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Summer '05 Articles:
Eminent Domain & Economic Justice
Antiwar Doldrums
The Final Chapter
'Ecoterrorism' & Dissent
The Muddlemarch: 1
The Muddlemarch: 2
The OnStar Threat
(music reviews)

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

BEARvsSHARKTerrorhawkEqual Vision • The last album from BvS was downright badass. I had many expectations for the follow-up. I questioned their ability to match the energy and creativity. Question answered, expectations met, and then some. These guys are so good that I could see them gaining mainstream success despite my belief that they aren't accessible for mainstream music listeners. The intricacies of BvS shine bright on this new 15-track release, with their hardcore punk rock blazing a wandering path of many speeds, gruff vocals screamed forth, balanced by intermittent vocal harmonies. The closest comparison I can make would be a mix of Boy Sets Fire and At The Drive-In. Of course, hearing is believing and BvS is a band worth believing in. This is an exceptional release for fans of creative, hard rock. (CM)

BoredomsSeadrum/House of SunVice Records • Throughout their nearly 20-year history, the Boredoms have evolved in their sound, but have never wavered in their intention of experimenting with music. Some of their later work concentrates on tribal sounds and patterns. This is continued on this album, which is composed by two 20+ minute tracks. The first track includes much of the crazy repetitive drumming that you may be used to by now, while the second track is just as repetitive, but considerable more toned down. Even though each comes from a completely different direction, they both have the ability to hypnotize you if you're not careful. (AL)

C Rayz WalzYear of the Beast Definitive Jux • "I, walk through the ghetto, holding my dic-tionary, others are mad and pissed" – that pretty much sums up this follow-up release to the full length C Rayz Walz debut Ravipops. From the opening bell of "R'Thentic" to the "Officially Lost" bonus track, C Rayz enlists a variety of established, and up-and-coming producers who lay the soundscape that allows his rhyme style to stand out and be reckoned with. Though beats are an essential part to this, C Rayz sounds completely at home, and more comfortable than before, spitting his clever flows with an aura of confidence. "First Words Worse" features El-P and contains an old jazz sample that remains infectious long after repeated replays, "Pink" features Jean Grae and attacks wanna-be gangstas of the industry, while the standout may be "Blackout," which touches on the social aspect of blacks and whites switching skin colors. Aesop Rock, Rob Sonic, 4th Pyramid and M-1 of Dead Prez are just a handful of artists joining in to celebrate this - the year of the beast. (JC)

ConvergePetitioning The Empty Sky/When Forever Comes CrashingEqual Vision Records • Countless bands have molded their sound after Converge's blend of hardcore and metal, but no imitation can compare to their brand of musical chaos. This is evidenced by these two re-releases, originally from 1996 and 1997. Each album has been re-mastered and remixed, and features all the original art, plus some additional tracks and even some live video. Here is your chance to witness the beginning of a band that came up with the epitome of metalcore albums, Jane Doe. (AL)

Cool Calm PeteLostEmbedded Music • This smooth rhymesayer, who makes up the other half of Babbletron, is back with his own offering entitled Lost. Right from the intro track, which sets the stage for a journey of laid-back flows and tricky wordplay, this release contains detailed storytelling and styles in the vein of Slick Rick. "Lost in the city, running out of choices, going nowhere fast, still hearing voices...I'm just tryin to make a little bit of history" Cool Calm Pete spits while vintage samples come off just as relaxing as his delivery. The rest of the release follows up with a steady tone of beats and rhymes that feature this emcee sublimely paying homage to the past with turntables and references. He reflects on his home with lines like "I'm homesick, rockin' a New York logo, it's only been a week and you ain't made no dough," as well as his own being, which revolves around appearances by the likes of I Self Divine, Hanger 18, Zion I, Murs, Rob Sonic and others. (JC)

KimoneThe MillSilver Three Records • These guys definitely have their own sound going on the first track "The Author Surrenders". Layers of delayed guitar over solid bass and cool vocal harmonies rock this opener out and set the pace for the rest of the album. The drummer kicks ass in the middle of "Coma Comfort" with an awesome off beat timing that would surprise anyone considering the mellow atmosphere provided that particular moment of delivery. The closest I can relate this band would be to that of Sparta, one of the two off-spin projects from At the Drive In. The vocals have a mellow, almost British accent deal going, which is unlike Sparta though. Watch out for these guys. (SP)

MaeThe EverglowTooth & Nail Records • Mae just continues to amaze me. The new album starts off like a book on tape. The voice asks you to open the accompanying booklet and tells you when to turn the pages. The cartoon boy in the booklet goes on a long journey throughout intricate guitars and whimsical melodies. The intensely heartfelt lyrics are sung beautifully and fall right into place with the keyboards and passion exuded from this band. This amazing album will take it's listeners along on a fantastic journey, which is surely not to be missed. (KB)

Marathonself-titledReignition Records • This is an outstanding rock album, loaded with punk rock influences and loads of catchy, aggressive rhythms. Marathon comes full-throttle on this 13-track album. There isn't a bad tune, either. Equal parts Bad Religion, Strike Anywhere and Alkaline Trio, Marathon blends it together to create a sound they can call their own. The upstate New York quartet doesn't even stop for a breath, providing infectious hook after infectious hook, without ever sacrificing intensity for catchiness. Lyrically, the songs switch between personal and socio-political, delivered with a heartfelt aggressiveness that is both sincere and powerful. There's plenty of sing-along opportunities and numerous soaring guitars solos that deserve a fist held high in the sky. Ready your ears for this aurally outstanding experience. (CM)

My EducationItalianThirty Ghosts Records • I don't know if it is because I was listening to this album at four in the morning after not being able to sleep, or what, but I was seriously captivated by Italian. This six-piece instrumental band put me right at ease with hypnotic tunes that include viola and keyboards alongside drums, guitar, and bass. If you are a fan of Tristeza, Physics or Godspeed You Black Emperor, then My Education is for you. (AL)

PakMotelRa Sounds • Opening this album is a speeding train wreck of Flea and Les Claypool inspired bass guitar work, elaborate and quirky guitar parts and precise and tightly wound percussion alongside frantic vocals on "You Like It Like That." The song moves quickly in many directions, as does most of this invigorating album of constant bass guitar thumps and progressive rock arrangements that include violin, trumpet, sax, piano and alto pieces. "Jam Jel Treatment" is one track on this release that shows off their stop-on-a-dime transitions with effortless exuberance, while "Bienvenue a L'Hotel Plastique" shows off their nine-plus minutes of drawn-out, jam-band style. Pak has managed to do what only great musicians can; they've released an amazingly solid album that stands up from beginning to end. (JC)

Richard BitchThe Really Really Jeff Hair PeopleCream Cloud • Looking to enjoy some really great music without the worries of having to take it so damn serious? Richard Bitch has put out an odyssey of an album of surging arena rock rooted in punk, grunge, and classical, all conspiring together to sound like a live band walking you through a psychedelic show; combining the theatrics of the Butthole Surfers, Pink Floyd and Neil Young. Some comically smart and sarcastic lyrics are recited here, with a fair share of hidden meanings, sung with the utmost sincerity. The moments about "critics masturbating," "in a queen-size bed, I know we're crazy", and "I don't think you need you're dildo" are sung without hesitation. The approach musically is best heard on tracks like "This Bastard Year," "Stupid Summer," "Jacques Cousteau" and "Come Over Me." Bound to have you asking yourself "What the hell did he just say?" be prepared to play this one back time and time again, if not only for the clarification, but the amazingly solid sound. (JC)

Riddle of SteelGot This Feelin'Ascetic Records • When your band is a trio, you're already a man short (or two). So to even think about starting a trio, especially if you're not that good, you've gotta have brass balls (or steel, as it were). If you're lucky enough to find that great mix of musicians who can write some kick-ass songs and play their asses off, well, you'd better run it up the flagpole. Enter Riddle of Steel. These cats play some kick-ass rock-n-roll reminiscent of Queens of the Stone Age. The songs rock and are catchy as the flu, but they stay just a little off-center, so as not to become boring. The title track is killer and could be on a quality radio station (read: not in Orlando) immediately, as could "Baby Bird." "The Sunshine Strangler" is great and "Aquiline" is a great closing song – heavy and somber, sort of a big exhale after the neck-breaking, teeth-rattling ride you just went on. If you don't want straight-ahead rock-n-roll, and you have quite bought into the punk thing yet, this is where you need to be. Riddle of Steel is doing something you don't hear much of these days, and it's a damn shame. (SH)

Shimmerself-titledCake Records • You may not want to read this but here it is: Maroon 5. I know most of you think you're too cool for bands like that, but secretly you know you listen every now and again. Shimmer will remind most of you of Maroon 5, but who they're really closer to is a lesser-known (but much better) band named Dag. Think the Black Crowes minus the distortion. This is Kravitz-esque funk-rock and it's catchy as the cold and hooky as a tackle box. What I like most about Shimmer is their knack for keeping things just a little off-center. Singer Skip Peri isn't afraid to give you some Prince-like howls and they manage to find grooves in places you weren't expecting. They even give a nod to fellow funk-rocker Nikka Costa on their cover of her hit "Like a Feather." That's a great fit for them and they cover her admirably. Here's the bottom line: if you don't want to hear this band, don't listen to the radio for about a year ­ their "Don't Trip On Your Way Out" is destined for heavy radio rotation. (SH)

The DrewsThe Sins of Othersself-released • Andrew DiMartino and Jen DiMartino are The Drews, an amazing duo that delivers a combination of folk, blues and rock that leans heavy on the country music days of Johnny Cash and the like. The Sins of Others is a delight, an Americana trip, much like driving past an auto accident and rubbernecking the whole while. The grinning must be wide on the faces of these two during off-the-wall songs like "Nasty Girls" and "God's Green Room," where they sing about their pleasures with a kazoo in the backdrop, then shuffle their cards to bargain with the man upstairs – through a middleman known as the evangelist. Much of the sounds on this release have a familiarity to them. Without taking themselves too seriously, The Drews sing about beer, serial killers, and apparently a threesome! (JC)

The HigherHistrionicsFiddler Records • This Las Vegas based band is poised and ready to start stealing some hearts. The intricate guitars and catchy melodies will hook and pull you in. If that is not enough, the lead vocalist, Seth Trotter, conveys heartfelt lyrics without being overly whiny. He has a really good voice for this genre. It is hard for a band to come across as unique amidst all the others playing this type of music, but I think this young band has the ability to leave their own mark. (KB)

Tiff JimberObstaclesCormac • Simultaneously sexy and quirky, Tiff Jimber sings with a beautiful voice that steps slightly outside of convention. Immediately I thought of Tori Amos, in the way she can just dance vocally all over a wild, errant song and glue it all together. Her instrumentation is wonderful, obviously composed by an expert musician, and ranges from offbeat lounge music to straight up rock and roll. A delicious record and a wonderful talent with a great future. (DP)

Weerd ScienceFriends and Nervous BreakdownsEqual Vision • Josh Eppard is the drummer for rockers Coheed and Cambria. He's also the man behind Weerd Science, a shockingly good hip-hop project that he does all the music and vocals for. Holy crap, Josh can do this shit. I mean, he can REALLY do it. I wish my first listen wasn't biased with the knowledge he's in C&C, because I doubted it instead of listening. On my second listen I was like, damn, this is kinda good. On my third listen I was like, fuck, this shit is for real. Josh's flow is reminiscent of Eminem, rapid and on point with a smart-ass, confident attitude – that's a compliment; not saying he steals his style, but there's definitely an Eminem-like approach and quality to his rhyme spitting. What's even better is that Josh offers up an album-full of banging cuts, unlike Eminem's fluff-filled records. And it's not just sweet guitar leads, melodic basslines, killer loops and head-noddin' beats, Josh can write some incredible lyrics, honest, personal, sometimes funny, sometimes offensive. Fans of Atmosphere, Alias, Eminem, Cex (when he did hip-hop), Beastie Boys, Sage Francis, take note, Weerd Science isn't something to sleep on. (CM)

CD Reviews

400 BlowsAngel's Trumpets and Devil's TrombonesGold Standard Laboratories • This trio, with no bass guitar, manages to push out some spastic and aggressive sounds in the vein of Helmet (maybe with inspiration of early Black Sabbath), while managing to keep a style all their own. The tightly knit drum work of Ferdinand, the metal murkiness of the guitar from Christian, and the uncontrolled ranting of lead singer Skot are not for the faint of heart. The raw energy on this release deserves to be played at a very loud level, if only the vocals weren't so drowned out by the quick hitting musical onslaught. (JC)

A Northern Chorus Bitter Hands Resign Sonic Unyon Recording Co. • This Canadian sextet creates lush, smooth dream pop with beautiful harmonies and hypnotic instrumentation. The addition of cello adds a touch of sadness, and the vocals are soft and melodic. This is great stuff to sit back and relax to. (AL)

Above the Fire Inperspective Life Sentence Records • ATF play emotive hardcore along the same lines as Bane and maybe a little Seven Seconds. This is the first album from these Cleveland thrashers and by the sound of it they really have their stuff together. The vocals on this album are clean and at times forced, and gruff at others; the guitars are screechy yet melodic and the rhythm section is equally aggressive. Altogether this is a really solid release; I can't wait to hear what the next album has in store for us. (RP)

Actarus self-titled New Romance For Kids Records • It seems like instrumental rock has been gaining attention as of late, and I for one am happy about it. Too many bands have a great sound but a horrible singer. Actarus rides the edge between math rock and post rock, with a little bit of heaviness thrown in for the hell of it. (AL)

Airborn Audio Good Fortune Ninja Tune • Airborn Audio is an otherworldly experience through tripped-out sounds, heavy on electronic beats and sharp breaks that create a euphoric vibe. M Sayyid and High Preist are the remaining members of what was known as Anti-Pop Consortium (Beans was the other member), and both contributed heavily to production duties, which are sonic video game-like drones that become the only thing worthwhile about this release. Most of the flows from this duo come off as freestyles that don't really go anywhere, clever lines that are delivered in an almost monotone steady slur. Good Fortune sounds like an album recorded just for the fun of it, and nothing more than that. (JC)

Alexander Hacke Sanctuary Koolarrow Records • Although best associated with legendary industrial act Einstürzende Neubauten, Alexander Hacke has his own musical thing going, playing, composing and producing music with a host of other artists. Sanctuary, his solo debut, follows that tradition of collaboration. He traveled the world and recorded them in various situations. He then came home and put them all together in a musical collage where no two songs sound alike. There is a bit of industrial influence, as well as a bit of Latin and world sounds, plus some cinematic sounding tracks. (AL)

Amber Pacific The Possibility and the Promise Hopeless Records • This is the debut full length from the Seattle based, pop punk band. When I first started listening, I have to admit that I thought they sounded like a lot of other bands in the pop punk genre. That being said, Amber Pacific does have the ability to stand out on its own. The songs are catchy and upbeat, the lyrics are heartfelt, and the music ties it all together. This is a band that I will look forward to seeing live. (KB)

Animal Collective feat. Vashti Bunyan Prospect Hummer FatCat Records • This EP starts out with "It's You," which features Animal Collective members Avey Tare, Panda Bear, and Deakin creating waves of cascading strings undulating as Vashti Bunyan softly sings melodic lyrics. Her voice is almost like Björk in some of her softest moments. (AL)

Animal Commandos Shock Princess Mediattack • The music on this animal rights focused release is a jangly, fun, melodic, quirky blend of guitars and funky beats. It's a strange contrast; groove-filled music with lyrics that are no-holds-barred, dealing with such issues as farm slaughter, animal abuse, the March of "Crimes," and other urgent and graphic animal issues. The vocals are spoken, not sung, delivered in a matter-of-fact kind of way. The end result is one I'm unsure of. While the music is catchy and playful, the information is true, dark and disturbing. I want to nod my head and shake to it, but then it just seems too important to dance to. (CM)

AqPop Beautifully Smart Happy Happy Birthday To Me • Opening this album, from the band formerly known as Aquarium Poppers, is a melodic pop-rock song that possesses harmony and delicate sounds, giving just a small taste of what's in store. The rest of the album, from this band out of Norway, is filled with eccentric moments that weave in and out of styles as diverse as 60's and 70's pop, surf and synth rock. Using both a keyboard and piano in there arsenal, AqPop is better geared towards tracks like "Relate To Something" and "Syranid," where the male/female vocals and guitar heavy approach have room to carry more weight than most of the release. (JC)

Arms of Kismet Cutting Room Rug Wampus • This is a really weird band. They sound like a new wave Bob Dylan meets Pink Floyd. I would recommend this CD to anyone who enjoys folk, electronic, or marijuana. (RP)

At The Drive-In This Station Is Non-Operational Fearless • It's a wonderful thing that the guys from the now-defunct ATDI were able to buy their material from Grand Royal after the label folded. It's equally great that they called on Fearless to handle it. This 18-track, CD/DVD combo is called an "anthology," essentially their greatest hits and other gems. Fans of ATDI must get this. Those less familiar may know their current bands: Mars Volta and Sparta. Musically, ATDI created a sound all their own, with powerfully schizophrenic vocals cutting a path as the music dances at a sometimes-frantic pace, all the while maintaining a shockingly infectious melody. The DVD includes a few videos and a couple extra tidbits. (CM)

Bane The Note Equal Vision • Bane is keeping alive the 80s NYC-style hardcore sound, reminding me of such bands as Judge and Gorilla Biscuits. Other times, though, they hark back on the days of Minor Threat. Regardless of their decade-old influences, they have a new sound that is aggressive, huge and infectious. While Bane focuses on intensity, they don't ignore the importance of melody. The music rushes at you with an urgency with unrelenting, grinding guitars and pounding drums and a vocal assault. Need music to speed up your driving or to beat out your aggression to? Look no further. (CM)

Bassholes Broke Chamber Music Secret Keeper • On the heals of their impressive self-titled Dead Canary Records release, this collection of singles and unreleased tracks from the Bassholes duo of Don Howland and Lamont "Bim" Thomas is unearthed. Their early punk rock influences are evident throughout the garagy and diverse rock sound and outlandish attitudes. Included are tracks taken from the "98 Degrees in the Shade," "John Henry," "Baby Go," "(She Said I Had A) Problem," "Hey O.J." and "Lion's Share" singles. The raw energy and emotion comes through in a big way, whether hearing four-track cassette recordings, live takes or basement tapes, expect to put up with the screeches of "Little Rug Bug" to get to the punk-acoustics of "Frankie and Albert." Not a bad collection for an introduction course about the Bassholes. (JC)

Bassholes self-titled Dead Canary • Don Howland and Lamont "Bim" Thomas are the Bassholes, a two-man band that treads the waters of punk rock while breathing the air of blues and country rock. With influences from the likes of The Stooges, The Ramones, Joy Division, The Avantes and ESG, the polished-up sound found on this Dead Canary release never lacks the true nature of what these guys are about. From the more experimentally li-fi offerings of the past and guest musicians that add harmonicas and bass guitars on this solid release, these two guys remain good ol' buddies that prefer the natural feel of a duo that now incorporates life's experiences into their rhythmic mayhem with superb definition. (JC)

Bazerk I Heard Y'all Like Violence – The Rage Album SDS Records • Bazerk is an L.A. based rap-metal band in the spirit of Body Count and other bands that have made the art form a mainstream accepted act. Though rap-metal has taken a bad rap during the last few years for never being as original, nor as good as originators such as the Beastie Boys, there must be a place in the world for them, right? Well, in this case, on the opener "Yo Whole Style Is Chump" this band takes on the mainstream sounds of today and calls them out for being, well, chumps. Unfortunately, as things progress, such as on "Peep Da Styles," where the band "peeps da styles that the kids be checkin'," reeks of plagiarism, musically and lyrically. Overall, this release has its high points, with attention to noteworthy issues, but the dated sound tires after a while. (JC)

Bill Bat Man Grasshopper • Unintentionally invoking the soul of the late Wesley Willis, who graced us with hits like "I Whupped Batman's Ass," the Down's Syndrome-afflicted Bill "sings" chaotically over avant-garde drum machines and sound effects. The really scary part is that this record is really, really, REALLY interesting. You almost can't believe what you're hearing – it's mostly unintelligible, but I couldn't stop listening. It's incredible. It's the weirdest damned thing I've ever reviewed. Drugs recommended. (DP)

Binaural Two Player Lullabies G25 Productions • This album sounds like it was composed using old Casio keyboards exclusively, which adds to its charm. The songs are pretty simplistic and have plenty of quirky characteristics, like a toned down version of Mouse on Mars. Only their attempts at replicating dub seem misguided. (AL)

Black Market Sabres High G25 Productions • Black Market can create some pretty frenetic Drum n Bass, but he can also add mellow melodies to the same track to keep things interesting. This seems to be a pattern for Blake Markle, where the almost random permutations of drumbeats are subdued by repeating loops. (AL)

Blivit Unhand the World Crimson Five • Not taking themselves too seriously, Blivit manages to create the kind of music that stretches the bounds of rock, while drawing on 60's and 70's experimental sounds, to unleash an uneven album. While some songs are a little too pop oriented, the steady approach from this trio maintains it's unique sound using keyboards and a tabla to go along with the crisp production and togetherness. The fun vibe brought on by this Philadelphia collective is filled with melodic sounds and a bratty backbone with standout songs including the title track, "Stone Again" and "Pretty Lies." (JC)

Blowfly Fahrenheit 69 Alternative Tentacles • Funk the President! Blowfly comes with his soul-filled, James Brown-like psychedelic rock that is full of poignant and satirical political commentary. "We're gonna shave the Bush, because the Bush has got to go!" I couldn't have said it better myself. There are also plenty of sexual lyrics, focusing on women's bodies, and it comes off as a bit immature (if not Dave Chappelle-like). But, then again, the whole album has a half-serious tone to it. If you don't take this too seriously, it's a fun album with a groove-filled funk sound and some witty political criticism. (CM)

Blue Monday Rewritten Bridge Nine • Blue Monday doesn't fall into the metal-emo trap that so many other bands seem to be getting caught in. Instead, they are full on metalcore, taking elements of punk, rock, metal and hardcore to create a gut-punching 12-track album. There is plenty of melody woven through this album, despite its non-stop intensity. The breakdowns, tempo changes and huge guitar riffs are fucking sick and give the album the creativity necessary to keep it from just being another hardcore album. Blue Monday is a leader, not a follower. (CM)

Bob Mould Body Of Song Two Sheds Music • Bob Mould is back with his first new full-length since 2002 and his first rock album since the mid-90s. For those of you unfamiliar with Mould, he's the legendary musician/singer from both Husker Du and Sugar (both great bands in their own right). Mould's vocals are distinct as always, undeniably his, harmonic and passionate. And the album does rock at times. But there's a bit more experimenting on here than I'd prefer, like on track two where Mould's vocals are electronically modified. That said, there are some real gems on here that hark back to the days of Sugar. Sadly, they don't dominate the record and even the catchier, melodic pop rock tunes I thought I'd like are a bit too poppy for me. (CM)

Boom Bap Project Reprogram Rhymesayers • Emcees Karim and Destro, along with DJ Scene, offer up 15-tracks of underground hip-hop that shows potential, but falls into the middle-of-the-road pack of indie heavyweights. Representing for the Seattle area, their EP Circumstance Dictates was well receives by the true-school of hip-hop heads, and has led to their newest offering Reprogram. With appearances by Gift of Gab, Rakaa-Iriscience, Lifesavas, Grayskul and DJ Vinroc, there are a handful of worthy tracks to explore, but overall this can be compared to the disappointment felt by the latest Gang Starr release. (JC)

Bottom Line Eloquence Nice Guy Records • This is the second full length album from Bottom Line. Formed in Cincinnati in 1997, this young band has been forming its sound and working hard to achieve their dream. With a recent signing to Maverick Records, it appears they are doing just that. Eloquence is a pop punk album chock full of harmonies. Violins, trumpets, and several other different instruments pop in and out of some of the songs. This is just one of the factors setting this album apart from others in the genre. (KB)

Boy Howdy The Return of Boy Howdy • Stickville Records • Who knew Boy Howdy was gone? Well, if you have never known who he was, Kris Hollis Key has released a record detailing just where he has been. With a George Thorogood attitude and what sounds like an Oliver Stone movie score on magic mushrooms, the outlaw country sound on this release is vibrant with authority, or lack there of. Kicking things off with "Hot Rod King," Boy Howdy is at home leading a steady sound with his guitar skills and aged vocals through a variety of topics. Tracks like "She Devil," "Rebel Thunder" and James Taylor's "Steam Roller" are a solid example of what Howdy has been up to as of late. (JC)

Broken Bones Time for Anger, Not Justice Dr. Strange Records • Riddle me this: when the CD cover for a hardcore band is a drawing of a skull wearing a WWII-era Nazi helmet with an upside-down cross on the front, and every other word out of the lead singer's mouth is fuck, wouldn't you consider that an angry band? And wouldn't you think fighting would be #3 on their to-do list behind drinking and playing music? Apparently not with Broken Bones. While most of that is true, war is dead last on their to-do list, and they don't mind telling you. If you're anti-war and you like hardcore, buy this right now. (SH)

Bucket Full of Teeth iv Level Plane • BFT are nothing short of a full on hell ride car crash of hardcore and electronic ambient noise. If you have never heard BTF, think Lightning Bolt meets combatwoundedveteran in the belly of fire breathing dragon. If that makes no sense at all, I apologize. It just sounded good at the time. I am merely trying to warn the listener of the ever-impending attack that is called Bucket Full of Teeth. Be prepared for a grindcore free for all. INTENSE! (RP)

Bullet Train to Vegas We Put Scissors Where Our Mouths Are Nitro Records • This has At The Drive-In written all over the first track, "Cut the Party to Pieces." This influence pops up here and there, so I wasn't surprised to read that Alex Newport produced the album (At The Drive In, The Icarus Line). There are lots of unexpected changes, though, within each spastic rock 'n' roll song. Original songs with passion and energy range in genre from emo rock to hardcore, and with each song there is a high level of intensity and power. The musicianship is interesting and complex, and the vocals can stand right up with it. This is worth a listen, and I can only imagine their live shows back up the energy on the album. Plus, the album title is just fucking awesome. (MP)

Bury Your Dead You Had Me At Hello Eulogy Recordings • It originally started as a side project from Hamartia. Its members were getting tired of metalcore, so they decided to focus more on straight ahead hardcore. There is no question that this is intense, with threatening downtuned guitars and insane vocals. This is a reissue of their 2002 album. (AL)

Buzzov*en Giving Art a Bad Name Since 1979 Alternative Tentacles • This album includes the earliest recordings by cult-legends Buzzov*en with their original lineup. It features the To A Frown full-length, and the Wound and Unwilling To Explain EPs. They had been out of print for a while, but have now been re-mastered and new cover art has been added. (AL)

Caro The Return of Caro Orac Records • Caro's latest release goes a bit further than our typical dance music record. He creates both house and techno tracks, but adds sounds and effects that make them stand out. "OVNito" sounds like Latin mambo as interpreted by aliens, while "Can't Tell Why" is sure to keep butts on the dance floor. (AL)

Carter Little Dare To Be Small self-released • I think a vocal coach could have proven to be useful on the recording of this album by Carter Little. His voice sounds flat most of the time like he needs that extra boast of confidence or something to project his words a little bit more enthusiastically over the music. And while a song like "Kill My Darling" is irresistibly catchy, it is in the mix that the vocals being too out front take away from the song's potential. You can hear the uneasiness in his vocals especially on the ballad "Delicate." If he's going for the Willie Nelson sound then, bingo –mission accomplished. (SP)

Cash Mattock Sexy 21st Century Sleaze self-released • OK, this dude is ALL over the place. The opening track, "Take You On," is this huge Led Zeppelin-meets-NIN thing that just blows my mind. If every track were like that I would have declared this the album of the year. But Cash is not afraid to mix it up on you. He goes from garage rock on "Out of My Shell" to the Femmes-esque "A Girl Like You" to the space-age lounge ditty "Is This Love?" Don't get me wrong, he does all of them well, and what's more, he sings every song sounding most of the time like Trent Reznor, which makes for an even more interesting mix. (SH)

Channing Cope Sugar In Our Blood Fifty Four Forty or Fight • Not to be confused with former University of Florida linebacker Channing Crowder, who excelled at suspensions resulting from his off-field shenanigans, Channing Cope is also a three-piece band from San Diego. Sugar In Our Blood is an impressive six-song EP that showcases their sparse and beautiful indie rock, a la Bedhead and Seam. (CL)

Chixdiggit! Pink Razors Fat Wreck Chords • This is the Canadian band's first release on Fat Wreck Chords, but their fourth full length album to date. The front cover is pink and attention grabbing which had me hoping the songs on it would be just as interesting. I was not disappointed. All the songs are fun and catchy pop punk. There are various guitar solos laced throughout the album and one track even has a synthesizer. As an extra bonus, the band talks about each song while it plays in the background. (KB)

Clarinet Thing Agony Pipes and Misery Sticks Beth Custer Records • This group of folks, who all play the clarinet, have been playing together for 15 years. This CD is a collection of different performances from that time, and it is quite enjoyable. Whether performing their own material or covering a couple of Duke Ellington tracks, it is amazing to hear the range of musical emotions that can be created with six clarinets. (AL)

Clit 45 Self-Hate Crimes BYO Records • Who here likes punk? Raise your hands! This is straight-up, alcohol and anger-fueled punk. No pretense, no fancy adjectives, just full-on, smash your face in punk. Blistering drums, twin guitars, screaming vocalsŠI don't know how else I can say it. Catch them on the Warped Tour! (SH)

Combat Wounded Veteran This is not an Erect, All-Red Neon Body No Idea Records • Is this a greatest hits compilation? You be the judge. It includes 42 tracks that have been released in 7" records, in compilations, or split CDs. Some have never been released at all. The common thread among the songs is the complete disregard for your ears. The songs are pretty short, and they would have to be if you play this fast. (AL)

Conflict There Is No Power Without Control SOS Records • Conflict formed in South London in 1980 and is still cranking out political punk rock 25 years later. Conflict takes on the government, animal abuse, freedom, dissent, war and more. Their aggressive, in-your-face, rapid fire style of music is a perfect compliment to the urgent and pointed socio-political commentary. There's an anthemic feel to this album; I can envision protestors marching to this music. That's a beautiful image. (CM)

Coquettish High Energy Politics Asian Man Records • While Japan's Coquettish may be best know for their ska-influenced punk rock, it's the more hardcore songs on this 13-track album that I'm most impressed with. Certainly, the ska-fied stuff is catchy, but the punkcore stuff is just as catchy and more intense and, seemingly, more sincere. There are a few extra special tracks that blend the two styles perfectly. The final package is a rockin' bit of music that will get your blood flowing. (CM)

Corwin Fox Dream Water Rain Music Coqi Records • Cute packaging and quotes from literary greats aside, this is the ultimate adult contemporary album. Think the annoying side of Dave Matthews on the second track "Petroglyphs" and I wanna say I hear a bit of the atrocious band Barenaked Ladies on the third track "We're Winning". If this combination wins you over, then listen on because track 4 "So Long" is almost unbearable to sit through for everyone opposed to the previously mentioned. Sounds like "So Long" should be on one of the American Pie movies and not in a good way either. (SP)

Count Zero Little Minds Sineapplesap Records • You have to be willing to give this CD a few minutes. It starts off slow but the opening track is catchy in its own way. The songs have strong influences ranging from indie rock to electronic pop. The arrangements and melodies are there, but the whole sound is more unique than a lot of the other albums I have been listening to. I have to admit, some of the songs did not hold my attention for very long, but the ones that did are intriguing and worth sticking on your next mix tape. (KB)

Cranked Up! This is a Weapon Creep Records • Cranked Up! bring forth a sound reminiscent of old school punk rock. The songs are fast paced, and very opinionated. Pissed off with the way the world is today, the band urges listeners to think for themselves and question everything, instead of following the masses. The band has created songs that not only have a message, but also songs that could energize any live audience. (KB)

Criteria When We Break Saddle Creek • Rock and roll is so sweet; it can be full of aggression, yet still contain melodies that would mesmerize the most sophisticated of tastes. Criteria offers up 11 tracks of straight up rock, ala Sunny Day Real Estate (minus some of the drama), Errortype:11, Crumb, Burning Airlines, Pilot To Gunner, etc. The vocals are powerful, well sung, delivered with an urgency and confidence that really supports the solid, hard-rocking music. (CM)

Cut City self-titled Gold Standard Laboratories • This trio out of Sweden provides us with a 4-track sample of what's to come from this band. Opening things up, a steady dose of rock-n-roll explains "this is a sight for sore eyes" while maintaining a garagy feel with drums, bass guitar and vocals combining for a solid beginner. The following track uses the bass guitar at the forefront for what comes off as an Iggy Pop meets disco sound that is as infectious as it gets. New wave rock styles finish things up and leave us hanging until we can get a grip of the full-length that is yet to be released. (JC)

Cyanotype The Golden Wreck Tangle Action Packed! • Cyanotype delivers an album of purely indulgent influences on The Golden Wreck Tangle. One-man band Isaac Bear kicks of this train wreck with "The Way To Get Ahead," a heavily layered basement track highlighted by a steady sound of drums and manic guitar shreds. "Versus The World" changes directions with a more 60's influenced psychedelic approach, with echoes and all, declaring "it's just you and me, versus the world, what's the worst thing that could happen?" With clever lines and a clear desire to stray from the norm, Bear treads in water a bit deep for his own good. While being unique has its upside, being experimental is being just that. The rest of this release features drum loops, keyboard sounds, more guitar shreds and some creatively infectious indie rock. (JC)

Dallas Orbiter Magnesium Fireflies Princess Records • This band out of Minneapolis manages to walk the line between creative indie pop rock and an otherworldly sound that features enough programmed noise to make your brain overload - though with ease. The entire disc has its own uniqueness to it, a complete flow through poetically melodic vocals and psychedelic musical moments that are accentuated by a number of instruments. Though the five members hold their own while using the basics of the drums, bass and acoustic guitars, the way each is featured in the forefront is a credit to the diversity on this album. Using a bowed saw, lap steel, farfisa, filters, Rhoads piano and synths, extra details are added during lines like "you look so pretty, when you're digging my grave." Standout tracks include "Bed Of Stars," "73rd and Something" and "Akron." (JC)

Damien Jurado On My Way to Absence Secretly Canadian • For an artist known for jumping around stylistically (and succeeding in doing so), Damien Jurado maintains much of the sound and feel of his previous release, Where Shall You Take Me? Jurado's strong storytelling skills and earnest vocals work well with the folksy Americana sounds of On My Way to Absence. There are the hints of Neil Young and Nebraska-era Springsteen, but Jurado has developed his own unique voice as an artist that transcends mere imitation. (CL)

Daniel Lanois Belladonna Anti Records • There's something about pedal steel guitar that adds something to a song and gives it a very specific atmosphere. That atmosphere is explored in Belladonna, as Daniel Lanois draws on his early work with abstract legend Brian Eno. The result is a cinematic, instrumental album with a surreal quality. (AL)

Dash Rip Rock Recyclone Alternative Tentacles Records • Here's my "just please listen to this" pick of the month. Recyclone is a great collection of DRR tunes. If you've never heard DRR before, this is the perfect way to check them out. This is country-punk, sort of like the Reverend Horton Heat but a little less rockin'. For the DRR fans, there are some tracks from their out-of-print 7-inches here. (SH)

De Novo Dahl Cats & Kittens Theory 8 Records • Do you have the balls to make your debut a double album? I didn't think so. But Nashville's De Novo Dahl have the cojones to do it and they pull it off, too. It's an eclectic journey on Cats & Kittens that harkens back to the 80's. There are some definite new wave, Cars-like guitars, and the aptly-titled "The Funk" which should get your ass a-movin'. It's all over the place but it works. The second disc contains a number of remixes of tunes from the first disc. Invite your friends over, get some cheap booze, and let's party! (CL)

Death In Vegas Satan's Circus The Lab • In the past, Death In Vegas's albums were recognized for who was on the list of guest performers. Wanting to generate praise on their own, they decided to make Satan's Circus (mostly) instrumental. The double CD features one disc of new studio tracks and a second CD of a live performance at the Brixton Academy. Both are similar musically, where songs basically focus on a central melodic theme and play around and expand on it. They differ, however, in that while the studio album uses mostly electronics to create atmospheres, the live disc features a live band with guitars, drums, etc., with more of a hypnotic synth-pop sound. (AL)

Deerhoof Green Cosmos Menlo Park Recordings • This album was originally going to be available only in Japan, so it was recorded in Japanese. That doesn't make it harder to enjoy, if you like their music. This album is full of the weirdness that is Deerhoof, with stops and starts, quirky keyboards, childlike vocals and unpredictable changes in their music. (AL)

Destrux Enter the Thrash Kick self-released • Brutal punk-core. People get bloody at these shows and, possibly, listening at home if there are sharp objects around. This is as punk as punk gets, from the hand drawn black and white CD cover to the music to the lead singer going out of breath during the songs. And I know you sick bastards wouldn't have it any other way! (SH)

Disclaimer The Airbag's Lipstick Kiss Desiccant Records • Chris Willie Williams is the insecure mind behind Disclaimer. A lo-fi minimalist sound about rejection, alienation and failure is strewed all over this release. It's hard to digest the nerdiness throughout though; various noises are used as musical backdrops to the clever and intriguing lyrics about the heartache in the life of Williams. His choice of words in lines like "so I'll pop some blister-paks while you start your post-navel drip, breakin' up is hard to do, but breakin' down is easy" are the most intriguing part to this offering, if there even are any intriguing parts. The music is simply unbearable. (JC)

Discordance Axis Our Last Day Hydra Head • Even though this band is no longer together, their fame continues to rise. This is the last of the reissues put out by Hydra Head, and it includes mostly unreleased material, including their collaboration with noisemaker Merzbow. It is also a tribute album of sorts, with covers of some of their songs by other bands like Cide Projekt and Melt Banana. (AL)

Dynasty Black Box Mysterious MediaBlack Box is the debut album for this Brooklyn duo. Their music features gritty and dirty sounds of underground guitarist Seth Misterka along side drum machine beats and keyboards. Desiree DeVeau's powerful vocal performance is reminiscent of P.J. Harvey's, with her combination of strength and sensuality. With this solid debut, Dynasty establishes themselves as fine purveyors of arty indie rock. (CL)

Eight Frozen Modules Crumbling and Responding G25 Productions • This album is for those who like their IDM a bit on the experimental side, like something Autechre or Matmos would put out. A lot of the sounds used reminded me of Aphex Twin's Windowlicker single. There are also some journeys into ambient and drill n bass that keep things interesting. (AL)

Electric Frankenstein Burn Bright, Burn Fast TKO Records • In an amazing display of foresight, Electric Frankenstein saved one song from each of their recording sessions spanning 13 albums, just so they could put them together into one album to celebrate their 13th anniversary. This is that album. (AL)

Engineers self-titled Echo • This freshman release from Engineers reminds me a great deal of Spiritualized and Talk Talk, two other noteworthy English purveyors of somewhat laid back, ethereal, anthemic tunefulness. If Mogwai were born again as a shoegazer band circa 1992, this is what I would imagine they would sound like, particularly in the floating, spacey "Come In Out Of The Rain." Other standout tracks include "Thrasher" and the final seven-and-three-quarters minute long, "One In Seven." The only drawback to the album is that the emotionally charged, powerful tracks really overwhelm their lesser, more muted siblings, though if I think of the strong songs as jewels in a plain setting, the weaker ones do have some function. I hope to hear much more from this band. (SJM)

Facequake self-titled Maxi 2000 • The first 22-seconds of this release show promise, but after lead vocalist Sara Kreft begins her seduction of a barfly on "Changed My Mind," everything dives south at a quick pace. A steady mainstream pop-rock sound consumes this debut, and Kreft is full of high-pitched melodies and emotion that clearly standout on their own. With big guitars and an alternative rock angle that borders on emo, Facequake creates songs that bite back at those that have taken advantage of the good deeds of others, whether emotionally or otherwise. Morphing into a sincere songwriting quartet since their days as a grunge band, this Swedish band possesses a guilty pleasure sound. You've been warned. (JC)

Faith Kleppinger No Galore Two Sheds Music • Kleppinger lends soulful, soothing female vocals in the mood of Mazzy Star to this mellow, mostly acoustic album. Previously the singer for Atlanta pop band, Little Bobby Taylors, this is her sophomore solo effort. Lyrically it wasn't impressive at first, but they are original and get better with each listen. So many girls with guitars follow the stereotype of the acoustic singer/songwriter with trite lyrics, but Kleppinger takes a different road from that path. I would go so far to say she has pretty much mastered this genre, and should come out on top with the best. For some, it may drone on after awhile, but for fans of P.J. Harvey and Mazzy Star, these heartfelt songs and delicate vocals would be a great acoustic addition to their female rock collection. (MP)

Feller Quentin I Am Not a Monster Echelon Productions Records • The opener sounds as if it could have been the recorded version of Kip singing to his bride LaFawnda at their wedding at the end of Napoleon Dynamite. It's that bad, except I think this guy is really serious about it. What's worse is that I can't even tell you the name of the song to warn you from it because none of the song titles are listed anywhere in the packaging. Hardly an artistic statement, as it is an annoyance, if you ask me. The third nameless track is too bad for words. God-awful music –I'm out. (SP)

Four Tet Everything Ecstatic Domino Recording Co, Ltd • For his fourth album, Four Tet (AKA Kiernam Hebden) dove into slightly darker waters when creating his electronic compositions. The beats seem heavier, and there is more of an attitude on this record. It is not a complete departure, as plenty of bells and other soothing sounds abound. (AL)

Funeral Dress Party Political Bullshit SOS Records • These veteran punk rockers from Belgium are the genuine article. They rock all the way the hell around. Worthy of the title "punk as fuck". Mohawked, multi-colored-haired, boot-wearin', middle-finger-wavin', these guys play hard speed punk in the finest tradition of the great masters. Props to Europe for spawning these shining examples of humanity. (DP)

Gatsbys American Dream Volcano Fearless Records • I was looking forward to hearing this album, and with good reason. Gatsbys American Dream is not your conventional pop punk band. Their sound is more indie rock and the lyrics and songs are so much more thought out and in depth. The title of the album coincides with the subject matter of a couple songs on it. Other songs have lyrical references to Lord of the Rings, Jurassic Park, and Lord of the Flies, just to name a few. The whole album is well executed and intriguing. It made me go from just knowing of the band to being a fan. (KB)

Gene Owens Fugitive Moments self-released • You hippies are going to love this! OK, maybe Gene's not edgy enough for you but check out the websites he endorses:, and! Are you fucking kidding me?!?!? I mean every single one of you should rush right out and buy his CD just for that! OK, OK, if you really want a review of his music, here it is: safe, adult contemporary rock and roll, a la Sister Hazel and Hootie. (SH)

Giles self-titled Victory Records • Between The Buried And Me frontman Giles Rogers, Jr. created this as his side project as a way to express his love for electronic music. This self-titled album is pretty bland, with elements of electroclash and industrial. (AL)

Greyscale Discord for the Dead Kid Battle Born • These guys out of Nevada unleash some hardcore metal guitar sounds and a combination of screamo, spoken vocals to create their first high-powered full-length on Battle Born Records. The opening riffs of "Now You Wonder" smell of radio-ready songs by the likes of Linkin Park, Nickelback, and the like. Whether singing like Motorhead, or with a modern day hip-hop influence, this release loses focus with its lack of any real originality. (JC)

Guapo Black Oni Ipecac Recordings • This is the second in a trilogy or albums that is one singular piece of music, which started out with 2002's Five Suns. They create an instrumental amalgam of drone, avant-jazz, rock, and prog. I was reminded of Return to Forever's Where Have I Known You Before album at times. While at times it can get somewhat raucous, at other times they slow it down and lull you into a false sense of security. (AL)

Hanin Elias Future Noir Cochon Records • Hanin Elias used to be the unforgettable front woman for Atari Teenage Riot, both for her looks and for her ear-piercing singing. On this solo excursion, she is a bit more toned down, even erotic. The music is like a very watered-down, slowed down and non-threatening version of ATR, with electronically created beats that are somewhat danceable and sultry. (AL)

Hard Skin Same Meat Different Gravy TKO Records • Oi! Melodic Oi! at that. I was too busy pogo'ing around to notice, but I think they end just about every song with "Fuck Off!" But it's not in mean way, it's just a great, nay, perfect way to end their songs. The next time you go to a great beer-swilling bar, and you see three dudes trashed on the stools next to you, tell Hard Skin they kick ass. Then remind them it's time to play and get ready to have a great time. Now fuck off! (SH)

Hexacron self-titled self-released • Clocking in at just over 20 minutes, this CD is chalked full of off kilter drumming, churning guitars and equally awkward vocals. The vocals really get annoying after just a few minutes; they sound like across between Gnarkill and those weird fits that the System of a Down singer has. As for the music, its not all bad just a little too off the wall for my liking. (RP)

Hockeynight Keep Guessin Lookout Records • This is some sweet indie pop rock; not the candy-coated kind, the kind with the emphasis on rock and a strong sense for hook-filled melodies. The vocals are so harmonic; I think they hypnotize me. There's a Sebadoh vibe here, my girlfriend says and I won't argue with her on that. I'd also say that fans of Dinosaur Jr., Superchunk, Bright Eyes, Archers of Loaf, White Stripes–I could go on–would all enjoy this. Eleven tracks and each are impressive in their own way. (CM)

Holiday and The Adventure Pop Collective Become Adventure Pop Records • It's been a while since I've heard a CD like this, unfortunately. The lilting, almost sad songs on Become remind me a lot of Son Volt and Travis. This is really, really solid disc of pop-country tunes, a la The Jayhawks. I plan on listening to for a while. If you've been missing these sounds, you owe it to yourself to check it out pronto. (SH)

Hope Alane Pink Sky Blue Grasshopper Records • Incorporating a number of diverse sounds, including, but not limited to handclaps, analogs, a drum machine, piano, cello, tambourine and guitars, Hope Alane sings beautiful melodies that are accentuated by these mesmerizing pop-rock soundscapes. The production, provided by John of Grasshopper Records, is filled with quick changes and enough energy and emotion to keep you tuned in to. On "Earth's Full," Hope sings about fighting, then laughing with God, while being undecided about the gender of such a power she speaks to. "Brave" is a jangly and lively pop anthem, while "Patience" comes off as an inner look at virtues we all must come to grips with. Overall, Pink Blue Sky is a comfortable hue in which to wallow in. (JC)

Horace Pinker Texas One Ten Thick Records • Having started out in the west coast during the early 90's, this band continues to march along to their own brand of power punk rock. On Texas One Ten, Horace Pinker creates a solid sound that is accentuated by melodic vocals and some mostly high-octane guitar riffs with a bass guitar that adds depth to each song. Nothing fascinating happens on this release. The title track is an acoustic offering that doesn't quit fit in, and has one wondering where the true definition of punk music has gone. (JC)

In Your Absence Confession self-released • Three songs into this album I kept wondering when they were going to stop killing the chorus effect on the guitars. Evidently, that never happens. With some bands this lack of diversity works. Take The Cranberries for example: they murder chorus on especially their earlier recordings but maintain pop prestige because they possessed the crucial hook to keep the listener attached. And that's the problem here, folks. It's almost like the album is one long song, with no distinctive separations in sound except the silence from track to track. Witness the repeated rhythmic picking of clean, chorus guitar in track 2, "Jon's Song," and track 9, "Winter Chill." They are practically the same riff. What we have here is the absence of variation folks. (SP)

interFAC3 Dreaming of Summer Days Between Topanga and Will Rogers Raging Sea Design • Former American Heritage and Yakuza guitarist Andrei B. Cabanban started interFAC3 just last October. His first album combines guitars and electronics in a way that leans toward the experimental. Some tracks are a bit catchy, but others feel like random noises thrown together. (AL)

Isis Oceanic: Remixes and Reinterpretations Hydra Head Records • This double CD first saw the light of day as a series of 12" remixes. Thirteen artists each tackle one track from Isis's Oceanic album, and give it new life. Even though the songs don't particularly sound like the originals (nothing like the originals in some cases), the spirit of the track remains intact. Artists include Mike Patton, James Plotkin, Venetian Snares, and Destructo Swarmbots. (AL)

JP Corwyn I Will Wait self-released • This is a really promising EP from JP Corwyn. Fans of Collective Soul and Three Doors Down should check this out and hope Corwyn releases a full-length CD soon. The songs are well crafted and easy to listen to. (SH)

Judge What It Meant: The Complete Discography Revelation • This is the full discography of legendary New York City hardcore band Judge. Formed in the mid-80s, this 28-track CD compiles both of the band's 7"s, the Bringin' It Down LP, the Chung King Can Suck It LP and a demo track. The shouted vocals fit perfectly with the tough, hardheaded, straightedge attitude of the time. Musically, the band mix metal and punk influences to form a sing-along style of hardcore that is unbelievably infectious. While the music is intense, it wasn't so abrasive that it turned off the listener; instead, the music used thick melodies and killer tempo changes to reach a broader audience. Fans of music should recognize this CD as a piece of musical history documenting the early indie punk/hardcore scene. (CM)

Kash Open Sickroom Records • The first stateside release by this Italian post-rock band, is a chaotic collection of goofy antics, and the musical sounds to match them. Instruments are played in opposite directions, with a trumpet, saxophone, keyboards and a harmonica, to add the extra touch of dysfunction. Open is an assortment of insistent songs and placid tracks that strive to be off the beaten path. Kash comes off a lot like mixing the styles of Morphine and Primus - silly and mostly senseless lyrics with an experimental jam-band mentality - allowing the music to morph into whatever it becomes without hesitation. ""Photograph," "37 Telephones on Fire" and "America" are a few rowdy tracks worthy of checking out. (JC)

Kilowatts Problem/Solving Artificial Machine Music • Kilowatts makes electronic music that varies in tempo, as well as in style. Some tracks are slow and minimalist to the point of inducing sleep, and others are quite catchy and bouncy. They all share elements of IDM and a flair for experimentation. (AL)

Lethal Rejection 2,1,2,2 Day 51 Records • This is the third release in three years from Lethal Rejection. Just like other old school sounding punk albums, the songs are fast paced and pissed off. The band's sound is often compared to Black Flag because of its early 80's hardcore punk sound. Some songs kept me more interested than others, but I guess that is the case with a lot of CD's. The only thing that confused me about this album is that it is very short, at just under seventeen minutes long. (KB)

Lewis & Clarke Bare Bones And Branches Summersteps Records • Soft guitars and infectious melodies drew me into a trance when this album was playing. It's pure, charming, heartfelt acoustic folk that is soothing from beginning to end. I would compare this album with Pedro the Lion at moments, Iron and Wine at others and even Neil Young. It floats around in its influences and even swims past Pavement and Built to Spill. With all those in mind, this is thoroughly pleasing alt-country with a dash of indie rock. (MP)

Life In Exile self-titled Deadwood Records • The duo that make up Life In Exile, Josh Paskowitz and Brian Scott, have been tinkering with the programmer for a little too long now. The songs on this release bounce between mainstream electronic rock, new wave synth and industrial rock without a clear dedication to one or the other. But the disparity helps this release from tiring out too soon. With an emphasis on the industrial rock throughout, the opening track "Lonely Heaven" could be an MTV countdown regular. "Hunger" and "Ayn Rand" have an 80s new wave sound to it with more of an edge, while "Lift Off" is clearly the worst direction they go in by ballading early on before turning up cheesy guitar riffs. Check out "What I Am" for a good taste of the more aggressive sound from a Life In Exile. (JC)

Life In Pictures By the Sign of the Spyglass Clockwork Recordings • Even though there is punk music in the band members' past, this is very much a metalcore act. The guitars are heavy and sometimes intricate, and the vocals are punishing. (AL)

Lion Fever Haunted Water Dim Mak Records • Immediately into the first track "Lost Heat", I made up my mind that lead vocalist Jennifer Pearl comes across between a female version of Richard Ashcroft from The Verve and Chrissie Hinds of The Pretenders. Her vocal aggression is very similar to that of Hinds while some of the accents remind me of Ashcroft. "Crowd Pleaser" sounds as if it could either be a Pearl Jam or Nirvana b side. It's mostly in the bass where I hear this comparison. I would be very curious to see what this band would sound like if they lightened up a bit and gave into pop culture briefly for a song or two. (SP)

Lowlite The Long Haul Mercy Seat Music • A mid-tempo indie rock sound, and the ability to add atmosphere to this five-track EP, finds Lowlite putting together an intensely melodic release. With some really good guitar grooves and a consistently moving musical approach, this band treads the waters of pop and grunge on tracks like "Through The Night" and "Days Stay." Overall, Lowlite seems poised for the long haul, no matter the title of this offering. (JC)

Lungfish Feral Hymns Dischord Records • Sitting through the entirety of "Time is a Weapon of Time" is torture enough for anyone to endure. There is absolutely no structure in the vocal department, but rather one long rant. I'm trying to figure out who would sit around and seriously get into this. Most people would lose focus within the first minute without that initial hook, but these guys were persistent in their attempt to destroy any pop appeal whatsoever with the most mundane, watered-down, lyrically-driven album I have heard in a while. I have to mention this next song just to prove the point. The seventh track is called "Way-Out is the Way Out." That's right folks, almost the same song title formula as the one mentioned previously and yet just as bad, if not worse, and just as unfocused. The only way out I see is to hit stop immediately. (SP)

Madagascar Forced March Western Vinyl • As I listened to this album, I thought I was in the old country. I am no expert in Jewish music, but this sounded pretty authentic to me. It also sounded pretty depressing at times, like being at a traditional funeral. At other times, I thought I was at a Jewish wedding. (AL)

Mary Timony Ex Hex Lookout! Records • Mary Timony teamed up with drummer Devin Ocampo to create the songs on Ex Hex. The album has a sophisticated sound to it. Timony's voice is very serene, yet powerful. It flows over the guitar and keyboard melodies. The added drums help to bring the songs more life. The overall album is very well put together, but also very mellow at some points. (KB)

Meander self-titled self-released • If Mazzy Star gave up the harmonica and switched up the instrumentation slightly, we might have something like Meander. They invoke the same kind of rainy day gloominess, the kind all of us need to hear in our music from time to time. Multi-layered guitars underplay intimate female vocals to produce a low-key, lush landscape. (DP)

Medications Your Favorite People All in One Place Dischord Records • Medications is a DC-area trio featuring former members of Faraquet and Smart Went Crazy. Do I hear supergroup? Leave that debate to real music journalists. I'm just a guy with a 12-pack of Sam Adams, a CD player, and a rapidly approaching deadline. Personal issues aside, this is some solid indie rock, as one has come to expect from the Dischord label over the years. But this ain't your Minor Threat, mind you. It's more classic rock than punk rock; longer songs, strong riffs, etc. (CL)

Mercury Switch Time To Shine Indianola Records • It's hard to resist a rapid-fire double kickdrum to start off the record. The guttural screaming drives me crazy, though. While the guitars soar across an awesome metal landscape, the screamo-vocals get in the way. Fortunately, some less extreme vocals are featured sporadically on the album; sadly, they may be worse, candy-coating the heavy rock with too much emo. Certainly, the deadly aggressive vocals fit the metalcore music, but they just grate on me after a while. Regardless, the 38-minute, seven-song release is a tight piece of musical work with vocals that may only appeal to a specific audience. Step up and be counted. (CM)

Mesmer Machine Stereo System Test Record Madroad/Cathouse Records • This is a catchy album from this Florida band, accentuated by ether vocals and some diverse guitar sounds, which makes for an almost alternative-pop rock release that dips in and out of harmonies and emotion. "Sunbrand" is an early indication of the up and down style used with psychedelic guitar parts and an energy level that rarely lets up. Much of this release is the same way, with highs and lows that only add mystery to the overall delivery. Such as on "Sugarglue," a song that comes off as radio ready, but much better than what you'll hear on the airwaves nowadays. As this release moves on, the tone of the album changes a bit, but the arena-rock elements remain intact, giving the music a larger than life feel. (JC)

Mico de Noche Balls Deep Violent Hippy Records • Oh boy. Here we go. It's one of those there hard to describe bands. Shit. I guess I'd file them under metal, maybe like a Deftones thing? Yeah, yeah, Deftones. It's loud and angry with a lot of tempo changes. If you're looking for catchy intro-verse-verse-chorus-verse-chorus fade out, this ain't it. If you're looking for metal that will make you check to make sure your player's not skipping, here you go. (SH)

Mike Comfort Free self-released • The opener "In My Eyes" could be an FM radio smash, the dramatic alt-rock sound is packed with aggressively emo vocals and the right vibe for out-of-love teens. The rest of the album gets just as sappy; changing between acoustic guitars and amplified grunge. A poetic approach is delivered lyrically, by way of questions aimed at understanding why a girl refuses to be with him, and other worries of growing up. This release comes off too dated and geared towards a younger audience consumed with loneliness and daydreams. (JC)

Mixel Pixel Contact Kid Kanine Records • The third full-length from Mixel Pixel carries a more matured sound within the electronic aura appreciated by fans of Magnetic Fields, The Unicorns, Beck and Sonic Youth. Whereas this trio's previous releases relied primarily on Atari video game samples, the art-pop distinctiveness is still heavily at the forefront, but better produced to provide the right atmosphere. The sounds bounce around between the core of electronic punk and folk imagery, supplying quirky moments and tripped out times that remind you that the drugs are still working. They're at their best early on, during tracks like "I Am the Contact Kid," "Mantis Rock" and "Little Wolverine." Midway through this album is where the band really tinkers with their punk and folk styles, eventually letting things fizzle out before it even ends. (JC)

Mobius Band The Loving Sounds Of Static Ghostly International • The 10-track debut full-length from this Massachusetts-based trio is an electro-enhanced indie rock dream. It's mesmerizingly good, catchy as heck and quirky in all the right places. There's nothing cookie-cutter about this album, but the music certainly isn't incredibly complex. It's the smart simplicity of the tunes that make them so damn irresistible. Think Postal Service meets Bright Eyes meets The Firebird Band; oh hell, not sure that really helps, but if you like those bands, you'll probably enjoy this. (CM)

Molly Hatchet Warriors of the Rainbow Bridge SPV Recordings • Molly Hatchet has been making Southern Rock since the 1970s and shows no sign of slowing down. This album opens with "Son of the South," which is as unapologetic as it sounds, and will be heard at NASCAR events and trailer parks for years to come. (AL)

Monkey Paw Honkey Kong 4 Alarm Records • After the release of Hating You Is So Easy, this Chicago trio offers up Honkey Kong, a solid rock and roll collection of slapstick punk aggression and attitude. From front to back this album jams with a precise demeanor, steadily racing towards some sort of annoyance. With a snotty approach in the vein of an old school buddy that never gives up on the ridiculousness, no matter how many detentions they receive. The sounds within are not for general consumption, but the deeper you dive in; the more you become attached to the great grooves and crisp production. This release is overall entertaining; check out the opener "Love For Sale," "The Face Race" and the live version of "We Like To Fuck" for a taste of The Paw. (JC)

More Dogs Never Let Them Catch You Crying Monitor Records • As the first couple of tracks unfold, you get a feeling that you are in a carnival. However, you soon discover that More Dogs is more diverse than your usual instrumental band. They like to experiment with song structure and instrumentation, as each member plays multiple instruments, often switching mid-song. (AL)

Mother Sixgun EP self-released • This is metal, plain and simple. If it's too loud, you're too old-type shit. If you dig Seemless, Velvet Revolver and Black Label Society, this will make your knees weak. The guitars are big and crunchy, the drums pound relentlessly and the vocals are scratchy but not that nasal bullshit I hear on a lot of the new metal. I'll be looking for a full CD from these dudes. (SH)

Muller and Patton self-titled self-released • It's hard to pinpoint the actual sound of these two guys. Listening to the record and looking at the photos of Jaye Muller and Ben Patton, the sound and image definitely does not compute. Let's say the lighter side of The Beatles, The Beach Boys, doo-wop, and the more adventurous side of Tears for Fears. You will definitely hear the McCartney side of The Beatles on track 6 "Life Preserver". They even end the song with guitar played backwards like Harrison used to do so famously. I do think that there is a real lack of substance missing throughout the album, which makes the majority of the album fluff. The main weakness is in the vocals. It is only on songs like track five, "But Do You Trust Me?" that the boys hit home, but only momentarily. It just feels like these guys hardly take themselves seriously, so why should we? (SP)

Murgatroid self-titled self released • Think REM meets Lenny Kravitiz. Or at least that's how the second track "Will of Man" seemed to hit me at first listen. I can totally hear Lenny belting out the vocal melody layered over the mellow guitar flow of the slower, jazzier side of REM. The actual lyric line to "Half Cocked" however contains the lyric lines "What kind of beer is on tap? I said I don't mind as long as it's not crap." Independently released or not, this kind of lyrical aptitude automatically throws these guys into the Weird Al section if they're lucky. What's sad is that the actual music sounds a lot like solo John Frusciante. Too bad it's brutally murdered with idiot lyrical content. (SP)

Narcoleptic Youth Chronological Disorder self-released • With Dead-Kennedys-style punk rock sensibilities, these guys throw a nonstop, powerful, and delightfully snotty assault at you. It's the sound that truly defines rebellion, and they blow up everything in sight with their ultrafast, hypersonic smart bombs. They have been around forever and opened for the timeless greats. Can't go wrong if you like your punk to give you the middle finger at blazing speeds. (DP)

Need New Body Where's Black Ben? 5 Rue Christine • Who can categorize this band's sound? It is quite impossible, since they seem to play in a stream of consciousness way that defies convention. Experimenting with hip-hop, rock, synth pop, new wave, and many other genres is standard, except that each track is highly experimental. (AL)

New Mexican Disaster Squad/Western Addiction split CD No Idea • Great split! From Orlando and San Fran, respectively, these two extremely high-energy speedpunk bands tear the shit UP. Socially conscious and incisive, this CD thrashes about madly and expertly as it expounds on things people should already know, but just don't getŠ like unity. So it grabs you by the balls and drills it into your head with surgical precision. Even has a Bad Brains cover! (DP)

New Mexican Erection Co-Dependent Nasty Cactus Music • OK, nothing against NME, but why the name? Let's say (hope) you guys make it. Ever hear of the FCC? No way you're getting on radio with that name. Maybe you can just come out as NME, sort of like CKY did. I know, I know, it's not my job to critique your name. Fine. Just think about it. Anywhooo...NME sounds much more like MTLCA (Metallica) or SK (Slipknot) than CKY. This is serious metal, very heavy, very loud and very angry. And pretty damned good, too. (SH)

North Lincoln Truth Is A Menace No Idea • Twelve songs of pure punk rock melodic goodness are rocked forth on this full-length from Michigan-based trio North Lincoln. I'm hooked after track one, with the gruff, heartfelt vocals sung over catchy, thick, anthemic punk rock. Each track is a new head-noddin', toe-tapping, sing-along delight. There's something about a punk rock three-piece that sounds more natural, and when you can rock as good as North Lincoln, it's a testament to the purity of punk rock and roll‹raw but polished, aggressive but melodic, chaotic yet well-timed. There's a sense of urgency throughout this release that demands attention and captures it. This is a must have for fans of Dillinger Four, Hot Water Music and The Lawrence Arms. (CM)

November Trials Cover Your Tracks EP self-released • It's a shame the recording for this seven-track EP is so poor; the music on here is quite good. The opening track is a snoozer, but from there the music picks up. Starting with track two, it's a melodic, uptempo, indie rock romp through big hooks, passionate vocals, plenty of energy and well-timed tempo changes. Taking influence from power punk and math rock, this tight, smart rock is really well done. With a better recording job, November Trials will have a much easier time getting the exposure they need to reach a wider audience, as there is no doubt an audience for a band of this quality. (CM)

NQ Arbuckle The Last Supper in a Cheap Town Six Shooter • "Sure Friends" begins this country rock record with an ode to beer and good times, the rest of the way, folkish sounds show up to add some balance to an up and down release. Produced by Luke Doucet, these songs are mostly half-hearted attempts at getting their point across, while adding touches of humor, or cynicism, so as to not ruin the mood. The downfall is found within tracks about eating hot dogs on "Cheap Town" and basic observations about laundry needing done on "Creaky Old Chair." Though its apparent that the emotion of it all is what this band is trying to relay, they do better while singing about beer, insomnia and burning down a lovers house. Lines like "the wind is such an unpredictable lover, and baby you're just like the wind" can pretty much sum up the last night in any town. (JC)

O.U.O. Of Unknown Origin Domination Recordings • On the opener "For the Love Revisited" the duo of Dumi Right and Pep, known as O.U.O., introduces their intensions on this release with laid-back flows and steady rhyme displays. The rest of the album pretty much follows suite, catchy hooks and sturdy beats for 18-tracks of pure hip-hop flavor that has only a few downfalls. The ideology and stories told in songs like "Bad Guy" are overshadowed by the unnecessary inclusion of tracks like "Look Good," which includes the line "You look good, but can you cook good, are you smart, or is your brain like wood," serving as filler too early in an album that would have been better as a whole without it. Overall though, the production by Cadence, Mister Do and Kev Strange provide the right backdrop for the smooth styles of these Zimbabwe transplants. (JC)

Official Big League Dirt-Gravel-Grime Urban Ikon • Coming straight out of the hip-hop hidden scene of the Northeast, O.B.L. attacks the streets with this release that details daily struggles through the dirt, gravel and grime of their lives. As evident on the opening bangers "Crash The Party" and "Feelin' Me," this crew made up of Drifta, Justus and Stoutamire is one to be reckoned with. Throughout 17 tracks and four edited versions, most of this album consists of tight production with steady flows and wordplay. But where the first two tracks leave off with their authentic energy, the next couple songs take a turn towards a more R&B and rap style that wears thin rather quickly. Overall, this effort packs a handful of solid tracks that would have stood out more as an EP. (JC)

On Broken Wings It's All a Long Goodbye Eulogy • Grindcore fans ready your wallets, On Broken Wings is ready to assault your ear drums with track after track of guttural screams, thick guitar riffs and basslines that shake your soul, all at a pace too fast to even bang your head to. Actually, the songs do slow down on occasion, just to make sure you recognize the intensity at its fullest, dragging you along, letting dirt collect in your wounds. Fortunately, lyrics are included, although it could have been pure gibberish as far as I was concerned. That is, until the sappy, melodic, well-sung vocals kick in sporadically. I really don't get that and find it takes some really extreme music and dumbs it down. Regardless, for the most part, this is the music to encourage your friends to fight to. (CM)

Orthrelm OV Ipecac • While Orthrelm's debut album renounced repetition of any kind, their latest, OV, embraces it. This one-track album can be described as a series of patterns that repeat incessantly. A particular riff is played over and over with a particular drum pattern for a couple of minutes. Then the pattern changes. This happens over and over for 45 minutes. The patterns are pretty intense, and never let up. (AL)

Out Hud Let Us Never Speak of it Again Kranky • Thick rhythms, soothing vocals and the overdubs of John Vandervolgen provide the precise edge of sexiness that this release of house beats needs on the second offering from Out Hud. Let Us Never Speak of it Again contains what you would may or may not expect from Out Hud, a heavily mixed, bass heavy collection of songs fronted by sultry female vocals and carried by electronic and synth dance sounds. "It's For You" is the energetic highlight, while the over 11-minute epic "Dear Mr. Bush, There are Over 100 Words for Shit and Only 1 for Music. Fuck You, Out Head" not only deserves song title of the year, but is fun to get lost within too. Overall, there is some good stuff to be heard here, as long as this kind of stuff doesn't become over repetitious for you. (JC)

Outsmarting Simon Stand Up Straight Triple Crown Records • Intricate guitars and emotion filled lyrics weave together to form this second full length album from Outsmarting Simon. All of the songs follow the melodic indie rock sound, but some punchier tunes, such as Falling or Flying, give a little more life to the album as a whole. The backing vocalist helps convey the feelings in the songs. The slower tracks on the album are not boring, but pretty and introspective. (KB)

Pela All In Time EP self-released • This EP cries out to U2 listeners everywhere. The source of this reference can be found profoundly spread throughout the first two songs off the All in Time EP in the form of bass. Laying down the backbone for chimed guitars and dreamy Brit-pop sounding vocals, the bass is extremely reminiscent of Adam Clayton's straightforward style in both melody and tone. "Latitudes" and "Episodes (Diphenhydramine)" gel together bringing in the title track to keep the U2 vibe going strong. These guys are not rip-off artists, they just aren't afraid to show off their influences. (SP)

Pelican The Fire In Our Throats Will Beckon The Thaw Hydra Head Records • From the first note of their debut album, Australasia, I was hooked on Pelican's instrumental metal. Their guitars are waaaay amplified, and their riffs seem to go on forever. However, there are also subdued moments in the album, and some acoustic guitars make their way to the forefront here and there. (AL)

Please Mr. Gravedigger Throw a Beat Pluto Records • This is a five-song EP from PMG. It reminded me immediately of the "The" bands but PMG has more swagger. Musically, that is. Where it matters. A lot of those "The" bands have stage swagger but can't back it up musically. I've never seen PMG live but I'm guessing they have plenty of stage presence. What's more important, even if they don't, the music is good enough to watch them sit on stools. Raw, punk-rawk with catchy as hell beats. (SH)

Pony Up! self-titled Dim Mak/Ten Fingers • These chicks are out there. With the first track, "Shut Up and Kiss Me," it's clear this five-female (count Œem, 5) band from Burlington is definitely something fresh. It is a crazy offshoot of girl rock, infusing deliberate and hilarious immaturity with Doors-style organs and Go-Go's rock and roll. There's a wonderful departure between where you think the music is going to take you and where you actually end up. But it doesn't jerk you around, it's just fun, cute, and smart. (DP)

Poor Luther's Bones Next To Nowhere Heavy G Records • The opening track "Beyond The Bizarre" serves as a disclaimer for fans of their previous album, because on Next To Nowhere, their sound returns to the psychedelic sounds of the past. Bypassing much of the folk-pop on the last album, a bigger rock sound is provided that veers into elaborate directions and over-the-top sounds. Powered by dual guitars, keyboards and the complete production of vocalist Garth Forsyth, the music here is entertaining with a trippy edge to it, spinning towards a pop-oriented daydream of ideas. Tracks like "Don't Get Your Bugs On Me," "All Skegged Out" and "Feasting of the Drones" are just a few that stand out. (JC)

Prefuse 73 Prefuse 73 Reads The Books Warp Records • Prefuse 73 has teamed up with The Books in this 22 minute EP. The Books make avant folk, which I have never heard, but sound interesting. Their use of multiple string instruments (banjos, cellos, clavinets, etc.) blends well with Prefuse's digital manipulations and cutting techniques. They add a touch of warmth. (AL)

Princess self-titled Tony Chaos Records • With a knack for rhyming words and making sense out of them at a later date, this duo of comic jokesters somehow grab your attention towards their silly stories through infectious beats and a unique musical accomplice. Former Planet Springsteen residents that dressed as aliens, Alexis Gideon and Michael O'Neill are a couple of clowns that manage to crank out a corny, but entertaining release of toilet humor. On "Miss Adventures" they rhyme with complete catchiness "with friends like these, who needs enemas?" and "I spit game at your dame, til she don't know her own name" before transforming from wannabe hip-hoppers to grungy punk rock, then folkish leftovers of yesteryear. This release is complex to the point of confusing, yet smart enough to keep your attention even after the microdot really starts to kick in. (JC)

Purple City Road to Riches: The Best of the Purple City Mixtapes Babygrande • For Shiest Bub, UnKasa and Agallah the Don Bishop, street tales of shooting guns and selling crack only need a tight beat to make it work, such as on tracks like "Purple City Byrdgang" and "Gun Go." If you need an underground fix of ghetto tales that boost about pimpin' and drug dealin', in the vein of 50 Cent and The Game, Purple City hopes to provide that for you. Overall, there are too many tracks on this release, causing the album to sound tired during songs that lack the hard hitting beats that other tracks are carried by. (JC)

Reel Big Fish We're Not Happy ŒTil You're Happy Jive Records • After 14 years of pounding the pavement and touring relentlessly, Reel Big Fish decided to impart some knowledge on those who would like to follow in their footsteps. Their advice can be summarized in the title of one of the songs: "Don't Start a Band." Their attitude on this album is one of disappointment in the music industry, even though they are one of the few bands that have survived the rise and fall of ska's popularity. (AL)

R-H Black Asia Volume One Black Asia Recordings • R-H's M.O. is to inject Asian and Middle Eastern sounds and instruments into different electronic music genres. He uses Drum n Bass, Big Beat, Hip Hop, funk, and other styles. On top of this, he adds elements from Chinese, Japanese, Indian, Malaysian and Arabian cultures. (AL)

RIFU Dead End Street Go-Kart • Norway's RIFU are a non-stop punkcore assault. The music is intense, creatively changing direction unexpectedly, throwing down a chunky riff and a bounce-around kind of hardcore attitude backed with shouted, sing-along vocals, then switching into a mathy punk mode, before switching into a screamcore, metal thing. It's that originality that makes RIFU such a standout. Add in the political nature of the lyrics and RIFU is the full package, intelligent rock that is musically and lyrically exceptional. (CM)

Righteous Jams Rage of Discipline Kung Fu Records • This is probably not a disc that you will hear while waiting in the waiting room of the doctor's office. This is hardcore the way it was meant to be played. No slow power ballad interludes in the songs, just straight-up ferocity from beginning to end. The enhanced CD also includes videos for two tracks so you can see exactly what you are missing if you've never seen these guys live. (MK)

S.E.V.A. self-titled Mush Records • Think of S.E.V.A. as what DJ Shadow would sound like if he converted to Buddhism. This duo formed by Matthew "Mumbles" Fowler and Dahvin "Gone Beyond" Bugas create jazzy compositions with great hip-hop beats as the foundation. Middle Eastern instruments and influences abound, so you'll find yourself finding inner peace while bobbing your head to the music. (AL)

Sadaharu The Politics of Dancing CI Records • Son of a bitch! Look, just pick a genre, dudes! Dammit. OK, let's see, this is mainly post-punk-core but Sadaharu also throws in some metal and fusion jazz for good measure. Fugazi comes to mind. Don't give up on this. Give it a good listen; it's worth it. Besides, I had to work hard for this review. You owe it to us. (SH)

Satori Savor Every Moment Asian Man Records • Hailing from Cali (not Jamaica, as some may want to assume), Satori blends rock with elements of ska, rocksteady and reggae to create an upbeat, catchy sound that is reminiscent of Sublime and, at times, 311. Vocal duties are handled by Steve Borth (RX Bandits) and features the rest of the RX Bandits plus guest appearances by Chris Murray and members of The Exit. This album has an amazing groove and 11 tracks to mellow your soul and brighten your day. Fans of feel-good, infectious, ska-influenced rock should get this right away. (CM)

Screeching Weasel My Brain Hurts Asian Man Records • It's Screeching Weasel. If you don't know them, get your head out of your ass. If you don't love them, put it back in. This re-release of the 1991 classic is sure to have pop-punk fans soiling their undies with desire. The sound, while not as brilliantly polished as more recent releases, is absolutely Screeching Weasel. (MK)

Screeching Weasel Wiggle Asian Man Records • Continuing with their SW re-issues, Asian Man Records offers up the fourth full-length album from the legendary Chicago-based pop-punk band. Originally released in 1992, this album's catchy punk melodies are as good today as they were more than 10 years ago. This is a hook-filled, punk rock romp with Ben Weasel belting out angst-filled, personal tunes that are sometimes silly, sometimes satirical, sometimes sincere. The songs on here may be a bit more produced than on the previous albums, but it still has a snotty, raw punk rock attitude, and those killer high-pitched guitar leads are just deadly good. (CM)

Seconds Before Further Destinations Lost Arts Recordings • Fans of Dashboard Confessional and Simple Plan will like this a lot. They drift between emo-rock and melodic punk, hence the analogies. The songs are extremely tight and well written, and they have hooks for days. If they can get in with that WB crowd, they'll be millionaires by 2006. (SH)

Serge Boogie True Indeed Wrecluse • Midwestern underground hip-hop has many faces, but Serge Boogie stays the path in which Atmosphere has paved. His mellow demeanor on the mic works best when he takes a page from Slug and opens his soul on tracks like "Solitary Man," where a basic beat plays the background. Packed with samples and smooth melodies that are under produced and basic at times, Serge delivers his hype and near flawless flows to recite stories through twisted rhymes on this release. He leaves himself short of breathe during most tracks with his quick lines, forcing the beat to keep up. Serge has a good sound and style that shows potential, an up and coming emcee with skills worth checking for in the future, just not so much on True Indeed. (JC)

Sinai Beach Immersed Victory Records • Sinai Beach are amongst the wave of new metal/hardcore bands who can't quite decide if they want to be radio metal sing-songy or hardcore screamy. Although these guys do a great job of being both marketable and radio friendly, they don't bring anything new to this lame genre of friendly metal. If you're a fan of over used double kicks and lame electronics in your metal, I would advice you check these guys out. (RP)

Sledgehammer Your Arsonist Martyr Records • Sledgehammer are amongst the many bands that name themselves after everyday tools, such as Skrewdriver and Crowbar. Now ask yourself, why is that? Could it be that hand tools are so tough and manly, or have we just ran out of band names? Well, enough of my ponderings, let's get down to how this CD sounds. For one, it is really tough and metallic, and I bet that at least three-quarters of the band has shaved heads. Well, enough said. If you ever need any concrete or random stuff smashed, don't be afraid to ask Sledgehammer for their assistance; heck they might even bring a couple buddies. (RP)

Sloppy Meateaters Conditioned by the Laugh Track Orange Peal Records • This is the third installment from the Sloppy Meateaters. Laced throughout the songs are various sound clips. I think they would be more entertaining if I knew what they were from or they tied into the songs. Either way, the album is pretty solid throughout. The songs are upbeat rock and punk for the most part. Snake Mountain sounds a little too preachy for my liking but songs like Run Mary Run and the story behind those lyrics make the album worth a listen. (KB)

Smoke Off Vinyl Shindig self-released • This sounds big. Three guys who manage sound like five, at least. With driving, groove-oriented rock that varies from distorted noise to slow, almost ballad like rock, this is an interesting disc and a welcomed change from the crap on the radio. Well worth checking out, these guys probably put on a great live show. (MK)

Snow Machine self-titled Daemon • Lighthearted and brooding, this record is an elegant, feathery trip through emotional turmoil. With dreamy, harmonic female vocals, it has wonderful piano and organ lines and energetic background rhythms. I could fall asleep to this music – it's not boring, it's soothing... it quiets the beast inside with its sweet temperament. Mmmm. (DP)

Snuff Six of One, Half a Dozen of the Other Fat Wreck Chords • Snuff is a punk band from the UK that has not been afraid to experiment with their sound. Starting in 1986, they played punk rock with a bit of a pop edge, blazing a trail that would later be traveled by bands like Blink 182 and Sum 41. Later on, they added a Hammond organ and horns, further expanding their sound, but not by becoming a ska band. This double CD is somewhat of a career retrospective, with one CD of greatest hits and another of B-sides, rarities, and a couple of unreleased tracks. (AL)

So Many Dynamos When I Explode Skrockie Records • So Many Dynamos hails from that land of lame domestic beer, St. Louis. (That's right, you heard me, Augustus; bring it on, bitch!) These guys play some nervous, nerdy, and catchy indie rock, like the dearly departed Dismemberment Plan with a side of Hot Hot Heat. While the influences are readily apparent, this is an impressive little album; enjoy it with a quality adult beverage. (CL)

Soft Targets Frequent Flyer self-released • The catchy melodic opener "Last Year" floats by with eloquence as the vocals and guitar harmonize beautifully to form one irresistible chorus. "Happy Again" has a Tom Petty feel with the guitars at one point. Jesse Corry's vocals are soothing at moments, especially on the title track "Frequent Flyer". This is a very mellow record, but nonetheless full of emotion. These guys do have a sense of humor though considering the inset features a picture of a man taking a shit with a little kid in the bathroom with him for company. It definitely goes against the feel of the album, but oh well, it's still funny as shit. (SP)

Solid Pony Life's Gonna Eat Us Bakery Outlet Records • Solid Pony takes Indie Rock with jangly alt-country undertones at moments and puts it in a blender with some emotive melodies to create what sounds like a heavily Pavement influenced album. Simple, but soothing melodies like "in Tandem" show the acoustic side to the band with just vocals and guitar. "Chew Your Lovely" shows the more rocking side, but the vocals have a tendency to float around more here, sometimes having a hard time hitting the right one. Fans of early Built to Spill might give this band a chance, and there is definitely potential for the next effort from this band. (MP)

Solly Get It Wrong It's Alright Zounds Sounds • Hey, is this Minneapolis circa 1984? These guys specialize in driving booze-drenched rock like the Replacements and Soul Asylum, at least before Dave Pirner started singing about runaway trains anyway. Not surprisingly, singer/guitarist Marc Solomon is a former member of Perfect, one of Tommy Stinson's post-ŒMats, pre-Guns Œn Roses projects. This is good, straight up rock and roll. (CL)

Sonic Adventure Project Exergonic Starmill Records • The music created by this duo features a lot of melody over medium tempo beats. Most of the melodies are created using piano and other keyboards. This album is strictly for chilling out, and should not be listened to while operating heavy machinery. (AL)

Spinning Heads Change the Game Sedition Records • Spinning Heads combines offbeat hardcore with overtones of metal to create this brutal assault. File this with bands such as Hatebreed. The guitars are metallic and screaming at all times, it's as if their amps only have one setting and it's loud and distorted. It works, as Spinning Heads assaults your ears with ten songs at constant mosh pit ready volumes and speeds. There isn't much more to say, these guys are swimming in well tested waters and will probably do quite well at it. Get your fists ready and jump in the pit while these guys are still slinging the metalcore your way. (MC)

Spitalfield Stop Doing Bad Things Victory Records • Before hearing this album, I probably would not have been able to distinguish any differences between Spitalfield and all the other recent pop punk bands. This album shows Spitalfield is coming into its own. With catchy, but not overly sickeningly pop songs, the band's sound is maturing. The instruments all come together beautifully and provide a melodic bed for the heart rendered lyrics to lie on. Production by Ed Rose (The Get Up Kids, Motion City Soundtrack) helps to complete the overall feel of the album and ensure that it will stand out from the masses. (KB)

Stamen & Pistils End of the Sweet Parade Echelon Productions • Electro indie rock takes a new experimental turn with this band. Arcade sound effects and acoustic guitar definitely make for an interesting combination. Sometimes this works beautifully, while other times it feels forced and the sound effects seem to be there just to be there. Honest lyrics blend with folky acoustic stylings and electronics. "Hand Painted Characters" gives a beautiful piano backbone for the electronic layers to add on. This was a hard band to compare directly to others because they are making original and intriguing music. (MP)

Stellarscope Reverberations self-released • Tommy Lugo, Bob Forman and Paul Coletti provide the atmospheric sounds on this release, which echo with eerie drones from samples and programmed noise. The opening track begins the disc with Spanish sung words, and sets the mood for the electro-style music to come, containing guitar, bass, percussion, kena and sax parts that combine to provide a spacey vibe to get lost inside of. Overall, the music is entrancing and comforting, a fine blend of the instruments used. The vocals, though they are drawn out to the point that they slow your mind down a bit, they fit nicely alongside what has been created. (JC)

Stephanie Rearick Star Belly Uvulittle • Stephanie has an amazing voice, breathy and harmonic, truly lovely. She floats her voice across all 12 tracks, commanding full attention while the classical- and jazz-influenced music, focused often on piano, dances in the background. There's a theatrical feel to the entire album; I could imagine an entire film being written around the music. There is a load of emotion and the music paces itself intentionally, as if telling a story with its notes as Stephanie spills out the details. Get your popcorn and prepare for a wild ride across a landscape of dramatically-crafted pop. (CM)

Stephanie Sante Coffee Culture Sante Music • By the name of this album, you'd think this was an album full of high-tempo tracks. Instead, it features music you'd enjoy listening while watching the sun set on a tropical island. There are some elements of electronica there, as well as some world music, but it is the jazz guitar that defines the sound. (AL)

Straitjacket Modern Thieves TKO Records • Portland's Straightjacket have been playing music since the fall of 1999. This is their first full length on TKO Records. The thirteen tracks sound similar to old school punk rock. The vocals are raw and almost British sounding. Though the songs are punk rock, they are not totally abrasive and devoid of a pop quality. The guitar hooks help give the songs a catchy feel, which I am sure, comes across well in the band's live performances. (KB)

Stratus Outside Reality Shallow Grave • This release from Stratus is nothing more than classic alternative rock, with screeching electric guitars and a sound rooted in the 1990's. Turn up the amps, and close the garage door, because these radio friendly tracks grow tired after the many grinding shreds provided mostly by Jeff Phillips and the melodically elaborate vocals of Andy Howard and Jeff Irvine. On "Broken Mirror" and "Heart of Stone" these guys begin to add a little acoustics for some balance for the remainder of the album, but overall fall flat of delivering anything worthy of a playback. (JC)

Strength In Numbers The Veil Ironbound Recordings • Fusing the best of metal, hardcore and punk rock, Strength In Numbers blasts forth with 11 tracks of guitar-heavy, thick metalcore. There are plenty of bad-ass guitar solos, screamed vocals, rapid-fire musical attacks, tempo changes galore and enough melody to hook in the listener despite being assaulted aurally at the same time. This six-member band uses two separate vocalists to keep the lyrical momentum constant, using screams, shouts and well-sung vocals to diversify that aspect of the music. Meanwhile, the music is absolutely amazing, showcasing a handful of very gifted musicians, focusing on guitar-work that is exceptional and an ability to change speeds at the drop of dime. This is sick good. (CM)

Subs Planet3 Mir Media • Planet3 is a continuous mix of dance music representing many genres of music, including Afro beat hip-hop, house, broken beat, and drum and bass. It keeps the beat going smoothly, and includes tracks by Afronaut, Vikter Duplaix, Black By Birth, Face, Soldiers of Twilight and Da Monikeerz. (AL)

Summerbirds In The Cellar with the hands of the hunter it all becomes dead Slow January • Ten beautifully-crafted, emotional pop gems are featured on the debut album (there's a bonus track on the limited vinyl) from Summerbirds In The Cellar. There are math rock, indie, country and new wave influences that evolve together into an amazing landscape of sometimes haunting, sometimes soothing sounds. It's the more electro-enhanced tunes that I really dig, reminding me of a programmed-beat version of Luna. I also love how the vocals simply drift over the music, begging for no attention; instead, the vocals allow the brilliantly-crafted music to dominate. This isn't music to start a party; this is music to listen to after everyone has already left. (CM)

Team Mascot It's a Sweater! self-released It's a Sweater! is the debut album for this Gainesville, Florida quartet. Featuring former members of the Pawn Rook Four and the Blast Bandits, Team Mascot melds strong melodies with solid indie rock. There's a depth and maturity to these songs that is so sorely lacking in many underground bands. They can be expressive without being overwrought emotionally. (CL)

Tension Wire Rips, Punctures, Tears, & Fractures self-released • You've got 12 straight-ahead punk songs here. They're a little on the melodic side but nothing nearly as wimpy as New Found Glory or those sissified punk bands of today. What I like most about this "band" is that it's two guys in the studio and then they sort of pick guys up on the side of the road to tour with. You can hear that sense of energy and fun on this disc. (SH)

Teri Falini Sun Under Me Radiostar Records • Teri Falini is about as far from "chick rock" as it gets. Yes, she's a woman. Yes, she rocks. But don't get her confused with the slick sounds of The Donnas and Avril Lavigne. Think of Teri Falini as The Donnas before they hit it big. She plays garage rock more in the vein of Liz Phair. Well, OLD Liz Phair, that is. In fact, "Mental Health" could be mistaken for something from "Exile in Guyville." You get the idea. If you want to hear a woman who can sing, play guitar AND kick your ass while doing it, Teri's your girl. (SH)

Thaione Davis April January Domination Recordings • April January is a journey through the world of instrumental hip hop, where smooth beats meet with jazzy influences. True, some of the tracks feel somewhat repetitive after a few minutes, but that shouldn't stop you from checking this album out. (AL)

The Alter Boys The Exotic Sounds of The Alter Boys Fractured Transmitter Recording Co. • It is amazing how much this album sounds like Mr. Bungle's California. It is laid back, with vocals by Jason Popson, who used to sing for Mushroomhead. It feels like they are trying to channel the cool 60's through their music, without sounding like a retro act. (AL)

The Aquabats Charge!! Nitro Records • The Aquabats are back after a six-year hiatus! What started out as a ska cover band has evolved into a force to be reckoned with. Are they punk? Are they indie rock? Are they ska? They are all these things (not so much the ska anymore) and more. They are the cult of nerd rock, much more so than Weezer could ever hope to be. (AL)

The A-Sides Hello, Hello Prison Jazz Records • The A-Sides have a very 60s British invasion sound, like several new and not-so-new indie bands, but the sincerity and feeling with which it is played is much more rare. Jon Barthmus' voice is perfect for the music, somewhere between Dave Clark Five and Brian Wilson, and the instrumentation is great, without being overly backward-looking. There are a lot of catchy songs on here that are not so catchy as to be grabby. I particularly enjoyed "Sidewalk Chalk" with its repeating "hello, hello" chorus, and the honky-tonk, almost toy piano of "I'll Come Around". I could go on and on about this album, but you should just go out and get it. (SJM)

The Braves Love & Mercy Johanns Face • This is an emotionally driving outfit reminiscent of Better than Ezra, with their insistent, quick rock and roll rhythms and powerful vocals. Not quite as sunny, it has the cry of a broken heart underneath it all, and invokes a consistent mood of uncertainty and sadness. But – beauty and hope are always the goal. (DP)

The Bruce Lee Band Beautiful World Asian Man Records • Ooohhh, baby, I like it. I like it a lot. SKA, good SKA is becoming less and less common as more and more bands try their hands at it. This is good SKA. Smooth and flowing with lots of sharp horn jabs and sweet melodies. There isn't a bad thing I can say about this disc except that it isn't long enough. (MK)

The Cardinal Sin Oil and Water EP Grey Flight Records • This is one of those EPs that leaves you wishing it was a full length. There are five originals from The Cardinal Sin and a cover of The Replacement's Bastards of Young. The singer's voice is sort of raspy, which is a nice change from the usual whine heard on other recent punk rock albums. Plus, they have a female drummer. Add a side of catchiness to that and you have yourself a rocking EP. (KB)

The Deadly The Wolves are Here Again Pluto Records • The Deadly have two speeds: intense and "my neck just broke." This is hardcore punk fused with garage rock. Think The Jesus Lizard. They stay mainly hardcore, but you can hear a little garage swagger on "We Are The Technology" and "The Dirty Stayout." In fact, "Stayout" has a pretty groovy little hook in there. (SH)

The Epoxies Stop The Future Fat Wreck Chords • This album should probably be called Living In The Past. The Epoxies are entrenched in the 1980's new wave sound, complete with plenty of synthesizers and sound effects. However, they added a bit of kick via distorted electric guitars and a punk attitude. (AL)

The Escaped self-titled TKO Records • This six song EP features fast paced songs from The Escaped. The songs have a sound reminiscent of old school punk and hardcore. There are two singers at some points throughout the EP, which gives The Escaped a little added intensity. Like most other hardcore albums though, I feel like I would enjoy these songs more live than on a CD. (KB)

The Forecast Late Night Conversations Victory Records • Playing a mix of emo, indie rock and punk, The Forecast entertains the musical interests of many listeners in one 10-track album. It's a catchy blend of heartfelt rock and aggressive, intense mathy punk. Adding to the mix is the use of both male and female vocals. The girl pours out sincere, high-pitched vocals that remind me of Bjork, while the male vocals are excellent, yet a bit uneasy/vulnerable, in a Braid sort of way. Overall, the vocals are effective, if only for their honest nature. Together, the music and vocals mesh perfectly and the superb recording truly displays this band's excellence. (CM)

The Frankenburies Devils Punch Bowl Northeast Records • Just looking at the cover art, I could tell what kind of music I was in store for. The Frankenburies are one those bands that love scary movies, devil locks, skulls and The Misfits. Borrowing the horror core recipe and copying it to a tee, these guys have managed to come up with a completely forgettable album. If you're a huge fan of black clothing, The Misfits, Hot Topic, depression and crappy punk rock, check these guys out, they're really spooky. (RP)

The Greencards Weather and Water Dualtone Music • This single female and male trio, currently on tour with Willie Nelson and Bob Dylan, are an up and coming acoustic talent on the newgrass scene, while effortlessly combining folk, country and bluegrass. The opener "The Ghost of Who We Where" is a hauntingly beautiful song that touches nerves and slowly begins an album of crisp sounds. The music is comprised of a bass guitar, fiddle and mandolin, and each member lends vocal support when they're not playing traditional style songs. Having won several group awards and acknowledgments the last couple years, The Greencards are being hailed as the revival of Americana music, due in part to their solid sound and rooted direction. Though an obvious tribute is being paid to the music of yesteryear, this band is clearly on a path all their own. (JC)

The Heavenly Music Association Shaping the Invisible Rehash Records • Dominated by an ethereal sound with distorted guitars and programmed noise; this release is a collection of instrumentals and songs about vultures, drugs and bleeding angels. Hellen Storer and David Hillis are the brains behind The Heavenly Music Association who create some artistic music while tinkering with guitars and keyboards. With diverse influences such as La Monte Young, Can, Brian Eno and Kate Bush, this release raises comparisons to Jesus and Mary Chain, Radiohead, Mazzy Star and My Bloody Valentine to name a few. There is a hypnotic aura that exists from track to track, no matter how high or low they get, these songs suck you in like a vampire. (JC)

The Hurt Process A Heartbeat Behind Victory Records • These guys are so hardcore, and so wimpy. The metal/hardcore on this album is sick good, with rapid kickdrums pounding away while guitars soar, vocals scream out; but then the emo vocals kick in and the pass relaxes a bit. It's a formula that's working for a lot of bands. The Hurt Process are certainly the most intense of the metalcore-emo hybrids I've heard, and that does help. This album includes some tracks that lean more hardcore/metal and others that lean more emocore/power punk/rock. They certainly are good musicians, it's just becoming a somewhat crowded genre. (CM)

The Invisible Cities Watertown Noisyfrog Records • This San Francisco area band manages to weave between delicate sounds and pop oriented songs, jangly at times and direct during others. The reflective stories about life's past add an aura to this release that feels personal and comforting, like a story being told that comes full circle with a message behind it. I don't know if that fully happens here, but tracks like the intimate "Birthday" lead emotionally into tracks like "Double Fisted" with a grungier approach that offsets the feeling of insecurity with one of letting loose. The mostly female vocals help the overall feel that gets dull at times, while the music maintains an ethereal flow comparable to Mazzy Star and the less complicated sounds of Sonic Youth. (JC)

The John Francis & Imposters The Earnest Manboy Suite in E Major Chuck Beat • What a great addition to TJF's catalog, a 15-minute rock opus that ends in thrilling fashion, at the kind of heights only a trio could get away with. This EP begins with the background sounds of someone sipping coffee and pounding away on a typewriter, evidently composing a letter about a salty split-up. Tempo changes carry on through tell-all vocal wailings, some solid percussion and guitar playing, and yet more typing which adds touches of spontaneity to the song. All of this elaborates on the domestic struggle brought on by Francis, and helps gel things together for a natural fit. (JC)

The Keep Aways self-titled Chairkickers Music • Seven songs in 17 minutes by a band made up of three females. Seems pretty intense to me. The songs are fast and raw, not something you would see climbing the music television charts. Which is completely refreshing. It is good to see woman coming forth with this kind of aggressive punk rock sound. (KB)

The Locust Safety Second, Body Last Ipecac Recordings • AhhhhŠThe Locust. Why is it that these guys are incapable of putting out a CD with more than 20 minutes' worth of music? Maybe it is because their utter brutality would simply destroy any who listen to them for any longer amount of time. This album is not as fucked up as their previous efforts, but is brutal just the same. Clocking in at 10 minutes, it has a couple of minutes of almost silence, sandwiched between their usual brand of musical destruction. (AL)

The Mainliners Bring On The Sweetlife Get Hip • Twisting their 1960's influenced classic rock roots and adding raw aggression with a ruckus attitude, The Mainliners bring back what's missing from the good old days of rock and roll. This Swedish band keeps things gritty on this release, with superb guitar swagger and lead vocals that grab your attention right from the opening track. The upfront and in your face sound has a crisp backbone to it, a sleazy arrogance that only makes the album that much better. "Dead Man's Hall" sounds like early Aerosmith with an eerie organ to go along with it, and the title track is an anthem for any hard workingman alive. (JC)

The New York Rel-X Sold Out of Love TKO Records • Sold Out Of Love is one of the better punk rock records I've heard so far this year. What I like most about this is that they've stayed true to early-80s punk while keeping things fresh enough to relate to more melodic hardcore fans. This is good for those of you who loved Green Day before they took a shit. (SH)

The Pale Pacific Rules Are Predictable Side Cho Records • The Pale are dead; long live the Pale. Apparently, these guys are now going by the Pale Pacific. There was probably some sort of nasty lawsuit from some other "band" calling themselves the Pale. Perhaps there will be a Court TV reenactment special, now that they've got 22 hours of coverage to fill with the Jackson trial being over. Well, whatever they're calling themselves these days, the Pale Pacific are still serving up some catchy little indie pop tunes, not unlike Death Cab for Cutie. It's good stuff, so check it out. (CL)

The Phantom Limbs Random Hymns Gold Standard Laboratories • Relying heavily on the synth section of the band, The Phantom Limbs are packed with morbid lyrics and a sound similar to what The Doors would have sounded like with some Sex Pistols attitude. The opener "Topanga Canyon Torture" begins like a happy go lucky 80's club jam, then goes on to ramble about getting "fucked in a church parking lot" and enjoying being emotionally tortured just a little too much. "Swill" comes off as a story about a man holding a dead woman hostage and "Jackalope Rising" is an impressive collage of samples, music snippets and chaos that fittingly wraps these random hymns up. (JC)

The Presence Common Man's Anthem Uncommon Records • Using multi-layered sonic production and a grizzly delivery, Nasa and Cirrus spit nonconformist rhymes with views as wide fetched as politics - at both the street level and worldwide. Whether carrying on about "the post 9-11, 7-11 worker" or "a dragon burning corpses [being] just a metaphor for mass death, where last breath, can be your first breath," these two emcees deliver verses that detail their view of the world (global warming, outsourcing of jobs, media fascination and Iraq) from right where they sit in New York City. With samples described as "70s prog" and an electronic overtone to thick drum kicks and live instrumentation, the soundscape on this release is as chaotic as the common man's life has been since the new millennium. Guest appearances include the beats and flows from the likes of Rob Sonic, Aesop Rock, El-P, Arcsin, Masai Bay and Karneige to create an intensely eye-opening experience. (JC)

The Ratchets Heart of Town Hellbent Records • This is mellow punk with some rock and ska influences. Think of the Wallflowers meets Fishbone. Yeah, I know, WTF??? Me too. So here's an idea: GIVE IT A LISTEN!!! If you're interested enough to try it, you'll like it. (SH)

The Russian Futurists Our Thickness Upper Class Recordings • The third release by Matthew Adam Hart, the brains behind The Russian Futurists, is filled with clever sounds and detailed lyrics such as "you must think what I say is absurd, and laugh as I fill up this page with words, but is it enough to cage this bird? it could never happen, the ship sinks with the caption." Throughout quirky, yet dark, smart songs and creative music backdrops, this release blends the funk of Beck and the emotions of The Cure with the indie rock vigor recently appreciated by indie hip-hop fans of today. Standout tracks include the opener "Paul Simon," "Still Life" and "Hurtin' For Certain," but overall this album thrives throughout every minimalist moment. (JC)

The Secret Lives of the Freemasons This Was Built to Make You Dance Astro Magnetics • The Secret Lives of the Freemasons is a band that stands out not only for its name, but also it's music. The songs created by this North Carolina band are melodic post hardcore. Lead vocalist Brien Worshsam has a unique voice, except for its similarity to Glassjaw front man, Drayl Palumbo. Worshsam's vocals fair well over the multiple guitar parts. The CD is consistent, but this can take away from the overall sound. This is proven with the intro, outro, and three interlude tracks all titled Dance! These tracks consist of electronic noise and are practically begging to be skipped over. Besides the Dance! tracks, the album lives up to its title. (KB)

The Sharp Ease Going Modern olFactory • Edgy and retro simultaneously, the Sharp Ease is probably the best all-female band I've heard in several years. The real centerpiece is the vocals, rendered by one Paloma Parfrey, who has such dynamic range both in pitch and in attitude. She sings exhaustively and desperately, and can snap like a rubber band from sweetness to bombastic force. She truly makes this garagy, power-pop foursome stand worlds apart. (DP)

The Sincerity Guild What It's Like on the Inside Theory 8 Records • This album starts out nice and slow, then slowly builds momentum until an explosion of guitars and drums takes over. Then it slows back down. This ebb and flow of energy prevails over the entire album. The Sincerity Guild sometimes compares to Don Caballero and is completely instrumental. (AL)

The Tri-Fives Won't Back Down Fast Music • Former members of Anti-Anti came together to form the Tri-Fives. The result is fast paced punk rock songs about everything from fast food restaurants to traveling to Mexico. The songs on the album are a kick back to three chord punk songs, complete with minimal lyrics. There are some good guitar riffs and solos throughout the album though. All together, not very thought provoking, but easy to relate to. KB)

The TunaHelpers I'll Have What She's Having Mimicry Recordings • The 19th century american gothic sounds of The TunaHelpers music, and the vulnerable, emotive vocals put me in mind of a weird combination of Rasputina, Jane's Addiction, and Kate Bush – all at once. The songs encompass a space of sweeping beauty, precious old heirlooms, and mild psychosis. Of particular note is the strength of the arrangements, including understated rock drums, strings and choir, along with the more typical instruments of pop music, performed atypically and perfectly. The overall weird, sometimes creepy vibe of the music can be off-putting in the wrong mood, but in the right mood this is excellent. (SJM)

The Ugly Beats Bring On The Beats Get Hip • This Austin, Texas band carries a pop rock sound that would have fit nicely into the 50's and 60's alongside bands like the Rolling Stones and The Rascals. With a heavy jangle in their steps, the catchy strums of the guitar, coupled with their steady drum work, leaves behind a dance-friendly collection of numbers that even your parents might enjoy. With a solid rhythm of beats throughout the album, this disc plays well through its entirety. An organ and tambourine are added for the extra flower-power flavor, as confident vocals headline a rowdy band of players that wish they were around years ago to give The Beatles and The Beach Boys a run for their money. (JC)

The Valley self-titled The Swingline Records • Back to grunge, I say! This band was probably poised to hit it big in 1992 and then they all fell inexplicably into a 13-year coma. That's my guess. I could be wrong. Point is, this is some grungy rock. Track three, "Instant Winter," could have been on any Nirvana record. "Emergency" sounds like Mudhoney. You get the idea. Harkening for the days of grunge? Harken no longer. (SH)

The Van Ermans Under the Gun Broken Spoke Records • With song titles like "I Live My Life Like a French Movie", "Hey, Underpants", and "Sandbagging a Doctor of Journalism", you might expect the Van Ermans to be some goofy wise asses like Piebald (which isn't necessarily a bad thing). But these guys seem to have a little more in common with the Alkaline Trio, minus the drinking problem, and the Promise Ring. (CL)

The Very Hush Hush Mourir C'est Facile Sao Bento Music • While listening to Mourir C'est Facile ("Dying is Easy " in French), you are bound to feel relaxation and sadness all at the same time. These are haunting tracks full of melancholy, where every instrument, including the vocals (which are almost whispered), gets the full reverb treatment to create a hazy atmosphere. (AL)

The Yum Yum Tree The Tetherball EP self-released • Tetherball always scared the crap out of me when I was a kid. I was totally convinced I would get nailed in the face and require major reconstructive surgery (and I ain't that pretty to begin with). So, with some trepidation, I placed The Tetherball EP in my girlfriend's CD player and braced myself for impact. But all I got hit with was some female-fronted indie rock a la Mangapop. I may not be up for a game of tetherball any time soon, but at least I can enjoy this four-song EP without fear of damaging my grill. (CL)

The.Story.Of foothill highway appalachian road self-released The.Story.Of doesn't seem to quite know what style of music to make. Or perhaps it would be better to say that they haven't strapped themselves into the straightjacket of "a sound." On this five-song EP are songs like the Wilco as Everly Brothers "Song For A Friend," replete with solos of anthemic organ backed with a synth choir. There is also the almost inexplicable "Ergots Of Rye," with its call and response vocals, one ferocious and one plaintive, which sounds like a combination of Blink 182, 311, and "The Star Spangled Banner." And yet! It is still good. There is also a cover, of all things, Enya's "Orinoco Flow," the coda of which is hugely overblown, with an almost 80's heavy metal bombast and a Rockford Files sounding synth lead. The common thread to all of these songs is a complex and contradictory sentimentality reminiscent of Ween's "more serious" songs, which is to say that they are meant to be simultaneously powerful, deep, fun, funny, rockin' and even stupid. (SJM)

Thebrightandhollowsky Gemstate Pop Faction Records • The second song "Holographic" off this moody album comes off as a mad combination between The Cure and Death Cab. The bass is with The Cure and the vocals resembling Ben Gibbard. "Intentions" has a really cool eighties vibe, yet with just enough touch of originality to keep you guessing. In fact the eighties sound reminds me of something Ric Ocasek and The Cars would have put together for a deep album cut on one of their albums. The dreamy delayed guitar in "Oleander" strikes a Chili Pepper chord, especially with the clean soloing going on throughout. (SP)

Thee More Shallows More Deep Cuts Turn Records • It seems as if Benjamin Gibbard of Death Cab and Postal Service is on every new record I hear from Indie bands, or at least a total rip of his style. The second track "Pre-Present" couldn't hide the Gibbard factor if it tried, and trust me –it doesn't. And it doesn't stop here. By the time you get to "Freshman Thesis," you should be convinced as I am that this band studies Death Cab and not just its vocal style, but its clean guitar tone and accompanied percussion. However track 8 "Int #2" shows that these guys have the ability to form and shape their own sound in the near future. This song shows off a catchy groove with a moody atmosphere, which is unlike any of its predecessors on the album so far. If they are looking for an original formula to stick with, then look no further gentlemen. (SP)

Thin Acid Angel Underneath 6th Street self-released • What you have hear are 11 tracks of full-on rock, bordering on metal. Fans of Billy Idol will be all over this. Singer Minor Gray sounds a more than a little like Idol and the music stays right in line with the Brit punk, even delving into a little punk on songs like "Hippie-Crits." (SH)

Tiny Hawks Fingers Become Bridges Corleone • Spastic, but structured, this mathy, noisy eight-song CD is a contrast of sounds. For an instance, there will be a sense of semblance, melody, but in a breath the drumming seizures, the guitars run rampant, only to drag you down with it, falling into its chaotic grasp. While, I would have guessed I wouldn't like this, I'm drawn to it. I find the flailing structure intense and dramatic and it provides a yang for the melody's ying. Chaos never sounded to well-organized. (CM)

Toast All In Pro Music Records • I judged a book by its cover and it failed me. I didn't like this disc at first because I thought it was a metal disc. It isn't, and once I figured that out, I was okay. A few more listens through with the proper attitude allowed me to enjoy this eclectic rock mix. Good sounds that generally defy classification. They sound like they would be a great band to have playing in your favorite bar – a great mix of tempos and sounds. (MK)

Trance Lucid The Colours of Darkness Lucid Moon Child Music • Trance Lucid plays instrumental rock with fusion leanings, and some elements of electronica. All the tracks are composed around the guitar, and reminded me a little of Lvx Nova. (AL)

Troubled Hubble Making Beds in a Burning House Lookout! Records • Troubled Hubble returns with their new album, Making Beds in a Burning House. These guys continue to fine-tune their straightforward indie rock. While there's no definitive standout track like "I Love My Canoe" from 2002's Penturbia, Making Beds in a Burning House is a more solid record start to finish. The performances are tighter, the production is stronger, and the overall feel is more mature. But despite the use of words such as "mature," these guys still churn out some very enjoyable (and good for your vocabulary) indie rock. (CL)

Tsar Band Girls Money TVT Records • At first I thought this band would be a cheesy power pop band, especially with their title track. But if you give them a chance, the album is actually not that bad. It is definitely worthy of being a guilty pleasure. I think the songs get better as the record plays out. The guitar solos appear here and there on some tracks but it's the catchy hooks and choruses that will grab your attention. (KB)

Unsacred Hearts self-titled Serious Business Records • Hard to classify this disc, which is always a treat when reviewing. This band drives full force with a rock and roll blast, but at the same time the disc is infused with a background sense of cohesion. If I had to guess, I'd say that these guys like The Stones, The Cows and Primus. Just a guess, of course. (MK)

Valient Thorr Total Universe Man Volcom • Hardcore glam rock? Is that possible? Certainly, the band's name fits and the kick-ass guitar solos are way cool. And it's all so dramatic, orchestrated, crafted perfectly; I can almost see the parts where fireworks would launch. Teasing aside, these guys are one hell of a rock show, I can tell. The music is a polished brand of garagy punk rock with a nod to metal, most notably Valient Thorr has a piercing guitar solo in almost every song. I'm not complaining, they are awesome. This band undoubtedly puts on a sweat-drenched, beer-soaked live show that is not to be missed. I'm so there. (CM)

Various Artists 80 Records and Were Not Broke Yet Level Plane • Level Plane is one of the greats when it comes to releasing great stuff and this release really showcases their roster. This is a double disc of released and unreleased material. Some of the bands present on this album include City of Caterpillar, Neil Perry, and Lickgoldensky, to name a few. If you are not familiar with this label or their bands, this is the perfect album for you to check out. This is a really awesome compilation chalked full of killer bands. You should probably go buy it now. (RP)

Various Artists Bebel Gilberto Remixed Six Degrees Records • Bebel Gilberto's Tanto Tempo album became quite popular when it came out. With all the attention it garnered, it is no surprise that a remix album is being released. Some of electronica's heavy hitters were gathered for the project, including DJ Spinna, Latin Project, Thievery Corporation, and Tom Middleton. The songs were given a whole new life, and stand up well by themselves, even if you have not heard the originals. (AL)

Various Artists Dead Bands Party: A Tribute to Oingo Boingo Indianola Records • Any guy who grew up in the 80's remembers the movie Weird Science. Which of course reminds us of Oingo Boingo's track, "Dead Man's Party." This tribute album opens with that track, and also includes "Weird Science," as well as twelve others by Reel Big Fish, The Aquabats, Finch, RX Bandits, and more. (AL)

Various Artists Hen House Studios Anthology 4 - 2004 Stone Mountain • Hen House Studios is a unique entity, allowing artists to record free of charge, in exchange for the right to film them while they record. The footage is used to make behind the scenes documentaries, as well as promoting the up and coming sounds out of Venice Beach, California. This compilation is full of great music and contains an appearance by The Doors keyboardist Ray Manzarek, as he backs Michael C Ford during his spoken word track "Xtreme Unction." High profile musician aside, there is plenty worth taking in on this release, a diverse collection blended with a natural vibe. Sonja Marie impresses with "I AmŠ Life" where a programmed beat and congas adds inspiration to poetic vocals while Ethan Livermore offers up a catchy pop-rock song "The Dead." Standout tracks don't end there, as Fan Fiction, Boom Shaka, Badfish and Drunk Acrobat provide more bright spots, among others. (JC)

Various Artists Homemade Hits Vol. 2 Kittridge Records • This 28-track compilation of home recorded tracks contains a wide range of sounds, from the strange (Chika Chika's "Ten Feet Tall") to the merely weird ("Bossa Nostra: The Sound Of Leisure", by Thunder! Thunder! Thunder!) to the bizarre (Gang Wizard's "Burger Under Your Face"). Some of the tracks are nicely recorded, though most are pretty noisy, although only a real curmudgeon would let this get in the way of enjoying these songs. (SJM)

Various Artists Look At All The Love We Found: A Tribute to Sublime Cornerstone R.A.S. • Sublime made quite a splash in the 90's with their infectious blend of reggae, ska and rock. The fact that their music crossed the paths of all kinds of people is reflected by the collection of artists that contributed tracks to this album. Among them are Jack Johnson, Fishbone, AVAIL, No Doubt, The Ziggens, Ozomatli, Pennywise and Greyboy Allstars. (AL)

Various Artists Monosyllabic 002 Monosyllabic Records • Monosyllabic is a record label that focuses on electronica artists from the Arcata, California area. Therefore, there is a good chance you have never heard from any of the artists on this compilation. That is sad, because these guys are all pretty good, especially if you like old school videogame-sounding music. There is also a bit of ambient and some experimentation as well. (AL)

Various Artists More Ways Than Three Innocent Words • This compilation is a diverse offering of sounds that has been put together to benefit Riley's Children's Hospital. The difference in each bands style is clear from the get go, but those distinctions help this record blend together well. Kinski starts things out with a high-energy instrumental track, before Sinombre takes a more desolate approach on "Thanks, Anyway," then King's X adds a heavy dose of guitar on their offering "Two." The song list is made up mostly of albums tracks, but previously unavailable songs are featured from Lorenzo Goetz, Cameron McGill and Terminus Victor. Julian Hatfield, Ani DeFranco and Common Rider also appear. (JC)

Various Artists music words images Chuckbeat • This is a compilation of various acts, styles varying from spoken word to electronic to indie. There are a few standout tracks here, but the recordings are really lo-fi and take away from the all-around enjoyment. I really appreciate the effort here to bring different styles of music and spoken word together. This CD does have a nice DIY, grassroots feel about it and is a really great concept. Although the recordings are of poorer quality, I still really enjoyed this release. (RP)

Various Artists Now We Are Three!!! Lil' Chief Records • This compilation features eleven songs from artists on New Zealand's Lil' Chief Records. The disc was released in celebration of the label's third birthday. The artists featured on the disc are The Tokey Tones, The Brunettes, The Nudie Suits, Shaft, Alec Bathgate, Edmund Cake, and Ryan Mc Phun and the Ruby Suns. The songs all have an indie and melodic sound to them. This CD made me smile start to finish. No need to make an awesome mix tape because this will work perfectly. (KB)

Various Artists Smash the States Suicide Watch Records • This is the second compilation from Suicide Watch Records. It has 35 songs from 30 bands, all of which come from North Carolina, South Carolina, Georgia, Virginia, Tennessee, or Florida. The bands featured are all primarily influenced by previous punk bands from 1977 to 1983. The songs on this disc all come across as honest and straightforward. The goal of the compilation is not only to get these bands some recognition, but also to break down the state barriers and unite fans of punk rock everywhere. While it might take more than a compilation disc to do that, it is certainly not a bad start. (KB)

Various Artists SoFla, So Good, So What SoFla Records • This is the first compilation from SoFla Records. It features 21 songs from various South Florida punk bands. Some of the bands featured include Against All Authority, The Crumbs, and The Heatseekers. The disc also includes tracks from Why Not, Hopesick, and Malicioso who are all on SoFla Records. Some songs I enjoyed more than others but I think the compilation is a good idea just to get the names of these bands out to people. I live in South Florida and I only recognized a handful, so this CD is apparently needed. (KB)

Various Artists The Future of the Blues Vol. 2 NorthernBlues Music • This 15-track sampler, from the ever-growing NorthernBlues label, is a solid introduction to their roster of diverse blues musicians. Most of these songs have been handpicked off of previously released albums, but they make for an exciting collection that weaves between blues pop, roots and rock, to provide many styles of the genre. This release packs a little something for everyone. Dan Treanor & Frankie Lee offer up a grimy sound on "Missing," which is reminiscent of the early days; as is the uppity instrumental "No Particular Place To Be / Itchy Knees and Elbows," guitar picked by Kevin Breit & Harry Manx. James Cohen adds a touch of jazz to his musical approach; Glamour Puss goes the way of the big band to jam out, and the unreleased "Burning at the Feet of the Lord" is a grand sendoff by John and the Sisters. (JC)

Various Artists This Is Indie Rock: Vol. 2 Deep Elm • The second installment in the Deep Elm indie rock compilation series features twelve bands from across the globe. The opening track (Maxel Toft) is an exceptional, mathy, instrumental piece that is as jazzy as it rocks. That's followed up by Jena Berlin ramming a hard rock tune straight down your throat ala an amped up Foo Fighters. There's a good mix of uptempo rockers and more mellow stuff. Standout tracks, besides the aforementioned, include The New Lows, who pound out a guitar-heavy power pop jam that is edgy, melodic and passionate; The Forecast deliver a super tight, heartfelt, catchy little tune with a kick ass breakdown; and The Call Up kicks a super infectious rock tune that will get stuck in your head whether you want it to or not. (CM)

Various Artists Until The Shaking Stops Yep Roc Records • Jawbox was a great band. The 14 tracks on this compilation serve to pay tribute to Jawbox. Fourteen bands guest star to give their take on some of Jawbox's greatest songs. Featured on here are such bands as Pilot to Gunner ("68"), Black Cross ("Tools and Chrome"), Retisonic ("Cooling Card"), Red Animal War ("Cutoff") and Heros Severum ("Whitney Walks"). These kind of albums are for a couple types of people: big fans of Jawbox or fans of individual artists on here. The songs are great, as they were to begin with, and no artist on here completely ruins any of them. Some are quite good, in fact. For me, though, I'd prefer the original material. (CM)

Vytear Breaks G25 Productions • Listening to Vytear's album, Breaks, reminded me a lot of my old Squarepusher albums and some of Aphex Twin's more experimental fare. There are hints of melodies here and there, but the album mostly explores patterns created with different electronic beats. (AL)

Weevil Drunk on Light Wichita Recordings • Using the most "out-there" instruments to create the most touching of sounds, Drunk on Light works wonders, and hits the nerves of solitude and reflection without leaving you feeling lonely. The duo that makes up Weevil has created an album of songs that float effortlessly through your mind with slight installments of electronic pieces and mesmerizing vocals. The way they blend the many sounds and songs together, and actually make them worthwhile, is a testament to the unique style of Tom Betts and Jonny Pilcher. Among the many sounds included within are a xylophone, melodica, synthesizers, customized drum machines, samplers and much more. (JC)

Whitman Anhedonia Falling self-released • A very melodic, solid beginning to this record sparked my interest. Vocals entered and reminded me of Thom Yorke of Radiohead with the range, but didn't always stay quite on tune and sometimes threw off the musical harmony. Emo rock with occasional pop melodies make up this six-song EP. "The Wanting" shows the potential as a pop rock band, while "Moratorium" is a little darker and melodic. Some harder elements come through on "A Song to Save," which wraps up the album nicely. These songs are lacking in some areas, but it's obvious this is an album from a band with some rocking potential. Maybe their next effort will prove more successful at their attempts. (MP)

Why? Sanddollars EP Anticon • Why? is awesome and frustrating. On one hand, this eight-track EP is absolutely amazing; on the other hand, it's really hard to sum up. Why? is known for his part in Anticon, one of the best underground and experimental hip-hop crews/labels around. And while Anticon is known to cross genre boundaries, this album is certainly pushing the musical envelope, combining hip-hop, electronica, pop and indie rock. Track four, for instance, is the best They Might Be Giants song I've ever heard by anyone other than TMBG, except it's a Why? original and an amazing song, possibly the best tune on the record. It's hard to determine the right audience for this; it's certainly melodic and has a pop sense about it, but it also experiments a bit and is far left of center. This isn't for people expecting a hip-hop album, nor is it for people expecting an indie pop sugar fest. It's somewhere in between, in a murky area few, if any (Grand Buffet comes close), artists have previously gone. I'm really enjoying this murky area. (CM)

With Honor/The Distance split CD Martyr Records • This disc has the best packaging I have seen in a while. It is embedded in a four way folding cover, complete with amazing artwork. With Honor and The Distance each offer up three songs for the split. Both bands are tight and intricate hardcore. With Honor's half of the split is more melodic and catchy, but The Distance holds its own with the intensity shown through the last three songs. (KB)

With Or Without You Six Reasons To Drop Out Martyr Records • Aggressive musically, the lyrics throughout this EP contain positive reinforcement and a strong will to defeat any negative train of thought or emotions. The powerful chords and shreds of this heavy metal band are a solid sound that channels feelings and beliefs through amplifiers at the highest of volumes. These songs contain lyrics that come off like diaries of repenting intentions and struggles with staying true to the new course, in a life that remains filled with roadblocks at every bend. Check out tracks like "Trying Real Hard to Be the Shepard" and "The Song That Made the World Hate Me" for a look inside Six Reasons To Drop Out. (JC)

Wrecking Crew 1987-1991 Bridge Nine Records • Some of you may already know Wrecking Crew by name. I recognized the name but I'm not intimately familiar with their work. If you do know them, you're probably already online buying this. If you want great metal-punk, a la Suicidal Tendencies, Biohazard, even a little early Anthrax, this is for you. If you're on the fence, let me say this: 26 songs (10 of which are live) and a very well done CD booklet. It gives you a quick synopsis of the band, as well as their lyrics. (SH)

ZZZ Sound of ZZZ Howler Records • Crashing through the speakers with a sleazy rock sound, highlighted by the heavily spooky sounds of an organ, Bjorn Ottenheim and Daan Schinkel turn up the drum kit to provide an explosive release from out of the Netherlands. Mangling the styles of new wave and electronic, this larger than life disc veers from haunting tracks such as "Ecstasy" to surf-pop oriented songs like "LaLaLa" without hesitation. Everything on Sound of ZZZ can be traced to early influences, whether drug related or not. "House of Sin" sounds like Jim Morrison reincarnated, "Hammerhead" sounds like Glen Danzig on vocals and similarities to Type O' Negative and Elvis imitators can easily be heard. Regardless, this is an album that dances its way inside your bones with the intent on bringing them down to the floor. (JC)

DVD Reviews

Tsunami BombLive at the GlasshouseKung Fu Records • This is the seventeenth episode of Kung Fu Records "The Show Must Go Off" Series, and with it, the label shows their commitment to producing high quality punk rock videos. Tsunami Bomb plays their hearts out at the Glasshouse club in Pomona, playing some new tracks as well as older favorites. As usual, the DVD is packed with extra features, including multiple camera angles, a commentary, a music video and a behind the scenes look at the band on tour. (AL)

Dead BoysLive! At CBGB 1977Music Video Distributors • I believe any chance to see old concert footage of bands who have influenced the current music scene is great. The footage on this DVD is from a 1977 Dead Boys concert at CBGB in New York. Rod Swenson recorded the concert using a three-camera color setup. Between the power cutting out mid song and lunchmeat, this is one punk rock set I wish I could have seen live. The best part about DVD's such as this one, are the extras that come along with it. Not only do they give you concert footage but then you also get old interviews with the band from 1977, as well as a newer interview with one of the members of the band and their old manager. Whether you are a Dead Boys fan or not, footage like this is incredible to see. (KB)

The ExploitedBeat 'Em AllDream Catcher Records • When talking about legendary punk bands, The Exploited always seem to come up. The band has been creating music for over twenty years. This DVD is perfect for punk fans who want to see a band that has influenced a lot of musicians since their inception. The concert footage was recorded in Poland in 2003 at Metalmania Festival. Nineteen songs were performed at the concert, including "Never Sell Out," "The Massacre," and "Sex and Violence." Make sure to check out the other extra features on the DVD, such as the band biography and interview. (KB)

Various ArtistsThe Eulogy Tour- Volume One: Tour is HellEulogy Records • Filmed in the summer of 2004, this DVD is the first in a series of tour releases from Eulogy Records. The bands featured on the DVD include On Broken Wings, The Warriors, Shattered Realm, Black My Heart, and The Judas Cradle. The footage shown contains everything from live performances to interviews. There are two music videos as well, courtesy of The Warriors and The Judas Cradle. One of the best parts of the DVD is the behind the scenes footage. Tour antics show viewers all the excitement and craziness that ensues on a hardcore tour. The one hour and thirty minutes will surely keep viewers entertained. (KB)

Vinyl Reviews

Bruno PonsatoWuorinen b/w Live in Cascadia 12²Orac Records • The title track is a bouncy techno number with bubbly effects and some sexy vocals in the background. Its Jackmate remix trims some of the effects, making the track a bit harsher. "Live in Cascadia" features some random piano samples and a crowd in the background. (AL)

Heroic Lane Change/The New Lowssplit 7"Slow January Records • I started this split seven with Heroic Lane Change, for a brief moment I wondered if I had it at the wrong speed. The drums start off with a blast of energy usually only found on a horribly generic punk band releases, fortunately for us this is not the case. A great pop song with a good hook is found within and the ever familiar voice of Tyson (that guy) and the wonderful driving guitar hook keep a good thing moving. The second song sounds a lot like a Soul Asylum song, but mostly due to that guy's vocals. On the alternate side the New Lows give us a soulful composition of gritty vocals and droning guitars, reminiscent of the early '90s alt country movement with a healthy dose of Americana rock. (MC)

The Pridsself-titled double-7" Luminal Records • A pseudo '80s goth band parading as New York chic releases two 7" vinyl records. Don't get me wrong, this band has some OK pop songs in the vein of Joy Division. There are some indie rock influences in there, but not enough to erase the true goal of the band, which is to write easily recognizable songs that can be categorized along side bands like Interpol, but that's just the A side. The B side brings us one annoying song with a vocoder and one intriguing song that creates a lush landscape of samples and synths but is unfortunately too short to really sustain any true feeling. On the second 7" we find more of the same that we found on the A side of the first record. On the surface the Prids could be good, the minimalist sound of guitars and vocals do come off as catchy pop songs. I just feel they lack any true element to stand them above the crowd at this point. (MC)

Only Lovers Left Alive/No T-Shirtsplit 7"self-released • One a Chicago band, the other a Tokyo band, but amazingly they fit together like pieces of a puzzle. Both create lush sound-scapes of pop songs, much like M-83 with less drums, or Joy Division. Even elements of radio friendly bands like Longwave show up on No T-Shirts minmal "holiday." Guitars are thick with delay and vocals are sparse if there at all. A great 7", especially for being self released. (MC)

The Fugueself-titled 7"Recommended If You Like Records • After reading the "artwork" on this 7" for about 15 minutes I came up with the band name and song names, but at least it was worth it. Vocals are hardcore yelps and talking over mathy guitars that create the noisy floor for the rhythm section to stomp all over. The band reminded me a very tiny bit like Refused, with bands like June of 44 mixed in. Over all it is a strong record and worth the listen, even if it takes you forever to figure out who the hell released it. (MC)

The Morning Sidesself-titled 7"Recommended If You Like Records • Someone here, other then myself, owns the entire Pavement Catalog. Who is it you ask? The Morning Sides of course. Jangly guitar pop drives these poorly sung story songs. With less lyrical wit then Stephen Malkmus and less heartfelt passion then Lou Barlow, it leaves this band with an awesome colored 7" (marbled silver/grey) and being mentioned next to these indie icons. Beyond that it doesn't leave them with much. (MC)

Ben Lee/Pony Up!split 7"Dim Mak Records • This one was so odd I had to review it. The A side is Ben Lee covering Modest Mouse's "Float On." I didn't really think that was what it was going to be, but sure enough, its Ben Lee's take on a song that was released maybe a year ago. Regardless it is a decent version, it's not really any different then the original, a little more minimal, sounds more like Lee recorded it in his bedroom with a four track, but that tends to be what he does best. The B side is an all girl band singing about sleeping with dudes. It's not bad when it hits the chorus, it kind of sounds like they sat around, smoked some pot, wrote the first things that rhymed that came to their mind and ran with it. Not bad for a cute little pop song, just not much substance. (MC)

Mind FlayerDie + Mold 12"Corleone Records • Wow, I don't know what to say. It didn't leave me speechless or anything, I'm just at a loss for describers that I can easily fit into a one-paragraph review. I hate this analogy, but if Venetian Snares and The Locust drank a lot of whiskey one night and each had sex with the devil, and the devil then had a child, well, I would imagine it would sound something like this. This record is spastic metal broken by spans of noise that not even a mother could love. When songs break through they don't resemble anything definable, but when they are making noise, they commit. It goes for almost an entire side of the 12" at one point. I admire them for their resolve and I also despise them for the loss of 25% of my brain after listening to the record, which may or may not be a bad thing. (MC)

Dirty South Apocalypse/Asthma Attaqsplit 12"Forever Escaping Boredom Records • Dirty South Apocalypse follows closely in the footsteps of metal bands before them like Nile or Darkest Hour. They tend to stick to a very formulaic but effective metal song pattern of riffs and breakdowns. There is nothing wrong or bad about this side of the record, but nothing amazing either. Asthma Attaq are more akin to bands like Dillinger Escape Plan with less jazz influence. They play spastic metal broken up by melodic interludes. The vocals sound as if someone is attempting to rip this guy's vocal chord out as he is screaming, but they work over the music. Overall this is a good sampling of these two metal bands. (MC)

Dorn The OverseerCalifornia Dream EP 12"Abstrakt Konfusion Records • Good samples provide a decent beat for this young rapper to lay some good lyrics over top. With production credits that include a name like Madlib, Dorn does not disappoint. I could easily see this album sitting along side other indie acts like Atmosphere. The beats remain interesting with samples pulled from areas of music including funk, jazz and even a little bit of string movements. Don't pick this up if you want the latest over produced rapper, but if you want a good roots rap record this is a worthwhile purchase. (MC)

Record Label Addresses
In alphabetical order. Please write them.

4 Alarm Records,
5 Rue Christine,
54° 40' or Fight!,
Abstrakt Konfusion,
Action Packed! Records,
Adventure Pop,
Alternative Tent.,
Anti Records,
Artificial Music,
Ascetic Records,
Asian Man Records,
Astro Magnetics,
Bakery Outlet,
Battle Born Records,
Beth Custer Records,
Bridge Nine,
Broken Spoke,
BYO Records,
Cake Records,
Carter Little,
Cash Mattock,
Cathouse Records,
Chairkickers Music,
CI Records,
Clockwork Recordings,
Cochon Records,
Coqi Records,
Cornerstone R.A.S.,
Cream Cloud Records,
Creep Records,
Crimson Five Productions,
Daemon Records,
Day 51 Records,
Dead Canary,
Deadwood Records,
Definitive Jux,
Desiccant Records,
Dim Mak Records,
Domination Recordings,
Domino Recording Co.,
Dr. Strange,
Dream Catcher,
Dualtone Music Group,
Echelon Prod.,
Embedded Music,
Equal Vision Records,
Eulogy Recordings,
Fast Music,
Fat Wreck Chords,
FatCat Records,
Fearless Records,
Fiddler Records,
Forever Escaping,
Fractured Transmitter,
G25 Productions,
Get Hip Recordings,
Ghostly International,
Go-Kart Records,
Gold Standard Labs,
Grasshopper Recs,
Grey Flight Records,
Happy Happy Birthday To Me,
Heavy G Records,
Hellbent Records,
Hexacron, no web site info available
Hopeless Records,
Howler Records,
Hydra Head,
In Your Absence,
Indianola Records,
Innocent Words,
Ipecac Recordings,
Ironbound Recordings,
Jive Records,
Johanns Face Records,
JP Corwyn,
Kanine Records,
Kittridge Records,
Koolarrow Records,
Kung Fu Records,
Level Plane,
Life Sentence,
Lil¹ Chief Records,
Lookout! Records,
Luminal Records,
Martyr Records,
Maxi 2000,
Menlo Park,
Mercy Seat Music, no web site info available
Mike Comfort,
Mimicry Recordings,
Mir Media,
Monitor Records,
Mother Six Gun,
Mush Records,
Music Video Dist.,
Narcoleptic Youth,
New Mexican Erection,
New Romance for Kids,
Nice Guy Records,
Ninja Tune,
Nitro Records,
No Idea Records,
Noisyfrog Records,
Northeast Records,
NorthernBlues Music,
November Trials,
olFactory Records,
Orac Records,
Orange Peal Records,
Pluto Records,
Pop Faction,
Princess Records,
Prison Jazz Records,
Pro Music Records,
Ra Sounds,
Raging Sea Design,
Recommended If You Like,
Rehash Records,
Reignition Records,
Revelation Records,
Rhymesayers Ent.,
Saddle Creek,
Sante Music,
Sao Bento Music,
SDS Records,
Seconds Before,
Secret Keeper,
Secretly Canadian,
Sedition Records,
Serious Business,
Shallow Grave,
Sickroom Records,
Side Cho Records,
Silver Three,
Sineapplesap Records,
Six Degrees Recs,
Six Shooter Recs,
Skrockie Records,
Slow January Records,
Smoke Off Vinyl,
SoFla Records,
Soft Targets,
Sonic Unyon Recording,
SOS Records,
SPV Recordings,
Starmill Records,
Stickville Records,
Stone Mountain Ent,
Suicide Watch,
Team Mascot,
Tension Wire,
Teri Falini,
The Drews, www.wearethedrews.coms
The Swing Line,
The Yum Yum Tree,
Theory 8 Records,
Thick Records,
Thin Acid Angel,
Thirty Ghosts Records,
TKO Records,
Tony Chaos Records,
Tooth & Nail Records,
Triple Crown Records,
Turn Records,
TVT Records,
Two Sheds Music,
Uncommon Records,
Upper Class Recordings,
Urban Ikon,
Victory Records,
Violent Hippy Records,
Warp Records,
Wichita Recordings,
Yep Roc Records,

Music reviews from past issues: