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CD reviews

Acid King / Mystick Krewe of Clearlight Split CD Man's Ruin Records • Here are two bands that complement each other's sounds very well. Acid King is for fans of stoner rock, with a super heavy low end and slow riffs that will get you tripping even without the use of drugs. Lori S.'s white trashy vocals add an evil element to the songs, especially when reverb is added. Clearlight follows with a slightly more complex sound, coming close to Monster Magnet's range, but with an organist in the band. They close the album with the 11 minute "Veiled,"with a spacey middle section full of guitar and keyboard effects.

All Natural Lemon & Lime Flavors Straight Blue Line Gern Blandsten Records • For fans of All Natural Lemon & Lime Flavors, this CD compiles all three of their released 7"recordings plus a few extra songs. Their music is a hypnotic blend of pulsating guitars and atmospheric sounds, sometimes similar to Stereolab, and at other times Lycia. The vocals are shared by Joshua Booth, Jeremy Winter and Stephen Doherty, and unless the credits are wrong and they forgot to mention another singer, one of these guys sounds just like a woman. In fact, that voice is where the similarity to Stereolab comes from. In any case, ANL&LF is an excellent band for those who enjoy staring at their shoes a bit.

Arco Coming to Terns Pehr Records • Do you know the feeling that comes close to the end of a crying session, where you feel better about having let out all the emotions, but still not done crying? This is the feeling of this entire record. There is a definite sadness present in Chris Healey's voice, but there is also the feeling that ultimately this feeling will pass. Coming to Terms describes this feeling very well. So while the vocals sound in despair, the instruments try to console him.

Arson Less Perfect Than Death EP Resurrection AD Records • I remember reviewing Arson once before and seeing that catch phrase "...playing with fire will only get your burned." Arson is still as intense and hard as they were then. They continue to put out great metal and are sure to have a following by now. Unfortunately, this is only a two-song EP. I'd try to find their debut EP Words Written In Blood if you want to check them out.

Backfire! Still Dedicated Victory Records • See that exclamation point at the end of this band's name? There's good reason for that; this is a hardcore band that commands your attention. This quartet looks like the next boy band on the back of their CD, but make no mistake about it, this is music that would make the Backstreet Boys weep with fear. And N'Sync would piss themselves if they heard this. Track nine, "No Turning Back,"is flat-out wicked.

Bad Astronaut Acrophobe EP Honest Don's • First off, this is a 10-song EP ­ a great deal at an EP price. It features Joey from Lagwagon on vocals and guitar, Derrick on drums (original Lagwagon drummer) and Marko 72 on bass (who has played with Nerfherder and Swingin' Utters). This is an excellent release loaded with superb melodies, Joey's fantastic vocals, killer drumming (Derrick is god-like) and bad ass hooks that will grab you immediately. The record features a great blend of punk rock angst, heart-felt emotions and full-on rock sounds ­ a must have album for 2001.

Bride Just Died All Hallow's Eve NDN Records • Hey, look, another band is doing the whole horror punk thing. Who started this trend?! The music itself is solid but the songs? "Ghost Story,""Prettykill,""When Nightmares Begin"? I just can't dig it. Just write songs about drinking and sex, like punk is supposed to be!

Burnman Notes for a Catalogue for An Exhibition No Idea • This CD features a non-stop sonic barrage that will overtake you by track six. The lyrics are deliberately befuddling, harking back to days of yore, yet sung/screamed in a present day hardcore delivery. This took a few listens to get used to, as the songs contain no hook or melody to cling to, just the rhythm of the song's movements. Once you grasp that, you'll probably really enjoy Burnman.

Cannae Troubleshooting Death East Coast Empire Records • Track seven is called "pretty noise"and that seems to paraphrase this whole disc in two words. Well, if the truth be told, it is not pretty at all, but the noise level more than makes up for that. This is serious tooth-grinding, ass-whoopin' metal. Fast, terrifying and angry.

Cause For Alarm Nothing Ever Dies 1982-1999 Victory • After living through the 80's, I've become a bit tired of hearing it come back... and come back... and come back just again in 2001. Not to say that Cause For Alarm should be dismissed. This is a clear-sounding document of that time, and their work over two decades, with "Cleanser" being my favorite song. But I already own the CD from where that song came from... I would hope that the CD comes with liner notes and a thorough bio, as the review copy just has a xeroxed sleeve.

Chestnut Station In Your Living Room Drag City Records • Chestnut Station's latest release shows them to be better enjoyed live. Recorded during a show in their hometown of Chicago and mixed by Steve Albini, In Your Living Room expands on their Garage / Blues sound. For those who don't normally listen to this type of music, thin of the Blues Brothers. They are also similar to bands like the Delta 72, Mondo Topless and the Forty Fives in that they give off a late 70's and early 80's vibe, plus they inject a bit of humor and are not afraid to toy around with different styles. Take "Snowblind Friend,"a Country Blues ballad that sticks out among the other more upbeat songs. Or "Sitting on My Sofa,"where the chorus talks about sitting on a sofa while sipping on a soda. A good time will be had by all who listen to Chestnut Station.

CrashCart November for Beginners Permanent Record • Self-described as "emo-core with a gun," this threesome from Long Beach, CA put their souls on display in this great full-length debut. It's ten emotional tracks of great honesty and modesty, with a sound reminiscent of Jawbreaker. It's music from the heart that bows to no rock trend.

Cripple Kid/The Little Dipperself-titledMicrocosm Records • Here are two bands that I cannot think of anything to write about. There is nothing here that I haven't heard a million times on a million discs. Don't bother.

Crom The Cocaine Wars Pessimiser Records • As soon as I saw this Xena meets Rumpleminz album cover here, I knew what I was in for. Epic (if 2 minute songs can be considered epic) tunes of warriors and lost dreams. "Thunderdust"and "Serpents Eyes"make for a D&D players dream, but a disc to miss for the rest of us.

David Holmes Bow Down to the Exit Sign 1500 Records • Fans of David Holmes's music know that he is unpredictable. With Bow Down to the Exit Sign, Holmes continues with his penchant for soundtracks, delivering the music to go with his yet-to-be-produced film "Living Room." Newcomers to his music would have no idea that he has ever been involved with electronica, since this album is decidedly of the Indie Rock variety. Primal Scream's Bobby Gillespie guest stars on "Sick City"and "Slip Your Skin,"while Tricky's companion Martina Toppley-Bird lends her vocals to "Outrun"and "Zero Tolerance." Also featured are Jon Spencer and Carl Hancock Rux. My favorite tracks are the instrumentals sprinkled with a Money Mark flavor. Finally, a few interludes from the film's script round out this album, giving it a "soundtrack"feel.

Death on Wednesday Buying the Lie SideCho Records • This Orange County (CA) trio packs a good amount of power and soul onto this long player. If you're a fan of hook-laden power punk, I think you might enjoy this disc. It's obvious that these guys have varied influences. I can hear Social Distortion, the vocal stylings of Glen Danzig, and a definite pop sensibility. Unfortunately, the production on this disc left something to be desired. A little more work and you might hear these guys on your local "new"rock station.

Diabolique The Green Goddess Necropolis Records • Lying somewhere between Depeche Mode and Joy Division is Diabolique's latest release, The Green Goddess. Drifting away from the gothic-metal sound of previous efforts, they adopted a more electronic, atmospheric synth-pop style while keeping the haunting feeling of before intact. Kristian Wahlin's vocals sound remarkably like David Gahan's, sometimes punctuated with overlapping harmonies and female singing. Those who enjoy the Sisters of Mercy of the Cocteau Twins will be happy to hear this.

DMS self titled Arborvitae Records • Steve Lamos has played with bands like Firebird Band, American Football and Braid, but his side project DMS sounds nothing like any of them. It combines live drumming and trumpets, with all sorts of electronic effects and keyboards. "Pitfall Harry meets his Match"features an all-over-the-place drumming session comparable with Storm and Stress or Squarepusher's Music is Rotted One Note album. SOS (my tambourines are my machines) contains a steel drum sample very similar to Aphex Twin's "Donkey Rhubarb." Finally, its enhanced portion contains footage of him playing two songs in his bedroom, one of them unreleased. All in all, this debut EP from DMS will sit well next to your collection of experimental electronica.

