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Fall '05 Articles:
Bush's Misplaced Priorities
My Dog or Your Child?
Shadows on the Sidewalk
The New American Way?
The Muddlemarch: 1
The Muddlemarch: 2
Walk Like a (Straight) Man
(music reviews)

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CD Reviews | Vinyl Reviews | DVD Reviews
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These reviews represent the "best of" music that was reviewed for this issue by IMPACT Press music reviewers. Please visit our
staff page if you want to match a reviewer's initials with the name of the person who did a review.

Alarm Will SoundAcoustica: Alarm Will Sound Performs Aphex TwinCantaloupe Music • If you are a 22-piece classical group looking for a musical challenge, you decide to perform electronic music completely acoustically. And if you want a real challenge, you go for complicated electronic music by Aphex Twin. Not reinterpretations, but note for note reproductions. They had to find instruments and other objects that would let them make the sounds you usually hear coming out of Richard D. James's twisted mind. And the result was masterful. I immediately recognized the songs, covering mostly tunes from Drukqs, but also going as far back as Selected Ambient Works Vol. 2. (AL)

Astronautalis You And Yer Good Ideas Fighting Records • The best music is the hardest to define. The last thing I want to do is fail to express how good Astronautalis is. Passion is what sets him apart from the rest – that and his style of music, a stripped down, beat-driven sort of screwy indie rock, country, hip-hop blend. What the fuck?! Exactly, you haven't heard this before. You can cite similarities to Buck 65, Cex, Why?, Sage Francis, etc. The fact is, Astronautalis was a battle MC for eight years and decided to quit that game and play a new one. His vocal skills are still excellent, no longer battling but instead crafting intellectual, personal ditties that flow from his mouth, heart and eyes. The passionate songs grab hold of you, not with a big hook but with their sincerity. Certainly, there are catchy elements, but these songs survive off their honesty, a simple approach that is more complex than it first seems. If you're looking for something different than the cookie-cutter rock and hip-hop saturating the music scene, give Astronautalis a chance – and be sure to see him live if you get a chance. It will blow your fucking mind. (CM)

Cage Hell's Winter Definitive Jux • Cage's jump to Def Jux opened up a new world of bangin' beats and sounds that play the background to his often deranged outlook on life. Producers such as El-P, Camu Tao, RJD2 and Blockhead provide the right touches for his cocky flows and punchline persona. From the get go, "Good Morning" proves that Cage is an emcee that can put together a personally complex album that holds up from front to back. Descriptive tales about a son and a junkie dad, lead into various surreal struggles on "Lord Have Mercy." A political prowess is delivered on "Grand Ol Party Crash," where he begins by spitting "I wake up to a caffeine, cigarette vaccine, and bathe in water I wouldn't drink before gas'line," which explains much of his grimy attitude. Everything is arranged into a sonic soundscape that sounds good whether Cage is getting introspective, such as on the solid "Public Property," or a bit too disturbing to be take too literal. (JC)

Darkest Hour Undoing Ruin Victory Records • Forget Ozzfest, forget RoadRunner releases, throw away your Judas Priest records, and listen to me! If you'd like to know the definition of eccentric metal, harmonies, solos and pure manifested talent, then this highly anticipated album is everything you're yearning for and the answers about what to do about what metal has become. Darkest Hour, the name definitely rings a bell, and if it doesn't, pull yourself from MySpace and actually search the Internet for intelligible music or turn on Fuse TV. This band is slowly blowing up into the next Black Sabbath. Slowly churning the media and airwaves with their infectious melodies, solos, intensity, and a drummer whom I can not get enough of, Darkest Hour is where metal is at, it's where music is at. If you don't believe me, ask Ozzy himself. He booked Darkest Hour on his Ozzfest tour last year. (CMax)

Dead Kennedys Live at the Deaf Club Manifesto Records • This CD is a must have for any Dead Kennedys fan for a few reasons. First, it was recorded when they were merely 8-months old as a band. Second, it was the last time they performed as a 5 piece with second guitarist 6025 (in fact, they left him off the cover art). Third, it contains a never-recorded track, "Gasoline." Fourth, It features a disco version of "Kill the Poor." Fifth, they cover "Back in the USSR," "Have I the Right," and "Viva Las Vegas." Sixth, it was a recording that they've wanted to release for a long time, but was held up by the long legal battles Jello Biafra has been fighting with the rest of the band. Finally, it sounds really good, even though it was recorded in 1979. What else do you need to know...? Just get it! (AL)

Emery The Question Tooth & Nail Records • Fans of Further Seems Forever, this album is for you. Mix a little Thrice and Recover together and you've got yourself the beginning of the new Emery CD. "So Cold I Could See My Breath" kicks off the album with perfect listener appeal. Equipped with killer vocal harmonies and just the right amount of pop, you can't wait to get to the next track to see if it's as good as the first. Believe me folks, it is. "Playing with Fire" toys with the pun in lyric line "I always thought you would be some sort of match for me". The verses have an Afghan Whigs' feel to them. If you dig any of the bands I just mentioned, then this CD is a perfect match for you. (SP)

Girlyman Little Star Daemon • Goddamn, this is fantastic. Really. A series of cosmic forces came together to generate this wonderful band (most notably that their first rehearsal was scheduled for 9/11). Their pure harmonies are so astonishingly brilliant and beautiful, floating like a buoy on a gently rolling sea of acoustic folk rock. The accompaniment is an eclectic range of instruments, a wonderful backdrop for the most excitingly tight vocals I have heard in a long while. Spellbinding. (DP)

Grand Buffet Five Years of Fireworks Fighting Records • The electro-hop kingpins are unlike anything out there. The Pittsburgh, Pa. duo has a keen sense for both catchy music and clever lyrics. At times downright funny and other times pointed, the lyrics are delivered with cocky confidence and a showman's perfection. "I wanna be a camp counselor with full benefits/Your son or daughter got a dog bit I've got a tourniquet." Tight, yo! And that's just a taste. When it comes to insanely amusing and witty lyrics, GB has it for you. Musically, the guys are a techno-rock-pop-grunge wet dream. With nutty beats, weird bleeps, loops, layered tracks, the guys complete the package. Vocals, solid, lyrics, super solid, music, you'll dance your ass off. Included on this 13-track release (plus separate DVD chockfull of goodies) are several remastered versions of their best tracks (including "Candy Bars," "Benjamin Franklin Music," and "Matt and Nate") and some new stuff. This is amped up, creative electro- hip-hop that doesn't take itself too seriously, but then again, this shit is seriously good. (CM)

Sherwood Sing, But Keep Going Sidecho Records • Sing, But Keep Going is the debut full length from Sherwood. I instantly fell in love with it. Their lead vocalist's voice is beautiful. Combine that with the band's hook filled, indie pop melodies and get ready to swoon. The clap and sing along parts give the album an almost live feel at times. With stated influences such as The Beach Boys and Jimmy Eat World, no wonder this band is so amazing. (KB)

The Yellowbelts self-titled Eugene Records • Like Velvet Revolver? The New York Dolls? Hanoi Rocks? Then you need The Yellowbelts. This is punk with more attitude than you can shake a can of hairspray at. I have no idea how this band hails from Kentucky, but thank God they didn't waste their talents on honky-tonk. Tight musically, but loose enough to be an absolute blast, and Lawrence Tarpey knows just the right amount of screaming to apply to put every song over the top. And the lyrics? Forget it. I haven't heard anything this fun in a long time. Take a look (from "Crash Landers"): "Planet of the Apes read the letters on the sign, it was Southland 68 in 1969...Well the tires spit the gravel while I was hiding in the trunk, and the speakers on the post said it's good to be a punk. Put it on your head and wear it like a hat, and get yourself a dog and walk it like a cat!" I don't care where you're from, those are F'ing great lyrics. Go listen to this and try not to get instantly hooked. Like a fat kid on cake, if you know what I'm sayin'. This is brilliant! (SH)

Various Artists Punk Rock is Your Friend- Kung Fu Records Sampler #6 Kung Fu Records • This compilation quickly became one of my favorites. It features twenty three songs from various bands such as The Vandals, Tsunami Bomb, H20, and Bouncing Souls, just to name a few. The album has a healthy mix of punk rock and hardcore songs on it. Hence the added title of Hardcore is Your Friend, Too. Some of my favorite songs on the comp are "She Looks Good," by Audio Karate, "Lost Again," by Dance Hall Crashers, and "Sixes and Sevens," by Faulter. Not only does this CD have fun and catchy songs, but it is super cheap as well. If you go buy it, I am almost positive you will fall in love with bands you never listened to before. I know I did. (KB)

Why? Elephant Eyelash Anticon • Being indefinable, unclassifiable, is something I figure a lot of musicians strive for and many will cringe when you say what genre you think they fit in. Why? has successfully created a sound that doesn't fit a single genre and there is no single artist out there doing what he's doing. While it may be defined by some as a pop album, its hip-hop, experimental electro and indie rock influences create a melding of sounds that results in a unique 12-track album. At times I think I'm listening to They Might Be Giants, other times it's truly indescribable – just great pop tunes with a strange, one-of-a-kind sound that keeps it fresh. There's a quirky, playfulness throughout that is met head on by a seriousness that creates quite a conflict, but one that only improves on the results. Lyrically, Why? is a poet who seems at times poignant and at times absurd. No matter, it all sounds good whether you understand what he's saying or not. (CM)

You Will Die self-titled Hawthorne Street • I have always had a special place in my heart for all things instrumental and this band is one the reasons why. You Will Die play instrumental metal much like Pelican or The Kick Ass only a lot more accessible then most instrumental bands. I'm not trying to down play their technical abilities by calling them accessible I am only trying say they aren't as mathy as most in the same genre. If you are a fan of metal and music this is the perfect entry level CD to send you well on your way to becoming the next math rock snob. (RP)

CD Reviews

[a]pendics.shuffle My Helicopter Heart Orac Records • [a]pendic.shuffle's music is for the heavy techno fan. The beats are repetitive, all sounds are processed in some way, and vocals are manipulated. The samples seem to be snippets of larger sounds, thrown in here and there. (AL)

[Daryl]/Black Tie Dynasty Bloody Basin Idol Records • This split from [Daryl] and Black Tie Dynasty features both bands, ten members in all, on the first track. The CD continues with two new Black Tie Dynasty songs. Both of these songs are slightly dark but are also very catchy and danceable. Next up are two songs from [Daryl], one of which is a cover. Their songs have a more indie rock feel to them but they are just as infectious as the rest of the album. The CD ends with a second collaboration, this time from the lead singer of each group. These bands compliment each other's style well and together; they have put out an exceptional split. (KB)

4 Past Midnight Trials and Tribulations SOS Records • You say that you are an old school punk rock hard ass? You'll love this. Very catchy songs in that anthemic late '70s style that made punk so fun. Very aggressive and loud. Sounds a bit like the Vindictives in spots, but without the horribly whiny vocals. You can easily imagine that this is a show filled with Mohawks and really tall Doc Martins. If you don't like it, these guys will punch you. (MK)

A Change Of Pace An Offer You Can't Refuse Immortal Records • Think of every melodic emocore band you know of, and this band encompasses them. I thought of Thrice immediately with similar guitar tones, melodies, the occasional screams and double bass rhythms. Normally, I might start to tear a new one for this band in the originality category, but I'll give them a break. I'm just so sick of hearing this sound regurgitated over and over. The only advantage this band has is their age. These boys are between 16-18 and this is their debut album. With this in mind, they are extremely talented and I think with time they will develop their own, unique style and something very interesting will spawn from this seed. This is a well-polished CD, produced by Michael "Elvis" Baskette (Incubus, Three Days Grace, Chevelle). It's tight, punchy, catchy rhythms that will drive the little girls crazy and make the boys want to be them. If you don't believe me, just check out their MySpace page. I almost wanted to be them. (MP)

A Day To Remember And Their Name Was Treason Indianola Records • Affectionately referred to as "pop mosh," these natives from my hometown of Ocala, Fla. deliver just that in their Indianola Records debut. An intriguing mix of post-hardcore, straight emo, acoustic and breakdowns found on many Victory releases, ADTR seeks to obtain the stronghold of every music genre ever made and smash their fist into it, which is also an indication of what their live show brings. Along with this euphoric blend of music, the lyrics and harmonies are something of the typical, clichéd, and simple, yet they'll leave you asking for your dearest friend to pile drive you due to the simple fact that the songs will not go away. (CMax)

A Million Billion Today We Love You Filthy Schoolgirls • Ryan Smith makes electronic music that would appeal to fans of Squarepusher or Autechre. His electronic compositions sometimes seem to go in random directions, more sound collections than songs. However, he does include a few songs that not only feature his soft, somewhat whispered vocals, but are actually catchy. (AL)

A Perfect Murder Strength Through Vengeance Victory Records • An onslaught of Victory releases have become prevalent in the last few months. This release has been receiving a multitude of airplay, videoplay, and so forth, and I'm contemplating as to why. A Perfect Murder's second full-length release on Victory Records is sadly nothing that tickled my fancy. Traditional beat down hardcore intertwined with cheesy ghoulish Mastodon-type vocals. (CMax)

A Wilhelm Scream Ruiner Nitro Records • There might be no melodi-core band out there better than A Wilhelm Scream. Forget Thrice, Hawthorne Heights, Thursday or any of those other bands who mix an emo-attitude with hardcore. AWS does it better. Instead of having a distinct difference in their sung and screamed vocals, AWS is more even-handed. They do have some screamed stuff and sung stuff, but it's not as drastic; they find a way to do it effectively, as opposed to the obnoxiousness of some many other bands that employ the technique. On top of their effective vocal style and overall musical prowess, AWS has some badass guitar work, tearing across the songs, adding both melody and chaos and occasionally mixing in a metal-worth solo. Those who like their rock hard but still full of melody, look no further. Added bonus: Bill Stevenson (Descendents) and Jason Livermore produced, engineered and mixed the album and the result is exceptional. (CM)

Accursed Dawn Manifest Damnation (The Creation Effect) Pop Faction Records • I see on AD's website that they're looking for a new drummer. Good fucking luck! This is the most intense, ear-shattering drumming I've ever heard. Think Iced Earth on speed. Metalcore, death, thrash, whatever you want to call it, it's intense and progressive. Fans of Carcass and Death will want to chew glass while listening to this. Oh, and good luck with that whole new drummer thing. (SH)

Achilles The Dark Horse Hex Records • Dammit. I knew no sooner than I proclaimed Label the Traitor the hardest hardcore I'd heard this issue, someone else would come along and sure as shit they did. Achilles is mainly hardcore, but they get downright metal on tracks like "In Lights" and the title cut. They take on a Deftones feel on those tracks, but one thing is constant: SCREAM! (SH)

Alcibiades Jones Refraction Mirage Refraction Mirage Records • Alcibiades Jones is a versatile fusion trio that plays instrumental music. They blend rock, jazz, and funk in this catchy album. They even play a bit of bluegrass-inspired slide guitar on one track. The album sounds like a group of buddies who are having a hell of a time, sometimes improvising as they play. (AL)

Allegiance Overlooked Rival Records • Surprisingly, I've found another straight ahead hardcore band. Hint the tinges of sarcasm. However, I'm astonished to see that they're all good. Allegiance delivers their brand of straight-ahead mixed with tough guy hardcore that sounds traditional and common, until you're subjected to structured breakdowns, triplets, and so forth. Allegiance attempts to break the boundary of straight-ahead hardcore being easy and, I must admit, the songs are structured, which definitely is a rarity in the style. I'm a little bogged down with their lyrics and the repetition of certain words, however, they're just angry and they've been overlooked thus far. (CMax)

Ambry Holding on by the Blindfolds We Hide Behind The Death Scene • Ever hear of New Found Glory? Sum 41? Like that shit? Get to know Ambry. You'll like them better because THEY'RE better. (SH)

Amy Ray Prom Daemon • Veteran rocker and Indigo Girl Amy Ray busts out another solo album, deeply rooted in her powerful, raw songwriting. Amy has always been the darker and edgier of the Indigo Girls, and here she takes on the stuffy, soul-crushing establishments of mainstream and right-wing America with songs about sexuality, rebellion, and the cultural horrors of life in rural America. She does seem a little bit sunnier than her last time out, and these songs have a more poppy sensibility. (DP)

Anagram Songs from Far Away Scenery • I can count about a dozen influences of this German duo as I listen to their record. Within their decidedly European-electronic soundtrack, they invoke the spirit of so many great masters in the field and create a dazzling amalgam all their own. It is a passionate, gritty, almost visual kind of music that does not come up short on balls. Exceptionally well-made. (DP)

Atmosphere You Can't Imagine How Much Fun We're Having Rhymesayers • Slug and Ant are back and this album (their fifth studio offering) is better than the last one, just like they hoped. There's a lot more originality and standout tracks on here. The production is tighter and there's a better vibe. Ant's production is flawless, funky and varied, using many musical styles, various samples, loops and beats all mixed up and tossed about into a work of art. There's an old school vibe on here that brings to mind KRS-One, and that's a hell of a compliment. Meanwhile, Slug is dropping rhymes like Raid drops flies. Flippin' lyrics like they were veggieburgers, Slug is frying the competition with his skilled rhyme delivery. Clever review writing aside, this guy is among the elite MCs in the hip-hop biz. Thirteen tracks thick, You Can't Imagine... may be Atmosphere's best album to date. (CM)

ATWAR & Cell Block Five Split Live Cheap CD Malt Soda Recordings • I love when the title of a CD explains the context of the CD in itself. Not necessarily degrading the talent of the two bands, however, this CD is very hard to follow. Both bands are performing live intertwined with a bad mix of everything mechanically possible. Bad equals many unpleasant listeners, myself for example. The bands bring you power chord anthems of anarchy, incompetent government, and action in the vein of Anti-Flag, The Threats, and classical Oi quintets. I would suggest that you buy a studio-recorded version of these songs or studio albums rather then spending your money on a "cheap live CD." (CMax)

Baxter Swell self-released • Baxter is a three-piece band out of Southern California. Their name comes from the singer, Matt Baxter. On some of the tracks, his voice is reminiscent of Bradley Nowell, of Sublime fame. Baxter's music is a cross between indie rock and pop punk. Songs like "My Heart Has Already Been Broken" are beautiful and instant favorites. Not all the songs have this sort of instant appeal, but those end up growing on you as well. (KB)

Bayside self titled Victory Records • The sophomore effort from Bayside is a strong, very tight, power pop punk album filled with catchy, solid songs. Once again, we have this sound, over and over. Will it ever end, or at least evolve? This band is good at creating rock driven melodies with high vocals in the tone of early Saves The Day. If you are looking for another band in the sea of this post hardcore pop punk, then this is your band. If you are looking for an original sound, don't waste your time. Produced by Shep Goodman and Kenny Gioia (Mandy Moore, Aaron Carter), it is extremely polished and ready for a video on TRL. (MP)

BEDlight for BlueEYES The Dawn Trustkill Records • What makes this band stand out from the multitude of bands mixing hardcore with melodic vocals is that lead singer Christian Andre Guerrero can actually sing. He trained as a singer, and it shows. It also helps that the rest of the band kicks ass as well, with both aggression and catchiness. They are not afraid to show their soft side either, with a slow tempo number as the second track of the album. (AL)

Benoit Pioulard Enge EP Moodgadget • Not since Ebeling Hughes has someone making dreamy pop music caught my attention like this. Benoit Pioulard (AKA Thomas Meluch) put me in a trance with his smooth vocals and hazy atmospheric sounds, including bells, handclaps, and other unidentified objects. On the instrumental "es/sa," he weaves guitars and adds a bunch of echo, which I guarantee will put you to sleep in no time. (AL)

Big Bear self-titled Monitor Records • Big Bear play their own style of music, blending hardcore with intertwining guitars and off-kilter drumming and tortured screams. It is extremely hard to compare this band to another for the simple fact that these guys have really got a style that is all their own. If one were forced to compare, I would have to say they are a cross between Hoover and Unwound, only a little more obtuse and angular. (RP)

Bold The Search 1985-1989 Revelation Records • Thirty-two songs, $11. What else do I have to say? I could also mention that this is great, legendary '80s hardcore from one of the best to play it. This album includes everything they recorded. I really shouldn't have to say anything else. (SH)

Boyracer Insults and Insights EP Kittridge Records • This band is quite interesting. They have a ton of releases and have gone though about forty different members. This EP is melodic and catchy indie pop. It is a little quirky but definitely a lot of fun. The dual male and female vocals are one of my favorite parts of this trio. This EP will have your foot tapping along in no time. (KB)

Brakes Give Blood Rough Trade • 16 songs that seem to defy a general classification. Pop rock, I suppose best covers it, but this is not typical radio pop, that goodness. It flies all over the place from rock to disco to country. A little tough to follow at timesŠ Good musicianship and tight songwriting make this disc sound like something you think you've heard before, even though you're sure you haven't. (MK)

Broken Spindles Inside/Absent Saddle Creek • Slightly discordant, slightly muffled, this album is a work of artistic desperation, and the good kind. It is music in minor keys that haunts the soul, employing loops and minimalist instrumentation, with vocals that seem to float just beneath the surface and that never quite break through. The result is eerie, emotional, and wayward ­ a cry from the heart, as though the artist is laboring to get all of this out. (DP)

California Redemption This Time It's for Money Let Them Eat Records • I actually had just heard about this band after reviewing Mixo De Punko! Vol. 2. The songs on This Time It's for Money are fast and aggressive. One of my favorite things about California Redemption is that they are not afraid to address any issue. From the government and religion to youth culture, each song has a strong message and opinionated view. From all I have heard about this band, performance wise, I would love to see them live. (KB)

Cantona A Sort of Smile self-released • This Seattle-based power pop band delivers solid rock and roll with great emotional fullness. With female vocals and great harmonies, song after song on this EP just sounds right. Of particular note are the melodic guitar lines that flicker diligently in the background and are an important component in their individual style. It's all there. (DP)

Cats and Jammers Propose Toast Scotch Hell Records • If Davey Joves from The Monkees was listed as a member of this band, I wouldn't be the least bit surprised. This is pop punk at its poppiest. This is a collection of tunes from their first 3 discs. A ŒBest OfŠ' for a band you've probably never heard of. And that's too bed. This is funny music that is horribly infectious and will bore into your skull and lay eggs and make you want to listen to it over and over. It is good stuff. (MK)

Champion Time Slips Away Bridge Nine Records • The current legends of anything that starts with a "hard" and ends with a "core," this band has paved the way for numerous up and coming acts. These straight-ahead hardcore pioneer's are at it again with their second full-length release and it's all you could ask for! Beatdowns, breakdowns, sing-alongs, and intensity! Oh... and don't let me forget about the straightedge! What more could you ask for? It's hardcore at its best. They're Champion, and if they're not already, they're about to be your new favorite band. (CMax)

Chevreuil Sport Sick Room Records • It's only been since months since Chevreuil released Chateauvallon, and they still wrote enough music for another album. This duo uses only guitars and drums only to create songs that seem highly layered and intricate. Their instrumental math rock is less heavy than Don Caballero and slightly less frenetic than Hella, and is well worth a listen. (AL)

Chiodos All's Well That Ends Well Equal Vision Records • This Flint, MI sextet can be compared to At The Drive In for their ferocity and to Coheed and Cambria for their vocals. They are not just clones though, injecting their own style into their music, sometimes adding piano and keyboards to add some emotion to their sound. (AL)

Choose Your Weapon Heart for the Heartless Spook City Records • Damn! Spook City is the shit this time around! I've reviewed a healthy dose of hardcore from their label and, no offense to any of those other bands, but CYW is the best off the Spook City label I've heard. Their breakdowns are absolutely ferocious and the riffs are gargantuan. Big words, right? Big band. Big songs. Big energy. (SH)

Cipher Children of God's Fire Uprising Records • No, that's not "Sanitarium" that's playing in the background on this first track, but it sure sounds like it. Perhaps that's a good precursor for what you're about to hear on this 15-song disc. This is metal/hardcore with some Biohazard influence. It's almost rapcore, but not quite. This is a seriously talented band. The musicianship is incredibly tight. (SH)

Coffinberry From Now On Now Morphius Records • The third track "Eva" is very reminiscent of early Death Cab in its rhythmic structure where the drums are concerned. "What Do You Want To Do" has a Longwave feel to it by way of guitars. Not a bad band, although an incredibly ridiculous name. With respect to the mix, the whole drum sound is borrowed from early Death Cab and this is not a bad thing at all. "Oh Elise" has a Lennon-Beatlesque feel to it. You will witness it through the chord progression that backs the guitar solo at the very end of the song. (SP)

Collective Efforts Trail Mix Arc the Finger • This crew from Atlanta delivers layered beats with turntable scratches and an alternative to the regular sounds you'll find on the radio and music television stations. "We trying to change the things coming through your ears, and get the bling-bling out of here, I ain't sayin' it's wrong, I just been hearing it way to long" is one of the bottom line flows that shows what Collective Efforts is striving to provide in their world of positive changes. Carrying the underground hip-hop torch, Ben Hameen, J-Mil and Bambu de Asiatic provide the lyrical insight, as DJ Creashun blends the sounds. Each track has touches of orchestrated samples, pianos, guitars, flutes and harmonies mixed with drum kicks that add depth to the overall product. (JC)

Continental What Was Gained From What Was Lost U-Dot Records • This is Continental's third album for U-Dot Records, and in it they continue to play mellow instrumental rock with some technical tendencies. I was especially getting a Tristeza vibe during the CD closer "Pillow Talk." Their experimentation with vocals was not necessary. The vocals felt out of place in an otherwise great record. (AL)

Courtney Blush Sweet Modern Fairy Tales self-released • I've been noted for my overuse of the word "eccentric," and honestly it's an adjective used to cover up a horrible band, there's slight chance I find a band worthy of the term, and I found one. Courtney Bush uses abstract structures, beats, and lyrics in order to jumble together everyone's favorite bands, The Used, Glassjaw, and As Citites Burn in order to model their specific blend of psychedelic post hardcore with the sporadic solo and breakdown, jazz fusion, and rap couplet. The recording needs a little work and so does the band itself, however, not bad for not known or signed. Check it out. (CMax)

Curl Up And Die The One Above All, The End Of All That Is Revelation Records • Curl Up And Die is a band that stands out from the rest of the mediocre hardcore bands out there. They are not afraid to experiment with slower tempos or unusual musical structures, all the while keeping their sound aggressive, especially the throat-ripping vocals. (AL)

Cursive The Difference Between Houses and Homes (Lost Songs and Loose Ends 1995-2001) Saddle Creek Records • This compilation consists of early 7 inch recordings as well as two previously unreleased tracks. The emergence of experimental Indie rock would not be what it is today without a band like Cursive. The offbeat and often over-stressed vocals of Tim Kasher shine on tracks like "And the Bit Just Chokes Them" and the opener "Dispenser". The sound here is right out of the late nineties. You can feel the relevance of experimentation and manipulation of standard rock song formula throughout the album and in particular on "There's a Coldest Day in Every Year". A must for Cursive fans. (SP)

Da Threat Ghetto Scripture Godfather Entertainment • The Jacksonville, Florida duo of Good Boi and Sir Louis, boost about their country-southern roots and ghetto bravado throughout this release. Songs about thugs running the streets, girls at the club, their cars of choice ("Chevy"), and of course songs about money are all included. On "Been Through" and "Hard But Fair," Da Threat get a little more insightful as they spit rhymes about their struggles leading up to the music biz, but tracks like "Back & Forth" and "Hell Naw" don't feel half as sincere. Overall, you could compare what they do to Goodie Mob, with all the ruggedness and remorse included. (JC)

Daikaiju self-titled Reptile Records • While Daikaiju plays surf music, you feel a little bit of an edge in their sound. Maybe their drums hit a bit harder, or their guitars have a bit more reverb than usual. Whatever it is, it does them well. Fans of surf music, as well melodramatics (they all wear Kabuki masks) will be won over by their sound. (AL)

Daphne Loves Derby On the Strength of All Convinced Outlook Music Company • The first time I heard anything about Daphne Loves Derby was on the internet. So was the second time. And the third. The band used this technology tool to market their music and the result has been a widespread and rapidly growing fan base. On the Strength of All Convinced is a well-rounded album. The harmonies and melodies span over piano ballads as well as more upbeat, indie rock songs. If the band keeps up with it's promoting, I can definitely see Daphne Loves Derby gaining more attention and praise in the future. (KB)

Death by Stereo Death for Life Epitaph Records • I probably don't have to do much of a review on this one but, dammit, this is what I don't get paid for so here goes: anyone who's watched Headbanger's Ball on MTV lately has probably seen the video for "Entombed, We Collide." So if you've seen the video here's a big "no shit" for you: This band kicks ass! If you enjoy getting your face melted off by some amazing hardcore, I suggest you go get this immediately. And then go see DBS with Avenged Sevenfold on tour together this fall! (SH)

Deep Dish George Is On Thrive Records • If you are a fan of house music, and also like guitars, then you'll like Deep Dish's "guitar-house" sound. Their tunes are highly danceable, and are varied enough that you can listen to the album and not get bored. They also got Stevie Nicks to record vocals for their rework of "Dreams" and used parts of Dire Straits's "Money For Nothing" in a mash-up with their own track, "Flashdance." (AL)

Dek Wattatata Finger Records • From the cartoon artwork on the cover, one would expect a pop or indie CD inside. This was not the case with Dek's latest release. These kids are a fast-paced, punk, rock and roll band. I did say kids, and I meant it. These guys are all under the legal drinking age. But you would not think it from listening to their album. They are capable of spitting out politically charged songs with vocals to match the angst behind the lyrics. These boys are definitely talented way beyond their years. (KB)

Delaney self-titled Lithium • So many different bands are named Delaney, but this one is the French one. Delaney sing highly rhythmic pop music with some electronica qualities, almost all of which is in their native tongue. This makes for a very seductive quality that is difficult to impossible to find in American music. Mellow and smooth with soft-spoken lyrics, this is a delightful and relaxing rock/electro album. (DP)

DeNunzio Continuous Vaudeville Spiderfight Records • DeNunzio is from Evergreen, Colorado. Their new album contains nine new tracks as well as a cover of Moth, originally by the band Pond. It is mostly a rock album with some indie and punk influences. It is a decent CD but does not grab at you right away. (KB)

Dexter Danger Hellafornia Orange Peal Records • Dexter Danger is a band based out of San Francisco, California. They figured out quickly that the internet was a great networking tool and used it to their advantage. This album is full of fun punk rock songs that will get you moving in no time. They are catchy, without being too pop-influenced. Think of it as a more mature punk rock sound. This band definitely has potential to get a lot bigger. (KB)

Die Young Survival Instinct Immigrant Sun Records • Intense punkcore here. Really solid breakdowns in just about every song. They lull you into this false sense of the song slowing down and then they crack you right across the jaw with another burst of metal. Take that! (SH)

DNME Last of a Dying Breed No Dice Records • For some reason, DNME thinks hardcore is a dying breed. I got news for ya: not as long as these guys keep this up. This is straight-ahead hardcore, just like it should be played. Mosh it up! (SH)

Dog Men Poets Birth of the Cool self-released • With a steady beat, in the vein of a mellow 311 or Everlast, this album starts out with "Anthem," a song that plugs the bands very name. Things progress with guitars and a live hip-hop sound that bridges the gap between funk and folk. It's an all around fun record, and you don't need to laugh at the title to realize it would be. The further they drift into more of a rock sound, the better it becomes clear that a rock/funk thing is more so their style, instead of the attempts at being too humorous in a 1980's hip hop way. (JC)

Donnybrook Lions in This Game Hand of Hope Records • I know this is cliché but I can't help it. I'm taking a page right from Donnybrook themselves: this is a hardcore band, made up by hardcore kids, playing for the love of the hardcore scene, period. There's nothing fancy here. This is tight, catchy hardcore. What's even better, you can actually make out what lead singer Dre Stewart is saying! Imagine that! Donnybrook is on tour through the fall and they're playing the U.S. from coast-to-coast. Check this show out! (SH)

Eli Good Bride of the Bull Feast or Famine • This four-piece plays dreamy alternative pop music with some definite country sensibilities. The vocals, which exist in sort of a detached, echoed state, create a truly astral tone. With great ambient sounds twittering and oscillating in the back, there are some really wonderful tracks here that are highly meditative, eminently stylish, and otherworldly. (DP)

Elliott Photorecording Revelation Records • Elliott has been playing their brand of indie rock for many years now, but that has all come to an end. On this, their final album, they offer up creatively orchestrated, dramatic rock that is thick with layers of sound. The 14 tracks on here vary from intense rock songs to mellower, passionate indie rock gems. Every song, though, flows effortlessly. At times, the pace is so gradual that I become borderline bored. But then the music picks up or the instrumentation changes and I'm once again awed by their musical skill. Also included is a DVD documentary of their final tour, plus footage from live shows over the last two years. (CM)

Empty Silos Echo War The Inner Working Mechanics of a Failed Construct Rok Lok Records • Even though these songs were written during the same time as the songs on their previous album, Semantics, the two albums are not similar. This album is less experimental. While the dual vocals sometimes play well with each other, at times they compete with each other, sounding a bit messy. (AL)

Ennio Morricone Crime and Dissonance Ipecac Recordings • Ennio Morricone is known as a prolific film composer, with more than 500 films under his belt. This double CD set includes thirty tracks from the late '60s through mid-'70s, all of which are from Italian films. Since it is being put out on Mike Patton's Ipecac Recordings, you can correctly assume that these are not going to be the easiest tracks to listen to. These are the weird tracks, the ones with unusual instrumentation, screams, and heavy breathing. (AL)

Facing New York Self-titled Five One, Inc. • From the opening track of this album, it would not seem that this CD has much to offer. But after listening to the rest of the song, as well as the others, it is obvious that this band deserves a chance. Facing New York engineered and produced their own album. They also recorded it as they would play the songs live; all in one room, creating music together. The album hits lyrically where most people in their young adult life are. With lyrics based around the band members lives the past year, the songs reflect feelings of trying to make their dreams come true and make a living. This is all done through tight indie rock with a creative punk punch. It is definitely an album that unexpectedly hooks you in. (KB)

Favorite Saints Southern Gentlemen EP self-released • This is mid-tempo male and female vocal Indie pop. It's Alison Rich as the voice of Mrs. George Bailey, whatever that means. There's really not a catchy feel to this EP. If anything it has a seventies feel to it at times like in "Near Dark". There are too few moments in the music when I even care to see where it's going because my interest is lost at the beginning of each track. The folk appeal is undeniable in the intro of "Airport Chapel" shortly followed by the orient viola. The problem lies when the vocals come in. All of a sudden everything crashes and burns and before you know it you're praying for your favorite saint to come and take away this EP. (SP)

Felt Felt 2: A Tribute to Lisa Bonet Rhymesayers • Slug and Murs are at it again, this time substituting the sounds on A Tribute to Christina Ricci, with the Midwestern beats of Atmosphere's other half, Ant. The outcome is a fun, but unbalanced blend of solid flows and clever rhymes over funk-fueled sounds. These emcees start the show by reintroducing themselves with a few average tracks, before entertaining with a skit, then the hook, "I'm just trying to live life cool ­ Morris Day." On "Early Mornin' Tony," Felt rides out a mix of vintage beats with Murs finishing things off by spiting "I got more rhymes than rappers who got shot." The production continues to improve as things progress, allowing both emcees a chance to come into their own on tracks like "Breaker Down Like a Shotgun" and "Marvin Gaye." The reason their first tribute album to an under-appreciated actress worked so well was probably because they left the run-of-the-mill songs where they were last heard, in the studio. (JC)

Fight Night Our End is Near Spook City Records • Just like their label-mates, Nerve Gas Tragedy, Fight Night churns out brutally fast and intense hardcore. Think Slipknot. (SH)

FIYA Better Days No Idea Records • This isn't quite punkcore but it's really close. This is fast and furious rock that doesn't give up once it starts. A nice break from the growling and screaming hardcore that's become so popular. You get 10 tracks from this Gainesville, Florida four-piece. (SH)

Fleas and Lice Recipes for Catastrophes Rodent Popsicle Records • This is raw punk stuff that could have been made in the '70s. The Sex Pistols for '05. (SH)

Go It Alone The Only Blood Between Us Rival Records • Go It Alone is a tight-knit hardcore package bringing you bloodshed (literally), fury, and everything every "hxe" kids have come to enjoy. This four-piece shows that hardcore can be achieved without the extra nonsense, without the craftiness, without the additional help on every song, hence the name. This 12-song disc brings you hardcore. It's plain, it's simple, it's good, and you'll enjoy it. (CMax)

Golden Chariots of Mars self-titled Magnetic Sea Sound Recordings • This Minnesota quartet is fronted by singer Catie Larson. Her powerful voice is perfectly blended with the rock and roll riffs produced by the rest of the band. They have differently paced songs which showcases Larson's voice in multiple ways. The album is altogether very solid. (KB)

Grabass Charlestons Ask Mark Twain No Idea Records • This Gainesville, Florida based band has a fast-paced punk style to their music. The singer's voice is gritty and the songs have a catchy and honest quality to them. It is nice to see a band here and there that does not focus all their time and lyrics on girls. The song titles and added sentences under the lyrics of each song keep the insert entertaining as well. (KB)

Her Space Holiday The Past The Present The Future Wichita Recordings/World's Fair Label Group >• It's been almost ten years since Marc Bianchi started recording under the Her Space Holiday moniker. His music has always been on the soft side, with hushed vocals and minimal guitars, plus some electronic effects. On this album, he ventures a bit with slightly happier music, with some of the tracks being almost danceable. (AL)

High School Sweethearts Heels n' Wheels Get Hip • Jersey represent! This band's "part trash, part panache" style stands out dramatically with gritty, hard-rocking pop. It's a strange mix – it is at some times beach rock, sometimes metal... like brushing your teeth with a wire brush and chewing bubble gum with your mouth open. Eminently diggable, it's just the kind of punk rock attitude that this summer needs. (DP)

Hiretsukan End States self-released • Screaming emocore here. Quick, intense songs that will leave your ears blistered and bloody. In a good way, of course. (SH)

Honestly Ghosts of a Brilliant Past self-released • Memo to friends of Honestly: start washing their cars. Do their laundry. This band is going to be huge. As soon as some savvy A&R guy hears this, it's caviar dreams for this pop-alt band. If they can get "Answer" on one of those WB shows, forget about it ­ instant stardom. Fans of Lifehouse and Three Doors Down will swoon over this. The music is tight, the lyrics are sincere and a song like "Another Fool" will make your girlfriend cry like, well, a girl. (SH)

Hoods/Freya split CD Victory Records • The astounding Victory Records, obviously taking a note from BYO Records' successful pile-up of splits has brought to you two hard-hitting underground household names (if such a thing exists) in hardcore. Infectious sing-alongs, floor-stomping breakdowns, chugs, and thirst-quenching interludes, are offered by both bands whom have toured nationally and played various festivals such as Hellfest. This is one of the best hardcore albums I've ever come across. (CMax)

I Self Divine Self Destruction Rhymesayers • Picking apart one mans mind, body and soul, I Self Divine releases his first solo offering with solid production help and a heavy collection of personal struggles through the everyday. On "Live in the Moment," he examines the minimal options and the evident path of staying on the grind while continuing the theme of struggling through the hardships of life. The front man of the Micranots and member of Semi.Official and The Dynospectrum, I Self flows over beats by Ant, Jake One, Vitamin D and Bean One. He touches on the ills that come with a light wallet, the long road of a single parent, and the temptations of the female being. (JC)

iD and Sleeper Displacement Mush Records • Sleeper provides the lo-fi sounds of hip-hop inspired beats mixed with the stripped down elements of experimental rock music. The soundscape is a perfect compliment to the storytelling and rhyme style that the emcee of this duo provides. Incorporating the indie-emcee sound into his music by opening his inner confessions through introspective wordplay, the rainy afternoon vibe is packed with detailed lyrics that offer plenty to pay attention to. Displacement is best heard from start to finish, where songs like "Catcher," "Stranger" and "Nothing...New" has a chance to standout and accentuates the entire collective. (JC)

Induce Cycle Wonder Sound • Induce's debut album is great to relax after a long night of partying. It is full of instrumental hip-hop that has elements of jazz and electronica fused into it. The result is a smooth sound has an ambient quality to it. (AL)

Inquisition Revolution...I Think It's Called Inspiration A-F Records • This was a great album when it came out in 2000. Since then, lead singer Thomas moved on to Strike Anywhere, Rob ended up in Ann Beretta and Mark joined River City High. How about that for cred? This is one of those records that never really got the attention it deserved when it first came out. It's exceptional both lyrically and musically. A-F Records thinks so, too, and has re-released the album. This band reminds me most of the band Thomas ended up in (the aforementioned Strike Anywhere), with his rough-but-solid-vocals belting out socially-aware tunes as the music rips across the background, employing killed tempo changes, great sing-along parts and an uptempo punk rock pace. For those who missed it when it came out the first time, don't miss it again. (CM)

Inspector Owl Patterns of Nerve-Cell Action Oh Nona Records • Six songs are just the beginning to this album. I was a little disappointed that there weren't more. Although this band is a three piece live, there were many more pieces that made up the full sound of this record, including violin, horns, choirs, laughter, hand claps and even a badminton racket. The tracks have dancy Franz Ferdinand moments that you can't help but move your hips to, layered with Alkaline Trio-esque vocals, especially on the track "89." I hope to hear a lot more from Inspector Owl in the future. (MP)

Instant Camera Alive On Departure self-released • Instant Camera is another sign that pop music trends have finally cycled back and recombined to align with my tastes. The same parts of punk and pop that made The Pixies possible, that spawned the angular marxist disco of Gang of Four, have returned in the form of Instant Camera. Too much hyperbole? Perhaps. Nevertheless, the wonderfully raucous and noisy Alive On Departure deserves your attention. Among my favorite tracks are "Terrorvision" and "Style Over Substance Abuse," which has more than its fair share of late '70s British influence. (SJM)

Isle of View Gentle Firefly Radio Undecided Records • Isle of View formed in 2002 in Baltimore, Maryland. Their debut album on Undecided Records, Gentle Firefly Radio, is a hook filled masterpiece. The CD is full of melodies and harmonies that will penetrate your head and stay there. The lyrics are easy to relate with and are sung with intensity and emotion. Do not assume it is just a pop punk album though. These boys can rock. (KB)

J Plus J Plus J They Hump While We Go Nuts Johann's Face • This is a tasty electro pop punk album that reminds me of Atom and His Package. The lyrics are a bit silly at times and the music is insanely fun, using a blend of keys, samples and frantic beats. It's hyperactive music for people who like to dance fast. Vocally, the only two members of the band, a guy and girl, share the duties. They have the perfect voices for the cute, fun music they do, often singing/shouting the usually goofy lyrics over their brand of spastic pop. Some may find the music to be a novelty, but those who enjoy this genre of music will find this to be an excellent addition to their collection. (CM)

Jena/Berlin Passion Waits As The Program Keeps Going Watch The City Burn • JB uses a mix of singing and screaming, but they do it in a way that avoids sounding like the played out style so many other bands are currently employing. They mix a more indie rock style with the aggressive screamo moments, creating a greater contrast than the 'popular' punk-hardcore mix I'm so bored with. With a skilled, angular hard rock style, JB delivers pure rock and roll, sacrificing hook-filled pop (faking punk) for more honest, raw intensity. (CM)

Jokaman Live and Learn Triad Entertainment • This release by Jokaman is loosely based on the life he's lived and the lessons he's learned along the way. The opening track is about his family, the street life he's lived through and the fight through it all. Tracks like "Drag'em Outside" stand out, compared to others, with a southern bouncing beat provided with a sincere warning to treat others the way you'd like to be treated. When Joka try's to cater to the clubs and radio, he tends to slip in to the already worn-out styles we hear in the mainstream. Overall, the drama he rhymes about has a true feel to it compared to similar releases by other artists, but it comes off like he's trying too hard to get put on. (JC)

June If You Speak Any Faster Victory Records • If you love Dashboard or any of the other break-through mainstream emo bands like Taking Back Sunday, you've struck gold. It will fit right in your music collection with catchy rockers like "Speak Up" and the pop sound appeal of "Elevators Are Matchmakers." There is a definite Jimmy Eat World influence on the straightforward rock song "Scandals and Scoundrels." Any of the bands listed above prove to be safe-ground territory for June. The problem here is they are a little too predictable and careful for their own good. The end product is muzak in large doses. (SP)

Jus Allah All Fates Have Changed Babygrande • Jus Allah, the former Jedi Mind Trick member, is back with his debut full length complete with hostile lyrics and a bland rhyme style. Beats are provided by Agallah "The Don Bishop," NME-REK and Slipwax, while appearances on the mic come from GZA/Genius ("Pool of Blood"), Bomshot and Shabazz the Disciple ("Eyes of a Disciple"), Lord Jamar ("Important Shit") and more. On "Tomorrow" Jus spits "The last nigga that I kilt was in the middle of prayer" to begin a song about death that carries the repetitive hook "tomorrow never comes." Though some of these tracks possess a solid sound, a few of the beats are too basic and don't mesh well with the delivery that Jus provides. If you're up for some raps about murder, fully excused by religious beliefs, this may be the release for you. (JC)

Kettcar Von Spatzen Und Tauben, Dächen Und Händen Grand Hotel Van Cleef • The lead singer of this German band was formerly in an amazing punk rock band called ...But Alive. In my attempts to find out what happened to ...But Alive, I discovered lead singer Marcus' new band, Kettcar. No longer a punk rocker, Marcus has mellowed out. Kettcar is a solid power pop rock band with the ability to shift more to pop or in the opposite direction towards harder rock. Marcus' vocals are heartfelt and sound great ‹ the mellowing out hasn't prevented him from being a great singer, with the conviction of the German language adding its own bit of impact. The result is a great album, as long as you don't mind that it's all in German. If you can deal with that (and, personally, I love it) then you've got one great rock album to check out. (CM)

Kids Like Us Outta Control Eulogy Records • If you know the Eulogy label, you know what you're in for: bustin' up your face hardcore punk here, just like label mates Until the End and Black My Heart. It's aggressive, loud and furious. Just like I like my women. (SH)

Kit! s/t Forever Escaping Boredom • Nice record. This female-fronted band offers mid-tempo punky pop brimming with attitude. The hooky, emotional music supports the vocals wonderfully, which are generally delivered in a range of soft melody to a barbaric, yet controlled yell. There are very few vocalists that really know how to do this the right way, and it's always refreshing to hear one. (DP)

Kite Operations Dandelion Day K.O.A. Records • The debut CD from this four-piece NYC band was a dose of layered indie rock with unsuspecting turns. This four piece combines beautifully composed emotive melodies comparative to Mineral with harsher, thrashing guitar-driven moments ala Sonic Youth. Classically trained musicians dabble in the world of rock and the result is unique, unconventional and creative. There were Radioheadesque and Bright Eyes moments but, all in all, this album is a breath of fresh air in a whirlwind of generic music. (MP)

KJ Sawka Synchronized Decompression Wax Orchard • I stopped listening to drum 'n bass years ago because, frankly, I got bored. KJ Sawka does his best to keep this album interesting, and while he keeps the tempo high, he uses many of the genre's clichés. His saving grace is that the beats are a bit more frenetic than the usual fare. (AL)

La Cedille Vu Du Large Chocolate Fireguard Music • If The Roots moved to France and started rapping in French, this is what they would sound like. This French seven-piece plays all live instruments and features two rappers. They have a bunch of funk, soul and jazz in their sound, and their flow is smooth as silk. I only wish I could understand what they are saying. (AL)

Label the Traitor The Battle of the Common Five Point Records • This is the heaviest, fastest hardcore I've heard this time around. Brutal, an all-out aural assault. From beginning to end this is relentless. If you haven't stopped reading by now, go get this. (SH)

Lahar • Provide & Conquer Spook City Records • I sound like a broken record here, but this Spook City organization is no shit. Here's another bad-ass metalcore group they've got on their label. Lahar is as deadly as anyone else on Spook City. I think I'm making Spook City records my new homepage. Key-rist! (SH)

Last Perfection Drawing Conclusions United Edge Records. • It saddens me when I realize that a band hasn't been fully exposed due to incompetent use of funds or a lack thereof. The reason I'm mentioning this is due to the fact that this band would make Ozzfest crap their pants if Ozzfest was only aware that they existed. Juxtaposing infectious guitar scales and melodies with sporadic punk rock chords and brutal breakdowns, this band consists of everything and anything any fan of heavy music can come to enjoy, regardless of what your personal taste of music is. I also noted the vocal style of this band, which consisted of throaty gasps of air, growls, and even monotonous "tough guy" rants, illustrating that they're capable of doing it all. I'm drawing a conclusion that the Last Perfection took into consideration what the fans love and what they would come to love, molded their own specific genre, and perfected it. (CMax)

Latterman No Matter Where We Go...! Deep Elm Records • If you're looking for a great punk rock album that really focuses on catchiness (with out giving away any intensity) let your ears feast on this. Latterman spits out catchy, hard rocking track and after track, 12 altogether. There are loads of hooks and tempo changes, all delivered with skilled musical precision. Building crescendos, breakdowns, sing-along parts, all come together to create an incredibly infectious album. This is definitely Latterman's best album to date, truly mastering their song-writing ability while continuing to keep their energy levels set at super high. This is for fans of such bands as Strike Anywhere, The Lawrence Arms, and Against Me! (CM)

Lawless Element Soundvision: In Stereo Babygrande • With production coming from J. Dilla, Madlib and their own Magnif, the Detroit duo of Lawless Element (also including Griot) has put together a solid album of hip hop music in the vein of Tribe Called Quest and Slum Village. This debut release is a clear example of the progressive sound, and diversity for that matter, that the underground scene has to offer. Not all indie records need to sound low-budget and avant-garde; and considering the contributions throughout this offering, it's no surprise that jazzy, soulful samples are intertwined with thumping beats that are made to ride smoothly alongside each verse. (JC)

Life in Your Way Ignite and Rebuild Indianola Records • L.I.Y.W. play inspirational hardcore music in the same vein as bands like Overcome and A Taste for Murder. At times this CD gets a little preachy, which isn't entirely a bad thing, but it does take its toll on the listener. All around, this CD sounds great and I enjoyed it, but I can't recommend it to the non-Christian portion of the hardcore scene. (RP)

Lorene Drive Romantic Wealth Lobster Records • LD plays outstanding intense rock that is heavy on emotion and extra heavy on aggression. Sometimes crossing from rock to hardcore to metal in one song, the southern California quartet leaves know doubt they are worth attention. The melodies on this album are thick and the tempo changes are frequent. This album is a real treat. This is for fans of such bands as Coheed & Cambria, Emery and Mars Volta ‹ but factor in some extra screamocore to complete the deal. (CM)

Lozenge Undone Sickroom Records • Lozenge's music is like a train wreck waiting to happen. It's sometimes hard to listen when they simply let go of any attempt at structure and improvise a seemingly random set of noises. There are some lyrics, but they don't contribute much. This band is all about they make with their instruments and other items. (AL)

Majik Most Molesting Hip Hop Domination Recordings • Giving mad love to the thick asses of the world, Majik Most uses the "Humpty Dance" beat for the "Skinny Girls (Eat Some Food)" offering that gets this sarcastic album underway. The silliness continues on "Deranged Barber" and "Chicks Don't Mind," but the true standout is the bangin' "Who What Where When." Even as the Majik Most act begins to get old, appearances by Celph Titled, Louis Logic and the production of J-Zone on the "Extra Thug Sauce" remix, are all a welcomed diversion. A DVD is included with two videos, freestyles and behind the scenes footage of this Florida emcee who must have been a 2 Live Crew fan at some point. (JC)

Maker Shooting The Breeze Galapagos4 • Shooting The Breeze is Maker's first instrumental hip hop album. It reminded me of DJ Shadow, as he combines groovy beats with smooth piano samples and other sounds. He uses clips from various genres, deftly stringing them together to create one track. (AL)

Malkovich Music Skeletons self-released • Malkovich is a hip-hop head that grew up throughout the Middle East, Mediterranean, North Africa and Europe before landing in Los Angeles. He offers up a voice that speaks from a unique angle about an immigrant's journey to a world of more problems, with a rhyme style that is sharp and precise. Malkovich flows with a steady delivery overtop a mixture of indie beats and progressive sounds. Get out your headphones and pay attention to the stories he has to tell. Having been in the underground scene for some time now, you can here more of Malko on releases from Gershwin BLX and the Halifax All-Stars. (JC)

Man Alive Open Surgery The Militia Group • Man Alive formed in 1999 in Jerusalem, Israel. After a lot of overseas interest and touring, they got together with producer, Ed Rose (Get Up Kids, Motion City Soundtrack) and recorded Open Surgery. The CD features twelve punk influenced, rock songs. The album is fast paced and high energy, with enough catchy parts to give it that sing along quality. (KB)

Maritime Glass Floor Desoto Records • The elegantly flowing first track "The Window is the Door" brings together the likes of Death Cab and Gloria Record. I hear Death Cab in the vocals, whereas through the acoustic guitar do I feel the Gloria Record influence. The "Sleep Around" bass line is reminiscent of Green Day's "Longview". It's Cranberries meets Michael Penn with male vocals. This is basically borderline adult contemporary pop rock, but not in a Richard Marx-type way. It has more of an Indie feel to it. Listening to the fourth track "King of Doves" really reminds me of a cross between Michael Penn and Tears for Fears. And that is an awesome combination. (SP)

Meneguar I Was Born at Night Magic Bullet Records • What you've got here is your basic indie-garage rock ditty. Although "A Few Minutes An Hour" is an absolutely haunting emo rock nugget. For the most part they rock out though. And it's all good. (SH)

Messer Chups Crazy Price Ipecac Recordings • Even though these Soviets/Germans play music with rockabilly elements, they are not a rockabilly band. Same goes for surf rock. They simply play a combination of the two, with sci-fi references and some 60's and 70's influences. Sometimes the sounds become a bit repetitive when they show up in more than a couple of places. (AL)

Million Dollar Mouth Say My NameŠNow Say it Again self-released • MDM releases a solid 11-song disc here, mostly in the rock/alt vein. They sound somewhere caught between Stone Temple Pilots and My Chemical Romance, but there's too much ground in between. Then when they get into "Give It Up," which sounds like Maroon 5's next hit, I have no idea where they're going. Mike Biscotti's vocals throw an interesting curve as he is reminiscent of Iggy with a Morrison vibe. It's not bad by any means but I think they can really turn heads if they commit to a sound and stick to it. (SH)

Minamina Goodsong The Four Farmer Circus Arc The Finger • This Atlanta foursome returns with The Four Farmer Circus, another diversely funktified version of hip-hop that offers the chance to step out of the normal realm of life and into the minds of a traveling circus act. Each member, DJ T'Challa, Adahma AD, Twain and Pgnut the Prehistoric, find their inner alter superheroes and create a fun collection of songs with comical skits that add the extra depth to the concept found within. The beats are still inspired by the old-school legends that paved the way to the hip-hop growth of the early nineties, resulting in a solid offering no matter what mood you find yourself in. (JC)

Mischief * Brew Smash the Windows Fistolo Records • "The Reinvention of the Printing Press" really annoys me right off the bat with the vocals. Both forced and unnecessary, the vocals stand out in a bad way. The flirtation of Spanish guitars in the intro of "Citizen Drive" is a nice touch, but it's ruined by the entrance of yet another out of touch vocal track. This track has almost has a Faith No More "Das Schutzenfest" feel to it. Honestly, I can't get past the vocals. They are horrendous and I wish you luck giving it a listen. (SP)

Modern Giant Satellite Nights Popboomerang Records • This Australian band brings us a classic pop album from beginning to end. Male and female harmonies are beautifully intertwined. Lyrically, it's all down the romantic road. There is even some spoken word. Diverse, creative indie pop with a taste here and there of rock. This is what JeJune would have sounded like if someone beat the rock out of them. (MP)

Monarchs self-titled Pop Faction Records • METAL! And not just metal - I'm talking about slow, brooding, angry metalcore. Brutal double kick drums, huge riffs and guttural screams. If you dig Down and Superjoint Ritual, this is your next purchase. (SH)

Mutant Radio Cash n Burn self-released • I was wondering when I'd hear this. I can say in all my years of reviewing that I've never heard an indie band go after the rock-funk-rap crowd. Mutant Radio scratches and weaves between the Chili Peppers and Linkin Park in the first few cuts, and then they get mellow-funky, a la Jamiroquai on the latter half of the CD. (SH)

Nerve Gas Tragedy Written in the Blood of the Dead Spook City Records • If you can't guess this review from the title of the band and the disc, you shouldn't even be reading this magazine. This is intense, kids. Heavy, fast, loud and angry. Hardcore to the n'th degree. (SH)

No Use for a Name Keep Them Confused Fat Wreck Chords • No Use for a Name has been around for years. But they continue to crank out great albums. The band varies the song tempos throughout the CD. There are fast and catchy songs that make you want to get up and move. There are also slower paced songs that give the album some diversity. I love the lyrics and vocal styling of Tony Sly. I even got a little teary eyed when reading the lyrics to "Killing Time." I can definitely see this album getting heavy rotation in my CD player. (KB)

Nob Dylan and his Nobsoletes Positively 12 Stiff Dylans Alternative Tentacles Records • Chances are that if you are a punk rock fan, then you are not necessarily a fan of Bob Dylan. You might know his more popular songs, but not his entire catalog. For you, this album will simply be a collection of hard-charging garage rock songs. For those hardcore Dylan fans, this may amuse you or offend you. These 12 obscure Dylan tracks are reinterpreted so as to bear little resemblance to their originals. (AL)

Novemberkills Russian Roulette Hotfoot Records • This is the sophomore release from Novemberkills. It is a melodic masterpiece with punk, emo, and hardcore influences. The songs are catchy and the lyrics are easy to relate and sing along to. It was one of the few CDs that grabbed my interest right away. The album as a whole is beautiful, yet has powerful breakdowns that give the band its own sound. Let the CD keep running when the music stops and there will be an extra, funny surprise waiting just for you. (KB)

Old Time Relijun 2012 K Records • Pushing the envelope even further from their Lost Light release, the trio of Old Time Relijun purposely melds off-key sounds from all angles on 2012. Like a free-jazz band that has eaten way too much acid; the horns, bass guitars, irritating guitar chords and thumping percussion, take you to the fields of Woodstock, then through the sweaty punk bars of the genres heyday, and back to the intricate mind-fuck that eats at you through every vocal delivered. (JC)

Olli Schulz & der Hund Marie Das beige Album Grand Hotel Van Cleef • This is exquisite German indie pop, with well-crafted, simple tunes that capitalize on excellent, passionate vocals and melodic, layered music. I don't speak or understand a bit of German. But, I love how the language sounds and that really works to my advantage with these guys. It's all in German and the vocals are outstanding. Meanwhile, the instrumentation is exceptional, using harmonic keys, jangly guitars and a varied pace, from mellow to mid-tempo. If you're looking for a pure, no frills indie pop rock album, you have no further to go than Germany's Olli Schulz & der Hund Marie. (CM)

Omega One The Lo-Fi Chronicles Nature Sounds • Omega One has collaborated and made beats for Aesop Rock, Blockhead, and many others, but this time he goes it alone. This collection of mostly instrumental tracks showcase his talents as a producer without having the MC get in the way. Most of the time the tracks are decent, but not spectacular. Indeed, it is the tracks that feature I Self Devine and LoDeck on the mic that excel. (AL)

Omission Refuse Regress Reflections Words Music • It's hard. It's heavy. It's good. This is hardcore the way hardcore should be. It is powerful and driving, but not completely obsessed with maniacal screaming and the Œeverything louder than everything else' mentality. This is a good disc. (MK)

Orion The Sound And The Fury Hotfoot Records • Have you ever seen those Victory Records advertisements? It shows two big names such as Thursday and Taking Back Sunday and then it shows the new up and coming act that is supposed to fill the new "legendary slot." They're corny, however, Orion will soon be the new feature. Imagine the raw emotion and intensity of such acts as Saosin and Circa Survive and combine that with additional power pop and the sporadic "all hell breaks loose on the dance floor" breakdown and you've come into the realm of what Orion sounds like. Regardless of my inadequate description, this band is very good. They're raw, they're intense, and they're talented. (CMax)

Our Turn Catch Your Breath Youngblood Records • Since Hatrebreed, Comeback Kid, and With Honor started gaining national exposure it seems the new breed of hardcore is focused on the "straight ahead" version in order to achieve such a stature as these Œbig' bands who have paved the way. Regardless, some bands are doing well and Our Turn is a crucial example. Our Turn are posi-core, straight ahead rockers who are full of boisterous claims on peace, self-respect, hope, and compromise set over a brand of infectious chords, choruses, and chants. It's Our Turn's turn to make a change and to make their mark. Once they're finished, bands such as Champion, Righteous Jams, and Blacklisted will have to catch their breath. (CMax)

Outerlimitz Suicide Prevention Galapagos 4 • This hip-hop album starts with a head-nodding tune that is mesmerizing. The next track continues with the infectious loops, but the pace quickens and the listener is taken for a ride. From there, the journey continues. The use of repetitive keyboard and sample loops is done to perfection, really hooking you in to the vibe of each track. When a track ends, I'm anxious for what the next cut has to offer. I'm never disappointed. Each new cut delivers a tweaked sound that maintains a style that is all theirs. This is a perfect album for bouncing to on your way out for the night. (CM)

Oxes EP Monitor Records • This is Oxes's first album since 2002, and it is finally here. Their music is too hard to be called math rock, but possesses some it the genre's unpredictability. There are no vocals either, unless you count one or two screams that are buried in the background. They play a bit on the sloppy side, and inject a bit of Southern rock into the mix, if that is even possible. The last track seems a bit out of place, with a danceable (gasp!) disco-esque beat. (AL)

Palma International Float Like a Butterfly Asian Man Records • Nice. Mellow. Hip. Dub. PI plays ska and soulful rocksteady, a la Madness. In fact, Lee Thompson does a guest spot on this 12-song CD. Turn this on late at night and drift away. (SH)

Past Mistakes The Purgatory LP The New Beat • The music on this CD is outstanding. Past Mistakes plays catchy, smart indie rock with some more angular aspects. The tempo changes are precise and frequent, keeping the energy alive and never boring the listener. They remind me of old Appleseed Cast, using frantic song structures that maintain a melody, yet still have an aggressive, intense energy at all times. But the vocalist reminds me of Kermit the Frog. No disrespect, but this band would be more enjoyable as an instrumental outfit or by replacing their singer. (CM)

PatientZero Seemingly SoŠ self-released • Most songs have a point or some sort of distinct melody they leave the listener with. This is clearly not the case with "And SoldŠ" the second track off Patient Zero's new album. The name of the band is cool, but I assure you the music is not. The vocals are a cross between The Toadies and that awful band Lifehouse. "Di-rec-tion-al-i-ty" is even less memorable than "And SoldŠ", if that's possible. What a clever move to break the song title into individual syllables. Stay away. (SP)

Piglet Lava Land Team-AV • Chicago's Piglet shows off their tightly honed musical skills on Lava Land, which features six tracks of unadulterated instrumental glory. Their style is highly intricate, leaning towards math rock in a cross between Don Caballero's oomph and Storm and Stress's sense of experimentation. (AL)

Pink Lincolns No Lo Siento Hazzard • If one were to write a tome on the history of punk rock, the Pink Lincolns would definitely need to be in the index, and perhaps have their own chapter. These snotty, in-your-face punk rockers have been around since 1988, and have a tremendous body of work. They keep it real on this, their sixth full-length release, serving dose after dose of high-energy power punk with a knuckle sandwich on the side. (DP)

Psychokinetics Seven League Boots self released • In the Bay Area underground scene since 1995, DJ Denizen, and emcees Celsius 7 and Spidey, provide what they describe as "bangin' beats and positive music" on this release. Though there are a few low points, such as the many directions your pulled in, a handful of tracks make an impression here. Maybe it's all about what mood you're in, because the sounds on this Psychokinetics release are carried by hip hop influenced beats, each with a distinctive influence, along with mostly average rhyme styles. The opening track sounds like something you'd hear at a roller skating rink, "Bigtime" has a heavy reggae/jungle vibe, and "Approach" will appeal to the classic rock fan with an AC/DC loop in it. Their appreciation for the history of music is evident in their samples, if not in songs like "C'Mon." Other standouts include "Badlands," "Stop It" and "Mr. Leggs." (JC)

Quantice Never Crashed self-titled The Death Scene • The name sparks interest regardless of the genre and, trust me, the music itself is as interesting as the name. Music is simplistically a form of art, and QNC demonstrates that with this 10-song disc of utter euphoria. Intertwining abstract guitar hooks with breakdowns, blast beats, and jazz configurations (to name a few). QNC is on the prowl to truly recreate what music is and what music is meant to be. Slightly redundant and cathartic, along with the occasional out of place transition "break down to punk rock beat," QNC is still a talented band and eccentric at that. In comparison with what's currently being released, what more could you ask for? (CMax)

Racebannon First There Was The Emptiness Secretly Canadian • What the hell are these guys doing on Secretly Canadian??? Their insane noise-rock clashes mightily with the label's usually toned-down material. There's just something about Racebannon's insanity that is hard to resist. This is a re-release of their full length debut album, back when they had two vocalists who sound like they were competing to see who could tear our their vocal chords first. It also includes two live bonus tracks. (AL)

Radar Bros. The Fallen Leaf Pages Merge Records • This handsomely recorded album contains several subdued, somewhat dusty gems, delivered with a wounded, but tryin' dammit vocal. The Beatles-esque quality to the songs is obvious, but really beside the point, because imitation or worship is really not on the agenda of this sadfest. The sleepy, melancholy constructions are poignant, as particularly exemplified in "Papillon" and "Breathing Again". The only weakness of the album is that it is a bit repetitive from song to song, but for late night ruminations, this is not a liability. (SJM)

Repercussion And The Winner Is... Spook City Records • I was ecstatic to see that the ex-singer of Shattered Realm had formed a new band, yet I was disappointed in the results. I'm in no way stating that "tough guy hardcore" is talentless, I'm only stating that redundancy is a pet peeve and a repetition of the same riff on a listener can lead to a minor case of insanity. Regardless, the album opens up with a breakdown thus illustrating what is to come, and it comes, over and over again. Fans of Hatebreed, Until The End, and Most Precious Blood take a gander at Repercussion, they're everything you've come to love and everything concerned within the definition of "brutal." (CMax)

Rod Lee Vol. 5: The Official Club Kingz/Morphius Urban • immediately catching, the hyper beats and rhythmic bouncing of the samples go from erotic to hostile without missing a dance floor grind. This high-energy mix (30 tracks) is sure to bring the club home, or to wherever you're heading afterwards. But don't expect a bunch of fluff here, Lee manages to speak through these tracks, in a way that you feel the tension, the pain and the channels they go through. Can't get enough samples of today's top 40 rap artists? Rod Lee makes it all bearable over the top of bass heavy beats and enough rally cries to recite Œtil morning. (JC)

Rufio The Comfort of Home Nitro Records • I have been listening to this band since their debut album in 2001, Perhaps, I Suppose. So I was looking forward to this release. It stays in true fashion with previous Rufio releases. The songs are perfectly sculpted pop punk. The band has always had its own sound though. The singer's voice is very recognizable and it is put over some of the catchiest hooks out there. This is one of those bands that you cannot help but like. (KB)

Scary Kids Scaring Kids The City Sleeps In Flames Immortal Records • These guys are definitely going to be the next big popcore band to make it big amongst all the Hot Topic underground kids. S.k.S.k plays highly-marketable emopopcore that sounds like a cross between My Chemical Romance and Armor Sleep with a dash of metal. Despite all my disparaging comments, I really did enjoy this CD. (RP)

Schoolyard Heroes Fantastic Wounds Control Group • Holy Shit! I love this! This is totally wild and screamy and tight and fun and exciting and wow. Female vocals that range from screaming panic to melodic epic rock opera. The music is tight and slightly reminiscent of Nuclear Rabbit or Eskimo. Maybe some song titles will entice you? "The Girl Who Was Born Without A Face", "Battlestar Anorexia", "Serial Killers Know How To Party." Starting to appreciate the love here? (MK)

Screeching Weasel Anthem for a New Tomorrow Asian Man Records • The re-issues continue for SW. This is their fifth full-length album that came out in 1993 and is gloriously available again thanks to Asian Man Records (along with all their other albums). The band says this is their fav album and it's definitely up there for me. (Although I still drool over My Brain Hurts.) Regardless, this is certainly one of their best, with fuzzed out guitars, Ben's trademark nasally vocals and a pop-punk pace that keeps things right on time. Catchy? Need you ask?! SW is the king of catchy and this album is no exception. For those unfamiliar with the legacy that is SW, it's genius pop punk with nodes to The Ramones, Green Day and The Descendents. (CM)

Screeching Weasel How To Make Enemies & Irritate People Asian Man Records • Continuing in their SW series of re-releases, Asian Man Records offers the latest installment. It sounds great and any SW fan needs to grab this (and the other re-releases) to keep their collection complete. However, this album isn't the band's best and around this time (1994) I started to tire a bit of their sound. While they are excellent at their brand of catchy pop punk with amazing, angular guitar solos, Ben's vocals start to irritate me (so maybe the album title is more literal than I realized) and their songs all began to run together. Don't let that sway you; it's still quite good. The 13-track album is full of super catchy, sometimes snotty, pop punk tunes that will make you dance and sing along. (CM)

Screeching Weasel Kill The Musicians Asian Man Records • This completes the Asian Man series of SW re-releases. It's a fine note to end on. This 1995 release includes rare seven-inch songs, tunes from split releases and compilation tracks. This is a must for any true SW fan. The 31 tracks chronicle SW's amazing pop punk career and only solidifies their places as one of the best of the genre. Remastered for your listening pleasure and including liner notes with a "History of..." from Ben Weasel himself, you're a fool if you don't add this to your punk rock collection. (CM)

Send More Paramedics The Hallowed And The Heathen In At The Deep End Records • The second track "Boker" screams the likes of old school Pantera, but this sound is easily lost with the annoying punk lead vocals that ruin the rest of the song and the album for that matter. By the third song "Desert of Skulls", you will be convinced this band has an extremely limited sound and an awful singer. They even have a song called "No Fucking Joke". I'm going to leave that one alone, but only say that it sounds almost exactly like every other track I already listed. (SP)

Setting Sun Math And Magic Young Love Records • Simple, but intense and melodic indie rock make up this nine track album. The vocals are somewhere between Hum and Elliot Smith, but the lyrics aren't quite as good as either. The bouncy melodies will make your toes tap, but there's enough edge to sway far from the pop scene. They've taken that early '90s Dinosaur Jr. sound and incorporated some emotive melodies, and even some dance rock. It kind of made me feel like I was 15 again and listening to a new Sub Pop band. (MP)

Seventeen Evergreen Life Embarrasses Me On Planet Earth Pacific Radio Fire Records • These guys reminded me of Air's first album, but with fewer spacey sounds. It is soft and non-threatening, with touches of '70s retro all over the place, which brought Pink Floyd to mind. They're not going to rock your world, but instead will lull you into a comfortable state of mind. (AL)

Shook Ones Sixteen Endwell • Shook Ones remind me of Lifetime. The somewhat screamed vocals are belted over fast-paced punk rock that is loaded with both melody and intensity. It's the rapid pace, the aural assault that is so reminiscent of Lifetime. Musically, Shook Ones are more developed, creative and intricate, mixing up their tempos and blending a variety of sounds. Fans of fast, hard punk rock will drool all over this 12-track masterpiece. (CM)

Shots Fired self-titled self-released • Shots Fired is not short on intensity. They use thick chord progressions, aggressive drumming and outstanding vocals to power home their rock message. While Shots Fired is committed to rocking out, they also deliver on melody, using tempo changes to shift from full-throttle rock to catchier moments. It's a blend that never sacrifices one for the other, allowing the potency of the rock to mix seamlessly with the hooks. You'll be sucked in before you get to track two. This is for fans of such bands as Fugazi, Errortype:11, Quicksand and Pilot To Gunner. (CM)

Silverstein Discovering the Waterfront Victory Records • There are a lot of bands that are mixing elements of hardcore, emo, and punk with melodic vocals, but Silverstein is one of the only ones I like. The litmus test for these bands is to try to hum any of their songs an hour after listening, and these Canadians passed. The melodies are actually good, and the sporadic screaming keeps things bouncing, along with some kickass music. (AL)

Slobot Slobot vs. the Minotaur Uterine Fury Records • This CD/DVD combo contains the short film Slobot vs. the Minotaur, which is pretty much self-explanatory. The film sees Slobot travel to fight said creature in a film with the smallest of production values. The CD includes the soundtrack to the film, which, if you've ever heard Slobot's music before, you know is weird. The songs are more like sound collages than actual songs. Also included in the DVD are a few other films from Slobot's past, including some funny action-figure films. (AL)

So They Say self-titled Fearless Records • This St. Louis, Missouri band has all the right elements. All the members quit their other bands and jobs in order to focus more on So They Say. There is your dedication. Musically, the songs on the EP are perfectly blended with elements of punk, rock, and even some hardcore. The lyrics help round out these catchy, but not sickeningly, fun tracks. My only major complaint is that being an EP, there are only six songs. But I guess that is their final element: Always leave the listener wanting more. (KB)

Some Girls The DNA Will Have Its Say Three One G • This album is all of six minutes long and what an amazing six minutes it is. Some Girls are a kind of super group featuring members of The Locust, The Plot to Blow up the Eiffel Tower and Swing Kids. Having said that, one can only imagine what would become of the joining of these forces. Well here it is, a six-minute hell ride of emotions and pure fury. I can't even begin to think of what this band could do in 30 minutes. (RP)

Some Water And Sun All My Friends Have To Go Hefty Records • It's too bad I don't know Japanese, because many of the lyrics to this quirky album are in that language. This duo creates music that reminded me of Prefuse 73 at times, with cut up vocal samples and catchy beats. This is an electronic record with elements of pop and R&B that goes down easy. (AL)

Somerset Pandora PunkNews Records• Somerset was the first band asked to be on's new record label, PunkNews Records. That being said, talent is an obvious trait of this band. There are nine brand new songs on this CD and the other three are reworked versions from older demos. Their music is melodic rock with punk influences. The songs are full of hooks and sound very solid. (KB)

Stars Are Falling/Skylines split series vol.1 Blood and Ink • The first half of this split CD is a band called Stars Are Falling. Having a name like that one can only expect emocore. S.A.F. are one of those bands that has two singers, one tough and one in touch with his more feminine side. As for the Skyline half of this split, you still get the two singers, only this time the music is a little chuggier. Nothing too groundbreaking here, just your average hardcore split release. (RP)

State of Revolution Fight Forever SOS Records • Solid punk rock here. Sometimes they rock out, sometimes they get a little retro-'80s punk with it. Good, good stuff. (SH)

Stockyard Stoics Self-titled Jump Start Records• The songs on this album were all recorded by the Stockyard Stoics in 2000 and 2001. The lyrics focus mainly on life and trying to survive, though the band does get political in a couple of songs. Their music is more old school style punk rock. The songs are played loud, fast, and with a gritty sounding singer leading the way. (KB)

Stray From The Path self-titled Five Point Records• This five-piece makes a respectable attempt at the progressive brand of math core that is sweeping the nation by storm. This band stray's from such acts as Fear Before The March of Flames, The Chariot, Norma Jean, and The Red Chord due to incompetence. The music is cathartic with no melody and anything to grab onto, a "hooker," figuratively. The breakdowns are exceptional, however they're frequent throughout all 11 tracks. Ironically this is a "verse chorus verse" math band. A very genuine and sincere attempt at the genre and I tip my hat to them. However, it will take some practice to live down their name. (CMax)

Street Dogs Back to the World Brass Tacks Records • This is the second album from the Street Dogs. The band features ex-members of other punk rock bands such as the Dropkick Murphys and the Mighty Mighty Bosstones. The Street Dogs tried to incorporate messages into their music by writing lyrics that came straight from the life experiences of the band members. The songs on this album are catchy, punk rock and make the listener want to sing and chant along. (KB)

Summer Blanket Whisper Louder Pop Up Records • This is melodic pop rock on the soft tip. The acoustically driven "Connecticut" never quite peaks throughout the course of the song. I kept waiting for an intense moment, but nothing. Other than a little U2 in the bass, I was ready too soon for the next track. The irresistible chime of "Sydney" grabbed me for a sec and then gone due to lack of chorus. These songs are flatliners. (SP)

Sybris self-titled Flameshovel • This is music for the considerably unsettled, or for anyone who likes to take a trip outside of psychological stability for an hour. With an eerie intro and a slam of hard distortion at crucial times, this power rock five-piece offers sounds that have an unfinished quality to them, as though they are still waiting to collect what they are owed in this life. But isn't everyone? It appeals to that yearning in all of us to climb higher, to drive ourselves out of this wasteland. Wonderful use of Edie Brickell-type vocals and electronic ambience to salt and pepper the sound. (DP)

Ten 33 Nightmare on Grace Street Blood and Ink Records • Imagine a modern day Suicidal Tendencies with a twist of Phil from Pantera's screaming edge to it. This is at least how I would describe "It Never Dies", the first track off Ten 33's new album. This hardcore punk band rocks out with titles such as "March on Castle Greyskull" for all you He-Man fans and "Jerry's Kids" for all you sickos. The distorted bass in "Jerry's Kids" has a calming effect until the redundant touch of the lead vocals comes in bringing the same formula used in most of the previously mentioned tracks. Good in small doses. (SP)

The Agitators Salute to All SOS Records • If you walked into a bar on St. Patty's day and there was a punk band playing, this would be what you heard. This is fun, catchy, Oi! punk. If you listen to this and aren't instantly driven to open a beer and call your friends over, you're not hooked up right. (SH)

The Bloodiest Night of My Life An Agony in Eight Fits The New Beat • When I listen to this CD I picture a bunch of kids trying to be artsy but missing the mark at every turn. I'm not really sure where these guys went wrong. They have all the right hair cuts and have seen The Locust and Blood Brothers play more than twice. Not saying this is a horrible band, it just seems like they are trying to ride the wave of so many other artcore bands. I'm eager to hear this band in a few years when they have finally found their niche. (RP)

The Bomb Indecision Thick Records • Featuring Jeff Pezzati (ex-Naked Raygun) on vocals, The Bomb play melodic rock that has some punk influences. J. Robbins recorded the 12-track album, so it sounds excellent. Musically, this doesn't really blow me away. It's solid, tight material, but there's nothing about it that sets it apart. It's good rock and roll, certainly is catchy, but it lacks intensity and originality, two things that are becoming harder and harder to find in bands. I will say, though, Jeff's vocals are awesome and make me miss Naked Raygun. (CM)

The Carpettes self-titled NDN Records • The opener "Nothing At All" contains a standard run-of-the-mill guitar chord progression that shows little to no originality for this Clashy British sounding band. The lead singer seems desperate to rhyme every other lyric line. "Steal Your Thunder" sounds like a Ramones' riff I've heard somewhere before. This is mainly in the verse vocals where I hear it so strongly. This vibe continues throughout the album especially on "I Don't Like You." If you love The Clash and Ramones, give it a shot. (SP)

The Chicharones When Pigs Fly Camobear Records • The great cartoon artwork on the cover threw me off the trail of the genre. I never thought it would be hip-hop, let alone incredibly solid, creative and infectious. There are tracks on here that are soulful, others are more jazzy and some are just straight up, beat-driven bangin' cuts. Some songs have a live instrument feel, with guitar riffs and drum beats that make me feel like they're playing right in front of me. The attitude ranges from playful to aggressive, but a constant remains: they do everything with skill. This is for fans of Blackalicious, Beastie Boys, Jurassic 5, and Eminem. Why Eminem? These guys have an ability to flow with a pointed accuracy, something Eminem excels at. While musically they aren't too similar, I think there is definitely a vocal similarity at times. Fans of creative, indie hip-hop must give this a spin. (CM)

The Crest Skeptik Uprising • Madison, Wisc. has put themselves on the hip-hop make without question, thanks to The Crest. Around since 1998, this appears to be their debut album – but Madison hip-hop heads have known about these cats for a while. Politically-aware, musically-gifted and skilled to start a party or keep the club bouncing, The Crest deliver on all points with this 18-track release. The lyrical flow is fast, athletic, doing words gymnastics that are as good as Eminem or Busdriver or Atmosphere, flipping between two MCs, both skilled to rip the mic. They tear it up over a variety of beats, samples and loops, some slugging along with a haunting feel, others banging forth an urgent, unavoidable intensity. These are head-noddin' tunes that any fan of hip-hop will find exceptional. (CM)

The Cubby Creatures After the Deprogramming Rodent • Attacking social consciousness on all fronts, this album is only a representation of Cubby's music arm. They have also run a zine and a cable access show, and here put their considerable talent to work on a new full-length. They are from the San Francisco alt-rock scene, but their challenging music has what seem like Irish sensibilities, but use spacey morphs to produce a new sound rife with fantasy and futuristic invention. Great pop rock. (DP)

The Divining Reprisal Dressed to Kill Records • Metalcore! Brutal, wrenching, metalcore here. There's some ferocious and extremely technical guitar work on this disc. This is a sonic mind-blower. (SH)

The Duane Peters Gunfight self-titled Disaster Records • Duane Peters, of skateboarding and U.S. Bombs fame, has come back with yet another bunch of rough and tough songs. The album is strong and brutally honest punk rock. One song, "Yer Too Sensitive," actually takes a shot at all the "emo" punk bands that are popular today. While the CD does have some fun and almost catchy songs, it is a bit to raw for my liking. It is definitely aimed at more old-school punk rock fans. (KB)

The End of the Universe You're The Disease Chainsaw Safety Records • The End of the Universe features former members of Converge, Jesuit and Channel. That alone sets the bar pretty high as for expectations they have set for themselves. This being their first release I would have to say these guys have definitely met and exceed all expectations anyone could put on them. This CD is destined to be this year's best metal album. If you have never heard this band, I strongly recommend you pick up this CD. You will not be disappointed. (RP)

The Fall of Troy Doppelgänger Equal Vision Records • This album starts out with one of the most complicated guitar lines I have heard in a while. Sure, their mix of rock, metal, punk and hardcore has been done a million times, but you can tell these guys are hungry. They catch you off guard often, changing tempos and time signatures, sometimes mid-song. The most amazing thing about this group is that it only has three members, and they are all 19 years old. If you like The Mars Volta, you'll probably like this. (AL)

The Fallout Project Hopes & Ropes Dare To Care Records • There are bands that take hardcore and take it to new levels, only using it as a starting point. Much like Neurosis, The Fallout Project is such a band, expanding the genre's boundaries with six tracks of heavy music that combines screamed vocals with aggressive music that is at times unsettling, and at other times hypnotic. (AL)

The Fenwicks Truth & Memory self-released • Oh great, here we go againŠANOTHER Afro-Celtic Yiddish ska band. Wait a secondŠWHAT?! Yiddish who? Yeah, you read me. This is a live disc and you know how catchy ska is live so you're probably buying this already. If not, go! This is as catchy as anything Fishbone ever did. It's absolutely a blast! (SH)

The Finale Things Can Still Get Better Creep Records • The Finale is a young band based out of Pennsylvania. The members have stated that their influences range from Huey Lewis and the News to Taking Back Sunday. Most of the songs seem like they could be passed off as just pop punk, boy-wants-girl drama. But in actuality, the lyrics are well thought out and very easy to relate to. The fusion of rock, pop, and punk into their music, mixed with the emotionally charged lyrics, makes this album one that you cannot help but like. (KB)

The Fugue Mysterious Animals RiYL Records • This is noise punk. Is that even a category? Is now, bitches! You know how they say the lead singer of The Used pukes on stage because he screams so much? I'm pretty sure he got that from The Fugue. While I can't confirm anyone from The Fugue pukes on stage, I'm willing to bet. $5. Who wants action? (SH)

The Hatepinks Plastic Bag Ambitions TKO Records • The Hatepinks formed in France in 2003. The band has an old school, garage punk band sound to it. The songs are catchy and seem perfect for singing and chanting along. My only complaint is the time. The whole album is under seventeen minutes long. I feel if a band is going to make a CD, give the consumer enough music to at least satisfy them for a half hour. In this case, the repeat button will just have to do. (KB)

The Holy Mountain Entrails No Idea Records • Socio-political hardcore here. Blistering, brutal, intense, etc. That might be the most intense opening to a CD I've heard in ages. How can three people create such musical violence? There are 11 tracks to remind you. (SH)

The January Taxi Keep Quiet, They Might Hear Us Vacant Cage Records • Blending aggression with an indie rock goodness, The January Taxi drop eight tracks on this 25-minute release. Some songs are uptempo, hard rocking tunes while a couple are more restrained, jangly heartfelt pieces. The lead vocals are strong and harmonize with the music very well. This is catchy rock with enough emotion and energy to keep even picky listeners entertained. (CM)

The Junior Varsity Wide Eyed Victory Records • The Junior Varsity have made it through some bad luck and have a great album to show for it. Through numerous van break ins, the band has pulled together and produced an album that is just enough parts rock, punk, and pop fused together to hook just about any listener. In some songs, their sound is reminiscent of the band Park. The album, as a whole, is very solid with intricate guitar parts and smooth vocals. Songs that stood out were "Do You Mind?" and "If It Hurts You." (KB)

The Kallikak Family May 23rd 2007 Tell All Records • It takes commitment to get through this album. It is an experiment in sound collages, random drumming, and all kinds of electronic sound effects thrown together. There are also touches of folk music and some IDM. (AL)

The Know How Now in Technicolor Stomp • A deliciously great new ska act, the Know How power out some really hard, poppy tunes that instantly resonate with the listener. You know that this is something different immediately when you hear the incorporation of some spacey synths in tandem with more traditional ska/raspy Dropkick-Murphys-style vocals. It will rock even the most discriminating ska-loving ass, and I'm sure they own the stage when they're live. (DP)

The Lawrence Arms Cocktails & Dreams Asian Man Records • Any material from The Lawrence Arms in cause to rejoice in my mind. While this isn't a new album, it is an awesome collection of tracks from an out-of-print release, a new song, two new recordings of old songs and much more. The fact is, hearing the same LA songs over and over again is better than hearing new material from 99 percent of the other bands out there. LA plays sincere, aggressive, melodic punk rock that calls to mind Jawbreaker, Strike Anywhere, Fifteen and Alkaline Trio. There are two vocalists, one gruff and aggressive while the other is a bit more "sensitive." The energy that LA puts forth is much bigger than one would expect from a three-piece, and their passionate style of music is irresistible. Lyrically, these guys are honest, intense and eloquent, mixing personal stories with socio/political commentary. There aren't many bands that sound like they care about their music; The Lawrence Arms is one of the few I know of. (CM)

The Letters Organize Dead Rhythm Machine Nitro Records • This really aggressive, really kick-ass punk rock. It's not punkcore, i.e. they never just shit themselves and go completely out of control, but they come damn close. I really, really dig this. Fans of everyone from Velvet Revolver to My Chemical Romance to the Sex Pistols will dig this. (SH)

The Lurkers 26 Years SOS Records • Has it really been 26 years? Who the hell knows? This is great punky pop rock that you will want to play at every party you throw from now on and forever. Amen. Reminiscent of Sloppy Seconds, The Ramones and The Clash, this is good punk. It appears that it has been 26 years, as most of these songs seem to have been written in the late '70s. Timeless stuff, baby. (MK)

The Numb Ones Everything in Between Cleopatra Records • This album has a sticker on the front stating "A must for fans of Foo Fighters and Velvet Revolver." On Everything in Between I can definitely hear Foo Fighters and maybe a little Guns and Roses, but the second song I don't think so at all. If anything it crosses into the '80s head on. And although the second track "Space and Time" is inconsistent with the first track, it still is catchy enough to have a video that would be playing solely on VH-1. The album is produced by Fred Coury of Cinderella. Which one is he again? A must for radio-friendly types. (SP)

The Number 12 Looks Like You Nuclear. Sad. Nuclear Eyeball Records • As the world of hardcore music becomes one mediocre mass of like-sounding crap, bands are doing what they can to stand out from the crowd. While the screamo vocals have been done over and over, the music itself is pretty good. Time and signature changes abound, and they are not afraid to throw in some acoustic guitars here and there. They tend to be more technical than a lot of other bands. (AL)

The Occasion Cannery Hours Say Hey Records • The Occasion sounds like a less perfectly produced, more intentionally dirty invocation of the more subdued side of 70's adult contemporary, with a little "Here Come The Warm Jets" Brian Eno thrown in. For the most part, the songs sound very heartfelt and emotionally earnest, even if the lyrics are a bit intentionally obscure. A particular high point is the title track, in which the surreality of the lyrics reaches a crescendo, giving way to imagery both intriguing and full of despair. "Register My Complaints" is for me the most intuitively moving song of the lot, and could and should find a wider audience. (SJM)

The Ratchets Heart of Town Hellbent Records • Good, old school punk-influenced rock here. There are also some ska influences here, sort of a Clash thing going on. (SH)

The Readymen Discography Jump Start Records • This CD features nineteen tracks from The Readymen. Since the band broke up in the late nineties, it is all their old recordings, mostly from 1994 to 1996. The band came before the big ska craze and their music shows it. Their sound is a more reggae and punk-rock-influenced ska. The songs are fast paced and fun to listen to. It is a shame that the band is no longer around to perform these songs. (KB)

The Real McKenzies 10,000 Shots Fat Wreck Chords • The Real McKenzies are back again with more tales of drinking, partying, and Celtic lore. Even if you are not Scottish you can raise a pint and enjoy their brand of Celtic punk rock. As always they bring along a few traditional songs to which they have added their signature style. (AL)

The Route 66 Killers Murder on Beaver Street Gravewax Records • Even though all of the 16 tracks on this album are original, they sound like they came off a 1960's Dick Dale album. They play surfer music, and that they do well. They also throw in elements of spy music and some flamenco to spice things up a bit. (AL)

The Silent Type Hot and Bothered self-released • Very clever this Silent Type is. I popped this disc in and what I heard almost made me shit myself. They start the CD off with like 30 seconds of some mono instrumental crap recorded on what sounds to be an answering machine. Ahh, but then they quit with the funny and start with the ass-kicking. TST is firmly rooted in rock and roll. Their branches, however, extend in several brash directions –Weezer, At The Drive-In and School of Fish are all influences here. This is a really solid disc that grows on me the more I listen to it. "Blackout," "Americana Blues" and "El Presidente" are brilliant back-to-back tracks that give you a synopsis of what the band does through the rest of the CD. (SH)

The Sonnets Mystery Girl Failed Experiment • This is pure, straight-up garage rock and roll, a fusion of '60s mod, '70s punk rock and glam, and '90s power pop," that drips with attitude. There can be no mistaking the corner of musical taste to which these guys appeal. They rock, end of discussion. Formed in 1992, the Chicago-based Sonnets have had members come and go over the years, but remained a formidable entity. (DP)

The Soviettes LP III Fat Wreck • This is some of the rockin'est girl punk you ever did hear, but there's one catch ­ the drummer has a penis (shh!). But don't let that stop youŠ they serve up tight, harmonic, edgy tunes that would make the Go-Go's and the Ramones proud. This, their third LP (duh), will keep your fist pumping in the air and quench that girl rock thirst that exists in us all. Oh yeah, and they're not communists, it's just a clever name. (DP)

The Structure of a Precise Fashion self-titled Lujo Records • Interesting! Different! I know that does nothing for you but that's what comes to mind. How about experimental emocore with some new wave tinges? Is that better? Clearly I can't relate them to anyone because I'm not sure there's been a band like this. (SH)

The Templars Clockwork Orange Horror Show Templecombe • This is raw punk, not necessarily raw in a punkcore way, just no-frills, no-polish punk that could have been recorded in a bar. Fun stuff. (SH)

The Warriors War Is Hell Eulogy Recordings • Pioneers of the Panhandle, Eulogy Records have done it again! The Warriors, who I assumed were another typical hardcore band with the same altercations, motives, chants, etc., led me astray with their brand of "abstract hardcore." High pitched screams of massacre mixed with heart pounding breakdowns and abstract euphonies and solos are only a portion of what comprises The Warriors. So many times has a band been described as "unbelievable," however The Warriors are something I've never heard before. Taking the trail paved by typical hardcore and spitting on it, The Warriors are here to fight for the fame which they're destined to achieve and with that comes some really awesome music. (CMax)

This is a Process of a Still Life Light Firefly Sessions • The mood created by this instrumental band is one of relaxation and melody. They use plenty of keyboards for this purpose, while multiple guitars are picked in intricate patterns. The percussion keeps everything in check, building or releasing tension with a steady pace. (AL)

Thor Thor Against the World Smogveil Records • The first song is actually entitled "Thor Against the World." This album will bring you right back to the eighties. Thor could probably be the ultimate band for a soundtrack to '80's cartoons like Transformers and Thundercats if you feel me. The key demographic here is late thirties to early forties men with massive mullets and torn t-shirts. Songs like "Serpent's Kiss" and "Glimmer" are straightforward bar songs. However, they would be the band at the bar you were leaving because of. (SP)

Three Piece Combo self-titled Feast or Famine Records • The name of this band could not be any more generic. Thankfully, their music is not. Even though one of their rules is "no jamming," some of their instrumental songs go on for quite a few minutes. They change things up constantly, and use elements of prog rock and math rock. (AL)

Thunderlip self-titled Lucid Records • Thunderlip plays a blistering brand of garage rock, but they do it with more strut and swagger than those The bands. Thunderlip thinks they're better than you and they're probably right. With Œ80s rock riffs, a huge bottom end and the perfect blend of screaming and scratching vocals, this one will grown on you like a glammed-up wart. Check out "Evil on Two Legs" and the nod to "Detroit Rock City" by Kiss. (SH)

To Kill Watching You Fall Catalyst Records • If Black Flag re-invented themselves and released a hardcore disc, this would be it. Short, brutal explosions of hardcore power here. (SH)

Traindodge Torch EP + 2 No Karma Recordings • The six tracks on here aren't new. However, they are good. The four-song Torch EP is remastered and the other two tracks come from their out-of-print 2001 CD. The music is intense but patient, aggressive while still being sensitive. They are emotionally charged, but they aren't "emo" as the genre is concerned. Parts are mathy, even jazzy in their musical makeup, sometimes even a bit chaotic. The result is a catchy album that gets your attention for its least catchy elements. (CM)

Transient Tractor Failure self-released • Oddly, the website for this one-man band admits that the vocal tracks on this record could use some work, and that was going to be my complaint in my initial pre-press-material listening. Once you get past that, the music is quite well crafted and interesting, being quirky and funky rock tunes that sometimes don't need to be more than thirty seconds long to make a point. Definitely a far more enjoyable record than others that have graced my player. I'd shake a stick at it. (DP)

T-Tauri Infinite Motion Strictly Amateur Films • This is the swan song of T-Tauri. This experimental synth-emocore band busted up in 1999. Think NIN meets Dashboard meets Soundgarden. (SH)

Twentyinchburial How Much Will We Laugh And Smile Immigrant Sun • I can't say much about this band they are your typical screamo band. This genre has been so completely played out over the course the past couple of years. This band has the ability to make something amazing but have chosen to go the trusty screamo route. (RP)

Ulver Blood Inside Jester Records • Apparently Ulver has been around for quite a while, having been evolving from their black metal roots into all kinds of weird music. They continue that evolution with Blood Inside, which is as metal as Iron Maiden is a jazz group. The vocals are highly melodic, harmonized and processed. The music is lush, medium tempo, which sometimes reminds of Pink Floyd at their trippiest. And the animated video for "It is not Sound" is one of the weirder ones I've seen in a while. (AL)

Useless ID Redemption Kung Fu • Useless ID formed over a decade ago in Haifa, Israel. This CD is the band's third full-length release on Kung Fu Records. It has everything from fast paced, anthem-like songs, such as Drinkage, to melodic and memorable tracks, like Dying Love. I think this band has put together a group of songs diverse enough to make a well balanced and enjoyable punk rock album. (KB)

Vanishing Kids The Selfish Mirror Failed Experiment Records • Vanishing Kids have a dark and eerie, yet beautiful sound to their music. Their songs seem to be influenced by bands such as The Cure and The Smiths. The alternating male and female vocals are combined with catchy beats and synthesizer melodies. This makes for a very dreamy, new wave influenced, indie album. (KB)

Various Artists Autonomous Addicts The Designed Disorder • The guys at The Designed Disorder assembled this compilation with some pretty kick-ass electronic music. Some recognizable names are here, as well as some upstarts, folks like Richard Devine, Tipper, Eight Frozen Modules, Anon, and Edit. This is not a techno or house music compilation ­ it leans toward the experimental genres of electronica. (AL)

Various Artists Hipothetik Disaster Hip Notik Records • This compilation features a bunch of instrumental hip-hop and electronica tracks to celebrate the launching of the French label Hip Notik. The tracks, mostly by artists I have never heard from (aside from Thavius Beck), are unique in their use of different sounds and beats. It is well worth your time to check it out if you want to experience something new. (AL)

Various Artists House of Yoshi: The Collection Yoshitoshi Recordings • If you are a fan of house music, you may have already heard music from the Yoshitoshi label. I am not a particularly huge house fan and I had heard some of the songs here. In any case, this is their first ever compilation, with a mix of 13 tracks from Sumo, Eddie Amador, Deepsky, Miguel Migs and others. (AL)

Various Artists Kamikaze Ass Chomp n'Stomp CD Sampler, Vol. 4 Estrus Records • Oh boy. I have NO idea where to go with this. There are a ton of different sounds on here. This would be a phenomenal CD to put on when you're throwing a bash or just hanging out. If you're not really in the mood for anything in particular, this is for you. There's something for everyone here – Japanese pop, punk, jazz, rockŠeverything. Really. If you put your favorite six CDs in your changer and hit shuffle, this is what you'd hear. (SH)

Various Artists Listen or Pose Abacus Records • If you are a fan of hardcore I highly recommend this CD it features many great hardcore bands such as Bleeding Kansas, Turmoil, and Embrace. All the tracks on this CD are really great so go buy it rules. (RP)

Various Artists Mixo De Punko! Vol.2 Let Them Eat Records • This compilation features twenty-two songs from various local California bands. It also features music videos from The Missing 23rd, California Redemption, Caught Off Guard, and two from Ill Repute. The style of music featured on the CD ranges from punk rock to hardcore. There is very little transition time in between the songs so the compilation is an adrenaline rush from start to finish. (KB)

Various Artists Punk Goes 80's Fearless Records • These compilations have been around for a few yearsŠtoday's punk bands recording cover songs of metal songs, or pop songs, and now, 80's songs. They tend to be pretty good, particularly for us who are old enough to have been around when the originals came along. I must say I was surprised to hear that the songs were not performed as punk songs, but as slightly harder versions of the originals. One of the standout tracks is The Early November redoing Huey Lewis & The News's "Power of Love" as a slow ballad. (AL)

Various Artists Sounds From a Big Town Chocolate Fireguard Music • This is a three-CD compilation with the goal of promoting the music scene at Huddersfield, England. One CD features urban, hip hop and chill, the second dance music, and the third guitar gusic, which has everything from folk to ska, alternative, and metal. I have to admit that I had never heard from most of the artists here, but enjoyed most of the tracks. (AL)

Various Artists Take Penacilin Now G-7 Welcoming Committee • The cover of this compilation CD is copy of the letter that was sent to Senator Daschle containing anthrax, hence the title of the album (pulled from the letter contained inside). The 19 tracks compile a collection of bands that have worked with G-7 over the years. That means you get a mix of styles, from speedcore to hip-hop to punk to hardcore to rock. The album includes a new, unreleased track from Propagandhi (and it's so good!), unreleased tracks from Randy, The Weakerthans, Greg MacPherson, Submission Hold and plus tracks from The (International) Noise Conspiracy, Consolidated, But Alive and others. It's a great collection of a variety of excellent bands. (CM)

Various Artists Takeover 3-Way Issue #2 Takeover Records • This compilation features three previously unreleased tracks by each of the three different up and coming bands. NearMiss (Takeover Records), the more hardcore influenced band on the comp, starts the CD off with a lot of energy. Next up is Reeve Oliver (The Militia Group). This band, with its fast paced and fun songs, ended up being my favorite on the CD. The Matches (Epitaph Records) ended the CD with two of their three songs being acoustic. One of these acoustic songs was Sick Little Suicide. Though I like the original version of this song more, the other two Matches tracks were just what I would expect from them. All three of the bands showcased their unique style through their songs. This compilation is the perfect combination to gain new fans for these bands, as well as please the old ones. (KB)

Vocab Malone Happy Hardcore self-released • There are some really nice sounds on this Vocab Malone release. The spirit of hip-hop is easily evident throughout this collection of songs that pay homage to the old-school style circa 1980's. Vocab sounds like a big fan of the Beastie Boys, only I'm not sure that he's Jewish, as he has a tendency to drop religious shout-outs here and there. Happy Hardcore is self described as being a "best of both worlds" per se, a contrast that finds this Phoenix emcee mostly having a good time rapping positively while using a basic rhyme dictionary. DJ Cre One provides the goods, while Vocab has a good time. (JC)

Voltage Building the Bass Castle, Vol. 1 Flameshovel Records • These two guys play instrumental music that will have you thinking of Hella, but with a bit less randomness. They are at once math-rock and experimental, with slow periods and fast periods. (AL)

We Are Wolves Non-Stop Fat Possum Records • This is spastic, electro punk rock at its finest. Distorted vocals and keyboards galore gave this band an edge. Sometimes the band takes the catchy, pop side of this dance rock along the lines of VHS or Beta. Other times, it's just analog synth rock with an originality that makes it hard for comparison. The random noises sometimes distort the songs, making it hard to wait through to find the real song, but the payoff is worth it. (MP)

Windser for the Derby Giving Up the Ghost Secretly Canadian Records • This band seems to be searching for their voice. While the songs "Empathy for People Unknown" and "Praise" endlessly strive for some sort of impact, they never quite seem to attain this state. The most unfocused part of this band is the vocals. They are hard to understand and lack any type of hook to catch your attention. This new wave Indie band should learn the importance of the pop factor before releasing another record of nothingness. The thought of listening to this album in entirety frightens me. (SP)

Yellowcard Where We Stand Takeover Records • Where We Stand was originally released in 1999 with a different singer and an extra guitarist. Both of these elements make this album very different from the current Yellowcard releases. The enhanced CD features never before seen footage of the band and a twenty-four page insert of old photographs from their early days. These two extras give a small glimpse into the days of the original Yellowcard. The songs are not as pop oriented as they are today but the violin and unique Yellowcard sound can still be heard. The songs are fast, intricate, and showcase why this band got to where it is today. (KB)

Yesterdays Rising Lightworker Fearless Records • Yesterdays Rising is one of those bands that are mixing rock, hardcore, metal, and indie rock. The vocals switch between singing and screaming, but are not remarkable. The music keeps a consistent energy level throughout the album. I suspect these guys are a lot better live than on record. (AL)

Yip Yip Pro-Twelve Thinker Strictly Amateur Films • Longwood, FL's Yip Yip are pretty out there. They play electronic music that sometimes seems improvised and is pretty experimental. They stick with hard beats and sounds that create an ominous, stressful mood. Check out the enclosed video to see them in action with their white jumpsuits and bug-eyed gas mask-looking-things. (AL)

DVD Reviews

Various ArtistsBurn To Shine 2: Chicago 9-14-04Trixie DVD • This is the second DVD in a series that gathers a group of bands to play inside a house that is slated for demolition. It is an unusual way to shoot live footage, as the house in this case was quite small, making the camera angles quite tight. The result is that you feel like you are right there. It was recorded in HD and multitrack, so the quality of the audio and video is excellent. This installment features tracks by Pit Er Pat, Shellac, Wilco, Red Eyed Legends, and more, but my favorite was the track by The Lonesome Organist, who plays accordion, drums and keyboard all at once! (AL)

Various ArtistsSecret Weapons of Kung Fu Vol.3Kung Fu • This is the third installment of Secret Weapons of Kung Fu. This DVD has everything from music videos to live performances from Kung Fu Records The Show Must Go Off series. There are also some fan submitted, contest winning Vandals videos as well as a video shot for the Vandals in Iraq DVD. Other bands included on Secret Weapons are The Dance Hall Crashers, The Circle Jerks, The Bouncing Souls, Tsunami Bomb, and Throw Rag, just to name a few. These are all well-established bands that produce fast and enjoyable music. In my opinion, as far as DVDs go, Kung Fu has no competition. (KB)

Vinyl Reviews

Drums and Tuba El Tubador/The Peleton 7"Sickroom Records • This band would get lost in the shuffle of instrumental bands, were it not for their use of tuba and trumpet. El Tubador tends to change a lot, slowing down and speeding up here and there. "El Peleton" is a more subdued track, establishing more of a groove. (AL)

Mossa Slavery When Wet b/w Gastrula 12" Orac Records • Mossa's music is rooted in techno, but his sounds are unconventional. It is a bit colder and more machine-like than others, with beats that are cold and vocal samples that are digitally manipulated. This 12" features 2 songs and 2 remixes. (AL)

Various Artists Volume One 12" Adjunct Audio • Adjunct Audio was founded by Kenneth James Gibson from [a]pendics.shuffle and Orac Records' Konstantin Gabbro. The four tracks featured here are of minimal techno with a cold, machine-like feel to them. Pretty much the stuff you get coming out of the Orac label. [a]pendics.shuffle contributes one track, as well as Pheek, John Tejada, and Bruno Ponsato. (AL)

Record Label Addresses
In alphabetical order. Please write them.

Adjunct Audio,
A-F Records,
Alternative Tentacles Records,
Arc the Finger Records,
Asian Man Records,
Babygrande Records,
Blood and Ink,
Brass Tacks Records,
Bridge Nine Records,
Camobear Records,
Cantaloupe Music,
Catalyst Records,
Chainsaw Safety Records,
Chocolate Fireguard,
Cleopatra Records,
Control Group,
Creep Records,
Daemon Records,
Dare To Care Records,
Deep Elm Records,
Defenitive Jux,
Disaster Records,
Dog Man Poets,
Domination Recordings,
Dressed To Kill,
Epitaph Records,
Equal Vision Records,
Eugene Records,
Eulogy Recordings,
Eyeball Records,
Failed Experiment,
Fat Possum Records,
Fat Wreck Chords,
Favorite Saints,
Fearless Records,
Feast or Famine,
Fighting Records,
Filthy Schoolgirls,
Finger Records,
Firefly Sessions Recordings,
Five One, Inc.,
Five Point Records,
Flameshovel Records,
Forever Escaping,
Galapagos 4,
Get Hip Recordings,
Godfather Entertainment, no address
Grand Hotel Van Cleef,
Gravewax Records,
Hand of Hope Records,
Hawthorne Street,
Hazzard Records,
Hefty Records,
Hell Bent Records,
Hex Records,
Hip Notik Records,
Hotfoot Records,
Idol Records,
Immigrant Sun,
Immortal Records,
In At The Deep End,
Indianola Records,
Instant Camera,
Ipecac Recordings,
Jester Records,
Johann's Face,
Jump Start Records,
K Records,
K.O.A. Records,
Kittridge Records,
Kung Fu Records,
Let Them Eat Records,
Lithium Records,
Lobster Records,
Lucid Records,
Lujo Records,
Magic Bullet Records,
Magnetic Sea Sound,
Malkovich Music,
Malt Soda Recordings,
Manifesto Records,
Merge Records,
Million Dollar Mouth,
Monitor Records,
Morphius Records,
Mush Records,
Mutant Radio,
Nature Sounds,
NDN Records,
Nitro Records,
No Idea Records,
No Karma Recordings,
Oh Nona Records,
Orac Records,
Orange Peal Records,
Outlook Music Company,
Pop Faction,
Pop Up Records,
Popboomerang Records,
PunkNews Records,
Reptile Records,
Revelation Records,
Rhymesayers Entertainment,
Rival Records,
RiYL Records,
Rodent Popsicle,
Rodent Records,
Rok Lok Records,
Rough Trade,
Saddle Creek,
Say Hey Records,
Scenery Records,
Scotch Hell Records,
Secretly Canadian,
Shots Fired,
Sick Room Records,
Sidecho Records,
SOS Records,
Spook City Records,
Stomp Records,
Strictly Amateur Films,
Takeover Records,
Tell All Records,
Temple Comber,
The Death Scene,
The Designed Disorder,
The Fenwicks,
The Militia Group,
The New Beat,
The Silent Type,
Thick Records,
Three One G,
TKO Records,
Tooth and Nail,
Transient Tractor,
Triad Entertainment,
Trixie DVD,
Trustkill Records,
U-Dot Records,
Undecided Records,
United Edge Records,
Uprising Records,
Uterine Fury Records,
Vacant Cage,
Victory Records,
Vinehell Productions,
Vocab Malone,
Watch The City Burn,
Wax Orchard,
World¹s Fair Label Group,
Young Love Records,
Youngblood Records,

Music reviews from past issues: