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Dec. '03/Jan. '04 Articles:
The Democrats Are Coming
Editorial: Litter Butts
Over-Priced Musings
Stolen Lives
The Muddlemarch: 1
The Muddlemarch: 2
Crossing the Thames
(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.

Against Me! As The Eternal Cowboy Fat Wreck Chords • Against Me! is in my mind one of the more spirited and original bands to come around recently. This release has all the power and the passion of their earlier stuff, but unfortunately the production on it is much more... well, it's actually well produced, unlike the earlier stuff that had a great dirty feel to the sound. That being the only drawback, these songs are ready to rock you all the way out and back again. (KM)

Bluebone Live at Cape May self-released • I love it, I love it, I love it. What else can I say? This is a superb blues disc, tight, well recorded and, simply, a lot of fun. Many great original tunes with a few non-standard blues covers thrown in for fun: Hendrix, Huey Lewis and Z.Z. Top. There is definitely a Texas vibe to this disc. If you're a blues fan, you'll love this. If you're not a blues fan, you will be...(MK)

Cex Maryland Mansions Jade Tree • Rjyan Kidwell is Cex, at least literally. Figuratively, Cex is his own being. He leaves it all on the CD, holding nothing back. Cex has been around, dropping a number of albums. His fifth, Maryland Mansions, is an honest, haunting album that fuses an industrial/goth vibe with the energy of hip-hop and the quirkiness of indie rock. Cex is creating music you've probably never heard done by anyone else, expressing emotional and, oft, personal topics that unleash a wave of passionate vocals spit, slugged and strung over electrified samples, dark keys and varied beats, always hypnotizing your musical senses, luring you into the world Cex has opened to your ears. And he does all of it, from beats to samples to mixing to vocals and everything in between. Few could do it so well, maybe none. Regardless, Baltimore finally has something to be proud of, 'cause the Orioles have sucked for far too long and the Inner Harbor completely blows. (CM)

Choking Ahogo Radars And Maps Victim Records • It's a rare album that knocks my socks off in the first minute-and-a-half. The vocalist / guitarist Peter Wagner sounds a little like a mixture of Richard Butler from The Psychedelic Furs and Robert Pollard of Guided By Voices. He's got a strong, confident voice that is well complemented by bassist / vocalist Bryan Ray's harmonies. It's also a rarity to find an album that sounds even better after you've read the lyrics. Very rare, especially lyrics this poetic and interesting on their own. The drums are tight and locomotive, the keyboard flourishes are where they need to be, and the sound is great. Support this Austin, TX band – they deserve it. (SJM)

DrugMoney Mtn Cty Jnk Hybrid Recordings • We get a lot of CDs to review (as if you couldn't tell) and there is often a gem or two hidden among the releases, a CD that is so unsuspecting and unfamiliar that it catches you off guard. That's the case with DrugMoney. I really didn't know what to expect – what genre, sound quality or abilities the band would offer up. What I know now is that Asheville, NC is home to one hell of an indie rock band, free of any arrogance or faux rock attitude (the kind oozing from MTV2 lately). Instead, it's raw rock that combines elements of emo, indie rock and garage. There are a number of bands that I hear influencing their sound (intentionally or otherwise), such as Tugboat Annie, Muler and the Pinehurst Kids. DrugMoney is a four-piece with your standard guitar-bass-drums along with some occasional keyboards. What I really love, though, is how fuzzed out the guitars are, giving it a rough, aggressive sound without having to try too hard. And for all you suffering from ADD, this album is for you, with only five of the 14 songs cracking the three-minute mark. Sometimes the most simple of rock music is the most impressive and that certainly is the case here. (CM)

Goner How Good We Had It Bifocal Media • Goner serves up a wonderfully hopeful record of smart, upbeat, emotional pop. They have great harmonic vocals and lyrics reminiscent of Ben Folds, and they drive them home with uncompromising conviction. Underlying all of this is a heavy reliance on keyboards, the twittering, fluttering, and meandering of which infuses an incredible positive spirit into the music and truly makes it a satisfying, complete meal. An incredible talent and a fantastic record. (DP)

Heather Duby Come Across The River Sonic Boom Recordings • I liked this within one minute of the first song. Melodic hypnotizing female vocals joined by a steady droning piano and cello. Her vocals and even the music could be compared to Mazzy Star. Her lower register gives a dark feel to the vocal melodies with beautiful accompaniment of piano, strings, acoustic guitar and trumpet. "Providence" picks up the pace a little and her vocals sound more like Dido here. Even with comparisons made, Duby has discovered her own sound and originality musically and lyrically. (MP)

Integrity To Die For Deathwish Records • You can't know how weird it is for me to have Integrity as one of my top picks, but from the first listen I knew it would be. I never liked Integrity, I flat out hated them actually. This release was the one I needed to hear the one that would change me up and make me notice. Still brutal after all these years, I'd compare it to the feeling of being in a hurricane. On the surface everything seems chaotic with trees snapping and things flying, but stepping away you see the beautiful organization of the storm and how it works as a whole. This one blew me away, that's for damn sure. (KM)

Jean Grae The Bootleg of the Bootleg EP Babygrande/Orchestral • You just knew after hearing Attack of the Attacking Things that the next release was going to be crazy. Opening with "Hater's Anthem," and an Eminem-like, rapid rhyme release, she hooks it with a taunting "fuck you, fuck you, fuck you" directed towards the music industry and any competition holding a mic. If you already knew about her tight technique and aggressive rants, then you know Grae delivers a well-honed display of tricky wordplay and lyrics full of insightful and original concepts. This E.P. also contains a 45-minute mix tape (hidden track) that features Jean spitting over mainstream beats with a variety of styles. "Swing Blades" features Cannibal Ox, "My Crew" shows a more humble side of Grae, but look for the "choose your own adventure"-type track "Chapter One: Destiny." (JC)

Jet by Day / The Maginot Line s/t split 7" Two Sheds Music • I am biased. I have been a fan of Jet By Day for a while now. Thankfully this split 7" did not disappoint. A B-side from their recent Kindercore release Cascadia, it brings heavy guitar riffs with whispered vocals that quickly escalate to soaring melodies. While not as riffy as some of their other material, this is a bouncy track almost reminiscent of 90's guitar driven pop such as Weezer. The Maginot Line on the other hand spit out a fast paced dissonant D.C. punk rock anthem. They have definitely gained roots from the Dischord scene, which is not a bad thing. They pull it off smoothly with a bass line that holds together the song as guitars deftly cut in and out of the song like a knife. A good effort from both bands on this 7". (MC)

Nervous Cop self-titled 5 Rue Christine Records • What do overactive drummers do with their extra time? They form experimental drum music bands, that's what. Zach Hill from Hella and Greg Saunier from Deerhoof got together to make some wonderfully weird drum noise. Forget song structures, because there are none. This sounds like they made it up on the spot. There are other instruments present though. A harp shows up on a couple of tracks, as well as some overmodulated electronic effects. (AL)

Pelican Australasia Hydra Head Records • With a few songs over 10 minutes, it's easy to tell that Pelican are in no hurry to go anywhere. That's good news for fans of instrumental metal, because there is no better band than this Chicago quartet. Two guitars, drums and bass combine forces to create slowly building compositions that followers of Isis will drool over. (AL)

Radio CPR Begin Live Transmission Dischord Records • Radio CPR (Community Powered Radio) is a microbroadcast station originating from the Washington, D.C. neighborhoods of Mount Pleasant and Columbia Heights. Operated by volunteers from the local community, Radio CPR provides a true alternative to the homogenized corporate radio that dominates the airwaves in most U.S. markets. It provides a forum to address pertinent issues affecting their communities and serves as a unifying force in their neighborhoods. Radio CPR also plays a wide range of music, from hip hop to punk to world music, which is rarely heard through any other outlet. This CD features music and sound clips from actual Radio CPR broadcasts. Just listening to what these courageous and dedicated individuals have accomplished is both inspiring and empowering. Proceeds from this CD go to help support Radio CPR. (CL)

Savath + Savalas Apropa't Warp Records • One of Scott Herren's multiple musical personalities is that of Savath + Savalas. In Apropa't, he teams up with Spanish singer Eva Puyuelo to explore the beauty of Brazilian music. Even though most of the sounds on this record were created by live instruments such as classic guitar, harmonium, concertina, drums, and upright bass, Herren's penchant for electronics still shines through. (AL)

The Wheel Works The Wheel Works India Records • Just when I thought I've outgrown rock operas from the likes of Pink Floyd and The Who, comes along a band that takes the concept to another level. The Wheel Works paints dramatic pictures in the mind that deserves its own animated video version in the spirit of The Wall. With a heavy slant towards an orchestrated sound, this album is layered with violins and keys overtop the evenly distributed duties of percussion, bass guitar and acoustics. Vocally, Radiohead and Morrissey come to mind, but comparisons aside, this disc is hauntingly beautiful and full of human vices in songs like "Dangerously High" and "Simple." (JC)

Tragedy Khadafi Still Reportin... 25 To Life • Sneaking through the cracks for long enough, Tragedy delivers what should be considered the follow-up to Capone N Noreaga's debut The War Report, which was executive produced by and featured Tragedy on nine of its songs. With slammin' beats and descriptive storytelling about anger and compassion, this release is much of a surprise. Production comes from Sha Self, Dark La, Scram Jones and a host of others, but every beat brought by each maker remains geared in the same direction, making things flow continuously with a directive sound. Short movie interludes carry the theme along as standout tracks run thick throughout, and start at "Neva Die Alone Pt. 2" before appearances from Havoc, Capone, Littles, Christ Castro and V-12 help put this one in the books. (JC)

CD Reviews

2Mex Sweat Lodge Infiniti Songodsun Music • One half of the Mexican Decent, 2Mex releases this dark and edgy album that sounds as if it has crawled straight out of the underground manholes of the L.A. scene. With producer Longetivity providing ruff, trip-hop beats and DJ Mixmaster Wolf cutting this album full of razor-sharp scratches, 2Mex is simply left to let his story be told. Touching on political and metaphysical issues, his rhyme style is direct in its delivery and the outcome is a truth-telling journey through this mans mind. (JC)

30 Years War Under the Gun Substandard Records • This metal-hardcore hybrid EP makes up for its short duration with its turned up intensity. High-pitched screams soar over a rumble of distortioned guitars and machine gun drumming. The songs change tempo often, keeping you on your toes at all times. (AL)

4ft Fingers From Hero To Zero Abstract • Hailing from the UK, 4ft Fingers is a four-piece punk rock band with a load of skill. This album is a non-stop ride, pounding drums, thick melodies, soaring guitars, vocals delivered with confidence and passion. There are also plenty of tempo changes, keeping the songs fresh, ever changing. Till this release, few have been able to enjoy their releases. Dig in America! (CM)

A Life Once Lost A Great Artist Death Wish • A Life Once Lost play technical abrasive/metalcore. The drums sound like a machine gun battle and the guitars sound like a full on flame thrower. But wait what could make the music any better you ask , how about vocals that swallow you whole and spit out your dying soul. Well you've got nothing short of a metal battlefield. (RP)

A Small Victory The Pieces We Keep Lobster Records • I get too much of a formulaic feeling from this release, too much "this is how emo is supposed to go" and "let's add this here, because that's where its supposed to go." It's catchy, it's poppy, it's emo, but it's lowest common denominator emo. Surface feelings and emotions that appeal to an audience that easily relate. Push for more than the status quo and you might have something here. (KM)

Abstract Rude & Tribe Unique Showtyme! Battle Axe Records • With thick beats and jazzy backdrops, Abstract and the Tribe comes strong with lyrical insight and realism that is painted with effortless flows. "All Day" carries a fragmented style and catchy hook before drifting into the complexity of "Headcase," where the depth of this album begins to show light with a smoothed-out approach and hidden messages. After blessing such projects as Project Blowed, Haiku d'Etat and collaborating with Freestyle Fellowship, Abstract has put together an album that bounces from mellow storytelling to freestyle deliveries with an eventful vibe. (JC)

Alexisonfire self-titled Equal Vision Records • Good straightforward emo-core that's done right. The artwork warms you up with every boy's fantasy two catholic school girls getting ready for a knife fight, and the music takes over from there. While its not going to win any poetry contests, lyrically they are functional enough and musically dynamic which makes up for ingenuity. The enhanced video? It's all right, but you're not going to watch it over and over. Over all, it's about 2 notches above average. (KM)

Alix Olson Independence Meal Subtle Sister • In feminist circles Alix Olson is the shit, in other circles she's is virtually unknown, and that alone will give her fans enough ammunition to carry on a 4-hour coffee house argument. The pre-review I got from my feminist friend was that I'm gonna love the spoken word poetry, and I'm gonna hate the music. Wow, she was totally right. Olson has made her name known through the world of slam poetry, and she truly is a master, but the acoustic folk rock background could have just as easily been left out, her words are strong enough on their own. That in mind, there's something here that everybody should hear. (KM)

All Out War Condemned to Suffer Victory Records • All Out War are from New York and it shows in their gruff vocals and metal blasting guitars. I can't say very complimentary things about this band considering the uncanny similarities between them and Slayer. I think they should reconfigure their styling to sound more like themselves and less like their label mates. (RP)

All State Champions E.P. five One, Inc • A solid "angular, post-hardcore" sound here is full of drive and powerful emotion from this band out of Canada. Starting off with the college radio mainstay "The Greatest," this self-titled E.P. is a good direction for these guys to be running in (references to "drive" and "running" are needed because the music here makes you feel part of the caffeine rush). Atmospheric changes in tempo and schizophrenic vocals only entice the cutting-glass sound to continue shattering throughout and leaving behind pieces of a solid release. (JC)

All The Dead Pilots Steady Not Static Ambiguous City! Records • Maryland's All the Dead Pilots put forth a sort of minimalist midtempo alternative rock effort, what doesn't sound unlike Garrison or Errortype: 11 even. There are moments of rock radio influence that scar what for the most part is a pretty good release. I like the third track spoken word wandering thing, it's a good break from a lot of songs that sound pretty similar. (KM)

Alli With An I I learned by watching you Law Of Inertia • Law Of Intertia has been in the label/magazine business for quite some time and they've really gained exposure with this sophomore release from Alli With An I. They incorporate such styles as power pop, pop punk, and indie with their poppy lyrics and vocals, detailed mellow dramatic choruses and harmonic backings, which seem to acquire the ever so popular "sigh," but the fact is that Alli With An I do it well. Major props to a band that does it not for the money or for the fame, but for fun and enjoys themselves. (CMax)

Altaira Weigh Your Conscience EP Attention Deficit Disorder Records • Altaira hails from the sunny shores of Cali, San Diego to be specific. This debut EP is impressive. Not only is the band skilled musically, but they craft some very tight songs, making great use of pop punk guitar parts while moving forward at a speedy, power punk pace. Think Hot Water Music meets Digger meets Face To Face. Right? It's loaded with melodies, sometimes-gruff vocals, big guitars that swirl to and fro, and a pounding bassline and drum rhythm that gets a pounce in your step. Sounds about right now me. (CM)

Anadivine self-titled EP Sidecho Records • From Kingston, N.Y., comes Anadivine, a powerful four-piece set on sucking you into their emorock world. Well, I've been hooked. Anadivine blasts out mostly uptempo rock tunes that have plenty of aggression and more melody than you could imagine. The guitar parts are really the veins running through each song, keeping the songs flowing with intricate, weaving parts while the tempo is constantly changing and the bass and drums pound out a non-stop rhythm. There's an occasional scream thrown in just to keep you on your toes. Otherwise, the vocals are well sung and the duties are shared, mostly, between two very solid singers. There are also some guest vocals by Coheed and Cambria lead vocalist Claudio Sanchez. (CM)

Anne Hansen Direct Action G7 Welcoming Committee Records • First off it's good to see some women get some political discs released. We all know Chomsky and Zinn, but there certainly aren't enough female voices in the mix. The speech is about Direct Action smartly enough, Hansen having experience as being a part of the Wimmin's Fire Brigade, which firebombed three locations of a video store specializing in bootleg violent pornography. The conversation discusses militancy, violence, property destruction, and other tactics. The pacifist in me has some problems with a lot of it, but I think every voice is important, and her views and experiences are certainly enlightening. (KM)

Anti-Freeze The Search For Something More Kung Fu Records • Anti-Freeze is at it again with their sophomore release under one of the most prestigious labels in the business: Kung Fu Records. Hailing from Appleton, Wisconsin, Anti-Freeze does exactly that, freezes –freezes into the present period perception of "punk rock perfection" with the likes of Blink-182, Simple Plan, Saves The Day, and those who grace your favorite music channel and FM radio station every day. Anti-Freeze delivers a plethora of heart sinking vocals, an intricate level of four chords, and "ear thumping" (whether that is good or bad, you decide) melody that every teenage girl can enjoy! Their fame is ever so slightly rising, but their credibility with those who used to enjoy this band may be doing exactly the opposite. (CMax)

Antioch Arrow Gems of Masochism Three.One.G • Antioch Arrow was one of those bands that defied easy categorization.  The San Diego quartet was popular in the HC punk scene, but they musically don't really fit in with that scene.  They were noisy, chaotic, and arty, with that Sonic Youth-like ability to make dissonance that was pleasing to the ear.  Gems of Masochism, a reissue of their previously out of print 1994 album, should please fans of experimental indie rock.  (CL)

Arab on Radar Queen Hygiene II/Rough Day at the Orifice Three.One.G. • The holidays are upon us again, and that means one thing:  annoying relatives.  Need a little something to get those lingering, distantly related assholes out of your house?  Try the reissues of Arab on Radar's Queen Hygiene II  and Rough Day at the Orifice (perhaps the greatest album title ever) on one single disc.  Watch and listen as the hilariously offensive lyrics and noisy, experimental indie rock of tunes like "Attack on Tijuana" and "Spit Shine My Asshole" clear the room.  This is a freakin' godsend! (CL)

Arizing Advance Medea Records • I'm always suspicious of rock bands whose singer doesn't play an instrument. Those that can pull it off must have one hell of a convincing persona, something Arizing's Matt Dalton doesn't come across with. While the production by The Method House makes the most of the band's tight, practiced grooves, the vocals are nasal and affected. "The Big L (Falling In Love Again)" exposes the influence of 80's era U2 and groups like The Human League; the remainder of the sound answers the admittedly disturbing question of what would it sound like if Nick from NSYNC mated with Rick Springfield at a Creed concert. The production values on this album can serve as yet further proof that it is possible to polish a turd. (SJM)

ArmsBendBack The Waiting Room Trustkill Records • I guess you could call ArmsBendBack's The Waiting Room "emotional metal." The vocals take turns between melodic singing and unbearable screams providing the emotional side. The music is played with urgency, and fans of Finch and Thrice will love it. (AL)

Ashen Pull and Repel Two Sheds Music • I hate to be the bearer of bad news, but Ashen is now deceased. After releasing this darkly sweet five song E.P. the band decided to call it quits. That doesn't mean you shouldn't take yourself to the store and pick this CD up. Erin Akemi's voice is as smooth and easy to take in as ice cream. The guitars are often quiet and minored. It's unfortunate this band broke up, this album while not a masterpiece is a definite hint as to what the band was capable of. Who knows what might have been next? I guess we will never find out, but if you are a fan of Denali, or the darker side of That Dog, go pick this up. (MC)

Audra Kubat Million Year Old Sand Times Beach Records • A singer/songwriter folk music from Detroit, Kubat can be compared to one of her major influences, Joni Mitchell. More contemporary, she resembles Tracy Chapman. Sometimes it is just her and her guitar, while other times she is accompanied by a band, but she never strays from mellow land. She has a beautifully haunting voice and her melodies have a tendency to linger in your head. After awhile, though a lot of them begin to meld together into one big acoustic bedtime lullaby. (MP)

Autumn Picture Fait Maison Hillybilly Stew Records • Its all about catching me off guard, surprising me, and being a disc that makes me listen closer and press repeat. This one got repeated all afternoon a few times. Mellow jangley indie-emo that begs for sweater weather and a cute dark haired girl curled up next to you, or maybe one that just left you and won't leave your mind. A nice total of 15 songs, this one is for real. (KM)

Baby Strange The Make-Out Sessions self-released • Baby Strange hit it off on the first track titled "If I didn't Know Better" with a soulful indie-fied version of what could have been a Rolling Stones song. This small sampling of five songs from this Boston band reminisces about the sounds of such bands as T. Rex, the Stones, and U2 more so then actually ripping them off. I'm not even generally a fan of the whole '70s rock revolution, this coming back of the garage days, but this album had me bouncing along and enjoying each song. The rhythm section is tight and the singer, Eric Deneen, is passionate with just a hint of a faux British accent. This album is definitely worth a listen. (MC)

Beans Now Soon Someday Warp Records • Expanding on the fusion of electronica and hip hop, this former Anti Pop Consortium pushes out this EP of new tracks and remixes that carries his tradition of remaining sonic and surrealistic. Lyrically, jabs are taken to the human psyche; they resonate in the mind before ever figuring out what was even implied. Remixed tracks come courtesy of Prefuse 73 and El-P, but the highlight here is how much Beans has progressed with his rhyme style since his last release Tomorrow Right Now. (JC)

Between the Buried and Me The Silent Circus Victory Records • Pop in The Silent Circus, and you will be in for a surprise. Initially, you might think this is your run-of-the-mill metalcore. But then, the death metal growls come in. Fine, many bands do that. Then the chaos dies down and the singing begins. Pretty good singing too, with harmonies and everything. Acoustic guitars? Check. Then the chaos comes back. The best comparison I can come up with is Avenged Sevenfold, but much harder. (AL)

Between the Lines Wake Up Call RockNRoll Radio • Fast, hard, aggressive hardcore. This Belgian band would stand up well against any of the American hardcore bands that popularized this sound. It brings to mind bands such as Judge, Snapcase, and Sick of It All. The songs will ram down your ears with brutal force and then breakdown into a slow drum heavy pause until unleashing once again with Pieter's massive screams. (MC)

Big Collapse Prototype The Militia Group • Los Angeles-based Big Collapse features some former New York hardcore veterans, but don't let the move to L.A. make you think they've gone soft or anything. These guys just rock, with big guitars, a top-notch rhythm section, and strong vocal hooks. This stuff is ready for heavy rotation on rock radio. And, as always, alliteration rocks! (CL) 

Big Noyd Only The Strong Landspeed Records • Noyd starts out this ghetto-laced release bragging about his level of street cred before spitting over a snare-heavy beat that's laced with a catchy hook that sings "shoot 'em up, shoot 'em" Alchemist handles the bulk of the producing duties throughout this; Prodigy provides a highlight on "Something For All That" and Havoc comes through on "Air It Out." Overall, this disc has some bangin' beats, and a few highlights, but otherwise it's not worth a dime, I mean, the time. (JC)

Billy Dechand Hold On Muss My Hair Records • This is one of those wonderful discs which simply defy classification. On the mellow side, the songs are complex, well written, and well performed. Gentle melodies glide you through this disc, weaving seamlessly from song to song. This is a really great disc. (MK)

Black Print Movement Quincy Shanks • Blasting out of Chicago with an aggressive punk rock approach is Black Print. Five tracks are included with lyrics that are delivered with some hostile vocals that tell the stories of a lonely man. Musically things stay frantic with a hard rock sound and a steady bass guitar, which serve as the backbone, guiding these transitions through edgier tracks like "Gravel Lawn" into straightforward tracks like "Long Drive, Short Conversation". (JC)

Bleeding Through This is Love, This is Murderous Trustkill Records • Hardcore and metal come head to head on Bleeding Through's This is Love, This is Murderous. Hardcore's vocal style clashes with metal's power in an explosion of sound. To augment their sound, keyboards and other electronics add to the atmosphere, while the occasional melodic vocal interlude stirs things up a bit. (AL)

Blewett The Warehouse Demos self-released • Like the plot to a Scooby Doo episode, Blewett ventured into a spooky, abandoned coffin factory to record The Warehouse Demos. While they didn't solve any mysteries, the trio did come away with this six song disc that is equal parts emo and grunge. The strained vocals can wear a little thin at times, but are by no means unbearable like that little Scrappy Doo bastard. It's a nice start for these guys from Wisconsin. (CL) 

Blue Ceiling Tales From the Spiritual Lost and Found self-released • Blue Ceiling brings a hook-heavy, pop oriented blues-rock on this release. In the spirit of Hootie and the Blowfish, Blues Travelers or many modern tree hugging, hippie bands these days, the good time jam-band sound is there. Problem is, the music on this release sounds overproduced and polished up a bit too much to come off as genuine and the vocals don't do much to pick up the slack either. (JC)

Blue Monday What's Done Is Done Stab & Kill • Raw, almost garagy hardcore blasts out of my speakers! This reminds me a bit of Burn (maybe Judge), but more rough, more hyper. But there's a sure '80s hardcore feel on this 12-track release. Rapid fire rock is rarely this good. Vancouver should be proud. (CM)

Blusom Go Slowly All The Way Round The Outside Second Nature Recordings • With an acoustic, folksy vibe, highlighted by subtle electronic elements, the aura of this release is mesmerizing. "On Glass" opens this disc by describing an evening of too many beers while explaining "go on without me, I am self absorbed and shitty" before the loneliness begins to shows on "X-Photo." Vocals mostly come across tender and tell the tale of many a broken hearts. Recorded and tossed around Denver two years ago, this collection has been properly packaged for the masses and for good reason. Though the sound is rooted in a mellow singer/songwriter portrayal, the intimate, trip hop experiments sit well alongside their lo-fi musical approach. (JC)

Boys Night Out Make Yourself Sick Ferret Records • Maybe I was naïve to think I'd never see it, but pop hardcore is kinda just plain weird ain't it? I remember being more impressed with their last release. This sounds too much like Grade and Blink 182 in a metal bending auto accident. Which means it sounds as weird as the idea of pop hardcore should sound. With that said, its catchy as fuck, and the kids are going to love the hell out of it, so who am I to detract? (KM)

Brendan Breen More Than Ever self-released • I'd be willing to bet that Brendan Breen does well with the ladies.  The former Woodside Quinn singer/songwriter can do that whole John Mayer/Dave Mathews kind of thing, but there's a little something extra too.  He's got a dark undercurrent running through the songs of More Than Ever, and ladies love that mysterious and brooding nonsense.  And, yes, I am jealous, but it's still good music.  (CL)

Burgess Shale It's Never Enough, Is It? self-released • Don't let the pretty music fool you. Under the melodic, dense vocals and catchy music lies a political commentary former Dead Kennedy Jello Biafra would be proud of. Not since Chumbawumba's "Tubthumping" has an act tried to sneak their views on the public by making it catchy. Bravo. (AL)

Cameron McGill Stories Of The Knife And The Back Post-Important Records • The former front man of Morris Minors has released this solo effort centered on the emotions of a lonely mans heart. Using a wide range of instruments to create a backdrop that soothes and tells tales of the broken things that come with love once it's gone (thus the knife in the back reference in the title), these soft sung, melodic vocals carry boredom. (JC)

Capdown Pound For The Sound Abstract • I hadn't heard a skacore band in a while, but this UK four-piece is a welcomed sound. They combine a punk energy with some solid horns. It's not as poppy as old Less Than Jake and more hardcore than Voodoo Glow Skulls, and the punk rock British rawness of it sets it apart from other skacore bands. This is only the band's second album and it's an impressive release. (CM)

Catch 22 Dinosaur Sounds Victory Records • New Jersey ska-punk boys make good on a very competent reading of the genre. This is a very spirited and well-made album, and if you like ska-punk, you will love this. One tip for young guitarists in any genre: stop with the damn pick scraping already. It doesn't sound even half as cool you think it does. (SJM)

Che Arthur All of Your Tomorrows Were Decided Today Flameshovel Records • Atombombpocketknife guitarist Che Arthur steps out on his own with All of Your Tomorrows Were Decided Today, an album which may or may not be a tribute to hard-core Calvinism. Stupid religious references aside, Arthur is at his best when rocking out. The slower material isn't bad, but I've been drinking lots of coffee, so let's rock! Lyrically, Arthur is from the Lou Barlow school of love and relationships, usually of the not-so-good variety. (CL)  

Cheer Accident Introducing Lemon Skin Graft Records • Introducing Lemon sounds like a split CD from two different bands. On one hand, there are the instrumental songs with math and prog rock tendencies, littered with jazzy improvisations and vocal incongruities. Then there are the upbeat, catchy pop tunes that could easily play on the radio. Somehow they come together to make a remarkably cohesive record. (AL)

Chicken Lips DJ Kicks !K7 Records • Whether it's their own compositions, or another artist's remix, Chicken Lips provide the groove in the latest DJ Kicks mix CD. They mix disco, dub and synth pop to get you dancing or relaxing, whichever you are in the mood for. (AL)

Chicklet Indian Summer Satellite Records • This Toronto two-piece trades off vocal duties and both play guitar, drums and keyboards on this pop-heavy, quirky, indie-rock release. Neither Julie nor Daniel can do enough to save this space-groove from sounding so excruciating and annoying. What is wrapped up here is an 80's retro synth, jazzy grunge mix that is slowed down to form a background that soothes, but comes off formulated. (JC)

Chile Promise Of Freedom Alternative Tentacles Records • From The Freedom Archives comes this narrative documentary that chronicles the military coup against the democratically elected government of Salvador Allende on September 11, 1973. Chilean music from the likes of Congreso, Dracma, Illapu and Inti Illimani are the backdrop to the voices of historians such as Isabel Allende, Aiel Dorfman, Isabel Letelier, Rene Castro and Joan Jara, who reflect with sincerity upon the struggles in Chile that have been overlooked by the world. (JC)

Christiansen Stylish Nihilists Revelation • This is Christiansen's third release, think spacey, danceable post core rock. Christiansen have a style all their own, so if I had to compare them to any other bands I would say they sound like a mix of Cave in and Mars Volta. (RP)

Chromelodeon In The Year 20XX Independent Records • Chromelodeon is an 8-piece Philadelphia group that plays mostly-instrumental rock. Their fondness for science fiction comes through in their work, from the cartoonish cover art to the spacey keyboards and sound effects. They take the grandiose and epic feel of power metal and channel it into outer space. (AL)

Coheed And Cambria In Keeping Secrets of Silent Earth: 3 Equal Vision • Any time a new band drops a bombshell of a first album, their newly acquired fans wait anxiously to see if it was a fluke, or if the next album can even come close. Fans can sigh a breath of relief and should immediately run out for this 11-track masterpiece, the follow-up to Coheed's debut album that came out in Spring 2002. That first album blew my mind. So, I had high expectations for their 2nd release. Expectations met, and then some. Intricate hooks, tempo changes galore, passionate vocals, an anxious but tempered tempo –it's all there. It's an infectious album and impossible to deny the Coheed is on top of their game, blasting out tune after tune of punchy, near-epic, heartfelt music that blurs the lines between rock, punk and hardcore. (CM)

Colonial Excess Built For Angst EP self-released • This is a wild aural journey; a noisy, hyper trip that blurs as it flashes before your eyes. Lo-fi, feedback heavy guitars are paired with bizarre electronic, almost industrial, influences to fuse into one messy, rock EP. By messy, I don't mean bad. But this isn't for everyone. It's a bit hard on the ears, but there's something "endearing" about the cacophony. This album is nothing short of musical schizophrenia. (CM)

Coppersonic self-titled self-released • Coppersonic is comprised of three Johns from New York. They play rootsy rock and roll that doesn't really do anything new or overly impressive. It's countrified, bluesy rock with lots of jangly guitars and a "down home" feel that is warming, but not that exciting. The album has a live feel to it, and that's certainly a plus when it comes to this style of music. (CM)

Cougars Nice, Nice Go-Kart Records • There are eight guys in Cougars. That's a lot of music. Fusing guitar-bass-drums along with a blazing hot horn section and cool keys, this octet is able to craft some huge rock and roll. But it's not your standard fare –instead of big rock tunes that are simply hooks, Cougars offers up 10 tracks of aggressive, sometimes spastic and artsy, even a little garagy, songs that have a non-stop bounce, a driving thrust and a ruggedness that makes it all a bit sweaty. (CM)

Curl Up and Die ŠBut the Past Ain't Through with Us Revelation Records • This CD is the counterpart to the EP We May Be Through With the PastŠ, released earlier this year. It's only 23 minutes long, and 12 of those minutes are in one song that starts out slow and hypnotic, but eventually devolves into chaos. A good thing, because I suspect you might not be able to handle much more of this insane band. Hardcore like this is better handled in small doses. (AL)

Czolgosz Guernica Rodent Popsicle Records • This is some spastic, but melodic, punk rock. It's a rapid-fire assault that combines elements of '80s skatecore and Brit punk. There is a raw, live feel with the album that appropriately suits the musical style. It also works well with the angst-filled political lyrics. At times, it reminds me of an amp'd up, 78rpm version of the Sex Pistols –maybe if the Pistols were magically melded with DRI. (CM)

D.O.A. War and Peace Sudden Death Records • It's hard to believe that D.O.A. are about to celebrate their 25th anniversary. To say that they have influenced countless bands would be an understatement. To celebrate this momentous occasion, they are releasing this compilation of some of their best tracks. Twenty-five songs that span their entire career, from 1978's "Disco Sucks" 7" to 2001's "Win The Battle." (AL)

Da Lata Serious Palm Pictures • Since the bands inception, Da Lata members Patrick Forge and Christian Franck have explored their world music influences. Serious continues that tradition, from the title track's catchy afrobeat rhythms to Brazilian music's sensuality. Coupled with the smoothness of R & B and the jumpiness of broken beat, and you've got yourself an excellent melting pot of sounds. (AL)

Dakah Hip Hop Orchestra Live: California Plaza 7/5/03 Kufala Recordings • There has never been a release quite like this. Never. A hip-hop orchestra, are you kidding? Not one bit. This shit is a real as Kobe's legal problems. Featuring an orchestra of underground MCs, singers, horns, strings, percussion and more (including guitar, bass, piano, etc.), this is an epic hip-hop release that will wow any listener. The mind behind the musical madness is conductor/composer Geoffrey "Double G" Gallegos. It's a live performance, so there is a bit lost that a studio recording would better capture; but I'm not going to complain too much. Plus, this is a two-disc set. The first CD is a four-track set totaling over 45 minutes that pays tribute to such musical greats as The Roots, Parliament Funkadelic and Gang Starr. Disc two is a 60+ minute, three-part, banging hip-hop epic (like nothing you've heard) that will make your head spin. Something to remember, though, is that this isn't just straight up, hip-hop –instead, it combines influences from funk, latin music, jazz and more, with hip-hop being the backbone, the constant. It's a wild journey that you'll want to take over and over again. (CM)

David Rovics Return Ever Reviled Records • Indie music has so many lines it crosses and Rovics is a contemporary political folk musician that lays it all on the line. Songs are narratives mainly about the problems in Palestine that also touches on war, terror, love and death with a deeply emotional presentation. His words are delivered with crisp vocals and an infectious rhythm of guitar work that is carried along by a tightly knit background band. (JC)

Days Gone By Volition HitThePit Records • Volition is Days Gone By's debut CD, and they storm out of the gate with a barrage of metalcore anger. They have one of the hardest working drummers out there, since their songs hardly keep the same rhythm for long. Throaty vocals deliver gloom and doom lyrics that will make you want to kill yourself. (AL)

Dead Prez Get Free Or Die Trying Landspeed Records • Even before they hit the scene at the end of the century, Dead Prez has been racially and politically antagonizing today's society. When they released their first effort Let's Get Free a few albums ago, the outlook on greed, whites and the African uprising had made revolutionist out of them and comparisons were made to the likes of Public Enemy in the hip hop community. This album carries a little of the same message, but things have changed a bit when you hear "nowadays I'm ruthless" which is spit on "Tallahassee 93" before M-1 and begin confessing their love for money on "Paper Paper". In the end you'll feel that you expected a little more than what was offered this time around. (JC)

Dear Diary I Seem To Be Dead self-titled self-released • This album doesn't have one particular sound all the way through. I was constantly being surprised on how much the guitars would change from sounds reminiscent of Planes Mistaken for Stars and on occasion and only on occasion, so don't get too excited, The Party of Helicopters. For the most part I was into this album, but its definitely nothing exceptional, and that's mainly due in part to the hardcore vocals. I can get past the hardcore vocals if the music can make up for it, but it usually doesn't. I would look forward to an album. (NP)

Death Cab for Cutie Transatlanticism Barsuk Records • After two years away from the studio, Death Cab for Cutie return with Transatlanticism. The only constant in these eleven songs is Ben Gibbard's sweet, almost-grown-up-boy vocals. Besides that, all songs are pretty different. Some are pretty dense with guitars, others are barely there. However, all are very good. (AL)

Del Cielo Wish and Wait Eyeball Records • Wish and Wait is the first full-length release for this Richmond, Virginia trio. Del Cielo plays emotionally-charged indie rock that is reminiscent of both Rainer Maria and Velocity Girl. The impassioned vocals of singer/guitarist Andrea Lisi are one of the real highlights of this album. (CL)

Del Rey Darkness & Distance My Pal God Records • Chicago's Del Rey deliver the goods on their second full-length, Darkness & Distance. These seven instrumental songs clock in at 51 minutes, giving them plenty of time to develop each song. They augment their powerful rock sound with electronic sounds that give the album an extra kick. (AL)

Denise Hradecky Invisible Thread Ernest Jenning • Four tracks and a dreamy whisper of a voice is what this artist has included here. Her vocals and accompanied music comes across haunting and morphine-induced, sounding a lot like Mazzy Starr or Elliot Smith. Detailed and spacey sounds jump out through speakers from time to time as this gentle euphoria becomes captivating in a lonely afternoon kind of way. (JC)

Desa Demonstrates Birth Substandard • The five-piece Desa was formed from the remnants of East Bay's punk/ska band Link 80. They've been playing together for seven years, but this 4-song EP is their debut under their new moniker. Hard, powerful rock now emerges, the kind that throws you against the wall and pounds you with melodic emotion and amazing lyrics. The song "Bermuda Triangle" has a final crescendo that transcends rock. There is real soul to this work, and I look forward to more from this promising outfit. (DP)

Desa Year In A Red Room Mordam Records • This band, which I still to this moment have trouble figuring out why their name is what it is, is definitely good! A brand new band is making a huge name for themselves in the California scene. As weird as the band name is, their style is more easily understood. Search deep down in your mind; you must and consider the following: Coheed and Cambria mixed with an ever so slight touch of punk, now contrast that with the Bouncing Souls and you just might have a sample of what Desa is bringing on their first release! On a side note, if you were ever or still are a fan of the popular band Link 80, five of the six members make up Desa. (CMax)

Desert City Soundtrack Funeral Car Deep Elm Records • The piano and trumpet, along with Matt Carrillo's soft-spoken vocals are what gives Funeral Car its emotional, depressing mood. The sporadic guitar explosions and the screamed background vocals are what give it its power. This perfect union of the soft and the jagged makes this album stand out in an overcrowded musical field. (AL)

DJ Murge Search And Rescue Battle Axe Records • Solid beats and soundscapes by DJ Murge and a lengthy guest list of emcees make up this collective. Many of the Battle Axe warriors make an appearance as well as members of Living Legends and Mystik Journeymen, but overall this sounds more like a label-made "who's who" than an actual DJ album. Strictly for the underground heads to enjoy, Abstract Rude kicks things off in grand fashion on the title track, Slug and Eyedea join forces on "Gotta Love 'Em" and tracks featuring Grouch & Bicasso, Sunspot Jonz and Kiby Dominant also stand out. (JC)

DJ Spooky that Subliminal Kid vs. Twilight Circus Dub Sound System Riddim Clash Play Label • DJ Spooky (Paul Miller) contributes his ability to experiment with all styles of music and give them a unique touch. Twilight Circus Dub Sound System (Ryan Moore) brings his tripped out dub style that has garnered him critical praise. Put them together and you get Riddim Clash, a hypnotic collection of tracks that you won't be able to put down. (AL)

Dub Narcotic Sound System Degenerate Introduction K • This is some funky, garage, soul rock from a trio that has been doing it for a while. But, this is their first full-length since 1998, and fans can rejoice, for it was worth the wait. It's strange, theatric, melodic, quirky and sure to get your blood flowing and your toes tapping. Think P-Funk meets Dis Plan meets the White Stripes. Seriously, it's that wild. (CM)

Duvall Volume & Density Asian Man Records • Following the demise of the Smoking Popes, songwriter/vocalist Josh Caterer wandered the earth, found God, and formed Duvall. Don't worry, the guy hasn't gone all Stryper on us, though there are rumors of him being seen around Chicago wearing black and yellow leather outfits.  But, remember, these are just rumors.  Musically, Duvall reprises that old Popes sound:  melodic, catchy pop punk with earnest lyrics that sound more like Morrissey than Blink 182.  Top it off with an excellent cover of Spandau Ballet's "True," one of the four songs Me First and the Gimme Gimmes have not covered yet, and you've got one great debut kind of thing.  We missed you, Josh.  (CL)

Electric Turn to Me Clouds Move So Fast self-released • Electric Turn to Me is back with another bad ass EP, Clouds Move So Fast. For those of you who missed their self-titled debut earlier this year, it's time to check out these crazy New York kids. It's goth. It's punk. It's new wave. They've got style and substance in a time where both are in short supply, let alone in the same package. Clouds Move So Fast proves again that Electric Turn to Me is the real fucking deal. (CL)

Estrogenocide I Like To Cuddle M.H. Records • Tracks like "Bowling, Beer, Bloodbath," "Suck It," "O.J." and "Kill The Bitch Who Bitches" are just the start to this insane collection of gothic sarcasm. Synth heavy, technotic rhythms carry this crazy release with vocals that are barely sung, with a Marylyn Manson sound, and deep scruffiness in the throat area. These songs are full of lyrics about raping and killing women in great detail, and honestly, not much more than that. (JC)

Far From Breaking The Identity Youngblood Records • I was about to give up on straight-edge hardcore forever, to run the other way everytime I saw an X Swatch Watch and a hoodie. FFB actually saved me a little, but not a lot. Still the recycled drum beats and guitar riffs from the old school, still the spoken screaming singing lyrics about moving forward and making positive decisionsŠ but at least they kinda let themselves hang loose and explore a little more than your average hardcore band. Beautiful packaging and layout. (KM)

Fat Ass We Have Come For Your Mothers Diaphragm Records • Hey. I really like this. It's rock and roll. It's fun. It's fast. It's well done. It's that fun kind of music that you want playing when you are throwing a serious slobber-knocker of a party, like a punked-up George Thorogood. This is a disc that you will want to keep in your disc player for a while.  (MK)

Feable Weiner Dear Hot Chick Doghouse Records • Pop. Pop. Pop. This is an okay disc, but I admit that I was expecting something else, just from the name. There are lots of fun songs, some more rocking than others, but none without merit. It was easy to listen to and really grew on you the more you listened to it. (MK)

Fifteen Extra Medium Kick Ball Star (17) Sub City Records • It's hard to dislike something this earnestly well-intentioned, but I do. Wait, let me explain. It's important for a band whose message is overriding to remember that the only people who will listen to a sermon are those who already agree. An in-your-face lecture is likely only to polarize and harden, to the result of inciting division as opposed to discussion. That said, these guys definitely have their hearts in the right place, and the patriotism reflected in their protest is admirable. The music, however, is an afterthought; another venue for their discussion. This is not necessarily a bad thing, but in this case it's obvious from the rather prosaic form of the lyrics that the words were written first, and that the music wasn't reflexive enough. The punk rock employed here would fit well in 1987, but is not really all that well thought out. I would love to see this band develop their sound more, because there is a lot there to be explored. (SJM)

Filthy Vagrants Watch Them Burn 96 Records • This four-piece hailing from, you guessed it, California, give you 10 songs of oi crushing pleasure! Vigorously fast drum beats, bass lines and the ever so often guitar solo, make up the songs that every typical fan of oi could enjoy. This review isn't complex, neither is the CD. Fans of oi, or any other filthy vagrants believing in the fall of our American government, vandalism, and sing-a-long beer-chugging mayhem, this one's for you! (CMax)

Foe Arm Yourself With Clairvoyance House of Stairs • Foe has become one of my favorite instrumental metal acts, along with The Fucking Champs, Don Caballero, and The Kickass. They add the intricacy of math rock to their super-charged songs, changing tempos and rhythms multiple times per song, never staying on the same musical theme for long. (AL)

Forever I Burn The Tragedy Dialogs self-released • The opening track from The Tragedy Dialogs reminded me of Converge's Jane Doe. It is full of time changes and intricate guitar licks, and ultra-screamed vocals. The other four songs follow the same trend, never slowing down for a minute. As a bonus, there are two extra tracks that are remixes, showcasing the bands affinity for drum and bass beats and electronica. (AL)

Ghost-n-Static Demanding Respect Realife Recordz • What is otherwise noted as a compilation from this label, Ghost and Static make up the bulk of this ghetto-laden sound from the nation's capital. The beats pack a southern bounce on songs that touch on virtually every staple of a gangsta-fied album. Songs about bitches, pimpin', thuggin', servin' and hoping to grow through all those things, make up this release with flows that sound mystical and haunting, that overall, comes off as sounding a few steps behind the competition. Also featured is Life$tylez, Dolo, Antman and Vonetta. (JC)

Give Up The Ghost We're Down Til We're Underground Equal Vision Records • It's hard to keep a good band down, even harder when they take everything crazy that's come at them and turn it into a record like this one. Few bands play harder live; I would almost imagine a few bands that might be afraid to play as hard as they do. Unlike the American Nightmare recordings, I think this one is more dynamic and actually almost has a punk feel that strays a little from the hardcore path. I guess that German fellow was right, what doesn't kill a band makes for a stronger record. (KM)

Glamour Puss Wire & Wood NorthernBlues Music • On their fourth release, Glamour Puss continues to formulate a sound of grooving blues with just the right pinches of roots and rock. Very upbeat and coming off as a well produced album, the combination of storytelling songwriting, rambunctious guitar work, soulful keyboard, pulsating percussion and freeform sax lines provides a live show sound that brings the dancing shoes out even for the most sit-around kind of people. Refreshing and inspirational, the good vibe approach on this release is a lot of fun and a version of John Lee Hooker's "Boom Boom" is included. (JC)

God O.D. The Album self-released • It isn't often one gets to say this in a CD review, but God sucks. Actually, it's not all that bad. It's just not all that good. Several originals and a cover of a Stooges tune and one by the Stones; this is low grade, low production-quality rock. Angry and gritty, there is potential here, but it needs some work. (MK)

Goldblade Strictly Hardcore Thick Records • The front cover image displayed is about the only "art" found on this disc. I'm not saying Goldblade is a horrible, drug hammering, nu-metal band that won't last another year (if they were, Rancid, Fugazi, and The Offspring wouldn't have played with them). I'm just saying they do not expand their horizons. Strictly Hardcore features the average street punk/oi material, embracing sex, drugs, rock'n'roll, pit frenzied parties, and the works! For any fan of typical or modernized punk, take a gander at this newly released CD! If you're into something "out of the box," then Strictly Hardcore is something you might like to avoid. (CMax)

Grand Unified Theory Grand Unified Theory Undetected Plagiarism • Now I may not know much about science, but that doesn't stop me from drinking heavily and spouting off like I was Stephen Hawking or somebody in a lab coat. Grand Unified Theory, in addition to being some scientific thing I'm too lazy to search out on the Internet, is also a pretty damn good band. Recorded in their apartment in Berkeley, the trio's debut album sounds like a slightly more stable Connor Oberst fronting Versus. For science geeks and cretins alike, Grand Unified Theory is some good stuff. (CL) 

Hamilton Field Hamilton Field self-released • Hamilton Field, a three-piece from San Francisco, play some fun, energetic rock.  Right from the opening track "Girlfriend," you can tell these guys have a sense of humor, kind of like the Hoodoo Gurus or someone along those lines.  Other tracks sound similar to Mollusk-era Ween and the country rock of Cracker.  This is very entertaining without straying into novelty act territory.  (CL)

Harold Ray Live in Concert self-titled Alternative Tentacles Records • With a name like Harold Ray Live in Concert, you would expect this to be a live recording. And you would be right. This band's energetic 60's garage-soul can best be experienced in a live setting, and probably would not translate well into the studio. (AL)

Hero Pattern Cut You Out Redi-Made Records • Are you a suburban white boy? Did your girlfriend recently break up with you? Do you like Jimmy Eat World, Dashboard Confessional, All American Rejects? Then you need to go pick up this CD. Not only do I guarantee that you will like it, but I guarantee that in six months when these guys get put on the radio and break, you can say you heard them first. This album is catchy, fine tuned, and ready for the radio. Keep your eyes open for these guys on tour, because if you skip the $5 shit bar tour these guys are on right now, then the next time you will be spending $15 to see them at some place like House of Blues or whatever your moderately large venue is, and the next time after that who knows, you may just be watching them talk to whatever tool MTV has employed to brainwash the kiddies now. (MC)

High Llamas Beet, Maize & Corn Drag City Records • A lot can happen in three years. That's how long it's been since Sean O'Hagan's High Llamas released Buzzle Bee. What happened in that time was a lot of mellowing out. Therefore, the sound has changed. Although it still sounds inspired from earlier decades, it drops most of the electronics and focuses on the interplay between acoustic guitars and brass instruments. The result is not better or worseŠjust different. And just as enjoyable. (AL)

Honey Tongue Take Me Anywhere Naga Night Records • Immediately, on the title track, this comes off as popish rock with an 80ish touch and early 90's female-singer personification. Can't say I mean that as a good thing. But a good thing is the voice of lead singer Jen Ayers who does deliver in grand fashion with a crisp rock n' roll backdrop that delves into balladry, such as on the mesmerizing "Runaway." The combination just doesn't seem to fit at times on some of these tracks though, but the overall formula is a good one and is radio ready. This just takes a few listens before deciding if it becomes a guilty pleasure for you or something a bit too formulated to feel fun. (JC)

Horse The Band R Borlax Pluto Records • Right out the gates on "Seven Tentacles And Eight Flames," the screaming vengeance and electro elements here carry heavy weight through the hardcore musical delivery on this release. Veering into insane keyboard leads, and possessing a metal guitar explosion that carries the skitso vocals throughout, this is well suited for fans of The Locust, Hatebreed and The Blood Brothers. Self described as "Nintendocore," this group out of Lake Forest, CA has created an intensely charging and original sound that will have your brain bleeding from your ears by albums end. (JC)

Huntingtons Sef-Titled Album Fast Music • If I've heard of a pop-punk band then you know they have to have somebody talking about them enough to get me to actually listen up. I like this record. That said, the beauty of pop-punk is in the end its downfall, and this recording from the Huntingtons is no exception, catchy and easy to get into, quickly becomes tired and easy to take out of the CD player. Great for a road trip or a date mix, but nothing that's gonna keep you interested for too long. (KM)

Jamiroquai Late Night Tales Ultra Records • This is not really a Jamiroquai album. It is a compilation of songs that the band likes, and they have the same vibe that you get from their own music, generated from the flowing combination of disco, jazz and soul. (AL)

Jeff Ott Will Work For Diapers Sub City Records • Jeff Ott is the guitarist / vocalist for Fifteen, and many of the comments I made about their album Extra Medium Kick Ball Star (17) apply here as well. The stripped-down, folkie sound of Jeff Ott alone is even less musically interesting, and serves only to showcase the weaknesses of his voice. Again, I admire the raising of awareness, but this is to be mostly a review of the music, and unless you can focus solely on what he's talking about, it's gut-wrenching. (SJM)

Joe Dirty Not Your Average Joe EDC Entertainment • Otherwise known as Joe Killa, the nasal-congested sound he has when he spits his flows are the least of the problems on this release. The quality of this recording is very bad, if the beats where brought to the forefront and the tempo was sped up a bit then maybe the style of Dirty would come across more evenly. The concept here is easily explained by tracks like "Ghetto Symphony," "Thug's Night Out" and "Can't Fuck Wit Killa" that, overall, takes a tired idea and wares it out even more. (JC)

John Wayne's Severed Head The Media Controls Your Emotions, Kill Yourself self-released • "Jesus Didn't Have A Mohawk" will probably not become the new anthem of Christianity, but you can't say they didn't try. Power packed high voltage punk starts off fast and never lets up. This is punk for people who like it fast, rough and angry with lots of teen angst and whatnot. (MK)

June Panic Hope You Fail Better Secretly Canadian • I always hated doing science fair projects back in the day, so I approached this album with some trepidation upon seeing the cover art: a science fair project by none other than June himself, a first prize winner in an El Paso city-wide competition back in 1983. He seems like a pretty smart kid. When he's not studying the philosophical works of Heideggar or Kant, he prolifically produces some Dylan-inspired, literate indie folk rock in his North Dakota home. I may not always understand it, but I sure do like it. (CL)

Just a Fire Light Up Asian Man • The experience of Just a Fire is to be strangled by the entire spectrum of political anger rock. These guys have numerous bones to pick and they attack the festering establishment with force and bravado. Their sound is great ­ they wander a lot, sometimes in Descendents fashion, sometimes Clash-like, and sometimes incorporating some horns into the mix. They've got great energy, great passion, and a great willingness to stoke the fires of activism in this dangerous age. (DP)

Katrina and the Waves The Original Recordings Bongo Beat Records • Fans of Katrina and the Waves rejoice. This one-hit-wonder from the early '80s brought you the catchy song "Walking on Sunshine." Twenty years after their original release, their first two albums, Walking on Sunshine and Katrina and the Waves 2, are included on one CD. Also included is a DVD with a live concert from 1983, 3 videos, and a photo gallery. (AL)

Knuckleduster Universal Struggle GSR • Wow, who knew 90's metalcore still existed. Metalcore that sucks this bad that is, maybe stuff like this flys in the UK, but not here. Stomp lyrics, and really typical and tired metal riffs make this one really easy to sleep through. (KM)

Last Collapse The Fallen Embers Records • This is punk rock straight from the hardcore scene of Orange County, CA, that doesn't quite represent so well. Throughout the loneliness and the losses that are spilled out with each agonizing vocal outburst, these sounds are reminiscent of the metal-driven years of the 80's, causing my own somewhat fabricate comparisons between this band and a caffeine induced version of Judas Priest. (JC)

Life At Sea Is There A Signal Coming Through Lucid Records • Driving melodies carry this pop emo indie rock album from track to track. Did I leave a genre out? This four piece has elements of all the aforementioned. The Silent Treatment are label mates to Life At Sea and there are definite similarities in their sounds. Acoustic guitars, cello and even synthesizers are contributed to the arrangements. Tracks like "She Wants" show the band's sensitive side while "One and Only" shows a more rocking side with a staccato bass line that gets your toe tapping. They take a turn on "Black Cloud" to what almost sounds like a Cure song complete with vocal effects. (MP)

Living Science Foundation Last Call For Nightfall Second Nature Recordings • Jesus Christ, this guy's voice is awful. The only other singer I can think of in recent pop history who is worse is that fucko from Counting Crows. Which is a shame really, because when he's not crapping on the track, the band's aggressive take on indie-rock is quite nice. (SJM)

Lungfish Love Is Love Dischord Records • Together since 1987, Lungfish has remained a sonic force around Baltimore with a sound that is reminiscent of the late 80's, early 90's grunge revolution that began with Mother Love Bone, Soundgarden and Smashing Pumpkins. Overall this is a really good album with tracks like "This World", which resembles an "I alone" attitude and has a spaced out aura that is entrancing, but touches just the tip of the creative use of lyrics and substance within this release. (JC)

Majestic Twelve Searching For The Elvis Knob self-released • Sincere, indie-pop rock songs are included on this release where harmonies run rampant, but the vocals come across stale. From the gloomy sound of the opening track "Soylent Green" into the following rantings of "I Don't Have A Job," where the lament is "I don't have a job, I just drink beer and play guitar," the overall vibe here is catchy, but not much more will help keep away the feeling of boredom with this release. (JC)

Majhas Stepping Into Character Hawthorne Street Records • I should almost applaud this for all the things it isn't, like how its not racing towards stereotypes and comfortable patterns. Midtempo aggressive hardcore, with great rock backbeats mixed in to keep you guessing. It's brutal, but you almost wouldn't know it, because it comes from so many angles and overwhelms you. Dig it, totally dig it. (KM)

Malachai The Sounds of the Spirit World 4x Beaver Records • I won't lie. Most of the time you can peg what a band is doing in a couple of songs, which generally makes it easy to review a band. This CD on the other hand begins with, "O Amy," a garagey, catchy song with a shaker and some kitschy high pitched male back up vocals. Then the second track is an electronic spoken word ode to what could be masturbation. The singer, Mike, who also appears to be the only consistent member of the band, makes me think of Stephen Malkmus from Pavement or the man, Jon Spencer himself. Needless to say this album is almost confusing. The songs jump back and forth from garage punk to electro clash to indie experimentation. It's good, don't get me wrong, but I just don't quite know what to make of it yet. You'd have to listen for yourself to decide. (MC)

Manta Ray Estratexa FILMguerrero • Known as Spain's premier post-punk band, Manta Ray can be compared to Suicide or Trans Am. Some of their songs are in English, some in Spanish, and some are instrumental. However, all of them are hypnotizing. They create a sparse, atmospheric, smoky sound that will grab you and won't let go. (AL)

Martha Lipton Blissville Lip Tunes • Who ever told Martha that it was a good idea to release most of these songs is not her friend, much less whoever came up with the idea to have the naked backside of a women sitting off a dock on her cover as well. The opening track finds the aging Lipton not sounding very sexy while pulling a new-millennium version of Madonna and letting loose on "BodySoul&Mind," a dance track that doesn't go hand in hand with her voice. But don't fear because she provides a variety of songs to fit your mood with good lyrics and a sultry tone. Obviously not all of this works, not the "big band," not the "pop" and not the "blues," but "That Cafö" is a nice direction to go in. (JC)

Mates Of State Team Boo Polyvinyl Record Co • Kori Gardner and Jason Hammel conjure up their third release of striking vocal harmonies, overtop keyboard and percussion work. From organ-heavy riffs to gentle piano notes and the additions of guitar, casio, glockenspiel and claps, this effort is hopelessly poppy and gleaming full of peppiness. (JC)

Matthew Dear Leave Luck to Heaven Spectral / Ghostly International • Leave Luck to Heaven is driven by the minimalist-but-steady beats of techno, quirky synths, and groovy bass lines. Dear adds snippets of his own voice to many tracks, as somewhat of an audio signature. You could try not to dance to this, but you would fail. (AL)

Maypole Burning in Water, Drowning in Flame Gangstyle Records • Raise your fist, hardcore fans, to some of the craziest and most influential hardcore punk bands I have ever heard. Maypole, rather than producing the So-Cal oi punk usually expressed on the label, they bring a batch of kick-to-the-face, punch-to-the-throat anthems that you and your friends can slam to! Bearing a strong resemblance to Sick Of It All, Maypole produced all the bone crushing guitar riffs, panoramic views, infectious breakdowns, and lyrical antics that all fans of hardcore and punk could enjoy! Move over Throwdown, it's time for a new era as Maypole will leave you not only burning in water, but drowning in flame! (CMax)

Meaty Ogre Leo vs. Pisces Galapagos4 • This Chicago DJ has laid down beats for the likes of Mars III and Sage Francis, and on this release he has proven that a true producer sees the bigger picture within an album. On Leo vs. Pisces, Meaty has constructed a concept album of haunting and trancing beats that plays on the most opposite of the astrological signs by beginning with "Leo Prowls..." and ending with "...Pisces Swims Away." Though this is mostly instrumental, Meaty lays down flows alongside Denizen Kane, Qwel, Offwhyte and newcomers from the label to create a collective that stands out from the pack. (JC)

Mesmer Machine s/t Madroad • This four-song debut EP definitely contains sounds you've heard before, but perhaps not in this skillfully woven combination. You hear echoes of U2 and Jane's Addiction ­ a psychedelic rock and roll record with beautiful hypnotic guitar lines ringing in the background. Originally from the Mojave Desert, the ethereal influences and ambition of this band shine brightly through their trippy, elastic anthems. (DP)

MF Doom Special Herbs Vol. 4 Metal Face/Nature Sounds • The fourth installment of instrumental albums from MF Doom (formerly known as Zev Love X) includes a mixture of beats from the now, and classic beats from his days with KMD, King Ghidora and his own previous projects. Overall this will only leave you thirsty for MF to start spittin' lyrics over these mellowed-out, snare heavy beats. This collection simply turns out to be a nice backdrop for times of chillin' out, chokin' on smoke or having a brew. (JC)

Mice Parade Obrigado Saudade Bubble Core Records • Loosely translated, Obrigado Saudade means "thank you, nostalgia" in Portuguese. The sense of nostalgia comes through these nine songs, which see Mice Parade founder Adam Pierce playing most of the instruments, including acoustic guitars, drums and keyboards. Maybe it's the reverbed, smoky atmosphere, or the sporadic hushed vocals. In any case, you'll want to sit back in a comfy chair and put on the headphones for this one. (AL)

Mighty Casey The Original Rudebwoy EP Busted Lip Records • School teacher by day, you'd think Casey would bring a bit more to the table then this collection of nonsense. Wrapped up in cartoonish beats and an entertaining, at times annoying, sense of humor, Casey pokes fun at all angles. Whether it's on the lead single "White Girls," which has Casey explaining why easy white girls are his preference, to "Liqourland," an ode about getting drunk that sounds jacked from Tha Alkaholiks, this is simply a sarcastic joke of a release that also features "Black Rapping School" and "One Night Stand." (JC)

Mike Park For The Love of Music Asian Man Records • It's been hard to avoid the name Mike Park. From his old bands Skankin Pickle, his recent band The Chinkees, his record label, his founding of the Plea For Peace Foundation... Yeah, homeboy's been kinda busy. This disc, his first acoustic, shows just another side of the multidimensional man. While most acoustic releases are going to be mostly about ex-girlfriends and the such, Park gives us a little bit more, with songs about the things we know, shows, friends, social issues, and, of course, some relationship stuff to boot. One of the best acoustic recordings I've heard in awhile, and worth your time. (KM)

Modern Machines Thwap! New Disorder Records • This is punk rock, in the spirit of Chuck Berry and The Clash, and comes straight out of Milwaukee. Pushing out average tunes like they're jamming in the garage, this will make you want to grab your smokes and chug a beer. Something for the rowdy bunch out there. Tracks like "Radio Tower" and "Home Is Where The Hicks Is" end up bringing out the end of the night boredom even before this messy release is halfway through. (JC)

Moossa Get Away 504 North Inc. • With a wide range of roots inspired rock driving this bands sound, the collage of reggae and country guitar riffs blend to create a solid, laid back rock album. These guys simply create good music together and play off each other's vibe to keep the stoner energy level high, so to say. "Night Rider" carries a Sublime-like sound, "Althea" has hints of Bob Dylan, and other comparisons can also be made because of the influences of Bob Marley and Elvis Costello. (JC)

Mr. Abstract and The Sour Grapes Mr. Abstract and the Sour Grapes self-released • These punksters out of Miami pack a distorted punch, with a chaotic sound on their first release. Though the recording quality lacks production wise, the driving bass guitar and scruffy vocals on this disc carries the grooves throughout, and the rest of the band jams with mayhem on stand out tracks like "Bundle" and "Mirth". (JC)

Mr. Brady Dusty Baker Battle Axe Records • Bringing his own beats and a steady, smoked-out flow from the west coast, Mr. Brady invites a few D.J.'s along to scratch-up his soundscape with touches of precision. Brady's beats are tight, hitting with a manner that mirrors what you'd expect from Battle Axe and the underground sound out west. Add a sample here and there and you get a straight up, hip-hop release that stays bouncing with a continuous battle-rap vibe and little frills. (JC)

Murderer's Row Menace To Sobriety GSR Music • Full of punk rock, oi! aggression, with that signature gruff vocal sound and musical mayhem, nothing short of complete caos comes with this release. From "Broken Bones" and "Aggravation" to "Live By The Drink, Die By The Drink" and "We Want More Beer," this album contains a hardcore, mosh-pit attitude with catchy sing-along choruses. (JC)

Naked Aggression The Gut Wringing Machine Rodent Popsicle Records The Gut Wringing Machine was recorded in 1998 and Naked Aggression was ready to go on a tour in support of their new album when the guitar player and husband of the singer died. It was over and the band broke up and never released the album. Well now it is being released and is dedicated to the late Phil Suchomel. I wasn't too into the album, but if your into old-school punk rock, then this could possibly be for you. With the exception of an occasional guitar solo, nothing really sticks out with The Naked Aggression. (NP)

National Eye The Meter Glows self-released • I'm not sure where to start with this one. The beginning started out with an experimental indie rock feel with tons of effects on the vocals. The songs dragged with monotony. By the fourth track, vocals can be heard in a truer form, almost Flaming Lips-ish, along with organ. Track to track differs so much and there seems to be a lot of unnecessary noise in between what could maybe be some good mellow songs. Some of these diamonds in the rough reminded me of Yo La Tengo. (MP)

New Bomb Turks Switchblade Tongues and Butterknife Brains Gearhead • These guys have been around forever. This is their eighth full-length release. The album is mostly unreleased material, some from 2000, 2001 and 2002, along with some b-sides. Altogether, you get 16 tracks of garage rock loaded with a punk attitude. (CM)

Noam Chomsky The Emerging Framework Of World Power AK Press • Chomsky's offering this time around is a little broader than the some of his recent focuses. In typical Chomsky style and grace he takes all to school a bit, this time on the concepts of world power, and more accurately the American role in world power. I like how he ties in a vast array of examples to follow up any of his points, and lays it down with a structure that is easy to follow and grasp. Another must from the voice of the left. (KM)

Norine Braun Now & Zen Braun and Brains Music • Canadian songwriter Norine Braun describes her fifth album as "ambient soul pop with elements of hip hop, jazz, and a dash of punk." It's an apt description, though I think one that she should avoid identifying with too heavily. This album reveals a talented artist in the making - if her frequent moments of inspiration can overcome a pervasive drive to overthink the music. Perhaps this is a function of her musical partnership with producer and multi-instrumentalist James Bowers, or a desire for broad appeal. Whatever the case, musically simpler moments such as "Buffalo Nights," the impassioned "Maya," and "Gently" seem to highlight her voice more effectively than such songs as the title track, which finds her treading self-consciously into a musical region with striking similarity to the kind of mystical rock purveyed by the singer of the better known album also named Now & Zen: Robert Plant. While the occasional rapping is rythmically very competent - and I believe is meant simply to be playful - it seems odd and out of place. When Norine Braun is at her best - when she is open and self-confident, expressive and emotive - she is bright and impressive. (SJM)

Oddities The Scenic Route Underworld Records / Battle Axe • Toronto hip-hop that carries smoothed-out beats from the production of Bookworm and Bounce. What you get on this release is a consistent style of spitting lyrics over a west coast type bounce that contains eerie backdrops of keys and guitars that add a bit of atmosphere. "Soundwaves" features Ishkan and contains thoughtful flows like "we move slow, just to let the sound waves crash through youŠ" but this disc doesn't impress in the beginning as much as it does before it ends. "Late Again" is a standout that pays tribute to the procrastinator in all of us, helping this stay interesting until the last thump is through. (JC)

Of Angels and Gravediggers self-titled self-released • It is interesting that one song on this CD is called "Slit Throat Speaks." That is exactly what the lead singer from this Tampa, Fla. band sounds like ­ a person whose throat has just been slit screaming in anger. If his voice was a bit deeper, they would be in death metal territory, but as it stands they fit more into the metalcore genre. Either way, they are well worth listening to. (AL)

Onadime Pray For Wings self-released • This doesn't grab me in anyway. It's pretty much run-of-the-mill radio rock with big male vocals over solid, but standard, heavy college rock music. It does have melodic hooks that can etch a song in your brain, but this wasn't something I wanted to keep hearing in my head. If you're a fan of your local "rock" radio station, this might be right up your alley. Think Metallica meets Seven Mary Three. (CM)

Oneida Secret Wars Jagjaguwar • The creative and funky, synth-heavy, 80's kind of industrial guitar grind on this release is an intense surprise from this label. Urgency carries the mood and eerie vibes are accented throughout by organic sounds and the suspense of a mystery. They liken their style to that of ESG, Moondog and the Incredible String Band while further developing the sound of Can. But the truth of it is, this stuff hear will send you off into outer space on a trip that no substance could take you on. (JC)

Osgoods Automatic Do-Over self-released • This Tucson, Arizona three-piece plays jangly, college-rock that has a bit of a blues influence. The nine songs on this self-released album are pretty melodic. It's good music for beer drinking at a local bar. (CM)

Park It Won't Snow Where Your Going Lobster Records • Listening to so many regional bands, many of them slip through a crack and are forgotten pretty soon after you review them, Park's first release was one I actually remember. One I listened to after the fact. One that stood out a step from the crowded CD shelf, and so I was excited to see some new stuff from them in the review bin. Maybe a little more emo sappy than before, but also benefiting from better production and experience in song writing. This band is the kind of band you scour the underground looking to discover, this is the release that opens your eyes to them. (KM)

Pensive Something About The Stars EP self-released • These guys play good punk rock, but it's the same old stuff. I'm getting a bit tired of hearing this poppy, melodic punk stuff. It's hard to be too complimentary about a band that sounds just like hundreds of others. Sure, they are tight and skilled in their abilities and the music is melodic and rather infectious, but you could turn on MTV2 and hear a handful of other bands that play the same music equally as well. This is not to say that Pensive is a crappy band. They're actually pretty good, but I think the genre is getting overdone. But, if you like bands such as Simple Plan, Sum 41, Thursday, Thrice, Less Than Jake and Good Charlotte, you might find this to be the best thing you've ever heard. (CM)

Pete Rock Underground Hip Hop Soul Classics BBE/Rapster • As if The Beat Generation series (which featured Pete Rock's Petestrumentals) wasn't enough, Rapster Records has dug up some old material and will begin launching their new series of "Lost And Found" material. This unreleased Pete Rock collection is from 1994 and contains his signature sound of production and is released in a two-disc set. From Rock's Soul Brother days, now comes the official masters of INI and Deda, two crews, on separate discs, that have long since disbanded but still find Pete at his peak while pushing out steady beats that still hold up today. (JC)

Pillbox Remedy Use As Directed EP self-released • This CD sort of shows everything that can go wrong with solo acoustic music. These songs might actually be pretty good with a band backing them up, spicing them up, and moving them along. As they stand there is nothing dynamic to note nothing to make my ear stand up and look for more. It sounds a lot like sitting around with your friend in a living room while he plays his next sure thing anthem that you kindly try to find a way out of listening. (KM)

Pinhead Gunpowder Compulsive Disclosure Lookout! • This foursome of Lookout! Records veterans features members from Monsula, Crimpshrine, and is fronted by none other than Billie Joe Armstrong of Green Day. They've been playing since 1991, and still come together to play their unique brand of hooky, melodic punk rock. There are a lot of great surprises on this short but sweet album, and it's catchy as hell ­ a fine piece of work that's doing its part to keep punk rock real. (DP)

Popular Shapes Bikini Style On/On Switch • Popular Shapes is a "post-punk" crew that creates chaotic tirades heavy with two guitars, driving drums and a steady bass guitar. What you get here is a disc that ends before you ever knew it even began because it all sounds pretty much the same. Vocals are undecipherable and the frantic that comes through musically sounds too much like a good-time basement jam session that is nothing worth releasing as a debut. (JC)

Pseudosix Days of Delay 54°40' or Fight! • Soft-spoken and chilling, Pseudosix plays a hushed brand of acoustic guitar music, reminiscent of the Beatles and Pink Floyd when they were at their least energetic. "Weary and lost folksingers of the labor days of the Post-Modern Age," these guys are champions of desperation and hope, conveying this passion through near-silent screams and warbling ballads. Are things that downtrodden and overwhelmingly sad in their hometown of Portland? You'd think so. (DP)

Quickening A Victory self released • Quickening are a four piece rock band from Cleveland Ohio. When I first started listening to this album I noticed Hum influenced guitars and thats a good. But after few more listens I felt like I was back in the mid nineties when this grunge style was popular. That doesn't mean this isn't a good album, its just a little dated. (RP)

Radioman Intake Mental Records • Here's an odd one. The first track of the album opens with a sample from Texas Chainsaw Massacre Pt. 2, fades into a serpentine, middle eastern-tinged gothic interplay of guitar and bass, then abruptly shifts to metal circa 1986. The rest of the tracks, as a whole, suggest their closest musical kinship is with bands like Megadeth and innumerable lesser-known garage heavy metal bands of the time. The recording is strangely flat, and although the individual instruments are discernable (with the notable exception of half of the drum kit), none is allowed to occupy a space of its own. A track like "Set Away" is proof of aspiration to the moody space metal of bands like Tool, but the instrumental sound is too compressed, too wispy, and ultimately doesn't have the power to commit the listener to vocalist / guitarist Doug Striley's bleak, cynical vision. (SJM)

Raising The Fawn By The Warmth Of Your Flame Sonic Unyon Recording Company • This five-song EP opens with a laconic waltz of sorts in acoustic guitar and possibly electric slide guitar, and then proceeds in a very openly constructed and subdued pop vein. The harmonizing is pleasant, and the lead vocalist / guitarist's falsetto is natural sounding and on occasion pretty amazing. Some of the instrument layering reminds me of Tortoise, particularly on the opening of "The Common Cold." This band is two members lighter since a recent breakup, with an album due for later release that was recorded beforehand with the full band. By The Warmth Of Your Flame is a well constructed piece of studio work; it seems likely a new lineup will inject that critical live element into something which is already very good. (SJM)

Rickshaw Sonic Overload Devil Doll Records • Somebody's been listening to more than their fair share of original makeup-era Kiss. In fact, the main vocalist sounds like a near-perfect synthesis of Paul Stanley and Gene Simmons with the vibrato of Iron Maiden's Bruce Dickinson. There's nothing quite like the experience of listening to a uniquely American style of music filtered through the mind of a Swede. Track eleven is a bizarre choice of a cover song: The Bee-Gees written, Kenny Rogers / Dolly Parton chart-topper, "Islands In The Stream." The only thing more puzzling than why it was chosen, is how these guys are able to pull off such an earnest performance. If you like your 70's Rock served up Scandinavian-style with a Redneck twist, bang your head to this one. (SJM)

Ringworm The Promise Deathwish Records • Ringworm released their first album all the way back in 1993. This band is totally awesome. If the devil has a CD player, I'm sure that Ringworm is in there or at least next in line, and when Lucifer does put that album in, he'll be banging his horns to songs like, "Blind to Faith," "Death Do Us Part," "Urine," and "Flatline." (NP)

Robert Farrell Metaphysical Ignition Musicmint Records • A lack of space is what prompted Robert Farrell to ditch his acoustic piano in favor of a digital one. For this reason, Metaphysical Ignition's classical piano suites come through with remarkable clarity. He combines classical and baroque influences and creates beautiful music that would be quite appropriate for one of those chain coffee stores that yuppies are so fond of. (AL)

Roc Raida Champion Sounds DMC Records • Raida was recently named a Grand Master of hip-hop by some of the true legends of the game, Kool Herc, Grand Wizard Theodore and DST. It's not a title that is taken lightly and tossed to just anyone. Roc Raida deserves the title, lives the title and delivers Grand Master-like results. For those that don't know, Raida is a DJ, a true hip-hop DJ who has been honing his craft for over 20 years. He's best known for his membership in the X-ecutioners, arguably the best DJ crew the hip-hop world has ever known. On this release, he presents 18 tracks featuring his own original work as well as cuts from such hip-hop notables as fellow X-ecutioner Rob Swift, DJ Radar, D-Styles and Zion I. The result is a non-stop journey of dope beats and incredible cuts. There is something mesmerizing about a skilled DJ and this album is packed with incredible examples of just what makes this musical art form so damn impressive. While MCs often command the spotlight, DJs are being overlooked for what I believe to be is a much harder craft to perfect and one equally deserving of the spotlight. (CM)

Salt The Earth The Process Of Breaking Anxiety Records • This band's vocalist and general sound bears a striking resemblance to that of a band from the early 90's called Jawbox. The D.C. punk element and willingness to experiment with off-beat transitional rythyms that set apart a band like Jawbox is, sadly, nowhere to be found. However, the driving, pounding rythym and emotional content are infective, causing some of my initial skepticism to devolve into a little air-drumming. There are some weak vocal moments, and sometimes the rythym is rushed, but overall this is some pretty rocking emo-core. (SJM)

Scott Lemire & Seth Warner The Leaves Be Green self-released • This disc highlights the virtuosity of two modern day masters of the lute. The centuries-old compositions they play are soft and lilting with an almost ethereal quality to them. The complex song structures are handled with such deft and precision that the two lutes seem to blend seamlessly into one instrument, weaving in and out of one another so beautifully that you have no choice but to listen again and again. This is an amazing disc. (MK)

Second Chance Tides May Turn Gangstyle Records • This "hardcore punk" band, if that's what you'd like to call it, even though it bares a strong resemblance to street/thrash punk (genres are confusing), brings to you 14 songs of pure "frantic frenzy." Spinal cord breaking drum riffs, followed by blistering bass lines and guitar progression keep the madness moving and the pit flowing. However, I do not agree with the band's attack towards "Straightedge," but all in all the CD was quite decent. I prefer Agnostic Front or Pennywise, but if you have time give Second Chance a first chance. (CMax)

Section 8 The Halo Effect self-released • The five songs on this EP keep the energy level high with their combination of metal-influenced guitar work and the melodic, harmonized vocals. It's not until the last track that their softer side shows through, with a mellow, acoustic song, full of emotion.

Selfmademan The Daylight Robbery Smallman Records • This Canadian quartet does just what their name signifies. They create a style and inspiration of their own that left me astonished at how they incorporated practically anything related to in a 10-song, 40-minute disc. This freshman release will definitely not be their last due to the uniqueness and eccentricity of this group. Combining styles in comparison to Thursday, Hot Water Music, Glassjaw, Jawbreaker, etc. they not only stand for what they believe in, but are politically influenced as well! Their intervening guitar solos, behind steadily fulfilled bass lines, drum beats, and rhythm, are making a name for this band soon to be seen alongside Small Brown Bike and The Lawrence Arms. Then it's off to bigger and better things. (CMax)

Shabazz The Disciple The Book Of Shabazz (Hidden Scrollz) Battle Axe Records • Mysterious and gritty in the spirit of early Wu-Tang, Shabazz delivers an energetic debut and shows love towards his influences from the past by borrowing many notable rhyme lines and beats from hip hop's elite. First discovered by the RZA, this disciple appeared on the off-the-wall confessional "Diary Of A Madman" with the Gravediggaz, he brings that same craziness this time around as well. But that's not all; he spits rhymes that tackle street level drama, realism and the dark souls that wonder the world. Also featuring Poetic, Killa Priest, Lord Jamar, Freestyle and Lil Dap, this effort stays true to his roots and should make some noise through the underground. (JC)

Short Round / The Sidekicks Split EP Let's Go! Records • Short Round, a brilliant three-piece of melodic proportions, give us three songs. They play catchy rock with a punky punch, thick with melodies, tight guitar parts that shift here and there, keeping your toes tapping all along. I'm also quite fond of the vocals, not overdone, but heartfelt and passionate nonetheless. The Sidekicks are also a three-piece band, also loaded with melody, but their sound is a bit more raw and snotty. It's awesome; they are quite incredible. We get four songs from them. Two are originals and the other two are covers, one being Dinosaur Jr.'s "Feel The Pain" (done amazingly well) and the other is a cover of a Short Round song. Split EPs are rarely this good. Don't miss out. (CM)

Shudder To Think Curses, Spells, Voodoo, Mooses Dischord Records • Shudder To Think's debut album has been out of print for a long time, so Dischord decided to get the original tapes and remaster it for this release. As an added bonus, they also included the 7" "It Was Arson" and a never before heard song, "Take The Child." (AL)

Slomo Rabbit Kick Bass Monster Lives in the Bass Forest Skrocki Records • Something about this experiment by Jay Chilcote, along with the background vocals of Jamie Kline, is comforting, yet confusing at the same time. The title comes from a misattributed quote of Phil Elvum's and the album sounds in the same vein as Guided By Voices. But nonetheless, Chilcote kicks things off with the three-part intro of "The Most Beautiful Girl He's Ever Known" and is followed by an assorted collection of sounds that is best heard through "I'm WYSIWYG Now." Meowing cats, bicycle horns, an accordion, banjo and keyboards accompany melodies that carry the tone and make for a trippy journey through these back woods. (JC)

SMNNMNM Power Pack Horse Crunch self-released • This is kind of fun. Any band boasting an amplified tuba is at least worthy of a listen. This is catchy pop music. It seems likely that you will hear them on any college radio station. Lots of easy melodies and slick hooks make this a disc that grows on you. (MK)

Snakes and Music Truisms Universal Warning Records • Have you noticed when artists get "clean" their music starts to go south? They get off the junk, give up the booze, and the music just sucks. According to their press kit, which may or not be completely truthful, Snakes & Music confess to being heavily influenced by drugs and alcohol. While it may not be the best for their long-term health, it's good for the rest of us. Featuring former Jazz June singer/guitarist Andrew Low, Snakes & Music plays some cool dirty, sparse, and rumbling indie rock that sounds good whether you're fucked up or not. (CL)

Snapcase Bright Flashes Victory Records • I'm all for hardcore bands getting experimental, and Snapcase has been around long enough that its certainly time for them to grow in some new directions. Experimental and a new direction this is for sure. I like it for the most part, it takes a minute to get used to, but once you're in the circle it starts to make sense. A lot more electronic stuff going on, but there is still the signature Snapcase sound. Their covers of Helmet's "Blacktop" and Jane's Addiction's "Mountain Song" are a little off putting, but interesting. It's a good step for Snapcase, but one that some closed minded hardcore fans might not take with them. (KM)

Soiled Doves Soiled Life Gold Standard Laboratories • This album is the sole full-length album by this now defunct Seattle band. No need to fret, there's no evidence of the so-called "Seattle Sound" here. If anything, the lineage is traceable to such a psychedelic luminary as Capt. Beefheart. There are also many comparisons to be drawn with the pathos and sketchy quality of early Pavement. Chock-full of experimental structure which forms a cohesive whole when it feels like it, this album is not to be termed easy listening. That doesn't detract from it's interest, although I find the lead vocal to be grating; a little whiny and self-conscious. (SJM)

Sol Uprising Sol Power Solvizion/Shaman Work Recordings • Balancing the flows of Sci and the mesmerizing style and sound of Stacy Epps has Sol Uprising rising through the stagnant style in hip hop nowadays. Reminiscent of the days of The Fugees and Digable Planets, a heavy dose of jazz and firm production keeps things upbeat while Epps lends beautiful vocals behind the tight, Lost Boys sounding, knowledge delivered by Sci. The soul food included here is intended to be a direct celebration of the influences that have come before them, and I think they pulled it off. (JC)

Something About Vampires and Sluts I'm Not Afraid of Sex Coptercrash • With a cover of The Cure's "Grinding Halt" included, expect what the album title implies with this release. The indie rock sound on this disc is up tempo with diversified grunginess that carries mystic and darkness. Wayward vocals, and a swagger that's drunk on cockiness carry the frantic attitude in a way only vampires and sluts could. The title track stands out along with "Dancing In Graveyards" and "Fake I.D." (JC)

Soulside self-titled Dischord Records • A re-release of DC's Soulside's debut album. With a sound that harkens The Clash, 7 Seconds, and of course early DC hardcore. Back in the day I loved Soulside, and this release still stands up to the test of time, unlike somethings from the era. I could almost argue this release is better than my previously overplayed "Soon Come Happy" CD. Members of Soulside went on to form, Girls Against Boys, for you history buffs. (KM)

Spokane Measurement Jagjaguwar • The loneliness, the pain, the suffering, staring at the kids playing across the yard from your bedroom window, its all here. Their fifth release of hypnotic, dreary-eyed self-empathy is just as sad and just as beautiful as the releases before it. Rick Alverson and Courtney Bowles are joined by Robert Donne on bass, and once again unearth their deepest sorrows with delicate vocals that carry poetic words of mystery over subtle sounds of orchestrated music. (JC)

Stampead self-titled self-released • This albums starts off with way-too-dramatic vocals that really doesn't get things off on a good foot, personally. From there, the music gets jangly and the drama (passion?) continues. The music blends many influences, some classic rock, some more contemporary radio rock, some rootsy college rock and even a bit of country. These guys appear to take themselves very seriously; their press packet includes a page for each individual member. I think that's a bit overdoing it. (CM)

Starlite Motel If We Switch Drivers Just Me Records • Melodic guitars, cymbally drums (too much), poetic type lyrics that are usually cheesy, and the usual screamer in the background. Just a few things that kind of sum up this band from Ft. Myers, Fla. Occasionally sounding like Coheed and Cambria or Thursday, SM is trying to create a serious album but instead are creating something that's very tacky, with chime sounds and corny vocals I do not recommend this album to anybody. (NP)

Stereo Total Monokini Kill Rock Stars • You may as well read the next review for Stereo Total's Oh Ah, since the material on both of these albums are similar. I should mention that both albums are reissues, and Monokini features five bonus tracks. (AL)

Stereo Total Oh Ah Kill Rock Stars • Somehow it makes sense that this group is from Berlin. They sing in German, French and briefly in English (in a weird cover of Salt N Pepa's "Push It"), and use plenty of keyboards and canned beats. The male-female vocals play off of each other nicely, and you get the feeling you are inside a weird cabaret. (AL)

STFU & Monster Squad split CD Burnt Ramen Records/Rodent Popsicle Records • I'm on the verge of insanity, prepare for a review of mass destruction and brutal chaos! Oi oi! STFU, has to be one of the most indecent, moronic, and mentally retarded bands I've heard in my entire life! The music is a disgrace to those who are legends in the genre of oi and, if ever heard from those people, God have mercy, for STFU would never play another show again, making many people happy! Answer me this: How can you speak of being disgraced and put down as a "punk" when all you do is promote violence, chaos, and bigotry. Another thing: In every song, complaints are made towards the government, American society, beliefs, yada yada, but yet they have a song called "Quit Yer Bitchin." Man, these guys are cool. Monster Squad on the other hand is very talented, well structured, and thought out, the true definition of Oi lies with them! (CMax)

Sticks & Stones The Strife and Times 2xCD Chunksaah! • During the early '90s (and actually stretching back into the late '80s), Sticks & Stones were crafting punk music that paved its own path. There's plenty of speedy punk rock (ala Minor Threat), but there are also influences from new wave (Joy Division) and rock (The Replacements). While their musical style is often a bit hyper and there's no doubting their angst, it is heavy with melody and the tight, punky guitar solos are almost a bit pop. This double CD release gives you 41 tracks of now-classic punk rock that was crafted before punk had gone mainstream and the word became more of a fashion statement. Sticks & Stones are one of the best punk bands to come out of New Jersey and an album of this proportion is a real testament to that. (CM)

Subset Dueling Devotions Tight Spot Records • Subset is yet another in a long line of good bands from Austin, which has a much better track record for musicians than for governors turned president.  There are a variety of influences evident on Dueling Devotions.  The second track, "Bottled Solution", has a similar chord progression to the Replacements' "Left of the Dial".  At other times, there are hints of Brian Wilson, Pinback, and fellow Austinians (or is it Austinites?)  Spoon.  Try it, you'll like it.  It is from Austin, isn't it? (CL)

Sunshine Necromance Gold Standard Laboratories • This album was originally released in 2001 as an import-title only, but now it is available for mass consumption in the US. In it, this Czech trio combines the energy of punk with the coldness of electronics while giving a nod to synth pop. As a bonus, they added four extra tracks. (AL)

Sunspot Jonz Don't Let Em Stop You Battle Axe Records • Bass-heavy, bouncing beats are the backdrop to Sunspot Jonz debut release from this Living Legend and Mystic Journeymen. The production is mainly what stands out on this disc and is mostly provided by Sunspot himself, with the help of Moka Only and members of Living Legends. "Life's Poetry" and "Dazeold" take you inside the mind of this emcee, but one has to wonder if another Legends album would have been the better alternative after hearing what is offered here. On "Broken Wing World" he rhymes "I'm a brown bag lunch away from being broke" and this average effort may not help his cause. (JC)

Superhopper Does This Sound Exciting Yet? Guilt Ridden Pop • Punk rock elements with varying genres taking their spots in each song. Vocals and guitar tones resemble those of old school punk but less harsh. This band kind of sounds like a band that used to be punk rock and now they have "evolved" over the years to become more ear pleasing to the general public. Pop parts give some of their songs catchiness and they've got that old rock and roll sound going for them. The vocalist sounds British, although they seem to be from the Midwest and his name is Kermit. Go figure. Kermit even gets credit for hand claps, actually the entire band individually gets credit for hand claps. You gotta love that. (MP)

Suppa San Breakout Or Get Broke Up Breakout Ent • From the streets of Philly, this emcee is held back by low budget, synth-heavy beats that are just not produced well enough to make this release sound completed. The style in which he flows is quick, spitting out short fragments about growing up in the streets and the eventual demise that comes thereafter. Nothing stands out from the street-core emcees we here everyday. (JC)

Sweatshop Union Natural Progression Battle Axe Records • This massive hip-hop crew comes with smooth vibes achieved by a limited few, such as Jurassic 5 and Blackalicious. It's seriously dope material for your ears that combines that bohemian party hip-hop with a bit of a more rugged, indie hip-hop influence. The flows are tight as hell and the ability to mix up the vocals using multiple MCs really helps prevent the mic work from getting too repetitive. It also allows the Union to show their mic dexterity, something the aforementioned crews excel at. But the MCs are just one part of this impressive package. This musical performance includes guitar, bass, cello, flute, sax, trumpet, turntables, keys and more. So, you're not getting just a bunch of programmed beats and samples. This is some bumpin' shit that gets live as hell. (CM)

Swollen Members Monsters In The Closet Battle Axe Records • This compilation of B-sides, remixes and unreleased tracks is meant to serve as a little taste to hold fans over until the official third album drops in 2004. Though this is nothing like the superb Bad Dreams release, this does serve its purpose by throwing in a few new singles and staying up to date on the rarities that Mad Child and Prevail have been part of. Moka Only appears all over this disc as well as Saukrates, Evidence, Joey Chavez, DJ Vadim, Paul Nice and others. Core fans will be delighted with the inclusion of tracks like "Breath," "Battle Axe Exclusive," "Crunch" and "New Details." (JC)

Ted Leo/Pharmacists Tell Balgeary, Balgury is Dead Lookout! • It's nice to see Ted Leo again. His brilliant, subtle songwriting and gymnastic voice is a perfect match for his brand of jangly, smart pop. A New Jersey native, Leo is the former front man for the mid-nineties mod-punk band Chisel, and is an inspiring icon of idealistic indie rock. Here he gives us three new songs, a new solo recording, and three never-before-heard covers. Leo is truly in the zone on this one. (DP)

The Actual Songs on Radio Idaho Eyeball Records Songs on Radio Idaho is the new full-length from the Los Angeles trio the Actual. Their brand of "pessimistic pop" is reminiscent of the poppier moments of Jawbreaker's Dear You, particularly on the opening track "The Proof." Max Bernstein does a pretty good approximation of Blake Schwarzenbach's vocal delivery as well. If you like your pop punk a little deeper and darker than your average band getting the love from mainstream radio and MTV, check out the Actual. (CL) 

The Art Ghetto Slumming Trocar Records • They've been labeled "disco punk" and I couldn't agree more. They fit very nicely in between Nena and The Thompson Twins. Their sound could be lined up with Sonic Youth, but not very straight. I wouldn't recommend it to their fans. This is definitely for someone who is stuck in the 80's. (NP)

The Bar Feeders 50 Ways To Leave Your Liver Attention Deficit Disorder • Fueled by the fires of alcohol, Satan, chicken, hot monkey love and gunslingin' chainsaws, this punk rock release is sure to have your skull pulsating by discs end. Keeping things going at a frantic pace and harnessing enough attitude to make up for any slacking, expect what the title may interoperate. Only problem here is this sounds a lot like Offspring most off the time. (JC)

The Berlin Project The Things We Say Orange Peal Records • If bands were like stocks, I would recommend buying the hell out of the Berlin Project.  With their latest full-length The Things We Say, the Pittsburgh-based band has honed their sound and songwriting to produce an album that is ready for the big time.  The guitars and the vocal hooks have been super-sized, and the melodies will stick with you for days.  These guys definitely have the goods to make an impact in the alternative music world.  (CL)

The Black Plastics Black Heat, Black Lighting, Black Plastics Wesome Records • Tightly wound rock on this release with a consistent presence, following the lead of bass guitar and eccentric rock sounds that punctuate with delivery. Hailing from San Francisco, everything on this disc is formulated to reach you with precision, but comes off too formulated to warrant recognition beyond the sub par. (JC)

The Can Utility power 0.42 Pop Faction • This delightful EP from Richmond-based Can Utility is a delightful post-punk/indy-rock trio, employing hard-edged, heavy guitar rock riffs and intertwining male and female vocalizations. I found myself head-butting into the air to the angry power chords ­ it definitely grabs a hold of your "metal" side while appealing to your unquenchable thirst for intelligent, well-constructed indie rock. I wager this band is even better on a stage; they've got a real live sound to them. (DP)

The Capillaries Overnight Lows And Daylight Savings Water And Power Recordings • There's a lot to like about The Capillarie's brand of indie-rock. Often the vocal melodies inspire a sing-along feel, and the jaunty, just-eccentric-enough changes are infectious. Matthew Southworth's songwriting is on a highway back in rock-pop history through Weezerton, on the road to Pixiesborough, leading to Cheap Tricksville. The production values could use some polishing tweaks, but overall the music is enjoyable. Hopefully the music will continue to evolve, and Southworth will ease off a little on the overarching ersatz self-awareness. There's a lot of potential here. (SJM)

The Chinese Stars Turbo Mattress EP Skin Graft • This is the coolest shaped CD I've ever seen, cut into a shape that has four pointy corners, emulating, as closely as possible, a Chinese star. And it actually plays (but not in front-feeding CD players or changers)! But, I'm not sure which could hurt you more, the actual CD or the music. This band is comprised of former members of Arab On Radar and Six Finger Satellite. They offer up five tracks of noisy, spastic, hyper rock that is hard to embrace, but equally hard to turn off. This is certainly a strange release, both musically and design-wise and one that is impossible to classify. That's probably a good thing. (CM)

The Close It's A Secret To Everybody Moodswing Records • Will anyone ever ask what the secret was? Nothing to eventful happens on this tightly knit rock release that blends in with a vast number of mid-level indie bands. High pitched melodic vocals with jangly guitars and musical pep runs stray and untamed throughout, with most of this sounding the same. "Homestead Goldmine" and "Code Of Ethics" are a couple tracks worth checking out. (JC)

The Compulsions Laughter From Below self released • The Compulsions play dirty sweaty bar rock New York style. Imagine that feeling you get while driving down freeway in your Œ82 drop top Mustang mullet blowing in the wind and mustache trimmed just right, on your way to a ZZ top show. That's the feeling I get while listening to this band and it sure feels good god damn it. (RP)

The Curses self-titled Empty Records • The Curses play some raucous, garage rock and roll. It's a fast-paced, top down, beers open kind of album. From start to finish, this is a sweaty rock ride, so watch it, lead foot! Think: the Dead Kennedys meets The Hives meets the Rolling Stones. (CM)

The Dave Rave Group Everyday Magic Self Released • Powerful pop melodies influenced by the likes of The Beatles and The Beach Boys, Rave releases a warm collection of tracks that jam with peppy happiness and then sink into heart-felt sorrows. Not much here to get excited about, just a basic singer-songwriter album that adds elements of programmed rhythms to keep up with the changing times. (JC)

The Death Wish Kids Discography Aerodrome • The Death Wish Kids were the early 90's starting point of bands Pretty Girls Make Graves and The Murder City Devils to name a few places the members of this band ended up. With the true gritty chaotic sound of 90's hardcore punk, (think Born Against meets any band on Ebuliton Records) this document might freak out somebody who wasn't there at the time. If you weren't there, you won't ever really get it. That in mind, this throwback is a keeper, with power, honesty, and chaotic beauty that the early parts of our present decade would be good to reflect on. This discography compiles releases and demos. (KM)

The Destroyed Outta Control self-released • The opening to this release asks the question "is you with us, or is you against us?" If they were asking me I'd have to say I'm neither. 25 years after this punk band recorded tunes to cassette, is this collection of those very tracks kicked off with 10 new tracks to make it all worth the wait. What the reunion brings this time around is a mono-rock sound that comes off as if they're once again meeting up at the garage. It's worth pointing out that the three tracks Bert Switzer pounds the drums are well worth a listen. (JC)

The Disease Dyslexic Experts In Reverse Psychology Alone Records • The Disease are just that, a disease plaguing music and slowing killing it. With electronic hardcore blending they have managed to make a mess out of hardcore music. I think I dislike this band as much asThe Locust. (RP)

The Dukes of Hillsborough If We Only Had Someplace To Go Attention Deficit Disorder • What we have here is some lousy punk rock, intoxicated by the joys of beer and morphine. Nothing stands out on this release, not even the bonus remake of "Family Tradition." The garage sounding riffs and mellow screams sound sick, more than they sound hostile. If you can ever figure out what it is they are moaning about on this disc, then you'll find out these words do nothing but run around in circles the way the music does. (JC)

The Dukes of Nothing War And Wine Tortuga Recordings • Grounded in both the past and the present, The Dukes of Nothing combine old-school hardcore's rawness with today's metal ferocity. The result is a CD with a never-slow-down attitude that plows through ten tracks. The enhanced portion of the CD features a live video, plus photos and lyrics. (AL)

The Feenom Circle The Pawn Shop Melatone Music • After gaining respect from their last release Souled Separately, the Feenom takes a step forward and returns with another release that is synonymous with a place where you can get all your goods at a nice low price, and with little hassle. On this offering, the poetic aspect remains intact and stories about our social ills, childhood nostalgia and opening track "Frisco Disco", which is dubbed as a live-from-the-club parody, are a lock-in to keep both the underground and mainstream abuzz about this crew from Frisco. The beats and production have taken a step up as well on this release, they showcase the jazzy style and persona provided here easily on tracks like "The Pawn Shop" and "A-Train". (JC)

The Forresters Skin Deep Tom Thumb Records • Here is your dose of radio pop for this issue. The Forresters blend rock and pop into a delicate fusion of sounds that are catchy and fun to listen to. I would be shocked not to hear these guys on the radio sometime soon. There is a fresh, almost acoustic sound to this album that makes it really easy to listen to. (MK)

The Gits Enter: The Conquering Chicken Broken Rekids • This band is one that could have been big. But the murder of front woman Mia Zapata in Seattle brought things to a standstill and the story is now making its way onto film. This re-release from 1993 has haunting moments on it like a Sam Cooke version of "A Change Is Gonna Come" and is produced by Jack Endino. Included is some extra material, nine tracks and two never before heard songs. Compared to artists such as Patti Smith, PJ Harvey and The Avengers, this re-issue, along with the apprehension of a murder suspect, may help bring Zapata back to life in at least one sense, and deservedly so. (JC)

The Independents Full Moon Arise EP Fastmusic • Does this band mind that they are a total Misfits rip-off? Maybe they're a bit more "punk rock" than the Misfits, who were, despite being "scary," pretty damn poppy. This has loads of melody, not unlike the Misfits, but it is a bit more aggressive and maybe a tad lighter on the pop. But the "oh-oh-oh" choruses are there, just like the Misfits, as well as the "horror" image (with songs like "Vampires From Outer Space" and "Walking Dead"). I'm not saying this band isn't any good –they play pretty well. But, the Misfits did it first, did it better and I'm not sure how I feel about a band that so blatantly rips them off (borrows?). Side note: Joey Ramone was a huge fan and actually co-produced their full-length in 2001. (CM)

The IO's Laugh About The End self-released • It's interesting - the basic structure of these songs, 80's stylings notwithstanding, is very much 60's folk. This is particularly evident in the vocals, at least partially because of their winsome, heartfelt quality. The three songs on this EP are simply and nicely done - more than occasionally reminiscent of the easier-going side of Yo La Tengo. I hope to hear more from this band. (SJM)

The Lazy Cowgirls I'm Goin' Out and Get Hurt Tonight Reservation Records • Born in the early 80's and having quite a resurgence as of late, the straight ahead rock n' roll influenced by the various sounds of the 50's, 60's and 70's is no slow train for these jangly old timers. The added touches of country rock, and bluesy swagger, provides energy that only a hole-in-the-wall bar can appreciate, and a festival full of partiers could enjoy. Basically, this is what it sounds like to have the right musicians together to crank out a solid album full of sleazy guitars alongside moments of folksy reflection. (JC)

The Matthew Show Texas self-released • Matthew is the guy behind the music on here. So, that's a pretty self-serving title, not unlike Eminem's second album title –heck, maybe this is supposed to be a clever play on that. Well, any similarities between Eminem and The Matthew Show stop there. This is a jangly album of quirky pop that uses a mix of sounds (sax, violin, piano, organ, keys) performed by Matthew and a collection of other musicians that join him on this release. It's a simple but sincere album that I could imagine being played at a smoky NYC coffeeshop. (CM)

The Microphones Live in Japan K records • Part of what initially drew me to the music of The Microphones was the open honest feel of their songs. This live setting over 3 nights of shows in Japan is the perfect setting for that openness to become downright confessional. Softy intense at points, mixed up with moments that feel like they just might lose it completely make for a emotionally bumpy ride. There are a few moments of vocal misses, but those add as much as they might subtract from the experience as a whole. (KM)

The Minders The Future's Always Perfect Future Farmer • The Minders employ lots of keyboards, vocal harmonies and have a serious knack for pop-song crafting. At times their tunes make you want to dance, at other times they can nearly hypnotize you. This eight-song release is beautiful, a mellow, but not unhappy, journey with melodies that will simply absorb you. (CM)

The Mood Elevator Married Alive Doppler Records • This is a professional release: well-recorded, nicely performed; the graphic design and artwork are fantastic. Lucky for us, this pretty package has a gem inside. Thoughtful and fun, this is indie-styled pop-rock as it should be. Sometimes, the vocals reach a lightly-rasped Beach Boys sound, in terms of both the lead and the harmony. A particular high point for vocal harmony in this album is heard on the track "Life Line", a playful song with elements of the Mamas And Papas, managed without overt ironic effect. If you like intelligent, hook-hearty pop, go get this album. (SJM)

The Myrtles Nowhere To Be Found C Student Records • Alt-country rock, but probably more country pop than anything else. This band has everything to make a country band, the voice, the violin that's on the cusp of fiddle like, country tone guitars that have the country solos and a song called "Devil In A Bottle." What else do you need? Maybe a lost love or a dead dog? I don't know how their dogs are doing but these here fellas are stuck in the middle of a few genres. Most of the time the country meets pop, but there's a good mixture of country rock that will get you up and line dancing and stuff to slow you down and shed a tear. (MP)

The Obscene Emo's Dead You're Next self-released • Fast, messy and, did I mention, fast? Sort of like The Queers meets The Vindictives, with some Litmus Green thrown in to keep you on your toes. This is old school punk without any of the sloppy sentimentality of pop-punk. Angry and screamy. (MK)

The Planet The Physical Angel 54°40' or Fight! • The Planet The feel like a punk band rebelling against music in general, disguised by synthesizers and prog rock influences. Frenetic and somewhat danceable, they display mathy, experimental tendencies, with shifting tempos and starts and stops. I was reminded of Polysics at times. (AL)

The Procussions ŠAs Iron Sharpens Iron Basementalism Records • Taking hip hop back from the radio friendly masses, Stro the 89TH Key, Mr. J Medeiros and Resonant release a debut full-length of old-school flavor and insightful, melody-filled flows. Along the lines of Mos Def, Talib Kweli and The Roots, tracks like "J.O.B. (Just Over Broke)" and "Water's Edge" possess purpose and positivity with unique sounds and instrumentation. Jazzy beats and piercing snares make up most of the backdrop used in introducing this crew from Colorado, and shows that chances are, we'll be hearing more from them as well. (JC)

The Quick Fix Kills Saint Something My Pal God Records • Saint Something is the Quick Fix Kills first release for My Pal God Records. The Quick Fix Kills rock out DC, post-punk style, with dissonant guitar lines and a powerful, straight ahead rhythm section. Add a touch of Unwound and some Cedric Bixler-like vocals, and you've got Saint Something. (CL)

The Razor Mephistos My Everyday Dolphin Rage Records • Opening with the track "Addicted" and sawing away with a metal edginess and a driving bass guitar is this band out of Tallahassee. Not enough is provided on this short earful of punk cockiness and guitar shredding to get excited about. "Marle" is a more melodic rock song that carries a heavy groove-driven climax before "P.O.W." concludes things with grand fashion and high energy. (JC)

The Riverdales Phase 3 1-4-5 Records • It's The Riverdales. For all those fans of Screeching Weasel and The Queers, it's a dream come true. Following up their previous releases, The Riverdales are showing yet again why they are at the top of the pop-punk pig pile by offering up twelve fun songs that you will play over and over. (MK)

The Rum Diary Poisons That Save Lives Substandard Records • The Rum Diary features two drum kits, double bass guitar, Moog, and Farsifa keyboards, layered guitars, and occasional vocals. Put these instruments together and you get an engaging, slightly experimental sound that grabs a hold of you and doesn't let go. (AL)

The Saddest Landscape the sound of the spectacle Copter Crash • DonŒt let the name fool you these guys really rock. The Saddest Landscape play bi-polar core, shifting from melodic to metallic in a split second leaving the listener crying while banging their heads. A must have for fans of Twelve Hour Turn, Thursday and One Last Thing. (RP)

The Skulls The Golden Age of Piracy Dr. Strange Records • This band originally formed in 1977. That's a long time ago. Well, the band has resurfaced with this release of new material. They still play the same raw, garage punk rock. There's plenty of guitar (including some impressive solos) a non-stop pace and a rough feel that makes it almost sound live. And there are a couple more poppy tunes that help keep the album diverse. While the album is pretty damn good, this is the kind of band that really is best when live. Lucky for us, they're touring again. (CM)

The Sound Of Failure The Party is Over Cheap Art Records • Don't judge a book by its cover the old adage goes, well the artwork said to me these guys were gonna sound like a Midwest emo band, the chaotic hardcore that followed was as refreshing as it was surprising. Pretty upfront straightforward vocals with creative guitars flying around them and solid drums to lead a path. Ironically, The Sound of Failure actually succeeds. (KM)

The Spotlight Syndicate ...Forget The Static Past... Substandard Records • Sounding like an amped-up version of the Talking Heads, Spotlight Syndicate showcases a driving bass guitar that carries the much-rushed, keyboard heavy rock into a continuously repetitive journey. This three-piece is tightly wound together and the singer releases vocals that come across like he was a hypochondriac or something. Overall this is nicely produced but produces little else to rave about. (JC)

The Tim Version prohibition starts tomorrow ADD • To say that The Tim Version is a Florida band would almost be an understatement. It would be a shock to hear that these guys were the next big thing coming out of New York or Boston, and thankfully they are not. As they put it themselves in their own bio, they aren't trying to be the next band to "fuse together post-emo industrial keyboard pop and non-secular North Dakota strip-tease punk to mold our own unique sound." No, this band is rock'n'roll, a la Gainesville rock heroes Hot Water Music. This is a throw me a glass of whiskey on the rocks so that I can have my ass put on the ground by some loud sometimes politically motivated, sometimes not rock'n'roll. So quit your whining grab a PBR and enjoy. (MC)

The Unicorns Who Will Cut Our Hair When We're Gone? Alien8 Recordings • The title to this release is a bone-chilling concept. But seriously, heavily infected with a synth sound and drum machine, these three guys out of Montreal create some great songs full of an electronic lo-fi sound with harmonies that possess a comic approach throughout. If you've at least heard about how insane these guys are in concert than none of this will surprise you. Many unorthodox instruments and sounds are used to highlight the groovy sarcasm within and will leave you with what you hoped they'd bring to the table this time around. (JC)

The Wednesdays You Will Gasp and They Will Breathe Reservation Records • The title is right, you will gasp. Another garage-band sound that comes off sloppy and lost is presented here. With a little punk in their attitude, the rock n' roll on this release is dirt road dirty, and back-barroom ready, with a free form of music influenced by the likes of the Rolling Stones. Touches of blues and bluegrass are added for the full effect, and with the right lights and a few beers, this album is sure to keep you company. (JC)

The Working Title Everyone Here Is Wrong Redemption Records • If there is justice in this world, you will soon hear The Working Title's songs pumping out of radio speakers everywhere. Their music is similar to that of Ours, Poor Rich Ones, and at times, Radiohead. Nineteen year old frontman Joel Hamilton sings with an emotion usually displayed by those much older, but with the enthusiasm reserved for the young. (AL)

This Is Exploding self-titled self-released • Five songs and I can't tell if they are multidimensional, or if this band just has multiply personalities, because each song has a total different feel. One minute I'm thinking Weezer, the next minute its like straightforward emo, then it might get complicated. For the sake of a review I'm gonna try to stuff all of this release into a alternative pop category and say its pretty good. Nothing that's gonna shine your shoes, its got a little bit of something for sure. Almost like I get this vibe that this release might be a prelude to something better. (KM)

Those Unknown Self-Titled TKO Records • This is a re-issue of Those Unknown's first ever album and, I must say, it's not what was expected. Although it really doesn't matter what the stubborn opinion in my head thinks, this band, next to the Swingin Utter's is one of the most influential oi/street punk bands to ever hit the scene! I recommend something new due to the horrible sound quality featured on the disc. Fans of The Casualites, The Threats, etc., take notice! This is a must have for the prestigious "wall of fame" for any oi collector! (CMax)

Thrall Lifer Alternative Tentacles • Oh, baby. Yeah. Here's your down and dirty sludge rock. For fans of Clutch and Scissorfight, let me introduce you to Thrall. Ugly and hard without losing the sense that you are actually listening to songs. This is a great disc of down tuned serious power chord grinding stuff. (MK)

Tiara The Summer of the Lion, The Summer of the Lamb We Want Action • After releasing three full-lengths and several seven-inches on a variety of labels, Tiara returns with its first album for Columbus, Ohio's We Want Action. What a stroke of genius, luck, or whatever for the fledgling label. The Summer of the Lion, The Summer of the Lamb is a brilliant piece of indie pop from Tiara, with touches of the recently departed Elliott Smith and the Shins in their sound. This is definitely worth checking out as Tiara has delivered one great album. (CL) 

Timber! Circle The Wagons! Reason Y Records • Timber! is an appropriate name for this instrumental band, because the songs feel like they are about to fall and crash into the floor, much like dead trees. They never quite come apart, but the band's complete disregard for song structure and tempos keep the listener in an uneasy state. I loved it in all its mathy glory. (AL)

Totimoshi Monoli The Dark Reign • This release is a dark and heavy trip. Best compared to a Black Sabbath record because the guitar trashiness comes with a bare-knuckled attitude that feels trapped inside a torture chamber of notes. Most times sounding Œballs to the wall', this disc carries melodic points and even has a Neil Young (circa his grunge days) rhythm to it. The constant chaos is tangled with speeding guitars and atmospheric intensity. This three-piece dives in and out of tempo changes, then leaves in their trails a bevy of feedback and despair that will leave you wanting to go through it again. (JC)

Trana Weird World Lake Samm Records • Here's some alt-rock from Seattle in the vein of Soundgarden, well recorded and performed appropriately. Although the overall sound is derivative, the guitarist deserves mention for some interesting ideas outside of those typical for the genre. Stephen Schmidt's vocals are passable, but he's definitely yet to find his voice, as evidenced by the several subtly different singing styles employed here, none of which seem very strong. The hyped "world" musical influences brought to the band by Turkish-born guitarist Yakup Trana are more of an afterthought; a flourish at best. I think Creed sucked all the remaining blood out of the stone you're eyeing, but good luck to you anyway. (SJM)

Transcendence Sleep With You TMG Records • Transcendence plays solid pop rock with a brit feel. It's a bit dramatic for me, but that's just my opinion. At times it reminds me of U2. I also hear elements of Tom Waits and Radiohead. But don't let that sway you too much. This is definitely original material. Hey, there's even a song about Minnie Driver. (CM)

Triple Whip Slapshot Innocent Words • What you get here is steady percussion, jazzy guitar riffs and a bass guitar sound that pulsates like Prong and Primus, and highlights this creative collection. The vocals are short and sweet, at times singing, at times talking. Lyrics are choppy and songs are made up of very brief descriptions of various movies from different genres that add a slight twist and mystery to follow along with, but not much else to get excited about. (JC)

Truxton Truxton Hansilla Music • Oakland, California's Truxton is indie pop-rock, with a thoroughly emo feel. Their self-titled album is well-recorded, and the instrumentation is par for the course. Guitarist / singer Johannes Armentrout (is that a nom de plume?) plays well, but often the phrasing of the vocals is awkward. It can be difficult when composing to get the rythym of the lyrics to sync with the flow of the song, and unfortunately, many of these songs feel unfinished as a result of this problem. There are many good and interesting ideas presented here, but the vocals are problematic: more than occasionally a little too breathy and nasal. (SJM)

Under a Dying Sun Super Nova Substandard • This is the second full length album from the Bay Area finest U.D.S. These guys mix jangled indie rock guitar with emo/core and unique vocal styllings. But failing to come up with anything to groundbreaking, often times sounding to much like Boy Set Fire. (RP)

Unsane Lambhouse Relapse Records • Even better than listening to the two tracks that span Unsane's illustrious career as noise purveyors is watching the 23 track DVD that comes with the CD. It features some of their best and most disturbing videos, including my favorite, the skateboard accident clip reel that is "Scrape." Most of the tracks on the DVD are from Live concert footage going all the way back to 1992. For any Unsane fan, this CD/DVD is an essential purchase. (AL)

Upstate Missing ­ Original Soundtrack Friendly Psychics Music • This is a mysteriously melodic five-track rock opus serving as the accompaniment to the upcoming indie film "Missing" from Joe Bargdill. The indie rock on this release darkens the rhythms of jazz and the acoustics of folk to create a backdrop that is as haunting as it is comforting - in the same sense as a Tarantino movie plot. That's what makes this disc so interesting, the production and mood of this soundtrack makes you want to see the movie by creating an atmosphere of suspense and narrative that's like adding an unpredictable twist to life. (JC)

Urinals What Is Real And What Is Not Warning Label Records • 15 years after tearing up the punk clubs of L.A., The Urinals have returned. Sounding like a new school, radio ready pop-punk group, the only thing exciting here is their uncanny lyrics. Tracks like "I Make Love To Every Woman On The Freeway" and "Theme From Sex Taxi" are just a trip. Throughout though, the only thing happening here is melodic pop rock with a little sarcasm. (JC)

Various Artists Documenting the Sound of Relay Recording(s) We Want Action • Showcasing a different rock sound running rampant in the streets of Columbus, Ohio, this compilation is tangled with a diverse taste for the ears. Produced by Jon Fintel at Relay Recording, angular guitar work, drum programmed sounds, spacey hooks and tightly knit indie rock on this compilation strays from the monotony associated with the rest of the indie landscape. Local mainstays like The Sun and Tiara include tracks, but look out for unexpected treats from Dave Powers, Silencio and Miranda Sound. (JC)

Various Artists Ennio Morricone Remixes Vol. 1 Compost Records • Ennio Morricone is easily one of the most influential musicians of our time. You may not know his music by name, but you've heard some of his work, I assure you. He has scored countless films, and this two-disc set (Volume 2 is to be released at a later date) covers 41 tracks, remixed by artists from around the globe, from Mexico, Germany, Great Britain, Sweden, the USA and others. His original songs are mixed effectively with many genres of dance music, including downbeat, drum n bass, house, techno, and hip hop. (AL)

Various Artists Go-Kart: MP300 Raceway Go-Kart Records • If your looking for crash course in everything happening today in the world of indie-punk-hardcore-ska-emo music, then the Go-Kart MP300 Raceway is for you. The premise is an MP 3 sampler, a first, on two discs. Over 150 bands, two songs from each, simple math says that's 300 songs (no, I didn't actually listen to all of them for this review.) The only drawback was that I didn't like the interface, but it's workable. Pretty much any band you want to hear is here. (KM)

Various Artists Hot Collection Kinky Star • Oh my god, this is almost the worst compilation I've ever heard. If you're a fan of shitty rap, Squirrel Nut Zippers, Presidents of the United States of America and (a really bad version of) The Donnas, then you may be into this. Kinky Star is a compilation straight from the Belgium music scene. I wish it had stayed, we have plenty of shitty music here as it is, we don't need Belgium's as well. There was one band that stuck out however. The Revelaires are a surf rock band and they are worth checking out, just not on this album. Sorry, Belgium, you're still only good for your waffles. (NP)

Various Artists Playing 4 Square 3 Suburban Home • This comp. features bands from Better Looking, Lookout, Initial, and Negative Progression Records. It's been over a year since the last compilation. Some of the bigger names on this release are Ted Leo and the Pharmacists, Jealous Sound, and Ultimate Fakebook. Some of the bands that stuck out the most to me and should be looked out for are, Counterfit, The Oranges Band and Black Cross. (NP)

Various Artists Punk Goes Acoustic Fearless Records • It's kind of weird to listen to fast punk songs played on acoustic guitars, revealing that even the most aggressive music has an inner beauty. Bands include Coalesce, Glasseater, The Ataris, The Starting Line, Piebald, Strung Out, and Taking Back Sunday, among others, twenty in all. If that isn't enough, a bonus disc is included with (non-acoustic) tracks from Fearless and Victory records artists. (AL)

Various Artists Sex & Subversion Thick Records • This impressive compilation features 15 bands doing one track each (plus two more tracks, one by Dave Merriman of The Arrivals and one by Scott Lucas of Local H). It's a really good mix of rock and roll songs, some pop, some grunge, some punk. All the tunes on here are pretty upbeat and don't drag at all (expect for the song by Calliope). And there's a good amount of diversity, with some of the songs featuring a pretty normal structure, while others are rather creative and against the grain. Artists featured on here include Local H, Blue Meanies, Tom Daily, Haymarket Riot, Vortis, The Arrivals and Bitchy. (CM)

Various Artists Stop Me If You Think You've Heard This One Before ... Rough Trade Records • It's hard to believe the Rough Trade label has been releasing music for a quarter century now. Over the years Rough Trade has been home to such artists as the Smiths, Galaxie 500, and the Strokes. To celebrate its 25th anniversary, Rough Trade has put together a compilation, with members of its current roster covering songs from the label's illustrious past. Featuring artists such as Belle & Sebastian, British Sea Power, and Royal City, this compilation is an excellent introduction to both Rough Trade's past and present. (CL)

Various Artists Take Action! Volume 3 Sub City Records • Hoping to raise awareness and money for the National Hopeline Network (1-800-SUICIDE), Sub City Records puts together these compilations once a year. This one includes two CDs worth of material, with 45 tracks in total, from artists such as Poison the Well, Thrice, The Beautiful Mistake, Shadows Fall, The Ataris, Copeland, Small Brown Bike, Spitalfield, and Cursive, among others. Not only will you help a good cause, but also you get excellent music. (AL)

Various Artists Version City Sessions Asian Man Records • A great collection of SKA, reggae, dub and rocksteady including lots of artists who were produced by King Django. This is a great assortment of music, which, while all different, is similar enough to make you feel like you are listening to one cohesive album, not a broken, choppy collection of songs. (MK)

Various Artists Wide Hive Remixed Wide Hive Records • In an effort to let the world get better acquainted with the label's work, Wide Hive released this compilation with 16 tracks of electronica, hip-hop, electro, and deep house. Some of the producers lending their skills include Tommy Guerrero, Geology, Headnodic, OP!, and Variable Unit. (AL)

Vicious Vicious Blood & Clover Twentyseven Records • Singer-songwriter Erik Appelwick delivers some eclectic, soul-induced pop style meant to drink beers and shake ass to. The four-track he used to record this disc provides a little variety in the overall sound of bluesy funk to drum beat sounds reminiscent of the early days of Beck and Wilco. The touches of guitar and keys help create the overall vibe of the ending of a summer that sees autumn leaves turning in the gray skies of the Midwest. You don't know whether to feel good about the change or bad about what is being left behind. (JC)

Vinicius Cantuária Live: Skirball Center ­ 8/7/03 Kufala Recordings • If you don't like bossa nova, you might want to skip this review. If you do like bossa nova, go right now and get this double CD. Cantuária's vocals are as smooth as you would expect for the genre, while he adds some fusion and a bit of jazz that comes across with a level of intimacy that only live recordings can bring. (AL)

Vision Detonate Chunksaah Records • If you're a fan of hardcore, you could do worse than this New Jersey band. Very tight and genre-competent, their only weaknesses being the occasional over-reaching vocal note and a penchant for hardcore lyrical cliche. The inclusion of an ironic punk-style Greg Kihn cover would be best left to a live venue. As their press release puts it, they are "...unleashing the brutal wrath of Jersey pride worldwide." Rock on, boys. (SJM)

Wesley Willis & The Dragnews Greatest Hits Volume 3 Alternative Tentacles Records • Wesley Willis was a 40-year-old schizophrenic from Chicago who, despite being a horrible singer, was able to record over 50 CDs and gather legions of fans. Maybe it is because of the humor in the lyrics, or the unabashed commercial promotions he would write into his songs hoping for some company to hire him. This CD includes some unreleased songs as well as some classics, plus video footage and some of his child-like drawings. (AL)

Willmatic Sneak Preview Last Kind Entertainment • Produced by Mega Lawge and featuring cuts by Jabba The Cut, DJ Mino and Kut Masta Kurt, these six tracks contain a steady dose of bumpin' beats that overall, outshines the steady flows from Will. Much of this serves as an attempt at self-boasting through an immobile rhyme delivery that sounds the same throughout from this emcee. With so much hip-hop available nowadays this release may fall on deaf ears because nothing really stands out. (JC)

Worn Thin Remanants Of What Could Have Been Youngblood Records • Sometimes positive, sometimes pissed off, always personal, Worn Thin rips off 14 tracks of speedy hardcore. The five-piece from D.C. spews out tunes heavy with guitars, screamed/spoken vocals and a pounding rhythm. Comparisons to Turning Point aren't too damn far off. (CM)

Year Future self-titled Gold Standard Laboratories • Year Future actually beckons more to years past. With a sound more comfortable in a pair of checkerboard vans and jelly bracelets, YF does credit to the inspiration. Mix up some Agent Orange with some new wave and a little screamy for some atmosphere and noise. 4 songs only give a taste, but it's a good enough tease to leave you hanging. (KM)

YOB Catharsis Candlelight Records • This three-song CD is over 48 minutes in length, so you can tell that YOB likes to take their time developing a song. The album starts out slowly creeping into consciousness, then kicking your ass with the characteristic fuzzy guitars of stoner/doom rock. What sets these guys apart from the rest of the genre is Mike Sheidt. His voice can sound as soothing as a woman's whisper, or as demonic as the devil himself. (AL)


ADD-C/Giant Bags of Weed Raise Ass split 7" half-day records. • I guess I would call this punk. I'm not entirely sure. The vocals are a step above, well, bad, and the guitars are sloppy and sound as if they were recorded on a telephone answering machine. Now onto Giant Bags of Weed, winners of the longest, most ridiculous name award. That will be the only award they receive for the rest of this review. No wait, I take that back, they also get the "Please, God, Let Their Name Imply That They Were Stoned When Writing This Record" award. Nothing else could explain what ever just defecated out of my speakers. (MC)

Agitators/The Heartaches split 7" RocknRoll Radio • The Agitators hail from Belgium, yes, it is a country not just a prefix for your IHOP waffles. The Agitators pump out high energy, American/English punk circa 1970's. Consistently dancey but not without that brittle edge that makes punk what it is, raw. The Heartaches on the flip side also Belgian, bring more punk for your listening pleasure. This side a little harder, a little more screamy type vocals and rougher sounding guitars. Neither band will let you down if you are looking for straight forward punk rock. (MC)

Bleeding Kansas self-titled 7" coldbringer records • Besides having to search through well drawn but hard to read artwork to figure out who I was even reviewing, now that I have found out who it is, I no longer really care. Hailing from Burbank, Ca this is "dark, heavy hardcore" that is supposed to make us think of "Black Flag." What a shocker, a California hardcore band that was into Black Flag. That would be like a D.C. band into Fugazi. It's hardcore, it's fast, it's under-produced, so its not the most audible of records. I'm sure they put on an "intense" live show. Mosh, scream, repeat. Who cares. (MC)

Capital Scum Freak Show 7" RockNRoll Radio • This is old school hardcore. Fast buzzsaw guitars and not so much metal scream but more comparable to Lemmy from Motorhead-ish vocals. This is their first release after 15 years of non-activity, and if this shows for anything they haven't lost their edge. This 7" is definitely for fans of old Suicidal Tendencies and Minor Threat. (MC)

Daughters Canada Songs 12" Electric Human Project • WOW! This is really freaking heavy. I have no idea what this guy is screaming about, but he is pissed. I mean seriously pissed. This band comes from Rhode Island and has no song that I think tops a minute. The songs hit hard, heavy, and rarely contain an actual guitar chord. Experimentation is used throughout this 12" but I would never say it leaves the genre of Metal. This record is interesting and constantly changing. The closest thing to a popular band I would compare them to would be The Dillinger Escape Plan. If you like experimental metal then this is right up your alley. (MC)

FIYA Room for One More 7" Dead Tank Records • Political post hardcore punk rock from Gainesville, FL. Was that title long enough? From what I can gather from their lyrics these guys are pissed about our Government. Me too, so what now. Ummm...hold on...we should...uhhh...we should...OK, I don't know, they never really say. I think these guys have lost hope. Some of the lyrics are depressing to say the least. The sounds definitely bring to mind some NY-esque hardcore and also some of the more recent post punk sounds that have risen out of Gainesville, FL. They package their lyrics nicely in loud guitars and ever raspy voices. Not a bad sound and not a bad band either. (MC)

Heros Severum self-titled 7" Two Sheds Music • A 7" comprised of two covers, one being Patti Smith's "Rock n Roll Nigger" and the second being Missy Elliot's "Get Ur Freak On." While the two songs contain obvious differences, the band maintains a smooth rhythm driven element to both. While not a true taste of what this band does, which can be described as 80's punk a la Mission of Burma and the Minute Men, this is an interesting foray into the world of covers. Neither holds completely true to the original, nor does either offend the original in any way. I personally enjoy the Missy Elliot cover, heavy on drum and bass, but with great sounding guitar distortions and twists. (MC)

Leg self-titled 7" half-day records • With song titles like "Must I throw up this child" and "water babies," it conjures up irony saturated bands such as Ween and They Might Be Giants. While not at the level of either of those bands, this lo-fi indie rock band from Indiana does a decent job of catchy little indie songs that land somewhere between Ween and Built to Spill. With a little polish (not much for it would take away from the end result), and a little more experimentation, Leg could be onto something. (MC)

Life in Pictures self-titled 7" coldbringer recordings • This is metal infused hardcore that is driven by self re-creation and political revolution. The band requires you to pull out ye ole liner notes to see what is pissing him off so much, and they definitely do not hide what they are trying to say. The song "Steal it Back" chants "We can't serve against/Our desires/They're buying our happiness from us/Steal it back." The songs are pretty well organized, its not some mess of guitars over drums that can barely sustain the machine gun rhythm that hardcore generally requires. They actually include some guitar melody and of course the always needed double kick drum. So if you like reading while someone yells at you or if you just like to hear some well done metal-hardcore or metal-core or whatever it may be called now then this is for you. (MC)

New Brutalism / Hit Self Destruct self-titled split 7" Electric Human Project • Despite having a good name, Hit Self Destruct submit an oddly syncopated song with no real structure but an eerily catchy guitar melody. It is definitely rooted in post hardcore and even a bit mathy at times. "Aim For the Jugular" is good and hard to put your finger on just why. New Brutalism come with a muddy, bass heavy song titled "song: 026." The guitars slide all over the bass line, constantly bouncing between melody and rhythm. I thought, mainly due to their name, that I was in for yet another hardcore song heavy on the chunkah chunkah and light on innovation, I was presently surprised on both sides of this 7". (MC)

Part 2 Weeping, Wailing, and Gnashing of Teeth 10" Coldbringer Records • Impressive melodic metal for a three piece who's only real downfall is the lack of singing ability. The drums are relatively tight and the guitar is thought out and not all palm muted crap. Some of the more melodic softer parts remind me of Casket Lottery or maybe a less poppy Grade. The metal parts are...well metal. It is a good sounding record and a good effort on the part of Part 2. (MC)

The Awakening / Virginia Black Lung self-titled split 7" Ed Walters Records • Virginia Black Lung hurls fast paced, unintelligible hardcore songs. It is one of those bands who you are sure are saying something that you might want to hear, but due to the lack of coherent English in the songs you will never know what that is until you break out the liner notes. So if you're into that sort of thing you will like it, if not, then don't bother. The Awakening continues the theme of hardcore with someone screaming to fast for you to understand, this one a little more downbeat with thicker guitars and heavier breakdown. Both bands are good representations of hardcore, but a little overdone for my personal taste. (MC)


Alkaline Trio Halloween At The Metro Kung-Fu Films • Alkaline Trio is a guilty pleasure, I'll admit it totally. I've never seen them play very good shows live, so I was excited to check out this DVD. I mean if your going to record a DVD and put it out, of course its gonna be a great show, a night your in top form... or maybe not. AK3 seemed to play flat and uninspired on the night, leaving me to wonder if maybe they are just an album band. Even the novelty of a Halloween show doesnıt do much to save it. This ones for the big time fans, and the casual fan really wonıt find much worth their time here. (KM)

Minor Threat Live DVD Dischord Records • I was watching this DVD at 31,000 feet and I almost started moshing in the aisle of the plane. It is amazing to see this legendary band as they started out. The first live footage is of their second ever show, and the quality is pretty poor. Ian MacKaye looks kind of awkward, but by the next live set in Buff Hall, he already seems like he knows what he is doing. Next comes a show in Washington's 930 club, which was supposed to be part of a punk documentary that never got completed. The video is better, and the band is even more cohesive. It is also the second to last time they ever played live. One thing that is consistent through all the sets is the complete chaos that took place there. Finally, there is an interview with MacKaye. Get this DVD now! (AL)

Pistol Grip Live at the Glasshouse Kung Fu Records • Kung Fu Records just keeps churning out great punk rock concerts! As usual, the recording is top notch, with multiple camera angles and 24-track audio, and features the standard extras such as bonus footage, trailers and previews, band commentary, a photo gallery, plus an option that lets you choose the camera angle you want to watch the action from. (AL)

Reel Big Fish Live at the House of Blues Kung Fu Records • I have to admit that I had lost track of Reel Big Fish after their flirting with mainstream recognition a few years back. Watching this DVD reminded me of why I liked them so much in the first place, and made me glad that I did not get rid of their CDs. At 1 hour and 45 minutes, this show is amazing, with 20 songs that cover much of their career. Recorded in June of 2003, Live at the House of Blues marks the eighth episode of the The Show Must Go Off! series of DVDs released by Kung Fu records. (AL)

In alphabetical order. Please write them.

!K7 Records,
1-4-5 Records,
25 To Life,
4x Beaver Records,
5 Rue Christine,
504 North Inc.,
54°40' or Fight!,
96 Records, P.O. Box 932 Yucaipa CA 92399
Abstract Sounds,
ADD Records,
AK Press,
Alien8 Recordings,
Alone Records,
Alternative Tentacles,
Ambiguous City,
Anxiety Records,
Asian Man Records,
Attention Deficit Disorder,
Baby Strange,
Barreltown Records,
Barsuk Records,
Basementalism Records,
Battle Axe Records,
Bifocal Media,
Blue Ceiling,
BongoBeat Records,
Braun and Brains,
Breakout Ent,
Brendan Breen,
Broken Rekids,
Bubble Core Records,
Busted Lip Records,
C Student Records,
Cheap Art Records,
ColdBringer Records, no contact info available
Colonial Excess,
Compost Records,
Dead Tank Records,
Dear Diary I Seem To Be Dead,
Deathwish Records,
Deep Elm Records,
Devil Doll Records,
Diaphragm Records,
Dischord Records,
DMC World,
Doghouse Records,
Dolphin Rage Records,
Doppler Records,
Dr. Strange Records,
Drag City Records,
Ed Walters Records,
EDC Entertainment,
Electric Human Project,
Electric Turn to Me,
Embers Records,
Empty Records,
Equal Vision,
Ernest Jenning Record Co.,
Eyeball Records,
Fast Music,
Fat Wreck,
Fearless Records,
Five One, Inc.,
Flameshovel Records,
Forever I Burn,
Friendly Psychics Music,
Future Farmer,
Galapagos 4,
Gangstyle Records,
Gold Standard Labs,
GSR Music,
Guilt Ridden Pop,
Half-Day Recs, PO Box 3381 Bloomington, IN 47401
Hamilton Field,
Hawthorne Street,
Hero Pattern,
Hillbilly Stew,
Hit The Pit Records,
House of Stairs,
Hybrid Recordings,
Hydra Head Records,
Independent Records,
India Records,
Innocent Words,
Jade Tree,
Jive Records,
John Wayneıs Severed Head,
K Records,
Kill Rock Stars,
Kufala Recordings,
Kung Fu Records,
Lake Samm Records,
Landspeed Records,
Last Kind Entertainment, no contact info available
Law Of Inertia,
Letıs Go! Records,
Lobster Records,
Lookout! Records,
Lucid Records,
M.H. Records, no contact info available
Madroad Recordings,
Majestic Twelve,
Martha Lipton,
Medea Records,
Melatone Music,
Mental Records,
Metal Face/Nature Sounds, no contact info available
Moodswing Records,
Mr. Abstract,
Musicmint Records,
Muss My Hair Records,
My Pal God Records,
Naga Night Records, no contact info available
Naked Aggression,
New Disorder Records,
NorthernBlues Music,
Of Angels and Gravediggers,
On/On Switch,
Orange Peal Records,
Palm Pictures,
Pillbox Remedy,
Play Label,
Pluto Records,
Polyvinyl Record Co.,
Pop Faction,
Post-Important Records,
Quincy Shanks Records,
Realife Recordz, no contact info available
Reason Y Records,
Redemption Records,
Relapse Records,
Reservation Records,
Revelation Records,
RockNRoll Records,
Rodent Popsicle Records,
Satellite Records,
Scott Lemire & Seth Warner,
Second Nature,
Secretly Canadian,
Section 8,
Sidecho Records,
Skin Graft Records,
Skrocki Records,
Smallman Records,
Solvizion/Shaman Work Recordings,
Songodsun Music,
Sonic Boom,
Sonic Unyon,
Spectral / Ghostly International,
Stab & Kill,
Starlight Motel Music,
Sub City Records,
Substandard Records,
Suburban Home,
Sudden Death Records,
The Capillaries,
The Complusion,
The Dark Reign Recordings,
The Dave Rave Group, no contact info available
The Destroyed,
The IOs,
The Matthew Show,
The Militia Group,
The Obscene,
Thick Records,
This Is Exploding,
Tight Spot Records,
Times Beach Records,
TKO Records,
TMG Records,
Tom Thumb Records,
Tortuga Recordings,
Trocar Records,
Trustkill Records,
Twentyseven Records,
Two Sheds Music,
Ultra Records,
Under A Dying Sun,
Underworld Records,
Undetected Plagiarism,
Universal Warning,
Victim Records,
Victory Records,
Youngblood Records,
Warning Label Records,
Warp Records,
We Want Action,
Wesome Records,
Wide Hive Records,

Music reviews from past issues: