding the "jazz" in it. The Sorts, though, have hit the jazz nail right on the head. This is the six-piece band's second release. Featuring drums, bass, guitar, alto sax, electric piano, congas, various percussion and synth, The Sorts create a sound that is diverse and captivating -- taking from jazz and funk roots while incorporating a unique style. There's a solid, but subtle, flow to each track and a bounce that gives it a pure jazz feel.
The Weakerthans Fallow Sub City Records This album has been out in The Weakerthans' native Canada for about a year and finally it has been licensed in the States. Their songs go from fast to slow, from punk to ballad (and everything in between), from one track to the next. Some tracks reminded me of They Might Be Giants, but not as funny. The lyrics concentrate on alienation, hope and survival in a society they do not seem to fit in.
Thingy To the Innocent Absolutely Kosher Records Thingy is one of several projects for singer-songwriter Rob Crow. The prolific Crow, a former member of Heavy Vegetable along with Thingy vocalist Ela Tenuta, churns out enough tunes to occupy his time with five different bands. Thingy performs dark pop tunes that continue to grow on you with repeated listens. Crow and Tenuta's vocal harmonies are one of the album's highlights.
Thrust SuperSonic Thrust SuperSonic 3 Locked Groove Entertainment It's hard to believe this Orlando band has only two members. Brandon Horgenshimer plays guitar and bass, and also sings, somewhere between Gavin Rosdale of Bush and Billy Corgan of Smashing Pumpkins. Barry Kerch takes care of the drumming duties. I can't imagine how they pull this off live, but apparently, they do. The production values are superior to the usual "local" band releases. If any band deserves to go big, my money's on Thrust SuperSonic.
Tom LoMacchio Five Years Later Linkworks Records Doing his best Morrissey impersonation, but coming off more like an Irish folk singer, Tom LoMacchio soothes the listener with his acoustic guitar work. This time around, Tom adds cellos, synthesizers and percussion to attain a more dynamic sound. His piano playing creates a beautiful soundscape, only to be enjoyed during your most mellow of moods.
Tommy Guerrero & Gadget / Gresham Function 8 Promotional CD Function 8 Starting things off on this split CD are Tommy Guerrero & Gadget, laying down some slow tempo beats from their second 12" release, sprinkled with piano and strings, creating a lazy, melancholic mood. You get two versions of Mechanism, the second one featuring John Gold on vocals. Then there's the two versions of 1 Ton Superman. Not far behind is Gresham with his hard-to-categorize sound. It reminds you of Folk, Hip Hop and Pop, all at once. One thing is for sure; these two acts complement each other. Play this when cruising at night with the top down.
Uberhund Inexpensively Embalmed Cream Cloud I'll be damned if I could find a consistent time signature anywhere in this music, or a note that didn't suddenly bend upward or downward as if you were putting your hand down on a vinyl record just for a second. This record reminds me of Steven Wright's profession: "You know that feeling when you're leaning back in a chair, and you lean a little too far, but at just the last minute you catch yourself? I feel like that all the time." I guess it's some kind of sick genius.
Various Artists An Ocean of Doubt, the Emo Diaries, Chapter IV Deep Elm Records This is the latest in Deep Elm's highly acclaimed Emo Diaries series. The twelve songs featured here were chosen from over 500 submissions from bands around the world, and represent some of the best the genre has to offer. Two Swedish bands, The John Doe Band and Keystone Sinatra, really stand out, but virtually every song on this disc is something special. Kudos to the bands and the good folks at Deep Elm.
Various Artists Breakdance! Return of the B-Boy K-Tel Records I don't want to reveal my age, but I remember those old K-Tel TV ads from when I was about 7 years old. Even then I knew that K-Tel had no clue as to what music is cool. They haven't changed a bit. Look, I'm no breakdancer, never was, but even I know that the ultimate breakdancing song is "Planet Rock" by Afrika Bambaata. Is it on this CD? NO. I Feel for You by Chaka Khan, however, is track 2. Who the hell ever did a headspin to Gary Numan's Cars? Rapper's Delight? Nowhere to be found. James Brown? Track 5. Someone please tell K-Tel to STOP! Bargain Bins, here we come!
Various Artists Cinema Beer Belly Soundtrack Hopeless Records This is the accompanying CD for the latest in the "Cinema BeerS" video series. Featured on this album are Mustard Plug, Sick of It All, Bad Religion, The Melvins, Diesel Boy, Samiam, Gameface and more a total of twenty bands doing one song each. If the bands didn't convince you, let me tell you this is a great compilation to go hand in hand with a great video.
Various Artists Culture Shock Punk Rock Tomato Head Records With 27 tracks for only $5, how can you fight it? Then you find out it includes great bands and you're sold! Featured on this international collection of bands are: Digger (USA), The Wunder Years (USA), Nicotine (Japan), Blindspot (USA), Peacocks (Switzerland), King Apparatus (Canada), MU330 (USA), Alkaline Trio (USA) and many more. Styles include punk, indie rock, emo, pop punk and ska. Don't fight it, buy it!
Various Artists Greetings From the Welfare State BYO Records Featuring some killer active UK bands and hard to find and unreleased tracks, this $5 sampler is hard to pass up. Some of the cool punk rockers included are Goober Patrol, Four Letter Word, Snuff, Citizen Fish, The ‘Tone, Leatherface and more. Twenty bands and twenty tracks for your musical delight.
Various Artists Hardcore Knockout II Genet Records Featuring 23 bands doing one track apiece, this hardcore compilation doesn't stick to one style. Although the focus is hardcore, there's a good dose of emo and punk as well. As with any compilation, some stuff is really good while some is forgetable. Overall, though, this is a really good sample of a label with a lot of diversity on board. Standout bands include Leiah, Convinced, Reiziger, Concrete Cell, and Timebomb.
Various Artists Kickboxing Mix: 60 Minutes of Non-Stop High-Energy Hits K-Tel Records Kickboxing?!? Whatever, dude. They could have called it Bicycling Mix, or Aerobics Mix, or Walking-in-a-hurry mix for all I care. In their defense, there are two songs that mention some sort of martial art: Karate Boo-Ga-Loo, by Jerry-O and Kung-Fu Fighting by Carl Douglas. Three of the songs are decent, though: Bodyrock by Moby, Stop & Panic by Cirrus, and Mueve La Cadera by Reel 2 Real and Proyecto Uno. The remix of Snap!'s The Power just plain sucked (did this song really need to be remixed?). I kind of enjoyed La Schmoove by the Fu-Schnickens (remember them?), but overall I think you should save your money. If you really want this CD, wait until it hits the $1.99 rack at your local music store sometime this week.
Various Artists Music to Listen to Music By Coldfront Records This is one of the best sampler records I've heard in years! Tilt, the McRackins, Vindictives, Hagfish, and a full assault of other great bands contribute to this punk rock jewel. Melodic, rich-in-talent songs. You must go acquire this record immediately.
Various Artists Punk-Ass Generosity Onefoot/Devil Doll Records Some of the best punk bands around are represented in this 2-CD compilation by Onefoot and Devil Doll Records. 46 to be exact! Crank, Electric Frankenstein, Horace Pinker, Kid With Man Head, Lagwagon, No Fun At All, No Use For A Name, Propaghandi, 30 Foot Fall, and The Tie That Binds are only a few of the bands that collaborated on this release. All profits will go to charity, so you will get 125+ minutes of great music and the poor will get paid! I can't think of a better way to help out your fellow human beings.
Various Artists Welcome to Santa Barbara ... Now Go Home Fishbowl Records Though not officially endorsed by the Santa Barbara chamber of commerce, this Fishbowl Records comp offers some of the best punk and ska available from Santa Barbara and its surrounding communities. There are a variety of bands from Lobster and Drive-Thru Records appearing here as well. Angry Little Man and Ill Repute are two of the standout performers.
Various Artists World Jam I Worldwide Records This is one CD out of a 4-disc collectors edition. The goal is to showcase lesser-known artists from around the world. Besides that goal, proceeds from sales are being donated to various charities. The music included on this release is mostly adult contemporary pop and rock. None of the tracks really jumped out at me, but all seemed to be solid tunes from artists I'd never heard before. All the tracks have melody the radio stations would love, styles ranging from Journey to Rod Stewart to Aerosmith to James Taylor to Michael Bolton.
Various Artists Goth: Music of the Shadows v.1 K-TEL Wrap it up with the requisite Bauhaus T-shirt and this cd could be the perfect Goth starter kit. A compilation of new and old(but mostly old) Goth, it covers 19 years of Brood Rock. Not just for beginners, with such greats as the aforementioned Bauhaus, The Sisters of Mercy, and Alien Sex Fiend, the cd is a celebration of classics sprinkled with newer dark acts Switchblade Symphony and Nosferatu among others. This compilation is a justification of the Goth lifestyle.
Various Artists No Borders Suburban Home This is "a collection of Japanese and American Hardcore." The American bands are in top form. 88 Fingers Louie, Snapcase, Indecision, Shutdown, and Sick of It All are some of the US Contingent. Japan is represented by Decay, Aggressive Dogs, Abnormals, and Bent Root doing American Hardcore better justice than other US groups. You know the bands. You know you need this comp.
Various Artists The Shortest Distance Fiddler Records This is a compilation of South Florida pop punk, hardcore, emo and ska bands. The stand outs are at the start and end. A New Found Glory have a striking female singer, and Chris Carrabba ends the disc with a lovely emo composition featuring string instruments (more than guitars.) The tracks inbetween are hit or miss. One band I was extremely excited to see here was King 7 and the Soulsonics. Unfortunately their track was previously released on a 3 song CD in 1997. I'd give a listen through out, as South Florida covers a wide area, not unlike this comp.
Various Artists When You're Young: The Jam Tribute 1420 Music The Jam fused punk with a mod ethic and in turn influenced the course of rock and roll with their soft/loud crescendos. For some reason I never got into them, so it's hard to judge most of the covers. Blender turns in a faster "Modern World" which rocks out, and Down By Law perform a lovely rendition of "Going Underground." Other bands involved are Skinnerbox, The Adjusters, Serpico, and more for a total of 19 songs.
Vic Goddard Long Term Side Effect Triple XXX Records Aging punks can be an interesting bunch. After their youthful anger gives way, what comes next? Vic Goddard and his band Subway Sect were part of the same early punk scene that spawned well-known acts such as the Sex Pistols, the Clash, and the Buzzcocks. Goddard has been releasing solo records for over a decade now, and the sound is far from punk's early days. Goddard has incorporated Motown and soul influences into his sound. Goddard may be getting older, but he's aging quite well.
Victor Calderone E=VC squared Tommy Boy Silver Label This is a remix album of great beats and all over solid dance music. It's spent much time on my CD player, in part to his stuttering of certain vocals. Included amidst this mix of great tracks is Madonna's "Sky Fits Heaven" and a dub version of Garbage's "Push It" which has zero relation to the original.
Vue Death of a Girl EP Gold Standard Laboratories "Death of a Girl" has five songs bearing a 70's David Bowie influence from this Oakland, CA quartet. The theatrics and themes of goth and old style rock and roll come through in the singer's distinct voice and lyrics. All in all this is well produced, retrofitted and intricate enough to warrant paying close attention to.
Whippersnapper The Long Walk Lobster Records Whippersnapper's second album The Long Walk is tight. Heavy, guitar driven, and I hesitate to say almost mainstream (much like Blink 182), this Georgia band has been playing together since high school and it shows. They are solid and fairly original with "Equations"(#3) and "Simple Words"(#11) wonderfully promising intros turning into good guitar punk rock.
Windfall awaken Smorgasbord Records Get ready to be impressed. This CD EP debut features ex-members from Supertouch and Up Front, and a very intense sounding Jennifer Catucci taking care of the vocals. Guitarists Jon Biviano and Jeff Terranova complement each other, alongside Matt Strongview's drumming and Chris Wallin's bass, to mold a heavy background.
Zoobombs Let It Bomb Emperor Norton The initial track opens with a Clash-like sound, British rock with an eclectic feel coupled with keyboards and dope beats. And that sound continues, funky, Brit rock with a melodic swing. I was bopping up and down to this album from the moment I heard it. It's danceable, singable and filled with hooks, heart and hop.
Astrid Oto self-titled No Idea Most reviews will probably rant about Aaron Cometbus being in the band. I'd prefer to rant about the snotty, punk rock female vocals delivered by Cindy. The music and style reminds me of Blatz, an old Lookout! Records band. The music is uptempo, aggressive, angst-filled and full of rough melodies. This is smack-you-in-the-face punk rock. Bonus: Lovely green vinyl.
Braid Please Drive Faster Polyvinyl Record Co. This is the last new material you will hear from Braid. After a five-year stint, they've called it quits, leaving us these two amazing songs. Their quick, on-point changes and awesome hooks have put them in a class by themselves. Factor in the great lyrics and you've got a complete, classic band -- they will be dearly missed. Go find this white vinyl record and spin it till your needle breaks.
Kid Brother Collective/Camber split 7" Doom Nibbler Records KBC are a four-piece from Flint, Michigan. They deliver emo-rock with sincere vocals. The music rolls at a heartfelt pace that evolves into powerful rock, bouyed by sweet piano. Camber puts forth what may be their best song yet. It's a very rockin' tune filled with intricate parts, cool tempo changes and quirks. The vocals aren't the best, though. This release is limited to 1000 copies.
Lagwagon A Feedbag of Truckstop Poetry Fat Wreck The title track of this three-song 7" is damn good. It's what you expect from Lagwagon uptempo, melodic, power punk. The lyrics are great, the music is creative, intricate and changing throughout the song. On the B-Side is one original which is descent and a cover of Jawbreaker's "Want," which is good but not much different from the original which is so good to begin with it probably should be left alone.
The Gain Crushstory 702 Records Boy! This is a lovely serving of pop perfection. "And so it goes" and "Jennifer Ann" are both fun and wonderful, and make this 7" worth seeking out. This is more refined than their earlier releases, yet the energy is directed in a song craft this go around. Solid stuff.
The Hookers Black Magic Stallion Devil Doll The Hookers play tough-guy southern rock that has heavy guitars and the influence of lots of beer. This release features one original tune and then two covers (The Dogs' "Slash Your Face" and Spinal Tap's "Tonight I'm Gonna Rock You Tonight"). The band, while not wow'ing me on this recording, sound like they would be awesome live.
The Real Diego Map of the Human Heart Saige's Records If the awesome female vocals aren't enough, then the poppy, quirky indie rock will grab you. The guitar work is equally intricate and creative. This is a great three-song taste from a band bound to impress.
The Wicked Farleys/The Vehicle Birth 2 song split Doom Nibbler Records These two songs originate from 1996 and 97. I liked the Vehicle Birth full length, but this track does little for me. The Wicked Farleys kick up a more interesting track with spikes of abrasive guitar to rough up the driving sonic sheen. It's a damn good instrumental that more than justifies owning this.
The World/Inferno Friendship Society It's Pumkin Time Gern Blandsten This is a unique two-song release. The music is an uptempo, swing-filled take on revival music. It's got a great beat and drive and will make you wanna throw your hands in the air and scream "Hallelulah!"
To Each His Own Breaking the Mold Resurrection A.D. While the title leads you to believe this is very original, it's not. If anything, To Each His Own borrowed the mold from such bands as Minor Threat and Angry Samoans to create their uptempo brand of skaterock. Although they do a good job, don't expect to be shocked.
The Offspring Americana Nitro Records As the Offspring rose to acclaim through songs in surf videos, it's only fitting that they return the favor in this video. You have some crazy motorcycle and extremely nuts mountain bike and basejumping action, though the pool skating is kind of weak. Interspersed are live clips and skits of funny and not so funny quality. Fans of The Offspring should note that this is not a music video collection, so if you don't want to see "extreme sports," stick with MTV.
Various Artists Cinema Beer Belly Hopeless Records Continuing their series of "Beer" video, Hopeless delivers twenty videos from twenty different bands. Among those included are Mustard Plug, The Weakerthans, Superchunk, Bad Religion, Man or Astroman, Diesel Boy, Samiam, Alkaline Trio, Gameface, The Queers and many more. The quality is awesome and the videos, for the most part, are very cool and creative. Bonus: the first video is in 3-D and the glasses come with it.