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Aug./Sept.'04 Articles:
The SHAC 7 & Democracy
Editorial: Kerry: The Only Option
Notes from the Cultural Wasteland
The Muddlemarch: 1
The Muddlemarch: 2
Conflict in Space?
Moore Truthful Lies
Remembering Ronnie
(music reviews)

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CD Reviews | Vinyl Reviews | DVD Reviews
Label Addresses

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

Age Of RuinTides Of TragedyEulogy Recordings • Every few years or so, the dawning of a new genre is born within the illustrious context of metal, hardcore, so forth. Age Of Ruin are inevitably the next "breakthrough" band in all music entitled "heavy." Hailing from Moshington, DC, Age Of Ruin portray a pure artistic masterpiece through The Tides Of Tragedy, which combines acoustic melodies, metal, hardcore, "gang" vocal sing a longs, and breakdown antics to deliver a spinkick in the face to anyone willing to listen, especially those who enjoy anything remotely close to being called "brutal," or "heavy." Tides Of Tragedy is AOR¹s Eulogy debut and rest assured, this album will reach peaks as high as Eulogy¹s best artists. On Broken Wings, Unearth, Bury Your Dead, and Evergreen Terrace to name a few. I also had a chance to share the stage with Age Of Ruin (my band played a show with them) and they by far take stage prescence, antics, and structure to a new height. The Best Up & Coming Metal Band of 2004 goes to Age Of Ruin, no doubt. (CMax)

Bigg Jus Black Mamba Serums v2.0 Big Dada • Once the underground leader of hip-hop alongside El-P as a member of Company Flow, Bigg Jus is back with a double albums worth of tracks (including MP3's) dating back to the start of the new millennium. Heavily reflective of the WTC period, the extreme experimentation on this release started as a tribute to cultural advances and soon became a social protest of rhymes over top solid bass and treble beats. The production is a collage of vintage samples and wayward sounds that blend effortlessly alongside the inner-revealing flows of Jus. (JC)

Blue-Eyed Son West Of Lincoln Eenie Meenie Records • While I was enjoying this album, preparing to review it, I made the shocking revelation that this is the same guy who fronted 40 Watt Domain, a band I reviewed recently and panned as puerile. I guess I have to eat my shorts on this one - this album is great. The deep, beautiful, and mature music - acoustic based with orchestral backing - showcases a completely different side of Andrew Heilprin, one that is worth listening to. In my opinion, this is what he should be doing. (SJM)

Brandtson Send Us A Signal The Militia Group • Cleveland does rock! Another great solid album from Brandtson, post Deep Elm. This is the fourth album they've recorded with Ed Rose, this time with twelve tracks of some traditional Brandtson and some evolved tracks. Of course they didn't let us down with great pop emo rock songs that make you sing along and bob your head, but they show different sides to their songwriting with some jazzier slower tracks. Their vocals are always amazing. Jared Jolley and Myk Porter's harmonies are like none other. The rhythm section is solid and the arpeggiating guitar melodies never get old. If you haven't guessed yet, I loved this album. Buy this album, oh and if you haven't seen this band live, go see them. If you think their vocals sound great recorded, they're just as powerful live and they are one of the tightest bands I've ever seen. (MP)

Carbon Leaf Indian Summer Vanguard • The talent of this band is readily apparent right from the first few measures, as they seamlessly integrate brilliant, truthful songwriting and powerful, energetic pop. A veteran indie band from Virginia, Carbon Leaf has a sound that transcends pop. They sing like their lives depend on it, uttering harmonic cries from the heart that pierce the ether with a great sword forged of emotional steel. In other words, I really enjoyed this record. (DP)

Nine Pound Hammer Kentucky Breakdown Acetate Records • You know, as musically "with it" as I like to think I am, I'm clearly not. If I really were, I would have been anticipating this release and would have owned it before it was sent to Impact. This is heavy rockabilly, complete with twangy and grungy git-tars, and a hammering rhythm section. NPH is the best thing I've heard in a long time. These guys have been around for a while and this is their first full-length studio disc in seven years. The original members are back, including Blaine Cartwright of Nashville Pussy fame. This is flat-out brass-balled, hooch-swillin', teeth-gnashin', rockabilly/southern metal, or whatever you want to call it. Just be careful what you call it or you'll get a boot up your ass. Giddyup, muthaf&^%as! (SH)

Palomar Palomar III: Revenge of Palomar self-released • Open, airy, and just tight enough, this pop-punk band from New York City have endeared themselves to me. How could anyone resist the second track, with harmonies that I term "The Up With People Jamboree"? Jaunty and fun, with some really inspired vocals, this album is great. The song construction is excellent; the combination of instruments, while often simple in and of themselves, taken as whole, elevate and propel the songs to near greatness. And that's really f'n good. (SJM)

Pattern is Movement the (im)possibility of longing self-released • This Philadelphia quintet is slightly mathy but expansively electronic. There are some very interesting movements and syncopated beats that bring to mind other acts like +/-, Pinback or the Sea and Cake. While the album is billed as a concept album, I personally feel that should be left to Rush and Pink Floyd, it doesn't hurt this album at all. It isn't bogged down in bad poetry about some mythical character, it is instead a broad sweep of sounds and atmospherics backed by an almost orchestral lineup of guitars, bass, drums and keys. Andrew Thiboldeaux's beautiful, slightly hushed voice rises over the tidal wave of music moving this album seamlessly from song to song. I hope this act continues to try and push things further with each new release, if they do, we will have a new indie/electro champion to contend with. (MC)

Pirx the Pilot Famous in 47 States New Disorder Records • Famous in 47 states, and out to conquer the three holdouts (plus Guam and Puerto Rico), Pirx the Pilot returns with their latest full-length. Pirx is all that's good and right with punk rock: a social conscience, a sense of humor, and a heaping helping of driving rock. Ernst and Erica are the John Doe and Exene for the 21st Century. Revere them as they rightfully deserve! (CL)

The Court & Spark Witch Season Absolutely Kosher Records • This is a very accomplished band, with a dense, modern folk sound that would probably best fit into the "" genre. Truly a bridge between fans and detractors of country music alike, The Court & Spark saunter proudly into the future with precious cargo from the past. (SJM)

The Peacocks It's Time For The Peacocks Asian Man Records • I knew within the first 3 seconds that this disc would wind up as one of my top picks. Rock and roll, baby. This is a great disc. Think The Stray Cats meet someone else who was a little more punk. Angry at times, fun at times, rockin' at all times, this is one of the best punk albums I've heard in a long time. (MK)

The Pink Mountaintops self-titled Jagjaguwar • Bizarre and goofy at times, The Pink Mountaintops can still bring the rock. How can you dislike a band with the balls to name a song "I (fuck) Mountains"? The last track is a cover of Joy Division's "Atmosphere," which rewrites it as a Velvet Underground song. This is spotty, but awesome. (SJM)

Thievery Corporation The Outernational Sound ESL Music • The guys at Thievery Corporation have been blending different musical genres into their compositions and compilations for years with excellent results. The Outernational Sound is no exception, with funk, jazz, drum and bass, afrobeat, and dance music, seamlessly mixed into one continuous track that is sure to liven up any situation. (AL)

Ulrich Schnauss A Strangely Isolated Place Domino Recording Co. • There is only one word to describe this record: sweeping. Wait, I thought of another one: moving. Well, hypnotizing is also good. OK, there are plenty of words to describe A Strangely Isolated Place. It is the kind of album that transports you to another place, especially if you listen with headphones in the dark. Electronic music hardly ever explores the human side of music, but Schnauss does, and manages to captivate you in the process. (AL)

Viktor Vaughn Venomous Villain Insomniac Music • How many emcees put out albums by their alter egos then turn around and guest appear on it? MF Doom is back, and he has done it, with another offering from Viktor Vaughn. A classic hip-hop sound is intertwined throughout this dark and futuristic release with cutting edge beats, bouncing from electro to jazzy from one moment to the next. Cryptic flows are delivered alongside some solid turntable techniques that scratch with precision. Appearances from Kool Keith, Manchild of Mar Ill, Iz-Real, Poison Pen and Carl Kovorkian provide a balanced attack while backing up Vaughn, who mostly maintains a consistent rhyme tone. Prepare to be entrapped by the animated aura of what's provided here. Standout tracks include "Fall Back/Titty Fat," "Rap Game," and "Ode To Road Rage." (JC)

CD Reviews

2.2 Kid Life Villains Ionik Records • Moody syth-pop straight from the heart of Frank Longano. I won't feel too off base mentioning a slight country feel, like an old roadside diner midnight conversation where unlikely pieces come together to form a more unlikely scene. In the end it blends well. Think a depressed Postal Service meets a Tennessee Williams play under the guise of group therapy. This ones a welcome addition to any collection that's for certain. (KM)

A Faith Called Chaos Forgive Nothing Volcom Entertainment • Does the name sound familiar? Did you go to Warped last year? You probably saw them there. AFCC is back and just as pissed and intense as they were in '03. The songs are heavy, mostly an alt-metal feel with hardcore overtones. You're never far from a screaming fit with this disc, but it doesn't get repetitive and predictable. (SH)

A Perfect Murder Unbroken Victory Records • The most prestigious in hardcore artists, Victory Records has yet another hardcore act surely to grow rampantly through the hearts of the straightedge, vegan, and tough. A Perfect Murder bring a lot of what Victory already has to offer, crushing tough guy hardcore resembling the "legendary" sounds of On Broken Wings, Bury Your Dead & Remembering Never with a tinge of intricate metal within the mix. Nothing outstanding, however, if you're into hardcore and would like to dance. The mosh has been brought... (CMax)

A.18 Dear Furious Victory Records • A.18 are from Southern California and feature ex-members of Insted, Outspoken and Strife. These guys are really pissed. Just listen to track three, where they talk about stabbing and scaring people. A.18 play their own style of music, which I call So-Cal/machocore. I recommend this album to fans of the bench press, the push up, the curl and Muscle Beach. (RP)

Aalacho Electro Aalacho Music, LLC • Aalacho (AKA Nathan Scott) loves his guitar and electronic music, so he combines both in his recordings. His vocals have an under-mixed quality to them, like some of the frequencies are missing, making them sound slightly machine-like without stripping away the emotion. (AL)

Acme Rocket Quartet Sound Camera Lather Records • These four guys play jazz influenced instrumental rock with 70's overtones. The reference to the disco decade manifests itself mostly through their recent addition of Fender Rhodes piano to their sound. They also cover a song from Jesus Christ Superstar, rather well I might add. (AL)

Action Toolbelt self-titled Fastmusic • Great hooks combine with strong songwriting skills to make a really good disc. Lots of their reviews said that they were bizarre and odd, but I'm just not seeing it. It's good music, reminiscent of the early Œ90's powerhouses of real alternative. (MK)

Alec K. Redfearn & The Eyesores Every Man For Himself and God Against All Corleone Records • Most prominent in this band's music is the use of the accordion. It gives the music a klesmer flavor. Though the band has gone through many transformations, they now have a robust lineup with multiple instruments like viola, cello, percussion, alto sax and even AM radio. Sometimes upbeat, sometimes slow and moody, this album is never boring. (AL)

Amber Pacific Fading Days Hopeless Records • Melodic pop punk is delivered on this E.P. from Amber Pacific, a young, by the book band out of Seattle. Songs about long-term commitments, sleepless nights and lonely regret get all intertwined with cheesy guitar riffs and adrenaline filled emotional outbursts about a girl. It's hard to find anything unique on this release to get excited about. (JC)

aMute A Hundred Dry Trees Intr.version • If you are a fan of ambient-like post rock bands like Godspeed! You Black Emperor or Physics, then you should check out aMute. Waves of gentle guitars wash over you, and hypnotize you. Some electronic sounds add a bit of quirkiness, but don't overpower the mood. (AL)

(A)pendics Shuffle The Lavender Neglect EP Orac Records • The only thing The Lavender Neglect EP shares with house music is the repetitive beat that drives the genre. The rest of the processed and cut up sounds on the album are more related to IDM. This combination makes for a highly danceable album, which retains all the characteristics that snobby IDM fans (like myself) enjoy. (AL)

Artimus Pyle ****** From Birth Prank Records • Take away the vibrant usage of "petty language" and immature foreplay and you've got yourself a pretty descent record. Tweaking with genres resembling anything and everything heavy. AP use a mix of blast beats, eccentric tunings, structure, and thrash metal vocals to produce their "own" brand of hardcore. Very energetic, fast paced, with a dose of mayhem subtely tagging a long. If you like Figure Four and listen to music with a high disregard for song titles and words, this band is definitely one to be displaced amongst the many. (CMax)

Arve Henriksen Chiaroscuro Rune Grammofon • Norway's Arve Henriksen creates musical soundscapes that showcase his abilities with the trumpet. He also injects his wordless singing, using his voice as another instrument. More ambient than anything else, the tracks act like a sedative for the soul. (AL)

As Tall As Lions Lafcadio Triple Crown Records • Long Island brings us another rock band with some 80's flare. Strong, high vocals carry pop melodies, not in the realm of Rush, more in the realm of The Velveteen. Actually the song writing is very similar to The Velveteen. Just when it gets intensely poppy and catchy, they throw in a change. Sometimes this heads for the emo sound with some arpeggiating. The more rocking songs sounded like they could be new songs from The Cranberries, minus the wailing Irish woman. All in all, this is a solid rock album. (MP)

Atom and His Package Hair:Debatable Hopeless Records • What can I say that probably hasn't already been said about Atom and his ever intriguing package. The introduction pretty much says it all, "I write songs on sequencers and synthesizers and play them a lot." Atom is a large, slightly dorky Jewish guy who plays songs by himself with a sequencer on stage. They are always humorous and fun, and even watching the DVD that comes along with this extremely worthwhile 27-song live CD, makes you want to dance around like a fool. If you never got to see this show live then go pick up this album, it is incredible. If you did get lucky enough to see him live at some point in your life, then go pick up this CD, it is a document of his last show and will always remind you why you loved him in the first place. (MC)

Atreyu The Curse Victory Records • Atreyu is back with The Curse, an album that continues to develop the band's sound. Blending metal, rock, and hardcore, plus adding striking vocal melodies, they create a sound that is hard to resist and that stands out in the crowded metalcore scene. (AL)

August Engkilde Presents EPO Electronic Panorama Orchestra Popscape Records • If you were to take away all the electronic effects that show up on Electronic Panorama Orchestra, you'd be left with a jazz album. The fact that they are there makes this album a treat to listen to, because it is an unusual combination of styles. (AL)

Auto Pilot The Starving Rose (Tenebris Lux Vol.1) Medea Records • Someone here likes Tool, and a lot at that. It's not totally a bad thing, there are worse bands out there to emulate, this album can stand on its two feet, but at the same time it's hard to separate the two. The proposed single Squaring the Circle has some great vocal harmonies on it. The rhythm section is tight and the guitar and keys seem to work well together, but that still does not take away from the fact that these guys need to keep working to develop a sound that is a little more their own. What made bands like Tool and Rush so great was that they were considered progressive, doing something new to push boundaries, I hope this band will see that and strive for new territory as well. This album is a good starting point, and I could see after some time and development this being a good band. (MC)

Avskum Punkista Prank Records • Bring it back with out living in the past, I'd expect nothing less from a band out of Sweden. Classic punk sound, in the vein of G.B.H. or Discharge, with modern viewpoints, and a fuller feel. This one swings hard and never relents. One of the other huge positives I give this record is that a few of the songs are recorded in Swedish, which I fully applauded. I always found it weird when European bands sung all their songs in English, since their main audience really wasn't a fully English speaking target. If you like your punk rock classic, hard hitting and real, check this one. (KM)

Awol One self-titled Paladin Creative Super Co. • Awol sounds like a man happy to be alive most times on this release, which features appearances from 2Mex, Circus, Abstract Rude, Dr. Lewd, Radioactive and Busdriver. Mocking the Notorious B.I.G. Ready To Die cover art, expect to be surprised how this emcee comes off more "ready to live" than "ready to die." On "Believe," Awol spits self-help realistics with a whimpering voice, and on "Time," visuals are painted through storytelling about human's murderous tendencies towards killing time. As the album pushes on, the styles change but the message about remaining an individual stays intact as evident in the song "Grow." Progressive production from Evidence, Kutmasta Kurt, Mike Nardone, Truly Odd, and Transducer really keeps this disc together throughout the desperate and monotone sound that Awol provides. (JC)

Axes of Evil Married to America New Regard Media • You got your basic music to mosh by here. Fast, loud and aggressive punk stuff, bordering on hardcore. Note: not for purchase by Republicans. Axes of Evil should be the John Kerry house band. (SH)

Bad Religion The Empire Strikes First Epitaph Records • Like their label mates, Descendents, Bad Religion has survived over two decades of rocking out and can still be proud of the music they're producing. Many bands go on for too long or break up before it's their time. I think Bad Religion could play for another 20 years. Lyrically, Bad Religion takes on such topics as the corrupt Bush administration and the role of religion in today's politics. They've never been a band to avoid controversial topics; this album is no different and they take them on with an intellectual intensity. Musically, this is a superb album with rippin' guitar parts, a constantly pounding rhythm, brilliant tempo changes and outstanding vocals from the great Greg Graffin. This is definitely one of the band's best albums ever. (CM)

Barry O'Brien Sparks self-released • Sparks is the four-song debut EP of Dublin singer/songwriter Barry O'Brien. "The Strongest Game" recalls Elvis Costello, and the standout acoustic track "Sisters in the Sky" conjures the ghosts of Elliott Smith and Nick Drake. This is a very promising debut. (CL)

Bedouin Soundclash Sounding Mosaic Stomp Records • Earthy harmonies of vibrancy and melody are captured on the sophomore release from Bedouin Soundclash. Produced by Darryl Jenifer of Bad Brains, the sound captured here is sometimes over polished but never short on substance. Backboned by a trio strapped with a steady bass, tight percussion and a reggae tongued front man with an islands guitar style, many influences seem to creep from beneath this solid collection. For general consumption, what you get here is like mixing a little of the Marley family with The Police, Simon and/or Garfunkel and Sublime to produce something that sounds a lot like the Long Beach Dub All-Stars. (JC)

Beep Beep Business Casual Saddle Creek • This is DEVO meets Big Black, a noisy, sometimes bizarre combination. The sense of humor deployed in this recording is epic, immense, and deviant (in a good way). ROCK! (SJM)

Belvedere Fast Forward Eats The Tape Union 2112 Records • Canada can be proud of these chaps. The four guys that make up Belvedere have put together 15 incredible power punk songs on one album. The music is amazingly tight, thick with creativity, scarred with screaming guitar parts, sharp tempo changes and vocals that are absolutely fantastic. The band has harnessed the energy of hardcore and mixed it with the melodic punch of punk. Toss in some angular parts and a scream or two and the result is a consistently infectious album with an every changing sound that prevents any sense of boredom. (CM)

Black Cat Music October November Lookout Records • Don't be fooled by the somewhat sedate opener, these boys can rawk. "Hearts of Chrome" is much more representative of the revivalist rock you'll hear on October November. While they sound like those "other" bands that are so hot right now, labeling them that way would belittle a great song like "Down Pretty Low" and some of the emo-spin BCM puts on their disc. (SH)

Black Cross Widows Bloody Widows Initial Records • Don't let the name fool you ­ this isn't some easy listening emo-pop. This is hardcore, heavy and loud. Sometimes it's a full-on aural assault, and other times they like to grind it out and get grungy. Check this out if you have the stones. (SH)

Black Love Geographic Music Neat-Music • Moody, odd, and sometimes disturbing, Black Love couches their commentary in a surreal word arrangement. There are some soaring high points in this album, destined for only a few ears to hear. This is a band with a lot of potential, that is in fact already good. (SJM)

Blood For Blood Serenity Thorp Records • The press calls Œem "purveyors of white trash hardcore rock n roll." While the white trash thing seems more "working class" to me, I can't argue with the description. This is some thick-riffed rock, with gruff, screamed vocals that are alternated with some rather well sung, passionate vocals. The melodies are hard to ignore, too, helping to balance the metalcore aggression that dominates this release. (CM)

Blow Up Hollywood Fake self-released • Very heartfelt and expansive in scope, Blow Up Hollywood's release Fake has an orchestral feel that is hard to ignore. The production and song construction are first-rate. These anonymous guys really deserve credit for a piece of artwork like this. (SJM)

Blueprint Car Crash Rhetoric of a Marionette The Militia Group • There's a feeling that is beyond any form of explanation when you wonder across music that's of a different nature, aesthetic. Blueprint Car Crash provides a record more mysterious than the name its associated under. Math rock, indie, emo, hardcore, and breakdowns are the components of something leaving you breathless and wondering "What the heck just happended." With an artist material range from Thursday to Every Time I Die to Slick Shoes, Blueprint Car Crash deliver music, and that's all that can be asked for. The Militia Group has been known for it's breakthrough's in the world of the extraordinary and I can guarantee that Blueprint Car Crash will be infesting your the perimeter of the "picture box" within no time. Record labels love to shatter brilliance... (CMax)

Bob Pyle Apples & Oranges Apple Tree Records • This is bubblegum bluegrass, perfect children's music. I hope it doesn't seem like an insult to these accomplished musicians, because this is a high compliment in my book. The message is one of social responsibility, and the merits of a vegetarian lifestyle. Humor and kindness are evident in each and every lovingly crafted song. (SJM)

BoyJazz In the City Tonight Frenetic Records • I honestly have absolutely no reference point for this. It is kinda garagey rock with electronic drums that sound like they are straight off the 9 year old Casio that is shoved under my bed. The vocals howl through the drenching they get from delay and reverb. It is so simple that I could see people getting into this. How's this for an analogy, imagine if Steppenwolf and the Who got together and then some stranger ran up to them and beat them to death with a Casio keyboard. The stranger then picked up all the brutalized human body parts and broken keyboard pieces and brought them to a mad scientist, who obviously being able to create life from dead people and keyboard parts then created Adam Hobbs and Aaron Levin, the two masterminds behind this project. That's the best I can do to describe this band to you. (MC)

Brazil A Hostage and the Meaning of Life Fearless Records • I guess the tag these guys are getting is "robotic post-hardcore." OK, sure I can go with that. Sounding a little too much like The Mars Volta and a little bit like Coheed and Cambria, that unoriginal tag doesn't make it bad over all. The first few listens through I actually thought I might have found a new band, but as it kept spinning around the player Brazil got a little tired. Overly talented and as energetic as any monkey you've seen in a zoo, these guys aren't going to have any problem charming the pants off the masses. I see the next level as something more than this, and think in the end this one might just be the stepping stone record towards them finding their own sound. (KM)

Breezy Porticos Keep It Crisp Best Friends Records • This jaunty, poppy album is made by a band that is perfectly named. Actually, this bands plays on as if punk rock never happened - some of these songs sound like a stripped-down version of The Association. Somebody out there is really going to love this pretty stuff, but it isn't me. (SJM)

Bruno Pronsato Silver Cities Orac Records • For someone who grew up listening to metal and punk, Bruno Pronsato (AKA Steven Ford) has made a seamless transition over to the world of electronic music. In Silver Cities, he blends the unpredictability of glitch with the relentless beat of techno to create a tech-house masterpiece. (AL)

Captain Everything It's Not Rocket Science Union 2112 Records • Here's some pop punk from the UK, mate. The melodies run rampant on this 14-track album, the band's third full-length release. The three-piece formed over six years ago and, in that time, has developed a very tight, extremely catchy style. They don't break any barriers or revolutionize the sound, but they play fast-paced pop punk as good as anyone else. This is for fans of such bands as Lagwagon, NOFX and Junction 18, as well as anyone in need of a fun, upbeat, melodic punk fix. (CM)

Carlos Mena Hip Hop Meditations CASAMENA Records • Carlos Mena is an MC/slam poet from Oakland who is more concerned with nurturing the soul than the size of his car's rims. He uses relaxed beats and melodic samples to create a vibe complemented by his smooth delivery, which includes spoken word. Arrested Development's Speech makes a guest appearance on one track. (AL)

Casper & The Cookies "Oh!" Happy Happy Birthday To Me Records • Poppy and fun, but with a deep sound, this band makes a glorious noise. Check out the lyrics to the first song, "Your Stereo": "It's a thrill to be playing / over your stereo / in stereo. / Thank you for letting me out / over your stereo. / I can't grant your wishes / I just make a pretty sound. / Here comes another one. / Those who wish may stand..." Good stuff. (SJM)

Charge Universal Tribe Hell Bent Records • Combine hardcore, punk, and tribal rhythms and you'll have some idea of what you are in for here. Charge is a band that you should have heard of. Now you have and you won't be sorry. This is what music should sound like. Music with a message, Charge seeks positive change through the medium of music. Excellent in every way. (MK)

Charlie Hunter Trio Friends Seen And Unseen Ropeadope Records • Charlie Hunter continues to create magnificent contemporary jazz, following up 2003's Right Now Move with Friends Seen And Unseen, where he performs in a trio for the first time in 10 years. Even though he is the leader of the group, he doesn't let his guitar take center stage, instead letting all three of them share the musical spotlight. (AL)

Clair De Lune Marionettes Deep Elm Records • My first reaction, which as they say is usually the most accurate, was to classify this Minnesota band as something between a less talented Mercury Program and a more interesting emo-core band. There are mixing moments of bright brilliance and sheer boredom. The feel of the record overall brings this impression this band might be best appreciated in a VFW or church basement show. I could see it growing on me with the right approach, hearing these songs at a moment of relation, but on the surface it all feels very mediocre. (KM)

Coalesce Give Them Rope She Said v2.0 Edison Recordings • These pioneers of the metal/hardcore genres burst onto the scene in 1997 with their classic debut Give Them Rope. It went out of print in 2001, but has now been remastered and the art reworked. Any fan of the band should have this one in their collection. (AL)

Communiqué Poison Arrows Lookout! Records • It's hard not to like this record. These 10 songs are nothing but catchy, with jangly guitars strumming away over bouncy beats and cool keyboards, with male vocals full of melodies. They are paying homage to the 80's with their music, but this doesn't feel like a retro synth pop album. It can stand up on its own as a solidly well-written collection of pop songs. The enhanced portion of the disc includes a video for "Cross Your Heart," off their previous EP A Crescent Honeymoon. (AL)

Copperpot Chapter 7 EV Productions • The production that Chester Copperpot creates is full of turntable treats and unique samples that ride out to pulsating tones and rhythms. With a handful of featured underground emcees at the mic, this release is packed with versatile styles and intricate beats. Appearances include Edo G, Braintax, Profound, Diverse, Longshot and Bamski, but the sounds included here are solely overshadowed by the sounds that Copperpot is able to provide. (JC)

Deadseraphim Discography self-released • Until I opened up the insert that came with this CD, I honestly had no idea that this guy was actually saying something. Then I read the words and let's just say that it is OK that I can't understand a word coming out of this guy's mouth. The music is pretty decent grind/hardcore. I want to say something more worth while about this CD but there isn't much to it. It is OK if you would like to hear someone recording themselves getting stabbed to death over grindcore. (MC)

Deep Enough To Die My City Of Ruin Dressed To Kill Records • Passion rips through my speakers as Deep Enough To Die pounds out their hardcore-emo-indie rock blend. They fuse elements of mathy indie rock with heavy screamo hardcore, creating a blend between aggression and melody. The balance is pretty good, with the screams not overpowering the sung parts and the chunky, big riff metalcore parts leave plenty of room for the powerful, melodic moments. (CM)

Desert City Soundtrack / Settlefish / Sounds like Violence split EP Deep Elm Records • Sounds like Violence starts this three band ep off with strong, gruff vocals and rock driven melodies with a post hardcore feel, whatever the hell that means. Deep Elm decided to get creative and vary the band from track to track, so Settlefish takes on the second track. To be honest, this band didn't sound a hell of a lot different from the first, but they had more of a Cursive feel. I enjoyed this band, from the dissidence of a Cursive sound to the punk and indie styles of "Who placed the dots on dyslexia?" Settlefish's punchy bass and aggressive vocals give the album a lift. Desert City Soundtrack contributes a few songs to the ep, giving us some screams melting over piano and chaotic rhythmic melodies. Horns bring their second song in, giving another level of diversity. This is a good mixture of what Deep Elm has to offer with its upcoming releases. (MP)

Dimlaia self-titled Life Is Abuse • Dimlaia takes gloom to a new level with this self-titled album. It includes two new tracks, along with re-recorded versions of an old demo. Their sound is comparable to that of Neurosis: dark and slow tempo tracks that build until the breaking point, with vocals that range from whispering to all out screams. No wonder it was remixed by Neurosis's Dave Ed. (AL)

Dynamite Boy self-titled Fearless Records • I've always wanted to like Dynamite Boy more than I have. They have always been that band on the sidelines for me, the one waiting in the wings and opening for the bands I was going to see. With that I was eager to pick this one up and review it. Its going to make DB big, but not with me. With a sound that will fit right in-between a sugar sweet 15 year old girl's CD collection and the Warped Tour, this only proved to me that I wasn't ever really missing much. (KM)

Epigene Popular Dissent self-released • Every once in a great while, I come upon an album in the review pile that immediately takes ahold of me, and demands my complete attention - this is one of those rarities. Sean Bigler's voice is awesome, and while their press claims an early Sting sound, I totally disagree. Sting's voice has never really been as good or as powerful. Sean Bigler sounds to me like a mixture of the sensibilities of Andy Partridge (XTC) with the tone of Freddie Mercury. The music is more than competent, again comparisons to XTC (circa English Settlement) are germaine, but there is a heavy Progressive Rock element a' la Rush, or even The Police. Now, I've got to go out and get their first album, "One Bright Sign", and wait patiently for the next album to come out. (SJM)

Face Tomorrow The Closer You Get Reflections Records • Oh for shitsake. What a way to start my reviews ­ with a band I really can't quantify. Face Tomorrow starts off on an emo-rock thing, then they go more radio-oriented rock, then they get a hardcore edge, then they do a study in Radiohead! What the eff??? Overall, it's an emo-rock disc with some hardcore overtones, but they're not afraid to change things up a bit. They can fit nicely into the Tool niche, and fans of Dashboard Confessional may dig this, too. Nice first full-length offering by these cats from Holland. (SH)

Fang Live Cheap CD Malt Soda Recordings • Like punk? Go buy this. I really don't need to say any more than that. This is old-school, circa 1980's punk that covers Fang's career over the past 20 years, including tracks from a set in February of 2004. Raw, take-no-prisoners punk for cheaper than a value meal. (SH)

Favez Bellefontaine Avenue Doghouse America, Inc. • Favez is a Swedish four piece who claims their music is crafted especially for the fans of Radiohead and Queens of the Stone Age. However, the vocals remind me a lot of early Jimmy Eat World with a touch of Billy Corgan at times. The opener "Emmanuel Hall" has a killer catchy chorus that could threaten to stay in your head for hours, depending on your mood. "It's a Hit" with its laid back flow really pours on the Jimmy Eat World harmonies, but will rock you just the same as your average Weezer jam as far as the guitar section goes. All in all, an easy listen. (SP)

First Class Somewhere in the Grey Johann's Face • Unusually harmonic pop-punk is the power source behind this fantastic "group of kids," (they all range in age from 18 to 22.) There is such great energy, idealism, and optimism on this six-song EP, and it will remind every one of us that these powerful, youthful feelings are inside of all of us. Inspired by only the greatest of modern punk, you will see their influences shining through like sunlight, capturing solidly their place on that great intangible pedestal of rock. First Class, I knight thee awesome. (DP)

Fiya Make Joy Make Strength Dead Tank • I don't know what they put in the water in Gainesville, but it definitely has a positive effect on their bands. Fiya plays good ol' Gainesville rock in the same vein as Army of Ponch ,Twelve Hour Turn and True North. Go buy this album; it's great. (RP)

Forever Is Forgotten Dying Beautiful Thorp Records • With raging metal guitar parts, a ferocious intensity and guttural, screamed vocals, this band is an aural assault from track one. Forever Is Forgotten hails from Milwaukee and this is the band's second full-length release. They play metalcore like it's math rock, with hyper-precise instrumentation and angular guitar parts, but the blazing, full throttle intensity of a hardcore band. (CM)

Frank Tribes By All Means S.E.N. Records • Former Garden Bower member Frank Tribes disappoints on his sophomore release of what is described as "poppy" and "hook-heavy" rock. However you look at it, this singer/songwriter is full of jangle with a raspy voice and a sound that does little to impress. Best described as wrapping up Neil Young, Buffalo Tom, Lemonheads and Toad the Wet Sprocket all in one, not much is being missed by overlooking what is offered here. (JC)

Frankenixon Amorphous Bi-Fi Records • Heartfelt and inventive, this piano-based band reaches some impassioned heights. Evelyn Finch's vocals, when they hit the mark, are amazing - evoking Carole King with the fury and passion of Cat Power. When they do not, which is a minority of the time, it is because she loses her sense of rythym for the moment. If it were not for this, and some occasional production problems, this could be up there with the greatest albums of all time. (SJM)

Free Moral Agents Everybody's Favorite Weapon Gold Standard Laboratories • Mars Volta and De Facto keyboard player Isaiah "Ikey" Owens currently records under the Free Moral Agents moniker and the result is a cross between Air's smooth grooves and Money Mark's unusual experimentation. This album is a bit on the slow side, but it's perfect for laying around and dozing off to the beats. (AL)

Fuck Those Are Not My Bongos Future Farmer Recordings • Sounds like a madman sitting in his basement with some rudimentary recording equipment, nursing his malaise with a heaping helping of cannabis. This is much better than it has any right to be - funny, surreal, and suprisingly easy to listen to. (SJM)

Full Frontal Assault The Universal Struggle New Regard Media • Dark, heavy, fast and loud. Those are the first four adjectives that come to mind. Contrary to them looking blasted and giddy on their press material, these guys are about as happy as a fat kid at an Overeaters Anonymous meeting. If you want your eardrums sonically pierced, buy this. (SH)

Funeral For A Friend Casually Dressed & Deep In Conversation Ferret Music • Hailing from South Wales, this quintet comes out blazing, full throttle on their debut album. The play a blend of emo, punk and hardcore, all held together with thick melodies and a passionate aggression. I wouldn't be surprised if this were the next MTV2 band to burst onto the scene. They're already, strangely, on tour with Tool, Korn and Snoop Dog for the Projekt Revolution Tour. So, they're getting big time exposure. But, don't get me wrong; these guys are a very solid band, offering up 12 tracks of hard rockin' tunes. Hurry up and get into Œem before everyone else does. (CM)

George Scherer The Election Year Waltz Boo Boo • This record contains some truly delicious country blues that find their way straight to the soul. Veteran folk singer Scherer throws some icing on that cake by injecting his music with copious amounts of political commentary, making about half the album completely dedicated to extolling the virtues of the titular coming revolution. It is low-key and sad, as good blues should be, with that crescent glimmer of hope for better times ahead. (DP)

Gorge Trio Open Mouth, O Wisp Skin Graft Records • This is like math rock in a collision with John Zorn. Messy, noisy, and damn near unlistenable. If you enjoy experimental music, get this. If you don't, avoid it like the plague. (SJM)

Guttermouth Eat Your Face Epitaph Records • For over a decade, these snotty rockers have been crafting fast-paced, often-offense punk rock. Imagine Jello Biafra singing for the Circle Jerks (or old Suicidal Tendencies) or something like that. Frankly, I shouldn't be making any comparisons, as Guttermouth has been doing this so long they've certainly created their own sound. But for those who aren't familiar, that's the best description I can give you. These guys don't give a fuck, can absolutely rip it on guitar, pound the drums faster than you can nod your head, and they are anxious to get drunk as shit and piss you off. Do not miss these guys live. (CM)

Hard Place Hard Place Antenna Farm Records • I love these guys - any band that could claim the title "Courtney Love's Least Favorite Band" is aces in my book. Lots of harmonies, hooks, and humor, and a good helping of plain old rockin'. This is playing right now on the radio in a perfect, alternate universe. (SJM)

Hawthorne Heights The Silence In Black And White Victory Records • Get ready 16 year olds, here comes the next in an already saturated scene of screaming/singing vocals about how girls are so confusing, and something along the lines of "I'll wait for you/I'll cross my heart"ŠWHAT?!? Does that even make sense, no of course not. If you liked Grade and you like Saves the Day then I'd suggest going and buying Under the Radar and Through Being Cool, putting them both on at the same time and hitting play, you will then have two albums worth listening to, that were put out before it was completely and horribly cliché, and at the same time you will get to hear exactly what this CD sounds like. You'll kill two birds with one stone by not supporting music that is overdone and at the same time satisfying that fix you need of screaming and singing. Don't get me wrong, this is a decent CD, as far as musicianship goes and such, I'd even go so far as to say that Niki FM is a pretty good song, but I'm tired of this stuff as I'm sure many of you are as well. (MC)

Henry A Little Fiat Dumb Dufus Brain Records • Henry's debut, Cyanide, caught the attention of quite a few people. MTV licensed one of Henry's songs for their "Sorority and Fraternity Life" series. (It's nice to know that even if MTV doesn't show music videos anymore that they find a place for a few songs in their hip, new original programs.) The Boston trio draws on much of the last twenty years of alternative rock, from late-80's college rock to punk to grunge. Singer/guitarist Don Gould's restrained vocal delivery is reminiscent of Morphine's Mark Sandman. A Little Fiat is both catchy and familiar without being derivative. (CL)

Hidari Mae / Speed Not Steel split double CD Lujo Records • This is a dual EP, featuring two Lujo Records artists, Hidari Mae and Speed Not Steel. The former is slow, emotive, piano-based with precious, but over-reaching vocals. They are capable of some moving artistry, however. Speed Not Steel has a larger sound, more guitar driven, more outgoing, with some excellent concepts that due to lyrical immaturity do not reach their potential. (SJM)

Highspire Your Everything Clairecords • While listening to Your Everything, Highspire's debut album, you begin to fall into a pleasant, dream-like state. Maybe it's because the Morrisey-esque vocals soothe the spirit, or because the hypnotizing melodies grab some subconscious region of your brain. Whatever the reason, you'll want to remain in that place forever. (AL)

Holly Long Every Little Seam Holly Long • Long has one of those voices that enters your body like fine wine. She is as a phoenix, reborn from the ashes of severe physical trauma ­ she was in a coma and lost all muscular function, having to learn to walk again. With this behind her, she composes dazzling emotional anthems, delivered with heartbreaking truth. A full array of instrumentation and backup singing provides the vehicle for her wondrous songwriting, which elevates to near-gospel level. I found myself wanting to raise my hand into the air and sway back and forth. (DP)

Horns of Happiness A Sea As A Shore Secretly Canadian • Horns of Happiness are not just a band they're an adventure in sound. Imagine flying in that little spaceship from Flight of the Navigator going over oceans, forests, deserts and ice capped mountain ranges well that's kind of the way this album will make you feel. Needless to say I really enjoyed this album and would strongly recommend it to anyone who enjoys bands like Explosions in the Sky, Olivia Tremor Control or The Jupiter Satellite. (RP)

Houston McCoy self-titled Ernest Jenning Record Co. • A lot of instrumental records sound like they simply had the vocals removed. This band tells their story with their instruments and nothing else. The guitars play off each other beautifully, stopping short of math rock's intricacy, but with enough noodling to make the songs interesting. (AL)

Illegal Illusion Day Counting Night Counting Pohoda Records • Illegal Illusion are from North Moravia in the Czech Republic and have been playing music since 1995. This bands sound is really hard to describe they go threw many different styles on this album it goes from sounding like Hum and Shiner to sounding like Korn and Pink Floyd. That's kind of a weird description and doesn't really do these guys justice they do have a pretty big sound just a bit to mid 90's for me. (RP)

In Control self-titled EP Rival Records • This is In Control's final release, a five-song EP that includes three new songs and re-recorded versions of two previous songs. The band goes out in a blaze of glory, pounding out one hardcore tune after another. They have a strong old school influence, using sing-a-long choruses, rapid-fire music and big guitars. (CM)

In Ink Please & The Foliage How to Make Better Love Fall • This extremely clever split CD brings together two bands each consisting of one boy and one girl. And get this ­ both from sunny North Dakota! The first band has more conventional indie-pop sounds, with well-written, catchy, fast-paced boy-girl rock gems, while the second takes a decidedly more experimental track, getting a lot more dreamy and abstract, with multi-layered vocal tracks and softer rhythms. A great split, and a wonderful effort by both. (DP)

In Passing Look Alive Indianola Records • There's something that elevates the proceedings here from alt.rock mediocrity, but I can't put my finger on it. They're treading a fine line. (SJM)

In Praise Of Folly The Present Age Lujo Records • In Praise Of Folly is languid, loping, and ultimately appealing. It couches it's downtempo musings in an almost breezy setting, sometimes evoking Tortoise's spirit of open song construction. Keep those vocals in line (almost there), and the potential is really going to be made manifest. (SJM)

Irradio Make-up For The Inagurated Grey Flight Records • Irradio is a four-piece indie rock band from San Diego. They've got a somewhat playful, angular/mathy sound that brings to mind Braid, The Dismemberment Plan and Modest Mouse. There might also be some aspects of Fugazi that I hear on occasion. The finished product is 10 tracks of tight indie rock with a head-noddin' tempo and a hyper vibe that leads me to believe this band has kick ass live show. (CM)

Jesse Kates Sleight of Hand Rotary Dial Records • Being the guitar geek that I am (wow, a critic who's a frustrated musician; who would have imagined that?), I was immediately drawn in by the guitar signal chain diagram on the press sheet. It's just not something you see everyday. Kates uses only one guitar per song, running it through a series of effects pedals and loops to create some ethereal instrumentals. Even non-axe slingers can appreciate these cool, atmospheric tracks. (CL)

Joey Cape and Tony Sly Acoutic Fat Wreck Chords • Okay fans of Lagwagon and No Use For A Name, this is for you. The vocalists of these punk bands came together to do a split acoustic album with some of their most popular songs, but as they were originally written ­ on acoustic guitar. That's not all you get. They each recorded two brand new songs, for a total of twelve punk rock tracks that aren't quite punk rock. I'm not sure if every fan of these bands will like these versions, but I think it's worth a listen. Maybe those of us that were 15 when we listened to these bands might like these new "mature" versions. Whether you were a fan back in the day, today or never, these are good, solid acoustic songs from some great musicians with great voices. (MP)

John And The Sisters self-titled Northern Blues Music • Bluesy, rooty-tootsy, with some great musicianship, but still feels disingenuous. I'm a crusty old asshole, but I think very few people can do the Blues, and I'm only aware of one doing it right, right now - Otis Taylor. (SJM)

Jon Chinn I Can't Believe You Live Like That Reverbose • Multi-instrumentalist Jon Chinn writes solid indie pop melodies. Chinn is the front man for the band Pretty Mighty Mighty, but this is his debut solo release. Some tracks like "Record sets" and "Lie to Me" are just his voice and an electric guitar, but other tracks are accompanied with a full band. At times his voice reminded me of Michael Stype. This is a little better than the average singer/songwriter but nothing to write home about. (MP)

Jonathan Richman Not So Much To Be Loved As To Love Sanctuary / Vapor Records • After 22 records, Jonathan Richman is still going strong, his trademark sense of humor wholly intact. I find myself laughing out loud, loudly and often. A sampling of the lyrics from "Vincent Van Gogh": "Well have you heard about the painter / Vincent Van Gogh? / Who loved color / and let it show?" Still impish, still relevant, still worth listening to. (SJM)

Junior Achievement Fade To Black Malt Soda Recordings • What's amazing about this disc is that it's 20 years old and it sounds like a lot of the melodic punk stuff I hear every month. Or, I should say, those new bands sound like Junior Achievement. Junior Achievement was doing their thing in Arizona two decades ago. They had a good run at the game, winning Best Underground Band in Phoenix in '85 but split up soon after. This is a cool listen to what the punk scene was like back then. (SH)

Kalpana Hors de Combat Redder Records • Building and dropping off like surges in a storm, this four piece from Rochester, New York creates lush landscapes without boring you. I could definitely see some comparisons to Mogwai or Explosions in the Sky in this album. When vocals are present they seem to be almost an afterthought, just adding to the layers of guitar, bass, keys and drums. This is definitely an impressive debut release from this band and I hope to hear more soon. (MC)

Karen Fay Empiric Lyric self-released • Vocalist and pianist Karen Fay brings us some pop in the likes of Carly Simon. Piano ballads are a good choice for this artists and she seems comfortable with these. It's the tracks that seem to try something else, maybe more rocking stuff, that sound forced. She has a good voice and might even remind you of Carole King. Fay isn't bringing anything innovative to the world of piano driven pop rock. She brings catchy mediocre melodies that sometimes reach slightly above average. She's also not a bad looking woman, but someone needs to tell her, and I guess that person will be me, that close-up head shots and paisley shirts on both the front and back cover went out in '76. (MP)

Kervin I Think I See Evil self-released • These four guys come together to form one incredible, infectious, pounding, driving sound. Think At The Drive-In meets Rage Against the Machine; hyperactive indie rock with a hardcore kick to the gut, both musically and lyrically. The band is very skilled, using creative guitar parts and a non-stop rhythm to grabs you, and they don't let go. The aggression within the songs is coupled with a sense of sincerity; these guys feel passionate about their music and you can really hear it. They may have put this out themselves, but it won't be long before a label grabs Œem up. (CM)

Killing The Dream self-titled Rival Records • I'm not usually a fan of hardcore with constantly screamed vocals (maybe a sung part here and there). But the music on this release is so creative that I don't mind. The guitars are layered brilliantly, tearing over pounding drums and thick basslines. Each track is full of tempo changes, wicked drum breakdowns and lead guitar parts that are dizzying. This 10-song CD features five new tracks and five tracks from their 2003 demo and each one is filled with ear-shattering intensity. (CM)

Kylesa No Ending/ a 100 Heat Index Prank Records • Kylesa rose out of the town of Savannah, GA, and that in itself is completely fitting. A town with a deep dark creepy feel, stuck in the middle of the dirty south. This brand of intelligent metal core, combines this dark feel with almost a southern rock feel, if not attitude. These guys are the real deal and you feel it seeping out of the sound. Crust metal glory on high. (KM)

L.A. Tool & Die Fashion For The Evildoer AAJ Records • Catchy, rollicking, peppy goofiness. L.A. Tool & Die's combination of bassoon and a classically trained keyboardist with standard indie rock is interesting, but the weakness of the vocals takes its toll on the listener after a while. That said, there are several really funny songs here that, although they would benefit from some tightening up, are quite enjoyable. (SJM)

L.P. Suburban Sprawl & Alcohol self-released • As she is being compared to such rock luminaries as Chrissie Hynde, Stevie Nicks, and Joan Jett, L.P. has a hell of a legacy to live up to. She's not there yet, she needs a lot more maturity. However, she is poised to make a big sound on the big stage if that's what she wants. Don't burn out before you get really good. (SJM)

Landing Sphere K Records • Landing continues their hypnotic tradition with Sphere, an album that brings them closer to the rock world. There is still plenty of reverb and looped sounds, but these tracks feel more like songs than on their previous efforts. Simply beautiful. (AL)

Le Scrawl Eager to Please Life Is Abuse • If you ever wondered what it would sound like to mix death metal with ska and jazz, look no further than Le Scrawl. It's too bad that this album is only 16 minutes long, because I hadn't heard anything so unusual in a long time. (AL)

Life Is Bonkers And Your Parents Don't Care Wad Records • You will probably never hear these guys on the radio and that is a damn shame. Two guys - two strange fuckin' guys who obviously love what they are doing. There are only three songs on this disc, so it's a bit short, but hey, they sell it for $3 so what can you complain about? (MK)

Little Wings Magic Wand K Records • If it wasn't for all the silly songs, I'd call this easy listening for old indie rockers. That's what Little Wings ends up sounding like, a kids song that hit indie rock with a bad idea. As background music that you tune out and don't attach to, its pretty good. If you focus in on it, you end up feeling like somebody slipped you your little cousin's sing along record. Each moment that I think I want to like a bit of this, it reverts backwards to kindergarten, and makes me feel like there's some sort of art thing going on here, all of which completely avoids me. (KM)

Logh The Contractor And The Assassin Bad Taste Records • This EP is a nice teaser for what must prove to be an impressive body of work in formation. Taut, reflective, hinting at beauty without ignoring the darkness, this is impressive. (SJM)

Los Dry Heavers Hangups, Heartaches and Hangovers Lorelei Records • Like their press says, "Silly name, serious releaseŠ" This is fast but not noisy punk. They're too garage for radio but that's good for you and me. I think we've all had our fill of Good Charlotte and the rest of the shit bands. They can get heavy at times ("Curvas Peligrosas") but they mainly stay with garage punk. Cool stuff. (SH)

Mahi Mahi He No Wa Corleone Records • Here's some odd electronica with super distorted vocalizations, that surprises me with its appeal. It's weird, crudely made, and has a tiny, and at times goofy sound - but it is really worth a listen. I can't figure out why, but I really like it. (SJM)

Mandarin Fast>Future>Present 54° 40° or Fight! • There's no Chinese or orange, just Mandarin. This Texas-based foursome constructs slow-building indie rock songs that are reminiscent of a darker Pinback. Jayson Wortham's whisper-like vocals only add to the tension, as the layers of sound continue to swirl around him. The album's second track, "Shadow Your Shadow", has been getting the repeat treatment in my CD player for the past few days. Fans of intricate, layered indie rock will enjoy Fast>Future>Present. (CL)

Mary Celeste our guernica Hope Records • Little is known about Mary Celeste, mainly because they didn't tell us anything. We received no press sheet nor does their or their label's website contain any information about the band. So I will tell you this, they appear to be a four piece and are a pretty punky blend of some D.C.'ish indie rock and a spasticy kind of hardcore. I could definitely throw some comparisons to the likes of At the Drive In, Fugazi, Drive Like Jehu even, but not really at the caliber of any of those bands. These guys are pretty good, this short E.P. shows some good signs of a good band in the making, and from the pictures I saw these guys look young too, so that's good right? (MC)

Matchbook Romance Stories and Alibis Epitaph Records • This is one hell of a debut album. Matchbook Romance, from Poughkeepsie, N.Y., comes to the table with 12 tracks on Stories and Alibis, an emotional rock album with equal parts punk and hardcore influence. The sound is fucking huge, very well produced by Joe Barresi (who has worked with Pennywise, Weezer and Queens of the Stone Age). At times, the band can get a bit too pop for me, lending them to sound fitting of a new video spot on MTV2, sandwiched between Story of the Year and The Ataris. But, no matter how you feel about that, this album has a hyper-melodic sound that's hard to resist and enough energy to keep you bouncing. (CM)

Micah Dov Glide self-released• I love it. I love it. I love it. Get it? This is smooth, mellow music that does, as the title implies, glide. Strong musicianship combined with excellent songwriting skills make this one of the best singer/songwriter discs I've heard in a long time. Micah plays most of the instruments himself, showing his talent in many areas. Some songs have an almost hip-hop rhythm to them, but others feel more like a 60's protest song. Whichever way, this is a great disc. (MK)

Midlake Bamnan And Silvercork Bella Union • Twelve tracks of thoroughly English languidness, released by Simon Raymonde's Bella Union. Psychedelic and moody, but often inspired, Midlake is an interesting listen. (SJM)

Milo Pony Eclectic Boogaloo Music For The Masses Records • Mostly experimental, Milo Pony sounds like a couple of overbaked guys spending a late night in their home studio. However, the liner notes make clear that the only drug used was caffeine, and the state of mind was dictated by a lack of sleep. Thou dost protest too much, thinkest I. Regardless of my quibbling, the end result is the same - a wierd mess that was surely much more fun to make than it is to listen to. (SJM)

Ming & Ping self-titled Omega Point Records • Synth pop is currently enjoying some popularity, which is good news for Ming & Ping. Their songs are some of the better ones I have heard from the retro-licious genre, full of blips and bleeps, detached vocals and canned beats. My favorite track has to be their rendition of Coldplay's "Yellow." (AL)

Molasses Trouble at Jinx Hotel alien8 recordings • Subdued songwriting reminiscent of Nick Cave gives this album an almost cinematic feel. It's one of those albums whose songs you expect hear in the next Volkswagen commercial where three kids hop in there new Jetta and drive off to see what becomes of them, all the while staring at the night sky and listening to this beautiful and intricate album all along the way. You Can't Win the 7th song opens with dissonant piano and chilling babies screams and flows right into a beautiful ballad on song 8, Trouble In Mind. A great 4th release from this Montreal artist. (MC)

Mouse Rocket self-titled Empty Records • Oh, I like this. Infectious, pop-punk straight out of the garage. Wait! It's studied, not sloppy and aimless. The vocals are perfect - the best I've heard yet in this genre. Good sense of humor, ready to rock at the correct moment. This is great. (SJM)

My Revenge! Less Plot, More Blood Thorp Records • Using a variety of influences, My Revenge! creates a hybrid sound, of sorts, fusing elements of old school punkcore (ala DRI, Suicidal Tendencies) with new school hardcore and metal influences. There's hearty serving of thrashy, spastic metalcore, that even brings to mind The Accused, and a bit of melody thrown in for good measure. This is creative, speedy hardcore that will give you plenty to flail around over. (CM)

Nekromantix Dead Girls Don't Cry Hell Cat Records • If you think that rockabilly is an outdated, boring musical style, you should give psychobilly a listen. That genre, which borrows from rockabilly's music but adds B-horror movie themes and lyrics, packs quite a punch. Nekromantix has the genre down pat, with this being their seventh album. (AL)

Neutrino self-titled Mush Records • After a night of clubbing, you need some relaxing music to bring you down. Neutrino's music is perfect for this. This Japanese duo makes instrumental hip hop beats that are minimalist in nature. Each song has a beat, and a couple of sounds and melodies that loop in the background, and maybe some vocal samples. (AL)

New Radiant Storm King Leftover Blues 1991-2003 Contraphonic Music • I must admit, I'd never heard of this band before, and as it turns out they are peers to bands I have heard of, and liked: Dinosaur, Jr. and Buffalo Tom. If this is the leftovers, I'd better get out immediately and grab the best cuts. This is really excellent stuff: inspired, influential indie rock. (SJM)

Nina Nastasia Dogs Touch and Go • I thoroughly enjoyed Nastasia's last 2003 offering, "Run to Ruin," with her dark, ghostly brand of folk. "Dogs" is a re-release of an out-of-print album of 1999, and definitely a different experience. Here, string arrangements are in abundance, as Nina sings lush, restrained, "life-wise" lyrics over slightly sunnier music. But not much ­ Nina wears black head-to-toe and seldom treads above the line between absolute sunny and not. (DP)

No Turning Back Damage Done GSR Music • More Dutch hardcore! Yes! Fans of Death Threat and Superjoint Ritual will be ready to snap their necks when they hear this. This is tight, heavy hardcore with wicked breakdowns. "Holding On" and "Stay Away" are standout tracks. Hardcore fans shouldn't miss this. (SH)

Noah's Apathy The Pacific For Documentation Only • Dashboard who? This is emo-rock but it's not totally woe is me and whiny. They sound like Athenaeum at times, too. Musically, they're already ahead of the curve, featuring very solid playing by all parties. This is a very respectable offering thrown into the emo ring. (SH)

Normanoak Born A Black Diamond Secretly Canadian • Oh, NormanOak, if only you were truly an Oak - beautiful, majestic, providing comforting shade on a hot summer day. Instead, you are polluting my head with flaky sentiment. (SJM)

Null_Objct The Blind Clockmaker self-released • Null_Objct is an electronic group led by a guitarist. This makes for an organic, yet synthesized sound full of electronic beats and keyboard loops, but also flowing guitar melodies. Instead of fighting each other, the different elements blend together into a cohesive sound. (AL)

Only Crime To The Nines Fat Wreck • With Russ Rankin (Good Riddance) on vocals, Bill Stevenson (Descendents, All, ex-Black Flag) on drums, Aaron Dalbec (Bane) on guitar, Zach Blair (ex-Hagfish, ex-Armstrong, ex-Gwar) on guitar and his brother Donivan (ex-Hagfish, ex-Armstrong) on bass, how can you fight off the super group potential? The band sounds a lot like Good Riddance to me, probably because Russ' vocals are so distinct. It's definitely more raw and aggressive, that's for sure. But there are the poppier tracks, as well. Regardless, it's an excellent album. I can't wait to see these guys live! (CM)

Oval-Teen Yorkville, IL Bi-Fi Records • Oval-Teen's Brad Davis could have given Bob Pollard a run for his money in the most-prolific songwriting category. From their collection of over 300 written and recorded tunes comes Yorkville, IL, a posthumous two-disc set featuring 55 tracks of cassette recordings, demos, and unreleased material. Like the Shins, Oval-Teen plays near-perfect Beach Boys-inspired indie pop. At times, they venture into more aggressive, punk-based territory, yet they never lose their melodic sensibilities. Listening to Yorkville, IL makes you wonder how these guys didn't become a much bigger band in the underground music world. (CL)

Paris Texas Like You Like An Arsonist New Line Records • Rock n' roll with a little bit of a vintage feel. At moments it had power pop with punk elements. The music was somewhere between Jet and Foo Fighters. The vocals almost sound like it could be the front man for an 80's glam rock band. I can picture it now. Okay, not quite the mascara and lipstick kind of band. This is definitely different from previous Paris Texas releases, but it's still rock n' roll to me. (MP)

Park Avenue Music For Your Home Or Office Clairecords • This 6-song EP brings the beautiful combination of Jeannette Faith's sweet voice and husband Wes Steed's software manipulations. The glitchy, yet melodic slow tempo music, combined with female singing reminds a bit of Björk in some of her most recent work. (AL)

Paul Kerschen The Mozart Club Byzantine Records • Imagine Elvis Costello, fresh from a three-day bender, waking up in a dusty Southwestern town. Paul Kerschen conjures this image on The Mozart Club, named for the only eating establishment in Goldfield, Nevada. Kerschen's energetic music and literate wordplay are reminiscent of Costello's early work. The vocals are a bit of a drawback, though, particularly on some of the slower material. Kerschen's voice is not strong enough to carry a song with limited accompaniment, but works relatively well with his more driving indie rock. (CL)

Pete Teo Rustic Living for Urbanites Pete Teo • For the first time, this wonderful Malaysian artist can be heard in the U.S. There is certainly some Asian flavor here, but the style is certainly Western, incorporating lush instrumentation into his own brand of soothing yet energetic acoustic rock. It's difficult to describe the fullness of itŠ it is as though the music dances softly in the mind, taking the time that it has to bring the listener into its fold to tell a few exotic stories for just a little while. (DP)

Peter Searcy Couch Songs Initial Records • It's hard to not sound absolutely sincere when you play acoustic music, its also hard to sound original. With that in mind, as we consider Searcy, we also have to realize this isn't some kid who picked up a guitar yesterday and wrote a song about his ex girlfriend this morning, with an "ex-members of" list as long as your arm you realize this is a music veteran taking the next step with his art. Searcy has a dramatic sound that reminds of an Elliot Smith without The Beatles influence. In the massive ocean of singer song writers, Searcy is a comforting if not obscure focal point. (KM)

Phonocaptors Call it What You Want Pro-Vel Records • Phonocaptors are big fans of good ol' rock and roll, the kind Dinosaur Jr., Lemonheads and Joy Division used to make. The kind that the Strokes and the Vines are making now. They do it with just as much style and strut as the aforementioned new arrivals and I won't be surprised to hear them on the scene soon. "Fool Around" and "Queen Bee" are plain fun to listen to. (SH)

Pidgeon From Gutter w/ Love Absolutely Kosher Records • Blending tender love ballads with soft sultry vocals will get you as far away from the sound of Pidgeon as you could be. This is a ferocious onslaught of high energy sound. Melodic (with actual wonderful singing) but still crushing at the same time. A wonderful mix of tecnical prowess, excellent songwriting and talent make this a disc you want to have on heavy rotation. (MK)

Pines self-titled Grey Flight Records • The heavy bass and guitar lines on this instrumental record will make your chest vibrate. The beats will make your heart skip. Channeling some 70's influences into their music and lacing it with intoxicants, they create über-stoner rock. (AL)

Plan: Be Antiform Pro-Gravity Records • The eccentric opening track "The Symphony of Independent Thought" sets the stage for emcees King Thesis, Uni Vs., Skooch and Rhymix to deliver an album full of creativity and substance. With a live band backdrop in the same vein as The Roots, add a spice of classical influence, old school beat boxing and lyrical rhyme styles carry this solid selection of hip-hop treats. A sci-fi feel comes through the progressive and orchestrated production echoes that are layered so thick it sometimes drowns-out the emcees mostly average wordplay flows; adding musical elements that help carry this past the narrative downtime. Check out tracks "Untitled I (Hype)" and "Tribal Jam" for a sample. (JC)

Pleasant Stitch Capacitor self-released • Pleasant Stitch's accompaniment is often inspired, and the vocals are capable of some amazing heights, but the message often comes across as a little too precocious. It feels like the existential angst of someone who is about three inches deep. (SJM)

Potshot Dance To The Potshot Record Asian Man Records • This six-piece pop punk band from Toyko sound like the Ramones with a horn section; or, better yet, the Skamones. Okay, they weren't corny enough to call themselves that, thank goodness. And, really, this CD is a lot of fun and the band is quite good; so don't let my joking convince you otherwise. The 16 tracks on here make living up to the album title damn easy. (CM)

Pushing Red Buttons Foreign Film or Tango Dance? Blockchord Records • Fans of Matthew Sweet will dig this with a shovel. It's power-pop with a souped-up guitar sound. They also throw some synth keyboards in and it reminds me a lot of Coward, only a little quirkier. And I'm not sure, but they may have Vernon Reid of Living Colour playing guitar for them. Whoever it is, he's got some mean licks! (SH)

Rachel Goswell Waves Are Universal 4AD / Beggars Group • Rachel Goswell, vocalist with Mojave 3, ex-Slowdive, has turned out a formidable compilation of epic, ethereal music. The vocals are inspired, the music really moving. I've always wished I could hear her vocals in a showcase of their own - here it is, a wish come true... (SJM)

Radioinactive and Antimc Free Kamal Mush Records • This is one hell of a diverse hip-hop album, with a variety of influences, including pop, jazz, old school hip hop, psychedelic, reggae and indie rock. While these guys take their musical art seriously, they find plenty of time to lighten it up with playful, creative lyrics mixed in with the social commentary. Radioinactive spits on the mic with a tight style that dances along with a mesmerizing cadence. Antimc has got his back, laying down a complex and eclectic mix of beats and samples along with some live instrumentation. This album is a fluid, catchy hip-hop album; fans of Mush Records (and Anticon) should take note. (CM)

Really Red Teaching You The Fear Empty Records • A re-release of a long out of print 1980 disc, this is a 40 minute assault on your mind and your ears. With a sound that defies easy classification, this is definitely a punk disc, with a sound every so slightly reminiscent of The Dead Kennedies in some places. Fast a furious, it never lets up. (MK)

Reason for Nothing The Turn of Tomorrow self-released • I don't really know what to say about this outfit and that's not a bad thing. They've confounded my wit and adjective-spewing abilities. The opening track sounds musically like Better Than Ezra but they rap over it. By the third cut it sounds more like Yellowcard or Simple Plan, and that's pretty much where they stay. They keep it centered around melodic punk stuff but aren't afraid to get angry at times. Hold on, this is only a three-piece? Wow! Kudos! They sound much bigger than a trio. (SH)

Rebuilthangertheory With Hurricane Blows Plays-Rite Records • This is a retrospective compilation of the Providence, RI band from 1995-2001. It reveals a competent band, with a simultaneously ornate and simple alt-rock sound. Really appealing stuff that fills me with awe at the realization of the vast amount of excellent, unreleased material from mostly unknown bands that must be out there. (SJM)

Respira This Is Not What You Had Planned Grey Flight Records • Articulate lyrics and inspired rockin' cannot cover for a worldview so depressing that it gets under your skin, and takes on a life of its own. No thanks, I've got my own issues to work through. (SJM)

Rhythm of Black Lines Human Hand, Animal Band Gold Standard Laboratories • Creativity and diversity are the first things that come to mind when you hear this band. The rhythm section carries the sometimes psychedelic guitar riffs from song to song. Indie rock pop, whatever that means, may be a good way to describe their music, but it's hard to nail this band down to one genre. Strings and wind instruments add another level of diversity to this already unique album, creating a symphony at the beginning of tracks like "One Red Eye." Radioheadish vocals over jazzy melodies gives them their own sound. (MP)

Rilo Kiley more adventurous Brute/Beaute Records • Sugary pop music with a country twang in many of the tracks is the best possible way to describe the newest from L.A.'s Rilo Kiley. The album contains much more studio work then past releases, including string movements, electronic blips and crackles and a few other studio tricks. Jenny Lewis' voice is in top form on most of the songs giving a sweet touch to lyrics that can sometime sting, such as in the opening track where sarcasm seeps into talk about what I gathered to be the war overseas. Overall this is a good release from this indie pop group. (MC)

Rodney Hunter Hunter Files G-Stone Recordings • Having been friends with Kruder from Kruder and Dorfmeister since the 3rd grade, it is not unusual that they share musical tastes. The purpose of the album is to make you feel the groove, and maybe dance a little. A little funk, some soul, and worldly influences permeate the Hunter Files. (AL)

Ross Hammond Trio Optimism Prescott Recordings • As I was listening to this album, I felt like I was at a jazz club, listening to the Ross Hammond Trio perform. It wasn't until later that I learned that it had been recorded live in someone's living room, all in one take. Their jazz compositions have an air of improvisation, but sometimes the songs lack direction and I, frankly, lost interest. (AL)

Ruth Ruth Right About Now Flaming Peach Records •  Hey! It's pop music. Not radio pop crap, though, the good kind. Well-played songs with a sense of fun make this a great disc to listen to. There is almost an old Œ80s hint to some of the songs in their structure and in some of the sound, but this is no Duran Duran garbage. Good music to listen to if you are going to the beach in a convertible. (MK)

Sad State Of Affairs self-titled Spook City USA • Grab the basketball shorts, tank top jerseys and throw on your golfer hates. Sad State Of Affairs are coming to town! New Jersey hardcore at its best, in the vein of Youth Of Today, Carry On, Until The End, and so forth. Anything and everything loved by the die hard hardcore fan is present through this relatively short disc. Bring the mosh, stomp, and your singing voice, Sad States Of Affairs are your favorite hardcore band due to the fact that they sound identical to the greats. New York will eat them alive! (CMax)

Saeta We Are Waiting All For Hope self-released • This should be really good. Piano, cello, guitar, shared male / female vocals, and production by Steve Albini, all portend good things to me. Hell, there's even a cover of a Smiths song. It should be good, but it is very irritating. Overwrought vocals and lyrical content full of overblown emotion mar what could otherwise be great. Really, somebody's been blowing some smoke up your ass about your vocals - both of you. (SJM)

Sanctity itnotmtdathw Liquid Light • When I started listening to this album, I was reminded of Enigma: super slow sensual beats and atmospheres, with a female whispering naughty lyrics into your ear. But the more I listened, the more I realized that EVERY SONG SOUNDS EXACTLY THE SAME. Plus, her annoying French accent sounds a bit over the top, like she's trying just a little too hard to turn you on. Get an Enigma album instead. (AL)

Scavenger Madness to Our Method Sentinel Records • Ireland's Scavenger has been playing heavy/power metal with a heavier edge since 2001. The vocals are a bit unstable, but the musicianship is great. You can hear the Iron Maiden and Judas Priest influences in the guitar riffs. (AL)

Signal Lost Children of the Wasteland Prank Records • Heavy with feedback and fronted by heartfelt, aggressive female vocals, Signal Lost crafts a melodic hardcore blend that can get thrashy. The vocals sometimes remind me of Cinder Block (Tilt), but with a more hardcore approach. What really makes Signal Lost so good is that they have a very raw feel, but their sound is well produced, thick with melody and the rawness only helps to create a more intense result. (CM)

Silent Drive Love Is Worth It Equal Vision Records • With its roots in metal and hardcore (former members of Bane, Dasai and Drowningman), it's no surprise that, despite being more tame, Silent Drive can still pack one hell of a punch. This album, as a result, is a blend of styles, taking from both their hardcore and metal roots, while incorporating more melodic parts. And if that wasn't enough, the tempo changes are ruthless and prevent any of the 11 tracks from becoming the least bit mundane. Vocally, Zach Jordan switches between singing and screaming, with both styles sounding excellent. There is a track or two that is a bit too emo for me, but even those are pretty good. (CM)

Skew Whiff Taedium Vitae Life is Abuse • Skew Whiff are a Belgium hardcore punk band blending old school thrash with semi new school metal. Just looking at the cover of this CD, I knew what I was getting into, and it was going to be pretty gnarly. I was right. Skew Wiff sound like a cross between Assuck and Bleeding Rectum. Sounds fun! (RP)

Slumlords self-titled Perfect Victim Records • What do you get when you cross drunken skinheads, "punk," immaturity, excuses for verse chorus verse structure, and more beer? You get The Slumlords. In order to salvage anything as "constructive criticism," I'll keep this brief. They hate hardcore, they drink a lot, the attempt to play punk, and quite frankly they're not that talented. If you're into the booze and you enjoy sloppy style punk rock, pick this up, if you don't, still pick it up because it's funny. (CMax)

Smut Peddlers Coming Out TKO Records • Beach Punk! Grab your board and get yer ass out there. This is a great disc. It's what The Angry Samoans wish that they sounded like. This is a fast and crashing voyage to the west coast. What else is there to say? This is a great disc. (MK)

SST & Superdefekt DJ-Kicks: The Black Edition !K7 Records • In the past few years, some creative minds have been blending the vocals from one track with the music from another to form a new genre called Bastard Pop. The most famous album to come out of that genre is the controversial Grey Album, where DJ Dangermouse took Jay-Z's vocals from The Black Album and pasted them over music from The Beatles' The White Album. This next installment of the DJ-Kicks series brings you a completely legal compilation of tracks, including tracks by Princess Superstar, Jamie Lidell's Bigband Beachboys Orgy, Tiga, Peace Orchestra, and others. The tracks are all mixed together, so there is not a single moment to rest. (AL)

State Shirt don't die LFA Records • Ethan Tufts has been busy at work on his new full-length album for The Planetary Group. Textures ranging from Nine Inch Nails' breakdown beats with piano, like on the track "It is a shame my binoculars don't work at night" to the straightforward pop appeal of "Life isn't Everything." The opener "Straw Man" is a blend of fusion dealing with the likes of the jazzier side of Tears for Fears mixed evenly with trip hop. The haunting monotone vocals flow freely over the huge sound of this record created by just one man in Los "fucking" Angeles. (SP)

Stray Bullets The Slings and Arrows of Outrageous Fortune Fork In Hand • Full of angst and a solid punk/ska sound that is sure to have kids bouncing off one another, Stray Bullets first full length is high on energy, in the same vein as Operation Ivy or Suicide Machines. While the precise collation of instruments mash together with screeching ease, snotty rantings describe the stories of poverty, booze, brawls, cops and the rest of their surrounding realities in America. The narrative throughout this disc mirrors its title as if someone in search of good luck. Except the story often goes, an outrageous fortune isn't always a good fortune, even if you do make it up from the slings and arrows along the way to "raise a forty from the hill and watch it all come downŠ" again. (JC)

Suffering & The Hideous Thieves Rats In Heaven Lujo Records • The depths of despair, the tragedy of life. This piece of expert musicianship is burdened with the aforementioned concepts. There's a place for this kind of emotion in everyone (or should be), but this album smacks of wallowing in it. Which is gut-wrenching. (SJM)

Summer at Shatter Creek Sink or Swim Redder Records • This 5 song EP showcases Craig Gurwich's ability to write and perform music that is drenched with sadness and melancholy. His vocal style bears more than a passing resemblance to Radiohead's Thom Yokre, which, along with haunting melodies, makes for a beautiful listening experience. (AL)

Sunday Morning Einsteins Kängnäve Mordam Records • Strap in and hang on! SME is a blindingly fast punk band outta Sweden. I dare you to listen to more than three songs without needing a rest. They're fast but tight, not just some noise punk crap. (SH)

Suran Song In Stag Kitty Igloo & The Plastic Stereo Cruel Music Records • I applaud the social commentary and intent of Suran Song, but I can't help but feel like I'm listening to a lecture. I think it's much better to paint a picture evocative of a situation, and let it take the listener to the obvious conclusion, rather than spelling it out in no uncertain terms. The bass playing is good, but the vocals are often over-reaching. The exception to this is in the track, "Do You Sing?", which finds her staying in her range, without so much trailing vibrato. I think a full band, and some vocal / lyrical content work would result in a really fantastic band. (SJM)

Swayzak Loops From the Bergerie !K7 Records • For their fourth album, British electronica duo Swayzak decided they wanted more of an analog sound, so they ditched their laptop in favor of analog equipment from the 70's and 80's. Therefore, the songs have more of an organic retro vibe. The first track even sounds a bit like New Order. This is not, however, a trip into nostalgia-land, just an adaptation of older equipment to make good dance music. (AL)

Swingin' Utters Live In A Dive Fat Wreck • This is the sixth volume in the Live In A Dive series and it's as good as the five before it. Fat Wreck really nailed it when they decided to record live shows and give them the production attention they truly deserve. Swingin' Utters reminds me of a more punk version of Social Distortion, with Johnny Bonnel's vocals reminding me a lot of Mike Ness. Musically, these guys play hard-rockin' punk with a pounding, driving rhythm that just won't quit. The CD features 23 tracks plus live footage and interviews as an enhanced bonus. This is blue-collar punk rock at its finest, drenched in sweat and blowing out speakers. (CM)

Tangiers Never Bring You Pleasure Sonic Unyon • Everyone's favorite Canadian garage rockers, Tangiers, return with their second-full length album Never Bring You Pleasure. Despite the acclaim generated by their debut, two band members abandoned ship, leaving guitarist Josh Reichmann and bassist James Sayce as the primary singers and songwriters. Even with the lineup changes, Tangiers continues to churn out catchy, ragged garage rock that would make the Strokes envious. (CL)

Tapes Œn Tapes Self-Titled self-released • Weird, surreal pop rock with a soul - this is Tapes Œn Tapes. Some information from the press kit sums them up perfectly - R.I.Y.L. (Recommended If You Like): Pixies, Pavement, Unicorns. Best of all - R.I.Y.D.L: Rush, Live, Wilson Philips. Support these weirdos, won't you? (SJM)

Taxpayer I'll Do My Best to Stay Healthy Ernest Jenning Record Co • Jared Marsh's lyrics are written for the common everyday average-joe. He is horrified of death just like the rest of us and gives in to his government by paying his taxes. This Radiohead influenced four piece shows off their knack for hypnotic rhythm and melody on the rocking "Exhaust Pipes," while subtly enchanting the eardrum with the beautiful "Cheap Art on the Walls." Scattered throughout the mix are vocals in the vein of Coldplay's Chris Martin. It's the falsetto that will really stick with you and carry you through each listen comfortably. (SP)

Ten Foot Pole Subliminable Messages Go-Kart Records • This So Cal Political Punk band (if I'm of the highest superiority to dub any artist that) is still kicking! I remember listening them through the beginning of adolescence when it was cool to be a punk in middle school. Rather than displaying their life stories as I have, Ten Foot Pole continue to deliver their brand of "immature, informative political punk" through melody, vocal tone, pop sensibility, and humor. With a message to spread, they make it available for everyone to understand. Might I add the songs are quite catchy, yet simplistic. If you'd like your politics fed to you through a spoon instead of hating the world through Propagandhi, Ten Foot Pole wants you! (CMax)

The Almighty Trigger Happy I Hate Us Even More Bad Taste Records • Hailing from Canada, this punk rock 5 piece says that they are back for revenge. What theu are revenging is never made entirely clear, but the music rocks. These guys are a tight band who put their all into every song. The disc starts off with a ferocity that never abates. Melodic, but never slow. This is good. (MK)

The Anchorite Four Remove The Chassis Broken Line Records • The album art and promotional material are really innovative and interesting, something that, unfortunately, cannot be said for the band. In its genre - kind of emo-esque punk pop - it has certain innovative qualities, but it's still pretty much same ol', same ol', in my book. (SJM)

The Ants Victory Side Sickroom Records • The Ants serve up some lo-fi indie pop, a la Of Montreal. While chief Ant Chad Bryan's tales of Mongolian shamans, newlyweds, and hobos are intriguing, the vocal performance leaves something to be desired and the songs lack some of the amateurish charm that make Of Montreal so enjoyable. (CL)

The Blackouts Living in Blue Lucid Records • It's all about the twang. This sounds like vintage rock played by vintage rockers on vintage rock gear. This second offering by The Blackouts on Lucid Records is their best yet. They've grown a lot since "Everyday is a Sunday Evening," which was much more garage-feeling. Don't read me wrong: this isn't simply another band jumping for the opening slot on The Hives next tour. Fact is, The Hives should be jumping to open for a much better band in The Blackouts. (SH)

The Break Up She Went Black self-released • The Break Up are a New York band that caught on a little to late to ride the wave of The White Stripe-esque bands. These guys are really hard to listen to they sound like all the other lo-fi wanna be '60s / '70s swagger rockers like The Hives and all those other bands that are so cool now a days. I can't say I recommend this album to anyone unless you're, like, totally into being, like, retro and stuff. (RP)

The Briefs Sex Objects BYO • I really wanted to hate this CD, but it grew on me, taking me back to a time when music was fun and I was innocent and less bitter and only worried about riding my skateboard and getting funny hair cuts. The Briefs play music that sounds like the bastard child of The Sex Pistols and Dead Milkmen, with a dash of The Ramones/Queers. (RP)

The Butchershop Quartet The Rite of Spring Galapagos4 Records • This interpretation of Igor Stravinski's The Rite of Spring will come off as experimental post-rock guitar noodling to those who are not familiar with the original. It was interesting to hear the piece interpreted with rock instruments, giving it new life. (AL)

The Casket Lottery Smoke and Mirrors Second Nature Recordings • This band has grown up. With numerous releases under their belt, this brings fans of the band four more songs to love. It's not enough for their fans, but these songs are Casket Lottery at its best. This time they're back in the studio with Ed Rose, without disappointment. The songs sound like Casket Lottery, but the band seems to have an even more mature sound. The songs are solid indie rock, filled with passion. "On The Air" adds some emotive screams along with hooks that will stay in your head for days. My only complaint is that it wasn't long enough. (MP)

The Chinese Stars A Rare Sensation Three One G • Combining contributors of disbanded groups Arab On Radar and Six Finger Satellite, The Chinese Stars continue to carry on an innovative and chaotic sound for the rock world. Spastic at times and ultimately over-experimental, the artsy approach on this release comes off like a combination of prog-rock and glam-rock. Vocals from Eric Paul sound like they come from a screeching woman, and his lyrics are a wild trip alongside the intricate and undirected guitar and percussion parts. (JC)

The Code Rhetoric of Reason EP Jump Start • You only get four songs here, and one is an Operation Ivy cover, but what you do get is pretty damn good. They sound like Good Riddance on a couple tracks and like a more skilled Operation Ivy elsewhere, making their cover of Op Ivy's "Unity" appropriate. It's definitely a solid release, but I'm curious to hear what their next full album has to offer. (CM)

The Dirty Projectors Slaves' Graves & Ballads Happy Happy Birthday To Me Records • I must admit, I'm at a loss to describe The Dirty Projectors, I've never heard anything quite like it. Is it an orchestra with a vocalist / guitarist? Is it a singer with orchestral backing? Is it unlistenable? Is it genius? Is it insane, or am I? Well, yes, no, and all of the above. It's not terribly listenable, but it will make you think - and that's a good thing. (SJM)

The Door-Keys Greenwood Park Mall Plan-It-X Records • Despite not knowing a damn thing about the Door-Keys, I am guessing they like coffee. They play quick, spirited punk-pop that sounds like it could quite possibly be caffeine-induced. So throw back a cup of joe while listening to the energetic and succinct sounds of Greenwood Park Mall. (CL)

The Electric Degenerotic Doses Pro-Vel Records • Attitude. From the opening sounds of this disc I could tell I was in for a heaping helping of attitude and swagger. Musically they're a throwback to rock-gone-by, heavy on the noise and twang, but not merely a revivalist band. They sound a little like Jet, but not much. They've carved their own niche. "Sloe Gin" is a boot kicker. (SH)

The Flesh Sweet Defeat Gern Blandsten Records • The retro synth pop revival continues with The Flesh, the latest band to incorporate cool keyboards and catchy beats with detached vocals. Comparisons to The Faint are inevitable, but these guys are no clones. This 11 minute EP is just a taste of what's to come. (AL)

The Flying Worker A Collection 3" CD Electric Human Project • The last review I'm doing for this issue is a heaping helping of emo-core from The Flying Worker. It's loud and at times is pure noise, but that's what it's supposed to be. Some songs start slow and build into a crushing crescendo, while others begin full-tilt and drift into a calm intermission before launching back into the aggression. This is very intriguing and I guarantee you don't hear music like this very often. Try it out. (SH)

The Fully Down No Fate ... But What We Make For Ourselves Pop Culture Records • These Canucks are some emotional rockers. The six-piece band from Ottawa has been around since 1999 and this eight-track release is their latest. It's full of big melodies and a super tight sound, drenched with passionate vocals and a heartfelt vibe. It's a bit too poppy for me, the emo tones coming through more than I'd prefer. They are good at what they do, but for a band with three guitars, I was expecting something a tad more aggressive. (CM)

The Gin Palace Kill-Grief Artrocker • Raunchy, rough punk - the real deal (English-style). Meaghan Wilkie's vocals are bruising, snarling, and powerful, and the band is where they need to be, when they need to be. Short and sweet - this album rocks. (SJM)

The Good Fight Breathing Room EP Goodfellow Records • This Minnesota-based five-piece plays raging hardcore rock. Breathing Room is a five-track EP featuring two news songs and the three songs from their limited edition 2003 demo. You get sing-a-long choruses and big guitars, screamed vocals, a non-stop driving energy, and a punch-you-in-the face level of aggression. The band features ex-members of Harvest, Threadbare and Season of Fire, so you can get an idea of what they're working with. (CM)

The Good Life Album Of The Year Saddle Creek • An interesting, almost singer-songwriter feel pervades this album of love lost and found. Pensive, forthright and honest, this album is a good companion for an evening of drunken reflection. (SJM)

The Green Goblyn Project Fluke self-released • This 12-track punk rock album combines two previous EPs and two unreleased tracks. The Central Florida quartet plays a catchy, straight-ahead style of punk rock that is often rapid fire, but also slows down on occasion. There are plenty of influences that I hear, from The Misfits to The Pixies and maybe even The Ramones and The Clash. With five self-released albums under their belt, The GGP certainly has a long history to back up their music and it shows on this release. (CM)

The Hells self-titled Artrocker • Heavy and soulful, this is punk in the vein of The Stooges. It's stylish and sexy - a good listen. (SJM)

The Honorary Title Anything Else But The Truth Doghouse Records • There's a lot to like about The Honorary Title's music; it's got a mature and thick sound, it's emotion feels honest, and is put together expertly. The only problem I have is that the vocalist is affecting a more gruff voice than he has. Open the vocals, sing with your real voice always - no shame, no artifice. (SJM)

The Horror Insobriety & Insubordination Signal Path • Four Gainesville guys make up The Horror and their sing-along style of punky rock and roll is impossible to resist. Seriously! This is along the lines of Hot Water Music, Avail and The Lawrence Arms. They play very solid rock and roll with gruff vocals, often layered with backup vocals to create a beer drinkin', arm-around your neighbor, sing-along vibe. While the music is melodic, this ain't no poppy album. The lyrics are a mix of personal and political, with all of it being heartfelt. This is one of those punk albums that can help you realize there are bands that truly care about music. (CM)

The Izzys self-titled Kanine Records • The best handle I could place on this is "American Rock" . With obvious influences from blues and early rock as well as Œ60's rock, The Izzys have managed to forge a unique sound - not always an easy thing to do. This dis is a fun trip down the rock and roll highway. (MK)

The Locust Follow The Flock, Step In Shit Three One G Records • I have never seen a Locust album that was longer than 12 minutes, and this square sized EP is only 3 minutes. The songs are not new: one is from a compilation, and the other two are from a split with Jenny Piccolo. There is also not much of their trademark sci-fi fucked up sound, sometimes slowing down from their frenzied pace to more of a metal speed. (AL)

The Mentally Ill Gacy's Place: The Undiscovered Corpses Alternative Tentacles Records • This is some nasty-sounding punk rock from 1979, drawing from some disturbing sources of inspiration: John Wayne Gacy, genocide, insanity, etc. Noisy, raunchy, with a tiny sound like some twisted midget from hell, if you like your music mortally disturbing and fucked-up, this is for you. (SJM)

The National Acrobat TNA: The Complete Recordings Initial Records • Few places on the map are as influential to hardcore as Louisville, KY. One of the bands you've never heard of but always should have is The National Acrobat. My friends from the area always spoke of this band, and they would slowly become the best band I'm never going to hear. Well until now. Initial was kind enough to put out this collection of about every piece of tape with TNA's name on it. Its quite the tour de force, and a hell of a ride, complete with the best use of an air horn during a song I've ever heard. In the end this is a good picture of a time and a place, but only a relic. (KM)

The New Lou Reeds Screwed Exit Stencil Recordings • Here's what everyone needs: Spastic, garagy blues rock in the style of 60s and 70s Americana. Annoying vocals layered with simplistic guitar riffs and beats to follow. The simplicity didn't bother me half as much as the monotony from track to track. I kept saying to myself, "Is this a new track?" I would compare this to a bad attempt of recreating The Velvet Underground. Wow, that's unbelievable that I would make that accusation and the name of the band is The New Lou Reeds. Maybe they are the new Lou, after many years of drug abuse and bad releases in the 80s. (MP)

The New Transit Direction Wonderful Defense Mechanisms Some Records • I don't even care if this Salt Lake City quartet is made up of a bunch of dorky Mormon musicians. They're good enough to overcome that. Using angular/mathy guitar parts with smart, creative rhythms, and sincere but not overpowering vocals, TNTD crafts picture perfect indie rock songs, full of passionate energy. The music crescendos with expertise, drawing me into the infectious grooves, building to Œrock-out' level and truly letting loose, feedback flying, drums pounding. (CM)

The Paper Champions Weekend Of Compromise Reason Y Records • Please, O Gods of Rock Music, destroy the remnants of alternative rock! Kill them all! Kill them now! (SJM)

The Paper Chase God Bless Your Black Heart Kill Rock Stars • This is some pretty unsettling music, replete with staccato piano stabs, off-kilter string section work, and depressing lyrics. My prescription is to take some time off from watching the nightly news to reflect on things in this world that are good, incorporate a little balance, and work on your vocals. (SJM)

The Ratchets self-titled EP Chunksaah Records • The Ratchets play good beer drinkin' rock tunes that bring to mind The Clash, The Specials, and maybe even a bit of Mike Ness-like vocals. The band features ex-members of Worthless United, Plan A Project and Crucial. This is just a four-song taste of what this band can do with their Brit-sounding rock and roll, influenced by bits of punk, reggae and blues. (CM)

The Ruffians Live At CBGB Mugsy Records • Punk, Irish style, but not like the Pogues - this is much more straight forward. As a live recording, it illuminates the accomplishment of the band, as the sound is clean and clear where it needs to be, coarse and soaked with beer where it does not. You'd be hard pressed to find a better band of this type. (SJM)

The Six Parts Seven Everywhere and Right Here Suicide Squeeze Records • It's been a while since The Six Parts Seven put out an album, and I was starting to get worried. Luckily, the wait was worth it. These guys have three guitar players, drums and bass to make instrumental rock with, plus they also add vibes and Rhodes and piano to the mix, giving them a more filled out sound, somewhat comparable to The Mercury Program. (AL)

The Soviettes LPII Adeline Records • Fun punk-pop with an appealing edge - it's nice to hear this sort of music with a decent vocalist. There is a call-and-response song in a similar vein as the B-52's (sans lisp), and some emotionally charged moments, however, the majority of the songs are straight-ahead rockin'. (SJM)

The Stepford Five A New Design For Living Reverbose Records • The fourth release from this four piece from Ohio is a good solid rock record. While I personally tend to get bored with some of this at times it still is entertaining when it comes to being pretty straight forward rock. Some tempo changes wouldn't hurt, and Keith Jenkins slightly airy, slightly raspy voice tends to just lose me at times. The guitar work is extensive and good, it is definitely nice to hear some musicians truly play their instrument well. Overall this is a good CD, but it lacks something indefinable at times. (MC)

The Umbrella Sequence The Disappearing Line/Athena Ohev Records • With the addition of various non-conventional instruments and sounds, this five-song rock release is very atmospheric and pleasing to experience. Strapped with an elegant delivery, electronic elements are infused within the layers of harmonies and emotion to create an almost orchestrated rock opus of many styles. Influences show through this bands music and come from the likes of Radiohead, Muse, Grandaddy, and Sigur Ros, making for a remarkable fusion of inner feeling. (JC)

The Warmers Wanted: More Dischord Records • Originally recorded in the far-away world of 1996, Wanted: More is a collection of demos that were never mixed until 2003. The Warmers, featuring former members of Lois and Faith, broke up shortly after the recording session. Finally released this year, the six songs of Wanted: More, clocking in at a mere twelve minutes, showcase the trio's sparse and raw brand of post-punk. (CL)

Thicker Than Water demo self-released • Having been together for only nine months this is a pretty solid release. I really enjoyed track one, but all five songs are really rocking. This CD has just the right amount of build-ups and breakdowns that all the hardcore kids will surely love. Think A Taste For Murder meets Norma Jean, a great mix. (RP)

This Moment in Black History Midwesterncuttalistick Version City Records • Is this an election year? Must be. I'm noticing a trend. Black History sounds like a UK punk band from the 70's that's making a comeback. They've kept their gritty punk edge but updated the sound just enough to make people take notice again. And, as I mentioned, they've woven it all around biting, relevant lyrics to get the ol' noggin going. (SH)

Thomas Pace If You Want to Be Heard, Speak Up! Thomas Pace • This 4-song EP of protest songs takes the current political climate and takes it back in time to the Vietnam-era, with a folksy-Woodstock sound to the album. It certainly doesn't come off as gimmicky, though. There's a reason people fought a war with folk music 35 years ago, and that is because it appeals to the American in all of us. It sounds important, and it is. I salute anyone who stands up against political tyranny so publicly. (DP)

Thought Breakers Episode I Ever Reviled Records • Skeptik and Zach Lost bring some serious vocal skills to this 9-song EP (plus three skits/interludes). The two Rutgers graduates and sons of preachers rip the mic with a mix of social and political commentary and a bit of MC bravisimo. Their "sex" track is one of the most poetically original tunes I've heard about knockin' boots. While two aforementioned cats are the force behind this, I must give props to DJ Stealth and Bender who produced much of the music on here. The beats and samples create a funky, jazzed out, bumpin' sound that can start a party and kick your mind into gear. (CM)

Tim Reid Any Given Day Jam Recordings • Reid sings emotional, softly swaying pop songs that have strong depth and maturity to them. The Australian singer/songwriter has a golden voice, exploring the corners of life with soothing acoustic gentleness. He records in his own studio, yet the music is surprisingly polished and professional. It is a work with an overflowing abundance of heart that resonates through every masterful, soul-exploring song. (DP)

Time In Malta Alone With The Alone Equal Vision • This is a tremendous album, way better than I recall their first (but my memory is shit). The songs are melodic, but so full of energy and intensity that the hardcore elements really stand out. There are certainly emo and punk influences, but the balance is perfect, allowing the sound to become a hybrid of sorts, taking the best parts of many genres and melding them into an ear-shattering success. The vocals are a mixture of screaming and singing. But with the two playing important roles, it truly enhances each song. (CM)

Tin Hat Trio Book of Silk Ropeadope Records • It's hard to categorize Tin Hat Trio's music. It's not classical, it's not jazz, it's not world music, and it's not folk music, but it contains elements from all those styles. All acoustic, they feature guitars, accordions, harp, violin, and tuba. The tempo leans toward the slow, so avoid operating heavy machinery while listening. Instead, pour some wine and enjoyŠyou'll be relaxed in no time. (AL)

To The Point Die Trying self-released • "To The Point" is a term frequently used to describe my beyond noticeable hatred for bands and/or "artists" who continue to bring forth genres that are still tending to be played after years of agony, shame, and defeat. To The Point delievers 7 songs of "snotty, flambouyant, sing a long pop punk." 4 chords of teenage angst and the ever popular guitar solo. If you enjoy artists that you can't seemingly escape from (The Ataris, New Found Glory, MxPx) then you'll love TTP. If you'd like to grow a little and increase your musical intellect. To The Point is merely leftovers. However, they do play their style well. (CMax)

Tragedy Andy It's Never Too Late To Start Over Pop Smear Records • File this under power pop punk. But don't toss it in the crap pile; these guys are pretty damn good. You get 11 melodic, poppy, punchy rock tunes with skilled musicianship; yeah, they sound like a lot of other bands, but they do it well. It's safe to compare these guys to such rockers as The Ataris, The Starting Line, Less Than Jake and Weezer. (CM)

Trapdoor Fucking Exit Be Not Content No Idea Records • Guaranteeing to never break into the mainstream with their band name must feel liberating in a way. I would imagine it would give you the freedom to create whatever music you felt moved to create. Plus it allows reviewers like me to say fucking in their reviews. Trapdoor Fucking Exit is a hardcore punk band. They have received comparisons to bands like Refused, which, to say the least, confuses me slightly, but I would definitely give them Hot Snakes and The Stooges. Hailing from Sweden, Trapdoor Fucking Exit has created dark landscapes of muddy distorted guitars with gritty half yelled vocals barely audible over the top. An enjoyable foray into something new and fresh in punk rock, which is so often hard to find, Trapdoor Fucking Exit have released a solid record. (MC)

Treephort Enchanted Forest Springman Records • Heavily touted for their bizarre on-stage cavortings, Treephort wants to innovate from the outside in. Shaking the tree with wacky antics is fine, but the songs really fail to deliver on their own. The horrible vocals do absolutely nothing for me, and the songs are simply passable. The irony is mangled to the point where the cover of K.D. Lang's constant craving may or may not be contemptuous. The lone salvation of this album is the last track, "Nice To Meet You", a sardonic observation of life that would be great if it were about three vignettes lighter. (SJM)

Tristen Shields Migrations Datawaslost • What we have here is failure to communicate. Tristen Shields is a Cincinnati-based singer-songwriter who has teamed up with electronic artist Michael Bond to create 10 mediocre electronic folk songs. Shield's ever so delicate voice glides over these acoustically mundane tracks while Bond clutters up the background, taking focus off the vocals altogether at times. But then again, maybe that's not such a bad thing with lyrics like "Wiggle your toes, paint them before you drown," on the fourth track "Rocket Pop Summer Free." (SP)

True North Somewhat Similar No Idea Records • Borrowing from their range of influences, including Fugazi, and their Florida hardcore brethren, True North have created a chaotic blend of scream along hardcore choruses with interesting guitar work. On songs like Right Church, Wrong Pew, the music consistently seems like it is on the edge of falling apart completely and then when needed it releases into a smooth chugging chorus. Vocally I can hear a lot of the aforementioned Fugazi and the same goes for some of the bass work. Over all this is a tight album with an interesting take on uninteresting hardcore. (MC)

Various Artists San Diego Is Burning Loud and Clear Records • This is a great mix of many bands from San Diego. There's something for everyone on this comp from the indie core feel of Comfortable For You to a track from The Black Heart Procession, which was previously only available in Japan. Instrumental rock band, "Sleeping People" adds some rock chaos, while No Knife shows up with a remix of the track "Riot For Romance." Ryan Ferguson of No Knife also contributes a solo track. Other bands to share this comp are Kill Me Tomorrow, Goodbye Blue Monday, Via Satellite, Hot Like (A) Robot, Channing Cope, Bunky, Champagne Kiss, 21st Century Lepers, Lowcloudcover, Sin Sin 77, Manuok, The Dropscience, Resolver and Waterline Drift. (MP)

Various Artists Channel 3 Output Recordings • This third installment in the Channel series brings together 13 tracks of mostly previously released material from the Output Recordings roster, including Yello, The Rapture, Colder, Tall Blonde and Mu. With music from genres such as house, techno, synth pop, and even rock, Output Recordings is a label that is hard to categorize. (AL)

Various Artists Datawaslost: Beep Click Strum Sing Datawaslost • A variety of music styles, some more or less electronic, some mostly punk-pop, but many are pretty good. Highlights include Swissfarlo's "Carolina", and the goofy, pseudo-James Bondian "Pale Blue E-type", by Looper. Low spots include Post-Haste's "Symmetry" - that guy's voice really sucks. (SJM)

Various Artists Metaphysics for Beginners Redder Records • Redder Records presents Metaphysics for Beginners, an indie rock compilation featuring numerous unreleased and rare tracks from artists such as the Detachment Kit and the Gloria Record. Unlike many comps that feature just a couple strong tunes, Metaphysics is solid from start to finish. Standout performances include Sufjan Stevens, The Ghost, Zykos, and Figurine (another of Jimmy Tamborello's projects), but most everything here is worth a listen. (CL)

Various Artists Montreal Spirit Dare To Care Records • It's always hard (and a little risky) to review a compilation disc. So many bands. This disc makes it easier, however because in spite of various styles on the disc, they share one quality. They are good songs. From straight up punk to hepped up folk music, there is something here foe everyone and probably everything for someone.  (MK)

Various Artists Poor Boy: Songs of Nick Drake Songline Recordings • This tribute record stands out from all others for a couple of reasons. First, many of the artists on this 14 track album had never heard of Nick Drake. Second, the songs are not terribly similar to the originals, with jazz improvisation and plenty of sonic experimentation. Third, it was recorded on Super Audio CD, which is like listening to the music through your Dolby 5.1 system (don't worry, it also plays on regular CD players). Whether you like Nick Drake's music or not, you should check this album out for a different musical experience. (AL)

Various Artists Suburban Home Records and Distribution Music Sampler Suburban Home Records • Usually when you get a large compilation the easiest thing to do is find a couple of solid tracks and let the reader know what songs are worth listening to and why. This 22 song sampler from Suburban Home Records kind of breaks that mold, from front to back this is a really solid record. No song stands out to far from the next with maybe the exceptions of Kite Eating Tree, Respira and Counterfit. I'm not sure the price on this one, but if you'd like to hear a good sampler that won't bore you at any one point then go out and pick this up, at any price 22 good songs is worth it. (MC)

Various Artists The Only Constant Is Change Volcom Entertainment • It's been over five years since Volcom last released a compilation. This one was worth the wait, with 46 tracks, 36 of them rare, out of print, or otherwise unreleased. Bands include Pennywise, Guttermouth, Death By Stereo, Strung Out, Turbonegro, Piebald, and Slightly Stoopid, among others. (AL)

Various Artists Vans Warped Tour 2004 Compilation Side One Dummy Records • This two CD compilation of artists who took part in the 2004 Warped Tour is exactly what you'd expect. A few notable tracks: The Descendents' excellent socio-political commentary "ŒMerican", and Bad Religion's equally exigent "God's Love". Plenty o' crap on there, too. (SJM)

Venomous Concept Retroactive Abortion Ipecac Records • What do you get when members from Fantômas, Melvins, Brutal Truth and Napalm Death get together? Utter chaos, that's what. Hardcore music with thrash's punch in songs that rarely go over two minutes. It will be impossible to simply sit through this disc without kicking or punching something. (AL)

Via Audio self-titled EP kill.normal.records • The first EP from this female fronted Bostonian band is cute and poppy, danceable at sometimes and fun but quiet at others. I could easily draw comparisons to newer acts such as Postal Service and Rocking Horse Winner, but at the same time I hear some of what made the mid nineties great with bands like That Dog and Belly. Jessica Martins voice has a very smooth natural feel to it and the addition of interesting electronic samples and a great rhythm section rounds out a great release from this band. (MC)

Vintage Imperial Synergy Vintage Imperial Music • With the underground hip-hop scene slowly cracking through the earth, new sounds have been creeping up in familiar places. SL-One and Kid Kaos run around Atlanta with the likes of Binkis Records, and deliver a full slate of punch-line rhymes and steady flows over beats inspired by the NYC old-school. Tight deliveries and battle-ready wordplay are mixed with production that finds these two southern emcees keeping things vintage in their own way, while catching up with the late 80's, early 90's spirit of A Tribe Called Quest and Gang Starr. Standout tracks include "Out Of Work" and "Mic Club" featuring Jax and Flux. (JC)

Vostok This Scavenger Low self-released • Vostok is an Orlando-based four-piece that plays creative, smart indie rock with emo and math rock elements. The music is complex, but layered melodically, keeping your ears busy. The emotion of the music is put forth both musically and vocally, empowering each song with a sense of importance, while tempo changes keep each track fresh, preventing repetitiveness from taking over and distracting from the exceptionally orchestrated sounds. This is precision rock, chock full of big melodies and heartfelt energy. (CM)

We Be The Echo Cubist Music Chuckbeat Records • I really wish this album was longer than 12 minutes. I enjoyed their mathy guitar work, which bears resemblance to Don Caballero, and could suddenly explode in a wave of distortion. They show some of Nervous Cop's frenetic pace, but not as crazy or experimental. (AL)

What The Kids Want Loud Quiet Loud self-released • Fun punk-pop, with a really wierd vocal that you'll either love or hate. It sounds like a native english speaker imitating the vocalist from Shonen Knife! I wish them well, they really seem like likeable people. (SJM)

World/Inferno Friendship Society Speak of Brave Men Gern Blandsten Records • Brooklyn's W/IFS is back with an EP featuring three upbeat tracks. Their use of accordions and multiple saxophones, coupled with quirky vocals bring the Squirrel Nut Zippers to mind, and also has a European flavor to it. Can't wait for their next full length. (AL)

Y.A.C.H.T. Super Warren MMIV States Rights Records • Jonah Bechtolt (AKA YACHT) makes computer-generated electronica of the IDM variety with catchy results. He has an uncanny ability to blend beautiful melodies with glitchy samples, which tend to have a retro-synthesizer kind of sound. (AL)

Yeti Volume, Obliteration, Transcendence Life Is Abuse • Yeti lost their keyboard player in 2002 to a pancreatic infection, and their sadness is palpable on this album. The tracks are mostly instrumentals, with changing tempos and screaming guitars. You could compare them to Isis or Phantomsmasher in their intensity and style. (AL)

Vinyl Reviews

Libertto Volume 12" Dim Mak Records • One-sixth of the Misfit Massive Crew, Libertto steps out to deliver a solid single with tight production and wordplay that should soon create an underground buzz. "Volume" features the Lifesavas as guest emcees overtop a catchy bouncing beat with clever samples and underground elements to create a song that deserves to be heard by the masses. "Slum Funk" is a straightforward battle-ready track about not forgetting where you came from, and shows that this cats flow may be steady enough to stay around for awhile. (JC)

Conelrad Bezoar 7" Hope Records • This is one amazing two-piece band. Forget Local H or The White Stripes, those pop rockers have nothing on Conelrad. This is noisy, thrashy, garage punk; short attention span music for those who like to have their eardrums poked, pounded and pierced. (CM)

Traitors Bring Me The Head Of Matt Skiba 7" Johann's Face Records • This Chicago-based four-piece is no more. But they call out their former drummer (and current Alkaline Trio member) on the title track, a melodic power punk tune with a raw, almost live, sound. You get three, sometimes spastic, punk rock tunes on this very limited (300) clear red vinyl slab. (CM)

Saw Wheel / The Milkcrate Rustlers split 7" Hill Billy Stew • The Saw Wheel song is a melodic, acoustic crooning country rock tune ­ guitar only. RJ's vocals are great; they truly feel rustic, matching the simple passion of the music. The flip side is The Milkcrate Rustlers, who play a jangly, square dance-ready style of country music that makes me think of Deliverance, but with a happier, less rape-involved vibe. (On bubblegum pink vinyl) (CM)

Saw Wheel / Madeline split 7" Hill Billy Stew • Saw Wheel gives on song, a heartfelt, guitar-only song with gruff vocals that convey a sense of honesty. Despite the song's simplicity, it is excellent. Madeline gives one pop punk tune with sweet, sincere female vocals. It's seriously lo-fi, with fuzzed guitars and simple drumbeat, but it's perfect. (On grey vinyl) (CM)

A Soft Perversion Last Hoorah! 7" self-released • The stark white vinyl used for this two-song release is nifty; fortunately, the music is good, too. The band plays synth-enchanced indie rock, using repetetive rhythms that are meszmerizing. They remind me of a less spastic Dismemberment Plan. The guitar work on the B-side tune is amazing, dancing across the landscape of the song. (CM)

Modill Change Form 12" EV Productions • The main cut on this 12" is bangin'! It's one hell of a party-starting jam, stacked with mad lyrical skills, jazzed out samples and loops and beats that pound non-stop. K-Kruz and Racecar are the minds behind this amazing 12" released, featuring three different tracks, all with album versions available (no clean cut only bullshit here). The two tracks on the flip are just as dope as the title track. I love the jazzy vibe on this record, not mellowing it out, but adding an infectious hook to each cut. (CM)

DVD Reviews

Various Artists Vans Warped Tour Œ03Kung Fu Records • It's hard to believe that the Vans Warped Tour has been around for ten years. If you've somehow managed to miss all ten of the shows, you can now watch highlights of last year's performances, with 24 tracks from performances by Face to Face, Poison the Well, Avenged Sevenfold (my personal favorite), Tsunami Bomb, the Ataris, Andrew W.K. (what were they doing there?), Simple Plan, Dropkick Murphys, MEST, and many others. Also on the DVD is about an hour's worth of interviews with the bands, plus behind the scene's footage and a photo gallery. (AL)

Duke Ellington / Lionel Hampton split DVD Music Video Distributors • This 77-minute DVD is a collection of footage separately featuring two jazz legends, bandleader and composer Duke Ellington and bandleader and the first jazz vibraphonist Lionel Hampton. The DVD starts with 12 tracks of Ellington, all from the Œ40s and early Œ50s, most of which were "soundies" (short features produced for movie theaters). They are followed by 10 from Hampton, also mostly "soundies" from the Œ40s and Œ50s. The quality and sound of all the tracks are surprisingly good, given their date of production. I was most impressed with Ellington's "Bli Blip" piece, which came off more like a video than live footage; the latter which much of the stuff is. Other Ellington tunes that are featured include "Caravan," "Flamingo," and "C Jam Blues." The Hampton songs include "Midnight Sun," "Ding Dong Baby," and "Air Mail Special." Any fan of jazz will find this DVD to be both visually and aurally exceptional. (CM)

The Mike Corrado Band Live at Thalian Hall self-released • Recorded live in Wilmington, North Carolina in 2003, the energy and emotion displayed in this performance is well worth checking out. Camera shots continuously change in and out as each angle takes the viewer to places not available to them had they actually been at the Thalian Hall. The highlight here is the animated percussion/drum work from Lamont Sydnor, who rips off an amazing solo and proves to be the backbone to the hippy rock sound of Mike Corrado. A complete jam band with horns and keys, their sound is comparable to Dave Matthews and Sting with the drawn-out musical arrangements of Phish. (JC)

Record Label Addresses
In alphabetical order. Please write them.

!K7 Records,
54° 40° or Fight!,
A Soft Perversion,
AAJ Records,
Aalacho Music, LLC,
Absolutely Kosher,
Acetate Records,
Alien8 Records,
Alternative Tent.,
Antenna Farm,
Art Rocker,
Asian Man Records,
Bad Taste Records,
Barry O'Brien,
Bella Union,
Best Friends,
Bi-Fi Records,
Big Dada Recordings,
Blow Up Hollywood,
Broken Line Records,
Brute/Beaute Records,
Byzantine Recs, PO Box 15213, Portland, OR 97293
Chuckbeat Records,
Chunksaah Records,
Corleone Records,
Cruel Music,
Dare To Care Records,
Dead Tank,
Deep Elm Records,
Dim Mak Records,
Dischord Records,
Doghouse Records,
Domino Recording Co.,
Dressed To Kill Records,
Dumb Dufus Brain Records,
Edison Recordings,
Empty Records,
Epitaph Records,
Equal Vision,
Ernest Jenning,
ESL Music,
EV Productions,
Ever Reviled Recs,
Exit Stencil,
Fall Records,
Fat Wreck Chords,
Fearless Records,
Ferret Music,
Flaming Peach Records,
For Documentation Only,
Fork In Hand,
Frenetic Records,
G-Stone Recordings,
George Scherer,
Gern Blandsten Records,
Gold Standard Labs,
Goodfellow Recs,
Grey Flight Records,
GSR Music,
Happy Happy Birthday To Me,
Hell Bent,
Hell Cat Records,
Hill Billy Stew,
Holly Long,
Hope Records,
Hopeless Records,
Indianola Records,
Initial Records,
Insomniac Music,
Ionik Records,
Ipecac Records,
Jam Recordings,
Johanns Face Records,
Jump Start,
K Records,
Kanine Records,
Karen Fay,
Kill Rock Stars,
Kung Fu Records,
Lather Records,
LFA Records,
Life is Abuse,
Liquid Light,
Lookout! Records,
Loud and Clear,
Lucid Records,
Lujo Records,
Malt Soda Recordings,
Medea Records,
Micah Dov,
Mike Corrado Band,
Mordam Records,
Mugsy Records,
Muisic Video Distr.,
Mush Records,
Music For The Masses,
New Disorder Records,
New Line Records,
New Regard Media,
No Idea Records,
Ohev Records,
Omega Point, Orac Records,
Output Recordings,
Paladin Creative Super Co.,
Pattern Is Movement,
Paul Kerschen,
Perfect Victim,
Pete Teo,
Plan-It-X Records,
Plays-Rite Records,
Pleasant Stitch,
Pohoda Records,
Pop Culture Records,
Pop Smear Records,
Popscape Records,
Prank Records,
Prescott Recordings, no contact info available
Pro-Gravity Records,
Pro-Vel Records,
Pushing Red Buttons,
Reason for Nothing,
Reason Y,
Redder Records,
Reflections Records,
Reverbose Records,
Rival Records,
Ropeadope Records,
Rotary Dial Records,
Rune Grammofon,
S.E.N. Records,
Saddle Creek,
Second Nature,
Secretly Canadian,
Sentinel Records,
Sickroom Records,
Side One Dummy,
Signal Path,
Skin Graft,
Some Records,
Sonic Unyon,
Spook City USA,
Springman Records,
States Rights,
Stomp Records,
Suburban Home,
Suicide Squeeze,
Tapes 'n Tapes,
The Break Up.
The Flying Worker,
The Green Goblyn Project,
The Militia Group,
Thicker Than Water,
Thomas Pace,
Thorp Records,
Three One G,
TKO Records,
  To The Point, no contact info available
Touch and Go Records,
Triple Crown,
Union 2112 Records,
Vanguard Records,
Version City Records,
Victory Records,
Vintage Imperial Music,
Volcom Entertainment,
Wad Records,
What The Kids Want,

Music reviews from past issues: