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Dec./Jan.'05 Articles:
4 More Years of Fighting
3rd Party Demise
Silver Linings
The Balloon Pops
The Muddlemarch: 1
The Muddlemarch: 2
Banned in the UK!
(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.

Big D & The Kids Table How it Goes Springman • Powerful and passionate, these punk-ska kids from Boston rock the effing house! They have the incisive lyrical payload that you look for high-and-low in your punk rock, and the balls-out awesome delivery system to get it to you right. I mean, it's like, WHAM! In your face! Really, their lyrics don't yell at you, they speak to you. I felt this album. One the best ska bands to come across my reviews in recent years. (DP)

Branches Branches Contraphonic • If there's ever a "Garden State 2" (and we're all hoping there's gonna be), Branches should get prime consideration for the soundtrack.  They've got the whole mellow, kind of quirky indie pop thing going on.  Tracks like "Glass-Winged Sharpshooter vs. the Medfly" and "Dusty Grits" are reminiscent of Pavement, while "(Save It for a) Cold & Rainy Day" is similar to the Shins.  Natalie Portman can tell the guy from "Scrubs" whose name escapes me that Branches will change his life.  (CL)

Champarticles Sit Down for Staying Childstar Records • I keep hearing The Anniversary as I'm listening to the first two tracks off Champarticle's new ep. It more than likely is because of Pamela Rooney's lead and backing vocals. And this is not a bad thing either. Delayed, melodic rhythmic guitars chime and fill in all the necessary gaps in the background of "Stand Up for Leaving". Not one instrument rises above the others which really provide that full band feeling throughout. Adam Wayne is the main singer though and does a beautiful job on "Gas Gauge" which brings me back to a song off Tears for Fears' Seeds of Love album. To be fair, the guitars really help to define that atmosphere as well. (SP)

Dolour New Old Friends Made in Mexico Records • For Ben Folds fans who can't stand the wait between albums, your problems are over. Dolour is the brainchild of an incredibly talented singer, songwriter and musician, Shane Tutmarc. While not as piano-laden as Folds' songs, Tutmarc's are just as good and offer a fresh indie-pop feel. You'll hear sound upon sound in Tutmarc's songs, which is probably why he credits 11 people, including himself, for performing on this CD. It's incredibly rich and powerful, yet subtle and fun. It's clear where Dolour draws its sound –artists like The Beatles, Brian Wilson and Elliot Smith –but they build on the sounds rather than try to blatantly copy the past. Dolour is one of those bands that will never get their due but you can do your part by turning some friends on to this great CD. (SH)

Malachi Constant Infinite Justice Guilt Ridden Pop • Atmospheric and edgy instrumentals are presented on this new release from Malachi Constant. Everything here is delivered with programmed drums, a bass line, and guitars that contain enough energy and emotion to carry you through a long hard day, or life, for this bands matter. The perfect background music to muse to, this follow-up to Zenith is no disappointment. Vocal parts appear at minimal times, in exchange for an added Sonic Youth kind of vibe, which barely matters in the overall scheme of getting lost inside the euphoria within this excellent experiment. (JC)

Man Man The Man in the Blue Turban with a Face Ace Fu Records • For the past six weeks or so, this album has followed me everywhere. From my car stereo to my friend's living room to my bedroom, this disc has been as indispensable to me as my shoes. With choirs of what sound like small children, beautiful sax parts, roaring crescendos, a dead-on-balls accurate drummer and tinkling piano parts, this album is a musical circus. It makes you feel like you're on board a pirate ship, and Tom Waits is there, and also some mariachis and some kindergartners, and you're drinking rum and also, there are wolves. Simply beautiful songwriting with expert musicianship make this unorthodox, insane album one of the best I've ever heard. Evoking everyone from Screaming Jay Hawkins to Iggy Pop, The Man in the Blue Turban is an album AND an experience. Amazing. (JR)

Neck Here's Mud in Yer Eye! Hibernian Records • London-Irish punkster Leeson O'Keeffe makes music for the emigrant and 2nd generation Irish folk of the world, with a full steam of authentic flavor and passion. Influences come from the likes of Dropkick Murphys, Flogging Molly and the Pogues; and this album brings to life the spirit of Ireland with punk rock sounds that are performed with banjos, whistles, fiddles, guitar, bass and drums. The heavy accent is the highlight to O'Keeffe's vocals that carry on about Irish pride and time in a bar. Expect both traditional and original recordings that make for a solid collection of drinking songs. (JC)

NOFX The Greatest Songs Ever Written Epitaph • Few bands can claim such a prolific and accomplished history as NOFX. With humble Cali beginnings in 1983, I'm sure few imagined that, over 20 years later, we'd still be talking about them, let alone that they'd still be together. They never tried to pretty themselves up or doing anything in particular to gain mainstream appeal. NOFX has always been rude but witty, mindless and poignant, poppy and edging, melodic and snotty. You would think that, after 20+ years of doing, essentially, the same kind of fast-paced melodic punk, fans (myself included) would tire of it. But NOFX is an unquenchable desire – no matter how many times you hear the songs, no matter how many new songs sound similar to past ones, it's still fucking good. So, here they are... with an album of pure gold – 27 songs that cover the band's entire career and include such classics as "Bob," "Stickin In My Eye," "The Longest Line," "Don't Call Me White," "Franco Un-American," plus tons more and one previously unreleased track. You also get a 24-page booklet of photos and goodies that document the career of one of punk's greatest bands. (CM)

Shortstack Shortstack Planaria • Call it what you want – folk-blues, hillbilly-country, outlaw-western – make up names for it then grab your bottle of whiskey, because this album is one to experience from beginning to end. Sounds like background music to a Tarantino movie; there are subtle hints of old surfer style music mixed with the Stray Cats and The Carter Family. Shortstack flips their whole hand of cards to show one and all that even when the stack gets low, it's never over til' it's said and done. "Jealous Man" starts this release with authority and drunken croons, then "Plenty Time For Sleepin" soothingly sets the tone for things to come with chants of "there'll be plenty time for sleeping / when I'm buried in the grave." The rebellious outlook takes plenty of twists and turns on standout tracks like "Mexico To Texas," "Sometimes Things Happen" and "Trouble In Mind." So even if the odds are against ya, it's recommended you go all in with this one! (JC)

Struction 13 Minutes of Love and Doom NFI • This is some insane, spastic shit. I mean that in a good way. Male and female vocals almost seem to be yelling and arguing with each other vocally. Off time melodies with screamy female vocals that can sound as tough as the next guy, and then the next moment whaling in a Bjork like strength. You get seven songs in about 13 minutes of raucous, sometimes just plain weird music. I love it! You have to admire the attempt at some innovative music writing. I think the majority of this album fulfilled that attempt of something experimental and original. (MP)

The Matches E. Von Dahl Killed the Locals Epitaph • The Matches seemed to come up out of nowhere. But now that they are here, this band is not disappearing. The songs on their debut album are chock full of infectious hooks that no matter how hard you try, you will not be able to rid them from your head. The songs range from anthems of youth and dreams to catchy tunes about falling in love. The Matches made a name for themselves on the West coast due to their hard work ethic and irresistible songs. They also have one of the most energetic live performances I have ever seen. Combine all of that with the opening spot they obtained on the Yellowcard and The Starting Line tour and there is no way this band could have stayed a secret for long. (KB)

The Violettes The Violettes self-released • I have to admit, listening to The Violettes takes me back to my college days, when My Bloody Valentine and Lush were making music that really moved me. The Violettes build on this lineage, adding some sitar and tabla work that I should perhaps not be surprised works well. Really interesting, appealing stuff. (SJM)

Upsilon Acrux Volucris Avis Dirae-Arum Planaria Records • Upsilon Acrux plays some of the most disorganized yet compelling music out there. Their compositions are so free-form and complex that they needed to have two drummers, one on the left channel, and the other on the right. Thankfully, the songs are all instrumental, allowing you to take in their musical genius without having to hear some guy singing. Since all the instruments are separated by left and right channels, you could turn off one or the other and hear what seems like a completely separate song. It's like getting twice the amount of music! (AL)

Yowie Cryptooology Skin Graft Records • Depending on your tolerance level for musical schizophrenia, you'll either think this album is a colossal piece of crap or a masterpiece. I think it is the latter. With reference points such as Hella, Nervous Cop and Trevor Dunn's Trio Convulsant, this dual guitar and drums instrumental trio are all over the place in this 29 minute dissonant gem. Song structure takes a back seat to frenetic experimentation in an over-the top style. (AL)

CD Reviews

4FT Fingers A Cause For Concern Go Kart Records • This UK punk ensemble is a tight, melodic counterpoint to all the sloppy useless trash flooding the punk market. With well written, well played songs, this is a band you should know about. If you don't, learn about them. With a sound almost reminiscent of Lagwagon at times, this is a good band. (MK)

A Day In Black & White My Heroes Have Always Killed Cowboys Level Plane • A Day In Black & White brings forth the recollection of a psychological soliloquy I produced five minutes ago. Take a band resembling such musical attributes as Fugazi, At The Drive In, Minor Threat, etc. Ingest all these substances into one filling and split it in half, you'll obtain a taste of this misconsumption I've witnessed in this disc. The schizophrenic track listing gave me convulsions of exuberant pain! Guitars with the utmost aesthetic quality transformed into a bloody catharsis of misconfigured scales, melody unveiling screeching, etc. I'm not necessarily fond of bands enjoying incorporating every musical style known to man in every song they produce, however, it may tinkle your fancy, especially if you enjoy anything under the notorious label of "weird." (CMax)

A Day In Black And White My Heroes Have Always Killed Cowboys self-released • I love that title. The music is equally provocative, rough as shit. The mood is a mood for fighting, and I like that. (SJM)

A.C. Cotton Notes For The Conversation self-released • This is some competent, blues-based pop rock that neither raises my ire nor much moves me. (SJM)

ABK Dirty History Psychopathic Records • The Insane Clown Posse continues to run the streets of Detroit, and apparently they've recruited more white dudes to paint their faces and step up to the microphone. ABK carries on the shock-rap style that ICP has embraced for so long, and appearances by Violent J, Twiztid, Shaggy 2 Dope and Culton Grundy are also included. Solid, thumping beats pound throughout this release, which is packed with horror stories, 40-ounces and simplistic arrangements; and at the end of the day, if that's what your into, guess you get what you pay for. (JC)

Across Five Aprils Living in the Moment Indianola Records • The techno sensibilities at the beginning of the album's second track, Answers in the Eyes, reveals the kind of talent that Across Five Aprils unfortunately doesn't employ in the rest of their album. Blending elements of hardcore with poppy, teen-rock sounds takes you from Dawson's Creek to a high school kegger so many times you feel sick. While this is an energetic album, you get the impression that some of that abundant energy should be directed toward the group's songwriting to keep their sound fresh. The tracks are all pretty similar–well produced an unoriginal. Even the sensitive, acoustic guitar-driven Through the Pane can't make this album worth many plays. (JR)

Adam Mugavero Breathe self-released • Can anyone say Elliot Smith? I guess that can be said about a lot of guys and their guitars, but this definitely has that Smith feel. Melodies covered with beautifully harmonious vocals. So I guess what I'm trying to say is that if I had never heard Elliot Smith I might say this is a great album, but unfortunately, Mugavero's new release came after the late, great Smith. The use of strings in tracks like "Air" creates an ethereal moment in this 10 song acoustic folk collection. It's soothing music that is good for what it is, but not terribly original. (MP)

Aesop Rock Fast Cars, Danger, Fire And Knives EP Definitive Jux • With a rhyme flow style all his own, Aesop Rock drops knowledge with seven tracks on this new EP. It's AR the way you like him: raw with spaced-out, crazy sounds, booming beats and staccato-spit lyrics flying left and right. This guy is quickly becoming an MC legend with his non-stop rhyme skills and unmistakable flow, a rugged bohemian messenger. El-P and Camutao make guest appearances on track six. (CM)

Ahleuchatistas The Same and the Other Noreaster Failed Industries • This instrumental trio continue on the path they carved on their hyperactive debut On The Culture Industry. Songs are highly experimental and complicated, and at times the guitarist seems to go off on his own while the drummer and bass player try to keep up. (AL)

Air Conditioning Weakness Level Plane Records • Seriously, I think someone was killed about halfway into the 23 minute second track. I have never heard such screaming. That, combined with the relentless repetition of the fuzzed out riffs, and their interesting choice of things to make noise with (telephone wires, hubcaps, etc.) makes this CD a truly harrowing experience. (AL)

Air Formation Stay Inside, Feel Everything Clairecords • I love music that encourages relaxation and tries to hypnotize you. Air Formation do just that in Stay Inside, Feel Everything. The guitars wash over you in a repetitive manner until you give in. The vocals are heavy in echo, and the drums are there to keep the beat, but stay in the background. I was reminded of All Natural Lemon And Lime Flavors and The Appleseed Cast's Low Level Owl series. (AL)

AKA "The Hots" Touchy EP self-released • Those Canadians know how to have fun, don't they? This power trio from Toronto is having a blast playing their indie power pop. Don't worry, they're not a retro-rock band. Yes, there's a "The" in their name but that doesn't apply here. I hate the "The" bands and I like The Hots. Check it out. (SH)

Alison Crockett On Becoming A Woman Big Voice Music • With mostly a jamming live band backing her up, this R&B artist touches mainly on relationships and the way those fall apart, but regardless of what she sings about, her voice is a treasure to be heard. Very sensual and smooth, Crockett sings beautifully overtop jazzy sounds that incorporate rhythm and blues sections that accentuate her style, which provides an up-tempo backdrop while she does her thing. In the same vein as Erykah Badu, Jill Scott and Diana Ross, expect a complete collection of emotion and soul that is both confident and fragile at the same time. (JC)

Alkali Flats Outen The Light self-released • Five songs on this disc from Alkali Flats. I don't know much about this band other than they play a twangy version of alt-pop. This sounds like those alternative bands you used to see playing the proms in John Hughes 80's movies and that's a compliment. Those were great, fun bands and so are the Flats. They remind me of an updated version of the Romantics. (SH)

All Parallels Formulate A Tragedy On The Rise • With booming, slightly-gruff, heartfelt vocals blaring over creative, melodic, hard rock riffs and a good bit of classic rock influence, All Parallels drops their debut full-length and the deliver with 12 tracks of serious rock and roll. There are some more mainstream "radio" tracks on here that I would have left off, but, for the most part, this is a strong release. Some of the better tracks even remind me of Seaweed and Sunny Day Real Estate. (CM)

Amanda Woodward La decadence de la Decadence self-released • This La Francais hardcore/emo band has more of an impact than anything you'll come accustom to in the almighty, superior U.S of A. When you're listening, the impact is of the highest magnitude that you revert from the fact that they're not even speaking the same language as you are, the dialect is hardly displaced. Their sound is a little different than the hardcore music found in the United States, but has the sound intertwined between hardcore, emo, indie, and kind of a softcore melodic sound. (CMax)

Andy Grooms Living Room Grateful to Burn Makeshift Records • This obscure full length from sextet Andy Grooms Living Room is full of surprises. Jazzy bass and piano licks throughout will haunt until they attract the listener with such tunes as "Mary or Mephisto" and the lovely "Decadent Eyes", which features a Spanish guitar solo that compliments Andy Groom's off the wall lyrical style. "What's a boy to do? Church is so erotic." Need I say more with a line like this? (SP)

Angel of the Odd Fear of Flying self-released • If you can get past the nasal vocals, you may be in for a ride. There is definitely a knack for originality here. "East is West" has a Death Cab feel throughout with unpredictable banter in the vocal department, while this mid-tempo rocker soars with electric guitars. "Downsizing" is a tune about getting rid of the girl and sounds as if Michael Stipe helped out with the actual melody of the lead vocal in the intro. At times throughout this three song EP, direction and focus seems pointless. This lack of familiar structure (verse chorus verse) takes away from the overall production, but it is still worth a good listen to because of the originality. (SP)

Angry For Life Sharks and Roaches Vinehell • Described as a no frills punk band, Angry For Life adds melodic elements, touches of hardcore, and a bit of Trall style punk to change the pace up a bit. The diversity pays off at times, such as on tracks like "Holiday" and "Sharks and Roaches," where their solid rock sound, in the vein of the Offspring, comes to the forefront. Overall, nothing to write home about here, the thrashing and ranting becomes too repetitive to sit through to many times. (JC)

Aqui The First Trip Out Ace Fu Records • These guys sound like they are crazy. The lead singer is a frenetic cross between the singers from The Darkness and Mindless Self Indulgence. The music is rock, metal, electronica and dub all rolled into a tight little ball that is ready to explode at any moment. (AL)

Ariana 2MCH4YA self-released • Ariana sounds like an amazing vocal talent on the opening track "Ain't Gon' Hear It," where a steady beat with a string and key arrangement allows her voice to reach different areas of emotion and melody. The other three tracks are under produced, which takes away from the sound and feeling that the opening track contains. Overall, this girl deserves a chance to someday be where a number of R&B ladies are today. (JC)

Aspects of Physics Marginalized Information Forms One : Ping (MIF1) Imputor • Once upon a time, an excellent post rock band called Physics made awesome hypnotic instrumental rock. After they broke up, two of its members formed Aspects of Physics, and went in a slightly different direction. Now, they create songs that combine flowing guitars with experimental electronica. Plus, this is the first in a trilogy of albums that explore the sound, so get ready to enjoy some good music. (AL)

Atkins Lane The Guafrd E.P.K. self-released • I'm going to start this review by saying the packaging for this album is really awesome; not only do you get an audio CD but DVD. That is pretty cool. As for the contents of all this fabulous packaging, you are going to get pretty straight forward emo rock in the same vein as Time Spent Driving and Something Corporate. Definitely worth checking out if you're a fan of the aforementioned bands. Oh, and the DVD is pretty funny, too. (RP)

Automato self-titled Coup de Grace • Six guys, a wide range of live instruments, lovely rhyme flow and a variety of beats and styles swirl together with Automato, a hip-hop group like none other. These guys are jazzy and experimental, peppering the dope music with a non-stop lyrical assault. Keyboards, wild samples, fresh loops, live drums, guitar and bass – what the fuck else do you need? Part space voyage, part pop, part rock and plenty of jazz'd-up soul fuse with hip-hop beats and you've got a debut album that is the perfect soundtrack to your next party. (CM)

Bear Claw And the Sun Sick Room Records • In addition to being a tasty pastry, Bear Claw is a three-piece rock band from Chicago.  But Bear Claw is not just any three-piece; they've got two basses to bring the low-end goods.  Add in the talents of producer Steve Albini, and you've got one noisy ass debut album.  Find the Sun rocks in the grand tradition of midwestern bands like the Jesus Lizard and Albini's own Big Black.  (CL)

Before Today A Celebration Of An Ending Equal Vision Records • Before Today has that sort of sound that was at one point interesting, and is now becoming trite, the screaming emo sappy thing. The weird part here, is the arena rock almost Rush vocals and guitar fills they throw around. Like mixing ice cream and BBQ sauce, sure they are both good... but separate dishes please. Since it's on Equal Vision, its saved by some good production and helped along by a creative layout. (KM)

Billy Nayer Show Rabbit BNS Productions • I had lost track of Billy Nayer Show since their 1998 album The Villain That Love Built. It's good to hear from them again, and I'm glad to say that the storytelling vocal style that is so appealing is intact. Some of the attitude from Villain is gone, but time tends to do that. There is still enough sarcasm and rabbit-themed music to keep you satisfied. (AL)

Black Friday '29 The Escape GSR Music Records • Whoa! Who knew Judge was such an influence on the German hardcore scene? Straight forward and unafraid to get right up in your face, these guys play the kind of hardcore you'd expect to hear at CBGB's in the mid-90's. Thankfully they don't play it with that washed down imitation feel that so many bands fall into these days, every drum hit, guitar chord and vocal are heartfelt and honest. (KM)

Blackouts History In Reverse K Records • There's a Devo sound in the vocals and music of this band, mixed in with a weird, pseudo operatic quality to the singer's voice. The open-sounding song structure, predominately in a minor key, puts the listener in a bit of a dark place. What is odd about this band is that they almost sound like a metal band without the masturbatory guitar work. What is even more odd is that I like them nevertheless. (SJM)

Blowback Lies self-released • Blowback play straight-forward, politically-driven punk rock and are totally pissed about all things that a punk band should be pissed about. Some of the things these dudes are upset about are war, capitalism, G. Dubya, the prison system, kids without parents and the enigma in which we call the United States of America home. But much unlike intelligent political punk bands like Propagandhi, Blowback can't relay their thoughts in a way that is pleasing to the ear and/or brain. Nonetheless, they do have a point, which is valid to many people. But the medium in which it is relayed is not all that palatable. (RP)

Boat Treble Hooks Snow Globe Records • Boat features Curt McNeal, a former member of the popular Tallahassee band Nel Aspinal.  After Nel Aspinal's demise, McNeal went home to Pensacola and regrouped before forming Boat.  Along with Holopaw bass player Julio Echevarria, McNeal and the Boat crew serve up some cool indie pop.  So get caught on Treble Hooks!  Ha!  Get it? Dear God, make me stop!  (CL)

Boulevard Signal self-released • After three years and wholesale lineup changes, Boulevard returns with their second EP, Signal. Still led by singer-songwriter Benji Barton, Boulevard delivers six songs of Brit-pop influenced rock. While Barton's expressive vocals run dangerously close to overwrought at times, the songs are well crafted and the production is quite good. (CL)

Brandon Wiard Painting a Burning Building Cerberus Records • With his third release, Painting a Burning Building, Brandon Wiard delivers a radio-ready set of alternative pop songs. His literate songwriting and use of varied instrumentation are reminiscent of Elvis Costello's later work. There's one track that's positively Hootie-esque, but we'll forgive him. Wiard pushes the boundaries of standard guitar pop with the ambitious "Old Heartless Sun". Painting a Burning Building shows the continued growth and maturity of this singer-songwriter. (CL) 

Bullets & Octane The Revelry Criterion Records • This '80s style guitar led intro's make it sound like a sweet new age rock n' roll sound. With their pun- core kind of sound added in with the guitar and a rhythm on drums make a melodic sound for a band who has toured with bands such acts The Used, Sugarcult, The Ataris, just to name a few. Simplistically, they're going to get big, this review is cheesy, as in strong identical comparison to that of their music. (CMax)

C Universum Free Dimension Records • They call their brand of instrumental rock "Compost Rock," basing the name on the fact that they add bits and pieces from multiple genres. You'll hear a bit of dub and some psychedelia, but this is mainly a rock record. (AL)

Caro My Little Pony Orac Records • This CD includes the title track in its original form, plus three remixes. Caro's vocals in the original sound somewhat detached and sleazy, while the remixed versions see them processed and manipulated. The music is pretty minimalistic techno/house, with some hints of 80's electro. (AL)

Carrier Heart & Arms Electric Human Project • This record goes down like smooth Irish Cream liqueur. With challenging drums, a universal sound, and at once haunting and calming guitars, this delightful record rolls forward like a freight train. And its lyrics, sung with passion and life, hit you straight in the heart like just about any other simile you could think of. A very impressive record with fantastic production values for being recorded in the homes of the band members. (DP)

Cast Aside The Struggle Deathwish Records • Cast Aside can't be faulted for not sounding like tried to write the most sincere, honest, and frighteningly open songs possible. Brutal integrity fueled hardcore under the flag of bands like Sick Of It All, Hatebreed, and even a little old school Judge. Thankfully they aren't carbon copies, but I don't think they could fake this sort of thing if they tried. (KM)

Champion Promises Kept Bridge Nine Records • Champion might be the only straight edge hardcore band that gives me any hope for the genre. As usual they keep their roots firmly planted, while always creating something original, inventive, and honest. This release is no exception. They have pushed themselves and created another genre pushing offering that the entire hardcore scene should be studied by any young band coming up. (KM)

Character We Also Create False Promises Fictitious Records • Who knew that something else could come out of Nashville than Country music. This band plays all instrumental songs with a mellow vibe, taking cues from jazz, rock, and experimental music. There is a bit of drone and ambient here and there, but this album delivers solid song writing. (AL)

Chesterwhite & His Orchestra Chesterwhite & His Orchestra Erroneous Records • Finding harmony within the classic rock sounds of David Bowie and Led Zeppelin, this four-piece band successfully conjures up the past without abusing the art form. Solid production helps the tightly wound rock sound, which wonders between glam and grunge, to stand out from the pack. Whether getting lost inside the acoustics, or the exaggerate guitar solos, the raw delivery here deserves a chance to be in rotation with new-rock bands like The White Stripes, The Hives and Queens of the Stone Age. (JC)

China White Addiction.2 Malt Soda Recordings • This is the re-release of China White "Addiction" CD from 1995. In addition to the original punk tunes they put out nearly 10 years ago, there are two unreleased studio tracks that kick every bit as much ass as the rest of this disc. The live set from '97 is brilliant. (SH)

Clyde Federal Sensitive Skin Contraphonic • Pop rock with some garagy moments. This five song EP has some poppy catchy driven melodies. "Oh Bother" shows another side to this band with its classic sound like something you'd hear on the oldies station. The album continues with a slowed down side to the band with a harp like strumming guitar melody on "Forever." This band isn't totally original, but it does start out with a more rocking attitude, but lets you see their sensitive side before they leave you. (MP)

Codeseven Dancing Echos/ Dead Sounds Equal Vision Records • How this band went from being a below average hardcore band to one of the best space indie rock bands around is still beyond me. I'd love to think it all happened one day in a practice space, where they all looked at each other and realized the limits hardcore puts on music, and just went off into another musical dimension. That's where they are now. They might not have the appeal some of their label mates have (I'm thinking about Coheed and Cambria for one) but they have something beautiful and wonderful... and yes a little spacey. (KM)

Complicated Shirt Strigine self-released • In their press release, Complicated Shirt boldly advise listeners to forget bands like The Strokes and other "corporate-carved garage rock...and the endless march of 'The' band zombies..." I couldn't have said it better myself. And to pack their punch, Shirt unleashes 10 REAL garage rock songs with more piss and swagger than those "The" bands can muster combined. It'd be sweet if CS had a garage that held like 500 people. THAT would be a show. (SH)

Converge You Fail Me Epitaph Records • Converge has no equal. They are a force to be reckoned with in the metal/hardcore scene. Their sound is a mixture of Slayer-inspired guitar licks, machine-gun drumming, furniture-shaking bass, and the most agonized high-pitch scream you'll ever hear. You Fail Me is not up to the level of Jane Doe (nothing can compare to that album), but it is still pretty close. (AL)

Cowboys International The Backwards Life of Romeo self-released • Cowboys International are definitely stuck in the '80s and it sounds horrible. I can't say many up lifting things about this band, so I am going to cut this review short for the sake of hurting any more feelings than I need to. Don't get me wrong, there were plenty of solid recordings put out in the '80s, but that was then and this is now. (RP)

Craig's Brother Epidemic Takeover Records • Craig's Brother is one of those bands that, no matter where you are in your life, you can pick up one of their CDs and relate it to certain problems you are having. This is a really solid release from these local Santa Cruz rockers. I recommend this album to fans of Lagwagon or No Use for a Name. (RP)

D.O.A. Live Free Or Die Sudden Death Records • Yes, this is the same D.O.A. of early '80s snotty punk rawk fame. Nowadays (yes, they are still together, over 25 years actually), the band plays garagy punk rock and sometimes makes good use of horns. The album is raw and gritty, with lots of guitar solos and feedback and rough vocals. They get political on some tracks like "Stand Up Now" and "Fucked Up Bush." Sure, maybe they're not as "punk" as they probably seemed in 1981, but they're still rocking out. (CM)

Daddy G DJ Kicks !K7 Records • Sometimes considered the founding father of the "Bristol sound," Daddy G is known not only as a DJ, but as a member Massive Attack. This continuous mix, part of the DJ Kicks series, brings you over an hour of dub, reggae, and downtempo beats from artists like Tricky, Badmarsh & Shri, Leftfield and bandmates Massive Attack. (AL)

Darling Waste The Truth About Lies... 10-34 Records • Lance Williams is Darling Waste, a poetic and emotionally distorted loser at love. This release of acoustic driven indie rock bleeds with loneliness, and finds Williams cursing the very way he begs for attention from the woman that couldn't care less. The heartfelt overtones are all delivered in poppy melodies and tempo changes within agonizing atmospheres that deal with all that's left heavy on the heart. Guess that's what that Ohio weather will do to you. (JC)

David McCormack and the Polaroids The Truth About Love Laughing Outlaw Records • As it is explained in the opening track, "love is like poison," and apparently it sounds a bit like Tom Petty or Bob Dylan circa the mid 1990's too. Catchy songs are provided on this Australian developed concept album of roots-rock with bluesy elements that use organs, pianos and programmed drums to formulate some nostalgia of music's past. "I'm Going To Execute Yr Ex-Boyfriend" reminds of The Doors, "Woolloomooloo Sunset" comes off like John Cougar Mellencamp, but even better are tracks like "Liquor Store," which really sheds a light on McCormack's thought's on the truth about love. (JC)

Dead To Fall Villainy & Virtue Victory Records • After losing a guitar player and their drummer, Dead To Fall's future seemed grim. However, they got their act together, found replacements and wrote this, their second album. It is more of a hardcore/death metal album than their debut, and it certainly feels more aggressive. (AL)

Die Monitr Bats/A.S.T. split CD Dim Mak • Both of these bands play the same style of jangly lo-fi garage rock. This recording sounds like it cost to dollars to produce, if that much. I can't even begin to describe how horrible this CD is all the way around. It sounds like they recorded with a broken four-track in a tin can. I don't know; maybe this is cutting edge and I'm too jaded to notice, but after all is said and done it still sounds like shit. (RP)

Die Warzau Convenience Pulseback • This is Die Warzau's first album since 1995's Engine. If it had been recorded in 1996, it would have received as much critical acclaim as its predecessor. In 2004, however, it sounds strangely dated. Even though they are considered an industrial act, their sound is considerably mellower and less aggressive than other bands in the genre. If you are a diehard Die Warzau fan, you may like this, but otherwise, Convenience will leave you unimpressed. (AL)

Dollhouse The Rock and Soul Circus Dim Mak • Dollhouse is pure nitty-gritty '70s influenced rock and roll. These guys truly rock and there is no doubt in my mind. This is really great rock music sounding like it came straight from the '70s in all the right ways. Dollhouse blend just the right amount of psychedelics to keep you interested without going too overboard with cheesy guitar solos. (RP)

Drowning Man Learn To Let Go Law Of Inertia Records • Drowning Man signals their return to music making with this release of demos and lost tracks. Retro collections of demos always make me feel a little strange, and like all this one too is a collection of lost pieces of history with a mix of gems and duds. The biggest weakness here is the recording, but they are demos, what was I expecting. On the positive side we won't have to dwell too long since new material from these guys in the near future, until then, this will satisfy you. (KM)

Eddie The Rat Lip-synching At Zero Gravity Comfort Stand • The name Eddie the Rat comes from the rat that would wander into Peter Martin's room while he was recording. The sounds that got the most reactions from the rodent made it onto the record. That should tell you that this is no ordinary record. It's more of a musical stream-of-consciousness album, with parts that fluctuate from melodic to unlistenable. (AL)

El Buzzard Tranquilizante del elefante The Electric Human Project • This is experimental, noisy, spastic, crazy, screamy rock. There are literally just screams in the middle of "Fatal Blast." Metal moments mix with more melodic rhythms to create a good mixture of genres and sometimes just a good mix of noise. My complaint: there are only six songs here and I would like to see what they would make this noise into as a full length. (MP)

Eric Zwieg Dance of the Sugarpug self-released • Dance of the Sugarpug is a collection of four-track recordings from singer-songwriter Eric Zwieg.  A former member of Duke Fame, Zwieg recorded this minimalist set over two days and performed all the instruments himself.  Zwieg's songs have an Iron & Wine and Nick Drake quality about them.  It's solid indie folk, but nothing you haven't heard before.  (CL)

Ethan Lipton A New Low Home Office • A folk-comic singer from Brooklyn, the hilarious Lipton serves up what are pretty much rhythmic spoken-word and very simple acoustic songs about a variety of worldly and pop culture topics. He has brilliant timing, and the album is recorded live, as I think it only could be, because he is the kind of performer who sounds four times better with a laugh track. Definitely one of the funniest albums of its kind I've heard in a while. (DP)

Evenout Drown Inside self-released • Finely tuned dramatic pop rock with an edge, and a taste for mainstream America, is the bulk of this release from Evenout. When grunge took over in the early nineties, then faded out around 1995, bands that sound like Evenout controlled the FM dials for years. This album is good compared to its peers, with crisp, straightforward riffs that sound similar to Filter and Soundgarden; complete with up and down tempo changes that get lost alongside high-pitched vocals and cohesive instrumentation. (JC)

Evergreen Terrace At Our Worst Hand of Hope Records • With so many live tracks on this disc, you get a feel for the kind of enthusiasm that these boys bring to their shows. Indecipherable screaming, outrageously searing guitar parts, hard-hitting drums–all the required elements to make a hardcore album are here. Apparently inspired largely by The Big Lebowski, At Our Worst can sound a bit juvenile and trite at times. Their cover of Zero by the Smashing Pumpkins showcases their guitarist's talents almost as effectively as it damages their singer's credibility. I'm not sure how long you can scream into the microphone for without throwing something else in the mix, but the album gives you the impression that these guys work hard and play hard. And they make hardcore music. It just doesn't sound any different than any other hardcore band–although they've effectively identified themselves as part of the genre, which, I guess, is half the battle. (JR)

Fast Forward / T Cells Split CD Three One G Records • For some reason these two bands decided it would be cool to make a double CD for their split, using those annoying mini CD's that you can't play in your car. In any event, T Cells includes members from The Locust, but sounds more like some kids playing with their first keyboard, exploring all the new sounds. Fast Forward also includes Locust members, and is more energetic, with a more synth pop new wave thing. (AL)

Fear Before The March Of Flames Art Damage Equal Vision Records • Currently producing an abundant array of "buzz" via the internet, alternative music sources, etc. FBTMOF have created an exasperating declaration of prosperity with their sophomore album, Art Damage. Intertwining the ever prestigious math style with the predominate features of every other style placed upon mankind, FBTMOF produce a diverse, hard hitting, punch to the face (figuratively, yet literally when their live show comes around) in this inevitable grasp of stardom. Imagine, every math band you've come to love, juxtaposed with old-school Underoath vocals and melodic choruses and bridges, that's as close to describing the "madness," as I can get. The CD is compacted with art and if to loud, yes, damage will occurs. If you'd like a three word synopsis, buy this CD! (CMax)

Fidel Cashflow Got Cash? Pure Cash Ent. • How original, a rapper rhymes about money after naming himself, and his album, after money! An Orlando transplant from New York, Fidel actually gets his name from being Cuban, and being short a few bucks to boot. Ambitions are a good thing to have, as he sounds ready to spit tales to all regions; his rhyme delivery is full of confidence and stays consistent throughout this album of nightlife storytelling. The beats are hard-hitting and solid, with samples ranging from Wu-Tang to Biggie, and Lady Lyric even appears on a couple tracks to add the Lil' Kim character to this emcees arsenal. Overall, this one is for the club heads and the braggadocios that can't live with being broke. (JC)

Fivewise Local Heroes Out of Line self-released • OK, I'm starting to think I missed the memo. Apparently there's a new college acoustic pop band thing going on. I guess it was about 10 years ago that Hootie busted onto the scene, so maybe we're due for the second coming. Fivewise will make a strong run at the Hootie college crowd. They play fun, funky acousti-pop, with a hearty helping of harmonica. Try saying THAT three times fast. (SH)

Flat Earth Society ISMS Ipecac Recordings • Even though you could consider this group as "big band," this is not your grandfather's Lawrence Welk sound. Their sound changes constantly, sometimes sounding like a jazz group, and others like a college band during half-time. They are somewhat on the avant garde, with experimentation here and there. Overall, this is a solid release from a Belgian that is finally getting some American exposure. (AL)

Flogging Molly Within A Mile Of Home SideOneDummy Records • To put it plain, this is the best Flogging Molly record yet, but not by a long shot. All the things you expect are of course still there, the Irish swagger mixed with a punk attitude that seems a perfect match. You'll also find some sensitive movements to balance it all out of course. The only complaint, and I guess its always been my feeling, that as much as I love them, they always something that makes them sound so ready for the mainstream. All told, they still will shake things at the bar up. (KM)

For The Worse The Chaos Continues Bridge Nine Records • This is the first I've ever heard of an band fronted by an amateur wrestler. I'm not sure why the marriage of hardcore and cage-matches hasn't happened sooner, but For The Worse exploit this wonderful concept and then some with agro-into-the-red songs that bled the ears more than the heart. The drums stand out, and I think carry these Bostonians to a level past the average hardcore sound. Just remember, like the neighbors pit bull, try to stay on their good side. (KM)

Frog Eyes The Folded Palm Absolutely Kosher Records • Folded Palm is the Victoria, BC group's third album. It is a fragmented mess, a call to action, and a masterpiece. Carey Mercer's vocals are simultaneously heartbreaking, obscene, and beautiful. Comparisons are difficult to make, because Frog Eyes doesn't sound like anything else. Instead, Frog Eyes carves out a unique sound with loose, emotional drumming, groaning, wailing vocals and evocative lyrics. The dreamy, ethereal keyboard parts and steady bass complete Frog Eyes' sound, which is something altogether indescribable, indecipherable, and somehow, very important. This album is a song cycle and a text, an earnest piece of work that is, perhaps coincidentally, as beautiful as it is unnerving. (JR)

From First To Last Dear Diary, My Teen Angst Has A Bodycount. Epitaph Records • Ripping out of the gates, guitars wailing, melodies vibrant and intensity cranked all the way up, From First To Last drops a debut album with the effect of a nuclear bomb. You'll be blown away, too. Melting skin and eventual death is worth it to experience the adrenaline rush, the building energy, crescendo'ing into pounding drums, intricate rhythms, and vocals both passionate and pissed. With a math rock accuracy, From First To Last breaks genres and delivers a technically sound and musically masterful mix of metal, punk, classic rock and power pop to create a sound their own. (CM)

From Satellite When All Is Said And Done Pat's Record Company • Mazer let me review the a Helmet CD many years ago and that was about the biggest band I've reviewed since I started this crazy IMPACT gig. I think that may soon change. From Satellite will probably be huge by the time you read this. This is big, radio-ready rock that's got more hooks than a prize fight. FS is on tour with Tantric now and would be a great band to share the bill with acts like Nickelback, Switchfoot, Hoobastank and Alterbridge. (SH)

God Lives Underwater Up Off the Floor Megaforce Records • GLU are one those early '90s industrial bands that won't let the trend die a natural death. These guys are pretty much run of the mill industrial rock, along the same lines as N.I.N. and Filter. If you are a diehard fan of semi goth industrial music, check these guys out. That is, if you haven't already. (RP)

Good For Cows Bebop Fantasy Asian Man Records • This is a weird release for Asian Man Records, who have traditionally released more punk oriented material. Good For Cows is a duo with just string bass and drums, and their music is pretty out there. More free form jazz than anything else, they play with song structures, and turn each song into an experiment. (AL)

Grand Buffet Dicer: The Unheard Funk Tracks self-released • These self-releasing, lyric-spitting, keyboard crazy, goofy-ass hip-hop superstars are ready to feed you candy bars, let you know what goes hump in the night and remind you just how weird you are, lest we forget how weird Grand Buffet is! This 16-track collection features some classic GB tunes ("Candy Bars," and "Oh My God You're Weird!") along with a mix of tracks you might have never heard before. All the cuts are either live or previously unreleased (except for one compilation track); you're bound to find some shit you've never heard, and it's likely to blow your mind. Think of a more weird, synth'd-out Beastie Boys or a version of Sage Francis with a sick sense of humor, less anger and tripped-out keyboards. If you need a party-startin' record that will get blood flowing, heads noddin' and the mind relaxin', spin this, yo! (CM)

Grand Nubian Fire in the Hole Babygrande • After a six-year break, Brand Nubian comes back to secure its importance within the hip-hop world. Unfortunately, this release of nostalgic sounds does nothing to build upon their short underground legacy throughout the 1990's. The unique rhyme style of Sadat X is a natural fit alongside Lord Jamar and the depth of Grand Puba, but the problem here is that nothing really comes off new or refreshing to show how they've grown through their time apart. Beats have a classic hip-hop vibe to them, and a steady pulse that helps the album flow throughout street tails and humorous wordplay. (JC)

Grant Olney Brokedown Gospel Asian Man Records • Austin, Texas-based singer-songwriter Grant Olney offers up his debut full-length Brokedown Gospel. The title alone tips you off to the gospel-influenced sound. On Brokedown Gospel, Olney performs some soulful rock reminiscent of Jeff Buckley's material. (CL)

Greenlight the Bombers American Executive Pencil Neck Records • This post-hardcore group from Oakland, California blends guitar-driven rock with the righteousness of punk. Vocalist Paul Warner paints a grim picture with his groaning voice and heartfelt lyrics. With a lot of energy and good pacing, American Executive rocks as hard as any hardcore album–it's just a little more world-weary and reflective, and... mature. Reminds me of both the Pixies and Desert City Soundtrack–an aggressive, sensitive, unique sound. (JR)

Groove Pocket Everything's Whatever self-released • College kids in the northeast already know about Groove Pocket, and it might not be long before campuses across the country are buzzing with the sound of GP. College bars everywhere will be blasting this soon enough. Fans of Jason Mraz, Sister Hazel and old-school Hootie will dig this. These cats play some acousti-funk and can kick out the jams when they need to. Beer me! (SH)

Halfacre Gunroom Wrecked Icarus Records • Halfacre Gunroom gets around: Memphis, Tampa, Calgary, Pittsburgh, Nashville, and Cincinnati are all referenced on the songs of Wrecked. That's a lot of driving. Their songs sound like the road, from the country ballads mourning lost loves to the hard-driving rock tunes. The band's performance is very energetic, and the production is solid. It's good stuff. (CL)

HeyMike! Embrace Your Hooks Takeover Records • The kids today call it punk rock, but we know the truth. You can't create crisp and melodic mellow rock sounds, and sing like Weird Al would sing if he were actually trying to, and call it punk rock. This teenage California band creates catchy hum-and-strum songs that are full of fun, but do little to impress. (JC)

I Can Lick Any Sonofabitch In The House Menace In Music We Trust • The third release from this rock band out of Portland is no disappointment. Packed full of hard rockin' jams and acoustic songs about politics and life, these guys provide a fresh sound that's been missing for some time. When they're not going balls-to-the-wall on tracks like "I Be Ready," the mood switches on tracks like "Pauline," which is more melodic while focusing on friends that have past away. The diverse approach on this album really shows the depth of this band, while still staying true to the very roots from which they've grown. (JC)

I:Scintilla The Approach self-released • Brittany Bindrim is lead vocalist in this industrial hard rock outfit. Her vocals are reminiscent of Frou Frou and that of Evanescence. As for the music, it sounds like a cross between Garbage and Evanescence. This isn't the type of music I am into, but it is a solid release nonetheless. (RP)

In Fervor Anatomy of a Memory DCXXV Records • You know that band when you're out with your friends at a bar, and you wish that there could be anyone else other than who's on stage at that moment when your buzz kicks in? Well this is that band and you don't have to put yourself through that type of ordeal with this warning I'm giving you. Clearly out of the vein of early Pearl Jam era, comes a four piece of alt-rockers with some of the most painful vocals my ears have been exposed to within the last year. But don't just take my word for it. The opener "Hammer Song" nauseates as the vocals give out that grunge snarl that was so common in the bar scene of the mid 90's. The third track "Map the Sketch Plan" has almost the exact same vocal melody as the horrid "Hammer Song". Be afraid. Be very afraid. I thought this kind of music went out with flannels. (SP)

IPX Stay Tuned... Sick Boy Records • An excellent performance in punk-pop, made for youngsters by youngsters. Bores the shit outta me. (SJM)

Isis Panopticon Ipecac Recordings • With three guys playing guitars, you can imagine what kind of ruckus Isis can make. They not only go into hypnotic distortioned sludge, but they also deliver haunting melodies, sometimes in the same song. Similarly, the vocals range from melodic singing to screams. Isis is the perfect blending between beauty and raw power. (AL)

It Dies Today The Caitiff Choir Trustkill Records • First, you get hit on the side of the head with the metalcore assault of the opening track. Then the melodic singing begins and you realize that this is a pretty good band. The interplay between the two vocal styles keeps the music from sounding stale and repetitive. (AL)

Jason Anderson The Wreath K Records • Jason Anderson's new album is perfect to listen to while trying to get work done or while lying with someone and sharing your thoughts on life. It is very relaxing. His voice enables his songs to come across as sincere and his words are not unlike the thoughts you have scribbled down in your own journal. The female vocalist that accompanies him helps to bring out some more personality in the music. My only issue with the album is that some songs are bit too mellow and repetitive. (KB)

Jason Walker & The Last Drinks Ashes & Wine Laughing Outlaw • Using every last root of his influences, Walker sings popish alt-country rock songs that contain detailed stories of heartache and the coping that ensues. Songs bounce between mellow folk tunes and tracks that sound like Tom Petty or the Rolling Stones. The lyrics are well thought out, but this project sounds too calculated and does not come off as authentic as the words within would imply. (JC)

Jello Biafra and the Melvins Never Breathe What You Can't See Alternative Tentacles Records • Somehow the planets aligned and the ever-unapologetic founder of the Dead Kennedys got together with the legendary Melvins to record an album together. While this is no DK retread, you can hear the ultra political themes and sarcastic attitude running through "McGruff the Crime Dog" and "Yuppie Cadillac." It's a nice change for those who like Biafra, but don't have the attention span to sit through his spoken word works. (AL)

Jens Lekman "When I Said I Wanted To Be Your Dog" Secretly Canadian • This Swedish album is mostly in the mode of 60's pop as typified by Burt Bacharach, and is definitely coming from a strange place. Often, the arrangements and inserted record pops and clicks, along with the quality of the vocals, make the tracks sound as if they really are from that time period. The sense of humor is sardonic, and sometimes a little surreal. I really like this album a lot - I found myself laughing out loud, and even a little touched by the emotional content. (SJM)

Jeremiah and the Red Eyes self-titled self-released • Down and dirty, bluesy and fun. This is the music you love if you have any taste at all. Great blues and traditional roots rock, harkening back to the originators of the style, this is an excellent disc. I can easily imagine sitting down in a dark bar with these guys playing on the back deck somewhere. Excellent. (MK)

Julie Doiron Goodnight Nobody Jagjaguwar • Beautifully written guitar melodies accompanied with passionate melancholy female vocals. Formally of Canadian band, Eric's Trip, Doiron has developed a solo career where she is known for her hushed vocals and multiple linguistics. This album is in English, as opposed to some of her previous works. Whatever language Doiron sings in, it takes on a beauty of its own. Singer/songwriter indie folk rock could attempt to classify the arrangements of Doiron's music. (MP)

Junior Boys Last Exit Domino Recording Company • Electro-pop seems to suffer from a lack of creativity: most of the bands out there sound the same, trying too hard to evoke the 80's. Junior Boys avoid that mistake by using electro-pop as a starting point, and giving it a 21st century makeover. (AL)

Kane Hodder The Pleasure to Remain So Heartless Suburban Home Records • What we have here is a bad combination of vocalist Mike Patton (Faith No More, Tomahawk, and Mr. Bungle) with Brandon Boyd (Incubus) on this Washington five piece's new full length. Singer Andrew Moore rips these guys almost deliberately on at least the first two tracks already as I'm scared to proceed any further. The opening track "Last of the Anti-Fascist Warriors" contains the Patton signature crazed vocal epiphany featured on Faith No More's 1995 release King for a Day, Fool for a Lifetime. And anyone that's heard Incubus knows that Brandon Boyd stole Patton's vocals off 1989's The Real Thing. But the real problem here is that Moore takes from both the original and the thief to create a mass malarkey of vocal rip that takes away from the music right from the start. Even in the second song "I Think Patrick Swayze is Sexy", Moore spells out his lyrics exactly like Patton on Faith No More's 1992 "Be Aggressive". Get your own style guys. (SP)

Karate Pockets Southern Records • Pockets is Karate's first full-length release since 2000's Unsolved. One of the most striking aspects of this or any Karate album is the level of musicianship. While so many indie rockers lack all but the most rudimentary musical skills, Geoff Farina and company bring the goods. Karate packs more guitar chords into a song than the Ramones used in their entire career, and not one is superfluous. Their jazz-influenced indie rock flows along smoothly, accompanying Farina's understated vocals. A decade into their career, Karate continues to mature and release high quality albums. (CL)

KB Prelude self-released • KB is the project of Keith Betti, a very talented singer, songwriter and musician. KB plays straightforward rock, sometimes bluesy, sometimes from the 70's, but always with big guitars. There are great harmonies on this disc and the musicianship is tight. Fans of Neil Young and the Rolling Stones will really enjoy this. (SH)

Keith Thompson Long Time Coming Jamlure International • Imagine Barry White soulfully singing over top those dance-pop beats that Cher and Madonna use in their songs nowadays. Well, you'll almost get an idea of how this album from Keith Thompson opens. Needless to say, things do not get any better from there. These dancehall beats, influenced by reggae and rhythm and blues, are not easy to listen through, much less Thompson's singing. Makes you wonder why this guy's time coming wasn't put off even longer than it originally was. (JC)

Khonnor Handwriting Type Records • Khonnor's subdued, floating drone is well suited to meditative contemplation. The songs often rest on a soft bed of white noise, which serves both as protection for the fragile vocals and as mood alteration for the listener. Intriguing songwriting, although too often the songs seem a little unfinished due to ending midstream with a ham-handed fade-out. (SJM)

Kitty Kat Dirt Nap I Am A Robot, I Am Talking Like A Robot, I Am A Robot Wonka Vision Records • Fans of keyboard-heavy power pop get in line. There are tons of keyboards and sticky-sweet melodies coupled with a punky attitude. A guy and a girl share vocal duty; the guy is a little nasally, but also a bit punky, while the girl has lovely, sincere, almost cute, vocals. This is good music to really kick back to and get happy with – definitely good driving music, with plenty of energy and hooks that get you singing in seconds. (CM)

Know Massive MoodSwingSet Moodswing Records • Even though this album is about a year old, it harkens back to the 90's, when groups like Tribe Called Quest ruled. The beats are relaxed and his vocal style is laid back. Keyboards and groovy samples add to the trippy vibe, which leads you to believe that many blunts were smoked while producing the album. (AL)

Landing Gear Break-Up Songs For Relationships That Never Happened Catlick Records • Landing Gear's debut is full of catchy pop melodies with a bit of a rock edge, vocal harmonies, and a dual guitar sound that gives them a bit more "meat" than many others. There are fast and slow tracks, in short, something for everyone. (AL)

Last of the Famous The Music or the Misery FourFiveSix • With an old school sound and new school hooks, this melodic pop-punk band doesn't disappoint. With exciting changes in tempo and ringing guitar tracks supporting the framework, the group with European roots (clearly evident in their vocals) makes their presence known in a big way. The record is super-tight and masterfully produced, and the personal lyrics make it shine brightly. (DP)

Let It Burn The Expanding Universe Chunksaah Records • This is the second full-length release from the New Jersey quartet. The band chose to work with producer Matt Squire (Thrice, The Explosion) and I think it was definitely the right decision. The album is catchy and melodic rock with some '80s punk influences. The music is upbeat, fun, and makes you want to sing and dance along. (KB)

Love Equals Death 4 Notes on a Dying Scale Popsmear Records • This four-track EP is packed tightly with some solid and punchy aggression from the aptly titled Love = Death. The thrashing rock sound begins with "Caught in a Trap," which is about the bands failure to gain notoriety, then "The Outsiders" follows to sum up what they've been feeling as of late. "The Ballad of Johnny Loveless" and "Contradiction Overload" finishes things off, but not before these guys make some ears bleed from their intense sounds and attitudes. (JC)

Love Songs All Branches, No Trunk New Disorder • There are a lot of these somewhat serious joke bands around, although some can pull this of and some can't. I wish I could say that Love Songs can successfully recreate comedic punk, but they can't. I didn't enjoy this CD, due to the fact that there are so many of these bands around playing the same style of music and not adding anything to it. So, if you own a Vandals, NOFX or Schlong CD, I don't recommend purchasing this album. (RP)

Ludicra Another Great Love Song Alternative Tentacles Records • Alternative Tentacles has expanded its horizons by signing a black metal act to its roster! Ludicra is that band, and they reminded me a bit of Cradle of Filth, but with lower-pitched vocals (even though the vocals are handled by two ladies). They are quite varied, with shreds of death metal and grindcore, and the vocals can get melodic at times. (AL)

Mad Caddies Live From Toronto: Songs in the Key of Eh Fat Wreck Chords • Including some of the Mad Caddies best songs from their past five albums, Live From Toronto is a must have for any fan of this ska/punk band. One thing is certain, and that is that they are jam-packed with energy, as well as humor. If you can't catch them live, this is the next best thing. (AL)

Maserati / Cinemechanica / We Versus The Shark Split CD Hello Sir Records • These three bands share one common trait: they all play intricate music that kicks ass. Maserati kicks things off with two instrumental tracks from the Confines of Heat session, with repetitive rhythms and hypnotizing guitars. Cinemechanica delivers the perfect transition with one instrumental track and one with more oomph and screamed vocals. Finally, We Versus The Shark close off the CD with two tracks of angular, slightly experimental indie rock with male/female vocals. (AL)

Maurizio Lauroja Heaven Or Hell • Maurizio Lauroja's international debut is a blues-inspired rock disc that fans of the late great Stevie Ray Vaughn will enjoy, as well as fans of the Fabulous Thunderbirds, Johnny Lang and the recently famous Los Lonely Boys. Lauroja plays a mean six string is backed by a great rhythm section. This is great rock for a smoky blues bar. (SH)

Me First And The Gimme Gimmes Ruin Jonny's Bar Mitzvah Fat Wreck Chords • The world's best cover band is back, and they prove that their love of other people's music is grander than pride or dignity. For this recording, they actually performed in a bar mitzvah, and they have the home video to prove it! If you think recording punk versions of Stairway to Heaven, Strawberry Fields Forever and Come Sail Away is a funny idea, you should watch the included footage to really bust out laughing. (AL)

Medications Medications Dischord Records • Medications are an intricate, emotional power-pop trio with a progressive rock structure that borders on math rock. The vocals are a lot better than I've come to expect from music of this type, very heartfelt and spot-on. This would be a really great band to see live, I'd bet. (SJM)

MF Doom MM Food Rhymesayers Entertainment • MF Doom (Madvillain, Viktor Vaughn, King Geedorah) has proven that he is quite capable of producing quirky and sample-rich beats. However, it is when paired with excellent MCs such as Count Bass D, Madlib and Mr. Fantastik that the tracks seem to reach another level. There is a certain tongue-in-cheek vibe running through the album, perhaps due to the old sci-fi movie samples. (AL)

Mike Anderson The Soul Whisperer Music 4 Your Soul • An orphan at an early age, Anderson began toying with the piano as a child, and he's defiantly grown to become one with the instrument. Later diagnosed as a manic depressant with attention deficit disorder, it's no wonder this album is complete with touching musical sounds that border between relief and despair. This is an excellent instrumental collection of songs that make up a very soothing soundscape to get lost inside of, if only you had the time. (JC)

Miss TK and the Revenge XOXO Gern Blandsten Records • Miss TK and the Revenge write thoroughly enjoyable pop with both a punk and updated disco feel. It has a bouncy goofy cool sound that is really fun and appealing. Miss TK's vocals purr and vamp, and stir something in me. (SJM)

Money Mark Demo or Demolition? Chocolate Industries • Money Mark's latest album takes him away from the quirky sounds of past albums and into more "cool" pop. His musical transformation goes parallel to that of Air, who started featuring more guitars and fewer keyboards. The songwriting is excellent, and his singing style reveals a come-what-may attitude that is very appealing. (AL)

Monster Movie To The Moon Clairecords • New Order style electronica, ethereal pop, and a distorted edge combine in the music of Monster Movie. There is a lot of strong writing, and some often really inspired performances. It's always nice to hear such deeply human emotion come through in what is essentially electronic music. (SJM)

Motumbos Hospital Sharks & Anglers self-released • Named for NBA player Dikembe Motumbo, who apparently has a hospital, Motumbos Hospital plays some DC-style post-punk. This five-song EP features some driving guitars, tight rhythms, and strong vocals. They sound like they would be a good live act, whether they can be an intimidating low-post presence or not. (CL)

Mr. Cheeks Ladies and Ghettomen Contango Records • The third solo release from this former Lost Boyz member is full of radio-ready party jams and a distinctive, scruffy rhyme style for which Cheeks is known. Geared towards the high-flossing crowd in hip-hop, Truth Hurts and Babydoll help sing catchy hooks in songs about money, women and life, overtop bouncing production by Unseen, Pete Rock and Sage. Not much is inspiring here, though the moments that Cheeks veers away from the high life make for memorable moments; such as on the albums two posse cuts, and tracks like "What's Happenin'" and "Four Walls." (JC)

Múm Dusk Log Fat Cat Records • This EP features three brand new tracks and one from their previous album, Summer Make Good. The music sounds spooky, with moody electronic piano and haunting female vocals that are whispered. The usage of additional electronics and some found sounds adds to the atmosphere. (AL)

My So-Called Band Weapons of Mass Distortion Suicide Watch Records • My first thought was Ramones. Halfway through the disc I still thought Ramones. After the last track, I'm sticking with my first instinct. This dude even sort of sounds like Joey. Good, hooky punk that sounds like...well, you know. (SH)

Nedelle and Thom Summerland Kill Rock Stars • This is very girly. You don't have to be a girl to like it, but it is very very girly vocals that drive these songs. The vocals are along the line of Mates of State with more of a 50s or 60s feel to the music. The male/female vocals come out here and there, but there's more girl action here than anything. I think fans of Mates of State or maybe Rilo Kiley could get into this band. Fairly simplistic, but catchy happy melodies that could either put a smile on a pissed off face or make you want to rip your hair out, depending on the day. I personally enjoyed the vocal stylings of "Counting Shit." (MP)

Nevea Tears Do I Have To Tell You Why I Love You Eulogy Recordings • With track titles like Johnny Cash vs. The Space Coyote, you might get the impression that these guys aren't that imaginitive. That impression would be correct. Nevea Tears' have an excellent keyboardist, which is a shame, since his talents are wasted in this formulaic, post-hardcore mess. If it weren't for those hypnotizing and appropriate keyboard parts, this album would be completely unsalvagable. Wait, it is unsalvagable. These guys should have the keyboardist and the drummer jam for a while and see what happens, because their interactions are the only really mentionable parts of this album. (JR)

Noodle Muffin Operation Regime Change Noodle Muffin • A fascinating array of new sound-bite-filled mixes pointed squarely against the Bush Administration, this album is brimming with creativity and I have deep respect for the DJs who compiled all of these sounds and arranged them so cleverly. As I write this on Election Day, it will be dated by the time you read this review, but it is nonetheless a fine album and worth preserving for posterity. (DP)

Olympic Hopefuls The Fuses Refuse to Burn 2024 Records • The two founding members of Olympic Hopefuls, Erik Appelwick and Darren Jackson, played under the name Camaro before finally recording this album, picking up their new name, and settling on a steady lineup. The songs are all solid and catchy. It is an album that you can listen to, start to finish, without skipping any songs. They all flow together perfectly. It is indie pop at its best and definitely one of my new favorite albums. (KB)

Outbreak You Make Us Sick Bridge Nine Records • 15 songs, 15 minutes. I think I know why somebody coined the term "spaz-core." Like a whirling unholy nihilistic dervish, Outbreak seems to burn the earth below it as it wreaks everything in sight. Lyrically this certainly isn't posi-core, but for your next jealous hate-driven soundtrack, I think you'll find a few ideas here. (KM)

Papercuts Mockingbird Antenna Farm Records • "They sound like a sour Radiohead!" my friend just yelled from the other room. I can't argue that. Indie pop can be great, if it goes somewhere. Music has to move, even if it's at a depressed lumbering pace. This just wanders to and fro and to only leave you feeling lost and unsettled. There are a few tracks that stand out and make me feel slightly better, but not about this recording as a whole. (KM)

People Chasing People The Dayglow Light of Sleep Milquetoast Records • This release from People Chasing People is a creative and catchy pop rock album that is fast-paced with intricate elements and emotion. The band is a fun-loving group of guys that enjoy live shows as much as practice sessions together. What they bring to the table with this album is an indie sound of crisp production and musical development the longer the album plays out, which showcases a tightly wound percussion backdrop with keyboard sounds and guitars. (JC)

Prosaics Aghast Agape Dim Mak Records • Aghast Agape sounds like Joy Division at its most desperate, New Order at its most epic, and The Cure at its darkest. Not that Prosaics are strictly derivative–they're not. The vocals are eloquent, graceful, and oh-so-evocative of Robert Smith at his best. Each track is passionate, devoid of pretense, and well-crafted. The bass-lines are tight and intense, and the songs, as a framework for each member's artistry, are delicate and sincere. That said, this band does sound an awful lot like their influences–but so what? Fans of Interpol will love Prosaics. Listening to Aghast Agape made me want to reapply my black eyeliner and wear a torn prom dress. Beautiful. (JR)

Q and not U Power Dischord Records • Simultaneously electronic and acoustic, jagged and slick, this album puts me in mind of a number of late 70's, early 80's punk-influenced British pop bands. It also bears a resemblance in terms of structural feel and vocal abandon to The Fall. Very Cool. It is also mastered by Chad Clark of the awesome Beauty Pill. (SJM)

Quiet Bears Oh, the Falling of a Farmer Asaurus Records • The Quiet Bears, aka Johnnie Cluney, are in fact quite quiet. Oh, the Falling of a Farmer is a collection of introspective and melancholy indie folk tunes, with a storyline loosely based upon the death of one of Cluney's friends. The sparse arrangements and lo-fi recording add to the intimate feel of this record. (CL)

Qwel & Maker The Harvest Galapagos4 • Qwel rhymes with emotion while spreading the word of the ways, or, the way things should be in other words. Maker perfects beats packed with vintage samples that help accentuate the variations of dreary and lively atmospheres throughout this release. Together, The Harvest is a well-envisioned album full of deep and insightful concepts, delivered with a hyper-paced flow and a steady dose of tight production. Not to be overlooked by any underground hip-hop head, check out "The 'IT' In 'Keeping IT Real'," "The Network" featuring Mestizo and "Broken Wing" for a small taste of what's being offered at this gathering. (JC)

Racetrack City Lights Skrocki Records • Pop rock never felt so good; this isn't empty poppy crap, it's sincere, heartfelt rock with solid melodies, irresistible female vocals and a melodic power pop energy that balances feedback with harmony. Tap your toes to these rockin' 10 tracks; you know you want to. Meghan's vocals remind me of Alison from Discount. Both musically and vocally, this reminds me of J Church. The music may be somewhat simple, but who needs complex when simple sounds so good? (CM)

Racketbox self-titled self- released • This three song disc comes complete with a video of live concert footage. The band wants to sell you on its high energy performance. But what about the music? Two of the three songs are politically charged, straight up punk, while the third is the typical boy hates girl song. The band's sound is more punk than anything else, though they state having many influences. I do admire their getting the music out without the support of a label. The EP is by no means a top pick but I would be interested in hearing a full length when they put one out. (KB)

Rattle Battle Push Up Perfect Victim Records • This is REALLY an EP ­ two songs to be exact. It's a shame, too, because this is pretty good stuff. They remind me of Reverend Horton Heat, or maybe if the Georgia Satellites made a punk CD. Or maybe if the Cult were from Kentucky. Get the drift? It's really good rock and I'll be waiting for a second LONGER release (hint, hint). (SH)

Red Eyed Legends Mutual Insignificance File 13 Records • These songs are rough, droning, and strutting like a drunken Mick Jagger. The organ is a welcome addition to the overall sound, which is wonderfully chaotic. The only way to appreciate this album is to hear it, and hear it you must. (SJM)

Renee Heartfelt Magdalene Limekiln Records • I could write a review just on all the former bands that the members of Renee Heartfelt have been a part of, including Give Up the Ghost and Count Me Out. All that prior experience has sure paid off. The Virginia and Washington, D.C. based band got together with producer Matt Squire to record their EP. The songs all fit together well and have a strong melodic sound to them. Overall, the band has some hardcore influences though it is best described as straight rock. (KB)

Resilience Sound of Strength SOS Records • As Howard Dean so eloquently put it, "Yeeeeahhhh!!!" This is full-on, in your face, straight out of the back alley punk. It's not so fast that you can't appreciate it, it's just solid, steady, hard-hitting punk. You know how you look at bands like Good Charlotte and New Found Glory and laugh when you see them with Mohawks and leather-studded jackets? Not so with Resilience. These guys hate conformity and you can tell. They're not just up there trying to boost record sales, they're up there doing what they believe in. Now stop reading this and crank that s&% up! Oi! (SH)

Robb Benson The Tree Mind Roam Records • The vocals of Robb Benson are strong throughout this album. Indie pop melodies on songs like "d's song," compare the band to other indie pop greats like The Velveteen. Certain songs take on a more blues rock sound and you can actually hear the Elvis Costello influence within the songs. His vocals are soulful layers to an eclectic collection of music, including the track "& the sky stops," which can be compared to the piano driven music of Ben Folds. Benson adds a new level to Singer/Songwriter. (MP)

Rocket Science Eternal Holiday Modular Records • Pack your bags and go on the eternal vacation. This disc is a solidly constructed conglomerate of hooks, catches and riffs. There is an almost overbearing sense of pop-coolness to this disc, but it is infectious. The songs burrow their way into your mind and take root. Rock and roll for the next generation? (MK)

RPM A Young Person's Guide to Being an American RPM • With a crystalline voice and a major chip on her shoulder, the melodic, power-rocking girlie known as RPM throws a gigantic block of vocal concrete at the head of the listener. This 4-song EP is a special edition for the election year, in which she focuses her assault through a lens of distaste for the current administration. It is always a delight to see such naked passion in any corner of the music industry. (DP)

Safety First self-titled Safety First • The brainchild of songwriter Peter Gidlund, Safety First was originally a solo home project constructed with unusual elements such as vintage drum machines and synths. These humorous, thoughtful songs pepper portions of the CD, with the other portions filled out by the addition of more members to form a full pop quartet. Their songs are avant-garde and bubblegummy, in that kind of strange happy, dark way. They made me smile. (DP)

Saint Bushmill's Choir self-titled Empty Records • Banjo, accordion, violin? Could it be a polka band? It could be, but it isn't. Step up to the bar, boy-o, 'cause this is drinkin' music. A rocking aggregation of traditional irish drinking songs and rocking originals, this is a disc that will have you raising a warm pint over and over. Good, good, good. (MK)

Scatter The Ashes Devout/The Modern Hymn Epitaph Records • The predominately known Epitaph Records is straying from their roots of punk rock and rejoicing in the fortress of other musical genres. Scatter The Ashes has definitely displaced their roots amidst the backbone of every musical genre within their time. An influential aspect in the reviewing system is comprising a mental representation of the band and how they're influential to the music scene. Scatter The Ashes names resorts back to the numerous puns I've created due to the fact that they're impossible to categorize. Brilliance, may not bear a strong beneficial value in transforming their sounds into words yet when used in dialect, it's attentive. Scatter The Ashes takes the progressive rock era combined with emo, rock and roll, and elements of metal, hardcore, etc. to produce a pure genius effort debut on the musically ascending, Epitaph Records. Scatter The Ashes are metaphysical. (CMax)

Sensation Junkies Once For The Money Sarathan Records • Hmmm...this is different. It wouldn't have been different 10 years ago, but it's not what you're used to hearing nowadays, and that's not bad! Let's get nostalgic. Think Grant Lee Buffalo, Cure, Screaming Trees...I also sense some Doors overtones here. These guys have been around for a while and you can tell by very solid playing. This is good alt-rock with an emo/psychedelic feel. Give it a try. I bet it will win you over. (SH)

Seth Swirsky Instant Pleasure Luck Media and Marketing Inc. • I feel bad hating this album. Seth Swirsky is a dedicated songwriter, having written hits for the likes of Rufus Wainwright, Celine Dion and Al Green. He's also lent his songwriting talents to Tina Turner, Smokey Ribinson, The Go-Go's, Faith Evans, and more artists than I can list. I liked the song's title track Instant Pleasure a lot better when Rufus Wainwright sang it. "I don't want someone to love me," he says, "just give me sex whenever I want it." Seth is clearly a more sensitive, if not a more sincere, kind of guy. "All I want is someone to love me," he says, "And give me sex whenever I want it". This album sounds like the Spin Doctors, like Jude, like Sondre Lerche, and like every other poppy, sensitive-guy crooner there is. There are lots of radio-friendly tracks on this unimaginitive, over-produced album, so unfortunately, I'm sure we'll be hearing more from Seth Swirsky in the future. (JR)

Sexual Breakfast self-titled Strictly Amateur Films • Sexual Breakfast is Afandi from Duster, Mohinder and A-set's solo project. It sounds like some of the early 90's classic rock revival bands, like Soundgarden and Red Hot Chili Peppers. With heavy drumming and a lot of distortion, this album is a rock tribute to the days of yore–think catchy hooks and a lot of guitar-driven ballads with indecipherable, throaty vocals. While this album rocks, and a lot of the tracks would be awesome live, Afandi doesn't showcase much of his musical aptitude, with one song tending to run into another, entirely too-similar guitar parts and predictable fadeouts. While not a terribly innovative solo project, the album shows enough potential that I'd like to see what Afandi's songs would sound like stripped down and exposed, without all the fuzzy guitars that distract from his funky, rockin' songwriting. (JR)

Shinobu Herostratus vs Time Let's Go! Records • Shinobu has only been around for about two years but in this time they have found a sound that fits them well. Herostratus vs Time is solid indie rock. It's fun and catchy without being too poppy. The lyrics come across as honest and easy to relate to, which is one of the qualities that I liked best about the album. Each song has a unique title, not that it matters, but it definitely makes for a more interesting appearance. The mix of tempos and melodies help all the songs flow together and reel the listener in. (KB)

Shoplifting Shoplifting EP Kill Rock Stars • With female vocals, it almost sounds like the singer from Babes in Toyland joined Fugazi. This is artsy, diverse indie rock that's not afraid to experiment. At moments it gets screamy, but the music is more lethargic and atmospheric. There are only four songs on this EP, but a LP on Kill Rock Stars is soon to follow. With ear catching vocals like "ask me what's between my legs," I'm very interested to see where this band will venture next. For now we have four tracks of experimental indie rock to satisfy your thirst. (MP)

Shortway Shortway Stillpoint Records • Anyone remember Vinnie from Sponge? They had a hit song on the radio called "Plowed" in 1994. Anyways, awesome song. Haven't heard anyone sound like that singer in a long time. But here you have it -the three piece Shortway. Aside from lack of melody on the second track "Points of Interest", these boys belt out some Tool-inspired tracks that could rock anyone. The ease of "Oversight" sports an early Soundgarden vibe. The problem is that I'm having a hard time finding something that really grabs me and screams originality. But if you're looking for a stroll down memory lane, Shortway is just the band for you. (SP)

Sick of it All Outtakes for the Outcast Fat Wreck Chords • This is an album that belongs in any Sick of it All fan's collection. It consists of 15 rare songs collected from B-sides, Eurovynil releases, and some live stuff. For over 15 years they have been creating legendary hardcore, and this could be considered their "Greatest Hits You've Never Heard." (AL)

Sierra Dog Romeo Crossedeyed Loaded self-released • Chris Shepard is the mind behind this rocking and sarcastic band that delivers songs about hippies, skinning dogs, smoking crack and working a 9-5. The guitar riffs are an ode to the roots of rock-n-roll with a driving bass line to go along. The overall sound is a clash of glam and grunge at their worst of peaks. Comparable in nature to the context of Ween, Zappa, Beck and Primus, expect to be entertained by a solid album of some comical songs and sounds. Check out "I Just Flat Out Can't Stop Smoking Crack" and "Down From The Sky" for a taste. (JC)

Siji God Given BBE Music • With a voice that is smooth as silk, Siji delivers 14 tracks of soulful R&B. The old school keyboards and beats are reminiscent of the 60's and 70's, but this is no retro album. He has been compared to Al Green and Curtis Mayfield, so get out there and give this guy a listen. (AL)

Silver Sunshine self-titled Empyrean Records • Classic rock n' roll with poppy melodies intertwined to create a very catchy album. This band sounds heavily influenced by bands of the past, like The Beatles. This comes out strongly in their music, but it's definitely a good thing. The harmonies almost fooled me. This band, originally from San Diego, can pass for a British pop band at moments. There isn't much else to say, except this is just damn good, well composed pop music. (MP)

Simply Waiting The Subtle Dynamics Between the Windshield and the Rearview A Small Voice Screams World • Calculated indie rock sounds are abound on this release from Simply Waiting. Songs are mainly made of high-pitched female-like vocals and a steady dose of guitar riffs tightly wound with percussion and piano parts. Not a lot of substance outside the standard songs about missing a girl and living to sing about it. (JC)

Since By Man A Love Hate Relationship Revelation Records • Production by Paul Miner (Death By Stereo) and a new bassist and guitar player finds this band in superb form on their newest release. Just four tracks fill this one out, but the brutal mayhem that begins with the opening song "Swan Killer" is subsided before "Goddamnit Baby This Is Soul" even begins. Of course the hardcore and intricate sound returns to pulsate any thoughts from your brain before you know it, and ultimately leaves you begging for more. Some solid sounds on this album include deafening screams and thrashing rhythms. (JC)

Skeemin' NoGoods Skeemin' NoGoods Idol Records • These guys have been around, individually, for a long time and with as much time as these three dudes have put in, you'd expect that this release would be done the right way. You'd be right. This debut disc is self-described as "Twenty-seven minutes and twenty-nine seconds of foot up your ass," and that's about as good as I could have said it myself. This is big, loud, aggressive rock and punk, and you'd be smart to give it a listen. (SH)

Sleepytime Gorilla Museum Sleepytime Gorilla Museum of Natural History Web of Mimicry Records • SGM have a lot in common with Fantômas and Mr. Bungle. Its vocalist sounds a lot like Mike Patton. Also, their sound is quite experimental and artsy. However, they don't really sound alike, as SGM tends to use homemade instruments aside from the traditional instruments. If you like art-rock with as edge, this band is for you. (AL)

Slingshot Dakota Keener Sighs Immigrant Sun Records • Slingshot Dakota has created a handsome collection of emotionally raw indie rock. The mostly piano-driven compositions work well with the earnest vocals, resulting in a warm, hopeful sound. (SJM)

Son, Ambulance Key Saddle Creek Records • Son, Ambulance showcases Joe Knapp's ability to write catchy pop songs with a bit of sadness permeating through them. Piano plays an important part in setting the mood. Those who liked Knapp when he was a member of Bright Eyes should follow him to this band. (AL)

Split Fifty We Live Forever Hell Bent • Straddling the line between hardcore and punk, Split Fifty adds in plenty of rock and roll and a sprinkling of melodic pop to form a perfect blend of aggressive music that's not short on melody or rage. The vocals are solid, with really incredible harmonies that play well off the more aggressive, screaming parts. I'd make a loose comparison to Good Riddance meets Jawbreaker meets Seaweed. Don't hold me to it. Might also be popular among fans of Quicksand, given the solid, almost metal guitar parts. (CM)

Stand & Fight Together We Win Bridge 9 Records • Stand and Fight is a straight edge hardcore band from Southeast California (where else?). They maintain all the essentials any band of this genre are noted and acclaimed for. A strong, passionate claim of the "edge," fury, uniformity in musicianship and lyrical elements, and simplistically, they're good! Throw on your vintage Youth Of Today shirt and let's see some two steppin! (CMax)

Steve Frederic Have We Met? self-released • This album is the sonic equivalent to a B-movie. The performers are competent, the songs are completely uninspiring, and the lyrics are really atrocious. (SJM)

Strategy Super Vamp Orac Records • This CD features four versions of the title track, with remixes by Nudge, Solenoid, and Strategy himself. Whereas the original is a mixture of disco and techno beats, the remixes go through house, chillout, electro and dub. (AL)

Strung Out Exile in Oblivion Fat Wreck Chords • Since 1992, Strung Out have been producing excellent melodic punk and have been getting better with each album. They dabble in metal and progressive rock, but they are truly a punk band. It would be hard to find vocals that are more melodic. (AL)

Suicide Note Too Sick to Dance Ferret Records • This band seems to be all over the place musically. The songs have a base sound but there are many intricacies laced throughout. The members of Suicide Note were all pursuing different goals and jobs when they got together to record Too Sick to Dance. These different lifestyles reflect in the music. Some of the songs would have Suicide Note best described as a hardcore punk band. But listening to certain tracks, such as Full Price, show the band has much more underneath. Others, like Los Angeles, are mellower and slowed down. This is the kind of album that you need to listen to all the way through to get a true sense of the overall sound. (KB)

Swerdlove self-titled Crash Retrieval Records • This is music for thirteen-year-old girls to swoon to. Predictable melodies, all-too-familiar guitar arrangements and infuriatingly whiney vocals make this album tragically banal. They sound a little like Third Eye Blind, a little like Hum, and a lot like sub-par radio pop. The occasional searing guitar riff makes you wonder why their obviously talented guitarist would bother making this kind of music. This album is not particularly innovative, not particularly interesting, but too irritating to ignore. Sorry, guys. (JR)

Teedo Luvatomic self-released • Teedo are New York native funk rockers who make feel good music for thirty something guys in silk shirts. Teedo sounds like a cross between Right Said Fred, U2, Bee Gees and Barry White on acid. If that description hasn't scared you off, you will probably more than enjoy this CD. (RP)

Teye & Belén FlamencObsesionArte self-released • Though Flamenco guitarist Teye is Dutch, he can play the Spanish guitar like he was born in Madrid. His technique is excellent, sometimes accompanied by vocals and other instruments. This is music that deserves to be seen as well as heard, and fortunately, the enhanced portion of the CD includes an award-winning video which (for some unexplained reason) was shot entirely underwater. (AL)

The Aeffect Secrets & Lies Hitchhiker Records • This brainchild of Steven Kramer is buzzing with a new wave, synth-pop sound that takes us all back to the good old days of the Reagan administration. Obviously outdated, the songs included on this follow-up to A Short Dream EP still contain the same 80's vibe that was captured back then by this band out of Gainesville. The vocals from Kramer have a UK accent to them, and aside from the fact they've licensed six songs to be used in MTV reality shows, this album lacks any real originality and really isn't all that good. (JC)

The Anomoanon Joji Temporary Residence LTD. • A breath out of a newer folk tradition that hails back to a sort of meandering Neil Young. There are moments I'm interested, and then lose interest almost as fast. This record struggles between something interesting and background noise, and seems to get musically lost and never really finds itself. The artist probably meant to do this, but they didn't find a fan in me. (KM)

The Atari Star Prayer + Pretend Johann's Face Records • The Atari Star is the latest project for Chicago punk vet Marc Ruvolo, formerly of the Traitors and No Empathy. While they are less punk-sounding than some of Ruvolo's previous bands, the Atari Star produces some dark, angular indie rock. The band defies easy categorization, but fans of challenging and textured indie rock while really enjoy Prayer + Pretend. (CL)

The Beakers Four Steps Toward A Cultural Revolution K Records • The Beakers purvey some angular, punk-influenced madness. It feels like a pleasant epileptic seizure. (SJM)

The Cheaters Club Tryst self-released • The Cheaters Club open Tryst with its worst track. Maybe they were trying to get the crap song out of the way, who knows? The album's best tracks feature female lead vocals; the laconic male vocals are like a cross between Elmer Fudd and Gordon Gano. The songs are mainly electronic and keyboard-based, with the occasional guitars thrown-in to mix things up. Tryst has its moments, despite my track sequencing and vocal gripes. (CL)

The Cribs self-titled Wichita Records • You know the saying "it's best to keep it in the family"? Well, The Cribs certainly took that advice when forming their band, and it works for them. These three brothers, two of which are twins, are straight from the UK. They have been playing together for years, though their earlier music did not consist of much more then guitar chords with pots and pans to accompany them. Since that time, the three brothers have evolved their sound into a perfect blend of indie and pop. Their songs are catchy, snazzy, and full of hooks to dance along to. (KB)

The Dears Protest Ace Fu Productions • This EP is a mini concept album by this Montreal collective. It adds orchestral elements to rock and post-punk to great effect, starting with "Heaven," which slowly builds musical momentum before proceeding to the two other sections in this three part album. The last track is a remix or sorts, which goes into more experimental and electronic territory. (AL)

The Fiction I told her that I like living in a box Level Plane • This is aggressive rock with hardcore and indie rock moments. The title track shows their range as a band. With screamy vocals, intriguing lyrics, and complexity in writing ability, this is 11 tracks of solid something. I don't want to put it into a category because this band seems better than that. They are a dynamic "hardcore" band with many more levels to them than just hardcore. This three piece band from New York City features ex-members of EM-50, Six of One, Kaneda, Freebooters and Corrupt Autopilot. All three members contribute to the vocals and create a robust sound of what seems like various musical influences. (MP)

The Firebird Band The City At Night Bifocal Media • Mixing electro elements (synths, drum machines, etc.) with indie rock, The Firebird Band come with their third full-length, arguably their best to date. The first album reminded me the most of Braid (the band co-frontman Christopher Broach used to be in). The second album was lacking too much of an indie rock element and seemed to focus more on the electro side. This album is in between, blending the two styles in a way that truly works. Along with Broach is John Isberg. This album is the first of a planned trilogy of releases from the duo. (CM)

The Great Clearing Off In Flight from the Terror Behind Ed Walter's Records • A melodic punk band from Philadelphia's basement scene erupted impressively. They sound like they are geared towards a metal juxtaposed with punk kind of fury. Their lyrics seem deep and meaningful and from their complimentary video featured on the CD, this band seems like they're capable of being labeled "professionals." Nothing exquisite, yet good. (CMax)

The Harvey Girls The Biggest Book You'll Never Read self-released • First of all, the Harvey Girls aren't actually both girls, but whatever. This five-song EP is rather eclectic; it opens with hip-hop beats and found sounds and closes with a melodic keyboard-based track. In between there's the sweet vocal melodies of "Blue and Green Lawnmower" and the Yo La Tengo-like cover of the Alan Parsons Project's "Don't Answer Me". (CL)

The Ios Center and Stop self-released • Male and female vocals over keyboard and distorted guitar driven indie pop make up this five song EP. "Forces regrouping" sounded like it could be an electronic version of a poppy Pixies song. The keys and female vocals could be compared to the first Anniversary album. "Water Ghosts" sounded like an '80s song more to the tune of The Smiths or some other dark side to The Ios. Catchy melodies carry these five synth, new wave songs. (MP)

The Lucky Stiffs Today Will Follow You Five Dime Records • All right, all right! You've got a nifty six-song punk EP here. The Stiffs have that raw yet polished sound that is easy to listen to for old Oi punkers and the new anti-kids as well. "Last Confession" is a great track. (SH)

The Lurking Corpses 23 Tales of Terror Creature Feature Productions • The fact that these guys are huge Misfits fans is quite obvious. Some of the songs sound like covers, but all are original. They are no, however, a one act band. They sometimes go into black/death metal territory and a bit of hardcore. (AL)

The Methadones Not Economically Viable Thick Records• The Methodones have seen more line up changes then most bands will ever have to go through. Maybe this is because they have been around since 1993. What started out as a side project for Dan Schafer, of Screeching Weasel fame, evolved into a full time commitment over the years. The band focuses on many of the social aspects and difficulties in life and steers clear of the more political route that I originally thought they would take. The music is solid melodic rock, possibly even a bit pop punk. It is entertaining though and some of the songs have that "get stuck in your head" quality to them. (KB)

The Monorail A Whole New City Milquetoast Recordings • There's just something infectious about this release from The Monorail. A crisp post-grunge rock sound is delivered, which comes off overproduced; with popish vocals that harmonize alongside intricate guitars, a steady bass guitar and pulsating drum work. This six-song collection has a happy-go-lucky feeling behind it Whether diving into island jams, instrumentals, or just some straightforward pop-rock, listen up for The Monorail on a college station near you. (JC)

The Out_Circuit Burn Your Scripts Boys. Lujo Records • The influence of Talk Talk's later material is obvious in this album. It's a meandering, beautiful sound that threatens to explode at any moment, and when it does it is imminently satisfying. Very well recorded, impressive music. (SJM)

The Poison Arrows Trailer Park File 13 Records • A member of Atombombpocketknife, Justin Sinkovich started The Poison Arrows to do something while ABPK was in hiatus. By blending electronica with a bit of rock, he achieves an unpolished electronic sound which is hypnotic at times and cacophonous at others. (AL)

The Power & The Glory Call Me Armageddon Deathwish, Inc. • Has the apocalypse ceased or is its burden strictly upon us? Whichever you prefer bears no resemblance to the epitome of musicianship, as well as whole hearted chaos, ironically. TP&TG's Call Me Armageddon, idealistically, is Converge in the crucial aspects of their beginning with an everlasting tinge of tough guy hardcore and metal. Simplistically the dendrites in my brain have demolished the pathway to my cerebrum in which I'm serene in describing what has taken captive of my musical senses leaving me on a verge of desperation. If you're attentive to such names as Converge, A Life Once Lost, and The Chariot, then subject yourself to the power of The Power & The Glory. (CMax)

The Reason Ravenna Smallman Records • Combining emo and hardcore, blending screaming and passionate vocals, weaving wicked guitar parts throughout and tempo changes galore, The Reason, hailing from Canada, caught my attention with the first track. I was instantly a fan. I love the contrasting of screamed and sung vocals, enhancing a song's ability to be melodic, catchy and harmonic while still being aggressive and intense. The tunes are so hyper-catchy (not poppy, but infectious) and equally hardcore that I'm awed by their affect on my ears. Imagine Grade meets old Get Up Kids. Or don't imagine it; I don't care. The fact is, you get 10 amazing tracks on this absolutely outstanding debut full-length. (CM)

The Sermon Volume Alternative Tentacles Records • Punk rock is supposed be unrelenting and angry, so it's a real bonus when it also happens to be good. Volume is a hard-hitting, dirty album–making punk rock sound fresh and not at all formulaic. The drums are punishing–the vocals, wailing, and even with all the distortion on the fuzzy guitars, Volume sounds innovative and new. An album this enthusiastic, this raw and furious, makes you feel optimistic about rock–sort of like the White Stripes did before Elephant. While Volume is uncomprisingly punk rock–its sensibilities transcend genres. The tracks would sound just as relevant blaring out of a honky tonk jukebox as they would in your living room. I hope they're as good live as they are in the studio. This album rocks. (JR)

The Setup / Schematic Of A Waking Life self-titled Electric Human Project • Two bands came together for this split. The Setup contributes the first three tracks full of controlling screams and metal riffs. Snapcase came to mind, especially with the drum sound. Intricate melodies woven with double bass and screams create three hardcore tracks for a powerful start. Schematic of a Waking Life contribute four songs to the second half of this split. This band brought more dynamic, indie math songs with passionate melodies and lyrics to the mix, without losing their toughness. These two bands create a nice concoction of mathcore, but who needs labels? This is good stuff. (MP)

The Sham Rock and Roll With . . . self-released • The Sham resides at the intersection of punk rock and classic blues and soul. More ragged and less cartoon-ish than Jon Spencer & Co., the Sham has a dark vibe that lurks in their music; just check out the raucous murder punk-blues of "The Night John Lee Hooker Died". With an appropriately gritty sound that could have been recorded live on a boom box, the Sham reminds us what edgy rock and roll is all about. (CL) 

The Shemps Spazz Out Reservation Records • Not that The Hives are musically revolutionary, but they do have a signature sound. Unfortunately, The Shemps have that exact same sound. (SJM)

The Sleeping Believe What We Tell You One Day Savior Recordings • Emocore rarely sounds this good. Normally, I'm so overpowered by the emotional sap that I don't care about the hard edge to the music. This time, the music takes over, the ripping guitar parts weaving across the musical landscape, the tempo changes, thick bass; it all comes together in a melodically magical way and, fortunately, the vocals are solid, not taking away from the musical goodness. There's a mix of well-sung and screamed vocals, always delivered with passion. Fans of Thursday, Thrice, Junction 18, etc., can all rejoice around this album. (CM)

The Thin Man H.M.S. Mondegreen self-released • This is a collection of accordion-driven sea-shanties for the twisted soul. Excellent songwriting that shares a mood with some of Tom Waits' work. (SJM)

The Unseen Guest Out There self-released • Very well performed singer-songwriter style music with the addition of East Indian instrumental backing. The songs are moody and well written with literate lyrical content, just not my particular cup of tea. (SJM)

The Visitations Propaganda self-released • Propaganda. Irony! Get it? Nice lyrics, nice acoustic guitar, but I'm not sure if music is the best forum for these guys. Their right-on political outrage lends well to their complex, pissed-off lyrics. They're obviously well-informed and eloquent, but at times, the lyrics are a little too verbose for their stripped down, bare sound. With sparse, poignant percussion and appropriately sophisticated guitar parts, The Visitations sound like a bunch of political science/music majors. I think they could stand to veil their message a little, or at least encode it, because there's a lot to listen to, and consequently, a lot gets skimmed over. Probably a great live show, though. With all the lyrical material they have, though, maybe they should just write a book. (JR)

The Wrens / The Five Mod Four Split CD Contraphonic • This album is a sampler of two bands, The Wrens and The Five Mod Four. The former is dark, moody pop with a suitably gruff vocalization. The standout track is "Was There Ever", a driving, emotional song punctuated with a pensive slide guitar part. The Five Mod Four has a nice minor key punk-pop sound with a wry sense of humor. There's a lot of good music on this label, and these bands are no exception. (SJM)

The Youngs The Youngs Mimicry Recordings • This album ranges all over the map, from sparse electronica to space rock to blues raunch. My reaction to the music is dominated by the odd realization that the female vocalist is really reminiscent of Karen Carpenter. There are some really amazing moments in this solid album. (SJM)

Thema Eleven Choose Your Beast Strilek Records • Czech Republic hardcore has arrived! This is a slow, churning kind of hardcore though. Does that make sense? Dirty, grungy guitars, gravel-throated vocals, noisy synth stuff in the've gotta at least try it. (SH)

This is Exploding Until the Next Red Light self-released • Until the Next Red Light is the debut album for Cleveland's This is Exploding.  The quartet plays some powerful indie rock, with tight rhythms and crunchy guitars.  At the same time, they maintain a strong melodic sense and make good use of dynamic changes throughout their songs.  This is a very promising debut album.  (CL)

This Providence Our Worlds Divorce Rocketstar Records • It's okay to like indie-pop isn't it? Well indie-pop is misleading, because they have some pop punk elements as well. Actually I'm just going to come out and say it, they pretty much are the best parts of the most annoying bands that you secretly like. The good thing is you can feel good about loving this record as much as I'm starting to. (KM)

Tiger Army III: Ghost Tigers Rise Hellcat Records • Tiger Army returns with their third full-length, III: Ghost Tigers Rise. On their latest effort, Tiger Army slows down the pace of their goth-influenced psychobilly. The results are somewhat mixed. While the slower pace showcases Nick 13's songwriting skills and vocals, the album as a whole lacks energy and excitement. You keep waiting for the band to go off on a psychobilly freakout, but it never happens. (CL) 

Tizzy Dead Band Rocking self-released • What is Tizzy? It's a 3 piece rock band. Female vocals that are quite nice. A straight-ahead approach to rock. Solid and melodic, this is music that that they should play on the radio. I'd imagine that Tizzy puts on a hell of a live show, based on the energy they show in this studio disc. (MK)

Toothpick Time Traveling Couch Empire Musicwerks • In a curiously addictive combination, Toothpick combines his easygoing rap style with acoustic guitars and some folk roots rock, peppered with smooth singing. This album is a big party, with humor in many of his lyrics. Included are two videos, one for the title track, and the other for "Super Size Me," the theme song for the documentary by the same name. (AL)

Total Chaos Punk Invasion SOS Records • What can I say that hasn't already been said. I don't proclaim to be the biggest punk rocker ever, but I sure as hell know who Total Chaos is. These guys have been around for the better part of 10 years and are still moshing and bloodying noses like they always have. You can appreciate this for its raw power and unrelenting riffs, or you can appreciate it for its yell-along choruses, or you can appreciate it for its loyalty to the punk of old. Whatever you want to pick is fine, just make sure you get your hands on this. (SH)

Traindodge The Truth Ascetic Records • This massive two-disc album demonstrates the huge potential of Traindodge. There is a pretty wide range of influences, encompassing such disparate sources as The Minutemen and Tortoise. Despite some occasionally ill-advised forays into urban vocal territories that suit the band poorly, both the songwriting and the performances are inspired. (SJM)

Unfair? Freedom EP Mediattack • The lo-fi, raw sound of this crusty, "peacepunk" hardcore band is so appropriate. While the recording quality may be criticized if it were some other genre of music, the roughness is one of its finest qualities. The vocals are shouted forth over feedback heavy guitars, a spastic drum rhythm and inconsistent melodies. The result is a chaotic vibe that so appropriately fits the political status of our world. (CM)

Until the End The Blind Leading the Lost Eulogy Records • Featuring members of Against All Authority, All Hell Breaks Loose, and Where Fear and Weapons Meet, this band definitely has long-time experience going for them. This album marks a turn in their membership and musical direction. It is the first Until the End album that features new singer, James McHugh. His intensity and passion fit right in with the music created by the rest of the members. This straight edge, hardcore band that used to focus primarily on personal issues in the lyrics, have taken a stance with this very political album. The songs resemble rapid fire in their assault. The insert that comes along with the album also has a very political layout. The whole package, music and all, is very powerful and intense. Just what a hardcore album should be. (KB)

Vanishing Still Lifes Are Failing Gold Standard Laboratories • Vanishing is back with another retro synth pop album, though one that is a bit darker. Danceable beats and plenty of keyboards will have you dancing in no time. The female vocals reminded me of the lead singer from Blonde Redhead, and is what gives this act somewhat of a less-than-polished sound. The CD includes two pretty weird videos. (AL)

Various Artists Damage, Destruction, Terror, & Mayhem New Regard Media • Another compilation comprised of a heavy punk-core kind of sound infiltrating every aspect of "material" in our talented forsaken land. In order to maintain a representation for genuine character and the art of being receptive, some of the bands featured on the compilation are USS Horsewhip, Full Frontal Assault, Aces of Evil, The Mark and The Wastelanders. I'd like to obtain any copy of compilation, geared towards the infamous "punk rock" style that possesses just the slightest tinge of something unique or eccentric. As of right now, I'm heartbroken, send you condolences. (CMax)

Various Artists Public Display of Affection: The Sound of Independent Radio Nettwerk America Records • This CD is a compilation put together by four of the most highly respected public radio program directors in the country, at least that's what it says inside the press pack. They were to submit their favorite songs by their current favorite independent artists. Passenger's "Driving You Home" has a nice emo mainstream feel to it with a touch of Vedder in the vocals that works very subtly. Then you have a song like Eleni Mandell's "Can't You See I'm Soulful" where her vocals float over a radio friendly adult contemporary tempo fit for all ages. With a slight twang in some of the tracks, all in all this is an easy listen. (SP)

Various Artists Take Action Vol. 4 Sub City Records • For the fourth straight year, Sub City Records is releasing a double CD to raise awareness for The National Hopeline Network, a suicide prevention and crisis hotline network. The 41 tracks of mostly punk/indie/rock music feature NOFX, Against Me!, Shadows Fall, The Dillinger Escape Squad, Coheed and Cambria, Taking Back Sunday, Brazil, Ted Leo and the Pharmacists, and a bunch others. (AL)

Various Artists Welcome to Circus Punk-A-Billy Wolverine Recordings • Do I really even need to review this? If you read the title of this CD and you're still reading, you should be digging for your credit card right now. I mean there's not a huge market for punk-a-billy, right? So when you've got 30, count them ­ THIRTY, tracks of punk-a-billy on one freaking CD, you should probably get your ass in gear and buy it. Now, slacker! (SH)

Victory At Sea Memories Fade Gern Blandsten Records • Fronted by emotional sounding female vocals, Victory At Sea play moody rock comparable to Black Heart Procession and Bright Eyes. The Addition of electric piano and violin to the sometimes slow songs adds to the atmosphere. (AL)

Whiskey Sunday Whiskey Sunday Ancestor/Vinehell/Braindart • Whiskey Sunday has been kicking out the jams since 1998 and this release sums up their punk rock sound with a driving style and solid attitude. Scruffy Rollins-like vocals on tracks like "Thanx 4 The Violence," Casualty Sex" and "Maddest Cow" are the standout on a release that does little to provide much diversity. Most of these songs have the same, pretty basic riff to them, which causes the sound to get tiring. (JC)

Winter In Alaska Innocence We've Lost Viking Funeral Records • Passion fills every one of these songs on this debut full-length. Mellow indie rock mixed with arpeggiating emotive melodies compose a symphony of harmonies. Tracks like "Water On My Skin" show that the band can produce a driving emo rock melody with all the layers of complexity, but change instantly to the slow piano breakdown that so many bands try, but cannot do this well. I would compare this band to Denali, but with a little more depth. In the world of emo, it's hard to get any deeper, but Winter in Alaska does a fine job of trying. (MP)

Wrangler Brutes Zulu Kill Rock Stars • Screeching, howling, fast and furious. You'll hear snatches of AC/DC, Nuclear Rabbit, Motorhead, Frank Zappa and Van Halen. Sound like an unlikely mix foe a thrash band? It is. Woorth checking out? How can you not want to? This is a disc that breaks the thrash mold, but will satisfy the most demanding metal head. (MK)

Year Future The Hidden Hand Gold Standard Laboratories • This three-song EP from Year Future is nothing but a tease, with just nine furious minutes of chaotic indie rock that leaves you wanting more. Their screaming vocals, noisy guitars, and powerful drumming are reminiscent of bands like And You Will Know Us by the Trail of Dead, Your Enemies Friends, and McLusky. Let's hope there's a full-length in the works. (CL)

Zolar X Timeless Alternative Tentacle Records • Recently re-issued, and remastered by Jello Biafra, Timeless is wierd and awesome. Sounds like Eno, New York Dolls, Ziggy, and the culmination of everything that is pre-punk, post-glam, and rocks. They wear Spock ears, they have great haircuts, and everything about their music and their style makes you believe that they do, in fact, come from outerspace. An earlier critic describes Zolar X as "Pink Floyd meets Black Sabbath." I'm not sure about that, but if you throw this disc in the stereo at a party, people are definitely going to ask you about it. A welcome reminer of the glittery days of yore. Think Star Trek meets Bowie, and first they have a fight, but then they fall in love. (JR)

DVD Reviews

ANTiSEEN The 20 Year Anniversary Show TKO Records • Low-budget style, this anniversary concert pulls all the punches. Raw rock and roll from this band, which is known for their destructive tendencies, sets the stage for the chaos ahead. An assortment of musicians join ANTiSEEN throughout the more than 30 song set, most notably their long line of former bass players, to wrap up the last 20 years in superb fashion. At one point during the show, the lead singer decides to break a bottle and stab his forehead with it, then lights a table on fire and jumps on top of it WWF style, all this before the show even finishes! (JC)

Carpathian Forest We're Going To Hollywood For This Live Perversions Metal Mind Productions • Black Metal from Norway, face painting, and fat naked female backup dancers is what you get in the main concert featured in this DVD. Besides the main concert, it includes a second concert, some rare live bootlegs, videos, behind the scenes footage, an interview, audio tracks and goodies for your computer. (AL)

DEVO Live In The Land of the Rising Sun Sick Video • Filmed live in Japan in 2003, this new DEVO video surprised me. First, I was surprised to see the old guys from DEVO on stage and it took a while to get used to the fact that they could all be my dad. But once I got past the age thing, they really rocked out. The sound was awesome and they still put on one heck of an entertaining show. Tracks featured include "Satisfaction," "Whip It," "Jocko Homo," and "Freedom of Choice." The DVD runs 75 minutes and includes some other cool bits; most cool is the 1980 live performance clip. (CM)

Hate The Litanies of Satan Metal Mind Productions • Their lyrics belong in black metal, but their sound is more like death metal, so fans of both genres should find something to like in this band. This DVD displays this Polish band in all its rawness, with a 15 track concert. The 5.1 Surround Sound recording is sure to drive your neighbors insane. You can also learn about the band through interviews, photo galleries, and websites included in the disc. (AL)

Jazz Legends The Golden Age of Jazz Quantum Leap • A vintage touch of black and white footage of the greatest from the Jazz game are all available on this DVD. The rundown of legendary artists includes Duke Ellington, Cab Calloway, The Mills Brothers, Louis Armstrong, and Sammy Davis Junior among many others. You get a taste of a variety of Jazz artists and styles without being overfed in this collection. The documentary (music class-like) style breaks the time period down into different types of Jazz and offers a nice course in the history of the most influential music style to date. (JC)

Various Artists Peepshow III DVD Fat Wreck Records • This is a collection of videos on DVD from Fat Wreck Records, including some pretty low budget offerings, and some really shallow political commentary in the form of a NOFX song, "Franco Un-American." The standout videos are Lagwagon's "Falling Apart," and especially the hilarious "1000th Beer," by Goober Patrol. (SJM)

Vinyl Reviews

Typical CatsEasy Cause It Is 12"Galapagos4 • Man, this is some damn infectious hip-hop. Sure, it's only three tracks worth, but it's still fuckin' good. Fans of Talib Kweli, Dilated Peoples, and Jurassic 5, take note. The title track is solid, with a steady beat and an irresistible groove. But it's the jazzy "Justice Coming" that really sucked me in, with a rhythmic pace that set me at ease, slowly nodding my head to the beat. The vocals are spit by three cats (Qwel, Qwazaar, Denizen Kane), each with a sound their own, each with skills that demand attention, lyrically hard to ignore. Mad props also to DJ Natural, for givin' those MC masters something inspirational to drop verse over. (CM)

Record Label Addresses
In alphabetical order. Please write them.

!K7 Records,
10-34 Records,
2024 Records,
A Day In Black & White,
A Small Voice,
A.C. Cotton,
Absolutely Kosher,
Ace Fu Records,
AKA The Hots,
Alkali Flats,
Alternative Tentacles,
Amanda Woodward,
Angel of the Odd,
Antenna Farm,
Ariana Stewart,
Asaurus Records,
Ascetic Records,
Asian Man Records,
Atkins Lane,
Babygrande Records,
BBE Music,
Bifocal Media,
Big Voice Music,
BNS Productions,
Bridge 9,
Catlick Records,
Chocolate Ind.,
Chunksaah Records,
Comfort Stand,
Complicated Shirt,
Contango Records,
Coup de Grace,
Cowboys Int'l,
Crash Retrieval,
Creature Feature Prod., no contact info available
Criterion Records,
Definitive Jux,
Dim Mak Records,
Domino Recording,
Ed Walters Records,
Electric Human,
Empire Musicwerks,
Empty Records,
Empyrean Records,
Epitaph Records,
Equal Vision,
Erroneous Records,
ESL Music,
Eulogy Recordings,
Evenout Music,
Fat Cat Records,
Fat Wreck Chords,
Ferret Records,
Fictitious Records,
File 13 Records,
FourFiveSix Ent.,
Free Dimension Records,
Gern Blandsten Recs,
Go Kart Records,
Gold Standard Labs,
Grand Buffet,
Groove Pocket,
Guilt Ridden Pop,
Halfacre Gunroom,
Hand of Hope,
Hell Bent Records,
Hellcat Records,
Hello Sir Records,
Hibernian Recs,
Hitchhiker Records,
Home Office Records,
Idol Records,
Immigrant Sun,
In Fervor,
In Music We Trust,
Ipecac Recordings,
Jamil Mustafa,
Jamlure International,
Jeremiah and the Red Eyes,
Johann's Face Records,
K Records,
Kill Rock Stars,
Laughing Outlaw,
Law of Inertia,
Let¹s Go! Records,
Level Plane Records,
Limekiln Records,
Luck Media and Marketing,
Lujo Records,
Made In Mexico,
Makeshift Records,
Malt Soda Records,
Maurizio Lauroja,
Megaforce Records,
Metal Mind Productions,
Milquetoast Recs,
Mimicry Recordings,
Modular Records,
Moodswing Recs,
Motumbos Hospital,
Music 4 Your Soul,
Nettwerk America Records,
New Disorder,
New Regard Media,
Noodle Muffin,
Noreaster Failed Industries,
On The Rise Records,
One Day Savior,
Orac Records, www.orac.vuv Pats Record Co.,
Perfect Victim Records,
Planaria Recordings,
Popsmear Records,
Psychopathic Recs,
Pure Cash Ent.,
Quantum Leap,
Rainmaker Pub.,
Reservation Records,
Revelation Records,
Rhymesayers Ent.,
Roam Records,
Saddle Creek Records,
Safety First,
Secretly Canadian,
Sensation Junkies,
Sick Boy Records,
Sick Room Records,
Sick Video,
Sierra Dog Romeo,
Skin Graft Records,
Skrocki Records,
Smallman Records,
Snow Globe Recs,
SOS Records,
Southern Records,
Springman Records,
Steve Frederic,
Strictly Amateur Films,
Sub City Records,
Suburban Home,
Sudden Death Records,
Suicide Watch,
Takeover Records,
Takeover Rock,
Teye and Belén,
The Cheaters Club,
The Electric Human Proj.,
The Harvey Girls,
The Lucky Stiffs,
The Sham,
The Thin Man,
The Violettes,
Thema Eleven,
Thick Records,
This is Exploding,
Three One G Records,
TKO Records,
Trustkill Records,
Type Records,
Unseen Guest,
Victory Records,
Viking Funeral Recs,
Vinehell Records,
Web of Mimicry Recs,
Wichita Records,
Wolverine Records,
Wonka Vision,
Yum Yum Publicity,

Music reviews from past issues: