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Feb./Mar. '04 Articles:
Collateral Damage
Editorial: Dissent Under Siege
Notes from the Cultural Wasteland
The Muddlemarch: 1
The Muddlemarch: 2
3rd Parties
Blood on Your Back
A Kid by Any Other Name ...
(music reviews)

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CD Reviews | Vinyl Reviews | DVD Reviews | Label Addresses

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.

All State Champion Is It Nothing To You Five One Inc. • I have never done this before, and there is a first for everything, so I'm going to start off the review with a "Whoa!" When I first saw the brief descriptions and "titles" behind the band, I was very discouraged. "Another typical indie rock band," I said to myself. But I was wrong and I'm satisfied. All State Champion provide, as I've said before, something I love, which is their own genre, their own unique blends of style, structure, and instrumentation, creating a tough task for me, describing them. All State Champion take the intertwining guitar effects and interludes of At The Drive-In and throw in with the soul and drive of Ozma. Sprinkle on top of this a stage show that provides imagery of "Indie Rock Heaven" and SCREAMING, and you can somewhat grasp what I'm going through. (CMax)

Cire Adrenological Genome Records • Why this brand of solid, progressive rock has not been the replacement for the hoard of trashy hard rock bands on the airwaves nationwide is a mystery to me. After getting a taste of this album, the raw, psychedelic rock and pulsating sounds grab you with intensity. The vocals of Eric Johanson, who also provides the majority of musical duties, is melodic with a grungy edge and helps accentuate the elaborate rhythms on this release of pure emotional mayhem. (JC)

Doug Cheatwood Stories About Gods and Heroes self-released  • A short disc, and that's too bad. I suppose the inevitable comparison here is to Beck, but this isn't a copy-cat. Good songs and catchy beats. Like some sort of cosmic mix between blues and techno. These are the sort of songs you listen to and can't get out of your head. But that's okay. (MK)

Federico Aubele Gran Hotel Buenos Aires Eighteenth Street Lounge Music • After I heard Federico Aubele's debut 10" Postales, I eagerly awaited the arrival of his first full-length record. The wait was well worth it, as Gran Hotel Buenos Aires is all I had hoped for and more. The beats are loosely based on the rhythms of dub, and Aurele's guitar playing features prominently on the record. The best aspect of this record, however, is the presence of female vocals courtesy of a few fellow Argentinean singers, whose Spanish lyrics add the ultimate touch of sensuality. (AL)

Greg Palast Weapon Of Mass Instruction Live Alternative Tentacles Records • This recording, stumbled upon in the pile of review discs, is the first I've heard of the investigative reporter for the UK's Observer newspaper, an American by the name of Greg Palast. The recording is nearly a year old now, but the information presented will be news to many U.S. citizens, particularly if you are unfortunate enough to get your "news" exclusively from Fox News, or any of it's sister news outlets under Rupert Murdoch's News Corp. Mr. Palast covers topics regarding the Bush family's shady international business dealings, the Middle East, the "War On Terror," and our current "President"'s shameful military record. Included on the disc are pictures and documents backing up some of his assertions. The common thread here is money and political influence; indeed, he mentions the leading role money plays in an investigation such as the one we are supposed to be leading against terror. However, the record of investigations blocked by the Bush Administration lead to many questions, such as "Who's really winning the War on Terror?" Listen to this CD for Mr. Palast's answer, do a little research on your own, but by all means don't believe anything you are told until you parse it yourself. This man makes a lot of sense to me, and I am glad to have run across this disc. (SJM)

Marathon Songs To Turn The Tide EP Red Leader Records • "Bombers coming in hordes, staining the desert red and black, with the blood of the poor. Hear this: we will not fight your war." That line is from the song "Our Dictator Can Beat Up Your Dictator," one of the five brilliant tunes on this new EP from Marathon. They're a five-piece punk rock band from New York with an exceptional ability to write melodic, punchy, in-your-face songs that are equally powerful lyrically as they are musically. There are a lot of bands that have socio/political lyrics, but it's a matter of how they're presented and what they cover that sets Marathon apart. But lyrics alone don't make a band great. Fortunately, Marathon is the complete package, featuring awesome vocals, reminiscent of Jeff Ott (Crimpshrine, Fifteen), and fast-paced, hardcore music that is equal parts angst, anger and action. (CM)

Matt Marka Good-Bye Gracious P.A.W. Records • Heartache often times makes the best music. With Matt Marka's Good-bye Gracious, that couldn't be more the case. This album deals with the loss of his dad and his Grandfather, and with tracks like "Skin Skeleton" and "Lately I've Been Feeling Alone," you would have to be a cold-hearted bastard to not feel his loss on this third solo release. Musically, this album is great, Marka contributed to every sound on this album with the exception of drums and the occasional piano part. If you want something to listen to while drinking whiskey and smoking cigarettes in the dark all by your lonely, depressed self, do yourself a favor and buy Good-bye Gracious. (NP)

Probot self-titled Southern Lord Records • Finally the long awaited project by Foo-Fighter Dave Grohl is here! This album started out as eleven instrumental metal tracks written and performed by Grohl himself. This would have been enough to interest me, but he went one step further and tracked down some of the most influential metal singers from the 80's to write lyrics and sing on the tracks. For those who were around back then, this will be a great album. Cronos from Venom, Max Cavalera from Sepultura/Soulfly, Lemmy from Motörhead, Kurt Brecht from DRI, Lee Dorrian from Napalm Death and King Diamond are some of the singers. One thing this is not is a death metal album, which had been reported in more than one place. However, it is definitely good. (AL)

Shortcut to Newark Heads in Hands, Hearts in Half Boss Tuneage • Shortcut to Newark? As if anyone in their right mind would want to go to Newark in the first place, unless if it were to hop a plane out of that armpit of humanity. Despite my personal gripes about the band name and the frighteningly weepy emo album title, this is some damn good, old-fashioned indie rock. It's a near perfect blend of ragged guitars and earnest, melodic vocals from a group of guys who look like they're about 12. (CL)

Speer Sixes & Sevens Speer Music • Without sounding clichéd, Speer is definitely in a category of bands that are redefining music. This piano-driven, self-described fusion of "blues with jazz, rock and folk" takes every single one of those categories and the best qualities of each and combines them seamlessly. The songs are haunting, heartfelt, transcendental, fantastic, and ethereal; they crescendo mightily into God-like importance. There is not a damned this wrong with this album, and after a few more listens it may take its place as one of my favorites of all time. I very rarely put semicolons into my reviews; it's just that good. (DP)

Squarepusher Ultravisitor Warp Records • Even though there is the sound of an audience, I couldn't tell if this was entirely a live album. That would have been an unusual move, given that his last album was a live album. Of course, nothing Tom Jenkinson does qualifies as usual. In Ultravisitor, he explores his two sides: the frenetic drill and bass present in Go Plastic, Big Loada and Feed Me Weird Things, and the electric bass and jazz fusion styles of Music is Rotted One Note, Budakhan Mindphone, and Selection Sixteen. There are even passages of acoustic guitar (?) with a slight flamenco feel. This album is by far his most well rounded work. (AL)

The Kids of Widney High Act Your Age self-released • How can you possibly not like The Kids. An adorable well-produced pop album done, written and even performed for the most part by a Special Education class at, where else, Widney High. The songs are actually really well crafted and fun to listen to. They will, and I promise this, bring a smile to your face, not in that, oh man I'm laughing at Special Ed. kids way, but in a completely innocent funny way. To hear them range from topics like making their teachers mad to songs about Castro, and even a heart-felt love song on "Hold Me"...(MC)

The Opus Breathing Lessons Mush Records • Need a lesson in blending beats and scratches with an edgier presence? Look no further than The Opus. After amazing all listeners on their debut First Contact, the production duo of Mr. Echoes and The Isle of Weight abandon the vocal appearances that carried the last effort. What is featured this time around is a stingy mix of chopped percussion and intricate drum programming layered with strings, piano, synths, bass, effects and atmospheric samples. This is a perfect "choose your own adventure" kind of sidepiece to a lazy afternoon, or as background music for writing rhymes, though the impacts inflicted by these sounds do not need lyrical explanation. (JC)

Torsos From Space Songs for B-Movies self-released • This was my favorite disc to review for this issue. Lots of fun. Sounds like a great mix of The Chili Peppers and Korn and Willie Nelson. Touching melodies like "Some Motherfucker Stole My Truck" and "Yo Mama's On The Bang Bus.Com" will leave you shreiking and drooling to hear more. This is a really great disc. If you don't love it, you must suck. (MK)

Various Artists Delta Masters DogFingers Recordings • Attempting to reclaim the mucky Blues music of the past, the raw and improvised sound is what makes this mysterious collection so entertaining. Moving from the conventional noise of today's version of the Blues, this album takes it back to the good ol' grassroots days. An uncanny rundown of groups like Pseudo Buddah and Boxcar Satan highlight the cover tune collection of songs by the likes of Muddy Waters, Robert Johnson, Bukka White and John Lee Hooker. Expect an atmosphere close to the bootlegging, card playing, awake until sunrise, in the middle of nowhere, days of long ago. (JC)

CD Reviews

90 Day Men Panda Park Southern Records • Indie rock experimenters 90 Day Men are back with their latest album, Panda Park. The album features complex arrangements and high production values. Pianos and other keyboards play a central role, almost as important to setting the melancholic mood as the vocals. (AL)

A Jealousy Issue If The Flames Don't Kill Us, We Will Indianola Records • For the most part, this is a traditional hardcore album with throaty vocals, backed by guitars that aren't always boring, sometimes angular, that could almost be as good as hardcore kings Botch. The drums don't stand out much either, sticking to basic beats and double bass. Yes, double bass. I know, I was real shocked as well. (NP)

A Moment Too Soon self-titled self-released • Reach deep into the souls of the flourishing pop sensibility genre we'd like to call "pop punk" and you'll find amongst a million artists, the same thing. For what they do, and are looking to create, they do it well. However, AMTS are parading a long the lines of what evey other band in this infamous genre is doing: catchy guitar hooks, "brokenhearted" sing-a-longs, and four-chord progressions leave this band a "descent" amongst a plethora of others competing against them for the same title. (CMax)

A Perfect Murder Blood Covered Words Cyclop Media • Is that the Matrix? I think it is. Has it been long enough already that we can quote Morpheus at the beginning of our CDŒs? I guess so. Following that slightly clichéd opening a CD with a movie quote about our world ending, is some heavy, I repeat heavy metal influenced hardcore. Lots of dual leads over dropped guitars. These guys are probably flooring live, it seems to translate pretty well onto CD. The only thing negative IŒd have to say about it is the singer. Maybe it is the CDŒs production, but his voice gets on my nerves about three songs into the CD. If you like Hatebreed, Avenged Sevenfold, or Killswitch Engage then youŒd probably like A Perfect Murder. (MC)

All Astronauts Navigation Songs Lookalive Records • One day we'll all be astronauts and live on the moon or Mars; oh, I'm sorry, I thought I was the president for a brief, misguided moment. Perhaps All Astronauts can be the soundtrack for our return to the moon. They seem to have an interest in pushing boundaries and exploring sonically, so why not space too? Their sound recalls some math rock and Dischord-era Jawbox with the occasional female/male vocals thrown in for good measure. While they meander a little at times, they hit more often than they miss on Navigation Songs. (CL)

Apocalypse Pow Smash Superstition Pop Faction • Apocalypse Pow are a synth-rock band/ new wave band. This is their debut CD, which sounds like Milemarker meets Blood Brother. I wasn't all that into this release, due to fact there is too much synth and not enough rock action. (RP)

Argonaut Shoot The Moon Infect Records • This is the first release from Tacoma natives Argonaut. Argonaut play hard hitting, stoner rock, along the same lines of Fu Manchu and Kyuss. At times, this CD drags a bit, but they make up for it with heavy, spaced-out rock. Be prepared to get that bong rocked right out of your hand. (RP)

Bayside Sirens and Condolences Victory Records • I really liked the way Bayside makes their guitars sound chunkier than is usually found on melodic rock bands. The vocals, melodic as they are, still carry with them a bit of edge. Also included are two videos in the enhanced portion of the disc. (AL)

Below the Sea Endings EP Cyclop Media • I wish this record was longer than its 21 minutes. These four songs had me hypnotized minutes after I started listening, with repetitive, reverbed guitars and other effects that washed over me. You could compare them to Do Make Say Think or Physics. (AL)

Benny Our True Intent Is All For Your Delight Does Everyone Stare? Records • This is pretty wacky English punk-pop. There's a cover of Kumbyah (Their spelling - I've never actually seen it written before. It's pronounced "koom-bye-YAH"), and a lot of fun, funny, and clever tracks. Go out and get this light-hearted, entertaining album from a group of blokes anyone would like to hang with. (SJM)

Bethany Pritchett Good Fortune Elephant self-released • This 17-minute EP from Red Shift Mantra lead singer Bethany Pritchett is somewhat reminiscent of that group's music, yet has its own sound. Ms. Pritchett's vocals are silky smooth and sensual, and the music is electronic and full of effects. It is not quite an ambient record, but it is definitely hypnotic. I was reminded of Bjork at times. (AL)

Better Than Bullets Round One self-released • Better Than Bullet's CD cover art (a boxer prevailing over another boxer) describes it all. They're a hard-hitting, sucker-punching, street punk band that is surprisingly not on tour with Pennywise, Rancid, The Unseen, etc. Not much to say about BTB, except they produce an efficient brand of street/skate punk and carry all the elements: angst, harmonies, sing-a-longs, and solos; the Mecca of what punk has become and will remain until our dying day. (CMax)

Bigger Than Plastic Santa Sucks Style Records • Perfect for an average holiday beer bash, this two-track single has a cover with a man holding a shotgun while standing overtop of Santa. Santa's reindeer are laid out, covered in blood. This disc features a punk rockin' remake of The Doors popish hit "Hello I love You." But make no mistake about it, the highlight here is the title track "Santa Sucks." Using an anthem-rock approach, the sound is very comparative to that Coors Light commercial with "the twins" with screaming pop-punk vocals alongside Denis Leary type humor about some serious holiday blues. (JC)

Bingo The Cicada and Other Stories Cravedog Records • Bingo's third solo release carries on that folk tradition that draws from his vast influences of psychedelic, hard rock, jazz and country music. His carefree nature, positive outlook on life and peaceful demeanor spills onto this disc in songs like "Luciagua." Pulling from the darkest psyche of a human, Bingo proves that the worst times can bring the best out of someone. This in-depth journey is an introspective look inside of a man's fragile soul. (JC)

Blake Brown Flicker And Fade self-released • This collection of intimate, often melancholy songs is highlighted by Blake Brown's unusual voicing, which I'll admit, took some getting used to. At some point, the voice became a part of the music - inseparable from its content and message. These are very simple, reflective songs; occassionally poignant and mostly downtempo. There's a lot of promise in this young artist. (SJM)

Boxcar Satan Upstanding and Indigent DogFingers Recordings • Imagine Howlin' Wolf jamming with The Melvins and you get the idea, as much as you possibly can have an idea of this. It's beautiful  in tis own twisted and dischordant way. Sand-blasted vocals spiraling amid churning guitars and pulsing drums. Rock and roll deconstructed and rebuilt. (MK)

Buddy Greenbloom My Little Underground self-released • Buddy Greenbloom is "The Gothic Cowboy", if you believe his press kit. On this album, which is composed entirely of Jesus And Mary Chain covers(!), he sounds more like a guy who needs a little more work. Honestly, some of these songs have an interesting take on Jim and William Reid's songs, but mostly, they just reveal how simplistic they could be. I don't want to discourage Buddy Greenbloom from making music, just develop your voice some more and come up with some (better, hopefully) songs of your own. (SJM)

Chris Murray 4-Track Adventures of Venice Shoreline Chris Asian Man Records • This album by former King Apparatus frontman Chris Murray was originally released on Moon records, who turned him down a few times due to the "rawness" of his sound. Unlike highly polished ska bands like Reel Big Fish, Murray recorded this album at home using the simplest of equipment, and no horns whatsoever. (AL)

Chuck Schiele Chuck Schiele and the Mysterious Ways Chuck Schiele • Schiele is one of those musicians that wield a guitar so masterfully that one could be content to listen to an entire album of his acoustic pickings. And you get them on some tracks, but the rest are complete, gentle rock and roll with an exotic flavor and a high level of spirituality. Based on his experiences traveling the world, he draws upon many styles and sings about "God, sex, and politics," placing a great deal of emphasis on substance as well as sound. (DP)

Coexist Art & The Blood Of Life Sweatshop • I began to sweat beads of perspiration and produce senseless tears of joy when I heard the opening track (a Lord Of The Rings type keyboard/synthesizer dark lament), but was sadly mistaken when the rest of the CD was relayed to my ears. My opinions range from whether they're trying to access the sounds of "mainstream gods" Linkin Park and Hoobastank, or whether they're trying to accumulate the sound of metal via In Flames, Children Of Bodum, and just do it poorly. Either way you turn, there are still some pretty tight keyboard notes! Not necessarily worth buying, in my opinion, but you may think otherwise. They're worth a song download or two; form your own opinion. (CMax)

Colonial Excess Built For Ass self-released • Somewhere in the middle of dancehall booty beats and the thinking man's hip-hop, is this, mostly instrumental, collection of beats and tripped-out sounds from Colonial Excess. This is the second of a four-disc series and I'm eager to go back to get the first release Built For Angst. If you're into some stuff that's off the beaten path of beats and riffs then pick this one up. (JC)

Crystal Brandt Bessie's Last Stand Mungler Winslowe Records • A little bit of honky tonk and a little bit of rock seems to be the formula that works for this solo artist. Her voice travels along the folk trail with its yodel like tone and at times reminded me of Edie Brickell. This is jangly fem rock for any lover of the genre. Brandt is credited not only as a girl with a guitar but she also plays all the keys, bass and drums on her second release that she wrote, arranged and recorded. (MP)

Darlington All The Wrong Moves Whoa Oh Records • A most excellent song about taking a shit ends this disc. Dook is all you'll ever need to know about crapping. Skate rock, fast, short songs. This disc had 10 songs and clocks in at just over 20 minutes. The songs grow on you. (MK)

Daryl Uneven Surfaces Idol Records • Hey kids!  You remember the 80's, don't you?  If not, I'm sure you've seen dozens of VH1 specials and played Vice City frequently enough that you're familiar with the music we had way back when. Daryl harkens back to those new wave days on their EP Uneven Surfaces. Imagine a band from a John Hughes movie that's a little edgier and you've got Daryl.  If they could only get Molly Ringwald for the video...(CL)

DeNunzio The Three Point Stance self-released • This is kind of strange. It would probably be classified under "rock" but that would be for lack of a better term. An eclectic mix of sounds and rhythms create something that is unique. Sounds like a band your buddy was in when he was in college. (MK)

Descendents 'Merican EP Fat Wreck Chords • There might be no band that has endured the way the Descendents have. Formed in 1978 (yes, 1978!), the pop-punk gods are still sitting at the top of the mountain, looking down on all those who have followed their lead. Their history is too involved to even get into, so if you're not familiar with them, just know that they've released a lot of albums and their lead singer has a Ph.D. This is a four-song EP (five, if you count the mediocre hidden track) that features two cutesy "girl song" tunes, one solid political track and one personal song about being an "aging" rocker. While some bands, over time, modify and tweak their sound, the Descendents have stuck with what works for them – a blend of mid-tempo poppy numbers and fast-paced tunes. Two of the songs featured on this EP will also appear on the Descendents forthcoming full-length. (CM)

Despistado The Emergency Response Does Everyone Stare? Records • Not to be confused with Connor Oberst's side project Desaparecidos, Despistado hails from the frozen tundra of Saskatchewan (which I'm sure is similar to Nebraska somehow). These kids are rocking all over the great nation of Canada, with a sound reminiscent of At the Drive In. This looks to be a big year for them; they'll be playing SXSW and working with producer Phil Elks (Modest Mouse, Built to Spill, Dinosaur Jr., etc.) on their first full-length album. This six-song EP is a solid introduction to Despistado. (CL)

Dream 13 Scissors Paper Rock self-released • This is a pretty good disc of radio type rock. Some of the songs are a little more rockin' and some lean more toward the pop side of things. Some strange Zappa-like interludes between a few songs. All in all, it's a pretty good disc, easy to listen to and pretty catchy. (MK)

Drool Brothers Kasio Montigo Barfing Glitter Records • Tangling enough sounds and style together to make you chuckle alone, the cynical approach by these guys is a direct result of the many musical influences of pop and soul music. This eclectic album jokes about a variety of things in songs like "Dry Hump," "Itchy Turtleneck" and "Sub Par Chromosone," and overall is done with a lyrical approach that exemplifies the ironies and vulnerabilities of people with a laugh. Though their sound is one all their own, comparisons in the past have been linked to The Cars, Beck and New York Dolls. (JC)

El Buzzard El Buzzard self-released • They name influences like a jambalaya would name ingredients, Melvins, Karp, Neurosis, Sleep, Minor Threat, and even some Jesus Lizard. Well I'll give them the Melvins, there is definitely a healthy dose of that in here. HmmmŠIŒll even give them Jesus Lizard. But Minor Threat? IŒm not sure where that one came from. El Buzzard creates layers of thick guitar followed by a tight rhythm section. Their songs are short but effective. Good music cut from the same ilk as many of the early Seattle scene bands, muddy and loud. (MC)

Electronic Barnacle Island Deeply Faulted Area Resembling An Upright Deck Of Cards Kira Kira Disc Records • Electronic Barnacle Island is Floridian Aaron Noel, who composes IDM tunes with more emphasis on melody than cacophony. What attracted me to the music is the juxtaposition of layers of atmospheric, lazy soundscapes over glitchy, stuttery sounds. Fans of Aphex Twin will like this. (AL)

Endgames Daybreak to Sunset self-released • With Daybreak to Sunset, Endgames proves why they're regarded as one of the best-unsigned bands in America. The album starts out of with a pair of high-energy rockers that sound like Mac from Superchunk fronting Elvis Costello's Attractions. The catchy "Who is Doris Day?" takes a more electronic turn, a la the Postal Service. The rest of the record settles in with some tasty, guitar driven rock. Somebody get these guys a record deal. (CL)

Evil Pupil Gallons of Void Cyclop Media • This is definitely an album to listen to with headphones. Sounds sneak in and out all around you in this instrumental ambient recording. It feels like a soundtrack to a David Lynch movie: slow, mysterious and spooky. (AL)

Fifth Hour Hero You Have Hurt My Business And My Reputation Too No Idea Records • This Quebec band brings us this EP in which the title is longer than the length of the CD. They make up for this with dual female/male vocals that give it some variety among the world of generic rock. The female vocals are a nice touch and don't have that same girl voice every band seems to have. A lot of aggression and punk influences come through such as Hot Water Music but not as gruff. It's short, but sweet. (MP)

Friz Looking For Green self-released • This five-song EP from Friz should be enough to get them on the radio. They have catchy licks and lots of hooks. It is radio-type pop music that seems to play well with the kids these days. Sounds like the kind of music you would hear in a trendy car commercial. (MK)

Girlush Figure Rotten To The Core Rodent Popsicle Records • From the opening "One Two Fuck You" you will get the idea that these are not girls who will be touring with Britney Spears. This is old school, stripped down, raunchy, raw punk. Blood and guts and pounding drums and aggression make this disc what it is. It is like an auditory punch in the face. (MK)

Grabass Charlestons The Greatest Story Ever Hula'd No Idea Records • Hailing from our own beloved state of Florida, Grabass Charlestons bring it to the table. If you're not sure what "it" is, "it" is defined as the creativity and unique complexity of vocals, music geners, structures, etc., that leave me hanging on the edge of the keyboard in awe over how I'm supposed to describe this band. However dreadful that may seem, it brings a smile to my face. GC, no, not Good Charlotte, bring a mix of eloquent punk, mixed with tinges of pop punk and street punk. Dillinger Four, Bouncing Souls, Hot Water Music, and others collide with a bit of scratchy vocals and solos to produce this fine mix of Florida punk rock. No Idea has uncovered a fine one; I'm awaiting the next show. (CMax)

Green Day 1,039/Smoothed Out Slappy Hours Lookout! Records • This is a re-issued, re-master, re-packaged and recharged release featuring some of Green Day's earliest material. It includes their first album, as well as GD's first two 7" records, "1000 Hours" and "Slappy," for a grand total of 19 songs. The material dates back to 1989-90 and all of it has been expertly re-mastered, leaving the music sounding crisp, but still with the punk rawness that it deserves. The new packaging includes an embossed sleeve and bonus photos in the 12-page booklet. But what fans might most enjoy are the enhanced features for the computer, including over 20 minutes of live video performances from 1991, photos, flyer art and a live radio performance and interview. This was great music when it was first released and, while some bands outgrow their older material, the pop punk tunes on this reissue are classics that will never die out. (CM)

Gunmoll Board Of Rejection No Idea • Gainesville, Florida has a long history of impressive punk rock, from Hot Water Music to Less Than Jake to Radon to Against Me (the list goes on and on). Time to add Gunmoll to the list. The vocals are gruff and throaty, reminiscent of Hot Water Music, The Lawrence Arms or Social Distortion. It's an abrasive approach to singing, but, surprisingly, there is still plenty of vocal harmony, allowing the abrasiveness to, instead, add an aggressive element to the already punchy music. And it's that punch in their sound that will really impress the listener. The music jumps all over the place, thick with infectious grooves but heavy with intensity, a perfect blend. (CM)

Heidnik Songs From the City of Brotherly Love Watch The City Burn Records • The last thing this music inspires is brotherly love. More like brotherly hate. This metalcore outfit keeps things heavy throughout this five song EP, with musical nods to Iron Maiden and Judas Priest, and flirting with death metal and grindcore as well. (AL)

Jason Anderson New England K Records • New England is Wolf Colonel's Jason Anderson shifting into lo-fi singer-songwriter mode. The tracks are quite sparse and melancholy, often with little more than an acoustic guitar and Anderson's plaintive vocals. While New England has its moments, the album seems to plod along at the same pace without enough distinct hooks to differentiate the tracks from one another and make it a memorable listen. (CL)

Jimmy Edgar Access Rhythm EP Warp Records • Warp's latest singing, Jimmy Edgar, is only 19 years old, but his music is as mature as that of someone much older. His take on techno adds flavors of R&B and hip-hop, while throwing in enough blips to make him fit in at the quirky label. (AL)

John Starkey Le Compagnon De L'âme No Alternative Records • The album's title translates from French into "Soul's Companion." It is an appropriate title, since Starkey's vocals can only be described as soulful. His band, which includes members of Prince's horn section, plays smooth R & B tunes for him to croon over. The only surprise comes when you look at the cover and realize that he is a young white guy. (AL)

Josh Aran Between Us There Arose Happiness Josh Aran • What a wonderful exercise in sweetness this album is. Track after track of heartfelt acoustic rock ballads fill you with warmth, as Josh's gorgeous vocals wrap you up in a blanket. The underlying theme is of nearly unattainable desperate love that is as deep as the ocean, as high as the mountains. It is full, rich, and heavenly, and the world is a better place with this record in it. (DP)

Keelhaul Subject To Change Without Notice Hydra Head Records • Hydra Head is a label with attitude. The bands on their roster tend to kick ass in a major way, and Keelhaul is no exception. With riffs as heavy as Pelican or 5ive, you'll be blown out of your seat. Lyrics come up sporadically, letting the massive guitars do the talking. (AL)

Kitchen Knife Conspiracy Worst Case in Stereo self-released • These guys describe their sound as "Stompcore," or death metal meets hardcore. That's pretty accurate. The vocals are way to guttural not to qualify as death metal, but the music's tempo is more like that found in hardcore and regular metal. Most songs are about drugs, death, rape, etc., except for the unintentionally hilarious cover of Nirvana's "Something in the Way." (AL)

Kitra Not Just Lucky Picot-Boo Records • Here's some R&B / Soul / Pop in the vein of Christina Aguilera and Destiny's Child from San Francisco. Okay, I'm biased because I usually avoid this kind of music, and of course I wouldn't listen to it if I wasn't writing this. It is actually kind of refreshing in a way to hear that her voice hasn't been overproduced to the point of being inhumanly perfect, but I'm sure her producer wouldn't take this as a compliment. Pretty standard fare actually - ALL of the singers of this genre really need to issue thank-you's, if not checks, to people like Stevie Wonder, and untold numbers of gospel singers which they shamelessly ape. Why is there no one in this genre trying to sing with their own voice, instead of thoughtlessly becoming some kind of postmodern "Al"lison Jolson? (SJM)

Kool G Rap Click of Respect Blaze The World Records • With a ghetto-laden soundscape and his 5 Family Click, Kool G Rap is back with street tales and hardcore bravado. Kool G's "click" includes his own wife Ma Barker, who spits with fiery venom, and backs up her barking with full-fledged bites, providing a nice change melodically. Glory Wars, Hammerz and Nawz finish out the starting five of emcees. The beats are solid, snapping with bass and thumping treble, a perfect backdrop for the "cold, cold world" storytelling enclosed within. Nothing simple and radio-friendly here, just pure criminology presented with attitude and tight production. (JC)

La Motta Love California Does Everyone Stare? Records • La Motta is the latest project of former Asexuals' singer-songwriter Sean Friesen. The title track of this five song EP is taken from their full-length debut and features former (and future, if the rumors are true) Pixies guitarist Joey Santiago lending his talents. In addition, there are three previously unreleased tracks on the CD version, as well as an updated version of the Asexuals' "Bondage." Their guitar-driven power pop is reminiscent of bands like Urge Overkill and the Replacements. (CL)

La Vagancia Cinco Rolas EP self-released • La Vagancia play a cotemporary blend of latin rhythms and post modern freeform jazz. This southern California trio have put together a multi textured EP that brings to mind lazy days and sunny beaches. Not in a Jimmy Buffet kind way, more like 311 meets Sublime. (RP)

Love Me Destroyer Black Heart Affair Suburban Home • Love Me Destroyer were formed from the ashes of Pinhead Circus and it shows. Learning from past projects and mistakes, they have managed to forge a solid sound, heavy and unrelenting. It's a definite must for fans of Small Brown Bike, Pinhead Circus and Avail. (RP)

Madcap Under Suspicion Victory Records • Here's some pretty damn rockin' ska-influenced punk by four young guys from southern California. My favorite track is "Move Forward" - I really like the chunky way the intro gets the song going. "Lovesick" needs to be on the radio, posthaste. (SJM)

Meridiansmith Obscura Meridiansmith Records • My editor normally listens to all of the review CDs and kindly makes small notes so everyone can get a quick idea of the contents. More often than not, his observations are right on target. For this disc, he wrote, "dramatic, gothy alt-rock." I couldn't put it any better. Actually, if I expounded on this description, the results would invariably be unkind. How unnecessary that would be. (SJM)

Mi Amore Cralin' Kingsnake Cyclop Media • As you would guess by their name, these guys sing quiet love songs in Italian. I kid, I kid, quite the opposite actually. This band spits out loud abrasive metal. A lot of down tempo heavy chords with a slightly slobbery sounding singer. ItŒs got a lot of the chugga chugga, without a lot of thought behind it. If you like heavy for the sake of heavy, you will definitely enjoy Mi Amore, but if you are looking for slightly more provocative structures then you will have to look elsewhere. (MC)

Minamina Goodsong The Transcendental Game of Zen ArcTheFinger Records • With an energy level that reaches the heights of, say, Eminem's, these guys put a positive spin of lyrics that play on the possibilities of a care free existence. Rapid rhyme deliveries from these suburban Atlanta emcee's come off like the rowdy Kottonmouth Kingz, with solid, snapping beats that are sure to make the underground heads notice. Pgnut, Twain, and Adahma AD spit nicely over clever samples and turntable techniques by DJ T'Challa, making this an overall, old-school meets new-school hip-hop collection. (JC)

Monster-O Entertainment System Omega Point Records • Welcome to the new millennium kids, the trio of Monster-O has transformed our interpretations of instruments and clicked fast-forward with their mouse pads. The software generated bass lines, drums and synth are perfectly programmed to create formulated, catchy hooks using 80's era Duran Duran kind of pop vocals that helps their sound come across authentic and tripped-out enough to enjoy without getting too complicated throughout cyberspace. (JC)

Mr. Airplane Man C'mon DJ Sympathy for the Record Industry • Reverb?  You're soaking in it.  Named for a Howlin' Wolf song, Mr. Airplane Man sounds like they were born and raised in the Mississippi Delta.  The duo actually hails from Boston, but you couldn't tell from this album of swampy, garage rock blues. Even on covers of the Wailers and the aforementioned Howlin' Wolf, Mr. Airplane Man puts their unique stamp on every song. Grab yourself a PBR and get down to the sounds of Mr. Airplane Man. (CL)

My Bitter End A Thin Line Between Heaven And Here Innerstrength Records • This band came from what used to be Forordained, but with a different singer. Few bands rival its intensity, with machine-like blasts of drumming, hardcore breakdowns, and throat-shredding vocals. Whether you are a fan of hardcore, metal, grindcore, or any other style of extreme music, My Bitter End will appeal to you. (AL)

Mystechs City Folk Omega Point Records • Sarcastic and comedic synth rock finds The Mystechs possessing an electro punk attitude of white trash glam and glitz. Whether painting their faces, drinking some good old Milwaukee's Best or Pabst Blue Ribbon, anything goes with this duo of nut jobs who get down with accordion-shredding mayhem and a new wave sound. Very closely resembling a combination of Frank Zappa and Weird Al Yankovic, prepare to be amazed at how hard some people try to stand apart from the crowd. (JC)

Naked Aggression The Gut Wringing Machine Rodent Popsicle Records • The Gut Wringing Machine was recorded in 1998 and Naked Aggression was ready to go on a tour in support of their new album when the guitar player, and husband of the singer, died. It was over and the band broke up and never released the album. Well, now it is being released and is dedicated to the late Phil Suchomel. I wasn't too into the album, but if you're into old school punk rock, then this could possibly be for you. With the exception of an occasional guitar solo, nothing really sticks out with Naked Aggression. (NP)

Octavius Audio Noir Mush Records • Hard to categorize, Octavius incorporate elements form avant rock, hip-hop and electronica into their music. Its spooky feeling comes from the outraged vocals that show up from time to time, as well as the heavily processed effects. Once this music grabs hold of you, it doesn't let go. (AL)

Oliver Future s/t Lilywhite • The last time I heard this particular brand of innovative rock, it was from the band Soul Coughing, though major differences exist. It can be a little bit uncomfortable to the uninitiated, as its deviation from normal rock themes is truly dramatic. To classify it is folly, it gets very spacey, employing strong, independent keyboard lines and extremely quirky, schizophrenic vocals ­ sometimes they're yelling at you, sometimes they're talking through a vocoder. Yet, real structure is apparent beneath the surface, and its ingenuity is endless. Definitely a thoughtful, well-produced work of art, but for the discriminating indie palette. (DP)

Orion Songs for the Goddess Shut Eye Records • Even though Orion describes himself as a Œgothic rock poet', it's hard to categorize his music as Œgothic.' While his music does incorporate gothic influences, including medium tempo beats, ethereal keyboards, and his own hypnotic voice, songs like "Hymn for Radia" have no gothic qualities at all. His use of straight-up rock and roll and some Middle Eastern percussion gives his album a broader appeal. (AL)

Passion Sic Simper Tyrannis Watch The City Burn • What can I say about Passion? They're a hardcore band out of Philadelphia, and that's about all they are. With so many hardcore bands out there, it's hard to decipher each one. If you're a fan of hardcore music, chances are the same will apply to Passion. I wish I could give Passion more credit, but I also wish that there weren't so many hardcore bands that sound exactly alike. (NP)

Pilot To Gunner Get Saved Arena Rock Recording Company • PtoG is an incredible rock band. They meld an intense, aggressive sound with mesmerizing melodies, tight song structure, angular guitar work and incredible tempo changes. There aren't any easy comparisons to their sound. But there are sounds in the mix that are reminiscent of Errortype:11, Fugazi and Pinehurst Kids. However, PtoG comes out with a wholly original sound, one that capitalizes on Scott Padden's distinct, passionate vocals and a style to their musical delivery that makes it easy to pick out "their" sound. It certainly didn't hurt to have J. Robbins behind the production and engineering. While some bands fall short of expectations on their second full-length release, PtoG makes a statement that they're serious about their music and it comes through on all 11-tracks of this album. (CM)

Premonitions of War Left in Kowloon Victory Records • Premonitions of War is a metalcore band that leans more toward the metal side than the hardcore side, with downtuned guitars and machine-gun drumming. It is insanely fast, with occasional breakdowns. The vocals are the usual guttural screams found in the genre. (AL)

Psyche Origami Is Ellipsis ArcTheFinger Records • For fans of Jurassic 5 and The Roots comes this Atlanta crew, Psyche Origami, who uses two DJ's (Dainja and Synthesis) to compete for turntable mastery while Wyzsztyk delivers insightful rhymes over uplifting beats and live instrument samples. The downfall here is that the abstract delivery and overall production seems stuck in a time capsule from somewhere in the 90's. But that doesn't mean that the techniques on the Œones and twos' and true-school hip-hop flowetry deserves to be ignored, it just doesn't provide much of a progression. (JC)

Quintaine Americana Dark Thirty Curve of the Earth Records • Get ready for an overload of rock, courtesy of Quintaine Americana. Best described as Monster Magnet meets Queens of the Stone Age, they blast chunky guitar riffs, meaty bass lines, steady drumming, and vocals with a lot of midrange, all with a southern flavor. (AL)

Ringworm The Promise Deathwish Inc. • Ringworm released their first album all the way back in 1993. This band is totally awesome. If the devil has a CD player, I'm sure that Ringworm is in there, or at least next in line. And when Lucifer does put that album in, he'll be banging his horns to songs like, "Blind to Faith," "Death Do Us Part," "Urine" and "Flatline." (NP)

Ruark self-titled self-released • Here's something you've never heard before - another guy and his guitar singing about past loves. If you're into lo-fi singer/songwriter acts with vocals always flat or sharp and mediocre guitar riffs, this is the perfect cd for you. I know you are out there, wanting the next obscure act to drop the name of, so get on it and support this guy and his guitar. I'll give a little credit where maybe it is deserved. The guitar had its moments where it was tolerable but then you have to get past the out of tune whining and the trite lyrics that sound made up. (MP)

Running From Dharma If We Don't Speak Before The End Of The World CI Records • Running From Dharma has a solid punk sound that often can sound like Face to Face. The vocals sound mostly like Fuel, if you can imagine that. The more I listened to this album, the more I began to like it. (NP)

Sara Marlowe Times Like These World to Win • Canadian singer/songwriter Marlowe offers another strong political voice along the vein of folk singer Ani DiFranco, pointed squarely at the warlike, corporate-owned establishment. She has a wonderful voice you don't find often among independent vocalists ­ it kind of has a theatrical quality to it. I can picture her perhaps as Cosette in Les Misérables, soft, gently cooing, but with force and power, resting these talents on a bed of jazzy rock, folk, pop, and world music. She is a fine indie rock soldier of change, of which we can certainly never have too many. (DP)

Scars of Tomorrow Rope Tied To The Trigger Victory Records • This Southern California quintet creates some pretty intense metalcore influenced by old school hardcore and straight up metal. Occasionally, melodies find their way into their sound. Vocally, throat-destroying screams are the norm, peppered with the not-quite-rap singing style of the Deftones. (AL)

Scorch Faces self-released • First things first, this CD fucking rocks like all hell. Scorch rocks so hard on this album, it really amazes me. Think, The Kick Ass meets The Fucking Champs in a dark alley for a fight with fucking Pantera. That pretty much sums it up. Buy this CD or get a haircut. (RP)

Shinobu Exhaustion, Exhaustion Shinobu • No, it's not the ninja video game "Shinobi" of the late 1980's, it's a great four-piece power pop band from San Jose with strong punk rock roots. They place a great deal of emphasis on melody – the six-song EP is a treasure chest of inspiring, uplifting music. The end of the record is capped with a quick, incisive acoustic ballad that truly put the icing on it for me. It is a desperation cry from the souls of youth, and definitely worth checking out. (DP)

Smoke & Mirrors The Perfume of Creosote: Desert Exotica Part One Aural Fixation Records • At least half of their name is appropriate. There is certainly a smoky quality to these 23 instrumental tracks by Smoke & Mirrors. A little new age, a little ambient, a touch of world music and a hint of jazz make for some captivating music. (AL)

Smoke Off Vinyl Walls Smoke Off Vinyl • A three-piece from Chicago, Smoke off Vinyl is releasing their second album featuring their brand of emotional power rock. There is a gorgeous twittering guitar in the background of most of the pieces that belts out an unconventionally peaceful and majestic platform upon which the vocals perch and sing at you from on high. There are such incredible transitions between the different parts of the songs – this band really controls their energy well as they switch from verse to chorus to bridge. It's really kind of awesome. (DP)

Spektral Motion Get Up And Go Vibo Records • While rockers at heart, the folks at Spektral Motion dabble in enough electronics to make you wonder. Some of the songs have a hard edge to them, while others are straight up dance tracks. All are fast, catchy and feature sexy female vocals. (AL)

State Control No Escape Rodent Popsicle Records • The focus amongst all the bands on Rodent Popsicle Records is to bring street punk, and "Oi," amongst the nation. However, if searching for the certain band to start the revolution towards the world, this is not the band to do it. How surprising that this CD featured vocals of hatred, angst, and defiance, backed by volatile guitar parts, bass lines and, how can we forget, prestigious drumming. If the "F" word wasn't featured in every other sentence and the song structures were a little bit more, say, creative, this band would be the next Rolling Stones, of the Oi world that is. (CMax)

Steve Fawcett One Light SCF Music • Steve Fawcett's One Light could be described as a less sexed-up version of Enigma. Ethereal atmospheres permeate the recording, with piano and guitar leading each track. Fawcett's previous work composing music for commercials and production libraries comes through; I can just imagine his music playing under a Lexus commercial. (AL)

Thavius Beck Decomposition Mush Records • Thavius Beck's experiment in downtempo, Decomposition, is a slow tempo, hypnotic trip. Virtually every sound is messed with, from cut-up vocals to reversed beats. The vocals, which add to the record's spookiness, are provided by guests Longevity (Darkleaf), Subtitle, Cedric Bixler-Zavala (Mars Volta) and Thavius Beck himself. Get your headphones and get ready. (AL)

The Bellakun Cantar Para Espantar la Soledad Has Anyone Ever Told You? • The title is Spanish for "sing to scare away loneliness" and is a reflection of the mesmerizing rock and mixture of Spanish and English lyrics used to help appeal to a wider audience of emotional souls. Victor Talamantes of the band Egon has almost single handedly created an atmospheric journey of soul-searching and despair in just six great songs. The mellow, mild-tempered sound is a slight change from previous projects for members of this band. (JC)

The Can Utility Power 0.42 Pop Faction • This threesome from Richmond, Virginia defines their sound with male and female vocals, and sometimes catchy guitar riffs. Track one starts out very cheesy in the vocal department, and just when you think you can't take anymore, track two starts and makes you wonder what the fuck they were thinking on the previous one. The music improves a ton on the next couple of tracks, but then dies off again. All in all, I would recommend Power 0.42. I haven't listened to any of their older stuff, but I hope their sound is moving towards that of track two. (NP)

The Emergency How Can You Move? self-released • With lyrics like, "It's love at first sight, you know I love you to death," it's kind of easy to label them a power pop rock band. It's lyrics like this that I grow really tired of, but others eat up. The Emergency has built themselves a nice, tight little pop sound. This debut album by the three-piece from Morgantown, West Virginia has been compared to The Who, Big Star, and Husker Du. I would add The Refreshments and Oasis to the list. (NP)

The Evaporators Ripple Rock Alternative Tentacles Records • From Vancouver, B.C., hail The Evaporators, ready to infect the United States with their silly, catchy pop/garage rock tunes. What's more, they included five tracks as their side project Thee Dublins. Plus, you can watch frontman Nardwuar the Human Serviette "interview" world leaders such as Mikhael Gorbachev, Dan Quayle and Jean Chretien. (AL)

The Freeze Land of the Lost + Rabid Reaction Dr. Strange Records • An odd mix of songs from one band. Balls out 80's type rock aand roll, some of the songs are pretty good and some of them suck. It's kind of all over the place. For the most part, however, this is a pretty good disc. (MK)

The Independents Full Moon Arise Fastmusic • Okay, five songs of doom and horror. Not really a bad disc. Sounds a little like The Misfits or Damnation except for the last song, which sounds like Danzig meets Elvis in a Texas death match. The disc itself is purple. That's pretty cool. (MK)

The Junior Varsity The Great Compromise British Records • The Junior Varsity, if it matters, has now graduated into the "varsity level" of whatever genre they prefer. Combining indie, emo, rock and roll, and the works, The Junior Varsity use their unique blend of all these to create an experimentation of what pioneers of the music industry could only drool over. Their creativity and soulful blend of guitars, drums, and keyboards, combined with the art of their musical talent (they have a lot of one minute instrumentals) and heartfelt lyrics, bring me back into the days of At The Drive-In, colliding with such modern day greats as Coheed & Cambria, Mars Volta and Sparta. Junior Varsity is quite the band! (CMax)

The Mercury Seed Dust self-released • This band could be called folk pop at one moment but draws out some rock n' roll the next. With influences from Uncle Tupelo and The Replacements to The Stones and Zeppelin, this band covers a variety of genres and decades. Some of the tracks tend to drag on and it's not an innovative album by any means. The musicianship is great and the bass really stands out with some driving riffs that help carry the songs. I can picture a fan of Train or some radio rock bands really getting into this album, rocking out and playing drums on their dashboard. (MP)

The Nadas Transceiver Authentic Records • This one's for the ladies. Listening to this CD I can picture row upon row of blonde sorority girls singing along to the song they just know is about them. The Nada's pump out radio ready pop songs that don't skimp on the sappiness. From songs like the acoustic ballad that is "Now That I Found You," to the organ driven "Walk Away." These guys can write some catchy songs alright, I would definitely stay away from using the word innovative in any form or fashion, but for some solid pop songs that for all I know are already playing on your radio, this CD deliversŠ(MC)

The Pale Gravity Gets Things Done Sidecho Records • The Pale could very well be the more upbeat siblings of Death Cab for Cutie. Like DCFC, they play a brand of melodic indie rock with unique arrangements. The guitar sounds are a little rougher around the edges, but the band never loses its strong pop instincts. Gravity Gets Things Done is a solid collection of songs that continue to grow on you with repeated listens. (CL)

The Paper Champions The Paper Champions self-released • Featuring former members of Levelhead and Hurt Reynolds (truly tremendous band name), the Paper Champions offer up this three-song EP. The Atlanta-based quartet plays a very dynamic and taut brand of indie rock. These powerful tunes serve as a good appetizer as they work on their first full-length album. (CL)

The Paper Chase What Big Teeth You Have Southern Records • Picking up where the morbid Hide The Kitchen Knives left off are these three tracks that make up What Big Teeth You Have. The chaos and manic vocals overtop darkened, grinding rock sounds with the right touch of isolated drama, for atmospheres sake, is what keeps you tuned in until the last ringing of "Go Fishing." "Everyone Knows How This Song Will End" begins this trip with signs of foreshadowing into "My Death" and the continued, agonizing rants and frantic emotions spill over within. (JC)

The Paperbacks self-titled Enabler Records • Who wants some more garage rock? This is it. It's got all the elements: lo-fi, aggressive, and of course garagy. I almost forgot to mention the punk rock female vocalist who goes by L. Hotshot. You can't help but picture Joan Jet when L. tells you she "knows about rock n' roll." Gruff vocals with aggressive music complete this band. From punk moments to balls to the wall rock n' roll, its just plain fun. (MP)

The Product The Product Mans Productions Inc • This Cali crew comes with a signature west coast sound, which is evident on the albums first couple tracks by Stretch Six One, who brings a Snoop Dogg style over thumping beats. The problem here is that this release is poorly recorded and sounds cheaply produced with little substance. Coo The Ghetto Poet sounds like a member of Bone Thugs, Zag The Slow Burner and Coedell bring an R&B style. Ghandi and Allen Sims rounds out this release of gangstas with a soft side. (JC)

The Safes Family Jewels self-released • The O'Malley brothers fire it up and kick out some excellent jams on this disc. Lots of vocal harmonies and smooth melodic guitars are the hallmark of this disc. They don't take away from the rockin' and rollin' that goes on through the whole thing. This is a good disc that will get heavy use in your CD player. (MK)

The Separation Suicide This Conversation Cyclop Media • Fast paced, heavy and even intelligent I'd say. I liked it on the first song alone. The song structure seems well thought out and they even throw in a few half speed mosh parts for those of you with your shirts off who just know we would like to have your sweaty body mashed into ours. This is definitely for fans of Poison the Well and Shai Hulud. Anyways, who could not like a band whose songs are titled "Insert Cliché Song Title Here" and " If I Had A Penny For Every Perverted Priest."...(MC)

The Speeds The Speeds self-released • The Speeds are an alternative rock trio from that all-American town of Pittsburgh, PA. Their self-titled EP features four tracks of energetic and melodic rock with a punk attitude. The performances are tight and the production is solid, but it's nothing you haven't heard before. (CL)

The Start Death Via Satellite Nitro Records • The Start are a Los Angeles-based quartet comprised of past and present members of Sparta and the Creature Comforts. They play danceable synth, post punk, sounding like Siouxsie and the Banshees meets No doubt. If you can get past the annoying vocals, the music isn't half bad. (RP)

The Toasters In Retrospect Stomp Records • It's amazing that The Toasters are still around, 23 years after they started their love affair with ska. This album recounts their history, with 21 tracks that span their entire career. If you have never heard The Toasters, do yourself a favor and pick this up. (AL)

The X-Possibles Blood Everywhere self-released • The X-Possibles' vocalist Tibbie X reminds me of the Muffs' Kim Shattuck; she could kick your ass, and you'd love every minute of it. Her sexy snarl is a big part of the X-Possibles sonic assault. The songs are short, ferocious blasts of trashy punk rock, with lyrics about drinking, fucking, stabbing, and, of course, blood everywhere. (CL)

The Youth Ahead The New Album We Make Records • Another pop punk band, from another town, only difference from the masses is that I actually enjoyed this one. There melodies, jumpy choruses, infectious harmonies, and so forth. It had me dancing around in my room like a little teenage girl after purchasing her first Britney Spears album. Scary. They share a strong resemblance to that of Slick Shoes, Rufio and Unsung Zeros. Fans of those or pop-punk, in general, be sure the check them out!

Tom Heinl With Or Without Me Leisure King Productions • A humorous collection of songs are included here with half of the album containing vocals and the last half replayed without vocals so the audience at home can have a karaoke party. Beginning with an old-school country sound on "Mama" you get the idea for what's to come. Heinl takes on the sound of Johnny Cash vocally with the music sounding like a cross between The Doors and rockabilly country music. The lyrics are full of jokery, with songs about a three-way with porn stars and last call at the alcohol bar. (JC)

Tracy Shedd Red Teenbeat • Cat Power fans may want to pick up a copy of this melancholy pop girl rock. Melancholy is a perfect description of this entire album that refrains from picking up the pace at any moment. It's good, melodic background music that sounds a lot like other girls with guitars. If you are looking for the next big thing in the female music movement, this isn't it. Some traces of Juliana Hatfield come through in her tone, but the simplicities musically and vocally might not go that far. (MP)

V Camp Live Well or Die Great Vigilant Ent • Opening with a hail of gunfire and street level bravado, this crew from Northeast Ohio is continuing the grimy, Midwestern tradition of ruggedness. Though this release is unbalanced and lacks direction, the rhymes are spit mercilessly and the production is slammin' with a mixture of beats that appeals to all regions of the states. Crossing between the crunked-out sounds of the South, snares of the West, and tones from the East, there is a lot to juggle. The problem here is the recycled flows and constant braggadocio's demeanor that does nothing to set Pharoah, Stann, Carlito Delgato, John John and Shotty apart from the crowd of emcees that are clawing their ways to the top. Don't sleep though; standout tracks include "Worst Days" and "I Wont Run." (JC)

Various Artists Definitive Jux Presents 3 Definitive Jux • On this third installment, the Jukies present a ton of new talent on the mic and behind the boards. Never fear though, the only hang-up here is that the longer this Jukie revolution goes on, it just keeps getting tougher to top themselves. Veering away from the dark and gritty sounds that have amazed on previous releases, the new flavor hangs on to the past while still impressing with new sounds. Providing both beats and flows is El-P and Aesop Rock, with Murs, Camutao, C-Rayz Walz, Rob Sonic and RJD2 also appearing. Standout tracks include "Homesickness" by Despot and "Oxycotin Part 2" with El-P and Cage. (JC)

Various Artists Ennio Morricone Remixes Vol. 2 Compost Records • This second volume continues the remix project with 27 artists reworking the music of legendary soundtrack master Ennio Morricone. These classic tunes are pounded into every kind of electronic dance music, including hip hop, downtempo, house, techno, broken beat, etc. (AL)

Various Artists Greaseball Melodrama Gearhead Records • This is a compilation from Gearhead Records, who have released at least one album from The Hives. Raucous, noisy, and passionate are words that could describe all of the artists on this disc. If you like The Hives, you owe it to yourself to check out the staggering number of unknown musicians out there who are also capable of this high level of rockin'. (SJM)

Various Artists New York City Rock n Roll Radical Records • Like any compilation disc, here you get the good, the bad, the ugly and the really fuckin' ugly.  It is good that most of these bands are really good. Slunt, Banana Fish Zero, Firegods and 19 other bands are piled on to this tiny piece of plastic that's so heavy, it should weigh 20 pounds. A great overview of the NYC rock scene. (MK)

Various Artists Playing 4 Square 3 Suburban Home • This compilation features bands from Better Looking Records, Lookout, Initial, and Negative Progression Records. It's been over a year since the last compilation. Some of the bigger names on this release are Ted Leo and the Pharmacists, Jealous Sound, and Ultimate Fakebook. Some of the bands that stuck out the most to me and should be looked out for are Counterfit, The Oranges Band and Black Cross. (NP)

Various Artists Say Nothing To No One - A Soundless Records Compilation Soundless Records • Starting this compilation of all new hip and experimental indie sounds is Jessica Bechtold, who begins with melancholy whispering on "At Least Pretend," slowly setting the stage for what's to come. This Comp bounces around genres, from the impromptu rock style of Nate Ruth to the synchronized chaos on "Madman" by Temp Sound Solutions. The diversity and authentic originality on this release helps make this work and the roster of talent benefits by being next to one another. (JC)

Various Artists School of Emceeing Volume 1 PH Music • Not a bad mix for true-school hip-hop heads to have. The emcees that appear here are out of the Washington D.C. surroundings and provide plenty of plots to decipher. Focusing on pure rhyme skill and talent, the laid back, thumping beats are a perfect backdrop that adds just enough substance to compliment each ones delivery. This collection features rarities, remixes, exclusives and artists that shine on standout tracks from Ron Karona, Doujah Raze, Kev Strange, MF Grimm and Kool Kim. (JC)

Various Artists The Rocky Horror Punk Rock Show Springman • It was bound to happen, as there have got to be so many punk rockers out there who found their roots in midnight showings of Rocky Horror. As you might imagine, it is the entire soundtrack as rendered by punk bands such as Alkaline Trio, Me FirstŠ, Swingin' Utters, The Ataris, Pansy Division, and many more. They even included the more rare songs like "Once in a While" and "Super Heroes." There are so many gems on this record, and it is a must-have for any neo-punk Rocky Horror fan. (DP)

Various Artists The Rocky Horror Punk Rock Show Springman Records • It's hard to believe, but this Rocky Horror Picture Show thing still has some juice left in it. Enough for a whole bunch of punk bands to get together and cover the entire soundtrack from the film. The Ataris, Me First and the Gimme Gimmes, Alkaline Trio, Pansy Division, and Swingin' Utters are just some of the groups tackling these nineteen tracks. (AL)

Vikter Duplaix Singles (Prelude to the Future) !K7 • This CD is a collection of b-sides and remixes of some of his work, showcasing his ability to blend hip-hop, jazz, R & B and broken beat. His music uses smooth male vocals to add a touch of warmth and sensuality to the tracks. (AL)

Visionaries Pangaea Up Above Records • Rising through the concrete underground of the L.A. hip-hop scene is the Visionaries, the collective of LMNO, 2Mex, Zen, Dannu, Key-Kool and Dj Rhettmatic presents positivity with uplifting lyrics. Boosted by Beat Junkies beats, their third release maintains a consistent bouncing, sonic sound continuously throughout original wordplay. Many tracks standout like "DoMakeSayThink," and the recorded on 9/11/01 track "Nine Eleven," but the one worth the price of admission is the Living Legends assisted posse cut "Meeting Of The Minds." So if you don't already know, check with the Visionaries to get your mind right. (JC)

Wax Poetic Nublu Sessions Ultra Records • Wax Poetic creates dance music with a worldly feel, from Brazil to Turkey. The beats are medium tempo, never forced, and always welcome. Former member Nora Jones recorded two tracks for the album, her voice as sweet as ever. Also guest starring are U-Roy, N'Dea Davenport, Saul Williams and Marla Turner. (AL)

Whiskey & Co. Whiskey & Co. No Idea Records • Gainesville, Florida can lay claim to one rollicking, heartfelt Alt. Country band. Kim Helm's vocals are wonderful; vulnerable and powerful. The band is tight, and the recording is nice and open. The lyrics portray a Gainesville this former resident can almost recall clearly. The push and pull of the darkness in the meaning and the bounce of the music are eminently satisfying. Go get this one! (SJM)


Escape Pods/t 7"Dead Digital • Now this is cool. Here we have some electronic sounds, some organic guitar and keys and a wonderful little synthy rhythm part, but there's more. YES MORE. These guys weave some absolutely beautiful melodies on top of the silky smooth atmosphere of music they created to drive this song along. Now when I say drive, I don't mean like in the car commercials where you see a new sports car swerving at 100 miles an hour down a winding road, no. This is more like driving in your convertible on a mountain pass going at a comfortable pace and just enjoying the view. I would compare them to bands like Air and possibly some british bands like Pulp. Just think gorgeous electronic sounds capes with beautiful melodies on top...(MC)


The Aquabats!A Double Disc DVD of Serious AwesomenessFearless Records • If you have never seen the Aquabats live, then you really need to get this double DVD. Witness first-hand the action-packed adventure that is an Aquabats show, complete with skits and action-figure commercials. Oh yeah, and music. Besides a full concert filmed in Pomona, CA, they included a brief documentary recounting the band's history, plus a whole other disc of live clips and skits. (AL)

In alphabetical order. Please write them.

A Moment Too Soon,
Alternative Tentacles,
ArcTheFinger Records,
Arena Rock Recording,
Aural Fixation Records,
Authentic Records,
Barfing Glitter Records,
Better Than Bullets,
Blake Brown,
Blaze The World,
Boss Tuneage,
British Records,
Buddy Greenbloom,
Chuck Schiele,
CI Records,
Colonial Excess,
Compost Records,
Cravedog Records,
Curve of the Earth,
Cyclop Media,
Dead Digital,
Definitive Jux,
Does Everyone Stare?,
DogFingers Recordings,
Doug Cheatwood,
Dr. Strange,
Dream 13,
Eighteenth Street Lounge Music,
El Buzzard,
Fat Wreck Chords,
Fearless Records,
Fifth Hour Hero,
Five One Inc.,
Gearhead Records,
Genome Records,
Has Anyone Ever?,
Hydra Head Records,
Idol Records,
Indianola Records,
Infect Records,
Innerstrength Records,
Josh Aran,
K Records,
KiraKira Disc Records,
La Vagancia,
Leisure King Productions,
Lilywhite Records,
Lookalive Records,
Lookout! Records,
Mans Productions Inc,
Mungler Winslowe,
Mush Records,
Nitro Records,
No Idea Records,
Omega Point Records,
P.A.W. Records,
PH Music,
Pop Faction,
Radical Records,
Red Leader Records,
Rodent Popsicle Records,
SCF Music,
Shut Eye Records,
Sidecho Records,
Smoke Off Vinyl,
Soundless Records,
Southern Lord Records,
Southern Records,
Speer Music,
Springman Records,
Stomp Records,
Style Records,
Suburban Home, www.suburbanhomerecords
Sympathy for the Rec. Ind.,
The Emergency,
The Kids of Widney High,
The Mercury Seed,
The Paper Champions,
The Safes,
The Speeds,
The X-Possibles,
Torsos From Space, 
Ultra Records,
Up Above Records,
Victory Records,
Vigilant Entertainment,
Warp Records,
Watch The City Burn,
We Make Records,
Whoa Oh Records,
World to Win Records,

Music reviews from past issues: