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CD reviews

32forty Hearts and Mirrors Lotus Records • Hailing from the depths of Miami, this band brings their style of pop-punk rock with a force. "Drug-inspired and alcohol-fueled tunes" are full of melodic pop hooks and lyrics tell stories of broken hearts in a number of ways, from signs of anger to the edge of humor. "Autumn"and "Suicide" sound really good here.

Affront People Who Live In Glass Houses Phyte Records • Here is one for all you kiddies who really miss that old fast and furious punk rock, kiss my ass type of feel. Remember when punkers had big friggin' mohawks? I don't think these guys do, but they sound like it. They even cover a Depeche Mode song, but I think we must take away some good taste points for that.

Alpha and Omega Dub Philosophy BSI Records • Alpha and Omega's Dub Philosophy, their latest effort for BSI Records, concentrates on neo-dub rhythms, with very few vocals. Their style is quite unique, incorporating strings, melodica and other keyboards with the usual thundering bass and reverbed effects.

AM/FM Getting Into Sinking Polyvinyl Record Co. • Knowing they got a good thing going, AM/FM release their second full length CD just 8 months after their well received debut, Mutilate Us. Getting Into Sinking follows a similar yet murkier path, with left of center pop tunes that find influence in the 60's sounds of the Beach Boys and the indie rock of Pavement.

Annika Bentley With Leak, Blink & Breath Billy Likes Records • With a voice like hers, Annika Bentley could sing over a bunch of chainsaws and it would sound beautiful. Her emotionally injured voice threatens to give out at times, and otherwise projects a melancholic tone, kind of like Tori Amos, but without sounding overly dramatic. Thankfully, she does not sing over any carpentry tools, but instead, she is backed by guitars, cello, viola and keyboards.

Anthem of the Century The Enduring Vision EP Join the Team Player Records • Anthem of the Century combine the classic hardcore sound of the 80's with the more modern metallic sound of today. The vocals are intelligent and intelligible, and the songs are full of singalongs and mosh parts. Unfortunately, this disc is about 18 minutes long.

As One 21st Century Soul Ubiquity Records • Multi-pseudonymed Kirk Degiorgio (New Religion, Elegy, Esoterik, Critical Phase, etc.) dons yet another hat to release his most recent album as As One. Aptly titled, 21st Century Soul is rooted in classic soul and jazz, but Degiorgio updates them with electronic styles like breakbeat, two step and house. Two tracks feature Simon Jinardu on vocals.

Bad Astronaut vs. Armchair Martian Split EP Owned and Operated Recordings • The concept is simple. Take two bands, throw them in a studio together, and have each band cover three of the other band's songs. Finally, have both bands play together on the last song. Get it? Good. Not a bad idea, really. If you like power pop, you will like this.

Beatless Life Mirrors Ubiquity Records • It is quite interesting that Alex Attias and Paul Martin decided to call their collaboration Beatless, since their songs are full of R&B and hip hop beats. A few artists dropped by to make guest appearances, including vocalist Colonel Red and rapper Quasimoto. This style is best described as "Abstract Soul"since it includes elements from new jazz, broken beat and dance. Truly a groove enhancing album.

Benton Falls Fighting Starlight Deep Elm Records • This disc is put together well and features a smooth emotional sound that won't leave you feeling hung over with depression. The music is simple at times as it showcases vocals and storytelling lyrics about broken promises, junky friends and loneliness. "Swimming With You" begins the journey early on with lyrics like "I've waited 'til now to open up to you/ and I can't/ swimming with you is the hardest thing."This album meshes well without missing a beat, an indie rock release that will leave you lost in a trance from rich and powerful melodies coasting through tempo changes.

Benzoleene Samurai Flu self-released • This Wooster, Ohio quartet blends hardcore and death metal with interesting results. The vocals on "Lifeline" sound like two different demons screaming, one high pitched and another low pitched. Very cool. "Marmalade" has a slow part that reminded me of Rush for some reason. Samurai Flu is definitely worth checking out

Beulah The Coast is Never Clear Velocette Records • There is no doubt that Beulah plays beautiful pop music, and not the saccharine laden drivel pushed by the boy band du jour. I'm talking sweet, laid back, always-a-smile-on-your-face pop songs. Harmonies and vintage keyboards harken back to the days of the Beach Boys. Like Koufax and the Ladybug Transistor, they blend sounds from the '60s and today for a retro, yet not outdated sound.

Bis Return to Central spinART Records • With the release of Return to Central, it is evident that Bis continues to mature and evolve as a band. They started out as a poppy, somewhat raw outfit who threw in electronic effects and disco beats into their songs. Soon their sound started to sound more and more electronic, culminating with last year's much too short Music for a Stranger World. Up until then, lead singer Manda Rin had a playful, almost teenage voice most of the time. This time around, their music is even more dance-oriented, and Rin sounds more subdued and melodic. As far as I am concerned, Bis keeps getting better and better with age.

Black Faction Internal Dissident Part 1 Soleilmoon Recordings • The press release describes this CD as how "The Divine Comedy"would sound, filtered through Andrew Diey's (the man behind the music) head. There certainly seems to be a rather unsettling atmosphere on Internal Dissident Part 1. Dark musical bridges are blended with minimalist electronic beats and ominous sound effects.

Bogdan Raczynski Myloveilove Rephlex Records • Someone hurt BogdanŠbad. Performing a musical 180, Mr. Raczynski slows it down from his glitchy, frenetic braindance, into a slow, melancholic sad-as-hell album. All 17 tracks are called "myloveilove, "and some don't even have any beats at all! The few vocals on this record reveal his love for an unmentioned person, but the voice has a masked pain, a pain accentuated by the accordions (!) and trumpets. The press material says this is his last album. I sure hope not.

Boilermaker Leucadia Better Looking Records • Leucadia is a compilation of material from the newly reformed Boilermaker's early recordings. The band released three full-lengths and numerous singles in the mid-'90s, but gradually drifted apart as the decade progressed. While on an extended hiatus, the band members rediscovered the lost spark and decided to regroup. This is a great reintroduction to the band's indie rock/emo style. Glad to have you back!

Brent Berry Inland Kick Save Records • Not only re-recording some old favorite tunes, but also writing some of his own, Brent Berry unleashes the island jam party that is Inland. Mixing reggae, rocksteady, calypso, and West African Jump, he livens up the mood with his music.

Burnside Loser Friendly EP Out Of Step Records • This is a good punk disc in the Lagwagon style. There are some nice harmonies over not-too-pop guitar riffs. The songs are fast and fun but they don't have that sugar sweet diabetic coma feel that you get from some simpering pop-punkers. It is a good disc and my only complaint is that it clocks in at just over 15 minutes (seven tunes). The songs are short, so maybe we should get a few more? I'm looking forward to more from these guys.

Cable Skyhorse Jams This Dark Reign Recordings • Cable's lead singer, Randy Larsen, sounds like Henry Rollins with damaged vocal chords. He doesn't scream, but he doesn't sing either. Aggressive as their music is, it sounds like a higher pitched version of sludge rock, with less of the low end that characterizes the genre. The guitar work has a touch of blues influence.

Capture the Flag Walking Away From Everything Conquer the World Records • Walking Away From Everything is Capture the Flag's second record, and it will blow you away. Blending power punk's energy with metal's heaviness, they storm through 12 tracks of pure emotion. Jeff's vocals are both melodic and raw, like his throat is about to explode from the strain.

Celesteville Kohoutek Tape Mountain • Celesteville is actually one guy recording on a 4-track cassette recorder. His stuff tends to be on the experimental side, yet a few songs, like opener "Waverly,"attain a melancholic sweetness. Obviously, the album is lo-fi, but appealing all the same.

Champion Come Out Swinging Phyte Records • Seattle hardcore featuring guitarist Timm McIntosh from Trial. This disc is hard, loud, and strong and Champion does all the things that hardcore should do make you think, make you feel, and make you move. While the record is good, I imagine this band is 300 times better live. It also helps that they do a great Dag Nasty cover!

Chris McFarland As If To Lay To Rest In Music We Trust • Seattle hardcore featuring guitarist Timm McIntosh from Trial. This The opening track "Drive"from this singer/songwriter is full of powerful vocals and a persistent acoustic guitar rock sound. This disc crosses paths between indie rock and folk providing a strong sentimental feeling. The atmosphere is deep, but not depressing. The mood changes but the purpose stays the same. Musically the release is along the lines of Counting Crows with a Peter Gabriel-ish vocal sound. Songs are very complete and sincere and the album jams from beginning to end.

Coalition The Ignition: From Friction to Fire EP Smorgasbord • This quartet has been together for just over a year and offer up seven tracks of intense, melodic music that combines elements of hardcore, metal and emo. The musicianship is super tight, using weaving guitar parts along with a driving beat and great tempo changes. The vocals are aggressive, a mix of screaming and singing. I could do without the semi-preachy, anti-drug song ("Pusher˛), but I guess I should expect it from a straight-edge band. But lines like "I can't wait to see you fall man, I'll be the first to kick the dirt over your face"are really unnecessary and shows a hateful side that may or may not be representative of what Coalition stands for. The music is good and most of the lyrics steer clear of the straight-edge mantra. But that one line sticks in my head and leaves me with a bad feeling overall.

Converge Jane Doe Equal Vision Records • I can honestly tell you that I have never heard a song like "Concubine,"the opening track to Jane Doe. Immediately, the churning guitar sound of metal mixed with hardcore attacks your ears and causes internal bleeding. Vocalist Jacob Bannon does his best to physically injure you with his high pitched scream. Suddenly, Slayer-like guitar licks will literally give you goose bumps due to their unexpected appearance. My reaction to this song repeated itself with each subsequent track, for a total of 12 tracks of pain inducing bliss.

Darkest Hour The Mark of the Judas Join the Team Player Records • The Mark of the Judas is Darkest Hour's debut CD, re-released by Join the Team Player Records. Originally released in 2000, it marked the beginning of a band with a unique take on DC hardcore, by mixing European death metal song structures with hardcore vocals. Needless to say, Darkest Hour is quite an intense band, with quite an evil sound.

Daryll-Ann Happy Traum Excelsior • From Holland comes Daryll-Ann, a quintet of pop majesty. Capturing some of the best aspects of '60s pop rock, they've added their own quirkiness and style, creating some of the loveliest tunes I've ever heard. For over 10 years Daryll-Ann has been making music. This album is just another in a long line of superb releases. By track three you'll be sucked into the charming beauty of this album.

Dawncore Entertainment for the Rest Join the Team Player Records • Hungary's Dawncore started out playing classic hardcore, but switched to a more aggressive kind of metalcore. They are incredibly raw, pounding out metal riffs with hardcore vocals for an intense 25 minutes. In an unusual step for a hardcore band, a techno / jungle remix of one of their older songs closes out the album.

De Facto Megaton Shotblast Gold Standards Laboratories • Anyone who has experienced At the Drive-In's music knows that they are chock full of energy, which is why De Facto is such an unexpected surprise. Cedric Bixler and Omar Rodriguez (the ones with the big afros from At the Drive-In), along with Jeremy Ward and Isaiah "Ikey"Owens recorded a dub album. Instead of the usual repetitiveness of the genre, they threw in elements of electronica, keyboards ala Money Mark and Latin rhythms to keep things interesting.

Death Cab For Cutie The Photo Album Barsuk Records • Over mostly slow tempos and non-distortioned guitars, Death Cab For Cutie's lead singer Benjamin Gibbard softly sings about his life. The mental image this album creates is one of an old 8mm home movie, flickering and unsteadily showing you events of the past. Gibbard's voice is subdued and a few deep breaths away from being whispered.

Denison Witmer Of Joy & Sorrow Burnt Toast Vinyl • This is the second full-length for the Philadelphia-based singer-songwriter. Witmer's songs tend to lean toward the "sorrow"side of the album title, but don't almost all good folk rock records? The simple, sparse arrangements recall early Elliott Smith and the late Nick Drake. I guess if I lived in Philadelphia, I'd be bummed too.

Destination Earth! Adventures in Newspace Gelatinous Productions • Much like Man or Astro Man? did in the past, Destination Earth! combines space themes with '60s surf music. Unlike MOAM?, they also include indie rock, pop and even rap in one track. Their take on surf music is excellent, though I found the other styles did not match up in quality. Obviously, humor is a big factor with this band, so you will surely smile a few times during Adventures in Newspace.

Dirty Rotten Imbeciles (DRI) Greatest Hits Deadline Music • For nearly 20 years DRI has been rocking out their brand of speed punk and thrash metal. They were one of the first punk bands I heard and, despite that being 15 years ago for me, their music is still amazing, the early stuff being my favorite. And this compilation features a slew of the older material including "Who Am I˛, "Mad Man˛, "Couch Slouch˛, "Violent Pacification"and "Yes Ma'am." The music is rapid-fire punk rock with similarities to early Suicidal Tendencies. These 17 tracks are a great example of one of the bands that led the '80s punk rock charge.

Doug Brown Looking Glass Self Nikazone Records • Upon reading the autographed press sheet written in third person, I deduced that Doug Brown is a Rembrandt of shameless self-promotion. However, what's painfully obvious is that Doug has fun making music and that you should have fun listening to it. On, this, his fourth attempt, Doug invades you with a flood of styles, samples and sounds, showcasing his musical multi-talent while keeping it generally on the dance pop front. I can tell you right now this album will work well for generally happy people who like to sing aloud, bubbly girls, Christians and guys without ego problems. The rest of you jocks better stick to Puddle of Mudd.

Downpour Footsteps Over Our Heads Alveran Records • This is exactly the kind of music your mother was talking about when she said she didn't want any more of that noise in her house. I am still up in the air about this disc. It incorporates some good metal riffs, but has a distinctly old Death-type aura about it. It is walking the line between thrash and death metal, of which I have never been a fan. If you dig old Death tunes, then you will cream over this.

Erase Errata Other Animals Troubleman Unlimited • Influenced by New Wave, No Wave and any other kind of Wave, the four ladies who make up Erase Errata somehow make noise sound beautiful. Sara's guitar playing is erratic and out of tune, Jenny doesn't always sound like a woman and Ellie and Bianca's bass and drums feel forced, hurried. All of this, you see, is on purpose, and well executed.

Fernando Dreams of the Sun and Sky Domingo Records • The music on this disc has a mellow folk-pop, bluesy feeling to it. Full of soulful, dark emotions that instill a rage of optimism when it's all done, this album is great from beginning to end. This effort displays musical diversity by Fernando while playing electric and acoustic guitars, percussion, lead and background vocals. From the opening track "The Jackal"to "Blue Room,"the vocals are smooth and stand out among the many instruments and sounds in each track. The lyrics are a perfect compliment to the mood setting. A number of musicians contributed with guitar, cello, violin, clarinet and upright bass sounds to add to an atmospheric follow up for Fernando. This release doesn't have the "shattering rock attack"sound that his debut Old Man Motel consisted of but the delivery is just as strong, only from a different angle.

Fields Of Fire Keep It Alive Phyte Records • I couldn't help but think back to my days spent skateboarding as a kid while listing to Fields Of Fire. This band easily could be defined as skate-punk, but as I listened to the record more I realized that this band avoided labels about as much as my friends and I avoided cops at all the best skate spots in town. A blend of '80s skatecore, early straight-edge, honest lyrics and a forward style make this release worth checking out.

Four Tet Pause Domino Recording Company • Four Tet is actually composed by one Kieran Hebden, founding member of English experimental outfit Fridge. This, his fourth album under the Four Tet moniker, is a rather mellow, electronic record. Most of the sounds on this record, like harps and other strings, seem sampled rather than created inside some box. Sometimes the songs degenerate into atmospheres, instead of actual songs. I'm sure Brian Eno is a big influence on Hebden.

Frankie Sparo Arena Hostile Constellation Records • Recorded at Amsterdam radio station VPRO during Sparo's January tour with A Silver Mt. Zion, Arena Hostile's four tracks feature Sparo's emotive, slightly raspy vocals and slow tempo guitars and violins, accompanied by minimalist electronic effects. Closing out the album is a cover of the Rolling Stones'"I Am Waiting.˛

Fugazi Furniture EP Dischord • The first track of this three-song EP is called "Furniture"and it's as close to 13 Songs era Fugazi as I've heard. It's absolutely awesome, powerful and familiar in the best of sense. The energy of that one track alone could power a car ­ it's immense. The second track is an instrumental tour de force. The EP closes with "Hello Morning,"a rock and roll attack, charging from the gate and not letting up. Send in your $4ppd right now.

Fugazi The Argument Dischord • What more can you say about one of the most influential people in the independent music scene? Whether you go back to Ian MacKaye's punk roots with Minor Threat or his record label, Dischord, this guy has been creating amazing things for over 20 years. Since 1988, Ian and the guys (Guy Picciotto, Joe Lally and Brendan Canty) from Fugazi have put out numerous releases, constantly adjusting, maturing and re-adjusting their sound ­ never failing to offer up something both creative and original. With The Argument, Fugazi proves that they are still one of the best bands around, rocking out 11 tracks of intense, sonic assault. Their previous full-length release, Instrument Film Soundtrack, showed that Fugazi is far more than a rock and roll band, displaying their jazzy, experimental and instrumental abilities. Some of that carries over, but only as an enhancement to Fugazi's rock side. The combination leads to Fugazi's most creative and diverse work yet ­ a fusion of punk, rock and roll, funk, and jazz, as well as various experimental styles that are unclassifiable.

Fury 66 Red Giant Evolution Sessions Records • It came as quite a shock to see that the totally nasty cover picture on this disc is a real photograph of some schmuck's "leg-cutting"done at a tattoo parlor. As I get older, I guess that it becomes inevitable that I get less and less hip. That aside, the music is good, if fairly standard, new punk. Lots of good, fast guitar riffs and yelled vocals. The music has that old "anthem"feel to it like the Brit kids really used to dig.

Fury For Another self-titled Smorgasbord • Hailing from the DC-area, Fury For Another embraces the hardcore/punk sound that led the skaterock movement. Sounding similar to such bands as 7 Seconds and Gorilla Biscuits (even Good Riddance at times), this trio rocks out 11 aggressive, melodic, positive tunes. It's their debut album and is a very impressive release and likely only a taste of what FFA has to offer. Added bonus: Awesome crunchy, punkcore cover of the Dead Milkman's "Instant Club Hit.˛

Future Pilot AKA Tiny Waves, Mighty Sea Geographic Records • Former Soup Dragons bassist Sushil K. Dade is the sole member of Future Pilot AKA. On Tiny Waves, Mighty Sea, he combines Scottish and Indian musical styles. To accomplish this, he enlisted the help of the Delgados, plus members of Belle and Sebastian and Teenage Fanclub. The result is a mixture of folk rock, slowed down surf, Indian vocals and beautiful melodies.

G.C.F. Good Clean Fun Phyte Records • At first glance you won't be sure what to expect. The album cover is a parody off of the groundbreaking N.W.A. album Straight Outta Compton but comparisons end there. This is a hard and heavy, positive, good-natured punk album from a band out of D.C. These guys basically poke fun at everything in the mainstream with sarcastic energy. The disc opens with the words "you are now about to witness the strength of positivity"(another N.W.A. parody) and has a good sound with lyrics you can make out without reading the inside sleeve. "The Ice Cream Man Cometh"and "Today Was A Positive Day"stand out.

Glasseater 7YearsBadLuck Fearless • Combining screamed with fantastically well-sung vocals, Glasseater is able to run the gamut of emotions. The music is loaded with tight, thick melodies that are infectious as hell. You may have already heard this album; it was released on Eulogy Records not too long ago. But Fearless signed the band, re-mixed, remastered and repackaged the album. It sounds better and looks good. If you have the Eulogy version, I won't tell you to run out and get this. But if you don't have it ­ this is an awesome powerpunkcore album with sounds akin to Thursday and Grade.

Gorky's Zygotic Minci How I Long to Feel That Summer In My Heart Mantra Recordings • You never know what to expect from Gorky's Zygotic Minci. Last year, they delivered the mini-LP The Blue Trees, where most songs were acoustic and somewhat weird. This time around you'll get poppy arrangements, sweet melodies and Richard James's my-underpants-are-too-tight vocals, as well as an array of instruments, both acoustic and electric.

Grade Head First Straight to Hell Victory Records • No, they aren't a metal band, although between the album title and artwork you'd think this is the latest Slayer album. (The artwork did get the album banned from Best Buy ­ which is a good thing 'cause you should be getting this at your local indie record shop anyway.) While Grade is definitely influenced by such metal-rockers as Black Sabbath and Judas Priest, they are far more diverse. Grade uses a combination of screamed and sung vocals to add emotional force to each song. This album, their second full length, is definitely more mature than their first and excellent Under the Radar. The music is more intricate, with wild-good guitar and bass parts combined with expert drumming and tempo changes and enough melody to have your head spinning. The band's experience, eight year's worth, really shows on Head FirstŠ through the diversity of tracks, styles and instrumentation. This album flows with immense intensity, like Niagara Falls or like waves against the rocky cliffs of the Northern California coast ­ if you're swept away (and you will be), prepare to be pounded.

Grafton Self-Titled Derailleur Records • This three-piece punk rock band is very aggressive and sounds complete as a band. These guys bring a grimy, shit kicking attitude that makes these tracks more intense, and comprehendible. Tracks like "Tom Selleck"and "Phineas Gage"race like locomotives through the Midwest. But you really get a feel for who these guys are on "Oxblood,"shouting "people say I don't treat myself rightŠI know that I'm gonna die.˛

Harry Manx Dog My Cat NorthernBlues Music • This one-man band out of Toronto has assembled a moving blues-folk album with great harmonica and guitar work. The album carries in a mellow fashion and songs kind of run into one another with the same sound. The music is good but the vocals are stale at times. "Bring That Thing"and "Love Ain't No Game"kind of shuffle the sound around on this disc.

Heavenly Heavenly vs. Satan K Records • For the first time, Heavenly's debut album is now available in the U.S. Their sugary, jangly pop songs feature beautiful female vocals and upbeat arrangements. Not only do you get the entire debut album, but you also get six bonus tracks from out of print singles, plus liner notes by Lois Maffeo.

Hopsing Old School, New School, No School self-released • Central Florida's Hopsing offers up their debut full-length album, 18 tracks of punk rock with a multitude of influences. The tempo on nearly all the songs is rapid and intense. But it's not just straight-ahead punk rock. Hopsing uses elements of funk, metal, jazz and ska to push their songs to a level that won't have them pigeonholed as one-dimensional punk music. The attitude of Old SchoolŠ combines both aggression and fun ­ a perfect mix.

Integrity In Contrast to Tomorrow Victory Records • To celebrate the tenth anniversary of the release of their first full-length record, Those Who Fear Tomorrow, Integrity put together In Contrast to Tomorrow. It is a compilation of early recordings, dating from 1989-1991, including their out of print and hard to find first EP, In Contrast of Sin. Also included are some remixes and live tracks, making this CD the definitive Integrity collection in what hopefully is the first in a series.

Interfearance Take That Train Ubiquity Records • Take That Train is a collection of songs that were previously released on EPs, plus three new tracks. Paul Martin mans the decks, while Tyrrell takes care of the live instruments that populate the album. They try to blend their love of rock and funk into their songs, which are mainly bouncy, organic techno mixed with house and 2-step or jazzy downtempo.

It Takes All Kinds/The Young Ones Our Community Is More Than Where We Live Punks Before Profits • This super DIY release captures honest punk attitude and aggression. Coupled with a political sentiment, it makes for an awesome album featuring two NY bands. It Takes All Kinds features female vocals that remind me of Blatz (old Lookout! Records band). The music is fast-paced punk rock with a recording quality that makes you feel like you're at a live show, which is a good thing in this case. The 17 songs from It Take All Kinds are short, in-your-face anthems of angst and social awareness. The Young Ones deliver 11 tracks of their own brand of aggressive, snotty, rapid fire punk rock. While It Take All Kinds is straight-forward in their style of punk, The Young Ones offer some varied and excellent changes in style and orchestration using tempo changes and breaks. Both bands deliver, giving the listener a total of 28 tracks of music that will get your blood flowing, your fist pumping and your brain thinking socio-politics.

Jah Warrior Presents Peter Broggs Jah Golden Throne Dubwise BSI Records • This album is a companion to Jah Golden Throne, Peter Broggs's release on Jah Warrior records in May of last year. It is also Jah Warrior's first US release. Broggs, who has been involved in the reggae scene since the early '70s, drops vocal phrases over Jah Warrior's expertly crafted sound system dub beats, heavy on the bass and the reverb.

Kidsnack First Steps Double Zero Records • Although the band itself is pretty tight, it doesn't do much to further punk rock as a genre, which right now, is starting to sound like drum and bass circa 1998 (i.e. stale). This is Kidsnack's 2000 debut and I hope their sound has evolved since last year so they can better distinguish themselves from the other fifty thousand pop-punk bands out there. Thumbs up to the sleeve art though, it at least makes you want to pick it up and check it out.

Kill Creek Colors of Home Second Nature • It is amazing how a band like Kill Creek can create songs like the slow, beautiful "Cops,"with a lethargic beat and whispered vocals, and the all out rocker "Serotonin,"with a driving beat and layered vocals and screaming chorus. After being dropped by Mammoth, they settled on Second Nature Recordings, and the truth is they have never sounded better. A four year hiatus could not stop this post-hardcore outfit from creating great music.

Landing Circuit The Music Fellowship • Following their debut EP, Centrefuge, this full length album does not stray far from the formula which makes Landing stand apart: textures upon textures of atmospheric sounds. Keyboards, guitars, drums and bass are infinitely looped until you cannot tell where the original sound started. Vocals are few and far between, treated more like another layer of sound. In one word, excellent.

Leftöver Crack Circuit Hellcat Records • Leftöver Crack was formed from the ashes of No Commercial Value and Choking Victim. Many of the songs were written up to ten years ago, but for some reason or other were never recorded with either band. This might explain why no two songs are alike. Ska, rockabilly, metal, punk and hardcore all rear their ugly faces in this record. There's even a nice little piano solo on one track.

LTJ Bukem feat MC Conrad Progression Sessions Vol. 6 ­ America Live 2001 Good Looking Records • The highly successful Progression Sessions series has taken a new twist ­ a live album. Recorded in Boston in the Spring of 2001, Vol. 6 features LTJ Bukem manning the decks as MC Conrad rocks the mic on 10 tracks by artists like Nookie, Makoto, Rantoul, Future Engineers and MC Conrad himself. Also included are instrumental studio versions of these drum 'n'bass tracks.

Mad For The Racket The Racketeers Muscletone Records • Pay attention, because this is an interesting collaboration of musicians. Wayne Kramer (legendary MC5 guitarist) and Brian James (guitarist for The Damned) are the brains behind this rock project. Joining them includes Stewart Copeland (drummer for The Police), Clem Burke (drummer for Blondie) and Duff McKagan (Guns N'Roses). The result is a skilled offering of rock tunes with a hard-driving attitude and energy. There's a dark side/feel to some of the tracks that adds to the overall result.

Maya Shore Farewell to Introductions The Music Fellowship • Even though they have been together since 1997, Maya Shore had not recorded a debut album - until now. Farewell to Introductions gathers their best tracks from the last three years and compiles them into one album. Instrumental and vocal tracks are scattered about, with an emphasis on guitar melodies. Keyboards, violin and other effects add to the mellow vibe. Think of Meisha, The Letter E, Physics and Do Make Say Think.

[minmae] Lucy in the Sky with DNA Helixes EP Dogprint Records • [minmae] came to be when Sean Brook's band cancelled a gig at the last moment, leaving him to come up with something to fill the time. Two full length CDs and several 7˛s later and he still hasn't stopped. His music continues to evolve in this EP, starting off with an almost seven minute instrumental that leans toward the experimental. From there he varies things a bit, trying to "capture some of the feeling of bands like Guided by Voices, Smog, John Lennon, David Bowie, Teenage Fanclub"and others. With his dynamic voice and the help of Arabella Makalani (drums) and Daniel Power (bass), it is pretty evident he succeeded.

Modest Mouse Sad Sappy Sucker K Records • Fans of Modest Mouse rejoice! Sad Sappy Sucker is the lost Modest Mouse album, finally released. It was recorded in 1994, and was supposed to be their debut album, but it got lost in the shuffle. Besides the full recording, they included tracks from Isaac Brock's four-track recording days, as well as nine songs from his Dial-A-Song service he ran on his answering machine.

Motorplant American Postcard Shiretown • Chock full of power-pop goodness, this foursome of New Hampshirites give us catchy rock-funk that isn't overly heavy and that's devoid of stupid-ass teen angst. It's good, straight ahead rock and roll with an alternative mix. Great songwriting, and an abundance of raw energy and emotion.

No Use For A Name Live in a Dive Fat Wreck • This is definitely the best live recording I've ever heard. And for good reason; Fat Wreck had a 24-track mobile recording studio to record this instead of the standard mixing board situation. You can close your eyes and you're right there. Or check out the multi-media footage that is included on the CD. Oh, that's not enough? There's a mini-comic with the CD and a full-size comic with the LP. As for the music, it's No Use's brand of power punk with thick melodies, awesome vocals and kick-ass tempo changes. The lyrics are emotional and socially charged. And since these guys have been doing this for almost 15 years, this shit is tight as hell and more addictive than cocaine.

Nora Loser's Intuition Trustkill Records • Nora finally settled on a lineup for their first full length release, and they could not be better for it. These ten tracks will leave you on the floor, gasping for air, as you get pounded by the Slayer like riffs and intense screaming vocals. This is hardcore at its hardest.

Now It's Overhead self-titled Saddle Creek Records • For Saddle Creek Records, whose musical output consists of bands from Omaha, to release a record from an Athens, GA band says a lot about the band, reminiscent of early REM or the Cure. Now It's Overhead's dark, lush melodies and layered chorus vocals are nothing short of perfect beauty. Both programmed and live drumming keep the pace during these nine mostly mellow tracks.

Old Time Relijun Witchcraft Rebellion K Records • This is the third album by Old Time Relijun, and they seem to get weirder as time goes on. Aarington de Dionyso's singing is all over the place, from yelling to snickering to even sounding like Popeye on one track. Forget about a genre for these guys. They tackle punk, gospel, free jazz, experimental and even a little reggae. The listener can't help but feel uneasy while this album plays on.

ONQ The Supreme Weight OuZel Records • ONQ core member Luca Galuppini has experimented with a whole range of genres, from grunge to grind-core to experimental and noise chaos. It appears that ONQ is an outlet for his mellow side. His style consists of undistorted guitars, slow beats and vocals run through an effects machine. Clarinet and accordion show up on a few tracks. The Supreme Weight features re-arranged versions of ONQ's past releases.

Owen self-titled Polyvinyl Records • Mike Kinsella is known for his work with American Football, Cap'n Jazz, Joan of Arc and Owls. Now he will be known for his latest project, Owen. Truly a solo venture, he played every instrument and did all the recording at his home studio. His only outside help came from Rainer Maria's Caithlin De Marrais, who sang backup on two tracks. This self-titled album is an extension of American Football, only slower and more complex. His voice soothes the soul, and his melodic acoustic guitar pleases the ear.

OX Don't Call Me Lazy Allegory Records • The opening guitar on the first track "Thief"sounds remarkably like Led Zeppelin's "Misty Mountain Hop." Then the trippy, echo-y vocals come in. Although they are almost impossible to decipher, they seem to complement the trippy atmosphere. Just like an ox, the music comes charging, with a muddy distortion effect on the guitars and pounding percussion.

Ozma Rock and Roll Part Three Kung Fu Records • The whole time I was listening to this album, I kept thinking of Weezer. Actually, Ozma sounds like Weezer with keyboards. Well, that makes them the Rentals, doesn't it? Seriously, though, their poppy sound, combined with just enough guitar distortion and melodic vocals works very well. Rock and Roll Part Three would fit well next to your Nada Surf and Nerf Herder CDs.

Parker & Lily Hello Halo Orange Recordings • Be careful when you listen to this album or you might miss the whole thing. Undoubtedly, the atmosphere is one of melancholy. Parker Valentine sings with a quiet resignation, sometimes backed by Lily Wolf's soothing voice. All sorts of reverbed keyboards give Hello Halo a dreamy feel, and slide guitars give some tracks a southwestern vibe. Think of Calexico on the verge of suicide.

Paul Reddick and the Sidemen Rattlebag Self-released • This album is pure aggressive blues and features some serious harmonica playing. Paul Reddick is joined by The Sidemen and you immediately get the feel that their live show must be an event to check out. The music here has a good energy that keeps you goin'and the musicians compliment each other well. On "Pearl River Blues"a sliding guitar carries the mood while slowing things down and flowing into "Blind River Bound"which has the band laid back in a folk music kind of way. "Trouble Again,""King O'tha Zig-Zag"and "I'm A Criminal"make these guys sound fun.

Piebald Barely Legal & All Ages Big Wheel Recreation • Piebald fans rejoice. They are going back out on the road after taking some time off. To celebrate this joyous occasion, they have released this 2CD set which recounts their history. Starting off with a recording of a 1994 Battle of the Bands (which they lost), a few 7"releases, their Sometimes Friends Fight CD and ending with a recording form a German radio show, the first CD shows Piebald in their formative stages. CD number 2 shows their latest efforts, from When Life Hands You Lemons, a couple of demos, some live recordings and a few unreleased studio tracks (including a kick ass cover of Slayer's "South of Heaven˛). This is the closest you can get to having a box set.

Pilot Round the Sun self-titled EP self-release • It seems like the more new music you listen to nowadays, the harder it is to pinpoint its category - this evolution is a good thing. PRTS is a new band from PA with a very warm, inviting sound kinda like that first cuppa joe on a Monday morning. This is courtesy of the band's careful approach coupled with the frontman's take-em-or-leave-em quasi-falsetto vocals (reminiscent of Mojave 3). In a nutshell, this band needs to be signed so they can be distributed and better heard. By the time you read this, they should have finished recording an even newer batch of tracks.

Pilote Do It Now Man Domino Recording Co. • Pilote's dabbling in leftfield, downtempo and electro are both gloomy and humorous. Songs like "Paul Oakenfold,""Fairplay"and "The Dialogue"feature snippets of people talking that leave the listener with an unsettling feeling. "Beaulieu Road"sounds like a lost track from Mu-ziq's more melodic catalogue, while "Immobile"could have been included in Aphex Twin's Selected Ambient Works collection.

Pinhead Circus self-titled EP Not Bad Records • This disc is a repress of a 7" they did last year plus 2 new tracks. However, those are transcended by an awesome cover of Prince's 1987 single "I Could Never Take the Place of Your Man˛. They couldn't have covered a better Prince track. That cover is worth the price of the CD alone. Otherwise, it's standard fodder for you underground punk fans.

Pirx the Pilot Pirx the Pilot EP New Disorder Records • Described as "structuralist punk rock,"this release features a 3-piece band with male and female vocals. Recorded by Andy Ernst (worked with AFI and Green Day) this five-song EP is full of power and creativity as it shows off a different style in mixing punk and rock. At times sounding like Sonic Youth, tracks like "Unwound"(opens with the line "desperate wisdom whispers behind my backŠ˛) and "We Work for a Living"jam out.

Portastatic Looking for Leonard Merge Records • Mac McCaughan not only runs Merge records, but he also fronts Superchunk and Portastatic. Portastatic is an outlet for music that wouldn't fit Superchunk's style, thus creating a wide array of musical recordings. His latest is Looking for Leonard, which is actually the score to an independent film by the same name. As with any film score, there are high points and low points, and Portastatic handles them expertly. "Luka's Theme ­ Shaker Mix"evokes a dusty desert, with reverb guitar providing the main melody, while the cellos and whistle in "Stealing Romance"remind of a new love affair.

Pram Somniloquy Merge Records • Although technically an EP, Somniloquy packs in 43 minutes worth of music, including brand new tracks and some remixes from last year's Museum of Imaginary Animals. They sound somewhat like Stereolab, since both bands share a love for keyboard melodies and have female lead singers with quirky, smooth voices. Tracks are remixed by Plone, Balky Mule, Terry:Funken, Andy Votel and Sir Real. The remixes are more experimental than the originals (as if that's possible!) and don't have as many vocals.

Recover Rodeo and Picasso Fueled By Ramen • Jesus Christ! What a sweet surprise this record is. Emo melodic hardcore would be a classification you could start with, but this band breaks the molds with power, grace, and creativity. The songs are amazingly crafted and the CD is brilliantly arranged to make for a hell of a musical trip.

Red Monkey Gunpowder, Treason and Plot Troubleman Unlimited • You could compare Red Monkey to Blonde Redhead, in the sense that both bands play music with weird rhythms and chord changes. The difference is in the vocals. While Blonde Redhead's Kazu Makino has a high pitched, very emotional voice, Red Monkey's Rachel has a lower pitch, and sounds somewhat detached, even bored at times. This is what post-punk is all about.

Reuben's Accomplice I Blame the Scenery Better Looking Records • From the edge of the Arizona desert that's almost as bleak musically as the surrounding landscape emerges Reuben's Accomplice. In their six-year existence, they've built a nice little resume for themselves, opening for the likes of Brainiac, Pedro the Lion, and the Promise Ring. Members of Calexico and Jimmy Eat World make appearances on their first full-length record. The band's earnestness and innocence shine through these fourteen indie rock tunes. They've worked hard to get this record out for the world to hear and it pays off in a promising debut.

River City High River City High Won't Turn Down Doghouse • As this CD spins in the player, I contemplate how a band can be good without doing anything really new, different, or special. That's pretty much how ...Won't Turn Down comes across. Something good to sing along to in the car, something to rock out to in the morning, but nothing you are gonna brag to your friends about. The sound is big, and these guys could just as easily be on MTV as on Doghouse Records. It's a good record but you probably already have something in your collection that sounds just like it.

River City Rebels Playing to Live, Living to Play Victory Records • You can't think of the River City Rebels as a ska band just because they have a horn section. Like Snuff, they are a punk band who happens to play horns as well as guitars. As the title suggests, their lives revolve around punk music, and they have the right combination of street style grittiness and singalong "whoas"to keep you going for a while.

Roots Manuva Run Come Save Me Big Dada Recordings • The energy on this disc stays at a high level as Roots brings a blend of hip hop and reggae that is "music for the mindful."Beats are smooth and bang with a thump. Lyrics are complex and his delivery is a perfect blend of wordplay and style. This disc is a must have whether gaining insight, smokin'out or just listening while you drive. There are electronic noises and guitar feedback instilled within loops; all sounds are legit, making this album unbelievable. Can't pick hotspots because this whole album is well beyond that.

Ross and the Hellpets Teddy Bears Gone Bad self-released • Ross Beach (guitar/vocals) has been in numerous bands, including Squint and Neutral Milk Hotel. Now he's offering up his new project, a quirky pop band with dueling male and female vocals and a ton of harmony. Besides the standard guitar/bass/drum setup, they use a lot of keyboards to enhance the sound, adding a sort of '60s-'70s flair. At various times they remind me of a number of bands including Too Much Joy, They Might Be Giants and even The Weakerthans.

Sanbox I Didn't Go to the Prom cos I Couldn't Afford Not cos Nobody Wanted to Go With Me self-released • While geographically located in the garden state of New Jersey, this three-piece power pop punk band is rooted deeply in the influence of the East Bay scene. This is the pre-released demo for their upcoming full length and shows a lot of potential, but at times lacks the production that demos usually do. Available from the band for free, its worth checking out and, with some time, this band could do something really good.

Santa Sangre Feast For The Gods Eulogy Recordings • Heavy and ferocious are perhaps the two words best suited for this band. With dark, socially inspired lyrics, this is a beautiful blend of metal and hard-core. This 11-song disc is sure to be a hit with anyone who likes Pantera, Machine Head or Sick of it All. I am eagerly awaiting more music from these five guys.

Scott Henry Buzz: The Politics of Sound Ultra Records • American DJ Scott Henry has gained increasing popularity with his international DJ gigs at some of the most recognizable venues around. For a taste of what happens at those gigs, listen to this, his second album, named after Buzz, a club night he started in Washington DC. In it you will find over an hour of continuously mixed dark and tribal house and techno, similar to Sasha and Danny Tenaglia.

Scott Johnson Dreams in the Making Googol Press • This guy could have done the soundtrack to Ferngully: The Last Rainforest. He's got that kind of gentle, safe, white-guy-wanna-be-Carribean sound that works for kiddie tunes. The tunes almost rock. They are cotton-candy inspirational tunes, very polished, very catchy, very happy, full of dream-pursuit and over-the-top "live life to its fullest"sentiment. Personally, I think he's having a mid-life crisis.

Seldom Places I Haven't Seen Casa Recording Co. • The first track "Can't/Must"sets the tone on this five track EP of indie rock. The music by this Seattle three-piece sounds good ; instruments are sluggish and drown out. Lyrics come across as poetry verses, at times simple and repetitious but vocals slide along side the melodic rhythms on this disc well. The laid back feel to this release could instill some inspiration through times of reflection while stating "I can't go on, I must go.˛

Shiner The Egg DeSoto Records • Inevitably, if you're on DeSoto, if your album is drenched in layers of guitar, and if J. Robbins produces your record, you're going to have to deal with that whole Jawbox comparison thing. Yeah, they've got the post-punk DC sound going on, but they do it oh, so well: the thick guitar sounds, the unique chord voicings, the sudden time changes, and the subtle melodies. They've got a softer side too with mellower, sparser tunes that provide a nice change of pace and show a depth and maturity lacking in many indie rock bands nowadays.

So Called Artists Paint By Number Songs Mush • "We've been dubbed as experimental, but we're just doing what we do naturally,"says the crew (Sole, Alias and DJ Mayonnaise) from Cali (originally from Maine, yes Maine) on their first track. I'd dub them as experimental too, but only because they break the stale state of hip-hop into a million pieces. Their flows are smooth and, at times, sound more like spoken word with a lot of soul. The music is sometimes minimalist, sometimes terrorist, but either way it'll grab your head, shake it up and you can only sit there as the snowflakes fall around your eyes. Don't expect Tupac, Snoop or Tribe to have any influence on the sounds you'll hear from this album ­ this is some of the most original, abstract, and yes, experimental hip-hop around.

Sommerset Fast Cars, Slow Guitars Phyte Records • Actually, you may be disappointed to find that this disc contains neither fast cars, nor slow guitars. It does, however, contain 13 fairly decent punk rock ditties. This is slightly harder than a lot of the pop-punk that's out lately. They definitely have a more rock and roll thing going on.

Son, Ambulance Euphemystic Saddle Creek Records • With a voice somewhere between Adam Duritz of the Counting Crows and The Cure's Robert Smith, Joe Knapp sings/songwrites his way through ten mellow pop songs which juxtapose melancholy and happiness. The band also calls to mind Elvis Costello and Calexico, especially in the flamenco inspired "Maria in Motion."

Soulstance Truth, Simplicity & Love Shakti Records • Truth, Simplicity & Love collects into one recording the best tracks from Soulstance's two Italian albums, Act On! and En Route. Their sound is downtempo, heavily influenced by Brazil's music scene, but make it more funky, more groovy and more mellow at the same time, much like Jazzanova or the Brazilified compilation.

Spark Lights the Friction L'Homme Robotik Trustkill Records • Spark Lights the Friction combines layered, polished vocals and screams with post-hardcore guitar riffs in an attempt to disorient the listener with their latest release, L'Homme Robotik. Influenced by emo and progressive rock, they breathe new life into a barren musical landscape.

Stormshadow Set on Destroy self-released • Unfortunately, Stormshadow is now broken up. This album, 18 tracks worth, blasts forth with punk/hardcore aggression and commitment as well as skill. The recording is a little rough, but that doesn't interfere with the overall quality of the album, maybe even giving it a better feel for the style of music it is. The vocals are shared between Sue and Matty. They play off each other very well. The music has plenty of tempo changes and creative parts, keeping them from being labeled "just another"punk band. Lyrically, the band offers up highly charged socio/political commentary and protest. At times they remind me of the Dead Kennedys. With each new track, this band impresses me more with their creative sounds. It's a shame they broke up. At a measly $3ppd for this, you have no excuses.

The Appleseed Cast Low Level Owl: Volume 1 Deep Elm Records • Low Level Owl finds The Appleseed Cast experimenting with instruments and recording techniques in this first of a two part series. Even though none of the members are keyboard players, nearly all tracks feature either piano or Rhodes or some other kind of keyboard. All the songs bleed together, with some instrumentals adding to the hypnotizing mood that prevails on the album. Personally, I can't wait for Volume 2.

The Blow Up True Noise Empty Records • This is the debut album of The Blow Up, which features ex-Gimmicks, Inhalants and Young Losers members plus a few cameos, notably one by Tim Kerr, who also handles production duties on this Seattle release. It's a fierce 26-minute ride into distortion as art rock. The fact that TBU use machines of their own creation, in an aggressively dizzying sense, forces the listener to play this disc over and over, bringing something new to the table each time.

The Bridge and Tunnel Club Songs for Carpetbaggers Come and Gone Effortless Music • With an unassuming lo-fi sound, The Bridge and Tunnel Club catch you by surprise with their ability to construct good indie rock songs with pop leanings. Scott Sendrow and Marya Sea Kaminski share vocal duties, with Sendrow laid back, deep voice sounding like U2's Edge on the song "Numb." Like Quasi, they mask themes of heartache and sadness under beautiful music.

The Casualties Die Hards Side One Dummy Records • After almost ten years as a punk band, The Casualties are still going on strong. Their latest, Die Hards, is just as aggressive as any other. Jorge's vocals are gritty and hurried, with occasional Spanish lyrics. Their street punk sometimes feels like hardcore, with a sound comparable to GBH or the Varukers.

The Dead Leaves Rising Waking Up on the Wrong Side of No One Plow City • A very dramatic and emotional folk rock album for "the slighted, the heartbroken, the jaded."This one-man band displays great guitar work, vocals move along painfully, at times mournful but intriguing. The style on this disc is reminiscent of Leonard Cohen and Johnny Cash, but in a Morrissey kind of way. Lyrics are interesting and keep the listeners attention, most notably within tracks "Fortress"and "The Boy Who Ruined the World."

The Discarded I Won't Live A Lie The Legion • Someone needs to tell the Sex Pistols that they were ripped off and turned into preachers. This sounds exactly like the Sex Pistols (and they even try to look like 'em). But lyrically, it's about as Christian as they come. Nine out of the ten songs reference "God"and/or "Christ." The lyrics really turn me off, for example: "I won't change, I follow God, You're trapped in your sin, You need a change." Not only is the music incredibly unoriginal, the message is far-too preachy and, no pun intended, holier-than-thou. I hope Johnny Rotten kicks their arse.

The Dismemberment Plan Change DeSoto Records • With their fourth full-length release, The Plan shows they are not just a quirky band that had its moment in the sun. While the hype came pre and post their last album (Emergency & I), this album proves it's deserved. Showcasing a slightly more matured sound and more melodies than ever before, Change will impress even the most snobby music listeners. Their abilities are undeniable. Their sound is experimental, while not being discouraging to the ears. Travis'vocals are varied, used as an instrument in their own right. The musicianship is outstanding and as creative as it comes, combining funk, soul, indie rock, '60s and '70s rock and, at times, a punk aggressiveness. All the while, the songs shift from dark to bright, never settling for too long. The Plan is most definitely one of the leaders in the independent music scene, not tied down to a genre and flying higher with each new release.

The Firebird Band The Drive Cargo Music • Former Braid guitarist/singer Chris Broach's collaboration with ex-Pilot in Hiatus Andy Howthorne combines guitar driven indie rock with electronic and sometimes experimental beats and synths. Unlike Radiohead's experimentation with electronica, the Firebird Band uses effects as elements for the songs rather than the driving force behind them. Sure to please most, this EP will keep their fans happy until their next full length is released.

The Fireside Project These Sounds We Breathe Sinc Studio • Featured here are five indie rock tunes from the apparently defunct The Fireside Project. All their liner notes are in past tense, leading one to believe they are no more. Bummer, 'cause this is some good stuff. I wish them well in all their future endeavors. The Fireside Project, we hardly knew ye.

The Frisk Rank Restraint Adeline Records • The Frisk hail from the East Bay of California and contain members of AFI, The Criminals and Nerve Agents. I assume they are taking a hiatus from their normal schedule to crank out this more-than-reasonably-priced thrasher. This 8-track CD clocks in at around 20 minutes and shreds all the way thru kinda like Circle Jerks'"Group Sex "minus the political bent. Most noteworthy is the cover of The Clash's "Know Your Rights" and obvious angst-fave "Fuck You" which epitomizes this record's intent in about two minutes.

The Honor System 100% Synthetic EP Double Zero Records • Do you miss that Dear You era of Jawbreaker? While The Honor System doesn't sound exactly like Jawbreaker, that's a reasonable comparison regarding energy, talent and emotion. Translation: This is damn good stuff. It is as good, if not better, than their full-length on Asian Man Records. It's powerful, melodic and sincere in an emotional sense. The music is creative, using smart instrumentation that will keep your ears entertained while the lyrics will impress with their intelligence and skillful writing. These six tracks should hold you over until a new full-length comes out.

The Jive Turkeys Sounds from the Idiodyssey Derailleur Records • Personal tastes aside, this album kicks ass. Mixing a little whiskey drinkin'rock n'roll with a heavy dose of trumpet and saxophone, this is white trash at its finest, sarcastic and confident. They've got a bit of everything on this disc, which is led by half-sincere, brash vocals full of slang with a straightforward attitude. Aggressive tracks like "Gun Metal Blues,""Go Back"and "Headstomper"blend well with bluesy "Sugar Daddy"and pimpish tracks like "Talk To Me"and "Month of Sundays."This Columbus, Ohio band describes the album as a "soul-soaked testament to drinking and women and all the problems caused by drinking and women.˛

The Matics Ignition Jettison • This is the debut CD from a south side Chicago quartet that doesn't skimp on the attitude. They have an energetic, passionate, melodic sound that carries the gritty vocals to a higher level. They're super-fast and super-loud, and definitely on the rock end of the rock-suck spectrum with hundreds of gigahertz to spare.

The Methadones Ill At Ease A-F Records • Not to point out the obvious, but it is remarkable how much the Methadones sound like Green Day. Even the lead singer sounds like Billy Joe with his fake pseudo-British accent. They don't sound bad though. This is melodic punk with harmonies and catchy choruses.

The Microphones The Glow, Pt. 2 K Records • If the lo-fi movement is dead in the water, nobody bothered to tell Microphones'mastermind Phil Elvrum. On their fifth full-length album, the Microphones continue to turn out experimental and catchy pop tunes recorded in somebody's bedroom. The varied instrumentation and genre hopping is reminiscent of the Elephant 6 collective and early Sebadoh. Elvrum's entrancing soundscapes prove again that lo-fi does not have to mean low quality.

The Moto-Litas For the Greater Good Daemon • This band has Go-Go's type harmonies and a Joan Jett sense of rock and roll. It's got a strange combination of surf rock thrown in with the edgy, tough female vocals. It's damn good, too ­ these chickie-poos definitely rock it out. Their sweet backbeats and fierce licks will whale on you.

The Plus Ones/Travoltas split CD EP Asian Man Records • Fans of Mr. T Experience will drool for The Plus Ones, featuring Joel Reader (ex- Mr. T Experience), Scotty Hay and Danny Panic (ex-Screeching Weasel, in his final recording with the band). The three tracks are pop punk through and through, sugary sweet and oh so good to eat. The Travoltas hail from the Netherlands and, like The Plus Ones, offer up pop punk ­ but there's a lot more punk and a bigger sound as compared to The Plus Ones. Think the Beach Boys meets The Queers. All three of their tracks are excellent. This is a must-have for fans of super melodic, pop punk.

The Poets of Rhythm Discern/Define Quannum Projects • Don't be tricked into thinking that this is a re-release of some 1970's funk band. You'd be forgiven if you did, since the music on Discern/Define sounds like it was lifted right out of the era. The way it was recorded suggests "original,"which indeed it is. No cover songs here, folks. On this album you'll find 12 no-nonsense, mostly instrumental funk tunes with more than enough griminess to make you feel like it's 1974 again.

The Real McKenzies Loch'd & Loaded Honest Don's Records • Many punk bands celebrate their ethnic origins in their music, but none do it like the Real McKenzies. These lads don full Scottish regalia for their shows and feature bagpipes on every song. Loch'd & Loaded is a collection of songs for drinking and carousing, including six traditional Scottish songs redone in their street punk style.

The Record Time Dream in Color Dream in Sound My Automation Records • This five song EP is the first I've heard of this trio from President W's old home, Austin, Texas. These guys rock out Braid-style with the whole indie punk/emo-ish thing going on. It's good stuff. If it weren't for Austin, I don't know if I'd like anything about Texas.

The Sights Are You Green Fall of Rome Records • For this Detroit trio, the sounds of psychedelia are a big influence, as well as pop, rock and blues. "I Can't Stand You"would fit well in a Delta 72 album, with a blistering beat and groovy organs. Harmonies are abundant, and the general vibe is one of a live recording, with all the instruments sounding "warmer"than usual.

The Slash City Daggers Backstabber Blues Unity Squad Records • Though their name has changed slightly, their music remains the same brand of street punk in the style of the Stooges or the NY Dolls. They seem to be stuck in a time warp, and don't give a rat's ass. Do you like songs about sex, beer and drugs? Do you like your punk music raw? Then the Slash City Daggers are for you.

The Strugglers Done By The Strugglers Brightwell Records • Made up of two primary musicians with a revolving cast of backup players, this album contains an eerie sound as it mixes folk and country. Lyrics and vocals right away have the feel of Bob Dylan and Velvet Underground. There are some good stories in these songs and the album is a comfortable listen. Various instruments are incorporated as well in tracks such as "On the Way to the Grave,"keeping the disc original.

The White Octave Menergy Initial Records • You might recognize Stephen Pederson from his last gig with Cursive. As lead singer for the White Octave, he leads the charge with his unstable, high pitched voice. The other musicians complement his unpredictability, with stops and starts, crunching beats and gritty guitars in an Indie / emo / post-hardcore style rock. Landspeedrecord! And The Icarus Line both came to mind when listening to Menergy, which refers to a mysterious force that allows them to make great rock music.

The Witches Universal Mall Fall of Rome Records • Take a road trip back to Halloween 1960 with the witches. They love echo, farsifa and other keyboards, and ominous song titles like "Demons All Around Her"and "Devil Made 'Em Run." They sound like a mellow version of the Delta 72 or Mondo Topless crossed with the Forty-Fives.

The Word self-titled Ropeadope Records • The Word is a collaboration between John Medeski (from Medeski, Martin and Wood fame), pedal steel guitar great Robert Rudolph and the North Mississippi Allstars (Luther and Cody Dickinson and Chris Chew). They came together to celebrate the gospel music played in a branch of the Pentecostal church called the House of God, where the music is as much a part of the service as prayer. Including a few originals as well as old gospel songs, the Word will make you jump out of your seat and yell "Hallelluyah!˛

theVROOOM MaMaFoooFooo self-released • This self-released album is a testament to the indie music scene. You don't need a label or major backing to put out a great album. Here you'll find 17 tracks from theVROOOM, a trio from Phoenix, Arizona. The songs are hook-filled, pop rock gems. Every track is super catchy, dancing all over the place with awesome guitar work, strong bass lines and drumming that doesn't miss a beat. theVROOOM's songs grab you, makes your legs wiggle, your head bob and toes tap. And if you doubt the skills of these three guys, they've got a posse of very attractive women ("theFOOOcrew˛) who act as cheerleaders, of sorts, for the band. Damn, I need to start a band of my own.

They Come In Threes Blindsided Pt. 1 Fall of Rome Records • This Detroit band has put together an album that mixes new wave rock and electronic pop with poetic lyrics and loose harmonies. From beginning to end this disc flows because the musical experimentation feels natural and doesn't sound bad at that. "Lamplit"contains a spaced out synth sound on top of a recorded jam session. "Literatourist"stands out as well, but all 10 tracks are great.

They Might Be Giants Mink Car Restless Records • If you are thinking to yourself "Wow, I haven't heard from TMBG in years!"you'd be wrong. They have been recording music for TV, films and the Web, most notably the opening theme to Austin Powers: The Spy Who Shagged Me and Fox's Malcolm in the Middle. Mink Car is their first album in five years, and it is as catchy and quirky as any other. Songs like "Bangs"and "Hovering Sombrero"would have perfectly fit on 1990's Flood, while "Man, It's So Loud in Here"has an electronic, pseudo New-Wave sound. As always, every song is completely different from the next, yet they all fit together wonderfully. Mink Car also features "Another First Kiss,"a reworking of a power pop tune into a tender love song.

Thistle Oxygen EP Tiberius Records • Thistle is one release away from some mass mainstream recognition, I believe. This four-song EP puts them a bit closer to alt-rock radio territory especially with the title track. I've heard they are a powerhouse of aggro-rock live so if this band comes near you, please check them out for yourself. This group is refined enough though they should have had some mid-1990s A&R rep from Interscope knockin'on their door already. Maybe Fred Durst'll pick 'em up, who knows.

Three Years Down Snakes Bite D.R.S. • Driving rock 'n roll with a punk-ish attitude and a sound reminiscent of late '80s, early '90s heavy metal and grunge. The majority of guitar solo's come off basic and flashy but the music stays consistent with the intent to rock out. "Cut and Dry"contains a pulsating bass line during moments that give the vocals a chance to stand out. Other than that, the vocals mostly sound drowned out by the music throughout this album.

Thulsa Doom The Seats Are Soft But The Helmet Is Way Too Tight This Dark Reign Recordings • From the land of death metal, Norway, comes Thulsa Doom, destroying all in its path with their sludgy, guitar driven heavy doom metal. Their sound is similar to Sons of Otis and Men of Porn, except that they don't sound like they are stoned. The singer has a versatile voice, while the guitar and bass players keep the groove going with plenty of low end.

TJ Rehmi Invisible Rain Shakti Records • TJ Rehmi goes all over the place with Invisible Rain. His world-infused sound covers drum 'n'bass, breakbeat and downtempo. Though he utilizes traditional Asian and Indian instruments, like Talvin Singh or State of Bengal, they are not the driving force behind the music, and create a nice atmosphere. The title is quite appropriate, since the entire disc evokes a rainy afternoon.

Today is the Day / Metatron The Descent This Dark Reign Recordings • This split CD by Today is the Day and Metatron is one fierce recording. TITD starts it off with three songs, two of which are demos of tracks to appear on a forthcoming album. The first, "The Descent,"sounds more like a Satanic ritual than a metal song. "The Nailing"follows in the same manner, with more riffs and chords. Finally, "Tabula Rasa"is an eight minute dark ambient tune. Kentucky's Metatron only has two members, but their death metal sound is amazingly robust. Their two songs, "The End of Light"and "Crown of Stars,"shake the foundation loose with medium and slow tempos with plenty of rumbling bass lines.

Todd Larry Lloyd Your Dumb Idea Unity vs Apathy • This three-piece group put together 9-tracks of garage based "tight-wound"indie/punk rock. The disc sounds under produced, but that element works well with the sound of this band. Instrumental tracks are included and feature a lot of distorted, noisy guitar and piercing percussion work. Vocals here are lost beneath the instruments, but these guys jam out.

Totally Travis Totally Travis y Las Marianas Big Wheel Recreation • Travis Shettel has a successful career in Piebald, but he wanted to make his own record. So he locked himself in a room with some instruments and recorded Totally Travis y Las Marinas by himself on a 4-track. Let me tell you that it sounds nothing like Piebald. The sounds of acoustic guitars are prominent in the songs and some of the songs are humorous. It has an atmosphere of pop, and some of the songs sound a bit like acoustic emo.

Tweaker The Attraction to All Things Uncertain Six Degrees Records • Tweaker is a pseudonym used by Chris Vrenna, better known as a former drummer/programmer for Nine Inch Nails. His influence on NIN appears on tracks like "Swamp,"where the polished distortion of industrial influenced guitars is complemented by programmed beats and effects. The vast majority of the songs, however, concentrate on establishing bleakness through electronics, with virtually no guitars. To help him express this gloomy view, he enlisted the help of vocalists David Sylvian, Will Oldham and Craig Wedren.

Various Artists Bombay One Bombay Records • Bombay One is the first collection of tracks culled from Bombay Records'12"vinyl releases. Bombay specializes in tropical sounding deep house, and this CD includes tracks by Derrick Carter and Chris Nazuka, Kemetic Just, Miguel Graca and Primary Colours. The 12 tracks are mixed together by label founders Nav Bhinder and Patrick Dream. So pop it into your player at your next party and watch those bodies start moving.

Various Artists Cookin'Ingredients Steps 1 & 2 Good Looking Records • These two separately available CDs include some wonderful laid back grooves from sister label Cookin'Records. Some of the tracks are from EPs and are available on CD for the first time. Elements of downtempo, drum 'n'bass, bossa nova and jazz are melded together in these records. Step 1's tunes come courtesy of, among others, Artemis, K-Scope, Bjorn, Solaris, Sykes, while Step 2 features Lacarno & Burns, Cedar, Aphratec, Realside and Meeting Minds.

Various Artists DiY-Fest Compilation Volume 1 Digital Hardcore Recordings • The DiY-Fest festival was organized for independent mediamakers to showcase their art, in an environment free from corporate pressure. The resulting event attracted a wide range of musicians, speakers and other artists. The music tracks on the CD include hip hop (Mystic, Hanin Elias), hardcore (Creation is Crucifixion, The Icarus Line), folk (Ani Difranco, White Collar Crime) and digital punk (Dillinger Escape Plan vs. Alec Empire). Spoken Word comes courtesy of Jello Biafra, Matt Pizzolo, Howard Zinn, Nicole Blackman, William Upski Wimsatt, Safiya Asya Bukhari and, in what doesn't really qualify as spoken word, Dr. Ducky Doolittle with a track she calls "Orgasm.˛

Various Artists Don't Be Scared: A Fearless Records Sampler Fearless Records • Instead of compiling 20 or 30 artists with one track each, the latest Fearless Records sampler concentrates on the talents of eight of the bands on its roster. Most of the bands play punk music: Dynamite Boy, Glasseater, Junction 18, Bigwig, Lonely Kings and 30 Foot Fall. The other two bands are the magnificent At The Drive In and the hilarious Aquabats. Not only do you get to really sample a band, with at least three songs by each one, but all except the Aquabats contribute a previously unreleased song.

Various Artists Earth 5 Good Looking Records • Fifth in an ongoing series, Earth 5 features 12 brand new and exclusive tracks compiled by label founder and drum 'n'bass maestro LTJ Bukem. The lazy beats of this downtempo comp will carry you into bliss previously unknown by mere mortals. Up to the task of providing laid back jazzy enjoyment are Big Bud, Rebirth of Conscience, PFM, Amalgamation of Soundz and Makoto, among others.

Various Artists For Those Who Stand: A Gay Rights Compilation Tear it Down Records • The title of this CD pretty much sums up the motivation for the compilation, which includes some of the best bands out there in the punk / hardcore genres. Bands like AFI, Refused, Boy Sets Fire, Good Riddance, Elliot and the (International) Noise Conspiracy, just to name a few. The liner notes are very cool, with information about each band, as well as lyrics for some of the songs.

Various Artists Giant Step Records Sessions Vol. 1 Giant Step Records • This compilation of songs was mixed by Ron Trent, the main DJ at New York City's Giant Step nights at club Shine. Jazz, afrobeat, disco and soul are all represented by Trent's skillful mixing of tracks by Hipnotic, Jiva, Carl Hancock Rux, Donnie and others. Almost all the tracks were gathered from vinyl only releases, and the rest were available only in other countries.

Various Artists Lush Life Electronica Quango / Palm Pictures Records • Quango continues to release downtempo electronica compilations, this one mixed by London DJ Pete Herbert. Included are tracks by international musicians such as John Beltram, CIM, Soul Circuit, Bochum Welt and Pub. Slow, soothing beats are mixed with melodic, playful keyboard effects for an atmospheric, groovy sound.

Various Artists New Disorder Soda New Disorder Records • This compilation features 25 tracks of underground punk, hardcore and rock out of San Francisco. The opening song by What Happens Next? starts things out with a fury and a lot of bands are really impressive here. The notable stand-outs include Midnight Laser Beam, Sacrilicious, The Lab Rats, The Sidekicks, Nicky Darger, Harbinger, Dory Tourette and the Skirtheads, Green Light Go, Pirx the Pilot, and Los Rabbis.

Various Artists Plea For Peace Take Action Sub City • This may very well be the best punk rock compilation in the last few years. More than half of the 28 tracks are rare, unreleased or live. Proceeds from the CD benefit the National Hopeline Network, providing 24-hour youth crisis assistance. The album is a companion to the Plea For Peace/Take Action Tour featuring several of the bands featured here. Some of the most notable on this release include Alkaline Trio, Hot Water Music, AFI, Lawrence Arms, Thursday, At The Drive-In, Boy Sets Fire, Grade, Good Riddance, Strike Anywhere and loads more. This record spans the punk spectrum, from pop punk to hardcore to indie rock.

Various Artists Punk Rocker Initial Records • This CD was originally sent for free to over 9,000 people who receive Initial Records'mail order catalog. The subsequent demand for it was so great that they decided to release it as a bona fide record. There are 25 tracks of hardcore, emo and punk from some of the finest bands out there, including Boy Sets Fire, Dillinger Escape Plan, The Get Up Kids, Hot Water Music, The Jazz June and Torn Apart.

Various Artists Snoisses Vol. 1 Sessions Records • This is Sessions Records first sampler, featuring all the artists currently on their label, including Sloe, The Missing 23rd, Hopelifter, Mock and Downway. Punk, hardcore and indie rock rule at Sessions, and the comp shows it. Some tracks have never been released, or came from hard to get or out of print recordings. Snatch one up before they are all gone.

Various Artists Space Jazz Quango / Palm Pictures Records • Quango's latest compilation explores the smoothness of downtempo electronica. Trip-hop and jazz are melded together by artists like Tosca (which features Richard Dorfmeister of Kruder & Dorfmeister fame), Love TKO, Horsemilk, Solid Doctor, Milk Katie and others. The lush soundscapes created by layered keyboards and slow-tempo beats are perfect for chilling out at the end of a long night of clubbing.

Various Artists Suite 706 Milan Records • MTV France host Jacky Jayet put together this compilation of downtempo electronica to give the rest of the world a taste of what goes on at Suite 706 at the Hyatt Madeleine in Paris. I have to imagine that what goes on there is a lot of lovemaking, because that is what I wanted to do while I listened to this CD. With tracks by Grand Tourism, Lustral, Space Raiders, Chicane, BDF, Urban Species and others, the mood is right for love, baby.

Various Artists The Embryo Compilation:03 Adventures in Homemade Music Cubby Control • A great compilation with 19-tracks of some very strange, experimental indie rock from San Francisco. The opening track from Shackleton is a great introduction to "9a.m."by Dax, a lil'ditty that will surely trip you out. "In 3"by Dahu is a track using samplers, guitar synth and bass layered with female vocal harmonies. The feel of the disc goes from musical highs to lows. What's important here is how well the disc is packaged. Tracks blend well together without sounding the same, as different styles are showcased and worth the listen. Other hotspots come from, but are not limited to, the likes of Brian Weaver, The Cubby Creatures, [minmae] and Mr. Fantastic.

Various Artists This Changes Everything: A Second Nature Recordings Sampler Second Nature Recordings • Since 1995, Second Nature Recordings has been releasing music by some of the best hardcore / emo / indie bands out there. Their love for good music, regardless of genre, is evident on this comp. While The Higher Burning Fire serenades listeners on the previously unreleased "Aren't All Parades Free?˛, Coalesce destroys them on "Measured in Gray." Other artists included here are Kid Kilowatt, The Casket Lottery, Eulcid, Waxwing, Anarasca, and The Blood Brothers.

Various Artists Too Legit for the Pit: Hardcore Takes the Rap Radical Records • Given the by-now-overdone blending of metal and rap, this compilation is anything but original. Hardcore and otherwise heavy music bands cover rap hits from the '80s. What was surprising, however, was the fact that some of these guys are pretty good MCs. Candiria's version of "Deep Cover"and Skarhead's take on "P.S.K! What Does it Mean?"incorporate fluid rhymes. On the other hand, Diehard Youth rips though "Bust A Move"as if they just learned of the song's existence the day of recording. True to the hardcore sound are the Hoods, with a barely recognizable cover of "Mama Said Knock You Out." Though this CD is mostly hit-or-miss, at least it might prod you into digging out the originals.

Various Artists United DJs of America Vol. 18 DMC/Razor & Tie Records • Tony Humphries is legendary for his club nights at New Jersey's Club Zanzibar, where he played what later became known as Garage, characterized by its house beats and soulful, mostly female vocals. He continues to play it, most recently on United DJs of America Vol. 18, where he mixes 70 minutes of tracks by Applefunk, Viola, Stephanie Cook and Alliance DC, among others.

Various Artists United DJs of America Vol. 19 DMC/Razor & Tie Records • For volume 19 in the United DJs of America, John Kelley mans the decks, spinning high energy tech-house infused with tribal beats, a sound known as West Coast Desert House. Kelley never drops the beat with tracks from Freak Project, Hatiras, X-Press 2, Angel Alanis and others.

Victor Davies self-titled Jazzanova Compost Records • Victor Davies must get laid all the time. His self-titled debut is an oh-so-smooth blend of light jazz, soul and Latin rhythms that surely makes the ladies swoon. His affinity for Brazilian sounds is apparent in songs like "Sounds of the Samba"and "Spirit,"with their carefree attitude and a voice similar to Seal's. This is the perfect album for summer, as it turns to fall.

Visitor Jim Visitor Jim Fortune Records • Visitor Jim is the latest project from Bay Area songwriting machine Jim Greer. The versatile Greer has recruited two fellow Jim's for this set of well-crafted pop/rock tunes. Catchy hooks and smart lyrics abound on Visitor Jim, which builds upon classic rock structure and style to create a highly enjoyable modern rock album. This is another great release from Fortune Records.

Willie Heath Neal & His Cowboy Killers self-titled Cargo/Headhunter • This is country, through and through. He croons as well as the best of them and the jangly music contains plenty of backwoods rhythms. You can feast your ears on some great guitar-work as you get absorbed in the fun-filled attitude this album generates.


69 a Go Go New Flava 7" With an X • This band has been around since '98, offering up their brand of rock Œn roll that takes heavily from '77 punk world. The end result is solid, energized music that lends itself to a great live sound. Both tracks on this release have awesome sound quality and are strong examples of what 69 a Go Go has to offer.

Captain Sensible Smash It Up (Parts 1-4) 7" NDN Records • In 1979, Damned bassist Captain Sensible wrote "Smash It Up," but it was only released as a two-parter, instead of in its intended four parts. This 7" features all four parts, remastered from Sensible"s actual 1979 demo tape. Side B includes two never before released songs from that time, "The Cow" and "Singalongsensible," plus "Love Song," the Damned"s first top ever 20 hit.

[minmae] I'd Like to Apologize for Last Night 7" Airborne Virus Records • On one side of this 7" is "Universal Excuse Movement," a layered, hypnotic instrumental with repeating layers of guitars, similar to the work of Physics. Side B"s "F Being a Constant" is more structured, although just as repetitive, with three verses mumbled in the last 30 seconds. Finally, "The Man Who Fought for Speed" is more of an Indie rock tune, with acoustic guitars and a mid tempo beat. The singing is melodic and layered on top of itself.

[minmae] feat. ONQ Bound to the Whips of the Aeronautical Fatwa 7" Dhyana Records • These two bands managed to fit ten tracks into this 7". Actually, the whole thing sounds like one song with ten different sections. From "Sportlike's" old New Order feel, to "She's Being a Beatle"'s techno-ish beat, all tracks sound somewhat muddy and raw, which only adds to their appeal. Side B leans is less experimental, but the hypnotic effect remains.

Pilot to Gunner self-titled 7" SINCaudio • This includes two tracks that are also on Pilot to Gunner's full-length (and downright amazing) CD Games at High Speeds. (If you haven't heard that album, the band's style takes aspects from such bands as Jawbox, Modest Mouse and Braid, fusing it into a sound all their own.) "It's So Good To Be Here In Paris" and "Bring It Live" are both excellent songs. I wish they were songs not included on the album, though. However, the see-thru orange vinyl is a nice touch. Fans of Pilot to Gunner might want to grab this just for the collector aspect.

Stevie & The Secrets Gimme a Call 7" With an X • Rock 'n roll is what Stevie & The Secrets is all about. There are two songs on this slab and both are about as rock 'n roll as you can get, crunchy guitars and strong vocals included. I'm sure there's a lot of beer involved in the creation of this stuff.

The Damned Ignite 7" NDN Records • This 7" was recorded live in France in 1994, and includes five classic Damned tracks: "Ignite," "Gun Fury," "Neat Neat Neat," "Love Song" and a cover of the Hawaii 5-0 TV show theme. While the Damned lineup has varied over the years, this current one handles the songs with ease. Just the never before seen artwork by longtime Damned collaborator Michael Beal makes this 7" worthwhile.

The Disaster With Years Left To Go 7" Endwell Records • This release showcases eight (yes, eight) songs by Rochester, NY quartet The Disaster. The pace is rapid, moving forward quickly, with melody and intensity. There's a bit of an old school, skate-punk feel but the overall sound is definitely current, reminiscent at times of such bands as Strike Anywhere and Lifetime. The lyrics are strong, as well, focusing on social issues such as corporate wealth and degrading language (i.e. bitch, faggot). This is a strong release with plenty of "bang for your buck."

The Dripping Lips Such A Lot Of Stars 7" NDN Records • Featuring Brian James (the Damned) on guitar, this four track release includes a new (and improved) version of "Such A Lot Of Stars" that is super catchy. Rock is the best overall way to describe this release. The music is also a little dark and at times garage-y. Brian James' bandmates include Nico Mansy (bass, ex-Nick Cave and the Bad Seeds) and Paul Zahl (drums, ex-Flamin' Groovies).


Dead Kennedys The Early Years Live Decay Music • This is a rare look at the punk rock legends live and in concert. The 30-minute long video (also available on DVD) features nine songs including "California Uber Alles," "The Man With The Dogs," "Holiday In Cambodia" and more ­ all spanning 1978-1981. It also features footage from Jello's mayoral campaign in San Francisco. While the quality isn't superb, it's definitely above average for such old and hard-to-find film. It's a great opportunity to see one of the most influential and socially-aware punk bands of the early '80s.

New Order Taras Shevchenko Cherry Red Films • This 53-minute video contains footage of New Order's first U.S. tour, live at the Ukrainian National Home in New York City on November 18, 1981. It features nine songs, including fantastic performances of "Temptation" and "Ceremony." (Other tracks performed include "Everything's Gone Green," "ICB" and "Truth.") The sound quality is very good and New Order infuses a high level of intensity into each song. There are at least three different cameras used, so there are varied angles and the quality of the film is a strong point, especially given the footage is over 20 years old. The video begins with an artsy, silent, three-minute intro. I could have done without it, but that's what "fast-forward" is for. This is a must have for fans of New Order and the early New Wave/punk movement.

Rage 20 Years of West Coast Punk Rock Classified Films • With such greats as Keith Morris (Circle Jerks), Jack Grisham (T.S.O.L.) and Jello Biafra (Dead Kennedys) featured, I thought this was going to be a fantastic film. I was very disappointed. It punkers had big friggin's presented as a documentary, using recent interviews with punk legends to tell the history of the West Coast punk scene. Unfortunately, most of those interviewed (Jello excluded) give uninteresting, curse-filled rants about their experiences (many of them seeming quite bitter). While it does tell the story of the scene, it does it in a long-winded way. This film would have been much better if there was more live footage of the bands of that scene (including the Weirdos, Germs, Circle Jerks, etc.), and less chatter from the aging punk rockers.

These reviews represent the "best of" music that was reviewed for this issue by IMPACT Press music reviewers.

20 Minute Loop Decline of Day Fortune Records • All right, fellow indie pop geeks: if you missed 20 Minute Loop's fantastic self-titled debut, now's your chance to jump on the "freak-pop" bandwagon. The band's intelligent, unique pop songs recall bands such as the Pixies and X, but these comparisons only hint at what 20 Minute Loop are all about. The band's not-so-secret weapons are the dueling, boy-girl vocals of Greg Giles and Kelly Atkins. Their voices twist and turn, weaving melodies around one another, and then harmonize beautifully. What a great record; just go out and buy Decline of Day, and get your freak-pop on!

Bayside See You In October Poo Culture • Yes! Now here is some hooky, powerful, extremely emotional power-punk with full, rich melodic flow. For most, that's all I gotsi ta' say. This Canadian quartet has energy that will ~leave you scissor-kicking your way around the living room.~ One of the best new bands I have heard in years!

Blueline Medic The Apology Wars Fueled By Ramen • It's nice to come across a solid rock album. This is a fantastic release from Australia's Blueline Medic, a quartet of tremendous musical abilities. Their sound is expansive, with similarities to such bands as Burning Airlines, The Smiths, The Dismemberment Plan and more. It's pulled together by Donnie Dureau's magnificent vocals while the creative instrumentation showcases their talent to write hook-ladden songs without having to give in to poppy-ness or candy-coating anything - the rock remains intact.

Broadway ProJect Compassion Eighteenth Street Lounge Music • There's an old saying that every dark cloud has a silver lining. For Dan Berridge, AKA Broadway Project, his silver lining came after he was diagnosed with a muscle fatigue illness called Myalgic Encephalomyelitis (M.E.) which forced him to live indoors for long periods of time. To pass the time, he got a sampler and started making music. Compassion is theresult. One word to describe this downtempo CD is "sparse." Another is "widescreen." There are plenty of genres sampled, from jazz to classical. His songs seem to evolve, successfully avoiding loops in order to keep the listener interested.

cLOUDDEAD Self-Titled Mush • Elements of hip hop are defiantly present, lines like "in accordance with my weird ordinance, my style is glass cutter, delicate/intense." But the diverseness doesn't stop there. These beats sound trippy and low budget and are very eerie, distorted and gritty. There are no titles for songs, they are listed by number and each track contains two to three different parts complete with changes in beats, flow style and stories. These three members (Odd Nosdam, Why?, and Doseone) have brought Iyrics, which are puzzles to be figured out. Lyrics are mapped out in the sleeve. You'll need them. No, you'll want them. Though it's not a perfect gem, this disc will expand the mind. Starting the first track out with lines so consciously thought out like "do you know, how many times I thought about writing about the paper I'm writing on?...l Iost my liquid tongue for the wet pen." Delivery of these Iyrics and the sounds going on within these tracks have raised the bar for originality and will have you wondering if there will ever be any bounds that haven't been reached before.

Def Poets Society self-titled New Disorder Records • Oh my, will the DJ please play that one again?! I'm sayin'that about every track on this indie hip-hop release that is fueled by amazing DJ skills. The crew was born from the Vancouver punk scene and is ready to step up and dish out nonstop flows (varying from laid back to in your face), amazing beats, funky samples and scratching that will dizzy you. Besides their turntabilist, they feature five MCs and a beatboxer - the result is a hybrid of Jurassic Five and the X-Ecutioners. Every now and then an indie hip-hop release comes along to remind you that the best of hip-hop is heard by far too few people - don't be one of the people who sleeps on this. Listen to track five and tell me if that shit doesn't blow your mind. This CD is $8ppd - my god, are you kidding me?!

DJ Logic The Anomaly Ropeadope Records • Though the album is technically put out by DJ Logic, this is anything but a one man show. Not only is he backed by a four-piece band, but he has guest performers like John Medeski and Vernon Reid helping out on a few tracks. The Anomaly refers to the record itself, an amalgamation of musical styles: jazz, hip-hop, drum 'n' bass, house, dub and countless others. Having a band makes all the difference, creating a warm atmosphere that regular hip hop and electronica music lacks. The blending of jazz and hip hop is genius, since both styles rely heavily on improvisation. You'll never be able to listen to either style on its own again.

Nakatomi Plaza Private Property EP Gunboat Records • This seven-song EP is a wonderful surprise. I'd never heard of Nakatomi Plaza, but their brand of melodic hardcore combined with super catchy punk is really freakin' good. The mix of male and female vocals is used perfedly, as well as the balance between well-sung and screamed Iyrics. All of this would mean little if the band didn't have hugely creative orchestration. They are very talented and that is a rarity. The guitar parts tear and twirl all over the place, adding depth to the driving energy. Factor in that the Iyrics have a strong socio-critical bent and this is definitely a brightly shining gem in a very crowded punk rock music scene.

New End Original Thriller Jade Tree • When you put Jonah from Far, Norm and Scott from Texas is the Reason, and Charlie from Chamberlain into a band, one would think that something amazing might happen. In the case of the New End Originals that is just what happened. Songs like "M4 to 41" and "#1 Defender" rock with a mature power that is rare and amazing. While quiet moments such as "Weary Progress" show another side just as powerful yet melodic. This is the best new band I have heard in the last year, and a must purchase.

Superchunk Here's to Shutting Up Merae Records • Has it really been over a decade since the song "SIack Motherfucker" put Superchunk on the indie rock map? Believe or not, Here's to Shutting Up is the 'chunk's eighth studio effort. Where does the time go? Though the No Pocky and On the Mouth days are behind us, the band still can crank out pogo-inspiring rock on tunes like "Rainy Streets" and "Art Class (Song for Yayoi Kusama)." The sound on Shutting Up continues along the evolutionary path of the past two albums, with more instruments and unique arrangements working their way into the distinct 'chunk sound. Who thought you'd ever hear a pedal steel guitar on a Superchunk album? Here's to Shutting Up may not be as immediately gratifying as their earlier material, but the more mature and diverse sounds quickly grow on you. Here's to another ten years as one of America's great rock bands.

The Faint Danse Macabre Saddle Creek • Welcome to the birth of hardcore new wave. Instead of being a carbon copy of the standard '80s fare, The Faint have taken the new wave genre and created their own mold. Their sound is reminiscent of Depeche Mode, Joy Division, New Order, The Cure, and even artists like Howard Jones and Dead or Alive. But The Faint takes their music to a new level of maturity and complexity. The sound is dark and swirling with a constant intensity and layers upon layers of activity .This is a band you will undoubtedly hear a lot more about - their sound is simply too hard to resist - and their live show is downright unreal.

The Philadelphia Experiment self-titled Ropeadope Records • If there was any question that Jazz is still alive, The Philadelphia Experiment comes with a loud answer - hell yes! This is by far the dopest jazz album released in the last ten years, maybe longer. It features jazz masters Christian McBride (bass) and Uri Caine (keyboards) along with the hip-hop drummer from the Roots, Ahmir Thompson (aka ?uest Love). Their style of jazz music is genre bending, combining soul, hiphop, funk, drum and bass and, of course, jazz. This is a jazz album for the ages, a jazz album that will have your head-boppin', your toes tappin' and your soul lit up like a 1000-watt light bulb. Each of the 12 tracks flows into the next, like a multi-course meal of musical delight - from their homage to Grover Washington, Jr. on track 2 to their rendition of Marvin Gaye's "Trouble Man" on track 5 and on to McBride's bass attack on the latter half of track 12 (which is a rendition of "Just The Two of Us," played like never before). Welcome to the new age of Jazz.

Up, Bustle and Out & Richard Egües Master Sessions 2 Ninia Tune Records • Recorded both in Bristol as well as in Cuba, Master Sessions 2 is quite a unique recording. Cuban flautist Richard Egües, formerly of the popular Orquesta Aragon, among with beat meister "Clandestine" Ein and producer Rupert Mould enlisted nineteen musicians to blend jazz, downtempo, dub and Cuban styles, such as the son and guaguancó into a ground breaking composition. Each song is different, and while many are instrumentals, others feature Spanish Iyrics, resembling the now legendary Buena Vista Social Club (which featured Egües on flute). Finally, this superb recording features an enhanced CD portion with films shot in Cuba and New York.

In alphabetical order. Please write them.

Adeline Records, 5337 College Ave. #318, Oakland, CA 94618
A-F Records, PO Box 71266, Pittsburgh, PA 15213
Airborne Virus Records, PO Box 16207, San Diego, CA 92176
Allegory Recs, PMB 228, 11024 Montgomery NE, Albuquerque, NM 87111
Alveran Records, Box 100152, 44707 Bochum, Germany
Asian Man Records, PO Box 35585, Monte Sereno, CA 95030-5585
Barsuk Records, PO Box 22546, Seattle, WA 98122
Benzoleene, c/o Jaime Graser, 1650 Lemar Dr., Wooster, OH 44691
Better Looking Recs, 11401 Santa Monica Blvd. #302, LA, CA 90025
Big Dada, c/o Ninja Tune, PO Box 4296, London, SE11 4WW, UK
Big Wheel Recreation, 325 Huntington Avenue #24, Boston, MA 02115
Billy Likes Records, PO Box 10781, Rochester, NY 14610-0781
Bombay, 3575 boul. St.-Laurent ste., 314 Montreal, QC, Canada H2X 2T7
Brightwell Records, PO Box 250539, New York, NY 10025
BSI Records, 4005 SE 28th Ave., Portland, OR 97202
Burnt Toast Vinyl, PO Box 42188, Philadelphia, PA 19101
Cargo Music, 4901 Morena Blvd., San Diego, CA 92117-3432
Casa Recording Co., 4509 Interlake Ave. N # 305, Seattle, WA 98133
Cherry Red Films, c/o MVD, PO Box 280, Oaks, PA 19456
Classified Films, c/o MVD, PO Box 280, Oaks, PA 19456
Conquer the World Records, PO Box 40282, Redford, MI 48240
Constellation Records, PO Box 42002, Montreal, Canada H2W 2T3
Cubby Control, 1172 Florida Street, San Francisco, CA 94110
D.R.S., PO Box 2348, El Cerrito, CA 94530
Daemon Records, PO Box 1207, Decatur, GA 30031
Deadline, PMB 251, 13428 Maxella Ave., Marina Del Rey, CA 90292
Decay Music, c/o Music Video Distributors, PO Box 280, Oaks, PA 19456
Deep Elm Records, PO Box 36939, Charlotte, NC 28236
Derailleur Records, PO Box 10276, Columbus, OH 43201
DeSoto Records, PO Box 60932, Washington, DC 20039
Dhyana Records, Rosenaustr 16, 86150 Augsburg, Germany
Digital Hardcore Recordings, 231 East 5th Street #A, New York, NY 10003
Dischord, 3819 Beecher St. NW, Washington, DC 20007
Doghouse, PO Box 8946 Toledo, OH 43623
Dogprint Records, PO Box 2120, Teaneck, NJ 07666
Domingo, PMB 221, 4110 SE Hawthorne Blvd., Portland, OR 97214-5246
Domino Recording Company, PO Box 4029, London, SW15 2XR
Double Zero Records, PO Box 7122, Algonquin, IL 60102
Eighteenth St. Lounge, 1210 18th Street NW, Washington, D.C. 20036
Empty Records, PO Box 12034, Seattle, WA 98102
Endwell Records, 19 Stori Road, Newburgh, NY 12550
Equal Vision Records, PO Box 14, Hudson, NY 12534
Eulogy Recordings, Box 8692, Coral Springs, FL 35075
Excelsior Recordings, Prince St. Station, PO Box 388, NY, NY 10012
Fall of Rome Records, PO Box 69431, Los Angeles, CA 90069
Fat Wreck Chords, PO Box 193690, San Francisco, CA 94119
Fearless Records, 13772 Goldenwest St. #545, Westminster, CA 92683
Fortune Records, PO Box 11302, Berkeley, CA 94712
Fueled By Ramen, PO Box 12563, Gainesville, FL 32604
Gelatinous Productions, 1402 N. Euclid, Indianapolis, IN 46201
Geographic Records, PO Box 549, Glasgow G12 9NQ, Scotland
Giant Step Records, 62 White St., Suite 3R, New York, NY 10013
Gold Standard Laboratories, PO Box 178262, San Diego, CA 92177
Good Looking Records, 84 Queens Road, Watford Herts, WD17 2LA
Googol Press, 1959 Foxhall Loop, San Jose, CA 95125
Gunboat, c/o Dan Wilder, Apt. 2L, 147 Columbia St., Cambridge, MA, 02140
Hellcat Records, 2798 Sunset Blvd., Los Angeles, CA 90026
Honest Don's Records, PO Box 192027, San Francisco, CA 94119
Hopsing, 2389 Fairgreen Ave., Deltona, FL 32738
In Music We Trust, 15213 SE Bevington Avenue, Portland, OR 97267
Initial Records, PO Box 17131, Louisville, KY 40217
Jade Tree, 2310 Kennywynn Rd. Wilmington, DE 19810
Jazzanova Compost Records, Haager Str. 10 81671 München
Jettison Music, 6008 S. Harlem Ave, Summit, IL 60501
Join the Team Player Recs, Altöttingerstr. 6a, 81673 München, Germany
K Records, PO Box 7154, Olympia, WA 98507
Kick Save Records, PO Box 404, Appleton, WI 54912-0404
Kung Fu Records, PO Box 38009, Hollywood, CA 90038
Lotus Records, 13414 SW 1111th Terrace, Miami, FL, 33186
Mantra Recordings, 580 Broadway Suite 1004, New York, NY 10012
Merge Records, PO Box 1235, Chapel Hill, NC 27514
Milan Records, 8750 Wilshire Blvd. 3rd Floor, Beverly Hills, CA 90211
Muscletone Recs, 8949 Sunset Blvd., Ste. 203, W. Hollywood, CA 90069
Mush Records, 902 N Winchester Chicago, IL 60622
My Automation Records, 1419 Sugar Creek Blvd., Sugarland, TX 77478
NDN Records, PO Box 131471, The Woodlands, TX 77393-1471
New Disorder Records, 115 Bartlett St., San Francisco, CA 94110
Nikazone Records, PO Box 1654, Wooster, OH 44691
Ninja Tune Recs, 1751 Richardson #4501, Montreal, Canada H3K 1G6
NorthernBlues, 67 Mowat Ave., Ste. 233, Toronto, Ontario M6K 3E3 Canada
Not Bad Records, PO Box 2014, Arvada, CO 80001
Out Of Step Records, Box 509, Vineburg, CA 95487
OuZel Records, v. Moro 13, 19020 Prati [SP], Italy
Owned and Operated, PO Box 36, Ft. Collins, Colorado, 80522
Paul Reddick, 52 Beach View Cres., Toronto, Ontario, Canada M4E-2L5
Phyte Records, PO Box 90363, Washington, D.C. 20090
Pilot Round the Sun, 105 N. Darlington St., West Chester, PA 19380
Plow City Record Company, PO Box 1604, Moline, IL 61266-1604
Polyvinyl Record Co., PO Box 1885, Danville, IL 61834-1885
Pop Culture Recs, 7326 Rideau Valley Dr., Kars, Ontario, K0A 2E0, Canada
Punks Before Profits, PO Box 57, Olean, NY 14760
Quango / Palm Pictures, 4 Columbus Ave., 5th Floor, New York, NY 10019
Quannum Projects, 465A South Van Ness, San Francisco, CA 94103
Radical Records, 77 Bleecker St. #C2-21, New York, NY 10012
Razor & Tie Entertainment, PO Box 585, Cooper Station, NY, NY 10276
Rephlex Records, PO Box 2676, London, N11 1AZ, England
Restless Records, 1901 S. Bundy Drive, Los Angeles, CA 90025
Ropeadope Records, Village Station, PO Box 1021, NY, NY 10014-1021
Ross and the Hellpets, 3552 SE Washington St., Portland, OR 97214
Saddle Creek Records, PO Box 8554, Omaha, NE 68108-0554
Sanbox, PO Box 397, Piscataway, NJ 08854
Second Nature Recordings, PO Box 11543 Kansas City, MO 64138
Sessions Records, 15 Janis Way, Scotts Valley, CA 95066
Shadowstorm, c/o M. Crawford, 414 N. Oaks Blvd., N. Brunswick, NJ 08902
Shakti Records, 4650 North Port Washington Rd., Milwaukee, WI 53212
Shiretown Records, PO Box 238, East Randolph, VT 05041
Side One Dummy, 6201 Sunset Blvd. Suite 211, Hollywood, CA 90028
SINCaudio, 376 3rd Street, Apt. #3, Brooklyn, NY 11215
Six Degrees Records, PO Box 411347, San Francisco, CA 94141-1347
Smorgasbord Records, PO Box 5392, Milford, CT 06460
Soleilmoon Recordings, PO Box 83296, Portland, OR 97283
SpinART Records, PO Box 1798, New York, NY 10156-1798
Sub City, PO Box 7495, Van Nuys, CA 91409
Tape Mountain, 1803 SE Washington #2, Portland, OR 97214
Tear It Down Records, PO Box 230722, Encinitas, CA 92023-0722
The Legion, 11023 NE Glisan St., Portland, OR 97220
The Music Fellowship, PO Box 9325, New Haven, CT 06533
the VROOOM, c/o B. Horner, 4013 West Villa Linda, Glendale, AZ 85310
This Dark Reign Recordings, PO Box 30727, Long Beach, CA 90853
Tiberius Records, 4280 Catalpa Drive, Independence, KY 41051
Troubleman Unlimited, 16 Willow St., Bayonne, NJ 07002
Trustkill Records, 23 Farm Edge Lane, Tinton Falls, NJ 07724
Ubiquity Records, PO Box 192104, San Francisco, CA 94119
Ultra Records, 588 Broadway, Suite 1003, New York, NY 10012
Unity Squad Records, PO Box 1235, Huntington Beach, CA 92647
Unity vs Apathy, 418 Mason St., Morrisonville, NY 12962
Velocette Records, 83 Walton St., Atlanta, GA 30303
Victory Records, PO Box 146546, Chicago, IL 60614
With an X, 66 Hope Street, Brooklyn, NY 11211

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