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April/May '03 Articles:
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Editorial: A Profile in Courage
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CD reviews

40 Grit Nothing To Remember Metal Blade Records • Contrary to what the title suggests, this album gives you something to remember, mainly the powerful combination of crushing riffs and melodic vocals. They took advantage of aural space during the recording, making this an excellent headphone listen. (AL)

5 Cent Deposit We Have Your Daughter Radical Records • I was hoping this band and the album that accompanied them wouldn't be worth what their name states. (It may sound mean, but I am faced with this problem many times) I was wrong. This band incorporates a style all their own on their Radical Records debut. Although it may not be my certain preference of genre, I appreciate the fast, energetic pop punk combined with the old school Operation Ivy type thrash vocals, backed by the everyday solos and harmonies all pop punk bands, as well as fans, seem to enjoy. I'm certain this band is to be a "shining star." The press that came with this CD was half the weight of my entire package of CDs. Any fan of Strike Anywhere, Digger, etc. will enjoy this bands catchy style and pointless lyrics. (CMax)

Akari Ikara Scene Police • Lots of piano and then more piano. This is the perfect music to put on to get creative juices going. It definitely feels like something you could put on while your analytic, everyday life mind wanders and your creative mind paints a portrait or writes a poem. It's mood music at its best. Repetitive melodies that you can get lost in. It took awhile to get going, but it was a smooth ride to finally reach the vocals. The beginning could be classified as a little dramatic but it works. There are pop moments with synths and drum machines making it a soothing mix of electronic music. "My ego could crush a full grown man" brings acoustic guitar into the mix and sounded like it could fit into Radiohead The Bends realm. shows Artistic and creative music. (MP)

All Girl Summer Fun Band 2 K • I hate to say it, but this second album (hence the title) from AGSFB makes you want to get into a convertible and drive to the beach ­ any beach. It is in the grandest tradition of girl bands and releases on the K label ­ it's cute, poppy, gossipy and edgy, melodic and harmonic with major chords out the wazoo. It's just brimming with fun in its purest form. The album, though chock full of West-coast sensibilities, will certainly thrill girl rock fans across the nation. (DP)

Alva Star Alligators In The Lobby Parachute Adams • Alva Star is yet another in a long line of talented artists from the Twin Cities. Led by singer-songwriter John Hermanson, Alva Star serves up some very good indie guitar pop. The songs, superbly crafted with varied tempos and textures, are reminiscent of early-Wilco and Treble Charger. I don't know what they're doing up there during those cold Minnesota winters, but as long as they keep churning out bands like Alva Star I'm cool with it. (CL)

American Popular Sold Out (The American Way) Ironman Records • Sounding radio ready, and deservingly so, this edition of what has been done by the likes of Linkin Park, System of a Down, Disturbed and Chevelle is packed solid with guitar, chorus, guitar licks and wrenching vocals. The acoustic guitar comes out on "Even Though I Never Said" and again on "Mr. Trampoline" before getting back to normal (aside from drumbeats in the background) and showing the versatility within. What stands out here is the title track that looks into the American obsession with being popular. No reason this stuff here wont be the next big thing to hit music and video channels near you. (JC)

Andrea Maxland Paper Cut Montesano Records • I can't describe the relief I felt when I put this record on and didn't hear a woman on an acoustic guitar. Not that I don't like that sort of thing, but it a little overdone. Everything about Maxland's music is refreshing. Indie-poppy with great rhythm and an amazing voice. Her vocals are sort of a mix between PJ Harvey and an angel. Not what angels are supposed to sound like, but what a punk rocker like me dreams they do. Maxland's songs share great arrangement and creativity. Pure fucking delight, as my friend would say. (KM)

Aphrohead Thee Underground Made Me Do It Clashbackk Recordings • Aphrohead is Felix Da Housecat's alter ego, resurrected once again to bring you this release. It is chock full of house and techno beats, somewhat similar to Daft Punk's Discovery. If not for the ultra-danceable songs, you'll want to get this CD for "Liquid Kitty," the song where a woman describes how she brings herself to orgasm in a rather matter-of-fact way! (AL)

Arab on Radar The Lost Singles Three One G Records • This CD rounds up singles, demo tracks and other never before release material by Arab on Radar. Their sound would fit in with bands on the Southern label, since they sound somewhat disturbing, with dissonant guitar lines and almost annoying vocals. (AL)

Awol One and Daddy Kev Slanguage Mush Records • With Awol One on the mic and Daddy Kev providing the beats, Slanguage takes you on a trip of exploration through free-jazz and hip hop. Songs go in all kinds of directions, sometimes with no direction at all. This is hip-hop for intelligent people with an interest in the experimental. (AL)

Bartles and Arpad The Republic Of Pluto Pumf Records • This is a collection that pulls what was best from the dreary, distorted, industrial sound and grungy, spoken word vocals that have been created the past 10 years by these two gothic monsters. Mostly sounding like experiments left for the editing room, the basic music and over exaggerated stories makes this come off sarcastically. The tracks included come off as one-take outings that are good for what they are worth ­ a catalog of what you probably missed. (JC)

Before I Go Save Your Breath Apple Pi Records • This was the CD I listened to the most out of every CD I received to review. The outstanding mix of intertwining guitars, crashing drums beats, out of nowhere interludes, emotionally driven vocals, the overall structure of their material, and "harmonies kept me away from life, and away from the pain" (a possible excerpt from this CD). Besides that, this band is talented; they take all the emo/scream-o bands and literally blow them out of the water! With the right contacts and publicity this band will soon be sharing stages and MTV2 video spots with bands such as Thrice, Finch, Taking Back Sunday, and Rufio. Only one thing saddens me. Nobody wants another Dashboard Confessional, so lose the acoustic tracks and this CD is "off the chain, yo." (CMax)

Benton Falls Guilt Beats Hate Deep Elm Records • This Santa Rosa trio seamlessly blends melody and aggression in Guilt Beats Hate. Songs that start out slow and melancholic suddenly change tempo, with fierce electric guitars and pained screams. This album is full of emotions, with guilt and hate among them. (AL)

Bi-Phonic Rockaholic Bi-Did-It Records • The press says, "Bi-Phonic is a five-member original rock band from NYC." Fair enough. But if they're so damn original, why do they start off their debut album with a cover song? Sure, it's an interesting take on Captain & Tennille's "Love Will Keep Us Together," but that's no excuse. From there, the quintet offers up truly original material -- mostly a mix of standard fare melodic rock and heartfelt pop tunes. (CM)

birddog Songs From Willpa Bay Karma Records • Singer-songwriter Bill Santen has been the one constant through birddog's history. Each release features a rotating cast of supporting musicians who add their talents to Santen's alt-country style tunes. On birddog's latest effort, Santen is joined by longtime Sebadoh member Jason Loewenstein and Palace's Paul Oldham. The result is a solid collection of songs that recall Elliott Smith, who actually produced an early birddog single, and Freedy Johnston. (CL)

Black Eyes Black Eyes Dischord Records • I'm falling in love with the Girls Against Boys-esque swirling fuzz bass. It took me a few listens to get into this one, but then genius isn't always easily accessible. Besides the GVSB's sound, I heard, for whatever reason, some Huggy Bear influence, and a full plate full of fellow DC bands of course. The sound of two drummers, two bassists, and only one guitar allows something quite diverse, subversive, and refreshingly new to emerge. (KM)

Bobi Céspedes Rezos Six Degrees Records • With a voice similar to Celia Cruz, Cuban singer Bobi Céspedes creates music with Latin and afrobeat flavors laid over a pseudo-downtempo beat. Songs range from the catchy "California," to the groovy title track, sung to the Yoruba deity Obatala. Céspedes successfully brings together the ancient traditions of African religion, the flavor of Cuban music and the contemporary sound of American electronics. (AL)

Booze Monkey Good Luck Mr. Gorsky Sanity Check Musec • What a great band name! This duo from Virginia plays acoustic blues-rock that is damn good. Blues isn't my favorite style, but it's obvious these cats know how to jam. These 16 tracks are a kick-ass collection of blues tunes that are full of soul, will get your toes tappin' and your eyes tearing up (kidding, of course). (CM)

Born From Pain Reclaiming the Crown Gangstyle Records • This is metal music. A solid wall of power and aggression that starts with your eardrums and then shreds your soul. Well, maybe not your soul. It is, however a good metal disc. If you like Machine Head and Obituary, then this is a disc that you will get into. Grinding riffs and thundering drums make this a powerhouse. (MK)

Boxing Way Down East Robert Barry Construction Associates • The vocals rub me so awfully that I have to try and get past them to make an attempt to give this record a fair review. There is something good here, sorta a classic rock feel to it (think more Beatles and Kinks and less Led Zeppelin). A few of the styles they portray really come off well, vocals and all, but they slip into something else and it all goes to hell. The good spots make me want to love it so much, which makes the rough spots that much more disappointing. (KM)

Boy Sets Fire Tomorrow Come Today Wind-Up • For over eight years, BSF has been destroying the masses with their hardcore/indie rock assault. Their latest, the third full length from the Newark, Delaware five-piece, is a huge, pounding, chunky, aggressive release. On this album is a good mix of indie rock & roll tunes and full-throttle hardcore attacks. As he's always done so well in the past, Nathan Gray delivers important, timely socio/political lyrics through intensely screamed and emotionally sung vocals. Fans of BSF will not be disappointed by this release, despite this being BSF's push to reach a broader audience. And that new audience is bound to listen, or simply fall behind. (CM)

Burd Early Leveler Western Vinyl • Compared to Early's debut album, there is a whole new level of quiet maturity here. A collection of sparse pictures of abandoned plans and deserted places, the loneliness seeps through this record. This one tree on the musical landscape is as stark as it is beautiful, with deadly silent pauses for contemplation and wrist cutting melodies. As beautiful as it is amazing. (KM)

Bury Your Dead You Had Me At Hello Eulogy Recordings • Talk about a short career. You Had Me At Hello is Bury Your Dead's first and only release, since they broke up in January. Too bad, because they could have gone far in the metal/hardcore genre. The guitars were ultra-heavy, and the singing was throaty and guttural. We'll just have to settle for one album. (AL)

Calibos And The Days We Spent Go On And On Handheld Records • What I like about this disc is how the music strays from its core and comes back in time to keep things in tact. This D.C. three-piece carries on the torch lit by Sonic Youth, The Feelies and The Velvet Underground by blending guitar noise and mellowed-out space jams to sound so natural. At times, things are comfortable and other times confusing, proving that solid production can go a long way. Lyrics and vocals fit the music just right; nothing is too hasty or too depressing to mess up what is being experimented with here. (JC)

Choleric Weed Out The Weak self-released • Choleric aggressively attack all who dare to listen, blending hardcore and death metal into one explosive combination. Think of early Fear Factory crossed with Pantera. Indeed, Stitchez's vocals can pull off Phil Anselmo grunts as well as Jonathan Davis's pained wails. (AL)

Choo-Choo Will Destroy You A Pivotal Maneuver In The War Against Your Mom ... • Admit it: you enjoy childish, juvenile, politically incorrect humor. Choo-Choo is seriously wrong, juvenile, politically incorrect humor. Lyrically, they cover everything from masturbation to fighting elderly women to bringing Hitler back from the dead to anally rape somebody's cat. Clearly, they do not shy away from the pressing issues in today's post 9-11 society. Like Ween, Choo-Choo abuses a variety of musical styles from deranged carnival music to pseudo-metal. Give in to those childish, immature urges and get you some Choo-Choo. (CL)

Closer Than Kin The Machineries of Breath Punktuation Records/Artist Music Group • I liked this band so much that their name is valid in my case, for it kept me "Closer to it then my kin" for an entire day, possibly because their songs are incredibly long, detailed, and grueling but mostly because Closer Than Kin is the "hometown hero band" anyone and everyone wishes for. I always wondered what punk influenced instrumentals would sound like while being backed by thrashing hardcore vocals. Obviously, Closer Than Kin thought the same, for this is exactly what they provide on The Machineries of Breath. It even has a video on it, which I must say is freaky, but worth the watch! Having toured with such national acts as The Misfits, Death By Stereo and AFI, they're on their way to stardom and this may be their big break! (CMax)

Clue To Kalo Come Here When You Sleepwalk Mush Records • Australian Mark Mitchell's work as Clue To Kalo takes laptop electronica a step further by adding heartfelt vocals to many of the tracks. There are both up and downtempo tracks here, with keyboard melodies reminiscent of Plone and Boards of Canada. (AL)

Cobra Verde Easy Listening Muscletone Records Inc. • Apparently people in Cleveland missed the train into the Ś80s and are stuck on the staples of the Ś70s including mass drug use, bad clothes, and 14 page press releases. Band members look like Tiny Tim and sound like retro cokeheads, this self proclaimed, "Last Rock Star" leaves a lot to be desired. If you like the Ś70s that much, save your money for the next KISS reunion tour. (RP)

Cursive The Ugly Organ Saddle Creek • Concept album is a phrase which strikes fear into the hearts of all but the most foolish of music fans. But before you completely freak out, just remember that this is Cursive we're talking about here. All the elements that made you love them in the first place, the jarring bursts of guitar, the melding of dissonance and melody, the power of Tim Kasher's vocals, are all still here. The Ugly Organ is another step forward in the evolution of one of indie rock's finest artists. (CL)

Dan Jones One Man Submarine Leisure King • This is a heck of a cool, eclectic release from Eugene, Oregon's Dan Jones. The musical styles range from uptempo garage rock to jangly, singer/songwriter stuff. The vocals tend to be a little nasal and whiny at times, especially on the slower tunes. On the more upbeat stuff, the vocals are downplayed a bit. Overall, this is a solid release that journeys across a number of musical styles, but always seems to come home to jangly pop. (CM)

Daredevil Tippin' The Scales Of Justice Gangstyle Records • If you're looking to be aurally beat-down, throw this in your CD player. This five-piece from the Netherlands comes at you with a throaty, scream-o, chunky style of hardcore that simply doesn't quit. It's pounding, aggressive and violent. At the same time, Daredevil mixes in some catchy tempo changes and melodies that don't soften the intensity of the sound. (CM)

David Clement Your Free Gift self-released • Clement, formerly a solo acoustic vocalist, now joins up with a full band. His music is soft but certainly not weak, and it has an almost R.E.M. quality ­ thoughtful, harmonic, with full chords and well-polished vocals. His songs have been featured on TV shows such as Dawson's Creek, Gilmore Girls, and Popular, and on this record, he is resurrecting and rerecording several songs which were lost in legal limbo when Universal purchased Mercury/Polygram. Good for him ­ and us. (DP)

David Francis David Francis self-released • Weather pounding on a piano or strumming the strings raw on his guitar, nothing more distinguishes Francis other than the well-worn vocals that come off scratchy and painful at times. His style of lyrics and guitar work has been compared to that of The Beatles and Nick Cave, the vocal tone is a lot like what McCartney does; take it for what it's worth. The overall vibe of this disc is soothing, just not all in a good way; maybe as soothing as a lonely man can get, I suppose. (JC)

Diane Ward The Great Impossible Shinytown • This gem of an album from Florida singer/songwriter Diane Ward showcases her soaring voice, which has an Etheridge-esque edginess, tough and delicate, and is clear as a bell. She carries us through powerful tracks of desperate, emotional rock and soft pop with polished, perfect vocals as she explores the depths of the search for lasting love. A truly great and inspired accomplishment. (DP)

Douglass Kings 3 Bucks Evil Owl Records/ Posing Toad Records • Douglass Kings are a two-piece drum and guitar rock outfit. This five song EP is their third release. The band mixes styles of many bands including Husker Du, The Dead Milkmen, and Hot Water Music. Fairly simplistic, but catchy and worthy of a listen. (RP)

Dressy Bessy Little Music Kindercore Records • I guess you could call this album a prequel. Little Music is a collection of early material by this Denver band. They would have happily existed in the 1960's, due to their catchy psychedelic pop melodies. However, their use of fuzz in their guitars brings them back to the present. (AL)

Dub Narcotic Sound System Handclappin' K Records • A mere five years have passed since Calvin Johnson and company's last release, Out Of Your Mind. DNSS continues on its quest to get geeky indie rockers moving on the dance floors of America with this new four song EP. Heather Dunn's vocal debut on "Sabley Goodness" is one of the disc's highlights, as are the hip grooves on the closing number, "Mega-Clash (Version)". For those of you who cringe at the thought of Johnson's monotone delivery, have no fear, it's kept to a minimum on Handclappin'. My only question: why only four songs after a five year absence? (CL)

Duke Fame Regrets Geeves Records • Yeah, Duke Fame is named after an obscure character from the cult classic, This Is Spinal Tap. (That fact alone is worth some points in the mind of this reviewer.) There are no covers of classic Tap tunes like "Hellhole" or "Big Bottom", nor anything vaguely resembling '80s hair metal. This incarnation of Duke Fame revives the old Twin Cities Soul Asylum/Replacements sound, as if being covered by Tom Petty. Regrets is nothing revolutionary, just a solid alternative rock record. (CL)

Earlimart Everyone Down Here Palm • Varied soundscapes characterize the uneven pace of this release. From ethereal slow jams to guitar-happy pop to noisy, raucous rock, Earlimart's frontman Aaron Espinoza leads the listener on a magnificent journey. Each of the 12 tracks seems to flow from one to the next, a complete package. Grab your headphones and prepare for one hell of a trip. (CM)

El Guapo Fake French Dischord Records •I don't think I'm the target audience for this release. Dischord admits they wanted to challenge people "who thought a new Discord band should sound like Fugazi." I'd say mission accomplished on that note; I'm challenged all right. Sorta a punk Devo dance art thing going on, more synth than you ever saw in the '80s. Of all the New Wave revival sounds, El Guapo pulls it off the best, this part I'm certain of. Good stuff, but nothing that's gonna stay in constant rotation for me. (KM)

Eleni Mandell Country For True Lovers Zedtone • Standard country for the most part, I wouldn't even put the prefix of "alt" in front of it. But with a voice like Mandell's, it's pulled off wonderfully. As a rule I pretty much never like female country vocalists, which makes it that much more amazing that this disc has gotten as much play around the office as it has. Everything a country record should have, a little bit of sadness, a little bit of sharp-tongued wit, and a touch of rural sexy. (KM)

Eleventeen Intheair Sessions Records • Eleventeen's offering is a tight, melodic, post hardcore rock effort with a pulsing backbeat. The comparisons that came to mind quickly were Errortype:11 and Ex-Number-Five. I love the conversational and almost confessional style of the vocals. Sessions Records has put out some great stuff in the past few months, and this keeps pace. With J Robbins at the helm, these boys seemed to have steered a decisive direction. (KM)

Endless Struggle Till The End A-F Records • A-F Records' Endless Struggle comes to you with their latest, and only God knows how many albums they have produced and what number this is, Till The End brings you the same typical Oi punk, that all Anti-Straightedge, Beer Loving, Anarchists come to love. Knowing that, however, this CD didn't rank high in my book. Endless Struggle brings to me songs that sound the same; every song has destructive vocals (you have to read the words to know what they're saying), swindling guitar solos, sing-a-long anthems and their lyrics are slightly hypocritical. Any fan of the US Bombs and Antidote will totally dig this album. If you're not an "Oi Toy" then don't waste your time. I will tip my hat to them, though, for they are the only Oi band I have heard to have their drummer use a double bass pedal. Nice! (CMax)

Eric Idle The Rutland Isles iMUSIC • WARNING: If you are the kind of person who hates Monty Python, skip the rest of this review because this CD is not for you. This "documentary" takes Eric Idle's Nigel Spasm character on a trip to the Overly Friendly Isles and a country called Paranoia. There's music, jokes and interviews, all funny. (AL)

Faris Nourallah I Love Faris Western Vinyl • With sincerity and comforting melodies, this soloist has created a catchy Beatles-like pop album that is more mellow than perky. Organ and piano heavy songs are composed through the nostalgia of love, hope and desire that Faris fantasizes about during his self-imposed imprisonment inside the one-bedroom home and studio he lives at. Feeling the vibe of a 1960's era recording, this disc is balanced well with the low tempo atmosphere and accompanied by the tweaking of vocals and imaginative stories within each song. The only downer is that midway through things get a little tired, but the majority of this stands up well because chances are taken that remain true to the overall project making the down time manageable. (JC)

Four Tet Rounds Domino Recording Co. • On Rounds, Kieran Hebden shifts his attention from the folktronica sounds he explored, and moves into a study in repetition and melody. It seems like every song is centered around a simple, beautiful melody, which is eventually buried by more and more cacophonic sounds that tend to repeat until you are left in a hypnotized state. (AL)

Frankie Sparo Welcome Crummy Mystics Constellation Records • For his third release on Constellation, Frankie Sparo steps away from his introverted sound of past releases and enlists the help of N. Moss, now an official member of the "group." The music on WelcomeŠ is still as intimate as his previous work, even when collaborating with other artists. This album represents growth in his sound, not a departure. (AL)

Full Court Press Live Life Large Gangstyle Records • Straight from Belgium with a mixture of hardcore, rap and metal, these guys have stayed busy promoting and recording their version of mixing rap and rock and may now stand out from the bunch. Much more edgy than what you'll find on the airwaves, aggression and attitude both flood this release, though there are a couple tracks that could crossover. Vocals are all the rage with the muffled "rah-rah-rah!" chants and then evenly switched around to a steady flow much like Suicidal Tendencies once did. This disc is pretty solid, not trying to be Limp Bizkit and not trying to be Pantera, just a little of each rolled into one, with a mean bass guitar to back it up. (JC)

Further Seems Forever How To Start A Fire Tooth and Nail Records • The title track gets this album going with a powerful start. It continues with the beautifully melodic structures they are known so well for. New vocalist Jason Gleason's first release with the band shows off his strong voice that can wail just at the right times and can definitely fill the shoes of ex-singer Chris Carrabba. That is apparent on some of my favorite tracks like "The Sound" and "Pride War." Even though I think Steve Kleisath is one of the most incredible drummers ever and the rest of the band follows him with their talent, this album lacks in the rock department and they don't seem to be using their talents to their fullest potential. There's a jazzy feel to some of the slower tracks like "A Blank Page Empire." It's not necessarily bad, but these tracks and the slower ones don't show the power of FSF and halfway through the album, my interest and attention is easily diverted. Don't get me wrong, the power of this emo-rock band is still very strong and with everything they've overcome, I think it can only grow from here. It didn't start a fire but maybe they lit a match. (MP)

G Lyle self-titled self-released • I had never heard an R&B demo before this CD arrived. It's just what you expect, too. It's a rough, raw recording, desperately in need of polishing given the genre. It's simply too minimal and that stands out like a sore thumb. The vocals aren't bad, but the lyrics are so typical of "sex me up" R&B that I'm really turned off. (CM)

Green Rode Shotgun self-titled self-released • This quintet from Tennessee plays rock and roll that has both country and punk influences. They dance between pop and classic rock, using plenty of guitars and strong vocals that sit on top of the music. Throughout the 11-track debut album are layered melodies balanced by creative tempo changes. (CM)

Harry Manx / Kevin Breit Jubilee Northernblues Music • This is a far cry (and a nice change) from the piles of punk and hardcore discs which sit in front of me. Here are two talented and presumably barefoot musicians who play an exquisite blend of acoustic folk & blues. There is a slight tinge of country inevitable in this style of music, but this is honest music that you can listen to and enjoy any time. A mellow and enjoyable trip through the countryside. (MK)

Hello Amsterdam How Are You? Spy Hop Records • Named for an American Music Club song, Hello Amsterdam hails from Amsterdam's social antithesis, Salt Lake City. While Hello Amsterdam shares little musically with AMC, they do have a common emotional element in their songwriting. Hello Amsterdam's songs are more in the indie/emo style than AMC's material, and have a very mature and polished sound. In addition to being a record label, Sky Hop is a non-profit multi-media school in Salt Lake City founded by Hello Amsterdam's bass player, Erik Dodd. (CL)

Hodge Podge Melodies And Maladies Hodge Podge Productions • John Kachnowski and Paully Moonbeam mesh together sounds of ska and electronica on this six-track release. On the track "Carpet Diem" things change a bit compared to the first three tracks that are mostly ska and Jimmy Buffett rolled in one. Much of this disc comes off as a demo that serves as an experiment with direction before releasing their full length. Trombones and keys are used heavily alongside the vocals of Kacknowski. (JC)

Houston Marchman & The Contraband Desperate Man Dos Hermanas Music • Houston is a great storyteller and The Contraband compliments this country singer/songwriter with a natural feeling. The opening track "$2 Pistol" shows promise that this disc is true to its roots and is reminiscent of the early days of Hank Sr. and Johnny Cash, but is more of an introduction to the desperate, mellow sound that comes thereafter. This is mostly folkish country music. Elements of blues are there and added with just the right touch. Much of this chronicles the up and mostly down times of a desperate man in turmoil over his family, his life and a girl or two. (JC)

Ill Kidd Album Title T.B.A. Ruff Nation Records • Everlast may never be remembered for his House Of Pain days all because he picked up a guitar and later spawned many knockoffs of a sound we'd much rather forget. From the opening track this ŚKidd' rhymes over pop-hop beats with cheesy turntable scratches and a before mentioned Everlast-influenced acoustic bit of affection. Entirely produced by Kidd, lyrics are full on getting buzzed, talking trash and boasting about his California upbringing. Throw in the hard-to-miss influences from Sublime and G. Love and you've got yourself a new battle cry for suburban youth - now that's gangsta! (JC)

Inventing Edward. We've Met An Impasse (By Midnight We'll Be Naked) Substandard Records • Epic side-project action from members of Under A Dying Sun that has a dark indie feel that gets inside your bones. Full of the pitch of creative guitars lost on a walkabout layered with great ghost-like vocals and a beat that keeps everybody in touch; this recording should be kept away from the clinically depressed. The rest of us can enjoy a journey into the human psyche and come out better for the trip. "Fuck Being Buried Alive" gets the award for best song-title I've heard in awhile. (KM)

Jackie Cooper The New Mood No Karma Recordings • With hypnotic vocals and eerie guitar work to start this seven track collection, the tone is set for an experimental soundscape of many styles. "Eclipse" follows suite with a heavy organ and percussion collaboration that makes the change from the first track to the next feel as natural as breathing air. A violin stringed interlude follows before the drumbeat laced "Momento" kicks in. Distorted guitar work is up next and on "After The Catapults" acoustics take center stage. Though the vocals could have been more crisp, the diversity on this disc will keep you looking for their next release. (JC)

Jim Laslett Elysian Fields Chaucer • This debut CD from British artist Jim Laslett features rich, full, soft music with a broad array of accompaniment. Mandolin, drums, sax, and acoustic, electric, and bass guitar merge seamlessly and dreamily with Jim's wonderful vocalization. He is a lad of seven and twenty years, having performed for many years in London, and he is just beginning to build a fan base in Europe. (DP)

Jim... Hollywood Tire Recluse Records • Though Hollywood Tire opens up with a very funky pair of songs, it doesn't make JimŠ a one trick pony. Funk is their best genre, but they also tackle balladry, country western, honky tonk, reggae, and straight up rock and roll. (AL)

Julie Doiron Broken Girl Jagjaguwar • Billed as the long lost recordings of former Eric's Trip player and solo artist Doiron, this collection of old 7"s and hard to find recordings plays as found treasure. The perfect quiet apartment filler for a soft Saturday afternoon. Mellow guitars and vocals that tickle the borders of sadness and joy. This one's really quite a gem. (KM)

Kid Brother Collective Highway Miles One Day Savior Recordings • This starts off so very emo with the vocals and lyrics and even a phone call to which the message on the answering machine is sung. There are elements of Mineral and Elliot in the vocals and musically. It has the emo rock formula where it's very slow and dramatic and then builds up to a stop and then the rock comes in and it stays for more tracks. I would recommend this to anyone that is a fan of Deep Elm bands like Camber and Brandtson. (MP)

Leviathan self-titled Judas Cradle Records • The first band that pops into your head when you listen to this CD is Danzig. Not only does Shane Tierney sound like Glenn Danzig, but Mike Otero's guitar work comes close to John Christ's. These guys know how to rock, and they're not afraid of you. (AL)

Lisa Germano Lullaby for Liquid Pig iMUSIC • With a sultry, resigned voice and haunting melodies, Lisa Germano gets under your skin and refuses to leave. The album has a smoky feeling to it, and Germano sounds like she is singing very close to your ear. The album is thus somewhat unsettling, but you are unable to stop listening. (AL)

Lorelei Our Minds Have Been Electrified Ice-Made • Bass, how low can you go? The Pittsburgh-based trio Lorelei doesn't need any pansy ass guitars. Instead, they bring the rock with two basses, with results not unlike a Sonic Youth or Unwound. The two bass attack works surprisingly well. One bass locks in with the drums to form a solid foundation, while the second bass navigates the higher registers like an angry Peter Hook. Mix in the fierce vocals of Susannah Mira, and you've got a potent batch of aggressive, energetic indie rock. (CL)

Mallory The First One Hundred Years self-released • Mallory's debut album, The First One Hundred Years, is a collage of sounds best described as post-punk, but not limited by it. Two guitarists and a drummer make layered textures, every once in a while adding vocals and keyboards, resulting in a space-rock feel. (AL)

Manitoba Up In Flames Domino Recording Co. • Dan Snaith is sick of electronic music, because he says it all sounds the same. His second album, Up In Flames aims to change the face of the genre. In fact, you might think this album was done with a full band. His songs are layered and textured, like recent Chemical Brothers stuff. (AL)

Many Birthdays 35 Minutes Red Cake Records • Starting off, I'm loving the cover artwork. Many Birthdays have a way about them that sounds like a sort of modern new wave, without the annoying excitement that bands like The Faint and The Black Wave have. Mellow and chill, kinda quirky, and eclectic as hell. This will keep you interested. (KM)

Many Birthdays The Abstract Door Red Cake Records • Though much of this is a home recording of instrumental collages and trippy vocals with tripped-out sounds, this experiment comes off like a work of genius. The Abstract Door is unique; much of the noise is compiled neatly by the use of organs, synthesizers, strings, snares and wound tight by the mess of wind-up toys, downtown and living room sound bites, loops, cuts, echoes and a bit more for good balance. Sound quality is better than expected for a home recording and the more far-out this gets with style the better it becomes. The originality within is refreshing and makes this a definite keeper; think of early Beck for comparison. (JC)

Mark Austin Band Cosmic Trigger self-released • This is an eclectic pop mix using many sounds, from flowing, trippy guitars to blaring horns to pounding drum rhythms. It's a combination of classic rock and acid jazz that comes across like a jam session. Musicians will particularly enjoy this creative 10 track debut from the Dallas, Texas based seven-piece. (CM)

Moon Spank Just Another Day Mr. K Records • Commenting on the vocals, my friend Brett says, "It's Dave Matthews meets Eddie Vedder meets Jackson Browne." And I don't think he's being particularly complimentary. This is your standard rock fare -- jangly guitar, too much vocals with too much forced emotion. I will say, there are some creative and original parts to this with strong songwriting, but the genre is overplayed, to me, and, despite the lengths they go to "spice it up," it still doesn't get my attention. (CM)

Moral Crux Pop Culture Assassins Panic Button • Ahhhh, the joys of social upheaval with a catchy pop punk beat. "Window Shopping With A Brick" should be the Wal-Mart theme song. This is a good disc filled with catchy riffs and smooth vocal harmonies, but there is still a gritty edge to the music which keeps it from falling into that lollipop type of pop punk. Good music to smash things to. (MK)

Nineteen Forty-Five I Saw A Bright Light Daemon Records • I Saw A Bright Light is the second full-length release from this Birmingham, Alabama trio. With their driving guitars, male/female vocals, and melancholy slow tunes, Nineteen Forty-Five sounds like an edgier Small Factory. Solid from start to finish, there's not a bad song among the eleven tracks. Who thought Alabama could crank out some serious indie rock? (CL)

odd nosdam No More Wig For Ohio Anticon Records • cLOUDDEAD member odd nosdam has his own way of making music, and it is evident on this CD. Divided into two parts, it features 24 untitled tracks that flow from one to the other in a weird way. Samples of organs, video games, old '80s songs and other found sounds populate this album, all layered over sick hip hop beats. (AL)

Oddballs' Band Oddballs' Shit Explosion '94-Ś99 Weird Science Records • This is truly an explosion of sound, with Oddballs' Band providing some authentic blues, infused with some punk attitude. Compiled from 1994-1999, this CD includes mostly unavailable stuff from vinyl-only recordings, and some other unreleased tracks. The liner notes are pretty extensive, giving you more insight into the band. (AL)

Oddjobs The Shopkeeper's Wife EP Third Earth Music • Credentials include working with Slug, Eyedea, Aesop Rock and Vast Aire and none of it came to happen by ever compromising what they stand for. With three emcees (Cresent Moon, Advizer, and Nomi) and two DJ/producers (Deetalx and Anatomy) the Oddjobs have put together a recipe only an acquired taste could appreciate. Right away The Roots musical sound and De La Soul's brain come to mind. The drumbeats are infectious and the soundscape is layered in different elements while the rhymes are delivered at will and offers plenty of thought food to take in. These guys came together in Minneapolis and have since been building their sound every stop along the way. These six tracks will only force you to find their first full length Drums, and that's not a bad thing either. (JC)

Panty Lions So Dang Rad Amazing Grease Records • Two piece male and female duo action that takes the form of a road trip turned crime spree in my mind, as it wanders and swells. Subtle, uncomplicated and easy like a country road in the spring, and just as beautiful. When I say I like these songs, I mean "Damn, I like these songs!" If you're into Pavement, Elliot Smith, or The Microphones I would check this out in an instant. (KM)

Past Mistakes/ Red Winter Dying Split-CD The New Beat • It's not really evident anywhere on the label that this is a split CD, so I was a little thrown off when poppy-emo core morphed unexpectedly into metalcore. Upon the second listening I can tell you PM plays a nice emocore style that reminds me of Thursday, while their mates RWD are a hard hitting durge sort of thing. Both are good, but nothing that's gonna rock your socks into the night. (KM)

Pelican self-titled Hydra Head Records • If you like bands like 5ive or the Fucking Champs, then you owe it to yourself to check out Pelican. This instrumental quartet deals in doom metal with some of the lowest rumbles in music. The slow to medium tempo will put you in a trance you may never want to get out of. (AL)

Petracovich Blue Cotton Skin Red Buttons Records • Not to be confused with anybody who plays basketball for the Sacramento Kings, Petracovich (alias, Jessica Peters) comes off as a sleepy Portishead that missed the chance to put her star in the 4AD Records constellation when it was around. The electronic drumbeat keeps it flowing, the guitar, vocals, and keyboards keep it interesting. A few moments where the music wants to lag are buffered overall by an interesting musical conversation. (KM)

Pivot Where The Debris Meets The Sea Purple Skunk Records • In the South Florida indie music scene, many bands can play six degrees of separation with Dashboard Confessional's Chris Carrabba. Pivot lost a bass player to Dashboard, and singer-guitarist Rob Helmsorig was Carrabba's guitar tech on an early Dashboard tour. Small world, ain't it? Well, Pivot's back with two new members and a six song EP featuring their tight, melodic indie rock that sounds like something out of the Vagrant catalog. (CL)

Pop Culture Casualties They're Only Doing It To Get Attention • self-released • These guys look like they just fell out of an ad for The Gap. That notwithstanding, the disc is pretty good pop music. It has a feeling of Barenaked Ladies meet They Might Be Giants meets REM. Strong song structures combine with talent and humor to make this an enjoyable disc. Very catchy and fun. (MK)

Punchline The Rewind EP Fueled By Ramen • Catchy guitar riffs with even catchier hooks in the vocals. Harmonies combined with melodic pop punk reminded me of Midtown. The vocals are really strong but sometimes the talky screams sound out of place on the first track. The screams seem to find their place by the second track though, which I think is named "Rewind," and they add a bit of aggression to this four song EP. The placement of keys is perfect and gives them a little bit of their own sound in the world of multi harmony indie pop punk bands. All in all, it's rock n' roll for the soul. (MP)

Redline vs. Born From Pain Swift, Silent, Deadly Gangstyle Records • Each band recorded three songs for this split album. New Jersey's Redline sees a more metal influence in their heavy hardcore sound, while Born From Pain keeps a more old school attitude. Both bands are heavy as hell, full of double kick drums and crushing guitars. (AL)

Richard Youngs Airs Of The Ear Jagjaguwar • It is a fitting album title for such a light, flowing, ethereal release. Youngs' vocals are breathy, wafting over varied sounds, mixing a folk sound with a new wave influence. I imagine myself in a Buddhist village or a Far East ritual dance. It's rather emotionally-charged and really heavy stuff, a bit too much so for my likes. (CM)

Right Direction Beyond the Beyonds Gangstyle Records • Strap on your crash helmets and stick your head between your legs. 37 minutes and 32 seconds of furious hardcore. This is music, however, not simply screaming with a thunderous beat. Groove beats reminiscent of Biohazard mingle with straightforward fury like Litmus Green. (MK)

Rock Kills Kid self titled Fearless Records • This six-song EP is run-of-the-mill pop punk in the same vein as Lit and Ten Foot Pole. Definitely not ground breaking material by any means but quite radio friendly. If you like Fat Wreck Chords style melodic punk of the late Ś90s, these guys are worth checking out. (RP)

Rogue Wave Out Of The Shadow Responsive Records • Zach Rogue is the mind behind the music on this release. It's a singer/songwriter album with a mix of both acoustic and pop pieces. The vocals are solid and sound a bit like Paul Simon and Elliott Smith. The songwriting is strong, as well; Zach has crafted some artful and enjoyable pop tunes. (CM)

Sandman Long Ride Home Loner Records • Billed as something of a cross between rap and country, I would disagree. This is stripped down singer/songwriter music and it is haunting and beautiful. It most immediately reminds me of Lou Reed back in his bad old days. This is a really great disc that tells a story and tells it so well that you will listen to it again and again. (MK)

Saturday Looks Good To Me All Your Summer Songs Polyvinyl Records • Even though I was not around during the '60s, I've seen enough K-Tel commercials to know that Saturday Looks Good To Me really, really likes the era's music. Their sweet, psychedelic pop music recalls the girl bands of the day, as well as Motown's sound. There is, however, a punk attitude bubbling under the surface. (AL)

Sciflyer self-titled self-released • Sciflyer's lo-fi instrumental space rock is full of fuzzy guitars and reverb. I heard vocals on a couple of tracks, but they were full of echo, making them hard to understand. The songs could have stood on their own without the vocals. You will be hypnotized into staring at your shoes by these six tracks. (AL)

Seville Take Me Home Purple Skunk • Back from the edge of breaking up, Chris Drueke has made this a solo project of sorts, and is back playing the brand of sappy songs that make the girls swoon. The offering of 10 songs is decent, and grows on you a bit with time. Good diversity helps it stay interesting, and the rework of the old Seville staple "Waking Up" is great. Whatever incarnation, Seville is always worth a listen. (KM)

Shermy D Long Leggy & Lucious Nook & Cranny Records • Shermy D (hailing from Gainesville, Florida) is part Beastie Boys, part Bloodhound Gang -- combined, he's one of the most irresistible one-man bands you'll ever hear. He's plenty hip-hop combined with an appreciation for sampling, particularly from familiar rock music. Shermy D might be fakin' the ghetto flavor, but his knack for pumping out catchy, rap songs is hard to deny. And if you doubt the level of enjoyment he can deliver, you've got to see this man work it live. (CM)

Silent Kids Tomorrow Waits Two Sheds Music/Cur On A Glider Records • If it were 1998, you'd swear Silent Kids were yet another member of the Elephant 6 collective/extended family. The Atlanta-based quartet's psychedelic pop is similar to that of Elf Power and the Apples in Stereo, though the comparisons don't quite do Tomorrow Waits justice. Silent Kids build upon the lo-fi pop foundation to create their own distinct sound and one of the great albums of 2003 so far. (CL)

Since By Man We Sing The Body Electric Revelation Records • This album explodes right out of the gate, but soon proves Since By Man to be a versatile hardcore band. Melodies are not foreign territory, sometimes coming close to The Appleseed Cast's latest stuff. However, they can be as intense as Converge, so you can tell these guys can do it all. (AL)

Smoking Popes The Party's Over Double Zero Records • The Popes were kings of the Chicago underground scene for a good portion of the 1990s, but after having artistic differences, the band split up. This is their final album, recorded in 1998 but previously unreleased. Josh once again croons himself silly on lead vocals and the music is pretty catchy. But the album is cover songs, and that doesn't really do it for me. I was hoping for more original material. Artists covered include Judy Garland, Patsy Cline and Willie Nelson. (CM)

Snacks The Cinnamon Show Snacks Music • I am forced to admit that when I saw this disc I thought I was in for something peculiar and unique. It started off as such, but then it sort of dwindled off into standard radio issue pop music. It isn't particularly bad, but it does not maintain the momentum with which it begins. There is a potential for something very cool here. (MK)

Snowdonnas Over Now Ballyhoo Withdrawal Records • Formerly known as the Transmitters, Snowdonnas incorporate British rock influences with pop melodies and shoegazer atmospheres to create a beautiful yet biting sound. Lush keyboards blend with electric guitars wonderfully, complemented by Tim White's laid-back vocals. (AL)

Sorry About Dresden Let It Rest Saddle Creek • I'm sure the indie rock kids will love this one but I'm not sure it compares to some of its label mates. Some of the catchy melodies grab you, but then the vocals let you go almost immediately. There are also some alt-country moments from this Chapel Hill quartet. "Candid Camera" is a rock driven track that perked me back up. Maybe this album is one of those "you have to listen to it a few times to really appreciate it and then it grows on you like fungi." I'm not sure, but for me it was disappointing and droning. What can I say, Sorry about Dresden? I sure am. (MP)

Soul Supreme The Saturday Nite Agenda Grit Records • Using a '70s setting, this hip-hop compilation gives a taste of some of the best new MCs along with some of the veterans. Producer Soul Supreme, from Sweden, is the mastermind behind this release and it's one heck of a project to pull off. Featured on this 13-track release are such greats as KRS-One, Big Daddy Kane and Pete Rock. While those guys show why they are considered some of the best in the game, some of the "rookies" show they've got plenty of skills. The newcomers include T-Max, Reks & Noel and Checkmark. This is definitely a worthwhile listen that will light up the party and blow your mind. (CM)

Sounds Familiar self-titled Weird Science Records • This band's name, as well as many I have reviewed in the past, have a certain irony to them and the reasoning behind their name is self-explanatory. Sounds Familiar is something of which had to be thought of hard and took years to create. Blending the styles of such bands as At The Drive In, Jimmy Eat World, and even The Juliana Theory (they hardly sound like anyone, this is just a rough comparison), this band goes from emo to garage rock, and then swings over to a little touch of hardcore. Their heartfelt lyrics, backed by their musical talent and infectious songs, leave me wanting more than the seven songs I was given. I used to hate this style, but after popping this into my CD player, my mind has opened up to the talent of such bands and I know that I will be hearing from this band in the future. (CMax)

Soundtrack Mind Plastic Dreams Shut-Eye Records • These guys were named "Athens Best Pop Band" in 2002 and it's fitting. They play that Athens style of college rock that is loaded with jangly guitars and mid-tempo beats, combining a rock and roll sound with country elements. Soundtrack Mind does a great job with it. They have already had a good amount of college radio success and this release should only garner them more acclaim. (CM)

Southkill self-titled Noreaster Failed Industries • It is hard to believe that this music is made by just two guys. Their instrumental songs pack quite a punch, with layered electric guitars and syncopated beats, which put you in a trance, right from the beginning of the first song. (AL)

Stairwell The Sounds Of Change Hopeless Records • Pop-friendly power punk that sounds like a deformed Jimmy Eat World. There just isn't enough of anything original or even good immolation going on to grasp hold of here. With that in mind, it's catchy, and listenable in the opening band sort of style. (KM)

Stalag 13 In Control Dr. Strange Records • I'm embarrassed to admit that despite being into hardcore in the '80s, I'd never heard of these guys. Hey, it happens. Luckily for me, they were smart enough to re-release this and coral the fans they missed the first time around. With a hardcore/ skate-core sound that fits perfectly with the other bands of the day (7 Seconds, Instead, JFA, and even the early Bad Religion stuff) these songs play well now. Sometimes, as good as it was, the hardcore of the '80s sounds a little off to the modern ears (as good as it was back in the day). Stalag 13 is happily welcomed back from the dead. (KM)

Stalins War Demos self-released • I haven't heard screamo-hardcore out of Southern California this good since the early '90s. Damn these kids bring the energy and then some. The music is a devilish mix of hardcore, metal and punk roots, and the vocals are my favorite mix of screams and melodies. Stalins War is one of those bands that is relentless, intense, and fire-branded, and one of those bands you want to keep hearing from for years to come. (KM)

Standstill The Ionic Spell Level Plane • European hardcore with melodic breakdowns. Don't worry, they didn't forget their talking breakdowns either, which could be called melodic interludes. What would a hardcore band be without some statement they feel the need to say instead of screaming or singing? Keyboards are used to give it a little bit of original flare. The track "Naked Monkey" is similar to System of a Down and gives it a more metal feel. Nothing innovative here, but they are good at what they do. They show how tough they are from the very red and black CD layout. This five piece from Spain is worth any hardcore listener's time. (MP)

Sterling self-titled File 13 Records • Chicago's Sterling might take some cues form metal and hard rock, but their music is not as aggressive. Their instrumental compositions are pretty much all in the medium tempo range, with a few explosions here and there. The use of piano to complement the guitar adds melancholy to the already spooky mood. (AL)

Stick Figure Suicide Mission Break Even Records • This is a punk outfit which obviously has talent. It is a short disc - 11 songs and 25 minutes. There is nothing here as far as the music goes that has not been done before. They obviously are passionate about what they do and it is a good disc. (MK)

Striking Distance The Bleeding Starts Here Reflections Records • SD do their part to bring back '89, that's for sure. Old School hardcore, stripped down and ready to take a few shots to the head in the circle pit. There are some great tunes here, but nothing classic. (Save a Minor Threat and a Void cover, but those aren't their classics.) Something about the mixing makes the band sound too trebly, and makes what should be pretty tough stuff come off kinda wimpier than it should. That in mind, I like this record. (KM)

Superdead 54 Engineering of Anxiety self-released • Like a group of crazed, genre-defying zombies, Superdead 54 has emerged from the San Gabriel Valley to bring you deranged rock. Most likely, Superdead 54 would fall under the generic "punk rock" umbrella, though punk is just one ingredient in their sonic stew. There's a twisted electricity running through their songs, and a sense that something is slightly off with these guys. Engineering of Anxiety is the bastard child of the Dead Kennedy's and Devo, but don't get too hung up on the pedigree, just enjoy the ride.

Swingin' Utters Dead Flowers, Bottles, Bluegrass, and Bones Fat Wreck Chords • It was about time for another Swingin' Utters record, and it was worth the wait. This time they added Spike (Me First and the Gimme Gimmes) on vocals, making for a total of three vocalists. The result is a bar-friendly, highly infectious set of melodic punk tunes. After all, what other punk band can add violin, viola, accordion and piano and get away with it? (AL)

Swissfarlo Boxed Datawaslost Records • Like so many lo-fi bands, Cincinnati's Swissfarlo began as a bedroom recording project and gradually emerged as a full-fledged indie pop band. Their first full-length release, Boxed, features strong pop sensibilities and fuzzed-out guitars throughout the twelve tracks. The songs are catchy and concise, avoiding the tendency to overuse a great hook. Always leave Śem wanting more, right? This is some damn good indie pop. Apparently Dayton has some competition to the south for Ohio's lo-fi pop crown. (CL)

Tangiers Hot New Spirits Sonic Unyon Records • Has the official anti-garage band movement begun yet? If so, nobody's told Tangiers. Their debut full-length album Hot New Spirits is an energetic effort with tight performances of garage rock. If you're prone to fits of violence by the mere mention of the Strokes, avoid this album at all costs. Conversely, if you can't get enough of those crazy garage sounds that are driving the kids wild, run to the nearest record store (do they still call them record stores?) and grab yourself a copy of Hot New Spirits. Which side are you on? (CL)

Tart self-titled Smart Girl Music • Seattle's Tart is comprised of four rockin' women ready to hook you with infectious indie rock tunes. Three of the girls are sisters who grew up singing together and have formed Tart, along with another girl, to speak their minds and share their musical skills. Some tunes are a bit haunting and aggressive while others are a tad more poppy. Overall, this is a damn fine album from a quartet of young women who seem motivated, capable and prepared to unleash their sound on the masses. (CM)

Ted Leo & the Pharmacists Hearts of Oak Lookout! Records • Hearts of Oak is the follow up to 2000's The Tyranny of Distance, and in it Ted Leo reunites with the Pharmacists for thirteen tracks of bouncy, radio-friendly indie-pop. He is punk in an Elvis Costello way, and his songs are mixed like they used to in the '60s, with the instruments panned to different sides (drums to the left, bass to the right). (AL)

Terminal 4 When I'm Falling Truckstop Records • Terminal 4 does not play your average pop song. They use cello, piano, melodica, and trombone, in addition to guitar and bass to create their dramatic sound. The first instrument that grabs your attention is the trombone, which along with the cello creates a melancholic mood that permeates the entire album. (AL)

Terminus Victor Mastering the Revels Innocent Words • Mastering the Revels kicks things off with the Ministry-influenced "Bright and Early Persuasion," and it doesn't slow down for the next 37 minutes. Aside from their Ministry-influenced, somewhat industrial sound, you'll also find a fondness for Monster Magnet and sludge rock guitar work. (AL)

The Adventures of Jet Muscle Suburban Home Records • As I listened this CD, I just could not stop from smiling and bobbing my head up and down. I think it is the extremely catchy nature of this band's music, especially the use of keyboards to accent the sweetness of their power pop compositions. (AL)

The Beautys The First Seven Inches Are Always The Hardest Diaphragm Records • Get your mind out of the gutter! The title of this CD refers to 7" records, you pervert. All twenty-two tracks were compiled from hard to find recordings, compilations, and other unreleased material of fast-paced, female fronted sleazy punk rock. (AL)

The Bottlehouse Joy Of Life Aquarium Records • This is good ol' Americana rock with both male and female vocals keeping it interesting. The tempo moves between slow and mid, while the music backs up the solid singing. It reminds me of a slower version of Matchbox 20 (with male vocals). They have crafted 13 tunes that are full of hooks and country influences and they'll get under your skin if you're not careful. (CM)

The Boxing Lesson self-titled Send Me Your Head Records • Four songs that only make a slight first impression on me. Gentle and daring, creative and moving, but not really enough to take me anywhere. This boxing lesson is one of something quiet and deadly; the name is all irony for sure. I'm fond of "Every Bite Tastes the Same" and the track "Hard To Fake." In the end I wanted more, in an effort to develop a better relationship with this music. (KM)

The C*nts La La La Disturbing • The asterisk is theirs, not ours. Difficult to classify, and that's the way they like it. But, I'll try ­ we've got a minor-keyed scummy-punk sound as the centerpiece, but they throw in some backing organs to give it a Doors quality, and an occasional King Missile spoken word style. They assault you with disgustingly hilarious song topics, such as "Why Don't We Do It" and "Swimming Pool Filled with Trash," which had me in hysterics. If there were a Dr. Demento for vulgar tastelessness, singles from this album would be prime candidates. (DP)

The Deletist self-titled Entartete Kunst • You would be tempted to write off The Deletist as a Faint wannabe, with no-wave synth compositions and resigned vocals. However, listen closely and you'll find that there is some really good music here. Some of it could even be called orchestral, even if mostly played on keyboards. (AL)

The Detroit Experiment self-titled Ropeadope Records • Producer Aaron Luis Levinson picked Detroit as the second city in which to record an "Experiment," with Philadelphia as the first. This time around, instead of using a set crew, he and Carl Craig assembled a revolving group of musicians, with little or no rehearsal. The result is more varied than the original, with straight up jazz mixed with some soul and hip hop. (AL)

The Few The Few PSB Records • For a band just releasing its first full-length record, The Few has one of the better web sites I've seen. After seeing their creative and endearing bio, you can't help but like this LA-based trio. Our heroes traveled east to that indie music mecca Athens, Georgia to work with producer Andy LeMaster, best known for his work with Bright Eyes and his own band, Now It's Overhead. The trip was well worth it as the Few returned to LA with a fantastic indie pop album. (CL)

The Garrison Project self-titled B-LonG Records • You get 10 tracks of female-fronted, adult contemporary pop that is uptempo and uplifting, but frankly uncreative and the same old stuff you've probably heard before and didn't like then. At least her vocals are pretty good. (CM)

The Goodwill That Was a Moment Negative Progression Records • The Goodwill is destined to be the next big "thing." Like so many other teenage oriented bands, these guys promote an energetic style that is sweeping the mainstream. Borrowing styles from bands like Good Charlotte, A Simple Plan, and New Found Glory, these fellas are sure to find their glory amongst American teens. SIDENOTE: This CD was so good my boss felt he needed to steal it. Thanks Chef Feskens. (RP)

The Heavils self-titled Metal Blade Records • The most memorable thing about metal outfit The Heavils is Brian Carter's vocals. They are a bit throaty and angry sounding, but can also be melodic, like a cross between Audioslave's Chris Cornell and Living Color's Corey Glover, with a touch of Pantera's Phil Anselmo. He also builds all kinds of unique-sounding guitars, which get the hell pounded out of them, as will you. (AL)

The Party of Helicopters Please Believe It Velocette Records • Ever hear of "Jesus-fucking-Christ-these-guys-rock-core"? You will after you check out this musical number from the boys in POH. Chock full of blistering riffage and thundering percussion, you will hear a variety of influences in this album. Imagine Coheed and Cambria styled vocals mixed with all the rock of The Fucking Champs, and that's the tip of the iceberg. So start grooming your indie-rock mullet and prepare for the invasion. (RP)

The People Involved self-titled self-released • With a Brit rock sound similar to Bush meets Radiohead, TPI is bound to turn heads and gain fans with a quickness. But they're not British; they're from Los Angeles. And they're not as rockin' as Bush or as brilliant as Radiohead, but they certainly can hold their own. This is a popular band waiting to happen, an MTV2 video waiting to be aired and a college radio hit waiting to be played. Is anyone listening? (CM)

The Plot To Blow Up The Eiffel Tower Dissertation, Honey Happy Couples Never Last • TPTBUTET (wow they have a hell of an anagram don't they?) sound something like a Miles Davis record that wandered too far into your punk rock collection. That also means they sound a hell of a lot like The Nation of Ulysses. With that in mind, everything that's going on here is pretty original, and more than that, its all bold and challenging and I can never fault that. It grows on you, and it makes you move, it makes you want to see it live. While not perfect, the sprit is all there. (KM)

The Red Hot Valentines Calling Off Today Polyvinyl Record Co. • Indie rock pop with a Moog. This three song EP is a teaser for the full length, Summer Fling, that will be released this summer. It's poppy, catchy and definitely the kind of music you can bob your head and sing along to whether or not you want to. I love the moog and unfortunately, without this wonderful instrument, I fear this band would sound like any college rock band, but it gives it some sort of individuality. (MP)

The Scoldees Nightcap World self-released • This is solid adult contemporary pop rock. The music isn't bad, if you like that kind of thing. Frankly, I feel that lead vocalist Nancy Wilson is just a tad bit too emotional for me. The overall feel is pretty depressing. So, if you're putting down one beer too many and you can't take country, this might help you feel cozy. File this under "mid-life crisis music." (CM)

The Secession Movement We Need A Hill Keep Safe Records • So many music geeks, myself included, are distraught over the impending breakup of the Dismemberment Plan. Where will we go for smart, original indie rock? Here's one suggestion: the Secession Movement. They've got some intelligent lyrics, unique arrangements, and more complex rhythms than your standard indie rock fare. If you're down with bands like Shudder to Think, Q and Not U, and the soon to be defunct Plan, check this out. (CL)

The Special Goodness Land Air Sea NOS Records • Pat Wilson from Weezer and Atom Willard of Rocket From The Crypt are the two master minds behind The Special Goodness. Their musical backgrounds can be heard throughout the album, but don't rely heavily on that only. They have brought individual influences to this creation. These twelve tracks range mostly from rock to pop. The vocals reminded me of Presidents of the United States one moment and They Might Be Giants the next. Songs like "n.f.a." and "life goes by" are some of the catchier ones with great Weezeresque hooks. The album has moments where it tends to lag and could have potential to be mediocre, but then they come right back with a song that gets you singing along. It's definitely an album for any Weezer or Rocket From The Crypt fan to give a listen. (MP)

The Tossers Purgatory Thick Records • Irish masses unite! Chicago's The Tossers are back with 70 minutes of Celtic-influenced punk/folk music, complete with tin flute, mandolin, banjo, and fiddle. I'm not even Irish and go a sudden urge to drink many Guinesses. Go down to your local pub and bring this CD with you, you'll be the life of the party. (AL)

The Young And The Useless self-titled Thorpe Records • Witty band name, cleaver song titles, and a really bad cover of Journey's "Anyway You Want It"; all this says to me is these guys are trying a little too hard. With hooks and styles liberally borrowed from genre standards Grade, As Friends Rust, and countless fellow South Florida bands, I have to dig pretty deep to find anything original going on. With all that taken into account, I think these guys could be amazing, the vocals are great and musically there is talent. Just nothing original at all. (KM)

There Were Wires self-titled Iodine Recordings • Like their CD cover says, "Fuck the HivesŠThere Were Wires." This self-titled CD is nothing but tough-as-nails hardcore that will leave you gasping for air. Jaime Mason's vocals couldn't be any more caustic, and Thomas Moses and Don Belcastro's guitar frenzy is full of harshness as well as melody. (AL)

Tim Bluhm The Soft Adventure California Recordings • What's with the explosion of singer/songwriters all recording stuff at once? Maybe it has always been that way. But since the success of people like Elliott Smith and Dashboard Confessional, everyone seems to be doing it. Bluhm is different, though, in that he's been doing it for longer than the aforementioned artists. His music is sincere, slow moving and emotional. It drags a little for me, but there are some poppier, more upbeat tunes mixed in among the 16 tracks that include six new cuts and ten tracks from his 1996 Colts album. (CM)

Time Will Tell self-titled self-released • This five-song demo is a strong first effort for this Long Island quintet. They play melodic power punk with some emo and hardcore influences. The songs are catchy, but do pack a bit of a punch. The recording is a little raw, but it's a demo, so fuck it. They're a young band, sure to get better with each release. (CM)

Tipper Surrounded Myutopia Records • After many years of creating eardrum-piercing bass music, Dave Tipper has changed direction. In Surrounded, he takes on the chill-out and downtempo genres, adding his own touch. The title refers to the fact that this CD was recorded using 5.1 Surround Sound technology, for a truly enveloping feel. (AL)

Tonya Miller Keyhole self-released • Miller has a background as a jazz singer performing in the greater Boston area for a number of years. In 1996, she began writing her own pop songs, and has now released this 7-song CD. Her sound reflects her jazzy roots with a soft, sultry temperament. She backs her own vocals and plays acoustic guitar on intricately laid tracks, which greatly supplement her wonderful leads. Excellent debut. (DP)

Townhall The New Song Townhall Music • Townhall's sound can truly be described as unique. They blend elements form rock, jazz, blues, funk and folk, and use a ton of instruments. I was reminded of Jamiroquai at times, due to the smooth sounds coming out of my speakers. (AL)

Trenchmouth More Motion Thick Records • I'm skeptical of re-releases of bands that never made an impression on me when they were around. I guess it just seems a little self-serving. With that in mind, Trenchmouth does nothing for me, as they did in the '90s. With a sound that is locked into an experimental movement that has long since progressed past the point, there is an obsoleteness to this. While they might have been a key evolutionary building block to bands like The Dismemberment Plan, I see no point in revisiting these experiences. (KM)

Various Artists A Fistful of Rock N Roll Vol. 10 Devil Doll Records • If they've managed to put out ten of these things, they must be doing something right. You want dirty punk rock? How about 25 tracks of it, with bands like Groovie Ghoulies, Speedealer, The Strap Ons, Vice Lords and Muddy Frankenstein giving it to you? Yeah, I thought so. (AL)

Various Artists Atticus...Dragging the Lake II Side One Dummy Records • Twenty-six tracks, count them! This is a perfect starter kit for anyone about to enter the punk/hardcore/emo scene, with tracks from Rocket From the Crypt, Hot Water Music, Thrice, Blink 182, Dillinger Four, Alkaline Trio, and a whole bunch of others. Many of the tracks have never been released before, including ones by Finch, Dropkick Murphys, Lagwagon, and Hot Rod Circuit. (AL)

Various Artists Lookout! Freakout Episode 3 Lookout! Records • The Lookout! and Panic Button labels get together once a year to bring you some tunes from the previous year's albums and EPs, plus some unreleased material. This year features The Queers, Ben Weasel, The Mr. T Experience, The Pattern, and Yesterday's Kids, just to name a few. (AL)

Various Artists No Escape: A Tribute to Journey Urinine Records • The latest in a series of tributes that have included Bob Seger and Supertramp, No EscapeŠ finds four bands (Ohms, Houston, wafflehouse*, and Traindodge) covering four classic Journey songs. If only it was longer, it might have been more enjoyable. (AL)

Various Artists Pulse: a STOMP Odyssey Six Degrees Records • Pulse: a STOMP Odyssey is a new film that will be playing in IMAX theaters this year. This soundtrack features 21 tracks that explore percussive music from around the world. Beginning with the opening vocal-percussive track "Beat Box," the fast and upbeat tempo takes you to Brazil, Africa, Spain, India and the United States. As if the music wasn't enough, the Enhanced portion of the CD includes a music video and a Flash application that allows you to mix your own tracks with tons of percussive instruments. (AL)

Various Artists Punk Ass Generosity II Devil Doll Records • The second installment in the Punk Ass Generosity Series, this double CD brings you 44 tracks of excellent punk music, as well as cash for some charities. You see Devil Doll donates all the proceeds from this album to various organizations. So go out and help others, plus help yourself to some tunes by A New Found Glory, Gluecifer, Link 80, MU330, No Motiv, The Lawrence Arms, Welt, and Whippersnapper, among others. (AL)

Various Artists Punk Rock Vol. 2 206 Records • This is a amazing mix of five punk bands from around the world. Opening the 24-track release is Darling Daizy from Norway with four songs. They play uptempo, catchy, melodic punk rock that is reminiscent of NOFX and SUM 41. It's tight and quite good. They're followed by Monkey Pirates from Japan offering up six tunes. Their name is funny, but their music is nothing to laugh about. It combines solid, melodic punk with a hardcore intensity and tons of emotion. Next up is Canada's Shift-D, a quartet playing irresistible punk rock that is tight as hell and catchy as a cold. You get five songs from the Canucks, tunes that remind me quite a bit of Digger, but with a little more angst. Then comes a double dose of bands from the USA. The east coast's Bigwheel rocks out five tracks of aggressive, rapid-fire, melodic hardcore, full of tempo changes and head-bouncing melodies. Finally, we get a west coast fix from the Throw Downs, a speed-punk band that will have your head spinning and your feet taping faster than ever imaginable. Of the five bands, these guys probably have the most dangerous pit. Put together, this compilation is a fantastic, five-way punk fest. (CM)

Various Artists Radio Dick The 3 Sided LP Series: Volume 1 Pal-Tone Records • This is the first set of a series that has yet to expand into the future (hence why it's called Volume 1). This CD features three bands, each with four songs. The lineup of bands consists of The American Plague, Windfall, and Vangard. Hats off to Pal-Tone Records for this remarkable CD of three talented bands, but all with such different styles, and making the CD more diverse and worthwhile to own. The American Plaque kick this priceless piece of with a style that takes parts of the Ramones and Hot Water Music mixed with an '80s metal type vibe that I totally dig. When the sadness begins that The American Plaque songs have finished, Windfall cheers you up with their tentative pop-punk/punk sounds along with structured songs and female vocals. Last, but definitely not least, Orlando, Florida punk rock legends Vangard top the CD off with their intricate guitar riffs, crashing drum beats, and harmonies that are present in all of their songs. Good job, Pal-Tone. I anticipate Volume 2 of this indestructible series of compilations. (CMax)

Various Artists Rock-N-Roll Au Go-Go Volume 7 Devil Doll Records • Holy driving, straight-ahead rock-n-roll, Batman! These four bands do not fuck around, they just pummel you with big guitars, fat hooks, and a metric assload of attitude. If you don't drink whiskey and smoke excessively, you will after you listen to the eight tunes featured on this sampler. (CL)

Various Artists Smoking Popes Tribute Double Zero Records • This is a surprisingly good tribute album. For me, I have a hard time with a tribute to a band that only recently broke up (around 1998 for the Popes). But the diversity of bands and quality with which they cover great Smoking Popes songs made me take this release differently. All the "classic" Popes tunes are covered on here, from "Megan" to "I Love You Paul" to "Need You Around" -- 13 tracks altogether. The roster of bands includes such rockers as Bad Astronaut, Grade, Junction 18 and The Ataris. (CM)

Various Artists Unreleased No. 2 Deep Elm Records • The second in a series, this compilation features ten never before heard tracks from The Appleseed Cast, Benton Falls, Drive Till Morning, Race Car Riot, Camber, Slowride, and other Deep Elm artists. All the songs will appear here and nowhere else, and they even printed the lyrics for you. (AL)

Vicious White Lies self-titled self-released • From Olympia, WA comes Vicious White Lies, ready to kick your ass with their X, and Black Flag influenced punk sound. They are fronted by Jenna Riot, whose vocals are both squeaky and somewhat annoying, just like punk should be. (AL)

Waiting For Autumn Now I Know Forever American Jealousy • The freshman release from emo rockers Waiting For Autumn, and it has all the good and bad that title brings with it. Full of energy and youthful vigor, these guys know how to rock, how to write songs with plenty of heartfelt feelings and energy. The downside, they rely too much on the well-cleared genre path of emo and never stray from there at all. The foundation is there, and as soon as they can break the formula these guys could do anything. (KM)

Watchers To The Rooftops Gern Blandsten • These guys immediately reminded me of Talking Heads. They play indie rock with quirky pop elements, numerous influences and a diverse set of styles. You hear elements of punk, funk, pop and classic rock woven together to create original tunes that'll have you shakin' in your seat. It's hard to deny the infectiousness of this rockin' released. (CM)

We Talked About Murder Expecting The Explosion Has Anyone Ever Told You? • Texas: I've had enough of that damn state. Ironic that on the eve of the state's 300th execution that I'm reviewing a disc by a band from Texas called We Talked About Murder. Anywho, the Austin music scene, of which We Talked About Murder is a part, is one redeeming value of the Lone Star state. Produced by Tim Kerr of Monkeywrench fame, Expecting The Explosion bears a strong resemblance to the driving indie rock of the DC scene. If I were We Talked About Murder, I'd think about relocating to DC, or anyplace else for that matter, and get the hell out of that state. (CL)

Wes McDonald Cuttin' Up Rocks Magical Solution Records • A soulful sort of alt-country southern rock. Surprisingly hard-hitting at times, and always with a grassroots feel. Some of the songs remind me of something Ryan Adams would do. Honest, and full of energy, but nothing that really sticks to your bones. (KM)

Where Eagles Dare In A Thousand Words Or Less Endwell Records • Naming yourselves after my favorite Misfits song is a great way to win my heart, boys. With a sound that should be straight out of the industrial Northeast, WED keeps the tread going on the new hardcore wagon, sounding like the Black Widows and the Horror Show, with a little bit of Sick Of It All thrown in as well. Good stuff, and from Arizona no less. (KM)

Where Fear And Weapons Meet Control Eulogy Recordings • After a two year hiatus, this South Florida band is back with six tracks of punishing hardcore. Unrelenting guitars and pounding drums hammer away while the searing vocals chip away at your ears. The time off has done nothing to dull their sound. In fact, they are as dangerous as ever. (AL)

While They Slept Parade The Circus Around The Silhouette Spare Change Press • Hailing from the Twin Cities, WTS plays songs like an ice covered field stuck in a brilliant sunset. Dark, yet brilliant, soft emo-core played with startling heartfelt honesty. The instrumentation is quality, and this whole release survives a few lost moments to be a good experience in the whole. (KM)

Wisdom In Chains self-titled Gangstyle Records • I can't get over the fact that all Oi bands sound the same. No disrespect to some who have originality in their type of music, but I just felt like sharing my opinions on Oi in general, before I come off as some "hater." For an Oi album, this CD is great. It comes off with everything every Oi fan enjoys and you know what I am talking about. I do enjoy the street punk songs on this album, as well as their harmonies and most of their morals, ethics, and values. I just hope that whenever the "Oi Revolution" takes place, bands will open up and not sound like their mentors or idols for a change. Wisdom in Chains are from The Netherlands; that's some prize points in my book. (CMax)

Xiu Xiu A Promise 5 Rue Christine • I think it would be difficult to find a singer with more despondent emotion than Jamie Stewart. Even when accompanied by nothing more than a lilting guitar, his sadness creeps you out. This album also features some orchestral sounds, but it is the sparse songs that get to you. (AL)

Zox Take Me Home Zox Music • The violinist sucks you in at first and by the end the rest of the guitar, bass and drum sound spits you out. Vocals were the only thing I needed time to adjust to; the rest of this blended so well you would have thought that music was always supposed to be meshed this way. A solid rock approach highlighted by the violin play of Spencer Swain makes this disc one of the most interesting I've heard in a while. Always at an up tempo pace, influences shine through from the likes of Sublime, The Police, NOFX, Paul Simon, Ben Harper and Green Day. A mixture of electronic rock, punk, reggae and improvising, this disc is well worth checking out. (JC)


Grain USA Catchy Like A Cold 7" Disposable Pop Revolution • The record title is appropriate. These guys ARE catchy like a cold! There are two tracks of pop rock pleasure on here, and I doubt you'll be able to avoid enjoying them. Self-described as "artsy-fartsy wuss-rock" and "catchy, cathartic, cohesive candy-asses", the press nails it dead on. The first track is a sweet-as-candy uptempo pop number while the second track is equally as infectious, but vocals-free. Both are great tunes. (CM)

Kill Me Tomorrow self-titled 7" Gold Standard Laboratories • KMT is a west coast three-piece that creates original music that is hard to define. Their label loosely refers to it as "'noir wave': a sort of new wave/no wave, gothic-tinged, electro-post punk." That's better than I can do. There are two tracks on this release, one being a bit more uptempo than the other, which is kind of flowing and somewhat dark in sound. Think Joy Division meets The Cure meets Tom Waits meets Sonic Youth. That's a tough thing to imagine, but it's the best I can do. (CM)

Rock Stone Cherry Vanilla 7" Plastic Pancake • Aug Stone (aka Rock Stone) offers up his first solo release. These two tracks are electro-pop numbers sure to please the masses. His style reminds me of The Lightening Seeds, with irresistible melodies and cute, electronic bleeps and loops that really hook you in. Stone's vocals are smooth, drifting freely over the top of the soundscapes of his music. (CM)

Tennis Pure Evil 7" Watermark • Tennis are a lot like crack; it might not be the best drug you've ever had, but you simply can't get enough. This is indie pop rock through and through and Tennis performs it both originally and emotionally. They remind me, at times, of The Stereo, but less produced and with more of an honest rock feel. Each of these three tracks is packed with bad-ass hooks and tempo changes that will make you smile with each new trick they pull off. This is one of those bands you are bound to hear plenty more about, so get with it now before you're just part of the bandwagon. (Oh, bonus: It's on clear, green vinyl. Sweet!) (CM)

The Starvations Horrified Eyes 7" Gold Standard Laboratories • Wavering, anxious vocals dance over piano-enhanced garage rock on the first track. The flipside features a similar vocal styling, but the music is a bit darker and more depressing, trading in piano for accordion. Together, the two tracks showcase an interesting musical style that escapes classification or genre labeling. (CM)

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

Alpinestars B.A.S.I.C. Guidance Recordings • This Manchester duo composes tracks loosely based on electro beats and pop music. Many of their songs are full of layered synth passages and robotic beats, but they also feature acoustic guitars and mellow singing. It's a nod to krautrock and '80s electronica, perfectly blended. (AL)

Aphex Twin 26 Remixes For Cash Warp Records • This amazing double CD rounds up ten years' worth of Aphex Twin "remixes." The ever-unpredictable Richard D. James pays little if any attention to the original tracks before giving it a makeover (he has yet to hear the original versions of the two Nine Inch Nails songs remixed here). You can, however, detect a similarity to other work he was involved in at the time, from Selected Ambient Works to his Analogue Bubblebath series. Two new original tracks are also here, including a never before heard version of "Windowlicker." (AL)

Audima Definition 482 Music • Crossing the boundaries of indie rock, jazz, folk and prog-rock all in one sitting cannot overshadow the loungy, smoke filled pub kind of vibe on this release. The eleven tracks form one long story that takes repeated listening sessions to get to the bottom of. With song titles like "A Feeling Of Amazement And Fear Coupled With A Feeling Of Insignificance" and "A Difficult Situation That Will Provide Information About Somebody" you get the idea of what may be expected within. Tracks are broken down like chapters of a book, transcending accordingly into one another while the chirping of frogs, waves bashing upon shore, rainfall and thunder strikes all fill the soundscape with a natural, realistic feeling of actually being on the scene during this storyline as it takes place. The production obviously stands out and helps keep things together here, but the musicians really got creative and hopefully will get their time to shine someday. (JC)

Bluebottle Kiss Revenge Is Slow In Music We Trust Records • Sydney, Australia's Bluebottle Kiss won me over with the first song and had me sold by the second. With a quiet indie emo sound that feels different from most anything your gonna hear, but will remind you a little of Coldplay, and a confessional song writing style that brought the Red House Painters to mind as well, this CD is becoming worn with play already around here. Solid and amazing. (KM)

Cryptic One The Anti-Mobius Strip Theory Centrifugal Phorce Records • Laying tracks down with fellow underground teammates like Aesop Rock, Cannibal Ox and mainly the Atoms Family, Cryptic now delivers his debut solo disc of dungeon sounding beats and a versatile lyrical vision. On his own record label, Cryptic flows flawlessly overtop beats provided by himself, Blockhead ("Unicycle", "Bicycle" "Tricycle"), Blueprint ("Intricate Schemes") and Atoms Family partner Jestoneart ("Pulp Non-Fiction"). Much of this disc dives headfirst into the bounds of life and death, the running out of time and the irony of everything he's just said. On the hook of "Half-Life" he flows "half empty and half full, life vision is impaired, my life glass is always full, half with water, half with air." Without any hype to back this project, prepare to be surprised by the drum cymbal beats, horn loops, crisp treble hits and autopilot lyrical deliveries that fit like hand-in-glove with the production. I know it's early but this is the best disc I've heard yet this year, the complete album sound is consistent and nothing disappoints. (JC)

Deerhoof Apple O' Kill Rock Stars • I am christening a new musical genre: haiku rock, a hip new sound not unlike Cibo Matto or LeTigre with attention deficit disorder. Lyrically, subject matter includes pandas, flowers, and playing cards, while the words are sung in such a way that they are almost indecipherable. The 5-7-5 haiku form is only a vague suggestion, not a hard and fast rule. Of course, any genre needs a standard bearer, and "haiku rock" has Deerhoof. This is one truly unique and entertaining album, so jump on the bandwagon while there's still room. (CL)

Fabulous Disaster Panty Raid Pink and Black Records • I love girl punk bands. I love this girl punk band. A superb blend of anger, sugar, and musicianship makes this a really fun disc to listen to. I don't say this simply because, based on their pictures, any member of this rockin' female combo could kick my lily ass. This is a really good pop-punk gem. (MK)

Intro5pect self-titled A-F Records • Pissed off at the state of music and how commercialized it had become, the quartet now known as Intro5pect formed. This was the winter of '97/'98. Now, five years later, the band has finally released a full album. What the hell were they waiting for?! This is brilliant, poignant, intense and original as hell. Instead of letting themselves be pigeonholed into a genre, they pull from several to create a genius sound. At the roots of their style are Brit punk influences, ala The Clash, but given strong consideration in the mix are American punk influences, ala Strike Anywhere, a political attitude that reminds me of Billy Bragg and Propagandhi and an electro-synth aspect that really flips the whole thing in a new way. The rapid-fire drum machine beats make the songs sound particularly urgent, and in most cases they are. They also make use of staccato keyboard strokes and infectious samples, once again adding an element to a traditional punk sound that is very unusual, but superb. It works! And philosophically, Intro5pect share their enlightened socio/political views through their incredible lyrics: "Give up, dumb down / forgetting all your dreams / so buy in, take out, / grabbing all you see" and "Winds of change are blowing / harder than you've ever seen before / they're pushing and they're pulling / straight to the company door." This is music worth listening to, understanding, absorbing and enjoying deeply. I think you'll agree. (CM)

Mad Caddies Just One More Fat Wreck Chords • You just can't have Just One More. You are going to want another and another and another. These guys are like potato chips - you won't be satisfied with just one. This is a disc which, while planted in the punk section of your local music mart, spans so many genres as to make classification useless. Tight musicianship and a pretty wild sense of humor makes this a great disc. (MK)

Prefuse 73 One Word Extinguisher Warp Records • Whereas hip-hop artists take beats from other sources and loop them together to form a beat, Prefuse 73 (Scott Herren) takes it a step further and also borrows the vocals, ripping them apart until individual words are unrecognizable. Vocals take on the role of instrument. Just about every song has a disjointed feeling to it, like it was improvised on the spot with no forethought. He also collaborates with other "blip hop" artists Daedelus and Dabrye, downtempo groovemeister Tommy Guerrero and rappers Diverse and Mr. Lif. (AL)

Rise Against Revolutions Per Minute Fat Wreck • This Chicago four-piece is a raging political punk band that deserves everyone's attention. Put them in a class with Strike Anywhere, The Lawrence Arms and Good Riddance, both in terms of their musical style and lyrical content. The vocals are strong, emotional and melodic while the music tears forward with tempo changes galore and irresistible hooks. They combine elements of power punk with hardcore to create a sound that is equal parts catchy and punchy. You'll be drawn in by a sick, addictive melody, only to be knocked in the face by a screaming chorus and huge guitar parts. And if it's not enough that they tear it up musically, their lyrics are bound to grab you: "Would God bless a murder of the innocents? Would God bless a war based on pride? Would God bless a money-hungry government? No!" Powerful music and poignant commentary ‹ a match made in musical heaven. (CM)

Spearing Jocasta self-titled self-released • This release has the best problem possible, 3 songs were not enough, and leave you begging for more. Probably the most interesting hardcore release I've heard in a year or more. SJ venture off the tried and true hardcore pattern, but do it with delightful ease, making these songs interesting and amazing. I'm still pissed there are only 3 songs, but besides that damn this is good, and I guess they got the first rule of entertainment right, leave them wanting more. (KM)

The Majesticons Beauty Party Big Dada • There are concept albums and then there are EPIC concept albums. This is part of the latter. This is volume two in the trilogy involving the Majesticons. In part one, they battled the Infesticons. It was a dope confrontation and part two takes it to the next level. Mike Ladd is the mind behind this hip-hop madness, and it's brilliant, almost too hard to grasp. It's like one of those movies you need to watch three or four times before you get the whole plot figured out, that's just how deep this thumpin' shit gets. It's raw and soulful, sexy and rugged. It'll smack you upside the head and then stroke you down in bed. On the wild journey are such vocalists as Vast Aire (Cannibal Ox), Murs and El-P. Meanwhile, the beats are frantic to funky and the cuts are tight as fuck. There's a tad more R&B on here than I'd prefer (just a few tracks), but it's definitely top of the line as that genre goes and it's offset by so much good that I just have to deal. (CM)

The Silent Treatment Twenty One self-released • Silent these guys are not. Big hooks and bigger guitars dominate this five-song EP. There is a strong emotional component to both the music and lyrics, but don't let that scare you. These guys aren't about the whiny freshman poetry nonsense and the cliched emo arrangements; they just write intelligent and mature indie rock. As much as I enjoyed this disc, the Silent Treatment is even more powerful in a live setting. This comes highly recommended. (CL)

Various Artists Small, My Table Innocent Words • This disc is released on the sister label to Innocent Words Magazine, an Illinois-based publication which focuses on local and national independent music. It features mostly bands from the region, and It is a very diverse collection of exceptionally talented bands who have come together to serve a noble cause: a benefit for Riley's Hospital for Children in Indianapolis. Pearl Jam guitarist Stone Gossard lends a song from his debut solo CD, and Burden Brothers features former members of the Toadies and Reverend Horton Heat. Great compilation. (DP)

In alphabetical order. Please write them.

206 Records, 8314 Greenwood Ave. N., PMB 102, Seattle, WA 91803
482 Music, 853 Sanders Rd. #165, Northbrook, IL 60062
5 Rue Christine, PO Box 1190, Olympia, WA 98507-1190
A-F Records, PO Box 71266, Pittsburgh, PA 15213
Amazing Grease Records, 1501 Plymouth Ave. San Fran, CA 94112
American Jealousy, 2796 Sycamore Dr., Ste. 202 Simi Valley, CA 93065
Anticon, c/o 6months Distribution, 5878.5 Doyle St., Emeryville, CA 94608
Apple Pi Records, 2848 Woodford Cir., Rochester Hills, MI 48306
Aquarium Records, 729 South Second St., Mankato, MN 56001
Ballyhoo Withdrawal Records, PO Box 685257, Austin, TX 78768-5257
Bi-Did-It Records, 108 W. 39th Street, Suite 600, NY, NY 10018
Big Dada, c/o Ninja Tune, PO Box 4296, London, SE11 4WW UK
B-LonG Records, 2 Hemlock Hill Road, Westport, CT 06880
Break Even Records, PO Box 42469, Philadelphia, PA 19101
California Recordings, PO Box 2537, Mill Valley, CA 94942
Centrifugal Phorce Records, no contact info available
Chaucer, 42 Beech Ave., Chartham Downs, Canterbury, Kent, CT4 7TA UK
Choleric, 39359 Bay Drive, Ponchatoula LA 70454
Choo-Choo, c/o G. Baxley, 762 Ave. B SW, Winter Haven, FL 33880
Clashbackk Recordings, no contact info available
Constellation Records, PO Box 42002, Montreal QC Canada H2W 2T3
Cur On A Glider Records, 133 Vannoy St., Atlanta, GA 30317
Daemon Records, PO Box 1207, Decatur, GA 30031
Datawaslost Records, PO Box 19401, Cincinnati, OH 45219
David Clement, 561 Hudson St. Suite #37, New York, NY 10014
David Francis, PO Box 811, Village Station, NY, NY 10014
Deep Elm Records, PO Box 36939, Charlotte, NC 28236
Devil Doll Records, PO Box 37027, Long Beach, CA 90853
Diaphragm Records, PO Box 10388, Columbus, OH 43201
Discord Records, 3819 Beecher St. NW Washington DC 20007
Disposable Pop, c/o L. Bellon, 36091 Dalewood Dr., Newark, CA 94560
Disturbing Records, 3238 So. Racine, Chicago, IL 60608
Domino Recording Co., Ltd., PO Box 1207, New York, NY 10276
Dos Hermanas Music, no contact info available
Double Zero Records, PO Box 7122, Algonquin, IL 60102
Dr. Strange Records, PO Box 7000-117, Alta Loma CA 91701
Endwell Records, 19 Stori Rd. Floor 2, Newburgh, NY 12550
Entartete Kunst, PO Box 41119, San Francisco, CA 94141-1194
Epitaph Records, 2798 Sunset Blvd, Los Angeles, CA 90026
Eulogy Recordings, PO Box 24913, Ft. Lauderdale, FL 33307
Evil Owl Records, 10344 Mississippi Blvd., Coon Rapids, MN 55433
Fat Wreck Chords, PO Box 193690, San Francisco, CA 94119-3690
Fearless Records, 13772 Goldenwest St. 545 Westminster, CA 92683
File 13 Records, PO Box 804868, Chicago, IL 60680
Fueled By Ramen, PO Box 12563, Gainesville, FL 32604
Gangstyle, Ecrevissestraat 41, 6125 AW Obbicht, The Netherlands
Geeves Records, 2428 Plantation Dr., East Point, GA 30344
Gern Blandsten Records, PO Box 356, River Edge, NJ 07661
Gold Standard Labs, PO Box 178262, San Diego, CA 92177
Green Rode Shotgun, 195 East Road, Cookeville, TN 38501
Grit, c/o Inebriated Rhythm, 8 Danville St., West Roxbury, MA  02132
Guidance Recordings, Inc., 160 N Halsted, Chicago, IL 60661
Handheld, c/o Renzo Bopp, Buerglistrasse 10, CH-8820 Waedenswil Germany
Happy Couples Never Last, PO Box 36997 Indianapolis, IN 46236
Has Anyone Ever Told You?, PO Box 161702, Austin, TX 78716-1702
Hodge Podge, c/o John Kachnowski, 35478 Brookview, Livonia, MI 48152
Hopeless Records, PO Box 7495, Van Nuys, CA 91409-7495
Hydra Head Records, PO Box 990248, Boston, MA 02199
Ice-Made, 366 Stratford Ave #1B, PGH, PA 15232Dr. Strange Records, PO Box 7000-117, Alta Loma CA 91701
iMUSIC, c/o ARTISTdirect, 5670 Wilshire Blvd., Ste. 200, LA, CA 90036Dr. Strange Records, PO Box 7000-117, Alta Loma CA 91701
In Music We Trust, 15213 SE Bevington Avenue, Portland, OR 97267Dr. Strange Records, PO Box 7000-117, Alta Loma CA 91701
Innocent Words, c/o Troy Michael, PO Box 674, Danville, Illinois 61834
Iodine Recs, 1085 Commonwealth Ave., PMB 318, Boston, MA 02215
Ironman Records, no contact info available
Jagjaguwar, 1021 South Walnut, Bloomington, IN 47401
Judas Cradle, PO Box 1445, Grand Central Station, NY, NY 10163-1445
K Records, Box 7154, Olympia, WA 98507
Karma Records, 120 N. Mill St., Lexington, KY 40507
Keep Safe Records, 1016 Berlin Rd., Cherry Hill, NJ 08034
Kill Rock Stars, 120 NE State #418, Olympia, WA 98501
Kindercore Records, PO Box 110969, Brooklyn, NY 11211
Leisure King, 541 Willamette St. #212, Eugene, Oregon 97401
Level Plane, PO Box 4329, Philadelphia, PA 19118
Loner Records, c/o Sandman, 105 N. Sherman, Olympia, WA 98502
Lookout! Records, 3264 Adeline Street, Berkley, CA 94703
Magical Solution Records, PO Box 49078 Athens, GA 30604
Mallory, 2364 Chickasaw St., Cincinnati, OH 45219
Mark Austin Band, 2414 Maverick Ave., Dallas, TX 75228
Metal Blade, 2828 Cochran St., PMB 302, Simi Valley, CA 93065
Montesando Records, PO Box 20692 Seattle, WA 98102
Mr. K Records, 5 Reeback Dr., Valhalla, NY 10595
Mush Records, 1742 Laurel Canyon Blvd, Los Angeles, CA 90046
MuscleTone, 8949 Sunset Blvd., Ste. #203, W. Hollywood, CA 90069
Myutopia Records, 2231 S. Carmelina Ave., West Los Angeles, CA 90064
Negative Progression, PO Box 193158, San Francisco, CA 94119
N.O.S. Recording, 7711 Wish Ave., Van Nuys, CA 91406
No Karma Recordings, PO Box 71203, Milwaukee, WI 53211-7303
Nook & Cranny Records, PO Box 14381, Gainesville, FL 32604
Noreaster Failed, 6423 Richmond Hwy. #3204, Alexandria, VA 22306
Northern Blues Music, 8455 Beverly Blvd., Los Angeles, CA 90048
One Day Savior Recordings, PO Box 372, Williston Park, NY 11596
Palm, 601 W. 26th Street, 11th Floor, NY, NY 10001
Pal-Tone Records, PMB 422, 167 Cherry Street, Milford, CT 06460
Panic Button, 3264 Adeline Street, Berkeley, CA 94703
Pink and Black, Box 190516, San Francisco, CA 94119
Plastic Pancake, 180 Chemin des Pitous, 82000 Montauban, France
Polyvinyl Record Co., PO Box 7140, Champaign, IL 61826
Pop Culture Casualties, 7109 Staples Mill Rd. #300, Richmond, VA 23228
PSB Records, 265 Santa Helena #110, Solana Beach, CA 92075
Pumf Records, 25 Ivy Ave., Blackpool, FY4 3QF UK
Punktuation/Artist Music Grp., 400 SE 9th St., Ft. Lauderdale, FL 33316
Purple Skunk, 8362 Pines Blvd., Suite 425, Pembroke Pines, FL 33024
Radical Records, 77 Blecker Street St. #C2-21, New York, NY 10012
Recluse Records, no contact info available
Red Buttons Records, PO Box 761 Capinteria, CA 93014-0761
Red Cake, 2-1-19 Imai-cho, AP203, Kashiharashi, Naraken, 634-0812 JAPAN 
  Reflections, Spoorwegstraat 117 6828, AP Arnhem The Netherlands
Responsive Records, PO Box 99575, Emeryville, CA. 94662
Revelation Records, PO Box 5232, Huntington Beach, CA 92615-5232
Robert Barry Construction Assoc., 565 1/2 N Boylston St, LA, CA 90012
Ropeadope Records, Village Station, PO Box 1021, New York, NY 10014
Ruff Nation Records, no contact info available
Saddle Creek, PO Box 8554, Omaha, NE 68108-0554
Sanity Check Musec, PO Box 179, Boyce, VA 22620
Scene Police c/o dpm, Humboldstrasse 15, 53115 Bonn, Germany
Sciflyer, 729 Central Ave., #203, Alameda, CA 94501
Send Me Your Head Records, 1337 ‡ Laventa Terrace, L A, CA 90026
Sessions Records, 15 Janis Way, Scotts Valley, CA 95066
Shinytown Records, 1940-2 Harrison St, Hollywood, FL 33020
Shut Eye Records, 244 Iswald Street SE, Suite 1-A, Atlanta, GA 30316
Side One Dummy Records, PO Box 2350, Los Angeles, CA 90078
Six Degrees Records, 540 Hampshire Street, San Fran, CA 94110-1417
Smart Girl Music, no contact info available
Snacks Music, c/o K. Wiggins, 252 Kingsberry Dr., Somerset, NJ 08873
Sonic Unyon, PO Box 57347, Jackson Station, Hamilton, ON L8P 4X2
Spare Change Press, PO Box 14114 Minneapolis, MN 55414
Spearing Jocasta, 67 Leuckel Ave. Trenton, NJ 08619
Spy Hop Records, 353 West Pierpont Ave. #200, Salt Lake City, UT 84101
Stalins War, 901 Pellegrini St. Santa Cruz, CA 95062
Substandard Records, PO Box Berkeley, CA 94701
Suburban Home Records, PO Box 40757, Denver, CO 80204
The New Beat, 3100 Sevier Ave. Knoxville, TN 37920
The People Involved, no contact info available
The Scoldees, c/o Randex Comm., 906 Jonathan Lane, Marlton, NJ 08053
The Silent Treatment, PO Box 15445, Tampa, FL 33684
Thick Records, PO Box 220245, Chicago, IL 60622
Third Earth Music, 784 Columbus Avenue #4M, NY, NY 10025
Thorpe Records, PO Box 6786 Toledo, OH 43612
Three One G Records, PO Box 178262, San Diego, CA 92177
Time Will Tell, c/o J. Cannizzaro, 1115 America Ave., W. Babylon, NY 11704
Tonya Miller, 109 Tremont Street, Cambridge, MA 02139
Tooth and Nail Records, PO Box 12698, Seattle, WA 98111
Townhall Music, c/o C. Ballen, 130 Spruce Street, #26A, Philly, PA  19106
Truckstop Records, 2255 S. Michigan Ave. #4, Chicago, IL 60616
Trustkill Records, 23 Farm Edge Lane, Tinton Falls, NJ 07724
Two Sheds Music, PO Box 5455, Atlanta, GA 31107-0455
Urinine Records, PO Box 413903, Kansas City MO 64141
Velocette Records, 83 Walton St., Atlanta, GA 30303
Vicious White Lies, PO Box 7012 Olympia, WA 98507
Warp Records, PO Box 25378, London, NW5 3GL UK
Watermark, PO Box 1203, NY, NY 10113
Weird Science Records, CL & OH, Romerstrasse 55a, 53111 Bonn Germany
Western Vinyl, 91 Kingsland Ave., 1st Floor, Brooklyn, NY 11222
Wind-up Records, 72 Madison Avenue, 8th Floor, NY, NY 10016
Zedtone Inc, 213 Brunswick Ave, Totonto, OH M5S 2M4
Zox Music, 277 Gano St., Providence, RI 02906

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