CDs and more13 O'Clock self--titled Rockhouse Recordings "Pop hooks" is the expression that jumped out at me on the press release about 13 O'Clock. This seems in some way to be a major drawback, primarily because pop music is suck--ass pablum for brain--damaged teeny boppers. This disc is probably the kind of disc that your local rock station would be glad to get their hooks into and play again and again until you want to shoot your radio. There is nothing wrong with the music, it just does not stand out in any way.
33.3 self titled Aesthetics This CD is comprised of guitar/drum/cello compositions. Some tracks are straightforward, others veer into experimental territory, such as the stand--out "Coalesce." There are no vocals, just instrumentation throughout this release. If you're a fan of music for its own sake, seek this out.
77 Revolution Elevator Music Portuguese punk rock? We've been invaded! The political and social undertones make for powerful lyrics, but it's all lost in the lack of musical talent. Personally, I give them the boot right back to Portugal.
AFI Black Sails in the Sunset Nitro AFI plays a very interesting marriage of speed death metal and Offspring--style punk rock, which departing from the old death metal mold is actually very positive in its message. These guys have a stupendous amount of energy, and at one point the fire department had to come to remove my head from the wall. This is what I wish metal was about when I was a middle school Beavis.
All Natural No Additives, No Preservatives self--released If you're reading this review and you're looking for real, original, intelligent hip--hop -- STOP! Get this CD. Not only does All Natural deliver solid beats, samples and funky sounds, but the lyrics may be the best ever in the world of hip--hop. AN frontman Capital D is a writer before a rapper ---- something that hip--hop lacks. AN is tired of fake--ass rappers delivering fake--ass rhymes and they're out to "set the record straight." Just to prove that All Natural has something to say, this CD comes with a little book of stories, essays, comics and lyrics written by Capital D. Some hip--hop fans (whack fans) won't get it, but those of you who look for more than just made--up gansta stories and bitch--slappin', get with the real deal and have a snack with All Natural.
Andre Williams & the Sadies Red Dirt Bloodshot Records This is country music for those who like blues--influenced country music. The better songs are "Easy on the Eyes," "I Understand (Do You)" and "My Sister Stole My Woman." If you like trad country & blues, search this CD out.
Angel Rot Unlistenable Hymns of Indulgent Damage Man's Ruin Deathrock ---- hmmmm .... ---- the music is kickin' but the vocals are a bit droning on the ears. Then again it is Deathrock -- it's supposed to sound like that.
Angelo Badalamenti Arlington Rd. Sountrack Will Records Fans of David Lynch's films will be familiar with Angelo Badalamenti's contributions to the soundscapes of those pictures. "Lost Highway" had extremely keen compositions by Badalamenti, and "Arlington Rd" shares in his strengths. Badalamenti incorporates industrial noises into his work, and has fun playing with movie--genre conventions. Though I have yet to see Arlington Rd to accurately judge how successful he was at serving the film, this soundtrack serves itself fine. Hopefully the movie lives up to his score.
Anti--Flag A New Kind of Army Go--Kart Records Want punk politics? Now you've got Œem. Anti--Flag are true punk rockers that aren't angry just cause they wanna be they're angry and with good reason: our world is fucked up. No CD is going to change the world, but if even a handful of people actually listen to what Anti--Flag say and not just what they play, we're heading in the right direction. The music is fast--paced punk rock with tight melodies and catchy hooks, a good excuse for not noticing that the lyrics are actually intelligent and poignant. "A New Kind of Army" is a good listen and a good read for all.
Atombombpocketknife self--titled Southern Records After the derailment of the band Thumbnail, Justin Sinkovich and David Burns were looking for a way to express themselves. The opportunity presented itself when they persuaded Allison Hollihan to join them. Together they formed Atombombpocketknife. Playing what they call "Unrock," ABPK is as unthreatening as a pocket knife, but as powerful as an atom bomb.
Badmarsh + Shri Dancing Drums Tommy Boy Music "Dancing Drums" is a powerful mixture of modern Western dance culture with the ages--old tradition of Indian music. Badmarsh is in charge of all programming, sampling and DJ chores, while the classically trained Shri fires away at the tablas in rapid succession. He is also responsible for all flute, bass and keyboard parts in this remarkable album. This would be the perfect album if you're interested in an introduction to Indian music. You get a good representation of the style, all wrapped up in a nice danceable package.
Black Mask Music From the Original Motion Picture Tommy Boy Music I haven't seen the flick yet but this soundtrack from "Black Mask" is really good. It's all hip--hop and features artists like Defari, Deadly Snakes, Cardan, Bigfoot, Council, Jigmastas and Everlast. There are 16 tracks here and each one is bad ass.
Boris the Sprinkler Suck Go Kart Wacky pop--punk from those goofy lookin' bastards, Boris the Sprinkler. This is a good disc, once you get over the annoying introductions to each song. There are some kick--ass punk tunes here melodic and bouncy, this is a good disc. Be sure to check out Your Stupid Pants and Baby I Got Gas.
Boy Sets Fire In Chrysalis CD--EP Initial Records Please step away from the stereo. This is for your own safety. Otherwise, BSF will blow you away, leave nothing left except a clear message that they are not messing around. BSF uses big riffs, tremendous tempo changes, vocals that can are screamed or sung (done well either way) coupled with a musical talent that is not found in many other bands. While hardcore bands are a dime a dozen, BSF is one of a kind -- combining the ferociousness of hardcore and the intricacies of indie rock. This CD features five tracks, including a cool cover of DK's "Holiday in Cambodia."
Brenda Kahn Hunger Through Being Cool This is record for solitary nights when you want to unwind and contemplate loves (has--been and never--were) without being pissed off. Brenda Khan has a nice voice that's vulnerable without falling to little girl cuteness. The accompaniment is sparse yet suiting this record, as the focus is the vocals and lyrics. Much recommended to fans of sensitive female singer/songwriters and the all you lonely hearts. (Why are you alone? You gots lots of company!)
Brother's Keeper Forever Never Ending Trustkill Records Rule number one for this CD: skip the first song. Sorry guys, but the vox on the first song sound like the singer was kicked square in the nuts with steel--toed boots. Once you get past numero uno, it's all good. This is hardcore, by the by. It's a little rough around the edges but I like my hardcore that way. It's a solid disc and they have a lot of promise.
Brothers Keeper Self--Fulfilling Prophecy Trustkill Records This disc looked promising. The band photos made me think "hardcore". And indeed it is. The music, I guess, is good as far as hardcore goes. The singer, however, sounds like a muppet. He has a squeaky cartoon--type voice that totally destroys the music. I actually thought it was a joke at first and I skipped ahead a few songs. It was no joke. These guys have potential, but...
Camber Anyway, I've Been There Deep Elm Records This second album from Camber shows they have matured in the two years it took to record. "Anyway, I've Been There" is both melancholic and uplifting, powerful and delicate. It's a bit crunchier than what you would imagine for an emo band, but the emotions, both frustration and hope, are evident. There's also an indefinable "pop" quality to it. If you blink, you might miss it, but it is there.
Chore Take My Mask and Breathe Sonic Unyon Chore is a four--piece, formed in 1995, that delivers solid rock with an alternative twist. This isn't generic altrock, though. These guys are intense, tight, aggressive rock. The sound drives through you, moving your body against its will. Pounding music surrounds vocals that create energized emotions, all packaged into one CD containing thirteen tracks.
Chrome Locust self--titled MIA Records The guys in CL play straight up rock and roll. The vocals remind me of a number or rock/metal bands while the music is melodic, creative and surprisingly good. If you're a fan of solid, rockin' music with searing guitar solos, this is something for you.
Cigar Time is Relative Theologian Records This is good pop--punk. This is fast pop--punk. These guys are top of their class in fast, speed--driven pop punk -- they almost have a Lagwagon feel to them in that they are fast and tight. They never get sloppy just to speed things up. This is a really good punk disc.
Circularity O2High self--released Circularity makes you want to paint your face, spread bear--grease in your hair, and dance around your living room until the ghosts of your ancestors appear sitting on your television. Created by David Lyle, a USA native, on native flutes; Canadian James Brown on percussion; and Australian Phillip Miller on didgeridoo, the world beat--inspired recording has a solid, authentic sensibility over--riding the occasional digital electronic effect, with airy flutes wafting over grooves ranging from tom--tom to north African to dance hall, all underscored by the cool, moody drone of the didgeridoo.
Common Rider Last Wave Rockers Panic Button Records After Operation Ivy broke up in 1990, Jesse Michaels seemed to all but disappear from the face of the earth. Almost ten years later, having studied Buddhism and lived in Florida for a while, he borrowed members from Screeching Weasel and Squirtgun to record "Last Wave Rockers." It blends in ska, punk and reggae into a nice package. Some of the 15 tracks are not ska influenced at all though, so you will like this CD even if you think ska is a thing of the past.
David Hillyard and the Rocksteady Seven Playtime Hellcat Records This is a treat! An accomplished musician (Slackers, Hepcat, Stubborn All--Stars) stepping out on his own to record an album of ska, rocksteady, and New Orleans jazz--influenced instrumentals, with Hepcat's vocalists adding their own to two tracks. The tracks are well paced and feature solid playing by most of the Slackers/Stubborn All--Stars, actually. Give it a listen!
Decay Destiny Suburban Home Records Wow! I listened to some Japanese hardcore before but it just wasn't that good. These guys are way over the top though. The singer can belt with any stinking American and the band is just as raw and hard as their US counterparts. Great disc, a nice surprise from the Far East.
Despise You West Side Horizons Pessimiser Records The thing that should really make you sit up in your seat here is the fact that this disc has 62 songs on it. The average CD holds around 75 minutes of music. You do the math. This is aggressive hardcore. They cover a DRI tune and a Circle Jerks tune. With all these songs, I guess that they'd have to cover somebody. There doesn't seem to be enough time for them to develop the songs in this short amount of time.
Diesel Boy The Sofa King Kool Honest Don's The sound is that of a typical punk rock band. It isn't bad by any means-- just not what I would consider great at all. Uptempo, melodic, you know the deal. One thing to note, ex--Shyster (Orlando--based band) drummer, Geoff Lackey, is now their drummer. Dogpiss Eine Kliene Punkmusik Honest Don's This is English punk. It's okay. It is not the best disc I've ever heard but it has some good qualities. The music has a British punk feel to it. It's well produced and sounds good. The songs, however, are just okay. It almost sounds like they are trying too hard.
Dr. Frank Show Business is My Life Lookout Dr. Frank of "The Mr. T Experience" fame creates this extremely fun collection of pop--punk and not--so--pop--punk tunes, which continues in the tradition of MTX intelligence. MTX has always given us creative, bafflingly smart music that's insanely hilarious, and Dr. Frank has no compunctions whatsoever about keeping that alive. A must--have.
Drill for Absentee Circle Music Mindwalk This band continues in the grand tradition of King Missile, throwing their philosophical interests into music that sometimes flows with the words, and sometimes doesn't. These guys are all over the place, and you can't put a finger on their motives. It's certainly a splendid romp through the raw mind of our humble narrators.
Dwindle Days Away Guilt Ridden Pop After leaving their fans waiting for two years, Dwindle has come out with "Days Away," a more "produced" piece of work than their last full--length "Recently Okay." Produced by J. Robbins (Jets to Brazil, Kerosene 454, Compound Red), "Days Away" does not stray much from Dwindle's formula of melodic guitar playing and low--key vocals to create a subdued yet powerful sensation.
Dynamo Hum Fallopian Self--released This is some truly experimental stuff. Soft, beautiful (but not delicate) female vocals ride waves of far--reaching lyrics that seem to touch on a number of different planes simultaneously, as baffling time signatures keep you second--guessing where the music will take you next. Definitely tearing down the walls of what we know.
Egon Disillusioned Leftist self--released Egon is a three--piece that combines the emo aspects of Braid with a punk rock intensity. The music is super, but the vocals are only so--so. They often sound whinny. Other times, the vocals work. Overall, this is a really solid release and despite the vocal inconsistencies, it's definitely worth checking out.
Electric Summer Love Me Destroyer Soda Jerk Japanese punk. I can't understand what the hell these dudes are saying. Even when I read the lyrics, I can't figure out what they are saying. This is fast and furious punk that seems to harken back to those old school days when mohawks were the way. This is a pretty good disc as long as you don't spend too much time worrying about they lyrics. Just think of them as bastard haikus.
Endeavor Constructive Semantics Trustkill Records Oh Boy! Hardcore for the thinking person! Endeavor's lyrics are both personal and political and cover a depth 99% of hardcore can't reach. They put a lot of words in a song, yet the vocals are an instrument on their own, so you can choose to bounce your head along to the music if you're not up to thinking. This CD has me excited about hardcore all over again! GET IT!
Euphone The Calendar of Unlucky Days Jade Tree Enter the world of Euphone, a world where dissonance is welcomed, singing rejected. Live instruments blend with pre--recorded effects, creating a mood of controlled disorganization. From keyboards and samples to guitars and drums, "The Calendar..." is the well thought out product of some fine musicians.
Farside The Monroe Doctrine Revelation Records Smack my ass and call me Sally! This is a great f'ing disc! I've never heard Farside before and now I'm pissed; I've been missing a lot. They mix punk, post-punk, indie rock, power-pop and even grindcore. The vocals are clean, the music is tight; this is a fantastic release. This is one of the best CD's I've reviewed for IMPACT, no s‹t. Get this immediately. I mean it. Go! Now!
Fatso Jetson Toasted Bong Load Records I really didn't know what to make of this right off the bat. It's kind of heavy, kind of punky, kind of metally. It's kind of good. It really took me a couple of times through to appreciate it, but this is a good disc. They have a solid sound that keeps you interested.
Fifteen Lucky Sub City The title of the latest album from the socio/political punk kings is sadly ironic. Lucky is a man who was part of the punk scene in the East Bay including playing in Fifteen for some time. Lucky shot himself dead, hence the title of the album as a way to show respect. Jeff Ott, lead guitarist/singer/writer, has never changed the musical or lyrical direction of Fifteen since its inception in 1988. Today, the music may be more skilled and tighter, but it's still melodic, catchy punk rock and the lyrics pound you with intelligent, well-thought issue-oriented content (including the war on drugs, police brutality, classism and more).
Fugazi Instrument soundtrack Dischord Records Normally I would say -- hey, it's Fugazi, you know what it sounds like. But, hey, that's not true this time around. Instrument is completely unlike the characteristic DC--derived tunes you're used to hearing. A soundtrack to the Fugazi-bio film "Instrument" (see review), the eighteen tracks on this album put a label on Fugazi that may not have been there before --future jazz superstars. The music is melodic, at times abstract, catchy, funky and ever changing. There are vocals on a handful of tracks, but this album definitely lives purely through the skill of the musicians. Wildly cool -- for Fugazi fans and fans of creative, inventive music in general.
Fuzzy Comets The Circus King self--released Fuzzy Comets is a truly robust quintet, fusing, very well, the beauty of the violin and mandolin into triumphant, well-formed, light-hearted songs. This four-fifths female band concentrates greatly on form, and creates a very full sound that lifts. I enjoyed this one tremendously.
Gluecifer Head to Head Boredom Devil Doll Records These guys are here to save rock and roll, and they don't care who they piss off in the process. Their lyrics cover everything from God's chosen drug dealer to setting dogs on fire. Gluecifer rocks like an out--of--balance washing machine.
Goatsnake Goatsnake I Man's Ruin Very rarely does the press info accompanying a CD accurately describe what the CD is like. They usually like to fluff it up and make it sound better than it is. However, the folks in Goatsnake's camp hit the proverbial nail on the head; "This is he record that Black Sabbath would have recorded if they were starting today." Absolutely. This has that psychedelic metal sound that no one has anymore. However, these guys are of the doom/Satanic variety so be warned that the vocals aren't about puppy dogs and balloons.
Good Riddance Operation Phoenix Fat Wreck Chords Bring on the rock and don't let it stop. Fast, tough, intense and still equally melodic, GR delivers fierce music. The guitar riffs are wild, sliding, screaming while the drums pound away. Lyrically, GR has always put forth a mix of personal and socially aware tunes that beg to be listened to (not just heard). Another solid release from one of the most dependable bands around.
Green Machine The Earth Beater Man's Ruin Records Screaming and yelling vocals permeate this release from Green Machine. Not unusual for this trio of "simple Japanese fishermen." Bass heavy and groove laden is the music they play, switching tempo with the greatest of ease.
Guttermouth Gorgeous Nitro Records Don't even bother with this disc if you're looking for serious music. Guttermouth are skilled as hell at playing uptempo punk rock but their desire is simply to have fun and that they do. Catchy, bouncy and always worth dancing to, Guttermouth's latest full--length delivers ultra--melodic punk party tunes, they kind that drive you to stage--dive. "Gorgeous" is definitely the band's most complete, powerful and impressive record to date.
Harvest Living With a God Complex Trustkill Records Harvest is another hardcore band on the Trustkill label, like Brother's Keeper. Musically they sound very similar and Harvest is even a better band...musically. As far as the vocalist goes...this guy might be related to Phil Anselmo from Pantera -- lots of screaming, not much singing. But, hey, if that's what you dig, this is the one for you.
Indecision To Live and Die in New York City Exit Records Indecision present us with new vocalist Artie Phillie. This CD contains new stuff and previously recorded songs. The new vocals suit Indecision's chugging brand of hardcore, but I wasn't really bowled over by the new songs-- they were a bit long and repetitive. The re--recorded stuff shines here, mostly because I liked it the first time around as well. Give it a listen if you haven't heard Indecision yet.
Joan of Arc Live in Chicago, 1999 Jade Tree Records On Joan of Arc's third album, the band veers even further off the beaten path. Tim Kinsella and company have typically avoided conventional song structures, but previous efforts have had enough hooks mixed in to keep things interesting. Live in Chicago, 1999 has its moments, but for the most part it wanders too much. At times, the instrumental meandering seems like unfinished sketches of songs. It will be interesting to see how these pieces translate into a live setting and evolve through repeated performances. The album only hints at the material's potential. Note: it's not a live album that's just the title.
Jonesbox This Human Condition... self-released This metal band from Melbourne is a big fan of Metallica. How do I know? Because they sound like Metallica. A lot. Listening to "Scorn," everyone in the room at the time did a doubletake and we all said "Sanitarium" in unison. Do not get me wrong. I really liked this album. It is amazing how good it came out despite their low budget and the equipment failures they had to endure. Jonesbox also plays around with rap and techno, although for a very short amount of time. Pick this up and support local music!
June of 44 Anahata Quarterstick Records I was very exited to hear that June of 44 had a new CD out. Having really enjoyed last year's "Four Great Points," I was expecting something different, since that's what June of 44 is known for. I must say that it was disappointing. The singing is, for the most part, off key and out of tune. The guitar work is very repetitious and uninspiring. If you are an avid June of 44 fan, you should listen to it and judge for yourself.
Korea Girl self--titled Asian Man Records This self--titled release is a reissue of Korea Girl's debut LP with bonus demo tracks not included on the original. Korea Girl's indie--pop sound is reminiscent of early Small Factory and Seam. Unfortunately, they have recently broken up according to the Asian Man website. In related news, neither Korea Girl nor Asian Man has commented on the U.S. bombing of the Chinese embassy in Yugoslavia.
Leatherface/Hot Water Music split CD BYO Records Two bands split the billing on this one. There are six songs from Leatherface and five from Hot Water Music. Leatherface plays loud, guitar--driven punk and do it fairly well. The vocals are hard to hear but the music still holds up. Hot Water Music, on the other hand, is more in the melodic punk vein. Scratch that, they are in the melodic punk vein. The songs are decent and they pull of some great melodies.
Lickity Split Lickity Split Torque Records Lickity Split has been around for about four years now and they're starting to take off. I can tell because I've seen their stickers on some cars around town. They play great punk music and are all very talented musicians. Their songs are tight but extremely high energy. This is a great punk disc.
Lungleg Maid to Minx Southern Records This Glasgow quartet has quite a buzz about them. The fickle British music press has proclaimed them "the most perfect pop band in the world" and John Peel has given them his seal of approval as well. (Now, they should probably prepare for the inevitable backlash.) They've also toured with the likes of Sonic Youth and Bikini Kill. Lungleg's "Maid to Minx" is an excellent pop album that shows just why this band has garnered so much praise.
Lustre King Shoot the Messenger Southern Records Lustre King finally delivers their debut "Shoot the Messenger," and it rocks! This is post grunge instrumental and experimental, with small doses of special effects. The tempo is pretty much the same throughout, medium to high tempo. Fans of Blonde Redhead and Chisel Drill Hammer will like this.
Mad Trucker Gone Mad Cows in the Pasture EP Crustacean Records These guys got some swell reviews in their press kit, but I just don't get it. They call it "psychobilly" but it just sounds like fast country to me. Country music, as we all know, sucks. Country music that it played aggressively is not any better. I'm sure that these guys are great musicians and all, but this just does nothing for me.
Make-Up I Want Some K Records This is a "must own" record. That's it. Go out and buy the best R&B/Soul/Rock N Roll CD released since Make-Ups "In Mass Mind." Granted, this is all previously released stuff compiled on one CD, yet it's so extremely GREAT to hear all these songs in succession, particularly if you're not obsessive about collecting 7"s. If you suffered through their live recordings, you'll find Make--Up redeemed on this CD. So get it now!
Man Dingo/Oblivion split CD Dr. Strange The three boys from Man Dingo and the three boys from Oblivion (that's SIX boys altogether) combine to offer a CD of true punk rock mirth. The offerings are powerful and fast encompassing the insanity, power, and sheer quality we've come to expect from the punk world of this musical epoch. A spectacular combination.
Marc Olsen Didn't Ever...Hasn't Since My Own Planet Marc Olsen offers haunting (bordering on subliminal) vocals, nearly whispering his words to us as the progression of chords throws us into realms of the majestic. Definitely mind--expanding and relaxing, Olsen and company will rub the temples of your mind and give color to the grayest of skies.
Mayor MCA Welcome to MCALand Sonic Unyon Records OK kids, get ready for a journey into McCALand. It's a strange place where the Mayor is Christian Anderson Smith. He opens your visit with a country tune that is along the lines of Palace. He follows that with a more unusual track that makes use of a comb, moog, harmonica, orcana and more. It's like circus music for a slow--moving crowd. And the journey continues on, strangely and tripped out. The one constant is Mayor MCA's desire to do music different. He can take a standard blues style and turn into something new, a ballad and make it spooky, a Beatle--esque tune and make it his own. "Welcome to McCALand" is a wild ride that Christian Anderson Smith hopes all can enjoy.
Michael Krassner eponymous Truckstop/Atavistic This is soft vocal music with gently plucking guitars and an unthreatening drum progression. It soothes and creates a canopy of well-received forgetfulness around you as the music ousts the current thoughts of the evil world and replaces them with a posture-o-pedic bed of metronomic alacrity.
Mount McKinleys Stacked Up (and Get It!) Get Hip Recordings This third album from the Pittsburgh quartet boasts rock 'n' roll that is new and fresh yet also offers a journey into the sounds of the 60's. It is definitely a little trippy.
Naughty by Nature Nature's Finest Tommy Boy It's amazing to me what short attention spans human beings have when it comes to music. I say this because when I picked up this CD, I recognized the names of two of the seventeen tracks, "O.P.P." and "Hip Hop Hooray." I had completely forgotten about "Uptown Anthem," "Everything's Going to be Alright," "It's On" and "Feel Me Flow." We're talking 1995 here, people! It's only been 4 lousy years and I had already given them the status of "Two Hit Wonders." Let's not ignore the other eleven tracks that qualify Naughty by Nature as an excellent rap group. Take a listen to Nature's Finest and remember what rap was like back in the "old days."
Nymb 3--song CD EP Harmless Records Nymb's three--song EP is a promising release. Nymb plays indie rock with female vocals and layered, driving guitars, but the standout track is the more plaintive "Aluminum Origami." Hopefully there's a full-length in the works.
Old Time Relijun Uterus and Fire K Records I would like to be positive and say that this group is just being creative with their sound, but I think it goes a bit deeper than that. The music (i.e. drums and guitar) have a pretty good beat. Not the singing -- what does it sound like? Imagine what a drunken man being beaten and stabbed might sound like and you'll start to get an idea. If you or any of your friends happen to be deranged schizophrenics this album might be for you.
Pezz Warmth And Sincerity BYO Records They bill themselves as "emo--punk" but I think it's about 90% punk, 10% emo. Big-time producer Steve Albini manned the controls on this disc so it's sonically very tight. The songs are OK but the vocals get a little lost in there somewhere. Overall, not bad though.
Picturesque Shine In Eyes Trustkill Records This four song EP is the only release by Picturesque. The songs appearing here were recorded shortly after joining the Trustkill roster. The Minneapolis quartet specialized in driving guitar rock, with elements of punk and grunge thrown into the mix. While recording the full--length follow--up to Shine in Eyes, vocalist Brad Senne left the band. Picturesque attempted to find a new vocalist, but ultimately the band decided to call it quits. Picturesque, we hardly knew ya.
Pinhead Circus Everything Else Is A Far Gone Conclusion BYO Records This is straight--ahead, high--powered punk, but it's not so loud that your head hurts there are plenty of hooks in there (see track three, "Hallmark"). There are 11 high--energy songs and I predict you'll play every single one the first time you put it in.
Planes Mistaken For Stars self--titled Deep Elm Records PMFS plays emo-hardcore. At times the music is highly emotional, dramatic, deeply woven and captivating. Then it twists, turns, expands and explodes into a hardcore slugfest. Combining the two has created a wonderful final sound. Beautiful, intricate and intense -- a perfect recipe for a great new band.
Poi Dog Pondering Natural Thing Tommy Boy Music I don't know what it is about this album, but I really dig it. Maybe I'm getting older, or maybe this is just good music. Walking the line between Adult Contemporary and Jazz, Poi Dog Pondering eases you into roughly 70 minutes of danceable tunes and R&B tinged numbers. There are elements of disco and electronica scattered throughout as well. Some tunes, however, are too formulaic and worthy of MIX 105.1 or WLOQ airplay. But you can always skip those tracks in favor of the better ones!
Pulley @#!* Epitaph Records St. Louis Cardinals' pitcher Scott Radinsky is paid to throw strikeouts, but the latest album from Pulley is a homerun -- thanks in part to the great vocal skills of that talented pitcher. Similar in ways to Face to Face, Pulley capitalizes on strong, deep melodies that are tighter than a Masterlock. Some bands are finally realizing that to be great you need quality music and lyrics -- not just music. Pulley fulfills both requirements and passes with flying colors -- I give Œem an ŒA' for awesome.
Rachel's Selenography Quarterstick Records After a two and a half year absence, Rachel's decided to finally record some of the songs they had been playing live for a while, but had not laid to tape, as well as some new material. This is beautiful music to be played in the background. Lots of piano, harpsichord, accordion, percussion, and other instruments construct this layered work. Sounds fade in and out, and you loose track of what song you're in. Listen to "Selenography" when you need to relax after a hard day at work.
Rainer Maria Look Now Look Again Polyvinyl Records Rainer Maria is an emo band, without the obvious punk influence. Caithlin Demarris' expressive vocals and the shifting, swelling dynamics are quite powerful. Rainer Maria sounds like a more intense version of Versus. The album opener, "Rise," is a beautiful piece that slowly builds from just vocals and guitar into the full band, perfectly setting the stage for what's to come.
Rye Coalition The Lipstick Game Gern Bladsten Records Down with Wheat! Down with Pumpernickel! And, especially, down with Whitey! It's rye we want! The Rye Coalition plays an angry, chaotic, and edgy style of indie rock. At times it's reminiscent of the Fall. Screw the others--make that sandwich on rye next time.
Scott Brookman For Those Who Love POP Twee Kitten Records If you've been waiting for a new Burt Bacharach, well, the old one is still alive and kicking out tunes. Nevertheless, Scott Brookman steps up to offer his interpretations of Pop music that bear Bacharach's influence. It's nice stuff, well produced, and makes good use of harmonies and keyboards in an early 60's style (though the instrumentals take the keyboards to a bad place.)
Screeching Weasel Emo Panic Button Records Don't let the title foot you, this is not emo--rock. Screeching Weasel is pure punk, no fillers. They've been around for 13 years now and do wheat they do very well. It's melodic punk with solid playing and great lyrics. This disc will remind Screeching Weasel fans of the "My Brain Hurts" release.
Secret Hate Vegetable Dancing + Live and More Skunk Records This album was originally released in 1983. Sublime helped spark new interest in this band, by covering "The Ballad of Johnny Butt," which prompted the re-release of the album. It deviated from the traditional 80's punk sound, breaking all boundaries.
Seth Yacovone Blues Band Yessir Self--released I saw these guys open for B.B. King, which should, and does, speak of the music they play. They are amazing. Seth Yacovone is a 17-year-old blues genius. The band is tight and the music is exactly what the blues should be -- soulful, fun, sad, powerful. This live recording catches this band what they must do best -- perform in front of an audience. The songs are long so you can fully appreciate the singing guitar, the crying harmonica and the tight rhythm. This is the best blues CD I've heard in a long time.
Seventy Eight Days Revolution Through Anonymity Trustkill This is some cool hardcore. These guys play fast and fierce with a big sound that really tears things up. My big complaint is that the disc is only 4 songs long. If those four songs are any indicator as to the potential of this three--piece powerhouse outfit, I expect big things of them.
Shallow Jumping Away From Something Exploding Devil In The Woods This is some different music. Very heavy on the synthesized sounds, but the singer has a beautiful voice. The music is okay. It is nice to see bands trying different things -- and it does seem like there is some talent in this band. The songs are far from pop oriented -- they range from slow and moody to fast rockers. This is an interesting disc worth listening to if only for her gorgeous voice.
Sky Cries Mary Until The Grinders Cease World Domination Music Fans of Sky Cries Mary probably know about this CD but haven't been able to get their hands on it, as it was only released in Europe. This is a different line--up for SCM. Playing on this disc were Jon Auer and Ken Stringfellow who are better known as Posies collaborators. This disc is heavily industrial-influenced noise. Different but likable.
Sleeve Cellophane Persona Peachy Way This is every song you have ever heard on the radio condensed into one handy disc that you can take to the beach with you. The music is okay. It is designed to be played on rock radio. This is just a pop--rock disc.
Society 1 Slacker Jesus Inzane Records You may have noticed the barrage of bands that are playing the "new sound" that is known as "hard music." Some of these bands are very good, some suck terribly, and some are merely average. Society 1 lies somewhere between the average and the great. "Slacker Jesus" is sprinkled with elements from electronica to remind us that the millennium is approaching. Is this release Y2K compliant? That is, will anybody care about it next year? I think so. The aggression is there, and the vocals are mean. If this electronica thing goes away, you'll still be able to enjoy Society 1.
Solarized Neanderthal Speedway Man's Ruin Records Neanderthal Speedway starts as if in mid song, halfway through a monster riff. I say monster because Solarized sounds a lot like Monster Magnet, and I mean a lot. In fact, MM lead guitarist Ed Mundell and visuals/propaganda expert Tim Cronin contribute on two tracks. The energy never fades, as you fall deeper and deeper into a state of total rock and roll bliss. There are also elements of The Cult and Rob Zombie in this release.
Starmarket Calendar Deep Elm Records Some bands get your attention with a catchy hook, a vocal harmony, a tempo change. Starmarket gets you with all those things, wraps them around you and drowns you in it. Sucked in, enveloped by the tight, uptempo emo--influenced hardcore from these Swedish fellas and you won't want to break free. Every now and then a record this good comes along, avoids the "it sounds like every other band" tag and delivers music that you can really rock to, listen to for days at a time and want to play for every one of your friends. Starmarket has arrived beware of its power.
Steadman Loser Friendly Self--released Steadman is a disciplined five--piece of British greatness who fit each other like a glove. Self--proclaimed: "We don't have a political agenda, we have a musical agenda. Steadman believes in quality songwriting." It shows, as their well--conceived songs create a mosaic of musical ingenuity that cannot be grouped into any order of modern music sect it's just great indie rock.
Suicidal Tendencies Freedumb Side One Old S.T. fans rejoice! This is old school Tendencies -- fast, hard, snap your neck off hardcore. And they're back with a vengeance. It's like they've had all this energy stored up for years and they've just dropped an A--bomb. Kick ass! Mosh it up, you sick bastards! (Side note: the drummer for S.T. named Brooks Wackerman who was once in an all--kid band called Bad 4 Good, beside Infectious Grooves, with guitar prodigy Thomas McRocklin.)
Sweep The Leg Johnny Tomorrow We Will Run Faster Southern Records This is oddly compelling stuff. It is difficult to try to describe music with words, but they sound just a touch like Lou Reed in that depressing, but still cool, sort of way. I really did not like this the first time I listened, but I soon learned the error of my ways and, on a second listening, really started to dig this. There are only 5 songs on the disc, but they are enough to keep you happy for quite some time.
Teen Idols Pucker Up Honest Don's This is quite possibly the best new punk CD I've heard this year. This is pure pop--punk in the vain of The Ramones, The Queers, Screeching Weasel... you get the idea. This disc has 14 tracks , not one of which is a stinker. The music is bouncy and fun, but doesn't sound like a bunch of sissies playing it. I love this disc.
Tetsuo/Brass Knuckles for Tough Guys Stunt Class B Records I was driving while I listened to this CD and I almost got into an accident! This split compilation features unreleased remixes from Tetsuo and Brass Knuckles for Tough Guys, both very angry bands. Their music is heavy on the drums and full of fast guitar work, odd tunings, asymmetrical rhythms and uneven song structures. Some of the songs are instrumental, while others are screamed into your ears. These two bands have shared members at different times, which is why it sometimes is difficult to set them apart from each other.
The (International) Noise Conspiracy The First Conspiracy G--7 Welcoming Committee The idea for this band was "the perfect symbiosis of Elvis and Che Guevara," but it came out more like a combination between The Who and Guy Deboard. The five members of this band got together after their previous bands fell apart, brought together by their love for 60's punk, rock, soul and radical politics. Their sound is gritty, but not dirty. Obviously, this album was well recorded. The combination of organ and raspy vocals reminded me of the Delta 72.
The Billy Nayer Show The Villain That Love Grew BSG Records "What could we do, bacteria grew?" asks Cory McAbee in "Sunshine All the Time." "The closer she gets to me, the older she starts to look," and "She has all the things I need, but how long will I need them?" show how San Francisco's premier uneasy listening singer deals with love. He knows it is a losing battle, yet he finds himself powerless to resist it. Wrapped in cynicism are other topics such as Satan, Christ and his own funeral.
The Black Heart Procession 2 Touch-n-Go Records Ooooh, this is some woeful music. If you are vulnerable to putting guns in your mouth when things get sad, this is a disc you should avoid. If you are normal, you will enjoy this break from the crap that is spewed forth over the radio waves every day. The songs are moody and dark. There is a lot of feeling in every note and in every instrument. This is a disc worth listening to.
The Burgundy Romance Move2CD Boxcar Records I gave it an honest, open minded listening, but I just did not like this disc. The songs had long (too long) introductions and they just seemed to wander around -- they never got up to go anywhere.
The Coup Steal This Album DogDay Records All hail this Oakland crew that gives reason to listen to west coast hip--hop. Breaking the mold, The Coup deliver solid beats, great cuts and rhymin' skills. Comprised of Boots on the mic and Pam The Funkstress on the turntables, The Coup are one of few lyrically intelligent hip--hop groups, so confident with their rhymes that they are printed in the CD (something rarely found in hip-hop). Some of the tracks are party cuts while others are more serious (dealing with poverty, police, politics and more). Every track, though, has a style its own transcending the whackness of the generic hip--hop world.
The Crabs Sand and Sea K Records For their fourth full--length album, the Crabs added keyboardist/vocalist Sarah Dougher as a full--time member. Dougher is an excellent addition to the existing lineup. Her keyboards fit in perfectly with the Crabs' style of soothing indie--pop.
The Fly Seville Carousel Sealed Fate Records This debut album from The Fly Seville makes me incredibly eager to hear their future works. Jesse Blatz's vocals blend perfectly with the mellow rock of the instruments. A true find indeeed.
The Freeze One False Move Dr. Strange Records Aaahhh! A punk rock band that isn't afraid to use 80's glam rock guitar riffs! Even if you're not a fan of Twisted Sister, I'm sure you'll find this to be a great CD to add to your collection.
The Gamits This Is My Broomstick To The Left Records A self--described cross between Propaghandi and The Beatles (it must be the hair) The Gamits are a pop--punk outfit from Colorado. This is good music. The disc is well produced -- it sounds good -- and the songs seem to break a bit from the typical pop--punk mold which, while enjoyable, gets a bit dusty after a time. This is a good band to watch for in your area.
The Insects Return To The Foreign Legion Zap Records This disc sounds like it was made 20 years ago. This is old school punk with a definite classic feel. Great grungy guitar sounds with loud, twangy solos, this is a lot of fun. Plus, there are 17 songs on here so you get plenty of bang for your buck.
The Jamons Beauty Bravura Tomato Head Records Pop/rock with a little bit of punk influence. Boppy and catchy without being obnmoxious. Pretty cool -- the horns even add a touch of ska. Check it out.
The Loons Love's Dead Leaves Get Hip Records Featuring former members of the Tell-Tale Hearts and the Hoods, Sweden's Loons sound like a long-lost 60's band. From British Invasion-style pop to psychedelic-tinged tunes, the Loons easily recreate the sounds of the era. While it does not break much new ground, Love's Dead Leaves is an enjoyable listen.
The Muffs Alert Today Alive Tomorrow Honest Don's This is a bit of a change from previous Muffs efforts. "Alert Today Alive Tomorrow" is a bit less aggressive and in your face, opting for a slower, more melodic style. There's even an instrumental track. Don't worry though, Kim Shattuck's trademark growl will remind you that you are listening to the Muffs.
The Nitwitz The Dark Side of the Spoon Rocket Dog Records As you might imagine, the cover of the latest Nitwitz offering is a take off of the Pink Floyd classic. (Coincidentally, Ministry's upcoming release has the same title.) The album features 14 tracks of MC5 and Stooges-influenced punk rock. Now, just rent a copy of "The Wizard of Oz," buy a case of cheap beer and/or your favorite mind-altering substance, and start this CD just as the MGM lion roars at the start of the film. It's pretty bad ass.
The Palindromes A Car, A Man, A Maraca Twee Kitten The sound is that of a sterotypical girl lead vocal band. Not to say that's a bad thing. Just don't listen to it for too long unless you intend to have the sugariness of it all stuck in your head for days.
The Pawn Rook Four Songs for a Romantic Evening Super 6 Records Gainesville's The Pawn Rook Four are one of the latest bands from the thriving Central Florida music scene hoping to make the jump to the big leagues. Judging by this effort, it sounds like they are headed for a major label. The album features well--polished guitar--based pop tunes that would fit nicely in adult alternative radio. It wouldn't surprise me if these guys achieved the same level of national recognition as fellow Floridians Matchbox 20 and Sister Hazel.
The Pennies Come We Go Ear X--tacy/Damn Entertainment Debuting out of Louisville, Kentucky one of the best pop/rock albums you'll hear this year. Loud and raunchy with a dose of acidic guitar makes for a CD that you'll want to hear at top volume.
The Queers Later Days and Better Lays Lookout What can I say? The Queers are the band that turned me on to punk in the first place. This disc is like a demo version of the Love Songs For The Retarded disc. Most of the same songs, though in a rougher less produced form. The songs seem to have more energy this way, they feel live. There are also a slew of other songs not found on the Love Songs disc.There is a lovely cover of the Beach Boys' "Little Honda" and a fun tune called "Too Many Twinkies." If you're a Queers fan, and who isn't, get it.
The Razzles Suck My First Impression Get Hip Recordings The debut full--length album of this Buffalo, N.Y. band features upbeat melodic/pop--punk sounds reminiscent of the Queers. Who would think that a band this good would tour with the Goo--Goo Dolls? Maybe on the next tour, the Goo--Goo Dolls will be opening for them!
The Strap--Ons This is the Last Straw Bizerk Records This Philly band sings of beer, violence, and fast food. Some tracks are hardcore, others more angry punk rock. The music has a sloppy/garage band sound, but other than that it was pretty good.
The Ziggens Three Wise Men...and Dickie Skunk Records Totally tubular surf rock is rolling in, set by set. These are glassy tunes, the kind you can ride all the way to the shore. Be careful when you try to catch a barrel, you might just get sucked in. Killer, dude!
Toe 2000 Toe 2000 Truckstop Toe 2000's music has grown from the love of finely tuned musical compositions that transport the listener to another plane. More concerned with instrumentation than vocals, they reject the traditional verse and chorus structure and instead opt for a more orchestrated sound. Japanese Blues singer Yoko Noge was brought in to sing on a few tracks, acting more as another instrument, rather than as a spokesperson. Her words, both in Japanese in English, are enjoyed for their rhythmic flow, instead of for their meaning.
Tortoise/The Ex In the Fishtank Konkurrent Records This release is the fifth in Konkurrent's "In the Fishtank" series. The Holland record label invites bands touring their nation to record together. The bands are given two days to record basically whatever they want, be it cover tunes, improvisational pieces, etc. Tortoise and the Ex rose to the challenge and created a highly interesting EP in the mere 48 hours. The Ex added more of an edge, as well as some vocals, to Tortoise's usually subdued instrumentals. This is definitely an interesting idea for musical collaboration.
Tristeza Spine & Sensory Makoto Recordings Tristeza is the Spanish word for sadness. Yet after listening to this quintet's instrumental "Spine & Sensory," I felt both relaxed and uplifted. Songs drift in and out of your consciousness, with echoes for backgrounds, creating a lush backdrop in which to lose yourself. Jazzy tempos and slow beats are de rigeur, and emo elements creep into the foreground here and there. The only departure from this pattern is "Cinematography," a beautifully composed piano solo that both stands out and blends in with the surrounding tracks.
Ultimate Fakebook This Will Be Laughing Week Noisome Records Full of catchy hooks and head bopping guitar this sophomore album from the Kansas trio sings pop the way it should be. You may even see some of yourself in some of their lyrics. Various Artists Crust O Matic Crustacean Records A compliation disc that was a pleasant surprise. It's loud and raq, playing a little punk and a lot of rock mixed in with a dash of funk. This disc features the likes of Mad Trucker Gone Mad, Supermodel, Mucky Pup, and Fuzzdolly.
Various Artists Cue's Hip Hop Shop Vol. 1 DogDay Records This compilation features underground artists from all over the US. Most cuts are from Cali, but there are also tracks from NY, Miami, Cincinnati and Jersey City. Some tracks are more notable than others; however, as a whole, this is a great sampling of indie hip--hop. Standouts include the bouncing, tough "Me and My Crew" by Rasco/Kut Masta Kurt, the smooth and subtly aggressive "Maintaining Izmatic Degress" by Izm Da Mad Soul, the fresh beats and scratches of "1--800--Coming Correct" by DJ Badrok and that's not all.
Various Artists Delphonic Sounds Today Del--Fi Records A tribute to one of the first Indie Rock labels and the musicians that kept it alive. It features hits like I Fought the Law, Hippy Hippy Shake, Donna and much more covered by bands that capture the spirit and freedom of the 50's and 60's. Among those included are the The Brian Jonestown Massacre, The Liquor Giants, and The Negro Problem.
Various Artists Hideous Kinky soundtrack Will Records This CD features country/folk/rock from the likes of Jefferson Airplane, Richie Havens, and Canned Heat. It is dynamic and versatile in the musicians and styles. This CD is great to listen to if you just want to chill and take some time out for yourself.
Various Artists Life in the Fat Lane (Fat Music Vol. IV) Fat Wreck Chords This fourth installment in the Fat Music series will satisfy all of your punk rock needs, whether you're looking for the hardcore sounds of Good Riddance, the more melodic ones of Lagwagon and Frenzal Rhomb, or even a taste of ska by the Mad Caddies. This is a good one to pick up. An added bonus-- it's hellishly cheap!
Various Artists Long Beach Blvd. Compilation Skunk Records A great collection of songs, new and old, direct from the punk ethic of Long Beach. It includes the first recordings since 1983 from Secret Hate, along with tunes from Juice Bros., Das Klown, Corn Doggy Dog & the 1/2 lb., and never--before--released--on--CD songs from the Pivot Foots. Get this comp because the Long Beach area is getting ready to crank out a lot more punk.
Various Artists Short Music for Short People Fat Wreck Chords 101 bands singing 30-second songs. Pretty classic. This is actually a great way to be introduced to punk rock in small bite-size chunks. I'm not even going to try to list the bands here (included are: Green Day, Dillinger Four, Teen Idols and more), but rest assured that most of your favorites are here. You don't have to be short to like this CD, but you had better have a short attention span.
Various Artists Spanglish 101 Kool Arrow Records As soon as I saw this CD on the review pile, I grabbed it, before even listening to it. I read the names of the bands on this compilation and knew I would not be disappointed. I wasn't. This CD has tracks in English and Spanish, while some songs are in both languages. Now, let's get to the songs. There are two previously unreleased tracks by the incomparable drug--death--metal band Brujeria. Anyone who grew up in any part of Latin America during the mid 80's should recognize their cover of "Don Quijote y Sancho Panza." This track is worth the price of the album by itself. Also featured is "Montate" from the up-and-coming Puerto Rican band Puya, which is currently on the Ozzfest tour. Don't think that this album is a hard music/metal release, though. Mexico's Control Machete and Spain's 7 Notas 7 Colores provide hard edged hip--hop tracks, while La Flor Del Lingo blends both styles into a track called "Clicka 13." Fans of Atari Teenage Riot will enjoy the pounding bass line of "Tribe Is My Pride" by Tezacrifico. 17 tracks in all. Go out and get this CD, so you can see what is happening in music outside the limits imposed on you by record companies.
Various Artists Spring--Summer 1999 Compilation Southern Records This compilation features bands from several record labels distributed by Southern, including Desoto, Constellation, My Pal God, Tree, and Shiver/Dubhead. Standout tracks include Emperor Penguin's electronic pop instrumental "Stay for the Freak" and Sackville's folkish "The Principles of Science." This is a cool compilation, touching on everything from post--punk to reggae.
Various Artists Swing Sucks Liberation Records Do I really need to tell you what this album sounds like? With the onslaught of swing compilations to the market in recent times, it would be ridiculous for me to tell you how this one is different. If you are a fan of swing, the you'll enjoy this one. The songs tend to sound more like the classics than the newer revival stuff. One thing I should point out is the appearance of Central Florida's own Swingerhead.
Wolfpac Four Hits From Hell EP + The Humpty Dance single Sugardaddy Productions Does anyone remember the Bloodhound Gang? Founding members Daddy Long Legs and M.S.G. used to be in it, but decided they wanted to do their own thing. That thing is Wolfpac. Sounding remarkably close to the Insane Clown Posse, they wade through the rap--metal pool that is overflowing with mediocre wannabe's. I didn't care too much for them, but I did like the cover of Digital Underground's "The Humpty Dance."
Deathray My Lunatic Friends/Now That I Am Blind Pop Rock It If you know anything about Deathray then you might know that two of the members used to belong in the band Cake. Fortunately, Deathray sounds nothing like Cake. Poppy but not stupid, rock but not what you are used to. This single is sure to be a hit.
Harvest One Step Closer Than The Last Trustkill All four songs here are musically awesome hardcore with heavy, chunky guitar licks, deep basslines and furious drumming. But on all four of those same songs are awful vocals. Harvest would be incredible if 1) they got a better singer or 2) they just went strictly instrumental.
Lando's 45 Titanic Harmless Records This record was recorded back in mid--'97, but the sound plenty new. Lead vocals are provided by Daryl Wilson from the great Bollweevils. All four tracks on this slab are very Bollweevils--like and that means...very good. If you're a fan of the ŒWeevils or enjoy fast--paced, melodic punk rock with great vocals, this is personally made for you!
Secret Hate/DAS Clown split 7" Skunk Records Secret Hate's song reminds me of Dead Kennedys to some extent. It's fast, aggressive, angry and a bit rough around the edges. It'll get your blood flowing. Das Klown presents two tough tracks of punk rock joy. Like SH, the songs are fast--paced but they also have a playful side, if that makes any sense.
Speak 714 The Scum Also Rises Revelation Records Perhaps it's asking too much to expect Speak 714 to top their debut full--length "Knee Deep in Guilt." Everything that was great about that record is scattered through these 4 songs. Unfortunately the sound and progressions are too similar to one another. "Stick and Move," the first track, has the same pattern as "Knee Deep in Guilt," and I don't relate to the lyrics and defiant attitude here as much as in "Knee Deep."
Ten Yard Fight The Only Way Equal Vision Records If you want to hear songs about kicking someone out of the crew, standing strong, and speaking out, all in the name of the Edge, look no further. What is it with Straight Edge that attracts the most untrustworthy kids that betray their friends to such an extent they can fill an album with complaint songs? This is good 80's sXe hardcore that NEVER resorts to using the words "straight edge."
The Wunder Years Take It Off, Let It Go, Start From Scratch Tomato Head Records Lyrics like "Don't slip up, stay strong, your sunlight still shines once the day is done and gone" bring a smile to my face. Once you hear the music, you'll smile even more. It's uptempo pop--punk (with an occasional ska influence), but it's not generic and simple; the four songs have a unique style that is damn good and worth checkin' out.
Turnedown Now and Then Sessions Records Turnedown is a five-piece that'll keep your toes tappin' to their melodic power-punk tunes. All three songs are filled with tempo changes, solid vocals, intricate guitar parts and enough creativity to keep your ears happy.
Versailles/The Mercury Program split Boxcar Records Both bands on this release provide one song. Versailles is a three-piece that plays indie-rock with an aggressive edge that at times reminds me of Modest Mouse. The Mercury Program is also a three-piece blasting out hypercreative music, focusing on inventive instrumentation along the indie-rock lines. However, the vocals seem to take away from the overall sound.