Down By Law / Pseudo Heroes Split CD Theologian Records • What unites these two bands is that they both started as side projects that later became full time gigs, and they both share the talents of guitarist/songwriter/vocalist Sam Williams. Needless to say, there are musical similarities between the two bands, even though Pseudo Heroes has a bit more of a Pop sound infused into their Punk. Down by Laws songs were recorded live on tour in Europe and all 5 songs are covers of old Rock and Roll songs, including "Surrender,"by Cheap Trick, the Clash's "Whole Lotta Rosie"and "Sweet Home Alabama"by Lynyrd Skynyrd.

Duochrome Lack Luster Vital Cog Records • Duochrome plays a lo-fi combination of Emo and Indie Rock that sounds a bit fuzzy around the edges. Some of their riffs remind of older Radiohead, others of Weezer. The singing is in the style of Shoegazer's Hum, barely speaking the words in harmonious tones. The second half of the album was recorded live at Wembley Stadium, and features a cool cover of Christopher Cross' "Sailing.²

Earth Crisis Last Of The Sane Victory Records • Seven of the eleven songs on this disc are covers, but that's not to say this should be ignored. Earth Crisis play a raw, furious blend of metal/hardcore and should be taken seriously. They do a great job on each of the cover tunes, the best being "The Wanton Song"by Zeppelin. Their four original songs hit hard as well. There's no reason this band isn't as big as Papa Roach or Pantera. They're seriously legit.

Excel Split Image Rotten Records • Yikes! Here is old school punk done as it is meant to be: driving, angry, screaming music with a message. I recall hearing a disc by these guys many years ago and not being impressed. I hereby revoke that opinion. This disc rocks.

Eyes of Pandora Eyes of Pandora Eyes of Pandora • Eyes of Pandora is made up of Susan Tojo and Robert Gueits of Miami, FL. There really wasn't anything that made this disc standout for me. The music was good, especially if you're in the mood for a slightly harder edged 10,000 Maniacs. In fact, I think I would have enjoyed this one more if it had been entirely instrumental. Unfortunately for you and me, there is singing on this here disc. There isn't anything inherently wrong with Susan Tojo's voice. I guess I have more of a problem with the lyrics. Can you say overwrought?

Fetish Silver Adeline • "Not content to fit into any stale molds,"Fetish is a new bay-area band that plays hard-edged rock/punk with great gusto. It's fast, it's furious, and it's got lots of steady minor power chords that drill a hole in your head. You know, the good way. This is hard indie rock in its greatest manifestation.

Foundation Self-Titled Fueled by Ramen • This is a solo piece from Robbie Huddleston of the punk band Ann Beretta from Richmond VA. The bio says he drew his inspiration from Tom Waits but I get visions of Bob Dylan when listening to this album. Lots of mellow acoustic guitar and some scratchy vocals that sound like a Berkeley campus singalong. This album seems to come from the old school of writing music from a base melody and then layering all the other instruments.

Grade The Embarrassing Beginning Victory Records • When I first listened to this I thought, "Whoa, what's up with Grade's new album!" After about two days of listening and being disappointed, I finally realized it was a compilation of old material. I should have read the title. Regardless, upon recognizing this, the 15-track album was much better to me despite its rougher, more hardcore sound. It gives you a peek at their early days, going back to '94. It also has a couple alternative versions of familiar songs like "The Tension Between Stillness & Motion (demo)"and "Triumph & Tragedy (acoustic)². Any fan of Grade will love this.

Headgrenade self-titled 702 Records • Okay, the cover made me think that this was going to be a serious metal/hardcore type disc. Don't judge a disc by its cover. This is a heavy cow-punk type of thing. Cool tunes like "Sucky Fucky" and "Hick Song"make this angry-yet-catchy disc something that you will listen to over and over. Good stuff. Sorta like FEAR meets Custom Made Scare.

Helen Zachariah Blow Them Away Into Nothingness NDN Records • Hailing from Wales, Zachariah has been making a name for herself since playing in the early '80s punk band The Greedy Girls. On this, her debut solo album, she transcends many genres, from new wave to pop to avantgarde, abstract noise to rock. She is a creative musician with great singing and songwriting abilities.

Hell on Wheels What Is The Influence (single) NONS Records • I won't lie, I know nothing about Hell on Wheels. Never heard of them before, don't know where they're from, don't know how long they've been around. And to tell you the truth, I really don't care. I know all I need to know. I love this damn song. In fact, as of right now, "What Is The Influence"is in my top ten for Single of the Millennium. Instantly catchy and heartfelt without being trite or cheesy, Hell On Wheels have crafted a classic influenced by the likes of The Violent Femmes and The Pixies, oh and of course, by love.

Henry Sounds Like Reticulated Records • The band themselves will agree with me when I say they're impossible to predict. Their roots are in pop, rock, alternative, punk and a hint of jazz, country and blues. I think that's everything. This reminds me of something slow like Son Volt at times, and then they'll get playful like the Talking Heads at other times. It's definitely fun to listen to. They have tremendous talent to be able to throw so many sounds into their songs and come away with tunes you can actually listen to.

Her Flyaway Manner self-titled Caulfield Records • I imagine Nebraska is not the most exciting place to live, which explains the despair that comes across Her Flyaway Manner's debut album. Brendan McGinn's vocals are soft and inviting, only to change into a scream, as if chastising you for paying attention. Boz Hicks's drumming is very free-form and far from flawless, with off-time beats at various times. McGinn's guitar and Adam2000's bass complement each other, with plenty of tempo changes. This post-hardcore record will appeal to those with a taste for the unexpected.

Hot Water Music NEVER ENDER No Idea • This CD contains a lot of tracks that appeared in seven inches and compilations. I'm happy to have this CD, as I lost interest in them early on due to reports of intoxicated stage antics. This goes to show that judging folks is a bad thing, as sometimes those who party do have something important to say. "Never Ender"and "Tradition"are crowning achievements in fusing direct personal action lyrics with extremely emotive song structure. Hot Water Music definitely exceed their popularity in their sincerity of communicating a message. Everyone should own this CD, as this is an amazing and potent collection of music and ideas.

Howard Zinn Heroes and Martyrs: Emma Goldman, Sacco & Vanzetti, and the Revolutionary Struggle AK Press/Alternative Tentacles Records • Wow. That's all I can really say about this one, but, since I'm paid by the letter, I'll try to add more. Here's the lowdown. Howard Zinn is professor of history emeritus at Boston University. This is a two-disc set of two lectures about the American anarchist movement of the early 1900s. Disc one is subtitled "Emma Goldman: A Dangerous Woman², and it details much of her life. She was a feminist, anarchist, and anti-capitalist. She was also one of the first people to promote the idea of free love. Disc two is subtitled "The Case of Sacco & Vanzetti². It details the political realities of the time that brought these two anarchists to trial, and their subsequent death, on what appear to have been trumped up murder charges. If you think your history professors have been feeding you the company line all these years, you must get this disc. This review doesn't even come close to doing it justice.

I Hate Myself Self Titled No Idea • This is the CD reissue of the 2 sided 12" I Hate Myself released a few years back. I didn't like it as much as I did their first release, but listening to it on the uninterrupted CD format I found so much to like. It starts off with the amazing scream along "This isn't the Tenka-ichi-Budoka."This record's lyrics are deceptively simple, mixing jokes to mask serious sentiments. Perhaps my earlier expectation of I Hate Myself to continuously release singles like "Less Than Nothing"was unreleastic. Here they make quieter yet more effective music. Give it a listen.

Jay Dee Welcome to Detroit Barely Breaking Even • This piece didn't come with a shred of bio info and that is a huge loss -- 'cause I'd love to know more 'bout Jay Dee. This shit is smooth -- slow funky pieces with mellow horns. It's really elaborate and reminiscent of 40's big band. Jay Dee is doing all he can to help you get laid.

Jett Brando The Movement Toward You Gern Blandsten Records • A founding member of All Natural Lemon & Lime Flavors and current member of The Flavors, Jeremy Winter adopted the pseudonym Jett Brando to compose some music that didn't fit into either of his other bands. The Movement Toward You is a mid-tempo affair, sometimes serious, and sometimes glib. "In the Dead Hot Sun" features a finger-snapping melody, yet "The Center of Gravity (Sink Right Down)"is a melancholic, hypnotic number.

King Britt Presents Sylk 130 Re-Members Only Six Degrees Records • You might recognize the name King Britt from his duties as DJ for Digable Planets. His most recent work puts him at the head of the Sylk 130 collective, which is dedicated to reviving and paying tribute to pre-Disco era Funk and Soul. Re-Members Only is part two of Britt's autobiographical trilogy which started with 1998's When the Funk Hits the Fan. This time, the listener is taken back to an imaginary radio station that plays music by the likes of ABC's Martin Fry, Yaz's Alison Moyet, C-Knowledge, Grover Washington Jr. and Pos and Trugoy from De La Soul, all of whom appear on the album. Get ready to go back in time, you may never want to return.

Kittie Paperdoll EP Artemis Records • Here's a little ditty by a band named Kittie -- four chicks playing metalcore. It's called Paperdoll, and it's the radio remix of the same song that appears on their debut album Spit. The rest of this EP was recorded live in Sweden this past summer. Finally, it includes the video for their single "Charlotte." Their sound is more extreme and raw when they perform live, and if you've never experienced their show, this is as close as you can get.

Less Than Jake Greased No Idea Records • Are you a fan of Less Than Jake? How about the movie Grease? Wonderful! This CD is for you. The 8 songs on this CD are covers from the film. "Summer Nights,""Greased Lightning,""Hopelessly Devoted to You..."they're all here. Of course, LTJ play them in their super tight, melodic, punk style (with horns here and there, of course), making them even more hilarious than the originals. This CD had been out of print for a few years, but popular demand persuaded them to re-release it. Thank goodness they did.

Lock Up Your Daughters Please Bear Please Play Nice Records • This is a very interesting CD. On the surface, the music is calm, soothing pop with plenty of old synthesizers making quirky noises. Listen closely, though, and you find lyrics that are, well, unusual. Take, for example, a line from "Who's Your Daddy?" sung by Laurel Podulke "Baby put these feathers in your hair / and then put on my underwear / and who's your daddy?" And this is a girl singing. Or, here's one from "Switchers," also sung by the girl: "She grabbed hold of my antlers / and rode me like a reindeer / kept kicking at my sides to make me go." OK, so not all the songs feature sexual behavior. The ones sung by Mike Gainor are a bit more normal. But still, the songs are just a bit unsettling. That's why I loved this CD.

Luke Warm'z Reception self-titled Urine Spaceman Records • The first track on this CD (after the intro) is "Sinnerjizm,"which is to set the pace for the entire album. Completely instrumental, it blends studio jamming with a bit of attitude and a sense of humor. Following it is an interesting cover of "Muskrat Luv,"with plenty of electric guitar riffage. Later comes "Your Future,"a heavy metal tune with the lyrics sung through a bullhorn. "I Pushed the Button"features Devo like singing and some hilarious porno movie samples that tell you how to perform fellatio. A cool cover of Lou Reed's "Sweet Jane"follows, and "I Know You Rider"closes the album sounding a bit like Dread Zeppelin.

Mezzanine C-14 Break Even Records • Sorry, but I just couldn't get into this one. It's rock music - it's radio rock music and as much as I hate to say this, there is absolutely nothing special about it.

[minmae] Vonsachiang Airborne Virus Records • This album starts out unremarkably, just like many others. The photocopied song listing inside the otherwise unlabeled pink cover proclaims this to be "an alternative rock record." In fact, "of sapience and design" does feature a relatively familiar pattern of fuzzy guitars and 4/4 drumming. However, by the second track, "the excelsior,"you realize that this is no ordinary alternative record. The songs slow down to a snail's pace, and the next thing you know, you've listened to the whole thing. In "hearst cruizer," Sean Brooks who pretty much is [minmae] softly sings, overmodulated but barely there, while strumming his guitar. Then the atmospherics pick back up, shedding any resemblance to rock music structure.

Mt. St. Helens Ontime Always Arborviatae Records • This foursome from the Chicago area turn out a nice blend of melodic punk. The musicianship is very tight, especially the rhythm section. This band shows a lot of promise, especially when you consider that two of them just graduated high school last year.

Mus self-titled Pehr Records • Mus's self-titled release combines tracks from their 1997 and 1998 EPs into one recording, plus a few new tracks. Ethereal atmospheres blend with lazy beats to create a Trip-Hop sound that Massive Attack would be proud of. The female lyrics, sung in Asturian, a Spanish dialect, act more as an instrument than as a narrator, albeit a more sensual one. Just like taking NyQuil, this recording may cause drowsiness, so do not operate any heavy machinery while listening to it.

My Hotel Year The Composition of Ending and Phrasing self-released • This four-piece Orlando band is definitely emo -- but don't let that characterize too much. They combine rock elements similar to Errortype:11 with creative and quirky emo elements akin to Braid. The vocal work on this album is astounding; the use of background vocals and multiple vocalists is perfectly done and extremely effective in creating a unique sound. While this 13-track release is excellent, their live show will blow your mind. I expect many good things from this highly talented rock quartet. Get on the bandwagon now, because it's already halfway out of the station.

Neptune Studio Recordings / May MCMXCVII Archenemy Record Company • Taking d.i.y. attitude to a whole new level, art rockers Neptune will catch your attention with handmade instruments including guitars, drums and other things to make noises with. Jason Sanford's singing varies from drone mumbling to embittered screams, backed up by his bastard musical creations. Surprisingly, the electric guitars sound like just that, although the glass breaking and beating on old gas cans seem oddly out of place.

Otto Von Schirach 8000B.C. Schematic Music Company • There's something interesting happening down in the South Florida offices of the Schematic label. Among the palm trees and trendiness, a number of artists are focused on creating music for the future. One such artist is Otto Von Schirach. Like labelmate Richard Devine, he specializes in quirky, bleep and ping music that leans heavily on the abstract. Perhaps unsure of which direction he wants to go in, the album progresses in a cycle of random noises which slowly come together into somewhat of a beat, then to an ambient atmosphere, before beginning the cycle all over again. Only the last track features sounds that most likely did not originate in a CPU, with a sample of some kind of cartoonish background music, complete with Krusty the Klown laughter. You won't be dancing to 8000B.C., but if you get some headphones and chill out for an hour or so, you'll hear what the future of music has in store.

Oxymoron The Singles Cyclone Records • Those of you familiar with Oxymoron probably already have this disc. If you've never heard Oxymoron, you're in for a treat. This is punk the way it used to be. Oi! punk is still alive and these guys mean to prove it. There are 18 songs and a videoclip on this CD. If you're sick of the glossy radio punk out there, this band will make you forget all the small things.

Poor Rich Ones Happy Happy Happy Five One • If you thought that Norway's musical output was limited to Death Metal bands, you'd be wrong. Right after Radiohead's release of their love-it-or-hate-it Kid A, Poor Rich Ones step in with what could have been the follow up to OK Computer. William's vocals at times sound like a higher pitched Thom Yorke, complete with emotional choruses and lyrics. There is a touch of electronica, as well as string arrangements, even a xylophone. I won't say that this is a Radiohead clone, since their music could stand on its own, regardless of comparisons.

Primitive Radio Gods White Hot Peach What Are Records? • Are the Primitive Radio Gods a one-hit-wonder? You might remember their 1996 hit "Standing Outside a Broken Phone Booth with Money in my Hand,"and their debut album Rocket. Whether you do or not is really irrelevant, because after three+ years, they finally released their follow up, White Hot Peach. You could describe the songs as either Alternative or Power Pop. "Blood from a Beating Heart has a certain Psychedelic Furs thing going on, while "Devil's Triangle"is a heavy rocker with a bit of desert blues guitar. PRG demonstrate their ability to change paces and styles flawlessly by following with "First Alien Photo,"an acoustic guitar number with a melodic second harmony. Forget about their past and start anew with this album.

Propagandhi Today's Empires, Tomorrow's Ashes Fat Wreck • The opening track tears out the gate with trademark soaring guitar and rapidly pounding beats. As expected, the politics are powerful. While some political bands struggle to find new issues/topics to sing about, Propagandhi stays creative and proactive -- rocking out tunes that not only sound great, but read great too. I'm not incredibly fond of the vocal addition of Todd -- his screaming, hardcore-punk style of delivery gets on my nerves. But he does add a new level of aggression and angst that suits Propagandhi's message. However, my favorite tunes are the ones Chris sings on ­ track #3 is amazing! As usual, the guitar work is absolutely astounding. The CD also contains four multimedia presentations focusing on different political topics including foreign policy and the FBI's secret war against the Black Panthers. This album is mentally and musically brilliant.

Rainer Maria A Better Version Of Me Polyvinyl • Rainer Maria's post-punk sound is drenched in Shoegazer guitar anthems that compete with the wailing vocals of singer/bass player/self-proclaimed poet Caithlin De Marrais. The songs that emerge are not without casualties. It can be a little wearing at times, but hidden within all the noise are melodies, harmonies and lyrics that will convert the faithful listener.

Raz Mesinai The Unspeakable BSI Records • Raz Mesinai, AKA Badawi, is known for taking risks with music. With The Unspeakable, he takes his biggest one yet, creating an album of "scenes" from a horror movie. Inspired by his work on the movie Hellraiser 6, this group of tracks revolves around a child living among his/her demons. Note, however, that these are not songs, but instead soundscapes that are meant to act as somewhat of a reverse silent movie, all sounds but no pictures. The effect is not as scary as Mesinai might have hoped for, but it does make for an interesting listen.

Sam Densmore's Silverhawk Flowers in June EP Pop Sweatshop Records • This light, upbeat little pop ditties have some flower power in them. The songs are warm and the melodies make you nod your head in a Brady Movie kind of way. If you have hemp clothes you'll like this.

Scared of Chaka Seven Stories Tall 702 Records • I've heard of Scared of Chaka before but I'm not sure I've heard them. There is a lot of punk to be had here, the kind you'd expect to hear from the garage of that worn-down house at the end of the street. You know that house ‹ the one with grass that hasn't been cut since last summer. There are always six or seven cars there and the lights are on all hours of the day. This is the band that lives there. They keep going and going and going, turning out loud, punk songs with reckless abandon.

Spiv Everybody's A Rock Star Tonight Pop Sweatshop Records • This trio is led by Posies frontman, Ken Stringfellow. There is more than a tip of the hat to the "fab four"in these songs, but they do a great job of keeping it neat and not just writing new Beatles songs. There are only four songs on this EP but hopefully a full-length offering is in the works.

Spoon Girls Can Tell Merge Records • A pretty good description of Spoon's sound is a more pop oriented Bush. Britt Daniel sounds remarkably like Gavin Rossdale with that throaty sound that chicks love. They've toned down their pop-punk to concentrate on the pop, adding piano and other keyboards to round out their guitar / bass / drums ensemble.

Stuart Matthewman Twin Falls Idaho Soundtrack What Are Records? • Stuart Matthewman is not your average musician, and this is not your average soundtrack. Usually, such a recording is comprised of either the movie's score, or a collection of songs by a bunch of different artists. Matthewman manages to make both, yet neither, blending both types into one. The first two tracks start off with a female's sultry chanting, ensuring that someone gets laid on this film. Through the next few tracks, jazz, piano solos, ambient, electronica and dub are both explored and mixed together. Then, just about halfway, the most beautiful track in the album, with vocals by Lisa Ekdahl, will leave you floored. You can just picture her sensual voice floating through what must be a dimly lit, smoke filled club. The second half of the CD is a bit more on the "score" side, adding a bit of reverbed guitars and more chants. Only on track 18 do you get a clue as to what this movie is about, when you hear one of the starring conjoined twins fantasize about laying on train tracks to be separated from his ever-present brother. The southern rock / blues of Mark Anthony Thompson finishes the soundtrack, leaving the listener with more than just a passing interest about this film.

Super XX Man & Eric Metronome HOME - Vol. 2 Post-Parlo Records • This is the second in the HOME series, teaming up great artists to work on a release together. Super XX Man is Scott Garred of Silver Scooter and Eric Metronome is Eric Rottmayer of Tiara. The two form an amazing acoustic album that includes 10 tracks of pure, pop pleasure with sincere vocals and a grand guitar backbone (Think Elliott Smith meets The Weakerthans). Both artists share vocal and guitar duties ­ working as a team from track ome. This is a beautiful release in a limited edition series of records bound to amaze each and every listener.

Swallowing Shit self-titled G-7 Welcoming Committee • From protests to being banned, Swallowing Shit had no fear of upsetting folks. In fact, it is through their insightful and inciting lyrics that Swallowing Shit was most effective. The rapid fire hardcore is good, but it's their political mindset that makes them truly one of a kind. With songs like "Lyrics That May Offend The Honkys" and "Pro-Abortion, Anti-Christ," Swallowing Shit unleashes a verbal (and aural) assault that is not soon to be forgotten. Unfortunately, the band broke up in mid-1997, so this is as close as you'll get to seeing them live.

The Action Time Versus the World Southern Records • The Action Time is out to shake things up a bit. Their music mixes Funk, Gospel, Gospel and Garage, set apart from others by the fact that they have three vocalists, one male and two females. The guy adds some rebellious, pissed off singing, while the ladies sound more like a cross between the Go-Go's and the B-52's. It's quite an interesting juxtaposition of styles. The songs are gritty, yet beautiful. I guarantee you've never heard anything like it.

The Aquabats Myths, Legends and other Amazing Adventures, Vol. 2 Fearless Records • I can't believe I had never heard THE Aquabats's music before. Their songs are like mini stories that usually have some kind of funny twist to them. My favorite by far is "I Fell Asleep on my Arm Today,"which pokes some fun at Korn and Limp Bizkit's heavy style by "borrowing"their songs and singing about arm cramps! Genius! Think of a cross between the Presidents of the United States and Devo, with some Ween and They Might be Giants thrown in for fun.

The Ataris End is Forever Kung Fu Records • Every single song on this CD kicks ass! 13 tracks of pop-punk with way too much energy, plus one ballad. The guitars hardly ever stop crunching, and the singing is melodic and scratchy at the same time. I don't think you'll find a better punk release around. Their sound has matured, and even sparingly features xylophones and piano parts. I do mean sparingly though. Their sound remains in your face as always. Do you enjoy Kid with Man Head, or No Use for a Name? Then you will love The Ataris.

The Casket Lottery Blessed/Cursed EP Second Nature Records • This is a neat little three song EP. The first and third songs (the third being a cover of "Best Man"by Kill Creek) are solid emo-rock, but the middle tune, a cover of The Cure's "Close to Me", gets almost Primus-experimental. I'm not sure where that one came from but these guys should definitely stick with their emo-rock sound.

The Dinner is Ruined Ray Charles Kinda Party Sonic Unyon Records • This is the Feel Good Album Of The Year! The Dinner is Ruined play musical tribute to the roots of Rock and Roll in Ray Charles Kinda Party, their sixth album in seven years. Also added in are elements of Rhythm and Blues (Shave 'Em Dry Blues), Funk (Funk Assylum) and improvisational Jazz (Honk if You're Horny).

The Drool Brothers self-titled Barfing Glitter Records • The Drool Brothers have created a sound all their own, fusing Funk and Pop with Rhythm and Blues, and a little bit of Rock. You can hear influences from just about every decade since the 60's manifest themselves in these songs. They come close to Fishbone's sound, but are more relaxed, and their eclectic instruments, like sitars and a farsifa organ, add a goofy feel.

The Frogs Hopscotch Lollipop Sunday Surprise Scratchie Records • After years of home recorded releases, the Frogs finally decided to record in a real studio, and the difference is perceptible. The songs sound more real, with fuller orchestration. This more professional sound makes their music feel more subversive, since, if you don't pay attention to the lyrics, you'd be tricked into thinking this is just a harmless pop record, full of folk guitars and vocal harmonies. Which is the whole point. Just check out some song titles: "Better than God,""Nipple Clamps"and "Fuck Off." Don't be fooled, the Frogs are just as offensive as ever, if only a bit more polished.

The Influents Check Please Adeline Records • The Influents. The Influence? Green Day and Moonshine. The singer for this upstart rootsy pop-punk band sounds so much like Billy Joe that he should consider putting this band to rest and start the first Green Day tribute band. It would probably be more lucrative, as this effort, although not all bad, is quite unrewarding and a bit too sober.

The Leftovers 667 The Neighbour Of The Beast Fueled Up Records • Phew! When I looked at the cover of this CD I thought, "Oh great, Blink 183 is here." Fortunately this band hasn't tried to re-package Blink at all. They have their own mean blend of raw punk and they deliver the goods. Bad (for them): this isn't as radio accessible as Blink or Green Day. Good (for us): it's better than both of them.

The Melvins Electroretard Man's Ruin Records • For two decades, the Melvins have been putting out wacky heavy music. This time around they decided to re-work some of their old songs, as well as covering songs by some of their favorite artists. The album starts out with "Shit Storm," a song that was recorded onto the disc completely backwards, so somebody reverse it so we can find out what song it really is. Next is a heavy-on-the-riffs version of the Wipers's "Youth of America." Also covered is "Missing," by bass player Kevin Rutamanis's former side project, the Cows. Other Melvins tunes include "Gluey Porch Treatments," "Revolve," "Tipping the Lion" and "Lovely Butterflies." The album ends with a very trippy version of Pink Floyd's "Interstellar Overdrive." Always willing to offend someone, the inside cover art features a cartoon of a mean-looking rabbit dressed as Hitler (who is given Special Thanks) and a Norman Rockwell-like cartoon of two kids slaughtering sheep.

The Missing 23rd Ctrl+alt+del Sessions Records • Here is some good music. Punk meets hardcore in a mix designed to suit anyone's tastes. There isn't an awful lot of variation in song structures (they all kinda sound the same) but fortunately, this is a good disc. Fourteen songs which start off furious and don't let up until they strangle the last chord out of their guitars.

The National Acrobat Can't Stop Casper Adams Status Recordings • Casper Adams is the screamer (the man does NOT sing) in this ferocious five-piece's slab of anger. This disc has eight tracks, though the longest cut is a scant 2 minutes, 9 seconds. It may just be that if the disc were any longer, it could cause permanent and debilitating brain damage. This is fierce music which strays away from the standard thrash song structure in such a way that you just want to listen. It takes a short while to adjust, but it is well worth the time.

The New Year Newness Ends Touch and Go Records • From the ashes of the now defunct Bedhead rises The New Year. Matt and Bubba Kadane formed the band to release the songs that would have been on the next Bedhead album. The similarities to their former band are obvious, but the songs are a bit faster, more exciting. Still, some remain slow and pensive, like "One Plus One Minus One Equals One." Matt's subdued vocals blend well with the three acoustic / electric guitars and Chris Brokaw's precise drumming. The perfect way to start this New Year is with a copy of Newness Ends.

The Scott Farkus Affair We Will Become Destination Ambiguous City • These feature emotional punk rock with some fairly elaborate guitar-backing and some very nice musical style exploration including some low tempo pieces. The roughest part of the album are the lead vocals that, while perfect for screaming angry at the sky, just don't hold up very well when you slow down and try to hold a note. The group morphed out of two former bands of the mid 90's Baltimore scene.

The Sound of Rails Prelude to Hypnotics Caulfield Records • As soon as I heard the first song on this CD, I immediately thought of Gainesville's The Mercury Program. Their songs follow somewhat of a hypnotic pattern. Repetitive guitar string plucking creates a fluid backdrop upon which sporadic vocals narrate the lyrics. Sometimes the music reminds of Don Caballero's latest CD, American Don, due to the odd time changes and complex drumming. The songs hardly reach any crescendos, which is fine by me. This music is meant to inspire and relax, not make you jump from your chair.

The Thumbs All Lesser Devils Adeline Records • This is decent pop-punk without all the normal syrup. Here you will find shades of NOFX and Green Day and all those delicious punk bands that make the green-haired 13 year-olds soil their Doc Marten Undies. This is a good disc, but with only seven songs, it will leave you wanting more.

The Turbo A.C.'s Fuel For Life Nitro Records • This is a pretty cool hard-driving blend of punk and rock-n-roll. This is the kind of disc that you want in your CD player when you're tearing down the road at 110 mph with a big cooler of frosty ones in the trunk and some chick with huge tits in a bikini sitting in the passenger seat. Yeah, this disc is cool.

The Unknown Pop Art Boss Tuneage Records • I'll be honest...the only reason I picked up this CD was to hear their punked out cover of The Cars' "You Might Think." I'm glad I did though, because I really liked The Unknown's brand of pop-punk. Every song has catchy harmonies and fast paced guitar riffs. Think Big Drill Car meets Blink 182 meets Kid With Man Head.

The Weird Love Makers Live: Bigger Than A Cookie, Better Than A Cake Empty Records • This live punk CD was recorded on June 18, 1999, the guitarist's birthday, as you'll find out as soon as you press play. It's live and it's punk. That's all you need to know.

The X-Impossibles White Knuckle Ride Headhunter / Cargo Music • The press kit mentions a lot of big band names that influenced The X-Impossibles, mainly The Clash, The Stooges and The MC-5. One obvious one they forgot to mention is The Misfits. "Don't Tread" might as well have been written by Glenn Danzig, with melodic choruses and guitar riffs that are pure Misfits. There is also a southern, greasy rockabilly influence present in most songs, from the gritty guitars to the reverb on the vocals. This is a nitro-filled recording, a fast tempo explosion of adrenaline-laced songs.

Tipsy Uh-Oh Asphodel Records • San Francisco residents Dave Gardner and Tim Digullia are fans of very eclectic music, and it shows in their Tipsy project. They borrow heavily from just about every decade since the 30's, creating a hodgepodge of sounds that is definitely retro-sounding. Their music is similar to Beck and the Busy Signals, in that they blend old sounds with new recording techniques. There is a certain sense of humor present in the songs, perhaps due to their heavy Lounge sound.

Together Alone The Linus Sessions Creep Records • Together Alone are a great sounding band that sing about some things that perhaps shouldn't be set to music. Specifically, "Long Time Overdue," which is about a lazy co-worker. The last thing I want to hear in my hardcore is someone else's work and relationship issues. Expressing the personal is a vital part of music, yet, there has to be some limit to what's complained about. If you just listen to them, you'll find them to be really tight outfit, and the singer has that gruff "hardcore" throat that demonstrates a good range. This is great if you can get past the lyrics.

Too Bad Eugene At Any Rate RockCity Records • This is a good disc. It has catchy tunes which teeter on the border of rock/punk. There is a definite new-school punk feel, but it's not that totally washed out crap which I have heard too much of lately. They may hate to hear this, but there is a distinct Green Day influence here - but I mean it as a compliment.

Troublemakers Doubts & Convictions Guidance Recordings • Hailing from France, the homeland of bands like Air and Dimitri from Paris, it is not shocking that the Troublemakers's music is chock full of musical references to the 60's and 70's, mixing it up with electronic beats and samples to create a retro-futuristic soundtrack. Afrobeats, Jazz, Funk, Downtempo and even a hint of Drum 'N Bass are all blended together into this instrumental feast.

