78 RPM’S · self-titled 7" · dill records · A fun ska-punk 7" that actually plays at 45 rpm. Two great songs, one so-so one here. “21st Street Bash” has very distinct vocals with a rapid fire OpIvy delivery. “The Longest Way Home” shows the good punk brings to ska in the realm of personal expression. “Leg Picked Fly” shifts between hardcore to ska to hardcore etc. Nice try, but the other songs are more fun.

AFI · Shut Your Mouth and Open Your Eyes · Nitro Records · These guys are pissed. Their fear and loathing of all that has ever existed is somewhat unsettling, to say the least. The music is your basic minor “I’m pissed and I’m punk” chords. It isn’t bad at all I just wish they had a positive thought once in a while. Lighten up.

Avail/(Young) Pioneers · split CD - The Fall of Richmond · Lookout Records · Three Avail songs of medium to fast pace with aggression and melody in a way that only Avail can pull off. Their music is tight and energetic with a hardcore edge. (Young) Pioneers are very aggressive, angry with vocals that are too much for me to handle; very throaty and screamed. I wish it was all Avail.

Bad Boy Bill · Global House Culture 4 · ESP SUN/Roadrunner · This is house music for house people. A sixty minute mix CD spun by DJ Bad Boy Bill of Chicago. Though I liked the preceding material released in the ESP SUN CD series, this one didn’t do much for me. The tracks on this CD come off as directionless energy with zero hedonism. The best track is “Rock Da Funky Beat” by Bosco, but if the point of a DJ-specific CD is how the DJ builds the experience, this would make for a frustrating night. If you’re a fan of house music, you may love this. All others probably won’t. It’ll drain the life from you.

BMX Bandits · Theme Park · Big Deal · OK, it’s Scottish, and it’s a different school. The sticker on the cover describes it better than I ever could, “Timeless breezy pop songs way cool.” Good description it’s sort of Beach Boysy and They Might Be Giantsy in sound, but foreign, somehow. I guess, well, Scottish, that’s how. A different standard.

Bracket · Novelty Forever · Fat Wreck Chords · In the past, the offerings from Bracket seemed like they had a lot of potential, but never quite extended that far. Finally, Bracket has come to terms with itself and found a really great and interesting sound with great harmonies that are just off what one would expect. Bravo! Go Bracket!

Brother Rabbit · Brother Rabbit · Rabbit Rabbit Rabbit Productions · Counting Crows, Hootie…kiss my ass! THIS is what acoustic rock is supposed to sound like. These guys are great. Better than Blind Melon, better than any of them. You’ll be hearing more of Brother Rabbit very soon.

Caught Inside · Siegel For President 7" · Evil Ash Records · You get four tracks of high-school issue Ska-punk with warbly vocals here. It’s on clear vinyl, so if you like this kind of stuff, it may be your speed. Personally, it didn’t do much for me in a punk, ska or even ska-punk way.

Charming · Giant · Tweekitten Records · Former engineering students form the best bands. (Boston, for instance.) Though this band is a far departure from them, the mellow, jazzy music is very well thought out. And for the icing on the cake, an excellent female vocalist.

Cletus · self-titled 7" · Offtime Records · Pop punk tunes with a 77 punk styled nasally singer. It works! The tracks have an emotional edge to them yet aren’t overwrought. This is fun stuff! “Monday” is a great Gimcrack cover everyone will want to chant along,too. If you see this and you’re a fan of pop punk, get this. You’ll be happy.

Clouded · self-titled · 76.2% Records · Clouded has a very aggressive indie-rock sound. It’s in-your-face, heavy guitars that carry a clean melody, a driving beat and vocals that jump out at you (somewhat immature in a Superchunk way). You can probably place in the “emo” genre with bands such as The Get-Up-Kids, Jimmy Eat World, Knapsack or Mineral, to name a few.

coalesce · give them rape · Edison Recordings · Anger has a new name. Although this isn't as good as the last couple things I heard by them, this still rips. It is super heavy and driving. The vocals come at you like a locomotive. The music doesn't quit. It has some damn cool tempo changes too!

Cockeyed Ghost · Neverest · Big Deal Records · Here you’ve got a bunch of fun-loving guys. Kind of like Hootie on speed. Their songs are pretty well done but I don’t think this cd will be their break. However, with just a little refinement, their next cd could be a potent threat.

Collateral Damage · Let Me Be Broken · New Age Records · This is old school hard core at its most fierce. Unrelenting, crunching guitars churn out aural aggression. Sadly, there are only 4 tracks on the disc, but they are worth hours of listening enjoyment.

cranes · ep collection vol. 1 & 2 · dedicated · Unfortunately there are no liner notes giving the history of the cranes or their place in the music world. What you get here are two CDs of material released between 89 and 96. The music is goth/industrial synth and bass heavy with a little-girl voiced female singer (to their credit this was before the alternative girl gold rush of couple years back). Great stuff, actually. Though their sound has filtered into the mainstream by other less original industrial-lite bands (filter), you will not be disappointed by the cranes and their musical progression over seven years.

Creamatory · AWAKE · Nuclear Blast America · A mystical, gothic trip through your mind. This is deep, brooding goth metal to take you to new worlds. Lots of layers of sound fill this disc with a deep, full sound.

Damaged · Token Remedies Research · Rotten Records · This is Austrailian grind-core. What makes it different from other grind-core is that it is good. Very, very good. It is evil and ferocious and my wife hates it, which is a sure sign of solid musical entertainment. This is a disc to which you may release aggression by thrashing about maniacally.

Deanna Kirk · where are you now · Blackbird Recording Co. · The title track is very promising. A strong voiced female singer is backed up by a wide range of instrumentation with sparse notes interjected throughout so no one instrument dominates. “I want it now” has an equally adventurous music mix, though more rock radio friendly. Fans of adult contemporary should give this an attentive listen.

Discount · Half Fiction · Kat Records · Florida’s own is back playing their uptempo, catchy power/pop punk. Discount is one part Tilt (female vocals), and two parts Cringer/JChurch (melodies that are creative and constantly changing). This album has 14 tracks, and nearly every one is worth the listen.

Dismember · Death Metal · Nuclear Blast America · This wins the most appropriately named disc of the year award. Fast, furious, screaming through your head like a bullet, this is death metal in its truest, finest form.

Dm3 · Dig It The Most · Bomp Records · Power pop is back, baby! These Aussies have it down to a science. If you miss the big guitar sounds of tight power pop music, this is the one to buy. If you’ve heard the term “power ballad” before, get ready to find out what it means. Check it!

Eat Static · Science of the Gods · Mammoth Records · Eat Static is back. This time, the sound of the future is cranked up and more menacing, with heavy crunching rhythms that owe more to jungle or drum and bass than to trance. So put on some comfortable clothes and get set to trip out on Science of the Gods.

Entombed · DCLXVI - To Ride, Shoot Straight and Speak The Truth · Music For Nations · This is some real hard music, my friends. The singer sounds like Rob Zombie, but you can actually understand him. This is not death metal. It has a gutwrenching bass line and one guy plays a handdrill.

Erik Dahl · Anti-Instrumentations · Comatonse Recordings · I like this one! Experimental ambience tracks to grate on your mind. Fugue 2 starts things off with a high pitch tone with buzzing bass sounds swirling around it. No beats. Just tones that build for over seven minutes. You’ll have fun trying to follow a track and then have it disappear and then reappear later. Unfortunately by the second track the charm wears thin. Track three goes in a different direction, reinterpreting the sound of “scratching” into rapid squeaks. This is a must for experimental music folks. I would assume these would be great sounds to sample and loop.

ethel meserve · the milton abandonment · Tree Records · what’s with bands not capitalizing anything. most of the time it’s those artsy’r of indie bands. here’s another one. the music is ok. it has a lot of changes but the music lacks in anything that really grabs me. the vocals are heartfelt, but not astounding. this is the new breed of indie/emo bands. i’m not impressed.

Flambookey · Flambookey · F.A.D. Records · Bring that funky s*#t! This band kicks out the hardcore funk as well as anyone. Rage, Helmet, these dudes will take them all on! Flambookey!!! Oh yeah, and the lead singer’s hair is the bomb.

Fondly · f is for... · Scratchie Records · This is jangly, melodic indie rock with a creative spark. The vocals are often smooth and harmonic, quite pleasant actually. The music, though, is unremarkable. That’s not to say it’s bad, cause this is quite good. It’s just not good in any new way. Must there be a new way?

free range pilgrim · tracing paper EP · Urinine Records · This is a four-piece indie band that throws sounds in your face. It’s melodic, but not in a typical pop way. The melodies work but sometimes sound a bit chaotic, like too much is being done. Maybe it’s just more musical than I’d prefer? Some of the vocals are shouted, others are sung. At times I can hear a Go Is My Co-Pilot influence. Other times it’s less abstract.

G.R.R.L. · self-titled · Comatonse Recordings · This is an interesting electronic album. It’s a sampler of several genres of the new school of programmed beats and noises. It covers Drum & Bass to Deep House to ‘80s Chicago to Minimal Techno and more. A total of eleven tracks. If not the best music, at least a music lesson.

Gilby Clarke · The Hangover · Paradigm Records · The sticker on this cd says, “A rock n’ roll record from former Guns N’ Roses guitarist Gilby Clarke.” Enough said. Fortunately, Gilby did not call in any of his former bandmates. He does this on his own and does it well. Especially his cover of the Beatles’ “Happiness is a warm gun” and Bowies’ “Hang on to yourself.”

HED(pe) · self titled · Jive Records · This band borrows aspects from Korn, Faith No More and Rage Against The Machine, to create a ferocious blend of hip-hop lyrical style and hard-ass guitars that will knock you off your feet.

Icos · Incurable Contact · Slipdisc Records · Icos missed their calling. This band would have been HUGE in the 80’s. They’re better than most of the 80’s metal bands, I just don’t know if the world is truly ready for the resurgence of that music. That aside, Icos is a very tight hard rock band. Their guitarist is amazing and the cd’s production is incredible. If you’ve been looking for some good ol’ hard rockin’, this is it.

Janis Figure · Mechanical Bull · Flak Records · Janis Figure is back and badder than ever. I know you hate it when we say bands are hard to describe. Well, Janis Figure truly is. They mix surf rock, punk and groove into something totally addicting. This is their second EP cd in a series of three. The last one, “Burn Out,” was wicked too. If you didn’t get it, you owe it to yourself to get this one.

June of 44 · Four Great Points · Quarterstick Records · June of 44 comes out with another CD in their tradition of schitzophrenic art-rock - slow, then fast, then dub-a-dub slow, hypnotic, trippy. You get the idea. Definitely wear headphones to listen to this one. “Doomsday” has a very faint song being played in the background. “Dexterity of Luck” slowly build momentum then slowly breaks it down, dancing on the edge of trance, but never falling.

KREATOR · Outcast · F.A.D. Records · Furoius thrash metal that will shake your fillings out. This German band is more focused than ever before, they have never sounded better. This, their tenth disc, was produced by Vincent Wojno (Machine Head) and rings of musical fury.

Lick 57's · self-titled 7" · OffTime Records · File this under punk rock. “Tara” is a good track about longing with a cool chant of the title. “Five Days a Week” is the punker number. “Floppy Disk” has an annoying guitar line, but the song works with vocals going against the music at times. “Bee-ach” is a decent track with more music than vocals, if a bit repetitive.

Link 80 · Killing Katie · Asian Man Records · As soon as I got home with this CD, I put it in, went to the kitchen for a sandwich and by the time I finished, it was over! Clocking in at under 22 minutes, these guys get right to the point. This is catchy punk with a touch of ska here and there. The singer sometimes sounds like Weird Al...but in a good way.

Lucky Me · Unlimited Tokens · Collective Fruit · Lucky Me kicks ass!!! Unfortunately, this particular reviewed cd only has three songs. Still, I’m sure there’s more of this band out there to be had and I’m going to find it all right now. Bye! Oh yeah, they play some twisted blend of rockabilly and crunch. It’s sick and you’ll love it!

Lustre King · The Money Shot · Actionboy · 5-track EP of discordant repetitiveness. Thought my CD player was skipping for a while there. It’s discordant on the level the great band All is, but the difference is, it’s not anywhere close to good. Buy this album and you will want to die. Holy Christ on the Cross, does it ever suck.

Me First · Awful Friendly · Broken Rekids · This all-girl band packs 14 tracks of harmonic, sing-a-long punk music in 34 minutes. The first full-length recording by Me First blends pop-punk, rock and a bit of psych.

Men To Burn · No Dancing Please! · Moon Ska · Very mellow ska. This is the first ska album that, like their title says, you probably can’t dance to. You can groove to it, maybe sway, but not dance. It’s almost like ska meets the blues. Very cool. Very relaxing. Very very. Oh, and the picture of the band will make you laugh so hard you’ll wet yourself. Guaranteed.

Mephiskapheles · Maximum Perversion · Moon SKA · For those of you that haven’t heard this band before, it’s ska music you’d hear at a lounge club....in HELL! This is the highly anticipated return of this skatanic group. If these guys don’t make it “cool” to be a devil worshipper, than nothing will.

Mulu · Smiles Like A Shark · Dedicated Records · How refreshing. It’s always nice to hear a band that actually lives up to their hype. Billed as “the Cocteau Twins covering Bjork,” these kids deliver in a big way. They take ambient, acid swirls and trip-hop, and make it sound oh so good.

Night in Gales · Towards the Twilight · Nuclear Blast America · Their debut album is sure to seat these gents at the forefront of their genre... melodic death metal with just the faintest hint of goth-roots. This is fast, aggressive stuff.

No Use For A Name · Making Friends · Fat Wreck Chords · No Use fans will be glad to know that there is no new guitarist. He just decided to use his real name (Chris Shifflet) instead of Jake Jackson. This is how rumors get started. Oh yeah, this CD is pretty awesome. Hard guitars, harmonious vocals, and a guest appearance by Dicky Barrett from the Bosstones.

Oblivion/Apocalypse Hoboken · split 7” · Harmless Records · Damn, Oblivion is so much fun. They play fast-paced melodic punk rock with vocals and a bounce that make ya wanna have some fun. Live, this band must be amazing. This has two songs by them. A.H. plays angry punk rock, the kind your parents would yell at you for listening to. The music is noise, but melodic and the vocals are pissed off. This has three songs by them. Both bands have some good stuff to offer.

opium taylor · fade machine fade magazine · caulfield · So many indie-rock bands, so few capital letters. I know I already mentioned this (see “ethel meserve”), but it’s getting out of hand. Pretty soon you’ll know, know capital letters = artsy indie rock. The music is strange, often changing tempos, characterized by unusual lyrics (that are hard to figure out) and vocals that scream and sing and shout about. This record put me off.

Pezz · One Last Look · BYO Records · Powerful punk rawk!! Yeah!!! Reminiscent of No Use For a Name, this band shows a great deal of passion, not just really fast drums and blaring guitars. It is as all music of the genre should be.

Piller · Growing Seeds · Aggro Records · Anybody who’s ever seen Piller (not a typo!) play live will know what an energetic band they are. Even though some of that energy is lost in the recording process, this is still one solid album. Their debut, Growing Seeds, sounds nothing like 7Mary3 or Matchbox 20 (thankfully), letting us know there are other sounds coming from Orlando’s music scene. They do, however, sound a lot like Metallica, circa Ride The Lightning, as various parts. From punk to power ballads, Piller demonstrates their well-rounded abilities.

Political Asylum · Rock, You Sucker · Broken Rekids · This release collects the best of Political Asylum for the first time on CD. Almost all of the songs are now out of print. It included 9 live tracks as well as demos, all mastered from cassettes or vinyl. So don’t expect digital quality here. Rock, You Sucker is a must have for anyone who followed Political Asylum’s 11-year career of producing anarchist punk on a DIY budget.

Pulley · 60 Cycle Hum · Epitaph Records · Splendid. The kind of swell-paced punk you can really jam to. Though they sing a bit too much about laziness and procrastination. Been there, done that Do you have the time to listen to them whine? Rush Limbaugh probably wouldn’t like ‘em. But he’s a dick, so make up your own mind.

rex 3 · self-titled · Southern Records · Rex has a beautiful sound. The four-piece is often accompanied by string instruments giving it a symphonic feel, a more touching sound. It’s most definitely along the indie-rock vein of things, but in a passive way. Nine lovely songs grace this disc.

Richard Julian · Richard Julian · The Blackbird Recording Co. · Richard Julian is a very talented singer, songwriter, guitarist. He sounds sometimes like Elvis Costello, sometimes like Adam Duritz, and always great. Straight-ahead acoustic rock as good as it’s ever been done. Roosevelt · self-titled 7” · boxcar records · These South Florida kids are no longer together which really sucks. They play creative hardcore that blends the heavier new school stuff with some of the more melodic skate rock of the late ‘80s. The vocals are delivered right on time and with enough emotion to knock you on your ass. Don’t miss this!

Rude Bones · There’ll Be Lots of Hard Tunes Along The Way · Moon SKA · These Japanese skanksters blend third wave ska with just the right amount of punk and attitude reminiscent of older Mighty Mighty Bosstones. No wonder Mr. “Shards of Glass In The Throat” Dicky Barrett guest stars on the title track.

Seely · Seconds · Too Pure Records · This album can best be described in one word. Hypnotic. Seely blends repeating guitars, vibrating organ and synthesiser effects all under the female lead singer’s reassuring voice. Every two tracks or so, there is an interlude of pulsating noises. You’re getting very sleepy....

Shonen Knife · Explosion! · Big Deal · This little EP has two versions of “Explosion!” (one in English, one in Japanese) and four live tracks, recorded in May ‘97 at NYC’s Irving Plaza.

Sicko · You Are Not The Boss Of Me! · Empty Records · Sicko has been playing their poppy brand of punk rock for years now. I’m so surprised they aren’t more popular cause they are amazing. Fast paced melodies, quirky vocals and lyrics and a sing-a-long quality that no other band has mastered.

Skoidats · The Times · Moon Ska Records · This is tasty SKA. Kind of like a cross between the VooDoo Glow Skulls and Big Lick. Lots of horns and very catchy riffs will have you skanking all over the place. This is a disc to get your parties hopping.

Snuff · Potatoes and Melons Wholesale Prices Straight From the Lock Up · Fat Wreck Chords · You can tell from the checkered designs on the cover that there’s a little bit o’ ska comin’ your way. Fortunately, it’s the best kind the fast, loud, punk kind! Really amazing, happy music. It’ll make you wanna dance a jig.

Spawn · Adrift · New Age Records · The five members of Spawn are pissed! Pissed at capitalism, racism, sexism and oppression. This German, straight-edge hardcore outfit is out to turn some heads and open some ears. The lyrics are printed, but it’s hard to follow the lead singer. But that is certainly no reason to ignore this CD.

Stray Bullets · self-titled 7" · Doing It For the Kids · Stray Bullets play great punk rock and bear a metal influence in everything else but their music. First, the bass player is “Bucky Lawless,” a nod to Blackie Lawless of W.A.S.P. Second and most odd of all, the lyrics are short so they repeat them to last the duration of a song. Punk used to be sing it once, songs over. This is the first time I’ve heard punk influenced by metal in this way. At least there are no solos, and the songs here are really catchy and lyrics like “I just gotta be me” come off as sincere when it could totally be cheesy. Get this!

T.S.O.L. · reissue · Nitro Records · This did not have to be reissued. T.S.O.L. is a band that should be forgotten. Fine, they appear in the movie Suburbia. So what? Why not reissue their hair-metal classics like “Hit and Run?” This never before on CD was issued on a cassette in the 80’s and I didn’t like it back then. All the songs are slow and sound the same with a singer aping David Bowie with a confused sense of politics. With over 10 years of time and music in between, they sound even worse. The only cool thing about them was their name is “lost” spelled backwards. This is a worthless cash in on punk nostalgia. Don’t buy into it.

The 4 Squares/Toucan Slam · Split CD - doin’ snuff with Roy Scherer · Shazam Records · Supercharged punk frenzy! That’s what it’s all about!! The kind of speed that will knock your eardrums outta your ear and send you flailing wildly until someone knocks you over the head with a cannonball dropped from the top of Castillo de San Marco in St. Augustine. Knowhatimsayin?

The Aquabats · The Return of… · Fearless Records · If you listen to the Aquabats as a “Saturday Morning Ska” band, you’ll like them. They are silly and totally harmless and focus on childhood memories of Star Wars toys, cartoon shows and hair metal screaming. It’s great that their antics make me smile (listen to Ska Robot Army & the awesome horn line). If I had a kid, I’d have them listen to this. The Aquabats are the Barney or Rafi of the jaded ska set. “Take me back to my happy land…”

The Brian Jonestown Massacre · Give It Back! · Tangible Records · Give It Back! is a medium to low tempo alt-rock album that includes different elements from those you would expect. A couple tracks have a Middle-Eastern feel, while “(You Better Love Me) Before I Am Gone” has a southern, bayou feel. “This Is Why You Love Me” sounds so much like the Beatles’ “Here Comes The Sun”, I’m suprised the lawyers haven’t called yet.

The Dwarves · The Dwarves Are Young & Good Looking · Epitaph Records · This CD is nothing short of amazing. The music is similar to listening to Samhaim’s Initium for the first time- instant loveable rock n roll rife with sex, evil and destruction. “Unrepentant” starts off everything tight and fast and segues into “We Must Have Blood.” The Dwarves play instantaneous sing-a-long punk rock and I love it! Their lyrics are filled with excess, anger and anti-religious imagery. It’s hard driving rock n roll- dangerous loud and defiant in the most heart-felt, antisocial ways long missing from punk rock.

The Features · Self titled ep · Spongebath Records · The Features sound like something I’ve heard before but can’t quite place it. Old new wave? Progressive rock from the 80’s? Early 90’s college alt rock? They fuse various sounds from the collective pop subconscious into six tracks of fun. These tracks are great, lemme tell you. All upbeat, cheery music with no biting irony (though they claim to be a Cars-ish band). Get this now so you can figure out who the Features borrowed from for yourself.

The Moog Cookbook · The Moog Cookbook Plays the Classic Rock Hits · Restless · Oh boy, this is a tough one. If you thought Devo was weird you probably shouldn’t get this. This is pure electronic strangeness. They cover (very well, I might add) Born to be wild, Whole lotta love and Sweet Home Alabama among others.

The Moons · Stolen Days 7” · Broken Rekids · Two songs from this new power pop band from the East Bay of San Fran. I was delighted to see Adam (ex-Jawbreaker drummer) back in the band business. The music is pop with a Brit feel to it. It is quite an offering - so take it.

The Palindromes · Muy Muy Pop Yum Yum · Twee Kitten Records · The Palindromes is pop music at its poppiest. Anna’s vocals are reminiscent of the Go Go’s Belinda Carlisle, but with less edge. Sharing vocal credits are Phil Demnison and Peter Scot to give The Palindromes a bit of variety. Muy Muy Pop Yum Yum....Indeed.

The Potatomen · Iceland · Lookout Records · Have The Smiths been reborn? Ok, so this will be the same thing every reviewer says about this beautiful album. But that’s ok by me. Cause that’s the best I can think of. It’s a damn fine piece of work and if you’re into that SMITHS thing, than you’ll dig this.

The Ravens · So Rare And New · (self-released) · Fourteen tracks of pure pop perfection and pleasure. Beautiful melodies, soaring harmonies, jangly guitars and lovely, romantic, sometimes bittersweet and always meaningful lyrics whose depth will make your spine tingle while the beat starts your toes tapping. If you like pop (the pre-Sgt. Pepper Beatles, the Bodeans, the Everly Brothers, etc.) rush out and buy this disc.

The Saints · Stranded; Eternally Yours; Howling · Amsterdamned Records · There is a definite progression over the 20 years that these discs span. From the howling screechy punk sound of the first two to the much cleaner (and slower) strains of the most recent disc, The Saints have definitely evolved, though, I personally care more for the older stuff. It has a nice garage sound to it. Lots of speed, but precise and musical.

The Sorts · self-titled 7” · Southern Records · There is some real funky stuff going on here melded with strange electronica and held together with a great indie-rock sound. Two songs total.

The Strike/Dillinger Four · split 7” - The Rebel’s Choice · Doing It For The Kids · The Strike are working-class punk rock. They play simple, mid-tempo melodies with gruff-ish vocals. They do this well. Dillinger Four - wow! The opening song “Open and Shut” may be the best single of the year. Fast-paced melodic punk rock but not in a Fat Wreck kinda way. This shit is original and has tempo changes to blow your mind. Buy this record for this song alone!

The Toy Dolls · One More Megabyte · Rotten Records · Thank goodness for bands like the Toy Dolls. These guys have been around for nearly 20 years and they continue to rip it up, platinum records or not. Called the Dr. Seuss of punk rock, these cats tell everyday stories set to kick-ass punk rock. Check it.

TRIAL · Foundation · New Age Records · Positive straight edge hardcore. Self-help lyrics in the vein of Norman Vincent Peale. This even comes with explanations of the song titles for the slow kids in the crew. The music doesn’t really rock out until Condemned, which has a great rolling delivery that matches the music. The other remaining four tracks are fast and unmelodic with an occasional breakdown. As you can only be responsible for yourself and your actions, I don’t understand what’s holding ‘em back. Who’s pulling them down? What are they rising from? If you’re going through negative times, perhaps you should get this CD. It’s cheaper than seeing a therapist.

triplefastaction · cattlemen don’t · Deep Elm Records · This is a four-piece that plays aggressive indie-rock. Some of the songs have a spacey kinda feel, others are heavier and more alternative rock-ish. The album is pretty damn solid.

Tuesday · Freewheelin · Asian Man Records · Tuesday is sure to please. Catchy, powerful and melodic tunes characterize this full-length release. Some songs have a rougher sound, some more poppy. The vocals are excellent and add plenty to the music. Not just typical punk rock, this has something more to offer.

U.S. Bombs · War Birth · Hellcat Records · U.S. Bombs are essential listening. Lead singer Duane Peters has been around since the start so anything he lends his voice to is worth hearing. There’s a retooled “Jaks” first heard on the “Give ‘em the boot” comp. “War Birth” has thirteen other tracks of mid tempo rock n roll with great production, choruses and melody, and finishes with an amazing “No Company Town.” If you consider yourself punk or wannabe punk or have a shred of self-respect, own this CD and their e.p. “Never mind the open minds.” They’ve lived long enough to have the guts to put substance in their lyrics and drop the stereotypical sound of punk ( superfast dissonance).

Various Artists · Fleetwood Mac-Patron Saints of Pop · Undercover Records · This is a collection of some really cool independent bands paying homage to the Mac in their own punk, pop and ambient ways. If you like Fleetwood Mac, if you ever did, you should pick this up. Hell, even if you don’t or haven’t, it’s still good music. Faster Tiger Varnaline, Semisweet and Jumbo are on here, among others.

Various Artists · Yellow Pills Volume 4 · Big Deal Records · Two amazing power pop cd’s in one month! Who’da thunk it? Yellow Pills is every bit as good as Dm3 (see review) and it’s more bang for your buck. There are 21 cuts on here, including one from Dm3 as well as Plimsouls, The Nines, Material Issue and The Loud Family. Essential listening.

Various Artists · Bang motion picture soundtrack · Moon SKA · Virtually all these tracks are available on a full length cd released a year or three or more ago. For those into ska, this is an odd one. Though “Brixton Beat” is an all time low in two-toney ska, I can see how it may interrelate with the film Bang, which is about an out of work actress who takes the identity of a cop in Los Angeles for a day. This isn’t a favorite ska or dub compilation. With the access Moon has to so many artists, I hoped they would issue new tracks exclusively for this film soundtrack. No such luck. Rather than create something new, they rehashed the old.

Various Artists · Bay Area Ska · Tomato Head Records · This is a swingin’ compilation of the San Francisco Bay Area’s best ska bands. Blindspot, Janitors Against Apartheid, Slow Gherkin, Monkey and Flat Planet are all on here. Throw this on and twist and shout the night away. Oh, and take a look at junior from Flat Planet – he’s a real looker.

Various Artists · Cinema Beer Nuts CD/Video · Hopeless Records · I first watched the video and that lead me to want to listen to the CD. The video is an odd one. The Bugels sang “Video Killed the Radio Star” and Cinema Beer Nuts really nails that coffin down. Bands like Link 80, Goober Patrol, and Horace Pinker have horrendous videos. Shades Apart’s video was shown on Mtv so I don’t see why that’s on here. However, Lunachicks shine with a dating game story line for their slick video for “Don’t want you,” Voodoo Glow Skulls are hard chollos, Strife just rules the hardcore scene with “Blistered’s” sparse stage setting and varying of regular and slow motion, and Hi Standard are just loveable goofs in Las Vegas. Then you have AFI rip off Goodfellas and Millencolin rip off Creepshow & bad Prince videos.

Various Artists · Nihon Ska Danso - Land of the Rising Ska - The Best of Japanese Ska · Moon SKA Records · Moon SKA has compiled the best ska bands from Japan on one twelve-track CD. Some in English, some in Japanese, some instrumental, all heavy on the horns! Bands included are: Blue Beat Players, Rude Bones, and the Oi-Skall Mates. Get this one if you are interested in multiculturalism in your CD collection.

Various Artists · SHREDS Volumes 4 & 5 · Shredder Records · This is the way indie should be. On these CDs are gathered some of the best, never heard, indie singles of 1996 (volume 4) and the early ‘90s (volume 5). Included on Volume 4 are the bands: The Grumpies, Discount, Planet Seven, The Detroit Cobras and eleven more. The music covers many genres from stripped-down indie to pop to surf. Volume 5 contains such acts as: The Oxymorons!, Fuckboyz, Strawman and Revelers. Definitely a couple CDs worth adding to the indie collection.

viewmaster · laugh lines · popfactory · Let’s call it indie-rock. Then all the kids will know that the vocals will be simple but solid, the music will be melodic and sometimes aggressive (sometimes even poppy) and there will be emotion placed here and there. Don’t get me wrong, this isn’t a bad release, it’s another indie-rock band - another good one.

VPN · Eleanor 7” · Evil Teen Records · VPN plays quality indie with a pop appeal. The music is simple and rhythmic and the vocals are clean but emotional. There are two songs on here. The second song is quieter and more ambient in an indie-rock way.

WHEAT · Untitled · Sugar Free Records · This reminds me of British rock from a few years back. Like Verve and that ilk. The best tracks are the ones with slow churning guitars and a dominant bassline and off kilter vocals. “Summer” captures the recklessness of that time frame. This is a promising release. It’s disarming with its lack of aggression or self-pity.

ADDRESSES - in alphabetical order TOO!! Please write them.

76.2% Records, 2055 Westheimer, Ste. 165, Box 30, Houston, TX 77098
Actionboy, PO Box 14471, Chicago, IL 60614
Aggro Records, 3500 Aloma Ave., Ste. W-24, Winter Park, FL 32792
Amsterdamned Records, Box 862558, Los Angeles, CA 90086-2558
Asian Man Records, PO Box 35585, Monte Sereno, CA 95030-5585
Big Deal, PO Box 2072, Peter Stuyvesant Station, NY, NY 10009-9998
Blackbird Recording Co., 185 Franklin St., 5th Fl., NYC 10013
Bomp! Records, PO Box 7112, Burbank, CA 91510
boxcar records, PO Box 1141, Melbourne, FL 32902-1141
Broken Rekids, PO Box 460402, San Francisco, CA 94146-0402
BYO Records, PO Box 67A64, Los Angeles, CA 90067
caufield, PO Box 84323, Lincoln, NE 68501
Collective Fruit, PO Box 4415, Seattle, WA 98104-0415
Comatonse Recordings, 309 E. 108 St., Ste. 3A, NY, NY 10029-4208
Dedicated Records, 580 Broadway Suite 1002, New York, NY 10012
Deep Elm Records, PO Box 1965, NY, NY 10156-1965
Dill Records, PO Box 347388, San Francisco, CA 94134-7388
Doing It For The Kids, PO Box 18661, Minneapolis, MN 55418
Edison Recordings, PO Box 42586, Philadelphi, PA 19101
Empty Records, PO Box 12034, Seattle, WA 98102
Epitaph Records, 2798 Sunset Blvd., Los Angeles, CA 90026
Evil Teen Records, 180 Varick St., 8th Floor, NY, NY 10014
F.A.D. Records, 12358 Ventura Blvd., Ste. 386, Studio City, CA 91604
Fat Wreck Chords, PO Box 193690, San Francisco, CA 94779-3690
Fearless Records, 13772 Goldenwest St. #545, Westminster, CA 92683
Harmless Records, 1437 W. Hood, Chicago, IL 60660
Hellcat Records, 2798 Sunset Blvd., Los Angeles, CA 90026
Hopeless Records, PO Box 7495, Van Nuys, CA 91409-7495
Jive Records, 137-139 W. 25th St., NY, NY 10001
Kat Records, P.O. Box 460692, Escondido CA 92046
Lookout! Records, PO Box 11374, Berkeley, CA 94712-2374
Moon SKA Records, PO Box 1412, NYC, NY 10276
Music For Nations, 137-139 West 25th St., NY, NY 10001
New Age Records, Box 5213, Huntington Beach, CA 92615
Nitro Records, 7071 Warner Ave., Ste. F-736, Huntington Beach, CA 92647
Nuclear Blast America, PO Box 43618, Philadelphi, PA 19106
Offtime Records, PO Box 220763, El Paso, TX 79913
Paradigm Records, 67 Irving Place South, 3rd FL, NY, NY 10003
popfactory, 350 7th St., Apt. B5, Brooklyn, NY 11215
Quarterstick Records, PO Box 25392, Chicago, IL 60625
Rabbit Rabbit Prod., PO Box 8261, Ann Arbor, MI 48107-8261
Restless, 1616 Vista Del Mar Ave., Hollywood, CA 90028
Roadrunner Records 536 Broadway NY, NY 10012
Rotten Records, Box 2157, Montclair, CA 91763
Scratchie Records, 1914 North Milwaukee Ave., Chicago, IL 60647
Shazam Records, 802 N. Silver St., Olney, IL 62450
Shredder Records, 75 Plum Tree Lane #3, San Rafael, CA 94901
Slipdisc Records, 101 W. Grand Ave., Ste. 600, Chicago, IL 60610
Southern Records, PO Box 25529, Chicago, IL 60625
Sugar Free Records, PO Box 14166, Chicago, IL 60614
Tangible Records, PO Box 7112, Burbank, CA 91510
The Ravens, 9803 3rd Ave., Orlando, FL 32824
Tomato Head Records, PO Box 61298, Sunnyvale, CA 94088-1298
Tree Records, PO Box 578582, Chicago, IL 60657
Tweekitten Records, 1547 Palos Verdes Mall #213, Walnut Creek, CA 94596
Undercover, PO Box 14561, Portland, OR 97293
Urinine Records, 6808 Madison Dr., Indianapolis, IN 46227

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