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Aug./Sept. '02 Articles:
The Growing Revolt
Against Globalization
Editorial: Get Tough With Animal Abusers
The Muddlemarch: 1
The Muddlemarch: 2
One Nation, Indivisible
The Case for
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Misunderstood Chairman
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CD reviews

Adventures in Tourism demo EP self-released • Featuring Russell Mofsky (from the pop-punk band Quit) on guitar, keyboards and vocals, these four songs are a solid set of mostly-acoustic, singer/songwriter tunes. Mofsky's style is in the vein of Elliot Smith and Dashboard Confessional, heartfelt emotional tunes that are infectious and absorbing. For a demo, this is both a strong work of musical skill and of superior recording quality. (CM)

Against Me! Reinventing Axl Rose No Idea Records • This is punk rock with a folk edge to it. Eleven songs that are perfect for singing along while drinking some beers, particularly the singalong choruses. Do you like Billy Bragg or Stiff Little Fingers? Then get Reinventing Axl Rose. (AL)

Alias Clark Good Times...EP self-released • Central Florida's Alias Clark offers up their first release, a four-song EP that showcases their power pop abilities and gives a hint of their live show silliness. Having seen them a few times, I can attest that they deliver a rockin' show with a hell of a lot of good times to be had for all. They play pop with a punch that doesn't break any new ground, but instead use a strong blue print to deliver extremely solid tunes that get in your head, make your toes tap and put a bounce in your step. (CM)

All-Time Quarterback! All-Time Quarterback! Barsuk Records • All-Time Quarterback! is a side project of Death Cab for Cutie frontman Ben Gibbard. Naturally, this album sounds like the Cab de Death, recorded in somebody's bedroom on a four-track. Gibbard, the indie rock vocal twin of Pet Shop Boy Neil Tennett (listen to DCFC's "Movie Script Ending," and you'll hear what I'm talking about), delivers a collection of bare bones, lo-fi melancholy pop tunes. But isn't that what Gibbard does best? (CL)

An Automotive self-titled Six Gun Lover Records • Featuring members of Joan of Arc, Nymb, The Firebird Band, Sidekick Cato and Ghosts n Vodka, An Automotive take elements from jazz, electronica and rock to create a combination of indie and post rock songs. Playful synths add a retro-futuristic sound to the jangly guitar based tracks. The vocals didn't do much for me, which is why I preferred the instrumental tracks. (AL)

Angeles Drake self-titled Threadbare Records • Coming soon to a radio station near you, this five-piece from California. Well, not necessarily. But their sound is made for the radio with their upfront, strong male vocals and a sound that can rock out but is still sensitive (sensitive=somewhat-country/folk jangle) -- maybe along the lines of such bands as Counting Crows, Creed and Seven Mary Three. It's plenty good for what it is; the vocals are commendable and the music is melodic and well produced. But there's nothing that'll knock you outta your socks or make you say, "Wow, this sounds different." (CM)

Aquanote The Pearl Astralwerks • The man responsible for Aquanote is Gabriel Rene, who also cofounded the critically acclaimed Soulstice with Andy Caldwell. His ideal for this album was to create songs that could work if sang with nothing more than a guitar. He enlisted the help of a few female vocalists and then added the electronic beats that make this album danceable as well as singable. The Pearl combines a bit of hip hop, broken beat and Latin-influenced house, all under the umbrella of soul music. (AL)

Army Of Ponch So Many You Could Never Will No Idea • Andre the Giant may have a posse, but Francis Poncherello has an army, a damn fine talented one at that. Another something great out of Gainesville, FL, but by no means a copy cat of anything currently available in that scene. Drawing influences from a myriad of good sources, the Army of Ponch are here to pillage the countryside. (KM)

Aspects of Physics Systems of Social Calibration Imputor? Records • Aspects of Physics came about from the remains of the post-rock hypnotic band, Physics, which had no problem recording 10+ minute songs of repeating guitar layers. AOP take this sound and add to it elements from IDM (Autechre, Aphex Twin) to bring it into this century, furthering their need to experiment with sounds and music. (AL)

Ben Weasel Fidatevi Panic Button • Underground legend, Ben Weasel, known best for his days as the frontman of Screeching Weasel, comes back with his first solo album. It sounds just like you might expect it would, like Screeching Weasel, but with a little maturity and guile, a bit more substance and craft. All the good things that Screeching Weasel fans might expect are there as well; the signature raw pop-punk sounds and the sandpaper smooth vocals are still evident. (KM)

Bloodjinn Leave This World Breathing Goodfellow Records • Insane metalcore from North Carolina. They lean toward the metal side, but they also incorporate black metal and grind here and there. The level of intensity never slows down except for the almost out of place song, "The Last Cry," which sounds like it was written by Death Cab for Cutie! (AL)

Blue Something Borrowed Something Sanity Check Musec • The roadhouse blues on this release is packed with energy and attitude in a 'balls to the wall' kinda way. On the 8th release from this one-man band, the music here sounds at times like Danzig, The Doors, Elvis Presley or any number of rockabilly and hard rock blues players of the past. This release is a bit more amped up than his previous offerings as he ventures into different elements such as using an organ, new bass line and sampled horns on a rowdy rendition of "Hound Dog." This whole thing sounds good and is a bit more edgy and experimental than your basic blues set. (JC)

Boom Bip Seed To Sun Lex Records • This almost feels like a compilation of songs by different artists, instead of a CD by one person, in this case Bryan Hollon (Boom Bip). He switches from jazzy IDM ala Squarepusher, to beatless ambient, to hip-hop (with Doseone on the mic) and even a bit of guitar riffing. His sampling of string and horn instruments blends well with the futuristic effects strewn all over the tracks. (AL)

Box The Compass Run The Eastling Down Substandard • This CD has all the elements that made Hot Water Music's "Fuel For The Hate Game" one of my favorite records, the rough vocals, and the music that teeters on the edge of complete chaos only to come around and save it with a great chorus. Orchestrated with some true to form indie rock elements, but hard hitting when it matters, this one is worth checking out. (KM)

Bratmobile Girls Get Busy Lookout • Bratmobile is a first-generation Riot Grrrl band. They were part of the original Riot Grrrl phenomenon in the early nineties. They broke up in 1994 and reformed just two years ago, much wiser and experienced. This, their second release since reforming, remains true to their roots, and is a powerful Indie girl pop album oozing with sweet, sweet feminism. (DP)

Bright Calm Blue Asymmetry Set Divot • I couldn't think of a more ironic name for this band. There isn't anything bright or calm about them. Chaotic indie rock feel, with melodic guitars swarming a throaty impassioned cry for help. Almost hardcore or even screamo, but the artistic approach separates it from your run of the mill. (KM)

Cadillac Blindside These Liquid Lungs Fueled by Ramen Records • If there's one quality that describes Cadillac Blindside, it's intensity. Whether playing a catchy, melodic tune, or a screaming punk rocker, their energy never comes down. With bands like Dashboard Confessional and Dillinger Escape Plan gaining national attention, it's just a matter of time before these guys take over the airwaves. (AL)

Caesura More Specific, Less Pacific Fifty-Four Forty or Fight! • This album is put together well and features heavy bass lines, tight percussion and psychotic vocal screams and rants. The rushing sound of rock from this San Francisco trio is full of consistent power. The aggression is not overrun though; the band manages to stray into a more melodic territory at times with instrumental improvising while keeping their piercing sound and mystery intact. The energy on this disc would make for a pretty kick-ass live show. (JC)

Cage Movies For The Blind Eastern Conference Records • Spending time in a psychiatric facility as a kid has prepared this emcee to unleash his love and hate, good and evil unto the world. The emotions and sounds within this collection go well beyond his work with Smut Peddlers as Cage rambles on about killing his stepfather, cutting his wrists and taking shots at Eminem as part of their ongoing debate on who has copped whose style. That's right, if you don't know, now you do, the shock value is similar to the Shady one (if not the other way around) but regardless, this release is sub-par with bright spots coming from tracks "Agent Orange" and "Too Much." (JC)

Cave 76 Arizona Sonic Boom Recordings • Sometimes grungy and all-the-time Seattle pop rock, these songs are full of break-ups, broken hearts and internal conflicts. These four guys made it through a number of bands in the Northwest including Feed, Old Man, Cannibal Bus and So Long, before settling down with each other to put this project together. The title track and "I Hate You" stand out. (JC)

Champion Count Out Numbers Bridge Nine • With their roots firmly in the straight-edge hardcore genre, Champion are talented and creative enough to not bore me like most bands of the genre can and do. They don't rely too much on the old hat, but instead borrow from it while still creating something that is interesting and skull crushing. This EP continues to expose Champion as a coming force in hardcore, high fives all around. (KM)

Che Chapter 127 Profit Prophet G7 Welcoming Committee • If you wanted to find a musical way to scare corporate rock and shake the foundations of the New World Order, this might be in the running for such a task. Straightforward punk and hardcore, 90's style with a touch of the new. Che are representative of all things good about revolutionary punk music. (KM)

Christiansen Forensics Brothers and Sisters Revelation Records • It's hard to follow in the musical legacy of Louisville, Christiansen make a noble attempt, but sadly don't create anything memorable with this release. Sounding like a Louisville band that is versed in the Fugazi songbook, there is some power and some passion here, and something that makes me to wonder how these songs might be live. This one might grow on me, but for now I only find it average. (KM)

Circle Jerks Wild In the Streets Porterhouse Records • In 1982, the Circle Jerks released their second album. This is a re-release of that album with songs remixed and enhanced CD-ROM stuff added. Normally, I'd say let the album rest. However, this is a great punk record that really documents the early-80s punk scene. The Circle Jerks were able to combine a catchy punk sound with sarcastic and socially-aware lyrics. The great thing about this album is that, despite being 20 years old, it could go toe to toe with all the big names in today's world of punk rock music (and blow away most of 'em). (CM)

Combat Wounded Veteran Duck Down for the Torso No Idea Records • The Melvins-esque riffs of opening track "67. Activate the Corpses" suddenly spiral into chaos as Ponch screams unintelligible phrases that pierce like daggers. The mood of this album is somewhat like Converge's Jane Doe, only this one is 15 minutes long. (AL)

Cursive/ Eastern Youth 8 Teeth To Eat You Better Looking Records • Split CD's make for strange bedfellows sometimes, and this one proves the premise. Cursive a sort of Cure-ish emo sound combined with Eastern Youth, who sound just like a band you love, but they sing in Japanese which, while being novel, is difficult to sing along to. This CD will sell well because Cursive fans will line up for this, but sadly the Eastern Youth selections which are more creative and interesting will go mostly unheard I'm sure. (KM)

Dabrye Instrmntl Eastern Developments Music • Since the release of his debut CD One/Three, Dabrye has changed some things and left others intact. His beats are still lethargic and minimalist, but he has added more effects and sounds to fatten up his tracks. Of course, his emphasis is hip-hop, but some deviate from the formula into more bouncy territory. (AL)

Dag Nasty Minority of One Revelation Records • Out of the picture for several years now, Dag Nasty is back with brand new material. They were a mainstay of the mid-late '80s punk scene with such classic albums as Can I Say and Wig Out At Denkos. I have always been a big fan so I was very excited to hear they were back together (Brian Baker, Dave Smalley, Roger Marbury and Colin Seans) and releasing new tunes. This album does not disappoint. It's going to be hard for any band to compete with a previous album as classic as Can I Say. Instead, Minority of One reestablishes Dag Nasty as a legitimate punk band with punchy songs loaded with melody and a heartfelt intensity -- it's kind of like Bad Religion meets Minor Threat doing emo stuff. Smalley does a fantastic job on vocals and the musical skills of the other three guys shows through on every track. This album won't disappoint past fans and will win over plenty of new fans. (CM)

Dale Morningstar I Grew Up On Sodom Road Sonic Unyon • Dale is from the band the Dinner Is Ruined, but this marks his first true entry into the world of solo artists. It's a collection of 15 indie rock songs with a lot of jangle and heartfelt lyrics galore. At times he reminds me of Tom Waits, other times J Mascis and yet other times Bob Dylan. Some of the tunes are more acoustic ditties while others are pretty hard rockin' bits of Americana. From the sound of it, Dale is ready to take on world as a solo act. (CM)

Danielson Famile A Prayer for Every Hour Secretly Canadian • In 1994, the Danielson Famile (pronounced family) released their debut, and left everyone wondering just what the hell was going on. Influenced by bands like the Pixies, Half Japanese and Ween, their music can only be described as a carnival of sounds based in folk and gospel, with frontman Daniel' high pitched squeal for vocals. This album has now been reissued, including a CD-ROM portion with a few quirky videos. (AL)

Dashboard Confessional Summer Kiss EP Eulogy • It's almost strange to even write a Dashboard Confessional review, since you either love them or they make your stomach turn. The last EP I reviewed I actually liked, but the charm ended and I couldn't recommend this one for anything. The acoustic emo pity party just gets too old too soon. (KM)

Dead And Gone The Beautician Gold Standard Laboratories • I didn't really know you could be melodic and still make music that goes straight for the eardrum till I heard this new disc from West Coast dark hardcore kingpins Dead & Gone. Sometimes creepy, all the time potent and effective in driving it deep. Imagine a lightweight, stripped down Neurosis welded into a hardcore chassis. (KM)

Declaime Presents: Mad Men Mad Men On Arrival E.P. Groove Attack • Not bad for a weekend session in Vegas with a rented 8-track recorder and sampler. Declaime has recruited Kan Kick and Poppy to take it back to the days of low budget, raw hip hop over beats, cuts and scratches from Kan Kick and DJ Kut L. The title track is bangin' as is "Mad Mad World" but the overall set sounds recycled from somewhere. (JC)

Delta Dart Fight or Flight Paroxysm Records • Delta Dart formed in the spring of 1999 and have been crafting their sound ever since then. The female trio hails from Los Angeles, but also spends time in Olympia, Washington. Their sound is a combination of styles, from punk to pop to indie rock to classic rock. They are a raw, powerful band that reminds me at times of At The Drive-In meets Bikini Kill, but maybe a little more lo-fi and, at times, more sensitive. Their songs vary from mellow to poppy to hard rocking. Melodies are thick on nearly every track, buoyed by strong vocals and a knack for using a garage-noise style to their advantage. These 13 tunes are diverse, heartfelt, and infectious. (CM)

Diesel T.V. self-titled self-released • If 2002 was the year of Nickelback, there's no reason 2003 can't be the year of Diesel T.V. They've got the hooks, they've got the talent, and for a three-piece band they sound every bit as big as the aforementioned band and its sound-a-likes. I think they're just a little, LITTLE, bit raw yet. By the time they release a full CD (this is an EP), they should be primed to hit the arena circuit. Keep your ears peeled rock radio! If "Amazing," a Goo-Goo Dolls-esque ballad, isn't in heavy rotation across the US within a year, I'LL be amazed! (SH)

Disband / Kudzu Wish At the Scene of the Accident split Ernest Jenning Record Co. • Disband sounds like a combination of Braid and the Dismemberment Plan. Yes, that is a good combination. Maybe it's more the former than the latter. Regardless, it's some good shit. There are four guys in the band and you get five tracks -- not a bad deal. Next up, Kudzu Wish. This quintet is skillful at not letting you pigeonhole their sound. But I'll try -- it's chaotic at times, organized at others. The melodies are there, but sometimes hard to find. It's jazzy and emotional and quirky, hardcore and angry. But really, no matter what it's comprised of, the end result is original as fuck and a treat for your ears. (CM)

Divorcee Lovesick self-released • With a solid British pop feel, this Minneapolis quartet is sure to get some radio and label attention. Their tunes are tight, smooth and poppy, using a flowing sound to ease the listener in. Before you know it, you're hooked. At times they sound like Coldplay, other times they sound like Material Issue. It's a strong debut from a band that you'll probably hear more about. (CM)

Don't Look Down Start The Show Iguana Records • If you're looking for a hearty dose of melodic, catchy power punk, Don't Look Down! (Clever, eh?) This Jersey-based four piece puts hooks in all the right places, has vocals that will make punk rock girls drool and enough angst and creativity to make 'em better than your standard radio rock crap. Musically, they sound like they're influenced by such bands as Blink, Jimmy Eat World, Sum 41 and The Get Up Kids. This isn't ground breaking, but it's really tight and pretty hard to resist. (CM)

El Gato We're Birds Motherload Music • What you have hear is some ethereal, almost emo, pop-rock. It's not just straight rock, there are a lot of layers and sounds in here. Fans of Grandaddy and Built to Spill will like this. This is another of those "grow on you" CD's. You may not love it to pieces on the first play, but you'll learn to enjoy it the more you listen to it. It's almost like a Moody Blues for 2002. I dig it! (SH)

Examination of the... We Are the Architects of Desire Forge Again Records • Examination of the... are not concerned about song structures or patterns. They just want to destroy their instruments, and your ears as well. This is one of the most intense albums I have heard this year. I heard elements of Converge in there, particularly in the vocals and in the way the songs change constantly. (AL)

Face Tomorrow For Who You Are Reflections Records • Dutch emo rockers, Face Tomorrow have an almost addictive sound. With vocals that take a spectrum from an almost Radiohead-esque soft mumble, to a scream that burns with passion and undeniable truth and unrelenting drums and guitars, Face Tomorrow bring the real deal. If you like Thursday, Rival Schools, or At The Drive In, add this to the next shopping list. (KM)

Faith Kleppinger Asleep in the Well Two Sheds • This is a super-soft, pensive collection of songs, a "stripped-down, woozy, late night drift through softly-sung stories." The very essence of Kleppinger's acoustic ballads is one of quiet, wistful, gentle hope in a shadowy world. It invites the listener to a safe place for a little while to have a drink with a stranger. (DP)

First Grade Crush Our Time Down Here Jump Up! Records • Seven guys?! Seven?!?! It's a big sound so I guess they've got a lot of dudes in this band. FGC is a rockin' ska/hardcore band. This release is very slick production-wise but manages to bring out the metal/emocore influences there. They sound a bit like Fishbone, Less Than Jake and Rocket From the Crypt. I especially dig the horns they incorporate. It steadies the sound when they're on the verge of chaos. Cool disc! (SH)

Fonzie Built to Rock Jump Start Records • As proof that punk rock is a global phenomenon, turn your attention to Fonzie. These guys from Portugal have the melodic power punk formula down to a science. Fans of Blink-182, The Ataris, Digger and the Mr. T Experience will eat this up. (AL)

Fordirelifesake self-titled EP Forge Again Records • It's refreshing to see a band that experiments with their sound instead of confining themselves to some formula. If you like metalcore, you'll like them. However, they are not afraid of inserting violins in their songs, or having a beautiful acoustic guitar track. Almost all the members of the band scream the lyrics at different times, so the vocals sound varied. The only drawback is that there are only four songs on this EP. (AL)

Friend/Enemy 10 Songs Perishable Records • Friend or enemy? Well, that depends. Are you a fan of guitarist/songwriter/vocalist Tim Kinsella, of Cap 'n Jazz, Joan of Arc, and about a dozen other bands? Do you find any of the aforementioned bands to be arty and quirky instead of pretentious? If so, you're gonna love Friend/Enemy. If you find Kinsella's body of work to be overly pretentious, step away from this record and go buy something poppy and accessible. (CL)

Frontside/ *Tom Sawyer Split CD Sinister Label • A split from two Chicago bands, Frontside who play a chaotic hardcore style, and *Tom Sawyer play a kind of loose punk rock style. Mostly it's an odd mix, one of those couples that you always wonder how it all came about. Both bands do their thing pretty good, but nothing makes me say more than that. (KM)

Girl Harbor Shine On self-released • With the rebirth of mod music (The Strokes, The White Stripes), this NYC quartet fits right in. They combine melodic garage rock with a bit of pop and a taste of '70s guitar-work. It's a raw, fun, rock sound and it's sure to get its fair share of fans. Four of the five tracks on here are pretty rockin', with track three being the "odd man out" -- a ballad that sounds like The Cure doing a '60s song. I imagine these guys have a really great live show. (CM)

G-Man Grin Groove Immedia • This guy utilizes guitar, synth and percussion to create what he proclaims to be a new genre of music. Basically 80's style dance club beats are transformed into tracks that contain spoken word sections of commentary ranging from political, social and humorous aspects. The rest is trance, dance, and goofy beats. This is a far out experiment that is good for what it is -- out there. (JC)

Go Jimmy Go Slow Time Jump Up! Records • Since 1996, Go Jimmy Go has been performing traditional ska similar to Hepcat or the Skatalites. The title Slow Time is appropriate, since the songs tend to be on the mid tempo side. There are no special effects here, just simple tunes for some good times. (AL)

Gogogo Airheart ExitheUXA Gold Standard Laboratories • Gogogo Airheart bring to mind other groups such as the Talking Heads, The Frogs and The Flaming Lips. In one word, they are eccentric. Their recording sessions used only four microphones, so the album has a lo-fi quality. Michael Vermillion's vocals are somewhat frail and desperate. (AL)

Grabass Charlestons / Billy Reese Peters Split CD No Idea Records • Two Gainesville bands playing Gainesville punk. Both bands have similar styles, with froggy vocals and fast paced three chord guitar riffs. By the end of the album you'll want to listen to it again. They knew this, which is why the whole thing repeats! (AL)

Hiretsukan Invasive//Exotic G7 Welcoming Committee • Invasive//Exotic is 16 minutes of political hardcore that wastes no time before kicking your ass. The vocals are shared by Michelle and Dave, who are a few keys short of sounding like Danni Filth. The urgency is palpable, and the album closes with an awesome cover of Metallica's "Creeping Death." (AL)

Hot Snakes Suicide Invoice Swami • I haven't seen a record more anticipated among my friends, I could have sold tickets for a listen to the disc when I got it. The Hot Snakes don't disappoint, with 12 brilliant tracks of driving pounding rock and roll. If you haven't ever had the pleasure, think of them as a low-fi Girls Against Boys meeting a host of great 70's punk bands and a splash of 80's punk too. (KM)

Howie Beck Hollow Devil in the Woods Records/Future Farmer Records • Damn, if this guy doesn't sound like Elliott Smith. I'm sure Howie's probably sick of the comparison, but as a fan of Smith's work, I mean it as a compliment. The songs are exquisitely crafted melancholy pop tunes, with a touch of Freedy Johnston style alt-country rock as well. Regardless of who Beck might sound like, Hollow is a great album. (CL)

Hu Vibrational Boonghee Music 1 Eastern Developments Music • If you wanted to make dance music with no electricity available, you'd call these guys. They make their music using dusun'goni, sintir, thumb piano, harmonium, batajon, talking drums, dumbek and flute. This gives an organic feeling to the album, not quite tribal, but not far off. You can just imagine someone dropping rhymes all over this. (AL)

In Arcadia All Green Lights Handstand Records • One of the best bands that nobody will ever know about is the now defunct Orlando band Carlisle. Joe Enos was part of the early line up of that band, and moved on to Detroit to work on some other projects... but nothing like this. Mature screamo might be the right term; contrasting quiet melodic elements, soft vocals, and a powerful blast of heart bleeding screams make this release a dark horse favorite. (KM)

In Exile Hangin' by a Thread Deep Space Records • For those about to prog rock, we salute you. Hangin' by a Thread is chock full of synths and loopy guitars, with dramatic vocals and all the things fans of bands like King Crimson love. They used to be called the Outcast, but felt they would be confused with rappers Outkast, so they changed their name. (AL)

Innocence Broken/ Nodes Of Ranvier Split CD Winter In July • One of the best splits to hit my desk in a long time, with Innocence Broken really showing off some great metal- emo-core. A CD that really begged to be heard over and over again. Nodes Of Ranvier showed a little something too, and round out a great package of music. I have no idea who either of these bands are, and that's the beauty of music, to be surprised by the virtual unknown. (KM)

Jared Grabb On the Inside Thinker Thought Records • Forecast frontman Jared Grabb's solo release is too much like an unfulfilled promise. Solo artists can be so hit and miss, and Grabb mostly misses. While the general nature of the disc is listenable, something prevents you from really getting into it and connecting. Vocally not strong and musically, while slightly creative, not very enjoyable. (KM)

Jazzanova In Between Ropeadope Records • Finally, these guys release an album of original material. This six man collective has become pretty well known for their remixes, and now they will become known for their own stuff. With guest vocalists Ursula Rocker, Vikter Duplaix, Doug Hammond, Hawkeye Fanatic and others, they create a blend of hip-hop, jazz, funk and soul, which is hard to ignore. (AL)

Justin Sane Life, Love and the Pursuit of Justice A-F Records • Just because the leader of Anti-Flag, Justin Sane, is backed by nothing more than a semi-distorted guitar, don't expect the songs to be any less engaging. His melodic songs deal not only with political topics, but also more mundane topics as love, growing up or road trips. (AL)

Kind Of Like Spitting Bridges Worth Burning Barsuk Records • KOLS is one of those bands always on the lips of people, as many begging me to buy the album, as there were detractors telling me to avoid it. This release has me now firmly committed to the side begging its purchase from my friends and associates. Not always perfect, the emo-folk-rock sort of thing has a charm of sometimes being discordant or just slightly off. If KOLS was a girl, she wouldn't be a super-model, but the kind you want to borrow your oversized shirts and curl up next to you for hours while a gentle rain pours outside. (KM)

Knuckle Sandwich Nice Resurrection A.D. Records • This New Jersey quartet plays rock with punk tendencies and a bit of hardcore. The vocals are sometimes melodic, particularly during the singalong choruses. I was a bit confused about their political one point complaining about becoming the next minority, then complaining about the "men in towels" are being unfairly singled out at airports. And if you are a "tree-hugger" they don't like you. (AL)

Knut Challenger Hydra Head Records • I just finished listening to Challenger, and I have a loud ringing in my ear, and my hands are shaking! Swiss hardcore maniacs Knut's second album is as intense, if not more, than their first one. Didier's vocals are punishing, propelled by Jeremy and Philippe's bass and guitar work. Roderick's drums feel like hammers hitting your skull. (AL)

Les Hommes self-titled Eighteenth Street Lounge Music • As you listen to Les Hommes, you can almost picture a movie in your head. Apparently, so did they, which is why they provide "scene" descriptions for each song. Plenty of 1960's-70's bossa nova, batucadas and other organ-fueled grooves make this the perfect album for pretending to be cooler than you really are. (AL)

Lewis Even So Deep Elm Records • I would be derelict in my duties as a reviewer if I didn't tell you that Lewis sounds like Radiohead. Now that Radiohead has moved into the electronic world, it's good to see that someone is there to take their place in the rock world. Brett Tohlen's vocals are melancholic and beautiful, and the somber mood never quite goes away. No doubt, these songs are powerful. (AL)

Life In Braille New York City Ending Underground Sounds Of America • This really grows on you after a few listens, then reading into the comparison between a relationship ending and the title of the album brings it all full circle. The crisp up-and-down tempo of rock within this release is amplified by great production and a grinding drive. This 4-piece band blends instruments well and jam out behind crazy stories within creative lyrics about the downside of it all like "I hate those early mornings/cocaine and no fair warnings...between her skin and her underwear/the mornings here are so cold/and I feel so goddamn old" from the track "Chess." With songs like "Ode To Friends I & II," "Hand Me Down" and "Flight 800" you get an idea where these Northern California guys are coming from. (JC)

Logh Every Time a Bell Rings an Angel Gets His Wings Deep Elm Records • Such a positive sounding title doesn't really match the tone of this album. The songs are sad, no question about it. Sparse arrangements give the feeling this was recorded in the middle of winter, which it partially was. Logh play their instruments softly, like they are afraid to break them. This Swedish indie rock quartet needs to go out and get some sun on their faces, and maybe they'll feel better. (AL)

Lollipop Lust Kill My So Called Knife Artemis Records • Today's radio is full of bands like Godsmack, Disturbed, Drowning Pool, and if all goes according to their plan, Lollipop Lust Kill. Taking elements from Rob Zombie, Marilyn Manson and Coal Chamber, their crunching guitars and angry vocals are accented by some melodies and gloomy sound effects. (AL)

Love Life Here Is Night, Brothers, Here The Birds Burn Jagjaguwar • Heavy, gothic, "operatic-rock" on this release is led by the morbidly crippling vocals of Katrina Ford. This band out of Baltimore has instilled trombones, violins, organs, cellos and saxophone sounds to their brand of drama-laden dark and depressive music. On their second album think along the lines of mixing Morphine and Sonic Youth and you may get an idea of what the Love Life is all about. (JC)

Low Trust Kranky Records • If you like slow songs that seem to tear your heart out from the inside, you'll love Low's Trust. Bordering on minimalism, their songs are crafted with beautiful vocal harmonies and heavily reverbed guitars that evoke tumbleweeds and sandstorms. This music is heavy, but only in an emotional way. (AL)

M-16 Canciones Escritas En El Exilio Mother West LLC • For those who like their metal a little on the slower side, M-16 is for you. Originally from the Dominican Republic, they sing in Spanish, and sound like a cross between Brazil's Sepultura and Argentina's A.N.I.M.A.L. The only song in English is a cover of the Doors' "Strange Days," but don't let the language barrier stop you from experiencing their fury. (AL)

Man Will Destroy Himself Consume... Be Silent... Die Extremely Baked Records • I hear a little Black Flag, I hear a little Sick Of It All, maybe even a little Dead Kennedy's. All with a firm old school hardcore feel, some metal solos added for flavor maybe. Its genre based and won't find much of an audience beyond its target since it really doesn't scream of creativity. The heart is in the right place. Not the pick of the litter, but a tough pup none the less. (KM)

Manifesto Jukebox Remedy BYO Records • The first time I heard the raw sounds of Manifesto Jukebox I sung their praises, and this latest release won't change that any. With a refreshing sound that will take you back to the glory days of Hüsker Dü, while reminding you of bands like Hot Water Music and Farside, this trio from Finland seems to keep it coming. With rough almost pirate-like vocals and a lot of power chords and cymbals, these guys know how to make some noise. (KM)

MegaSuperUltra Back to Take Another Bow Jump Up! Records • Back to Take Another Bow is the second album from this Chicago trio. Their mod style songs are reminiscent of artists such as the Jam and Elvis Costello and the Attractions. It's a fun, albeit short record. Just one question: how can they get away with a song like "Hate the States" in this MegaSuperUltra patriotic political climate? It's only a matter of time until John Ashcroft is chasing them on scooters. (CL)

Mexican Cheerleader self-titled Government Music • A mucha girl on the front cover is a deceptively tranquil prelude to the full on, all six chambers explosion of rock that this disc creates. Punk? Rock? Who's to say? I will tell you that it is a great disc. Frenzied and furiously paced, like Kiss meets Sloppy Seconds. A fun party disc. (MK)

Michael Nace The Voyage Out Minority Records • Formerly working with math-rock trio Drill for Absentee, Nace plays a fascinating and brilliant brand of soft music that is wholly unclassifiable. There are influences from many different types of ethnic music here that create an unusual but comfortable flavor. His hushed vocal stylings are a perfect match for the wildly soothing instrumentation. (DP)

Midwest Product Specifics Ghostly International • Listening to Midwest Product, you get a sense that these songs are based on electro beats, but somehow they sound fuller, less machine-like. The reason is that they combine live instrumentation with electronica, to create a unique take on the genre that is more accessible. (AL)

Miguel Migs Colorful You Naked Music / Astralwerks • After a couple of well received mix CDs, Miguel Migs shows off his producing talents in his debut album, "Colorful You." His recipe is simple: two parts bouncy beats, one part lush keyboards, three parts soulful groove, and one part sensual female vocals. These fourteen soulful house tracks are sure to get even the most cynical ones up and dancing. (AL)

Moaning Lisa Wonderful Veronica Records • Okay, how's this? King Missile guitars meet some other band in an effort to turn out something good. They did. This is, for want of a better name, radio rock. There is a definite strong song structure that is augmented by strong performances by each member of the band. Oh yeah, and there's a naked chick on the front cover. (MK)

Model American Maps Sessions Records • 21 songs - 39 minutes. These guys pack a lot of energy into a few minutes per song. Hard, hard, hard punk is driven to new heights with songs that are catchy and heavy. This is a well-done disc that takes the best elements from this frequently mangled genre of music and combines them to make a really good disc. (MK)

Morning Again Hand of the Martyr Eulogy Recordings • Hand of the Martyr is two CDs in one, as it includes remastered versions of Morning Again's Hand of Hope and Martyr records. This vegan / straight edge hardcore band was one of the first to mix metal riffs with hardcore. As a bonus, this CD also includes a recording of their first-ever live set in Europe. (AL)

Mr. Lif I Phantom Definitive Jux Recordings • Picking up where the Emergency Rations E.P. left off, Lif pushes out his first full length with much power and has proved the rations were just a taste of the bigger meal to come. Beats are organic and change directions without warning from usual suspect El-P as well as Faskts One, Insight, Edan and Lif himself; Aesop Rock, Jean Grae and Akrobatik also make appearances. This release has a b-boy vibe reminiscent of the late 80's that meshes with a progressive straightforward attitude. Lyrics and stories are full of visual content and delivered with flawless instincts, still on that anti-establishment tip. The only thing missing is the title track (found on E.P.) But enough is provided to keep you company like stories of working those nine to five's, trying to hold it down for family and of course those government wars. (JC)

Nerf Herder American Cheese Honest Don's Record • If you like your melodic punk with humor in the lyrics, then Nerf Herder is for you. American Cheese is their third album, and it is good. From the keyboard accented opener, "Welcome to my World," to the semi-nostalgic ode to a previous girlfriend in "Jacket," and a call to Jenna Bush lovers in "Jenna Bush Army," you'll soon be wanting more. (AL)

Nicotine Samurai Shot Asian Man Records • If that's NOFX, why do they look Asian? Well, 'cause it's not NOFX, but damn it sure sounds like 'em. And everyone knows they sound like NOFX and no one cares 'cause the music still rocks. This is Fat Wreck-style punk rock through and through -- fast, aggressive, melodic, filled with hooks and enough angst to excite any punk rocker. This four-piece from Tokyo has been around since 1993 and have released nine albums across the globe. There are 25 songs on here, a total of over 70 minutes of rockin', good tunes. The lyrics are in English, too, so you won't get confused. If you're looking for a fun, tight punk rock album to amp you up for the next big show, throw this in the CD player and get ready to rock. (CM)

No. 2 What Does Good Luck Bring? In Music We Trust Records • Quick, name anybody else who was in Heatmiser other than Elliott Smith. Did you guess Neil Gust? Gust was the other songwriter/vocalist for Heatmiser, the band best known now for being Elliott Smith's old band. Well, Gust has rounded up some other Northwestern scene veterans to put together No. 2. This collection of energetic indie rock tunes is a reminder that Heatmiser wasn't a one-man show and that Gust is one hell of a songwriter too. (CL)

Numbers Numbers Life Tigerbeat6 • Numbers throws punk attitude into synth music covered in experimentation. Obviously, there are many electronic sounds, processed vocals and just plain weird songs. There is a "dirty" quality in this recording, moving away from the more polished synth pop sounds that are becoming popular these days. (AL)

Once Lost Pictures Forever Always Winter in July Records • These guys are depressed. But, hey, doesn't depression inspire some great music sometimes? Once Lost Pictures' tales of loss and woe remind me of Sunny Day Real Estate and Dashboard Confessional. The songs are lo-fi and emo-ish, but they seem to get weighted down too much in the intense emotional nature of the material. There's no real break to the misery. (CL)

Onward Crispin Glover The Further and the Faster Anodyne Records • Is Kansas City able to handle a rockin' indie band like this? I have no clue, I've never been there. But I can tell you, OCG plays some really tight rock and roll that is heavy on guitar, in a good way. These guys are definitely ready to hit the college airwaves, if they haven't already. And, I wouldn't be surprised if they got a bit of attention from some major labels and mainstream radio. This 11-track debut is loaded with melody and emotion, two essential ingredients to crafting strong indie pop rock. Feast your ears on this. (CM)

Orbiter Sparks on a String Loveless Records • Orbiter is the perfect gateway band to more synth oriented pop. Their melodies are beautiful, and they have just enough electronics to make their sound edgy, without diluting the overall feel. A guy and a girl share mic duties, further augmenting their sound. (AL)

Ozma Doubble Donkey Disc Kung Fu Records • No, it's not a typo. Doubble Donkey Disc is the latest from synth crazy pop rockers Ozma, and it is a collection of two EPs. The first one, The Russian Coldfusion EP, flirts with Russian music while remaining firmly in the rock world. The second, The Bootytraps EP, has nothing to do with hip-hop, and everything to do with synth heavy catchiness. (AL)

Panic self-titled EP Bridge Nine • These guys remind me of Judge and Youth of Today with a bit of a new millennium update. The four tracks on here are all very good and fast-paced with spoken/screamed vocals and really diverse guitar work. The band is made of up ex and current members of such bands as American Nightmare, The Explosion and The Trouble. (CM)

Perpetual Sound Systems Forward Selection Open Source Music • The duo that is Paul Chaconas and John Bowen seamlessly blurs the line between downtempo, breakbeat and dub in their debut album, Forward Selection. There is a bit of electro floating into some of the tracks, changing tempos here and there. This is an album for relaxing with headphones on. (AL)

Pinwheel Trouble Doll Pinch Hit Records • Pinwheel isn't a very rocking name. ("Dude, Pinwheel, fuckin' rocks!") But don't let that misnomer fool you; these guys do in fact rock. Pinwheel plays a brand of punk-inspired rock, reminiscent of fellow Californians Everclear. They've got the big crunchy guitars, catchy melodic hooks, and good production. It's a tried and true combination, and these guys do it quite well. Rock on, Pinwheel! (CL)

Pirx the Pilot Fri. Night Seafood Buffet New Disorder Records • They're Pirx the Pilot, and they've come to drop some knowledge. The politically charged Pirx make some wild indie rock, with nice male-female vocals. They take standard rock and roll songwriting forms, shake 'em up, and come up with new structures. Most of all, in their music and their liner notes, they challenge and encourage the listener to think about the world around them. Are you up to it? (CL)

Playgroup DJ Kicks !K7 Records • For this latest in the DJ Kicks series, Trevor Jackson (under his Playgroup moniker) assembled 23 of his favorite tracks. There is a nostalgic feel on the album, reflecting two decades of dance music, be it house, techno, electro or no-wave. (AL)

Poulain With Fingers Crossed Soft Serve Records • This release from Poulain gets the unfair advantage or being reviewed on a rainy, sleepy, Sunday afternoon. Unfair because this CD was written for just such moments. Quiet, mystic, dreamy, and flowing with watery smooth vocals (a fine blended duet of male and female) and jangly poppy rock sounds that go places like a drive in the countryside. Really quite nice. (KM)

Preacher Gone to Texas Choice vs. Chance Sinister Label • These guys have no problem exposing their angry side, with screaming vocals and crunching guitars. But they also have an emotional side, exposed by sporadic melodic singing and intricate guitar work. These two sides coexist wonderfully, sometimes reminiscent of Cave In and Poison the Well. (AL)

Project Rocket / Fall Out Boy split EP Uprising Records • Both of these Midwest bands play some hard to resist power pop that has a punk punch. Project Rocket plays three emotional charged tunes that go from sincerely sweet to aggressive to heartfelt indie rock. Fall Out Boy also brings three tracks to the table, opening with a really catchy, pounding punk song. They follow that up with what is probably the best song on the CD, a hook-filled melodic rock tune that gets in your head. Fall Out Boy closes on a strong, creative, punk rock note, completing what is an impressive split CD showcasing two very talented bands. (CM)

Randy Cheater G-7 Welcoming Committee Records • Remember that gritty evil sounding punk that you listened to way back when? Here it is again. This is punk in the old school style. Relentless and driving, it sounds like it was recorded in a trashcan in a bowling alley. They seem like the kind of band that puts on one hell of a live show, however. (MK)

Reaching Forward Burning The Lies Bridge Nine • I love straightedge hardcore, I really do. What I don't love is when a band sounds like a carbon uncreative copy of the Victory Records catalog circa 1994. While the songs are good and the heart is there, so are all the stereotypical youth crew choruses and metal power chords. Its ok to evolve, really it is. (KM)

Red Animal War / Slowride Split CD Deep Elm Records • These two Dallas bands contributed three tracks each for this split CD. Kicking things off is Red Animal War, who plays indie rock with plenty of stops and starts, jarring your concentration. The lyrics are emotional, excellent for singing out loud. Slowride take things to a more melodic realm, with punk-influenced guitar work and layered vocals. (AL)

Reed Dickinson Playing Games With the Sun Flying Kite Records • Sometimes I laugh when I read the press material a band sends out. They try to plant these ideas in a reviewer's head and almost create the review on their own. Not the case with Reed here. He says he plays a style reminiscent of the late 60's/early 70's and, by God, he does! He also says a lot of crafting went into these songs and, again, he's dead on. The songs are very tight and clean. I especially like the McCartney-sounding tracks, like "Happy New Year." (SH)

Rescue Volume Plus Volume Dead Droid • Put a screamo band, any screamo band really, add Braid, a pinch of thick-rimmed glasses, and a handful of technical metal and blend and then blend again to make sure. Product is drinkable, not always smooth, but digestible nonetheless. I know this is one of those bands that seeing them live would make me love them. The CD, as it stands on its own, seems to be a smaller part of the bigger picture. With that in mind, it's ok. (KM)

Ric Sandler Rhythmunderground Rich ID Records • Crikey! Would someone PLEASE make a CD I can classify?! Dammit! OK, so Ric clearly has a lot of talent. Dude plays like a jillion instruments and has a ton of creativity. I don't think any of it is misguided, per se, but I do think his niche is the '70s funk-sounding stuff. He has some really noise-inflected tunes ("You Don't Know Me") that lend themselves to skipping. But "Big Boy" and "Rubies" are solid R&B/funk songs that should be heard. It's mostly mellow pop-funk stuff. (SH)

Robbers OrphanEndorphinDolphinDorsalFin Keep Safe Records • Usually the idea of visual art students starting a band fills me with concern. The desire to create sonic collages with found sounds and amateur musicianship more often than not leads to a heaping helping of total crap. Fortunately, this isn't the case with Robbers. The duo and their numerous guests do an excellent job of creating musical soundscapes that grow on you with subsequent listens. (CL)

Rosemary's Billygoat Evilution Porterhouse Records • The first thing that comes to my mind when I see a band with costumes is "Uh-oh." Their costumes are a cross between Gwar and Slipknot, but their music is not as extreme. Instead, they are a bit more subdued, more hard rock than metal. I assume their live show is great, but without it the music sounds stale. (AL)

Sacrilicious Seven Songs New Disorder Records • Ummmm, Sacrilicious. I was somewhat apprehensive before I listened to this album; would this band live up to their Homer Simpson-inspired name? What if they sucked horribly? Well, thank your favorite deity that Sacrilicious kicks ass. Their aggressive indie rock style goes great with a six-pack of Duff after a hard day at the nuclear power plant. (CL)

Saltwater Vampires self-titled self-released • Fans of Screeching Weasel and the Queers will eat this up. This trio offers up 10 quick punk rock tracks loaded with 'whoa's, crunchy guitar and a nonstop beat and vocals that remind me of Social Distortion. The songs clock in at an average of two-minutes per track, so you can figure out the pace of these tunes. The lyrics are pretty solid, too -- mostly dealing with personal issues or stories of others' personal shit. This is a really impressive release from a band few have likely heard of before, but have a world of fans just waiting to discover them. (CM)

Sandra Black self-titled KrebStar Recordings • This isn't a solo female artist, it's a five-piece band from West Virginia. They play rock with plenty of guitar and loads of intensity. There's a garage aspect to their sound; maybe it's that they favor of a raw, live sound instead of being overproduced, without sacrificing any recording quality. These 12 tracks represent their debut album and it's a striking release. This is truly solid indie rock that gets your head bobbin' with a quickness, absorbed in the energy and melodies of each track. It's also a damn creative release, using a number of sounds and styles to create a unique end result that leaves me devoid of comparisons. If it helps at all, they've opened for such bands as Guided By Voices and the Dismemberment Plan. (CM)

Sarah Azzara Love And Hate Among The Stars Latest Records • There is something about the female voice, how it can sing with power and still creep its way into your heart. Azzara, backed up by the Capitol City Dusters has a record here that is indefinable as anything but music. Unconcerned with a "scene" or a "sound" Azzara just brings to the table the simple concept of somebody with a song to sing. (KM)

Savath + Savalas The Rolls And Waves EP Hefty Records • Scott Herren's various reveal the different sides of his musical personality. Whereas Prefuse 73 is a study in hip-hop with interspliced vocals and fat beats, and Delarosa + Asora explores the glitchy side of IDM, his Savath + Savalas project explores soundscapes and atmospheres. Smooth saxophone, upright bass, guitars and other instruments create the waves of sound that permeate these five tracks. (AL)

Self Made Man/ Suck La Madre Split CD Dare To Care Records • Move along there's nothing to see here, well at least nothing you haven't seen before. Self Made Man is the better of the two, with a couple of tracks that show some potential, but lack anything solidly creative. French Canadian Suck La Madre do nothing for me at all. (KM)

Silvercrush Stand Redline Entertainment • Ahhhh...finally someone has dipped into the Collective Soul formula for success. This is AOR rock but not from the same vein as that Creed/Nickelback/Adema *&^%. This actually has more groove to it and has more grit and edge. This is a good release for those of you Collective Soul and 7 Mary 3 fans. (SH)

Sinners and Saints The Sky is Falling Bridge 9 Records • With members from Blood for Blood and Ducky Boys, you know that you will not be getting a watered down sack of shit to listen to. This ain't Enya. A little more melodic than Blood for Blood this is honest, serious rock and roll. They sing of lots of personal problems - definitely not an upbeat disc, but definitely a good one. (MK)

Sixer Beautiful Trash BYO Records • Here is a great combination: This is a CD that is close to hardcore, but simply does not have that "itallsoundsthesame" thing which had become the norm in hardcore. Gritty and aggressive, these songs are still melodic and very easy to listen to. This would be a band you'd want to play at that next big beer bash you are having. (MK)

Spellgate Legends of Ardigm self-released • Spellgate refer to the music on their three track CD Legends of Ardigm as "Synth Metal." Fast tempo double kick drums are as metal as this gets, since there is not one guitar anywhere near. Still, the music is quite engaging and well arranged. You might be tempted to think of medieval movies, where dragons roam the skies and knights fight for the hearts of princesses. (AL)

Spitvalves Movin On Resurrection A.D. Records • Orlando's own Spitvalves keep chugging along with their horn-infused punk rock. Their last release, Fine Print at the Bottom, gained them plenty of attention and new fans. This album should do the same, as their music matures and evolves. Charlie Bender's rough vocals are countered by the melodic horns, creating a beautiful tension mediated by distorted guitars. (AL)

Spoon Kill the Moonlight Merge Records • Say what you will about Superchunk, but their label, Merge Records, consistently puts out some of the best indie rock around. Founded by the 'Chunk's Mac and Laura, Merge showcases a wide variety of bands from throughout the indie world. Needing a home after getting screwed by a major label, Spoon landed on Merge. Their Jam-inspired indie pop is in fine form again on Kill the Moonlight and proves that Spoon is an excellent addition to one the best labels going today. (CL)

Striking Distance The Fuse Is Lit EP Bridge Nine • Be careful or Striking Distance might knock you out with their old school hardcore, leaving you wondering what hit you. By track two your head will be nodding to the beat and if you're in a car, you'll be going way over the speed limit chanting along with the choruses, fist held high out the window. This quartet rocks out some really raw, angry, powerful music that doesn't quit. There are six tracks on here, plus the CD version has a seven-track live set tacked on at the end. (CM)

Suicide Note You're Not Looking So Good Ferret Music Corp. • These guys incorporate some garage rock into their hardcore. The vocals shift between melodic singing to screaming a few times. The guitars are distorted, but not rumbling, staying in the high end, which adds a sense of desperation to the music. You might be reminded of The (International) Noise Conspiracy or the Icarus Line. (AL)

Supastition 7 Years Of Bad Luck Boiling Point/Freshchest Records • Through the ups and downs of the shady record industry, Supastition (formerly known as Blackmel) has finally been given the chance to drop his debut album. This release is looked at as a "lifetime Journal" from this Carolina emcee as he rhymes about what went wrong in the past, love for family, music and lost souls. The b-boy like beats have a ridin' out kind of thump to them behind a rhyme style that gets rapid at times, but mostly stays calm. This project has plenty of bright spots but overall falls a bit short of being the full package. Be sure you check out "Celebration Of Life" which is about kickin' it in heaven with hip-hip's legends and "Fallen Star" a track about life's tragedies with a catchy hook. (JC)

Supreme Beings of Leisure Divine Operating System Palm Pictures, LLC • For their second album, the Supreme Beings of Leisure kick it up a notch and shy away from the more mellow style of their self-titled debut. Divine Operating System is a dancefloor affair, full of disco beats cloaked in modern electronica. Singer Geri Soriano-Lightwood's vocals add to the playfulness of this album. (AL)

Svenson See You In Earth Carcrash Records • If Reznor and Manson made an experimental CD with half the electronic gizmos they use, this would be it. Just give this a chance. You definitely cannot judge this one by the first few songs. Hell, the third song has tambourines!!! It's a very different sound, that's for sure. If you want some rock/punk/electronic stuff (with tambourines, horns and accordion?) tossed in, give this a whirl. (SH)

Swayzak Dirty Dancing !K7 Records • For their third album, Swayzak fill your ears with hints of retro sounds, with electro-flavored house and touches of arthouse synths. I was reminded of The Normal's "Warm Leatherette" a few times, and of the Saturday Night Live's Dieter character, all dressed in black and dancing with a deadpan expression. (AL)

Sworn In self-titled Bridge 9 Recordings • Hardcore that will remind you of all your favorite hardcore bands. Morbidly tasty artwork on the cover is a wonderful visual representation of all the gloom and doom that these dudes espouse. The music rocks. Short songs. Screaming. Auditory agony. (MK)

Systemwide Pure and Applied BSI Records • The latest album by Systemwide can be described as a way to introduce electronica fans to the wonders of dub music. The genre's heavy grooves are flavored with 2 step, breakbeat and drum and bass, slowly easing the listener in. By the end of the last track, it will have seeped into your soul. (AL)

T. Hallenbeck Secret Society self-released • Here you'll find nine quick little acoustic ditties by T. Hallenbeck. T reminds me of a guy named Angie Aparo, whom you may know. His voice is reminiscent of Jethro Tull but his music is nothing like it. It's kind of quirky folk acoustic stuff and the songs are pretty short so the it flows well. (SH)

Tagging Satellites One Night Falls Roam Records • Well first off when you pick up the Tagging Satellites CD you don't notice, but are more struck at how beautiful the inlay card is. Thankfully the book is as good as the cover. With a sound not unlike a less obscure and more accessible P.J. Harvey, Tagging Satellites are perfectly middle tempo, both driving and sensual smooth without being too much of either. (KM)

Tekulvi In Recognition of Your Significant Accomplishments Divot Records • I'm not sure where these guys get their name from, but it's not my first guess, former Pittsburgh Pirates relief pitcher Kent Tekulve. Anyway, it doesn't really matter where they got their name from, just that they make some really good math rock a la June of 44. This five-song EP is a very impressive release. (CL)

The 4-Squares Steve's Hamper Quincy Shanks • Hardcore punk. This is a hard driving disc that starts out with a bang and keeps on bangin' all the way to the end. This is a good disc. The songs are catchy and not fast enough that you couldn't sing along, should you be so inclined. (MK)

The Ataris Anywhere But Here Kung Fu Records • Hey, remember the first album by the Ataris and how much you liked its amazing pop punk sound? What, you've never heard it before? Lucky for you that it just got re-released on Kung Fu, with remixed and remastered tracks, plus a new one called "Anderson." The Enhanced portion of the CD features a video of an acoustic set by Kris Roe and original guitarist Jasin Thomason at a New Year's party. (AL)

The Black Watch Jiggery-Pokery Stonegarden • The Black Watch produces a very distinct sound, an exceptionally lush brand of pop reminiscent of the Cure. They are a duo, a male guitarist and female multi-instrumentalist, the effect of which is a state of dreamy emotion, interlacing the deep, throaty vocals with some soft, high backing ones. (DP)

The Blood Brothers March On Electric Children Three One G • There is a saying; "from chaos comes beauty." The Blood Brothers bring to proof the point. Guitars going one way, voices going everyway, and the drums only slightly steering the course, it's a wild ride, but like a roller coaster, one you find yourself jumping back in line for. There is a minimum height required for sure, but it's a hell of a ride. (KM)

The Capricorns In the Zone Paroxysm Records • Anyone who when growing up could hum the "demo" tune of any Casio keyboard will get a kick from the Capricorns. Two ladies who each play Casio keyboards, with the cheesiest sounds and beats they could muster. Incredibly, it is catchy, although about halfway through the formula runs out of steam. (AL)

The Chinkees Searching for a Brighter Future Asian Man Records • The third release by the Chinkees is as engaging as the first two. They mix rocksteady and punk with Hammond organ driven ska without horns. Pay attention, or you'll miss some of the political messages that lie underneath these super-catchy melodies. (AL)

The Coma Savants Coma Savant Uvulittle Records • The best I can give you on this is a female-led Ben Folds Five. There's not much else to compare it to. It's quirky "piano-based circus/prog/rock/garage-cabaret" music, as they call it. It has some Combustible Edison sounds at times, but stays firmly rooted in the piano. It grows on you, that's for sure. I find myself smiling and tapping my toes more and more as I go through the CD. Check it out!!! (SH)

The Damn Personals Standing Still in the USA Big Wheel Recreation • Despite their new album title, The Damn Personals aren't standing still, they're going places, jack! These guys have opened for the likes of the Strokes, the Breeders, Jimmy Eat World, and the Hives among others. Musically, The Damn Personals throw garage, indie, and '80s rock into a blender to come up with their sound. They sound like they would be a great live band, given the energetic performance that comes through on their new album. It's nothing fancy, just pure rock 'n roll. (CL)

The Fire Show Saint The Fire Show Perishable Records • Frank Zappa would be proud. This band (that has like 14 people contributing) plays some pretty whacked stuff. But it's cool-whacked. It's not unlistenable-whacked. There is some, as they call it, "high-contrast art punk," "harmonic interplay" and Tricky-esque beats (especially the latter half of this CD). It's a cool disc to throw on when you just want to lie around and kind of drift off into your mind. Yeah, it's trippy. (SH)

The Flashing Astonishers On Involuntary Bliss Substandard • Multiple-personality indie rock, which isn't all bad, but leaves you wondering which one is really them. Soulful for the most part, with music that really chops along. "Soulful" has the addition of a talented female vocalist, and might be one of the best tracks. The hidden tracks just left me further confused. Flashing, yes. Astonishing, almost. (KM)

The Flipsides Clever One Pink & Black Records • The Flipsides coat their power pop songs in sugary sweetness, from Sabrina Stewart's vocals to the catchy guitar riffs. To this musical candy they add elements of punk rock to create a treat with a kick. Thirty minutes of pure enjoyment. (AL)

The Funerals Pathetic Me Thule Musik • Who knew Iceland had country music? I am regretfully ignorant as to what kind of folk traditions the rural areas of Iceland has, but I am pretty sure they don't have cowboys or a range to be home on, which makes this release by the Funerals curious to me. It just sounds too much like somebody slipped a Whiskeytown CD past customs and this is their impression. It isn't great, but it doesn't beg another listen either. The CD case does have some amazing art however. (KM)

The GC5 Never Bet the Devil Your Head Thick Records • That this disc was produced by a member of the Dropkick Murphys is evident in the first 3 seconds. Here is that grungy beer swilling, street punk sound that makes all the kids get up and shout. This is good stuff. (MK)

The Gloryholes Knock You Up Empty Records • You know it's gonna be wild once you see the pregnant barflies clutching beer mugs on the cover. Chances are this band played that spot the night the picture was taken. The punk metal sound is all in good fun here and is stripped down leaving a live show type of energy with a recording that is full of aggression. (JC)

The Holy Ghost Broken Record Clearly Records • Founded by former Opium Taylor frontman Christopher Dean Heine, the Holy Ghost premieres their debut album, Broken Record. Recorded at the famed DC studio Inner Ear, Broken Record is a powerful indie rock album that blends the spirit of bands like the Clash and Wire with the traditional DC, Dischord records style. It's an excellent debut album. (CL)

The Johnny Zoom Cheerlead Squad Honey Baby Sweetie self-released • Hey! I like this!!! This is poppy but with attitude. It's not B-52's poppy. Track two, "Stereo Receiver," sounds like The Fabulous Thunderbirds. This is cool, stripped down pop rock played by guys that have an axe to grind. (SH)

The JW-Jones Blues Band Bogart's Bounce Northern Blues Music • What do Canadians know about the blues? Sure, there are the NHL's St. Louis Blues, but what about the musical style? Well, it sounds like they know quite a bit about blues music after listening to this release. JW-Jones, a 21-year-old guitar phenom from Ottawa, shows off his chops on his band's third album. They deftly fly through a variety of styles, jazz, swing, and of course blues, without missing a beat. (CL)

The Kills Black Rooster EP Dim Mak Records • 4 songs that will put the world on alert of the coming sounds of The Kills. A caustic combo of 70's punk rock and modern day creativity. Ex-Discount singer Allison's new project out of the UK, sounds just like that, American attitude and English stylings. While I'm not blown away, there is something here that says that this is just the first whisper before a whole lot of noise. (KM)

The Kudabins KudaShudaWuda Plan Z Records • These guys are talented. Of that there is no doubt, but the production on this disc is definitely low budget. It makes them sound like a pirated recording of Judas Priest at times. I do like the disc, especially because I have nothing to compare it to. It defies pigeonholing and that is a good thing. I would definitely like to hear more from these guys -- possibly with a better sound quality. (MK)

The Mass self-titled Whole Enchilada Records • Angry guitar riffs and screams followed by...a saxophone solo? This is the unusual music of The Mass, whose love of metal is matched by their love of smooth jazz. The screams are sporadic, and the jazz injections happen without warning, making this album excitingly unpredictable. (AL)

The Means Vil/Viol doubleplusgood • Gritty, incisive, and powerful, The Means play an unclean, ferocious version of rock that has very little nutritional value, but tastes awesome. It's ugly and screeching, and that's the way it wants to and should be. They're not going for any Grammys, they're going straight for the jugular. Few bands bring this kind of raw power. (DP)

The Melismatics Postmodern Rock Hygh Tension Records • Dammit, every now and then a friggin' song gets stuck in my head. "Can't Relate", from this disc, is careening around the recesses of my brain as I write this. This CD is a rocker from start to finish. Nothing tired or stale. All of it worth listening to. (MK)

The Mighty Mighty Bosstones A Jackknife to a Swan Side One Dummy Records • The Mighty Mighty Bosstones are back on an independent label, and that's probably for the best. On this album, they sound like they have no worries, no big corporate assholes on their back, and they are free to have fun with their music. Punk, ska and reggae are all fused together in this infectious album. (AL)

The Most Secret Method Our Success Superbad Records • A good layout makes you take notice of a band before you even hear them. Pictures for your eyes to explore both before and during the music experience. MSM command your attention from the opening of the jewel case till the last chord. Creative almost technical indie rock with tougher than you would expect vocals (which is a good thing). One of those discs that will find its way in and never leave your player. (KM)

The Prom Under the Same Stars Barsuk Records • Get your Kleenex out, cause you're about to cry. Omaha trio The Prom creates pop songs based on the piano, and most are sad. James Mendenhall's voice sounds like he is in pain, though he manages to sound upbeat in a couple of places.

The Pupils Self-Titled Discord • A little side-project action from Dan and Asa from Lungfish that is as wonderful as it is simple. In the vein of some other recent releases like Mighty Flashlight, with a strange odd modern folk sound. The songs are open and yet almost mysterious. While not everybody is going to love this sort of thing, when it finds its target audience, they are gonna be some pretty happy listeners. (KM)

The Record Time The Always My Automation Records • Its creepy how much this band sounds like the ghost of Braid. Luckily not in the copycat way as much as the paying homage and drawing strong influence from. Even stranger that you can hear a little Capn' Jazz mixed in there. Beyond that there is good song writing and original passion. (KM)

The Returnables Unrequited Hits Jettison Music • These four cool cats play '70s style pop with a bit of punk thrown in for good measure. It's really an irresistible mix as the melodies are thick and hard to resist. Tracks such as "Monica" and "Julie, Did I?" will be stuck in your head for hours. Based on song titles, it sounds like these guys really get around; aside from the aforementioned girls-in-songs, there's also "Hey, Alice!" and the "Girl From Eau Claire." (CM)

The Rum Diary Noise Prints Substandard Records • This San Francisco area quartet, named after Hunter S. Thompson's first novel, creates a unique kind of indie rock, with two drum sets and two bass players, vocals and some keyboards. You'd think the sound would be buried in the low end, but they are quite adept at achieving a wide range of tones. One bassist lays a foundation while the other one noodles away at the strings. The vocals are melancholic and layered, and sometimes you don't realize they're there. (AL)

The Rutabega Cobus Green Johann's Face • Lo-fi must be in. While this isn't a simple singer-songwriter situation ala Elliot Smith or Nick Drake, this has the same sound (although I wonder if vocalist Josh Hensley isn't the main person behind these tunes). This Indiana trio plays simple, acoustic pop tunes that remind me of the aforementioned artists as well as the Beatles. The 12 songs on here move along at a soothing pace, varying in style but staying true to their jangly, folk-ish roots. (CM)

The Screwdrivers self-titled self-released • Hailing from the tough streets of Connecticut comes The Screwdrivers, with a name much tougher than the style of music they play. They deliver fluid indie rock with a strong pop attitude -- there are no frills or fancy stuff, just solid rock that would be good on a sunny afternoon or a gloomy evening -- it's just that versatile. (CM)

The Spanish Harlem Orchestra Un Gran Día En El Barrio Ropeadope Records • The Spanish Harlem Orchestra is a perfect example of Salsa music in modern times. Its rhythms are highly danceable, and they rarely slow the tempo down. Led by pianist Oscar Hernandez, who has played with Ruben Blades, Mongo Santamaria and Juan Luis Guerra, they explore the sounds that made Spanish Harlem a mecca for Latin Rhythms.

The Stereo Rewind + Record Fueled by Ramen Records • Somebody please explain to me why The Stereo is not one of the most popular bands in the world? They should be all over the radio, converting fans to their melodic brand of pop rock. I dare anyone to find a song catchier than "Don't Say Uncle!" Even though the band has had some rough times and lineup changes, they sound better than ever. (AL)

The Timbre Project Ruining Perfectly Good Songs Ice Cream Headache • This is a solid record, a medium-rock exposition of life experiences and philosophies. It's got the flavor of a work of spoken word, in the way the poetic lyrics represent themselves -- but the music is a great vehicle for the words. Music ranges from piano ballads to radio-ready pop tunes. (DP)

The Toasters Enemy of the System Asian Man Records • After 21 years, the Toasters show no signs of slowing down with Enemy of the System. They continue to play party-friendly ska, sure to put a smile on your face with their infectious, catchy tunes. Forget the trends, because this music is good! (AL)

This Machine Kills / JR Ewing split EP Dim Mak Records / Sonzai Records • This four-track split EP breaks boundaries. This Machine Kills (from Cali) opens with a screaming, hardcore assault that pounds from start to finish. They follow that up with minimalist electro-new-wave-art tune that is so different from the first track, it's hard to believe it's the same band. Then JR Ewing (from Norway) jumps in with semi-chaotic indiecore that is really fantastic. It's non-stop, ever-changing rock and roll that uses a combination of screamed and sung vocals, wild orchestration and plenty of aggression to punch you in the face with each track while you try to figure out if you've ever heard anything like it before. You haven't. (CM)

Time in Malta A Second Engine Equal Vision Records • Time in Malta have no problem with shifting gears mid-song. Vocalist Todd Gullion goes from harmonic singing to ear-piercing screaming effortlessly, and the rest of the band follows suit. While their roots lay in hardcore, they experiment with melodies and complex riffs. (AL)

Time Spent Driving Just Enough Bright Sessions • If I could find another band that stresses how good a small mostly unknown band could be, TSD could be it. Flirting obscurity, this bands smooth poppy feel that grinds out in an emo/ post-hardcore style and lyrics that make you almost giddy, TSD easily be the next Jimmy Eat World to make it, but you should check them out now so you can say you knew about them before then. (KM)

UHF If It Was Easy Second Story Records • If It Was Easy is the third release from this Portland band. UHF's new psychedelic, pop songs are helped by the production of Gregg Williams, who has worked with the likes of the Dandy Warhols and Sheryl Crow. Their sound is reminiscent of bands like Beulah and the New Pornographers. This is a great collection of well-written, executed, and produced pop gems. (CL)

Under A Dying Sun self-titled Substandard • Under A Dying Sun tread that strange uncharted musical territory between emo hardcore and indierock. In this case it seems more intentional and not a lack of definition. A sound that pulls the passions from all the forms and blends it together into a melodic angst filled full length, the first from this Bay Area outfit. If you want it real and honest, this one is for you. (KM)

Unsung Zeroes Moments From Mourning Eulogy Recordings • For their second album, Unsung Zeroes have matured a bit in their sound. They rely less on pop and more on punk. Their fusion of pop punk, emo, and indie has been getting them attention and fans for a few years now. (AL)

Various Artists Eulogy + Alveran Transcend Eulogy Recordings • This 19-track compilation serves as a sample of what the Eulogy and Alveran labels have to offer, including songs by Dashboard Confessional, Unsung Zeros, Drift, Arma Angelus, Santa Sangre, and more. Some of these bands are starting to make a name for themselves, some are already well known. If you like indie rock, hardcore / metalcore, you need to get this release. (AL)

Various Artists Hopelessly Devoted to You Vol. 4 Hopeless Records • The 18 tracks on this CD range from the metal of Thrice, to the ska-core of Mustard Plug, the one man band Atom and His Package, and the political punk of Against all Authority. Also included are previously unavailable tracks from Avenged Sevenfold, Common Rider, the Weakerthans, Samiam and Digger. (AL)

Various Artists My Very Last Breath -- The Emo Diaries, Chapter 8 Deep Elm • A new chapter, 12 bands and more aural satisfaction for music lovers. As always, there are some amazing tracks, some good tracks and a couple that "aren't bad". The bands on this release are global, from Sweden to Chicago to Brazil. But each of them represents a part of the "emo style", from the more hard-edged to the soft and sweet. The standout tracks on here are by Long Since Forgotten (power pop with a dose of 'core), Down-To-Earth Approach (emorock ala The Get Up Kids), Hateen (indie rock that packs a punch) and The Colour Blue (amazing indie rock with smooth horns and plenty of emotion). There are few compilations out there with this kind of quality and even fewer that can attest to the consistency heard on The Emo Diaries, chapter after chapter. (CM)

Various Artists Naked Music Presents: Carte Blanche Vol. 3 Naked Music / Astralwerks • This disc will have you groovin' in no time, as you bob your head to these deep house beats infused with jazz and funk, continuously mixed so you don't stop, even for a minute. From the drum 'n' bass tinged Blu Mar Ten track "Trauma," to the pseudo-disco / soul beats of Weekender's "Thinking about You," these 75 minutes explore new directions in dance music. (AL)

Various Artists Playing 4 Square 2 Suburban Home Records • Billed as "a compilation of four of the best independent record labels," Playing 4 Square 2 packs an impressive 24 tracks into 74 minutes of explosive music by the likes of The Gamits, The Fairlanes, Finch, The Stereo, Mates of State, Cadillac Blindside, RxBandits and Aloha, among others. Melodic punk, indie rock and power pop round out this compilation,

Various Artists Pop for Charity: Sound Progression Doubleplusgood Records • Minneapolis-based record label Doubleplusgood Records put out this record to help a local charity organization, Pop for Charity. There is a cool variety of indie rock and pop tunes on this compilation. Highlights include the now-defunct Spiveys, Emperor Penguin, and the pure sonic bludgeoning from the Dames. It's good music for a good cause, so help somebody out and get some new music for your generosity. (CL)

Various Artists Punk Rock is Your Friend Kung Fu Records • Punk Rock is indeed your friend at Kung Fu Records. They have assembled 17 tracks from Audio Karate, Ozma, Tsunami Bomb, The Vandals, Antifreeze, Useless I.D., Mi6, No Use For A Name, and The Ataris. Many of the tracks featured here are unreleased or hard to find. Plus, there is an enhanced portion with four music videos and a couple of movie trailers. (AL)

Various Artists Roots of Dub Funk 2 Tanty Records • Picking up where volume one left off, this next installment includes 14 brand new tracks from the likes of Alpha + Omega, Faya Dub, Solomon Jabby, Dubclash and others from all over the globe. If you like the hypnotic qualities of dub, you'll definitely like this album. (AL)

Various Artists Sample This, Too! BYO Records • To celebrate their 20th anniversary, BYO put out Sample This, Too!, which highlights most of the label's upcoming releases for the year. Anti-Flag, NOFX, Youth Brigade, The Bouncing Souls, Leatherface, Rancid and others are featured on this comp. And for $2.99, that's a lot of punk for your dollar. (AL)

Various Artists Survive and Advance (Vol. 1) Merge Records • This compilation's objective is to bring to you as much unreleased material as possible. Brand new tracks from Radar Brothers, Annie Hayden, East River Pipe, Crooked Fingers and the Gothic Archies sit alongside sneak previews for upcoming releases from Spoon and Destroyer. Also included are some live songs by Portastatic, Spaceheads, Lambchop and Ladybug Transistor. (AL)

Various Artists Tigerbeat6 and the Beat Goes Off! Tigerbeat6 • Tigerbeat6 is a label that is rivaled only by the Warp and Rephlex labels in terms of the kinds of electronica artists they sign. From the art-punk of Numbers, to the kitschy sounds of Kevin Blechdom, the mellow orchestral samples of Stars as Eyes, the IDM by Aelters, and the random noises of Main, this label takes chances on the music they like, and after listening to these 23 tracks, you'll be happy they do. (AL)

Various Artists Warped Tour 2002 Compilation Side One Dummy Records • Fifty fucking tracks! That's what you get on this double CD compilation. Who's on it, you say? Here's a few: NOFX, Good Charlotte, No Use for a Name, Alkaline Trio, The Damned, Dag Nasty, Against All Authority, Murphy's Law and The Ataris. Even though these tracks were not recorded on tour, they still make for an ass-kicking who's who of punk and hardcore worth every penny. (AL)

Ward Churchill In A Pig's Eye AK Press • With the full plate of social issues available to the activist mind, for whatever reason Native American rights have been pushed back behind the curtain. Ward Churchill in his plain pointed style gives a voice, and in turn a reminder of America's shame. Two discs that cover a range of topics mostly related to the Native cause, and also the concepts of the police state, nationally and internationally. Like almost everything AK Press puts out, you really should check this out. Raising a voice is a wonderful thing, but if it goes unheard then it's futile. (KM)

William Steffey Roadstar Aquariphone Records • In Roadstar, William Steffey combines electronics with pop and a bit of indie, creating some quite catchy melodies. While you listen, you'll feel like you are driving on a deserted night, sometime in the future. The vocals were a bit weak at times, but overall, this album was enjoyable. (AL)

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

As Friends Rust A Young Trophy Band In The Parlance Of Our Times Equal Vision • The continued evolution of AFR takes another giant step forward. While the recent release was amazing, I felt something, just a little something, was missing; this release has found it. 6 songs that you won't get sick of anytime soon, as AFR create a good blend of all things good, emo-core with all the right kinds of rock and roll. "Where The Wild Things Were" is already becoming one of those songs I fast-forward mix tapes to hear. (KM)

Astrobotnia 3-album sampler Rephlex Records • Rumor has it that the identity of the mysterious musician behind Astrobotnia is Ovuca, and that Richard D. James (Aphex Twin) is also involved. The fact is, these three albums are worth getting, no matter who the author is. Each track from this sampler covers one album, and each has its own style. Disc one covers more ambient territory, with some sporadic beats thrown in and dark samples. Disc two moves into more danceable territory, with Rephlex-style breakbeats and an Aphex Twin influence. Disc three is the middle ground between the two, a fast paced set with sometimes-quirky sounds and waves of synths. All the hype surrounding this release is well deserved. (AL)

Atmosphere God Loves Ugly Rhymesayers Entertainment • Looking to inspire from the depths of Minneapolis, lyricist Slug and producer Ant are back to complicate your mind with ironies in life, deep conceptual stories and head-nodding beats. Although the verdict is still out on the comparison to their last disc (Lucy Ford LP) this release is well worth the listen. Slug spits relentlessly and comes off like a hermit who is fond of being a loner, yet tired of being left alone. He opens the title track with "I wear my scars like the rings on a pimp" and if that's the case, both hands are covered with gold, or scars for that matter. This whole project is deep and creative and is an honest insight into an individuals mind. On "Saves The Day" he rhymes "I sleep next to women that I don't deserve/they like to hurt my pride/while I work they nerves...I'm just waitin' for the moment I can break away/the only reason that I stay/so I can save the day." Check this disc out and remember that no matter what, God loves your ugly ass. (JC)

Autechre Gantz Graf EP Warp Records • People fall into two categories: those who think Autechre are musical geniuses, and those who think it is all a pile of random noises. If you are in the latter category, I hear Michael Bolton has a new CD. For the rest of you, read on. The CD features three never before heard tracks, with enough layers of sounds to drown you. There are hints of melodies and even syncopated beats! Listen closely and you'll hear them. Of course, these guys tend to go off the deep end at times, and the title track does just that. It's almost as if they decided to reject any sound longer than half a second. Also included is a DVD with three stunning videos, "Gantz Graf," "Bass Cadet" and the Chris Cunningham directed "Second Bad Vibel." This last one was completely remade for this release and has never been seen in this form. "Gantz Graf" is completely computer animated, and has just about every single sound affecting a portion of the video. Think about that for a moment. (AL)

David Jacobs-Strain Stuck on the Way Back NorthernBlues Music • WHAT?!?!? This dude was born in 1983?! Get the *&^% out of here! Wow. That's impressive. This is an outstanding CD for you blues guitar lovers out there. You'll eat this up with a big-ass biscuit. This dude can wail, both on the acoustic and on the mic. He plays some mean slide guitar, picks holes in the strings and jams like a 50 year-old veteran. "Linin' Track" is flat-out, foot-stompin' good and "Poor Boy" starts as a slow, weepy number but turns into a feverish, wailing anthem. He has influences ranging from Taj Mahal and Robert Johnson to African, Indian and Middle Eastern stylings, and even sounds like he was classically trained at some point. This kid has more talent in his left pinky than every band on radio right now. If you want to hear music, REAL music, buy this. This is the art at its purest. (SH)

De La Hoya Wipe The Slate Clean BD Records • No, this is not Oscar De La Hoya's crap ass music. This is four tracks of punk perfection from the now-defunct New York four-piece. For over four years, these guys fucking tore shit up. Unfortunately, I missed the bus and didn't get onboard the De La Hoya bandwagon until after they had broken up ­ damn me! Regardless, this is outstanding material not to miss. They play a style that combines amazing vocals (at times akin of Fifteen's Jeff Ott) with the political punk intensity of Strike Anywhere and At The Drive-In and a knack for being catchy without being at all poppy. My only complaint is that there are only four songs (although track four is so good it gets bonus credit). So, you'll have to do what I did ­ go and order their past releases! Or, check out the guitarist's new band, Nakatomi Plaza ­ they rock, too! (CM)

From Safety To Where Irreversible Trend Radical Records • Math rock meets emo meets noise core meets jazz on this ten-track release from three South Carolina musicians. The guitar work is piercing and active, taking the listener on a journey with each new track. Vocally, the songs vary but utilize well-sung vocals, screaming and more-spoken style delivery. In every case, it works and acts to enhance the music, the structured chaos, if you will. For the most part, these ten tracks are uptempo and forward driving, moving you onward with each bass line and drum pound. Because these guys combine so many styles, it's hard to really compare them flatly. However, there are sounds on here reminiscent of such bands as Pilot to Gunner, Pinehurst Kids, Unwound, Fugazi, At The Drive-In, Modest Mouse, Dismemberment Plan and Joy Division. (CM)

Gina Young Intractable 28 Days Records • It's a fitting album title for a rebellious singer/songwriter release from such a proactive, headstrong artist. Gina Young is a creative vocalist, using angst, aggression and her beautiful voice to pack a punch despite the mostly simple, lo-fi style of music. This album combines elements of folk and punk rock to create an unyielding style that is wholly original. She'll definitely get compared to such artists as Liz Phair and Ani DeFranco, but no such comparisons do her justice. The guitar melodies and bass lines are fantastic while the oft-socio/political lyrics are delivered more uniquely than any vocalist I've heard. Outside of music, Gina is an activist, campaigning for feminist causes as well as gay/lesbian/bisexual/transgender issues. This is a woman with powerful music backed up with powerful messages ­ that's a rare combination in today's world of watered-down musicians. (CM)

Grain USA Billboard Disposable Pop Revolution Records • Goofy Ass shtick plays very well with me. This is really wonderfully silly stuff, but it is good music. There are, sadly, only 3 songs on this disc that will make it hard to listen to for hours, but I'm strongly tempted to. Rock and roll sort of like The Kinks. Tasty. As the CD says: These boys have the chops for Star Search. (MK)

Ingram Hill Until Now Traveler Records • Kick ass!!! I like this a lot. This is non-pretentious, straight-ahead rock. There are no frills, no tricks, no gizmos. This is just some guys, their gear and some tunes. I'm a Tonic fan so I was thrilled to see Emerson Hart listed with production credits on this disc. They remind me of Tonic at times, of a rocking Hootie at others, maybe some Edwin McCain, as well as Better Than Ezra, whom they happen to have some summer dates with. They have some southern twang to them, which is refreshing with all the corporate *&^% out there. This band definitely has the stuff to make it. The songs are tight and just different enough to keep you guessing, but never straying far from their rock/bluesy roots. This is a great find. You read it here first!!! (SH)

Jean Grae Attack Of The Attacking Things Third Earth Music • Unlike any female emcee that has held the mic (or few other emcee's for that matter) this artist spits raw, visually graphic flows that contain strong lyricism and intelligent concepts. The soulful backdrop alongside 70's R&B and funk are a perfect sounds cape for hard hitting beats and an attitude that is caught between ghetto and passionate without using sex as the focal point. It doesn't take long to become entranced by her view of the world through stories about taking chances in life and urging the young to see beyond their reality and "stop pretending your flesh is a metal/and your hood is the magnet...if your peoples hold you back/they're not your peoples at all." This disc comes off, as being true to who the artist is and is an example of using creativity to it's fullest, everything fits from beginning to end. Of course production from Mr. Len (of Company Flow), Masta Ace and Da Beatminerz helps make a great idea become even better. (JC)

Midnight Thunder Express self-titled Empty Records U.S. • This is straight up rock and roll. Piano that makes your knuckles hurt just listening to it, screaming guitar riffs and background hand claps. This is what the Rolling Stones would sound like if they could still do anything. This is one of the best, most heavy hitting rock and roll discs I've heard since Back in Black. (MK)

Squarepusher Do You Know Squarepusher Warp Records • Musical schizophrenic Tom Jenkinson always delivers something unexpected, which prompts the listener to answer "not really" to the question posed by this album's title. For this double CD, he recorded 7 tracks that sound melodic and almost subdued when compared to the spastic Go Plastic. In particular, there is a cover of Joy Division's "Love Will Tear Us Apart," complete with vocals, which is quite the pop song. The second CD is a live recording of a tour stop in Japan while promoting Go Plastic, in which he kept yelling at the stunned crowd to "make some fucking noise!" Compare the two discs and you'll understand why Jenkinson is so unpredictable. (AL)

Sunday's Best The Californian Polyvinyl • Sometimes bands put together collections of songs, and that's all they are, just a bunch of songs packaged together, and then sometimes a band will release something that is more, something that is a complete experience. "The Californian" is just that. This is the release you pour through CD store shelves hoping to discover. The artwork sets the stage, and then the songs take you places. Sort of an emo-pop experience that doesn't forget to bring some rock in when it needs it, Sunday's Best created something beautiful here. (KM)

Superdrag Last Call for Vitriol Arena Rock Recording Co. • In an alternate universe, where well-written melodic, guitar rock is all the rage, Superdrag is all over the radio, television, and whatever other media outlets are available in this alternate universe. Last Call for Vitriol is the latest hook-laden Superdrag release that will probably be overlooked by mainstream America. The major labels and MTV may have given up on these guys, but they just keep plugging away with great Beatle-esque and Matthew Sweet guitar pop. Do your part, and show these guys some love. (CL)

Trabant Moment of Truth Thule Musik • If you like Air and Kraftwerk, you should already be in your car, going to the store to buy Trabants' Moment of Truth. Tons of old keyboards and synths are combined with a space rock vibe and a pop feel, topped off with sparse vocals. There are so many layers, you'll fall into a trance trying to hear them all. (AL)

Zola Sings the Jon Seiff Songbook On the Blue Side Jon Seiff • This disc is major chill. It's like a forty-five minute lullaby of fantastic blues/jazz/pop ballads. The centerpiece is the vocal renderings of the magnificent Zola, who touches this album with golden goodness and a shining talent. The inspired lyrics are delivered with clarity, heart, and wistful passion. (DP)

In alphabetical order. Please write them.

!K7 Records, 425 W. 15th St., Suite 2R, New York, NY 10011
28 Days Records, 7327 Rindge Avenue, Playa Del Rey, CA 90293
Adventures in Tourism, c/o R. Mofsky, 62 Wenham St., Jamaica Plain, MA 02130
A-F Records, PO Box 71266, Pittsburgh, PA 15213
AK Press, 674A 23rd ST. Oakland, CA 94612-1163
Alias Clark, PO Box 700171, St. Cloud, FL 34770
Anodyne Records, no contact information available
Aquariphone Records, 4637 N Spaulding Ave. 3, Chicago, IL 60625
Arena Rock Recording Co., 252 Wythe Ave, Studio 6, Brooklyn, NY 11211
Artemis Records, 130 Fifth Ave., Seventh Floor, New York, NY 10011
Asian Man Records, PO Box 35585, Monte Sereno, CA 95030
Astralwerks, 104 W. 29th St., New York, NY 10001
Barsuk Records, PO Box 22546, Seattle, WA 98122
BD Records, PO Box 860, NY, NY 10268-0860
Better Looking Records, 11041 Santa Monica Blvd. #302, LA, CA 90025
Big Wheel Recreation, 325 Huntington Ave, No. 24, Boston, MA 02115
Boiling Point, PO Box 146. Somers NY 10589
Bridge Nine, PO Box 990052, Boston, MA 02199-0052
BSI Records, 4005 SE 28th Ave., Portland, OR 97202
BYO Records, PO Box 67609, Los Angeles, CA 90067
Carcrash Records Sweden, PO Box 39, 462 21 Vanersburg, Sweden
Clearly Records, 314 23rd St, Brooklyn, NY 11215
Dare To Care Records, 2273 De Champlain Montreal, Qc, H2L 2T1 Canada
Dead Droid Records, PO Box 68061, Grand Rapids, MI 49516
Deep Elm Records, PO Box 36939, Charlotte, NC 28236
Deep Space Records, 25451 Poppy Dr., Willits, CA 95490
Definitive Jux Recordings, 199 Lafayette St. #3b, NY, NY 10012
Diesel T.V., 21-38 35th Street, #4F, Astoria, NY 11105
Dim Mak, PO Box 14041, Santa Barbara, CA 93107
Discord Records, 3819 Beecher St. NW Washington, D.C. 20007
Disposable Pop Rev., c/o L. Bellon, 36091 Dalewood Dr., Newark, CA 94560
Divorcee, Attn: R. Seitz, 4732 S. Upton Ave. upper, Minneapolis, MN 55410
Divot, PO Box 14061, Chicago, IL 60614
Doubleplusgood, PO Box 18721, Minneapolis, MN 55418
Eastern Conference Records, no contact information available
Eastern Developments, #241 1579 Monroe Dr., Ste. F, Atlanta, GA 30324
Eighteenth Street Lounge Music, 1210 18th St. NW, Washington, D.C. 20036
Empty Records, PO Box 12034, Seattle, WA 88012
Equal Vision Records, PO Box 14, Hudson, NY 12534
Ernest Jenning Record Co., 906 Summit Avenue, Jersey City, NJ 07307
Eulogy Recordings, PO Box 8692, Coral Springs, FL 33075
Extremely Baked Records, no contact info available
Ferret Music Corp., 47 Wayne St. #3, Jersey City, NJ 07302
Fifty-Four Forty Or Fight!, PO Box 1601, Acme, Michigan, 49610-1601
Flying Kite Records, PO Box 263, 644 Middle Street, Weymouth, MA 02189
Forge Again Records, PO Box 146837, Chicago, IL 60614
Fueled by Ramen, PO Box 12563, Gainesville, FL 32604
G7, Box 27006, C-360 Main Street, Winnipeg, MB R3c 4T3 CANADA
Ghostly International, 202 E. Washington #510, Ann Arbor, MI 48104
Girl Harbor, 74 Freeman St. #4, Brooklyn, NY 11222-1328
Gold Standard Laboratories, PO Box 187262, San Diego, CA 92177
Goodfellow Recs, 762 Upper James St., Hamilton, Ontario, L9C-3A2, Canada
Government Music, Box 268162, Chicago, IL 60626
Groove Attack, Maastrichter Strasse 49, 50672 Cologne, Germany
Hefty Records, 1658 N. Milwaukee #287, Chicago, IL 60647
Honest Donıs Records, PO Box 192027, San Francisco, CA 94119-2027
Hopeless Records, PO Box 7495, Van Nuys, CA 91409-7495
Hydra Head Records, PO Box 990248, Boston, MA 02199
Hygh Tension Records, 7899 64th Street, St. Paul, MN 55115
Ice Cream Headache Records, PO Box 426006, Cambridge, MA 02142
Iguana Records, 110 Green Street #702, NY, NY 10012
Immedia, 5000 Beckley Ave., Woodland Hills, CA 91364
Imputor?, PO Box 17489, Seattle, WA 98107
In Music We Trust Records, 15213 SE Bevington Ave., Portland, OR 97267
Jagjaguwar, 1021 S. Walnut, Bloomington, IN, 47401
Jettison Music, 6008 S. Harlem Avenue, Summit, IL 60501
Johannıs Face, PO Box 479164, Chicago, IL 60647
Jon Seiff, 35 Walnut St., Dedham, MA 02026
Jump Start Records, PO Box 10296, State College, PA 16805
Jump Up! Records, PO Box 13189, Chicago, IL 60613
Keep Safe Records, 1016 Berlin Rd, Cherry Hill, NJ 08034
Kranky Records, PO Box 578743, Chicago, IL 60657
KrebStar Recordings, 204 East End Avenue, Morantown, WV 26505
Kung Fu Records, PO Box 38009, Hollywood, CA 90038
Latest Records, P.O. Box 21313 Washington, D.C. 20009
Lex Records, PO Box 34207, London, NW5 1EF, UK
Lookout Records, 3264 Adeline Street, Berkeley, CA 94703
Loveless Records, 1122 E. Pike Street #1361, Seattle, WA 98122
Merge Records, PO Box 1235, Chapel Hill, NC 27514
Minority Records, PO Box 113, 110 01 Prague 1, Czech Republic
Mother West LLC, 132 W 26th Street, New York, NY 10001
Motherload Music, 1617 Lakeshore Lane, Plano, TX 75023
My Automation Records, 1419 Sugar Creek Blvd., Sugarland, TX 77478
Naked Music / Astralwerks, 104 West 29th St., New York, NY 10001
New Disorder Records, 115 Bartlett St, San Francisco, CA 94110
No Idea Records, PO Box 14636, Gainesville, FL 32604
Northern Blues Music, 225 Sterling Rd, Unit 19, Toronto, ON M6R 2B2
Open Source Music, 7306 Idylwood Court, Falls Church, VA 22043
Palm Pictures, LLC, 601 W. 26th Street, 11th Floor, New York, NY 10001
Panic Button, 3264 Adeline St. Berkeley, CA 94703
Paroxysm Records, PO Box 58133, Washington, D.C. 20037-8133
Perishable Records, PO Box 57-8804, Chicago, IL 60657-8804
Pinch Hit Records, 4001 PCH, Ste 104, Torrance, CA 90505
Pink & Black Records, PO Box 190519, San Francisco, CA 94119
Plan Z Records, 14-20 150th St., Whitestone NY 11357
Polyvinyl Record Co., PO Box 7140, Champaign, IL 61826
Porterhouse Records, PO Box 3597, Hollywood, CA 90078
Quincy Shanks, Box 3035, St. Charles, IL 60174
Radical Records, 77 Bleecker St. #C2-21, NY, NY 10012
Redline Entertainment, PO Box 9312, Minneapolis, MN 55440
Reflections Records, Spoowegstraat 177, 6828 AP Arnhem, The Netherlands
Rephlex Records, PO Box 2676, London, N11 1AZ, UK
Resurrection A.D. Records, PO Box 763, Red Bank, NJ 07701
Revelation Records, PO Box 5232, Huntington Beach, CA 92615-5232
Rhymesayers Entertainment, 2411 Hennepin, Ave, S. MPLS, MINN, 55405
Rich ID Records, 101 S. Troy Ave., Ventnor City, NJ 08406
Roam Records, 3539 27th Place West #116 Seattle, WA 98199
Ropeadope Records, PO Box 1021, Village Station, New York, NY 10014
Saltwater Vampires, 1264 Co. Road 1450 E., Lerna, IL 62440
Sanity Check Musec, Inc., PO Box 179, Boyce, VA 22620
Second Story Records, P.O. Box 82903, Portland, OR 97282
Secretly Canadian, 1021 South Walnut, Bloomington, IN 47401
Sessions Records, 15 Jans Way, Scotts Valley, CA 95066
Side One Dummy, PO Box 2350, Los Angeles, CA 90078
Sinister Label, PO Box 1178, La Grange Park, IL 60526
Six Gun Lover Records, 3203 Overcup Oak, Austin, TX 78704
Soft Serve Records, 137 Golden Beach Drive, Miami, FL 33160
Sonic Boom Recordings, POBox 31443, Seattle, WA 98103
Sonic Unyon, PO Box 57347 Jackson Station, Hamilton, ON L8P4X2
Stonegarden Records, 3101 Exposition Place, Los Angeles, CA 90018
Substandard Records, PO Box 310, Berkley CA 94701
Suburban Home Records, PO Box 40757, Denver, CO 80204
Superbad Records, PO Box 21313, Washington, D.C. 20009
Swami Records, PO Box 620428, San Diego, CA 92162
T. Hallenbeck, PO Box 8570, Emeryville, CA 94662
Tanty Records, PO Box 557, Harrow, Middlesex, HA2 8QE, England
The Screwdrivers, PO Box 135, Enfield, CT 06083
The Johnny Zoom Cheerlead Squad, 1104 W. DeLeon St. 1B., Tampa, FL 33606
Thick Records, 409 N. Wolcott Avenue, Chicago, IL 60622
Thinker Thought Records, 1002 Devonshire Rd. Washington, IL 61571
Third Earth Music, Attn: Kimani Rogers, 784 Columbus Ave. #4M, NY, NY 10025
Threadbare Records, 1625Cota Avenue, Long Beach, CA 90813-1138
Three One G, PO Box 178262, San Diego, CA 92177
Thule Musik, 97 Avenue A #4, New York, NY 10009
Tigerbeat6, 310 Oakland Ave., Oakland CA 94611
Traveler Records, 3974 Sawgrass Drive, Memphis, TN 38125
Two Sheds Music, PO Box 5455, Atlanta, GA 31107
Underground Sounds Of America, PO Box 5617, Santa Rosa, CA 95402
Uprising Records, PO Box 42259, Philadelphia, PA 19104
Uvulittle Records, PO Box 3220, Madison, WI 53704
Veronica Records, 1573 N. Milwaukee Ave., Box 468, Chicago, IL 60622
Warp Records, 503 8th Avenue, 4th Floor, Brooklyn, NY 11215
Whole Enchilada Records, PO Box 16158, Oakland, CA 94610
Winter In July, PO Box 38, University Park, IA 52595

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