True North We Speak In Code No Idea • True North has members from Twelve Hour Turn, Palatka, Strikeforce Diablo, and Asshole Parade. True north sounds nothing like that band. This CD is filled with a lot of tempo shifts and is driven by percussive spurts and flurries in the guitars, bass. It's pretty interesting stuff when it works well, as in "Rocknroll." This may take a few listens to get adjusted to, but once you get adjusted to the shifts, you'll find True North rocks out.

Tupamaros Beyond The Bias Stickfigure Records • German hardcore at its finest! To be honest, I can't think of any other German hardcore so that's not entirely a lie. To me anyway. This is a four-song EP that features some solid, aggressive hardcore tunes. The standout track is number three, "Convenience," which is a little tamer but a more well-crafted song. These dudes look pretty young so their future looks bright, in a whiplash sort of way.

Turnedown self-titled EP Sessions Records • Featuring Joe Clements from Fury 66 and Andrew Cline from Strife, this band has experience at its helm. That comes through on all five tracks of melodic, power punk. Turnedown combines hardcore attitude with pop-punk styles creating both heartwarming and heartpumping songs. The riffs are big, the hooks are infectious, the vocals are sincere and the band really knows how to deliver energized tunes -- I'm addicted.

Ugly Duckling Journey to Anywhere 1500 Records • At a time when every white boy wants to mix metal and rap music, it's good to know that there are still some out there that just worry about the rap. Ugly Duckling uses turntables and samplers as their only instruments, like the Beastie Boys have been doing for years. Unlike the Beasties, however, Ugly Duckling adopts a more laid back rapping style, with smoother samples, obviously influenced by the early 90's "G-Funk" sound. For those who are true fans of UD, there's a secret track you can download from the 1500 Records site only if you have the CD.

Various Artists Might as well ... Can't Dance: An Adeline Records Compilation Adeline Records • Rare is the compilation that completely rocks the whole way through. This disc is one of those rare few. With 15 great songs from Dillinger Four, Common Rider, Lifter Puller, Enemies, The Influents, The Frustrators, Free Beer, One Man Army, The Thumbs, Samiam, The Criminals, Fetish, God Hates Computers, Pinhead Gunpowder and The One Time Angels you can't ask for more. This coming from someone that rarely, if ever, listens to punk. The only complaint I have about this disc is that the transitions between songs were a bit jarring with melodic songs followed by complete rockers. If you like all the various flavors of punk rock, this is a must-have compilation.

Various Artists 15 Minutes Soundtrack 1500 Records • For Robert De Niro's upcoming movie "15 Minutes,"the producers assembled some well known artists to collaborate on the soundtrack. They wanted to achieve a definite electronica vibe, without repeating styles and becoming monotonous. Prodigy's "3 Kilos"has a breakbeat meets disco sound, while Breakbeat Era's "Ultra Obscene"takes care of Grooverider-style Drum 'N Bass. God Lives Underwater lays down their take on Metaltronica in "Fame," while Rinocerose's "La Guitaristic House Organisation" delves into house music territory. Mercifully, the producers opted to not include excerpts from the film's dialogue that seem to plague other soundtracks, making this one stand well enough on its own.

Various Artists 19 Ways to Avoid the Draft Airborne Virus Records • Don't be fooled into thinking that these are Canadian bands, just because that country's flag is on the cover of this compilation. The bands are actually from "the U.K., Australia, The U.S. and San Diego." The first track is "My shockers are stapled open," by Like Millions, and it reminds me of the Mercury Program, with low-key vocals and staggered drums. Electroscope's "Phosphorescence" has a bit of an Irish feel to it, while Steward makes music with a telephone in "Who is yr corner." Fed Cast and the Spiders from Mars employ a looped cheesy drum track as a background to his cheesy vocals. Garage, Emo, Indie, Rap and even Ambient are all represented in subsequent tracks, rounding out this well put together compilation.

Various Artists Another Year On The Streets Vagrant Records • This compilation from Vagrant Records features unreleased songs from Alkaline Trio, Saves the Day, Rocket from the Crypt, The Get Up Kids, No Motiv, The Anniversary, Automatic 7, and the Gotohells, as well as previously released material from Koufax, Reggie + the Full Effect, Face to Face and others. The music ranges from Punk to Indie Rock. By the title of this comp, you get the feeling that Vagrant records are surprised to still be around, as if they're counting the days until it all comes to an end. With bands like these on their roster, they have nothing to worry about.

Various Artists Brazilian Beats 2 Mr. Bongo Records • When I started to listen to this CD, the first track made me think this album was going to be another boring blending of musical styles, this time dance music and Brazilian musical elements. The second track did not make me feel any better. When I reached the third track, however, I sighed with relief as I heard Djavan's "Serrado,"with the familiar Bossa Nova beat and incomprehensible Portuguese lyrics. Luckily, the rest of the album follows suit, sticking to real Brazilian music that David Byrne would salivate over. If you enjoy the smooth and jazzy sounds of this Latin American country, this compilation is for you. Just skip over the first two tracks.

Various Artists Electric Daisy Carnival 1500 Records • Modeled after the 5-year-old annual summer dance music event, DJ Doran mixed 11 trance tracks that represent the kind of music he plays on his live sets. He never misses a beat, and seamlessly blends tracks from D & A, Slipstream, Manhattan, Monteverde, Sleepwalker and I Ching, among others. He also includes his own "Tulare,"as well as his duo with Joshua Ryan, "Redivider."

Various Artists The Center of the World: Music from the Original Motion Picture Six Degrees Records • This movie deals with the social and sexual problems a "young computer wizard" experiences after playing with his computer for too long. Somehow, he convinces a stripper to spend a few days with him in Las Vegas, and sexual hijinx ensue. It must be difficult for a movie producer to combine computers and sex into a believable product, and putting a soundtrack together couldn't have been any easier. The goal seems to have been accomplished with this one. Laika opens up the album, establishing sexual tension with sexy vocal singing. After a few tracks, Nickie Love reestablishes it with her sultry vocals over a medium tempo beat. Indian artist DJ Cheb I Sabbah follows with the track that most certainly was used in one of the movie's sex scene. Brazilian artists Bebel Gilberto and Suba contribute tracks that lighten up the mood a bit, before Joe Henry closes the album with a romantic pop song. There are other tracks on here, but you get the idea. If you like international sounding electronic and trip hop sounds, with a bit of pop thrown in, this soundtrack is for you.

Various Artists The Worldwide Tribute to Real Oi Triple Crown Records • Agnostic Front's Roger Miret and writer Otto Cromag got together to assemble 27 tracks by 14 Punk and Hardcore bands, all covering old school Oi songs. Miret's own Agnostic Front is represented, as well as Blood for Blood, Dropkick Murphys, Oxymoron, Sick of it All, Kill Your Idols and Madball. Standout tracks from this international collection of artists are The Business covering Iron Cross's "Crucified,' and Stigmata's rendition of the Opressed's "Riot." The liner notes feature comments from the bands, giving reasons why they picked the songs they did.

Western Automatic It's 1995 Loosethread Recordings • I found it hard to concentrate on Western Automatic's debut It's 1995. Even when I tried to pay attention to the music, I found myself daydreaming about other things. This suits Matt Christensen just fine. A fan of Brian Eno, he composes his pieces so they act as background music. Unlike Eno, though, the songs have some semblance of structure. Wholly electronic sounds emanate from the speakers as sweetly and slowly as honey from a bottle.

You, The Church of ... Aeschylus Insiduous Records • Aeschylus compiles tracks from You's three previous efforts, with some alternate mixes from their Obis Neh album. Their styles vary greatly, from pothead jamming, to Jimi Hendrix style rock riffs, to New Age. Fans of the Black Crows and Phish will dig this.

You, The Church ofŠ Freedom From the Known Insiduous Records • I have to imagine that these guys are very good at their live shows. The type of music they play, sometimes funked out, at others rocking, just screams jam session. They combine the funkiness of Critters Buggin' with the stamina of the Greateful Dead for a non-stop, 71 minute recording. Unfortunately, Freedom From the Known sounds too much like a studio recording, flattening out some of their live energy.


All Else Failed In My Godıs Eye 10" Creep Records • While this is definitely aggressive and creative musically, there's just way too much screaming. It sounds completely random and way over-done. If otherwise, I may be more interested. Instead, I'm turned off by it.

Craving Comparable? Traces! 7" Stickfigure/Scene Police • Noisy rock blares from my speakers; let the Craving begin. This group hails from Germany and delivers three tracks of solid, aggressive rock and roll.

Doug Allen's Steven Out West 7" Vital Cog Records • For his latest comic book, Doug Allen supplies you with a 7" record that lets you listen along as the story develops. Donıt forget to flip the pages when you hear the "bing" sound! On the side B youıll find two tracks, including Steven's theme song, something youıd hear under a western movie's showdown at noon scene.

H20 7" Side One Dummy Records • If I told you that H20 was covering an Ice Cube song you'd be tempted to think that this was some lame rap-rock tune. You'd be wrong. This is a true punk rock song that just happens to have the lyrics to "It was a Good Day." On the flip side is a cover of Suicidal Tendencies' "I Want More." Even though it's hard to duplicate SI's intense sound, H20 comes pretty close.

Hypnos 69 Wherever Time Has Shared Its Trust 10" Rock 'N' Roll Radio • Hypnos 69 have changed their musical style a few times, from instrumental jamming, to melodic rock, to psychedelic metal, and finally to psychedelic rock. In fact, some members come from grindcore bands. Right now, their sound consists of catchy, slow then fast, epic songs. On Side A 2 tracks, keyboards provide a moody atmosphere on which the guitars can explore harmonies and solos. Side B is one track, an all out rocker with sporadic vocals and tons of energy. Hypnos 69 sound like they just got out of a time machine from the 1970's

Impel/Division of Laura Lee split 7" Carcrash Records • Impel offers a track of noisy, screaming hardcore rock and roll. It's offers creative sounds and has plenty of changes to keep it from sounding like anything else. DLL comes with one track of their own, a dark tunes that has a very aggressive progression.

Organic self-titled 7" Microcosm Records • There are so many good bands that getting exposure is a bitch. Organic could become another victim, a great band many never heard. Or they could blow-up and make people realize that great punk rock still lives. Borrowing styles from bands like Jawbreaker and Crimpshrine, Organic fuses them together to create their own thing. I'm hooked and it's pesticide-free.

Street Connect I Donıt Wanna Hear It 12" Marcion Records • I was expecting this to be the typical, run-of-the-mill ghetto (c)rap. (The tough stares on the album cover led me to believe that.) But, despite its repetitiveness, the title track has a dope-ass bassline and a really cool loop running in the background. "Ghetto," the B-Side track, has a hard beat and uses some interesting breaks. These guys definitely have their own flava, it tastes dirty but sounds so sweet.

System and Station Common or Relative 7" Crustacean Records • These three gentlemen come correct with this two-song slab of creative rock. They use inventive time changes and ever-shifting tempos to deliver their own brand of rock and roll. It reminds me somewhat of Seven Story Mountain with parts of Fugazi leading to a jazzy uniqueness.

The Action Time Rock and Roll 7" Southern Records • This 7" by the Action Time features the track "Rock and Roll," from their new CD Versus the World. It's an aptly titled raunchy garage meets the Go-Go's song where singing is shared by a guy and two girls. On the other side, simply marked "b," is a much peppier song that excludes the guy, sounding like it could have been on the soundtrack for the movie Grease.

The Blow Up Dead Stars 7" eMpTy Records • Drenched in sweat, these four guys deliver rock and roll with no strings attached. The hooks are heavy and soulful while the vocals are delivered from the throat with plenty of spit. I imagine a wildly fun live show.

The Cassettes Lights 7" Carcrash Records • DC three-piece The Cassettes play delightful pop rock that is both lo-fi and lovely. These two songs are only a taste of what this band has to offer.

The Get Up Kids/Rocket From the Crypt split 7" Vagrant Records • One lovely white vinyl The Get Up Kids and Rocket From the Crypt each offer an unreleased track. Rocket's "Free Language Demons" is a great rock track with a load of melody and some really bad-ass song composition, including horns. On the flip side, The Get Up Kids rock "Up On The Roof," a pop-rock tune that didn't really impress me -- it's good, but I expect better from them.

The Pinkos Rock and Roll 7" eMpTy Records • This two-piece (guitar and drums plus vocals) does some really amazing things. It reminds me of a more punk rock version of the Violent Femmes featuring female vocals. It's the kind of music that feels right; it's sincere, emotional and energized.

The Spades self-titled 7" Rock 'N' Roll Radio • I started listening to this 7" and thought to, the singer sounds like a cross between the guy from Gwar and the guy from Fuckemos. The music is punk rock, but not too fast, kinda sludgy. Then I looked at the cover and realized that I was playing it at 33 rpm, instead of 45! Oops! When I sped it up to its appropriate setting, it turned into fast punk rock, with raspy vocals. You do what you want, but I'm playing it at 33.

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

Howard Zinn Stories Hollywood Never Tells Alternative Tentacles • Zinn is an amazing writer, this is known. (A People's History of America is one example.) But what some people may not know is that he's an equally great orator. Whether it's his sense of humor, his voice, or simply his ability to speak in a way that helps you truly understand, Zinn is king. This 11-track (58 minute) spoken word recording focuses on the role of (or lack thereof) Hollywood films in the world of historical political (and social) movements. He exposes the fact that Hollywood, time and time again, ignores the truth behind history and instead, glorifies the lessor (and sometimes untrue) stories. "Hollywood isn't going to make movies that have the effect of making people more class conscious or more anti-war or more conscious of the need for racial equality and sexual equality," Zinn comments. This recording is as educational as it is enjoyable.

Jaffa Elevator Nude Recordings • It's hard to decide if Jaffa's Elevator is just straight up lounge muzak or something a little more perverse. It seems to be too self-aware to be in a porno movie, but just sleazy enough to have some sexual overtones. "Be Nude, Baby" even includes a Barry White-like singer romancing a honey in the background, laid over lazy beats and reverbed keyboards. On "Star 67," the attitude changes a bit, with a hilarious set of phone calls from a guy who keeps asking to talk to this other guy's wife, without saying what for. Overall, the mood is medium tempo, full of sexual energy.

SickShift Angry Badgers Back of the Bus • Now this is a truly great punk rock band. You can hear a great deal of speedy NOFX-influenced rhythm and Lagwagon-influenced melodies, among others. Their many influences transcend rehashing to create something entirely new, and extremely tight. The music moves confidently between measures and is right on target.

Strangers As Heroes This Is Not a Result of Chemistry EP What Else? Records • Storming out of Dayton, Ohio comes this four-piece playing five tracks of emotionally-charged rock. The opening track hooked me and from there it was love. Every song on here is great, reminiscent of the best Get Up Kids tunes. SAH capitalizes on uptempo beats, badass tempo changes and amazing melodies with vocals that are excellent, belting out heartfelt lyrics. The only strike against this release is that it isnıt long enough. Otherwise, this is sweet, oh so sweet.

The Causey Way Causey vs. Everything Alternative Tentacles Records • For those new to The Causey Way, they are not a cult, even though they act like one. It's a strange gimmick, one that does not add to or take away from the music. Which is pretty interesting. Female vocals that range from sexy crooning ("Ana Caelo"), to Johnny Lydon yelping ("Jesus Loves You"), in English and sometimes Spanish ("Te Como Vivo"). The electric guitars are full of fuzz, and the keyboards remind you of old synthesizers, think The Rentals on cocaine.

The Higher Burning Fire In Plain Song Second Nature Records • Fans of Duncan Shiek and The Beatles are going to eat this with a big spoon. As they say in their press material, "It's the same when you hear a plain song: a song that never ceases to amaze you in its luxury and melancholy grace." That's exactly what you have here. There are 12 very plain, yet very rich, deep songs on this disc. The harmonies sound almost surreal and the strings, brass and percussion flow over each other flawlessly. This is the CD you need when you want to let the world pass you by.

The Killing Flame Another Breath Equal Vision Records • If you have grown weary of hardcore, The Killing Flame will reawaken the urge to bounce and sing along. This is extremely well produced, and will flat rock you out! The lyrics are well thought out, and reflect an outlook of all the 1980's hardcore kids who are now passing 30 years of age. "You think you have the answer/ But I'm not asking any questions." This is great stuff. Give it a listen.

The Sacrifice Poles self-titled Robodog Records • Apparently the creative folks that make up Cave In needed some room to breathe while recording their fifth release, Jupiter. Not room to breathe away from each other...they just needed to play different music. So they created the Sacrifice Poles. The therapeutic nature of their instrumental music is evident, with songs created based around one or two rhythmic patterns upon which all members can improvise their parts. Instead of planning out what they were going to do, they instead tried to do it "on the fly," trying to read each other's minds as they played. In fact, you could tell the music was having an effect on the band. The first track, "Guitarmageddon," seems like random strumming of an electric guitar. From there the album takes a turn towards the hypnotic, until "Chow Foon the Moon" wakes you up with a Don Caballero-meets-the Fucking Champs sound. After that, they stir things up a bit, changing sounds that range from electric to acoustic guitars, to prerecorded drum beats, and finally to what I think was a pan flute, the instrument favored by legendary Zamfir. This album achieves its intended goal, which is to give the listener (or player) a brief respite from everyday life.

In alphabetical order. Please write them.

1500 Records, 9151 Sunset Blvd., West Hollywood, CA, 90069
702 Records, PO Box 204, Reno, NV 89504
Adeline Records, 5337 College Ave, #318, Oakland, CA 94618
Airborne Virus, PO Box 420825, San Francisco, CA 94142-0825
AK Press, PO Box 40682, San Francisco, CA 94140-0682
Alternative Tentacles, PO Box 419092, San Francisco, CA 94141-9092
Ambiguous City, PO Box 31560, Baltimore MD 21207
Arborvitae Records, 205 East Meadows Lane, Altamonte, IL 62411
Archenemy Record Company, PO Box 802, Boston, MA 02134
Artemis Records, 130 Fifth Avenue, 7th Floor, New York, NY 10011
Asphodel Records, PO Box 51, Chelsea Station, NY, NY 10113-0051
Back of the Bus Records, PO Box 12395, Santa Barbara, CA 93106
Barely Breaking Even Records, 8B Langton Rd., London, NW2 6QA
Barfing Glitter Records, 13426 Walnut St., Whittier, CA 90602
Boss Tuneage Records, PO Box 19550, London, SW11 1FG, U.K.
Break Even Records Box 42469 Philadelphia, PA 19101
BSI Records, 4005 SE 28th Ave., Portland, OR 97202
Carcrash, PO Box 39, 462 21 Vänersborg, Sweden
Caulfield Records, PO Box 84323, Lincoln, NE 68501
Creep Records, PMB 220, 252 E. Market St., West Chester, PA 19382
Crustacean Records, PO Box 370156, Milwaukee, WI 53237
Cyclone Records, 24 Pheasant Run, Merrimack, NH 03054
Drag City Records, PO Box 476867, Chicago, IL 60647
East Coast Empire Records, Box 7295, Prospect, CT 06712
eMpTy Records, PO Box 12034, Seattle, WA 98102
Equal Vision, PO Box 14, Hudson, NY 12534
Eyes of Pandora, PO Box 236 Miami, FL 33144
Fat Wreck Chords, PO Box 193690, San Fran, CA 94119
Fearless Records, 13772 Goldenwest St. #545, Westminster, CA 92683
Five One, 1404 3rd St. Promenade, Ste 202, Santa Monica, CA 90401
Fueled by Ramen Records, PO Box 12563, Gainesville, FL 32604
Fueled Up Records, PO Box 14815, Fremont, CA 94539
G-7, PO Box 27006, 360 Main St. Concourse, Winnipeg, MB, R3C 4T3
Gern Blandsten Records, PO Box 356, River Edge, NJ 07661
Guidance Recordings, 160 N Halsted, Chicago, IL 60661
Headhunter/Cargo, 4901-906 Morena Blvd., San Diego, CA 92117-3432
Henry, 711 Adam Street NE, Minneapolis, MN 55413
Honest Donıs, PO Box 192027, San Francisco, CA 94119
Insiduous Records, , 3288 21st St., PMB #39, San Francisco, CA 94110
Kung Fu Records, 920 Citrus Ave., Hollywood, CA 90038
Loosethread Recordings, PO Box 220180, Chicago, IL 60622
Manıs Ruin Records, 610 22nd St. #302, San Francisco, CA 94107
Marcion Records, 325 W. 37th Street, 8th Floor, NY, NY 10018
Merge Records, PO Box 1235, Chapel Hill, NC 27514
Microcosm Records, PO Box 14332, Portland, OR 97293-0332
Mr. Bongo Records, 44 Poland St., London WLV 3DA. UK
My Hotel Year, 1266 Michigan Ave., Winter Park, FL 32789
NDN Records, PO Box 131471, The Woodlands, TX 77393-1471
Necropolis Records, PO Box 14815, Fremont, CA 94539-4815
Nitro, 7071 Warner Ave., Ste. F PMB 736, Huntington Bch, CA 92647-5495
No Idea Records, PO Box 14636, Gainesville, FL 32604
NONS Records, PO Box 14128, Minneapolis, MN 55414
Nude Recordingss, 3575 Boul. St. Laurent, Ste. 314, Montreal, H2X 2T7
Pehr Records, PO Box 750996, Petaluma, CA 94975
Permanent Record, 1701-A N. Willow Wood Dr., Anaheim, CA 92807
Pessimiser Records BOB 1070 Hermosa Beach, CA 90254
Play Nice Records, PO Box 50267, Minneapolis, MN 55405
Polyvinyl, Post Office Box 1885, Danville, IL 61834-1885
POP Sweatshop Records, PO Box 148, Olympia, WA 98502
Post-Parlo Records, PO Box 49121, Austin, TX 78765
Resurrection AD Records, PO Box 763, Red Bank, NJ 07701
Robodog Records, 12001 Aintree Lane, Reston, VA 20191
Rock 'N' Roll Radio, Oosthamsestwg 129, 3581 Beverlo-Beringen, Belgium
RockCity Records, 3201 W. Cahuenga Blvd., Los Angeles, CA 90068
Rotten Records, PO Box 2157, Montclair, CA 91763
Schematic, 6225 SW Kendale Lakes Cir., Ste. D256, Miami, FL 33183
Scratchie Records, 61 East 8th St., #276, New York, NY 10003
Second Nature Records, PO Box 11543 Kansas City, MO 64138
Sessions Records, 15 Janis Way, Scotts Valley, CA 95066
Side One Dummy, 6201 Sunset Blvd., Ste. 211, Hollywood, CA 90028
SideCho Records, 1223 Wilshire Blvd., #560, Santa Monica, CA 90403
Six Degrees Records, PO Box 411347, San Francisco, CA 94141-1347
Sonic Unyon, PO Box 57347, Jackson Station, Hamilton, ON, L8P 4X2
Southern Records, PO Box 577375, Chicago, IL 60657
Status Recordings, Box 1300, Thousand Oaks, CA 91358
Stickfigure Records, PO Box 55462, Atlanta, GA 30308
Theologian Records, PO Box 1070, Hermosa Beach, CA 90254
Touch and Go Records, PO Box 25520, Chicago, IL 60625
Triple Crown Records, 331 W. 57th, PMB 472, NY, NY 10019
Urine Spaceman, 242 E. Independence Blvd., Charlotte, NC 28204
Vagrant Records, 5512 University Way, Seattle, WA 98105
Victory Records, PO Box 146546, Chicago, IL 60614
Vital Cog Records, PO Box 7846, Princeton, NJ 08543
What Are Records?, 2401 Broadway, Boulder, CO 80304
What Else? Records, PO Box 1211, Columbus, IN 47202

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