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CD reviews

3582 The Living Soul EP Superrappin • This is truly lovely hip-hop. The title is appropriate, as the soul of this album is large as life. It flows like the best stuff from such blazin' artists as Tribe and Talib Kweli. You'll immediately be head bobbin', moving along with the fluid flows pouring from the mouth of Fat Jon (member of 5 Deez). The rhymes are original as hell, droppin' intelligent lyrics that make you want to pay attention. The production work is insanely good, courtesy of J.Rawls (Lone Catalysts) - it goes from soulful chill-out music to bumpin' party hits that have huge hooks. Looking for a hip-hop pick-me-up? Try track four but don't forget to wear a seatbelt. (CM)

90 Day Men To Everybody Southern Records • Apparently 90 Day Men are smart when it comes to their music. Following 2000's (it (is) it) Critical Band, they added piano to all the tracks on their latest, To Everybody, adding a feeling of sadness. Their style is melancholic, with often repeating guitars and unstrained vocals. (AL)

Aesop Rock Daylight EP DefJux • This EP opens with what may be the greatest hip-hop tune of all time, "Daylight," which appears on Aesop Rock's Labor Days full-length. It's then followed by a track called "Night Light", a rough, darker, reworded version of "Daylight." The next four tracks will take you on a tour of the skills pouring from the rugged, staccato-flowing lyricist known as Aesop Rock. This is indie, experimental, minimalist and fresh as hell, using strong beats and a no-bullshit approach to create amazing track after track. Note: If DefJux didn't already have a "Top Pick" this would have gotten the nod. (CM)

Alkaline Trio/Hot Water Music split EP Jade Tree • Three new (exclusive) tracks from Alkaline Trio and four new (exclusive) tracks from Hot Water Music make for one hell of a seven-song EP. And you get what you expect. Alkaline Trio rips out three amazing tunes of melodic, powerful, punk rock, including a cover of HWM's "Rooftops." HWM follows with two originals and a cover of Alkaline Trio's "Russian Roulette" and "Radio." They cover both songs extremely well, adding a genuine HWM touch. The two original cuts from HWM are also damn good, tight, aggressive and heartfelt rock tunes. (CM)

American Heartbreak/Libertine split CD Coldfront • Here are two bands who sound like they belong playing back to back in the same smoky bar. Reminiscent most readily of AC/DC, these bands delicately combine the rock-n-roll abandon of this genre with the ability to integrate harmonies and feeling in the songs in a way which, while different, feels really natural. (MK)

Anniversary / Superdrag split CD Vagrant Records / Heroes & Villains • This is the first in a series of Split CDs to be released by Vagrant Records. It is significant because it is the first taste you will get from the Anniversary before they release their second album, which sees them getting away from their pop sound, and into more of a straight up rock and roll band. Which is why they fit in so well with Superdrag's energetic, singalong brand of rock, which has matured over time. (AL)

Arma Angelus Where Sleeplessness is Rest From Nightmares Eulogy Records • The cover art for this CD was designed to keep away the squeamish. It depicts a woman getting killed by a knife wielding psycho while she sleeps. In fact, the singer's screams sound like he is gurgling blood. The weak would be wise to stay away. They could not handle this sextet's insane blending of hardcore and metal. (AL)

Bad Religion The Process of Belief Epitaph Records • One of the longest running punk bands around, Bad Religion, sees the return of guitarist Brett Gurewitz after a while away from the band. They decided to release The Process of Belief on Epitaph, the label they had started so many years back, and where Gurewitz is head honcho. What about the album? What can I say, another classic. BR are known for blending razor edge guitars with highly melodic lyrics, creating a sound that has been copied multiple times. You won't be disappointed. (AL)

Balsa Gliders Cookout Intelligent. • This trio from the Washington, D.C. area has a delightful jangly poppy fun sound. I think of R.E.M's pop songs when hear some of these songs. The lyrics are playful and witty, making the over all sound light and fun. Rock doesn't always have to be in your face to be good does it? (KM)

Blacksonny self-titled Vital Cog • Manhattan's Blacksonny has torn up the NYC scene and this full-length debut is prepared to expose the rest of the world to their semi-chaotic, semi-melodic, complete indie rock assault. Songs pop along, break under the pressure of feedback-infused guitar licks, then smooth out with strong, sincere vocals and sparingly used horns. It's a wonderful blend, sure to please even the most picky of indie rock snobs. (CM)

Blood For Blood Outlaw Anthems Victory • Just when you thought it was safe to turn on your CD player, along comes Blood for Blood with a serious aural assault. These are a ferocious and vicious pack of songs by some very putout guys. If you think they hate you, they do. If you think they like you, they are still going to kick your ass with these uncompromising hard-core explosions. They pick up the anger where other bands enter therapy. (MK)

Blue Six Beautiful Tomorrow Naked Music Recordings / Astralwerks • Beautiful Tomorrow is the first full length release for Naked Music label co-founder Jay Denes (AKA Blue Six). It features 14 tracks of beautifully crafted house music with a touch of soul and Latin percussion. Different female vocalists lend their talents to some tracks, adding variety to this highly listenable disc. (AL)

BonoboAnimal Magic Ninja Tune Records • Simon Bonobo achieves a peaceful coexistence between live instruments and electronic sounds in Animal Magic. This album is intended to relax, and is something of a minimalist chillout affair. It lacks the organic feel of, say, the Cookin' Records catalog, but makes up for it with nifty beats and reverbed sounds. (AL)

Boxcar Satan Crooked Mile March Dog Fingers Recordings • On their second full-length release, Boxcar Satan stick with the winning formula and attack blues, country, jazz, punk and rock, with plenty of experimentation. The entire album sounds gritty, perhaps recorded after a night submerged in liquor. They owe as much to noise as they do to roots rock. Hard to describe, easy to enjoy. (AL)

Breaking Pangaea Cannon to a Whisper Undecided • A horribly average release. Its not bad, but halfway through your shaking your head wondering if you already own this CD because it sounds a whole lot like a whole bunch of stuff that's out there already. They sound sincere and I am sure if I saw them live I would think they were ok, but with the huge catalog of good music in the world, this one isn't going to beg your attention. (KM)

Brothers Keeper Five Hits From Hell Ides of March Records • To follow up last year's Fantasy Killer, Brothers Keeper decided to record five old Misfits tunes that they had performed at New York's Hell Fest to great response. "Skulls," "Devil's Whorehouse," "Bullet," "Where Eagles Dare" and "Bloodfeast" get reworked with a bit of a hardcore flavor. Even though no Misfits cover could sound as good as the original, Five Hits from Hell comes as close as possible. (AL)

Brownie Points First Things First self-released • These guys are proof that trends matter little to true musicians. Even though the horn laden pop punk sound went out of the mainstream's favor a while back, Brownie Points plays said style with enthusiasm and gusto. "To hell with them," these 13 songs seem to say, with dual harmonies and an unusually catchy sound. They keep the energy of punk while injecting a bit of pop's sugary taste and the fullness of a trio of horns. (AL)

Cave In self-titled Hydrahead • This latest offering from the new incarnation of Cave In continues in the vein of the Jupiter LP. A two song EP has all the tease of a Catholic school girl outfit, but Cave In gets away with it because they are just about brilliant, and these two songs are no exception. It took seeing them live to realize how amazing this band could be, but now I am sold. This two song EP wets your appetite, but sadly leaves you still looking around the kitchen for more. (KM)

Cavity On the Lam Hydra Head Records • Stoner rock has been gaining popularity for the past few years, and Cavity is one band exploiting the trend. Their rhythms fluctuate between hard charging to sludgy, and Rene Barge's vocals are a bit more raspy than the usual stoner. If you like bands like Unida, Acid King, Sons of Otis or Men of Porn, definitely check out Cavity. (AL)

Central Falls Latitude Truckstop Audio Recording Company • Central Falls's core is made up of brothers Adam and Ben Vida, who usually play with US Maple and Town & Country, respectively. They got together with some of Chicago's finest musicians to record Latitude, where the mood is lazy and dreamy. The use of a pedal steel gives the songs a southwestern, country sound. Adam's vocals reinforce the laid back attitude, barely working to get the lyrics out there. Excellent for a relaxing afternoon. (AL)

Copykill Victim or Witness Alveran Records • It was only logical that kids who grew up listening to hardcore bands like Hatebreed and metal bands like Slayer would grow up to combine both styles into one. Witness Copykill, whose crunchy guitars are among the heaviest, and whose vocals are gritty and throaty, with hardcore's stuttery delivery. (AL)

Crushed Stars Self Navigation Simulcast • This is music of uncommon elegance, a soft, meditative work of somber greatness. Powerful percussive elements back up a fantastic pop album, with guitar reminiscent of The Stone Roses, vocals like Simple Minds. Quoth Pitchfork Media: "The stunning result is enough to make you wish it were night all day long." Bam. Can't top that. (DP)

Cryin Blue Wine Mad Married Circle self-released • This trio has all the makings of radio rock: the powerful, cocky, attention-demanding vocals, the rock approach with a sensitive touch and the hard edge that appears here and there. And you can't ignore the classic rock influences. It's a solid rock album that has potential for radio-play - which can be both a good and bad thing. Reminiscent of Pearl Jam and Live. (CM)

Darwin Radio Brand New Evolution Ides of March • This six-track EP features ex-Drowning Room members, a hardcore band from northern-NY that really needs little introduction. Since their split, Darwin Radio has taken over the reigns of that scene with their brand of thickly-laid angst-driven rock. The chords on this CD are pretty thick and the fact that you can distinctively separate the rhythm and lead guitarists is a gem in the desert of what I term shit-rock. Check this one out. (JS)

Dashboard Confessional So Impossible EP Vagrant • Heart-broken teenage girls of the world rejoice, Chris Carrabba released a new EP! The bard of emo acoustic ballad pop's new EP didn't annoy me as much as all the other stuff that Dashboard has done. Damn it, I even kinda liked it. The songs have a new and very welcome turn from the whiny "whoa I'm so heart-broken it hurts" sound of his past releases. It's almost kinda happy if I dare say. If you like them, you'll think this is brilliant, if you hate them, well you won't hate this one as much. (KM)

Deadbolt Hobo Babylon Cargo Music • They call themselves "The scariest band in the world." They are scary, but not in a Marilyn Manson way. The music is slow, methodical voodoobilly, a blend of surf music and chilling, narrated lyrics. This time around, instead of talking about murdering hippies, Hobo Babylon deals with the F.T.R.A. (Freight Train Riders of America), a mysterious gang of hobo train riders and the gruesome stories that surround them. (AL)

Dear John Letters Rewriting the Wrongs Roam Recods • Robb Benson (ex-The Nevada Bachelors) is the front man on this jangly, pop release. The vocals are strong and the music moves along at a steady pace, tight with melodies flowing throughout. This is very solid indie-pop that might be hitting airwaves near you any day now. (CM)

Desmond Williams Delights of the Garden Eighteenth Street Lounge Music • Being from Jamaica, it is not surprising that Desmond Williams injects dub influences into his particular style of electronica. What is surprising though, is his ability master so many other styles as well. Starting with bossa nova in "Um Favor," and continuing with nu-jazz on "Cadence." There is a touch of soul on "First Touch," and a drum and bass beat on "For the Trees." (AL)

dewey defeats truman The Road To Nowhere Maps EP Has Anyone Ever Told You • DDT reminds me of a Promise Ring with teeth. Powerfully potent poppy songs that seem to want to break down the self-restrictive walls of the current brand of indie-emo rock. The mix, production, and talent of the drums and the guitars would lead me to believe that they have captured the sounds that so many bands fail to find in the studio. Put some of these songs on the next mix you make for your special somebody and show them your soft side has an edge. (KM)

Diesel Boy / Divit Double Letter Score Coldfront • A rocking split from two great California pop-punk bands. The Diesel Boy stuff is kinda silly, proof being their cover of ŒLivin La Vida Loca.' The music is right on, and more fun than greasing pigs at grandma's house. The Divit stuff is really amazing, I had actually never heard them before, and on the first listen was instantly taken with them. They write the kind of songs that you can't wait to learn the lyrics to, so you can sing along. (KM)

Drift Stalkin' Like Killers Alveran Records • Combine almost unintelligible vocals with some of the metallic feel of Ministry's Al Jorgensen, with some old school hardcore, thrash and even Death metal, and you get the ear-spitting sound of Drift. Amid all the death imagery and angry lyrics, though, is the beautiful "ŠIn Recurrence," a 2 minute solo guitar piece that shows Drift has a sensitive side. (AL)

Duvall Standing At The Door EP Double Zero • You can't stop the rock in Chicago, that's for sure. This windy city quartet is made up of three parts from the Smoking Popes (singer/guitarist Josh Caterer, drummer Mike Felumlee and recently-added guitarist Eli Caterer) and John Sewell (from Kidsnack). Josh's smooth, soothing vocals croon over thick melodies and mid to uptempo drumming. It's a combination that reincarnates the Smoking Popes power pop sound I was really missing. I'm anxious to hear a full album because these four songs only whet my appetite. (CM)

Edwerd? Joy Explosion Allegory Records • This disc contains 14 songs about the lives of two guys living in their forties. The basis for this fusion of sounds is on the premise to not give in to life just yet. Lines like "I think I lost the rat race, I'm afraid it shows on my face" are an example of the sarcastic attitude and harmless stoner trip found within. This disc could grow on you once you get to the last track "Everything Fades, The Slug" which is by far the best song, or the only real song on the whole album since the longest track other than that clocks in at 2 minutes 30 seconds. (JC)

Eterna Inocencia Backflip / Un Salto Mortal Para Atrás Chumpire Records • Hailing from Argentina, Eterna Inocencia compiled 18 of their favorite songs from the last six years into one recording, and let me tell you, it is good. This is what melodic punk sounds like without tons of studio processing. You can feel the emotion in Guille's voice. Most of the songs are in Spanish, but some are in English. (AL)

Fat Jon the Ample Soul Physician Wave Motion Mush Records • Jazzy, soulful instrumental hip hop is the name of the game for The Five Deez's Fat Jon, whose Wave Motion release is bound to make your head nod in appreciation. Eschewing scratching and other attention grabbing effects, he concentrates on the groove, with Œ60s and Œ70s influences, similar to much of Cookin' Records recent output. (AL)

Fila Brazilia Jump Leads 23 Records • For the last ten years, Fila Brazilia has been making electronic music, and with Jump Leads, their eighth release, they have recorded their most varied album. Their blending of styles, like trip hop, nu-jazz, breakbeat, funk, soul and even a bit of folk is evident not only in their instrumental tracks, but also in the vocal ones, sung by Steve Edwards. (AL)

Fog self-titled Ninja Tune Records • Having both played in punk and post rock bands as well as DJed at clubs, Andrew Broder (AKA Fog) makes music drawing on both sides of his musical background. He incorporates the turntable as an instrument, only used when needed. Same goes for drum loops and guitars, even singing. The result is a melodic, hypnotic recording that will please hip hoppers and indie rockers alike, or it will alienate them all. (AL)

François K Deep and Sexy Wave Music • Electronic music veteran François K culled 12 tracks from his labels catalogue and mixed them for almost 80 minutes of constantly changing music. With a solid foundation in house, the disc goes through Afro and tribal beats to jazzy remixes featuring soulful female vocals. Featured are tracks by ADNY, Papillon, Blue 6 and Fluid X, just to name a few. (AL)

Gary Wilson You Think You Really Know Me Motel Records • With silky smooth synth lines and honey dripping vocals, you would think this album was released this year. However, Wilson actually recorded it in 1977 in his parents' basement, and was never heard from again. Until now. Is he a soul music visionary? Or just insane (sample lyric: 6.4 = make out)? The only evidence that this is old is in the Return to Forever sounding "You Were Too Good To Be True." But then again, everyone is trying to sound retro these days. (AL)

Global Goon Vatican Nitez Rephlex Records • Johnny Hawk doesn't release stuff very often, but when he does, it is worth the wait. His latest under the Global Goon moniker is Vatican Nitez, and it is just as good if not better than his previous material. Medium tempo braindance is his specialty, with a touch of humor yet also some rough edges. (AL)

Good Riddance/Kill Your Idols split EP Jade Tree • Jade Tree opens their split single series with a double dose of aggression. Good Riddance rocks out four rapid-fire tracks of melodic hardcore. It's the stuff that separates Good Riddance from the rest of the punk rock regulars - catchy tunes with punch to the face few bands can match. Kill Your Idols offers up three tracks of screamy hardcore with an old school feel and new school approach. This EP is a match made in punk rock heaven. (CM)

Gratitude Tofuton Gratitude/Quantum Jitters • This six-track EP's use of a drum machine suggests early Sisters of Mercy and a touch of New Order's Movement LP. Most of the vocals here are handed out courtesy of the twosome's female member, The Eleven, but frankly, they leave much to be desired. A lot, actually. They make this 35-minute EP drag like an episode of ŒEmeril'. On the other hand, the guy, Suds Dacdacdiaktic, sounds like hoarse-voiced Tim Butler from Œ80s genre-sluts The Psychedelic Furs. Final track is ŒLSDay', a ballad that seems to go on longer than the trip itself. (JS)

Gravity Willing Requia self-released • I can't take much more radio-ready alternative rock. This sounds like Stone Temple Pilots, Pearl Jam, Live, Counting Crows, etc. It's solid at what it does, but doesn't do much for me. I do commend them on the initiative to put their stuff out themselves. (CM)

Greg MacPherson Band Good Times Coming Back Again G-7 Welcoming Committee • Sincerity is the key to the success of Greg MacPherson's sound. He sings songs loaded with honest, social criticism and a delivers them with a heartfelt coolness. As the press material writes, "comparisons to Bruce Springsteen seem inevitable." While that's true, it's only part of the picture. MacPherson is a Canadian singer/songwriter/guitarist who offers his own indie approach to rock and roll. The tunes are sometimes rocking, sometimes folksy, but always enlightening. Think Midnight Oil, The Weakerthans, and yes, The Boss. (CM)

Her Flyaway Manner A Rotation of Thoughts and Themes Caulfield Records • "Emo" has become such a polarizing word, hasn't it? For some individuals, the mere mention of the word is enough to send one into a violent, emotional outburst of their own. Her Flyaway Manner is adept at expressing raw, powerful emotions in a way that is neither sentimental nor whiny. The five songs on A Rotation of Thoughts and Themes build upon the foundation of old, DC-style post-punk. Don't call them "emo," though. Them there's fighting words, son. (CL)

Ill Ease Live at the Holiday Sin Smilex Records • Live at the Holiday Sin was recorded in a cheap motel room outside of Atlantic City (get it?). It must have really sucked, because it projected itself onto the CD. Elizabeth Sharp barely sings above a whisper, in a whiny repetitive voice that annoys more than entertains, making you wish you were somewhere else but in this motel room with her. (AL)

In Dying Days Life as a Balancing Act One Day Savior Recordings • You gotta love metalcore. It's the best of two insane genres. Double bass drums, intricate guitars and painful screaming. Two guitarists play off of each other to create sonic mayhem, and the bass player throws down some bass lines that pound your chest. In Dying Days will leave you wanting more. (AL)

Jetlag/Lonely Kings split CD Sessions • Jetlag's music straddles the line between hardcore and punk in the sense that they're not quite either of the two. Same goes for Lonely Kings. It doesn't take a full listen to realize these two bands complement each other pretty convincingly. They both have harrrrd-core aggro vocals which, I'm afraid, reek of the California punk scene. That being said, the arrangements are enough to keep most of you interested. Surf's up, Œbro! (JS)

John Brown Battery Is Jinxed Hewhocorruptsinc. • Gruff, scratchy vocals and tight, energetic melodies meld on this album to create 10 fantastic songs. The Chicago quartet has been playing together since 1998 and this album offers up material from 2000 - now re-released after an initially small pressing. The band released a new EP in mid-2001 that you definitely want to check out, as well. I'd group them in the style of such bands as The Get Up Kids, early Jawbreaker and Lawrence Arms. (CM)

Josh Roseman Unit Cherry Velour Recordings • Trombonist Josh Roseman and his unit of 13 musicians tackle some of the most recognizable songs from recent history and completely rework them in his own jazz voice. The Beatles, Led Zeppelin, Burt Bacharach, Sun Ra, Marvin Gaye, Nirvana and Leiber & Stoller all get the treatment, which can be both humorous and impressive. (AL)

Kicked in the Head Thick As Thieves Resurrection A.D. • Um, two words: BEER-FUELED!!! I'm talkin' 8 cans of Pabst-Blue-Ribbon-on-quarter-beer-night beer-fueled, dammit. Those kind of antics are prevalent in my fave track here, a homage to negativity in "Shit's Fucked Up", since, currently, shit IS fucked-up. But otherwise, this Boston five-piece throws down and screams at you for about 38 minutes. (JS)

Kimone Demo EP self-released • This is a diverse EP with experimental indie sounds. It has a loungy, laid-back feel to it that absorbs the listener. The band has numerous connections from The Album Leaf to Spoon and has toured with such artists as Crumb, Mock Orange and Far. This is a mellow, emotional trip worth taking. (CM)

Knut untitled EP Hydra Head Records • Switzerland is not big enough to hold in the sounds that come from Knut. Metal and hardcore are fused together, keeping the listener riveted for an entire 14 minutes, the length of this EP. Didier's vocals are somehow both high pitched and deep, fiercer than most. (AL)

Kosher Self Control BYO Records • This CD uses power-chords in all the right places. As one of the newer (insert hyphenated-punk genre here) they already sound pretty damned tight so I'm sure they're touring their asses off in support of this just-released record. On a lighter note, this band hails from the small college town of Warrensburg, Missouri which boasts the largest consumption of Natural Light beer per capita. Puts me in the mood for some kegs n' eggs at the dorm. Hooo-boy! (JS)

Limp self-titled Honest Don's Records • Limp apparently is going through a Metallica-like musical change. Their latest album is self-titled, and the cover is all black (except for the hand shooting the bird). More importantly, they have mainstreamed their sound a bit by toning down the punk and concentrating more on melodies. They still use distortion, just not as fast as before. I was pleasantly surprised to see that these guys can write really good pop songs. (AL)

Lonely Kings Crowning Glory Fearless • The Lonely Kings have been playing out for over seven years. The hard-rocking trio is based out of Santa Cruz, California and has shared the stage with such punks as Good Riddance and Voodoo Glow Skulls. They play an aggressive rock style that is thick with melody and buoyed by very strong, heartfelt vocals. Their tempo changes and breaks are hard to resist and you'll be pulled in quickly. (CM)

Lost Sounds Black-wave Empty Records • Imagine if the B-52's and a low-fi Atari-Teenage Riot were to have a bar fight, well that's pretty much what the Lost Sounds are like. Œ80s synth-punk sounds with punk rock angst that loses its self somewhere between intention and destination. The song structure is so chaotic that you can never really find the song buried under it all. Even if the newest wave of new wave is your thing, I would still steer clear of this one. (KM)

Mainframe Theory self-titled self-released • I hope you like repetitive guitar melodies, because they are the basis for Mainframe Theory's math rock sound. The melodies blend in and/or compete with the bass lines to form whole new structures in sound, which will either aggravate or impress you. This self-titled debut is the perfect music to listen to after your Don Caballero or Storm and Stress CDs. (AL)

Manifesto Jukebox Desire Does Everyone Stare? • Who knew Finland had bands this good? With a sound of tempered chaos and vocals with enough passion to take your heart by storm this band is a best-kept secret if I have ever seen one. If you are despondent with the current state of punk, if you are fuming with rage over the corporate hijacking of the music you love so much, then please allow me to recommend this record to you. The rage, the passion, the hopefulness of this band will bring your faith back around. (KM)

Mankind Liberation Front Warm. Strong. Numb. Mixes Neutron Records / Edel Entertainment • I guess I would describe the original version of this song as pop industrial, kind of like Orgy but without the angry vocals. The other four tracks on this CD are remixes with house, trance, breakbeat and a touch of electro. (AL)

Merzbow Dharma Hydra Head Records • I tried to listen to Dharma all the way through, I really did. But I challenge anyone to do it. Anyone, that is, that is not a fan of random noise consisting mostly of static and other feedback. I'm sure Nasami Akita (AKA Merzbow) is proud of his melody-free improvisations, but I have better things to do. (AL)

Mike Felumlee 64Hours Double Zero • Mike was the drummer for both the Smoking Popes and Alkaline Trio. That's a pretty solid power pop/punk background. And Mike backs up the reputation by releasing an awesome pop album full of catchy tune after catchy tune. On 64Hours, Mike is in charge of songwriting, drums, guitar, some bass and most-importantly, vocals. He has sincere, strong vocals that display emotion freely but without sounding pathetic. His voice floats over melodies, lovely guitar leads and popping basslines at a tempo that fluctuates from an acoustic, jangly mid-tempo to a power punk uptempo. He's joined on some tracks by the likes of Josh and Eli Caterer (Smoking Popes, Duvall) and Dan Andriano (Alkaline Trio). Fans of Gameface, The Honor System and Alkaline Trio will definitely enjoy this. (CM)

Mirah Advisory Committee K Records • There is one constant on Advisory Committee: Mirah's beautiful voice. Her sometimes barely-above-whisper singing draws you in like a lullaby does to a 2 year old child. Musically, the songs are varied, and include strings, tympani, pump organ and chamber vocals. (AL)

New Flesh Understanding Big Dada Recordings • Self described as a mix between hip-hop, dancehall, UK garage, soul and funk, these two emcee's and one D.J. are joined by guest spots from Roots Manuva, Beans, Gift of Gab and others. The beats are basic and the English accents with the reggae influence is a style that takes a few spins to get used to. This label has released much better material. (JC)

Nobodys Less Hits More Tits Hopeless • It had to happen and, by gum, I'm glad the Nobodys are the ones to do it. I am speaking, of course, of a fitting tribute to AC/DC. This is exactly what we expect and love from the Nobodys, angry fast, raucus punk that will make you want to bitch-slap yer ol' lady and marry a nasty old hooker instead. Twenty songs and not a clinker in the bunch. Prime Nobodys. (MK)

Pocket Genius Tundra Rock Does Everyone Stare? Records • Priding themselves on "energy, fun and sincerity" this band from the Midwest has put together a power pop, punk rock album with hook filled melodies. Musically the band jams out but the vocals are lost within the distortion. The lyrics are good, mostly abut some girl and basically having nothing in life. (JC)

President's Breakfast III C Disc Lexia • Together since 1985, the President's Breakfast has blurred the line between funk, jazz and dub with their experimental compositions. III C is no exception, with songs going in different directions and sometimes nowhere at all. For fans of Critters Buggin' and Dr. Didj, and those with open minds. Plus, for all you aspiring Puff Daddies, there are 17 tracks which consist of small instrumental samples for you to incorporate into your works. (AL)

Radiation 4 self-titled self-released • This relatively new band from Los Angeles takes no prisoners on their self titled EP. Its five songs plow through grindcore and metalcore and experiment with jazz elements and random time changes. Think of a much heavier version of Fantomas, mixed with Converge. (AL)

Red Shirt Brigade Home of the Cannon Saints Arborvitae Records • Sporting a name that suggests some sort of radical political movement, Detroit's Red Shirt Brigade offers up their first full length album, Home of the Cannon Saints. There's no overt political agenda, just quirky, post-rock reminiscent of bands such as Death Cab for Cutie, the Dismemberment Plan, and The Sea and Cake. It's a very intriguing and promising debut that should attract legions of new converts to the movement. Now that we've got the wardrobe down, we just need some sort of handshake and/or hand gesture kind of thing and a catchy slogan. (CL)

Rhythm Collision All Bombs Away Does Everyone Stare • RC hailed out of the late Œ80s LA punk scene during what is termed by hipsters as the Second Wave of Punk. While I'm not all sure about that, I am sure this record sounds like a last ditch attempt to cash in on the name since this band HAS already broken up and this is their first new material in SIX years. Really, then, what's the point? This album has more hooks than a tackle box but every song is sung in the key of Œbro'. Great CD title, though. Just thin that herd. Please. (JS)

Ruby Blue Beyond Pink Edel Entertainment • They claim a vast variety of influences and an alternative to the girl-pop drivel which shitties up the radio waves and I'm sad to report that they do not deliver. These girls are quite young and certainly are easy on the eyes, but as the Spice Girls proved, cute only takes you so far. It just sounds like all the other girl pop out there. (MK)

Rye Coalition On Top Tiger Style • Imagine if you will Fugazi meets Led Zeppelin at a blackjack table in Atlantic City. These guys are all rock all the time and a clever and needed injection into the stagnant pool of fool-smelling standing water that is indie music. Creative song tittles like "Born a Monkey, in the Year of the Snake" and "One Daughter Hotter than a Thousand Suns", clever hooks and a driving beat that's headed for something in a hurry. These guys aren't gonna write a protest song anytime soon, and it's not likely to move you to do anything but drive your car too fast, but I guess that's ok. (KM)

Satanic Surfers Fragments and Fractions Hopeless/Bad Taste • This album came out in 2001, but is now re-released as a U.S. version with two unreleased bonus track. These four Swedish fellows play strong, melodic punk rock with sincere vocals and lyrics that deal with both personal and socio/political topics. It's really solid stuff that will impress fans of such bands as Digger, NOFX and Pulley. (CM)

Scott Mosher Virtuality The Ambient Mind • This is quite the impressive recording, considering that Mosher played almost all instruments and did the singing. The back cover says to file this under "ambient neo-progressive cyber-rock." I'm not sure about the ambient, but I agree with everything else. I felt the influence of Yngwie Malmsteen and Rush, as well as Tangerine Dream if you can imagine. The Mosher designed cover art is worthy of a Yes album. There are plenty of keyboards, mostly playing repeating patterns that bring on a hypnotic feeling, and guitars playing energetic, driving riffs. (AL)

Seven Story Dividing By Zero Deep Elm • Before I can go very far I have to say I am love with the packaging for this release. The artwork and layout are really amazing. Seven Story (previously known as Seven Story Mountain) play with a kind of maturity, both musically and lyrically, that is kind of rare these days. There is sorta a hardcore feel combined with an indie rock flair, while that usually would create an emo sound, I think that Seven Story have smartly avoided that tag, creating something that is on whole different. (KM)

Shmoogie I Buried Snoopy Rodent Records • Indie rock can really be depressing sometimes. It's all these damn kids with their four tracks and their songs about ex-girlfriends, unrequited love, and general "woe is me" crap. Shmoogie ain't down with that. They aren't some cutesy, bouncy, indie pop band that'll make you pogo against your will either. These guys are the bastard, beer drinkin' child of Pavement and power pop. They've buried Snoopy, and God knows what they've done to the rest of the Peanuts gang. (CL)

Skiptrace Self-Titled Train Wreck Music • This six song E.P. is filled with high-energy guitar driven indie rock without a mainstream sound. The interchanges of music within theses songs are so smooth that the aggressiveness of there sound is almost harmless, the bands melodic focus sounds good with the harmonizing vocals. This disc was produced by Bill Janovitz of Buffalo Tom and John Agnello (Dinosaur Jr., Son Volt, Come). (JC)

Slight Return You Are Not Our Demographic Matlock Records • If you miss Braid, fret no longer music friends. Slight Return is a four-piece from Nova Scotia with an irresistible math-rock sound that will make you think of Braid as soon as you hear track two. While that song is strikingly similar, the rest of the album does journey into sounds less Braid-like, reminiscent at times of Modest Mouse and The Van Pelt. Slight Return delivers BIG returns on their debut full-length and it's not something you want to miss. (CM)

Sound the Alarm self-titled self-released • 2 song EP gives a small sampling of Florida band, Sound the Alarm. Typically emo-rock with keyboards and sincere potent vocals. The first song is great, and gives a good impression of what this band's sound is all about. The second song is acoustic kinda, and sounds more like an unfinished thought than anything else. All and all a good introduction to an up and comer. (KM)

Spacewalkers / Cynyc Iconoclast Orange Peal Records • Iconoclast is something of a rarity in electronica: a split CD. Spacewalkers present seven tracks of instrumental trance and house, ready for cutting up the dance floor. Cynyc is a bit more varied, with not just trance, but with downtempo, ambient and a bit of drum and bass. His vocals sound somewhat like David Gahan from Depeche Mode. (AL)

Spyndakit Ill Children Intelligent Records • Is there ANYONE who still thinks that mixing rap and rock is a good idea? Somebody tell Spyndakit they are about half a decade too late into the party. I'll describe their sound in four words: Limp Bizkit rip off. Actually, they are closer to hed p.e. than Limp Bizkit, but you get the idea. You know the drill, me and my crew are the best, blah, blah, blah. (AL)

Stephen Merritt Eban & Charley: Original Motion Picture Soundtrack Merge Records • After recording under many pseudonyms (The Magnetic Fields, The 6ths, Future Bible Heroes, Gothic Archies), Stephen Merritt recorded this film soundtrack under his own name. A lover of pop songs and experimentation, he combines his two passions to great effect. His singing is melancholic, sometimes accompanied by nothing more than a guitar, and his version of "O Tannenbaum" is downright depressing. (AL)

Strife Angermeans Victory Records • Strife is back, and to be honest I wasn't sure if I missed them really. With that in mind their recent offering of metal-hardcore grew on me after a few listens. A four year hiatus has left these guys with a few things on their minds that's for sure, and Angermeans is the voice of discontent if I have ever heard one. The old school can rejoice at the return of one of hardcore's legends, and the new kids, well let's just hope they are ready for this. Cypress Hill's Bobo does a guest percussion appearance, which I find to be strange, but kinda cool. (KM)

Sugarcult Start Static Ultimatum Music • This band is named after seven lesbians who at one time lived across the hall from the singer/guitarist back when the band was first formed. The music is a mix of power punk with punchy pop melodies about youthful boredom, discontent and a lot of revenge songs about girls. Don't be surprised to see a video from these guys someday as they are continuing the formula that has been used time and time again by other Green Day wannabes. (JC)

Tabula Rasa self-titled Oneday Savior • I swore when I put this CD in, that I was listening to the rebirth of Falling Forward. A sound that reconnects emo and hardcore and uses the best aspects of both genres to bring a powerful sound to your ears. At times a little too discordant and chaotic which is I think more the production than the band. This band could really find their ways into some people's hearts if given a chance. (KM)

The Anniversary Your Majesty Vagrant Records • If you enjoyed 1999's Designing a Nervous Breakdown, then I don't know what to tell you. It seems that The Anniversary were so happy with their success that they decided to change their sound. Out went the emo rhythms and soothing keys, and in came the gritty vocals and classic rock sound. I preferred them the other way, but I'm not the one in the band. (AL)

The Atari Star And Other Smaller, Brighter Worlds Johann's Face Records • The Atari Star's melodic pop is very welcome in today's dark musical landscape. Marc Ruvolo's singing is at times deep with emotion and at others whimsical and playful. They add some keyboards and other effects to the guitar-bass-drums combo, in a nod to 60's and 70's pop, as well as newer groups like Belle and Sebastian and Guided by Voices. (AL)

The Cancer Conspiracy The Audio Medium Big Wheel Recreation • Sometime in the year 2000, the members of The Cancer Conspiracy decided to leave behind their metal/hardcore beginnings and take on a less restrictive form, which includes math rock leanings and prog rock techniques, combined into nine tracks of instrumental prowess. There are similarities with the Fucking Champs and C Average as well as Don Caballero and Turing Machine. (AL)

The Cause Human Condition Ides of March • Fourteen minutes of hardcore with a metallic twist. It's all about attitude in this genre, and The Cause have it. There is a punk undercurrent to their songs, and the singer's style is a mixture of screams and pseudo rapping. For fans of AFI and Boy Sets Fire. (AL)

The Chase Theory ŠIn Pursuit of Excellence One Day Savior Recordings • Florida band The Chase Theory's third release is aptly titled, ŠIn Pursuit of Excellence. This recording has its moments where it really hits on something powerful, but the bigger picture is slightly off mark. If this band allows itself the ability to progress, it will be easy to look back on this CD and see it as a significant step forward. Pigeonholed as emo I am sure, TCT's style is refreshingly undeniable musically, lyrical vocals and driving but not demanding percussion and rhythm point to a band toeing the line to something really great. (KM)

The Couch Addiction/Yesterday's Ring split CD Dare to Care • The release of these two bands together on one disc from Montreal's Dare to Care was a good idea for the fact that they both lend something different to the table. TCA performs 6 tracks on this, an even blend of punk/ska/hardcore/ and reggae that is the genre du jour here. The second half of this album is a side-project from Hugo and Fred of the Sainte Catherines: 5 slices of warm and inviting acoustic music sung by a sandpaper-voiced punk vocalist. There. (JS)

The Crowd Punk Off Unity Squad Records • A lot is made in their promotional stuff about how old these guys are (they started playing in '78). They sound like they could pass for any pack of 23-year-old punkers. As innovators of the SoCal surf punk scene, these guys were there at the beginning and have a sound today that is as fresh as it ever was. Lively and fun, if these songs don't get you out of your seat, you must be strapped down. This is beach punk that would make the Beach Boys proud. (MK)

The Extra Glenns Martial Arts Weekend Absolutely Kosher Records • These two gentlemen (Franklin Bruno from Nothing Painted Blue and John Darnielle from The Mountain Goats) craft solid pop tunes with a jangly guitar sound and an occasionally quirky attitude. The vocals are sincere and the lyrics tell personal stories. Each tune is backed by heartfelt and creative instrumentation. This is a very strong pop record from two men who have proven themselves talented musicians in the past. (CM)

The Get Up Kids Eudora Vagrant • The Get Up Kids remain one of the top emo bands around and this album is a testament to their excellence. The 17 tracks on Eudora represent previously unreleased, rare and alternate tracks. This is a must have for fans of the band and a highly recommended pick for someone looking for melodic, heartfelt rock. Strewn amongst the original tunes are numerous cover songs including "Suffragette City" (David Bowie), "Close To Me" (The Cure), "Alec Eiffel" (The Pixies) and more. (CM)

The Good Life Black Out Saddle Creek • Cursive front man Tim Kasher needed an outlet for his more sentimental side, so he formed The Good Life some years ago. What started out as a solo project became a full band, and Black Out is their second release. With certain similarities to the Cure's Robert Smith, Kasher explores relationships and other hardships. Musically, they add bits and pieces of electronic effects, as well as vibraphone, cello and horns to the standard guitar, bass and drums. (AL)

The Jazz June The Boom, The Motion and the Music Initial Records • This re-issue was actually the 2nd release from emo-rock originators the Jazz June. If you are digging the sounds of today's indie-emo scene, then you need to go back and see where it all started out. This particular record is my favorite of the two reissues, and has the classic song "When The Drums Kick In." This record is really a must own record, which means of course you must go buy it or steal it from your ex-girlfriend/ boyfriend when they aren't looking. (KM)

The Jazz June They Love Those Who Make the Music Initial Records • I remember when this CD first came out and the name Jazz June was on everybody's lips. It was during this first wave of true emo music, as it had broken away from hardcore, bands like The Promise Ring and Texas is the Reason were hitting, and along with the Jazz June changing the ever evolving face of independent music. Initial records saw fit to re-release this recording so that we can all have the ability to go back and appreciate this brilliant record all over again. This was their debut and worth owning if you never bought it the first time around, or if you just missed out completely. (KM)

The Kent 3 Spells Burn Burn Burn • MF's really seem to dig this band wherever I read about them. Now I can finally throw my two cents in. Spells, like all subsequent K3 releases, has the insightful vocals of Viv Halogen as its strongest point as well as its nod to rockabilly, a bit of punk and some jangly-ass alt-rock. The better half of this release uses Viv's lyrics to the band's moody atmospherics in tracks like ŒCinema'. Also, as a selling point for you animal fetishists, there is a neat painting of a naked beaver-as-sailor on the back cover. (JS)

The Mr. T Experience ...And the Women Who Love Them - Special Addition Lookout • This is a great compilation of MTX stuff from 1992 to the present, the period just after their first reformation. It features material previously released on CD and 7", and a few new tracks. It's an excellent showcase of their super-fun, hooky bubblegum lovepunk, which in the opinion of this reviewer has always featured some of the most ingenious lyrics in the punk rock universe. (DP)

the pAper chAse cntrl-alt-delete-u Divot Records • The inner sleeve for cntrl-alt-delete-u says it is a commentary on how average humans have come to rely on technology, and how it has impacted our relationship with nature. You can sense the desperation in the vocals, and the melancholic tone in the songs. Think of Landspeedrecord! Or the Lynnfield Pioneers. (AL)

The Plan Only These Movements Remain Matlock • Damn this is good. These Canadians bring the rock with a style that is reminiscent of Fugazi or The Transmeggeti. The music moves and pulses in almost desperate motion, like the act of searching a burning house for a loved one or trying to pull a drowning man to shore. The other thing that strikes me is that the sound is complete, this is a band, not just some musicians playing their instruments together. The lyrics aren't sung so much as they are just falling where they may in the chaos of the rhythm and guitar. (KM)

The Planets High Off Life E.P. Red Sea Entertainment • This limited 3 track E.P. is the final tune-up for UK's Ayman Raze and Nomadic Tha Traveller before they release their first full length. The opening track "Tales of Woe" is up-tempo and features the voice of a 1950's era opera singer on the hook. "Stressed" is a little mellowed-out with a beat and turntable scratches reminiscent of DJ Premier. "High Off Life" is the standout song with a thumping beat and lines like "we inhale the world and exhale the life." (JC)

The Six Parts Seven Things Shaped in Passing Suicide Squeeze Records • It is hard to play instrumental music and not try to overcompensate for the lack of a singer with intricate songwriting. The Six Parts Seven are quite secure with their instruments, and are just as concerned with what they play as they are with what they don't. Things Shaped in Passing is mellow and spacey, with plenty of reverb on the lapsteel guitar that gives a melancholic feeling. (AL)

Tijuana Crime Scene Change of Venue Arise • Kind of a Kansas City All-star's band, featuring members of The New Amsterdams and The Get Up Kids. As moody as a jilted high school lover pacing desperately in front of the senior prom, Tijuana Crime Scene's sound fits someplace between Elliot Smith and a hard place, with keyboards and guitars creating thick and sometimes poppy melodies. Six songs, any of which could make your next break up mix-tape. (KM)

Topaz The Zone Velour Recordings • If you like Medeski Martin and Wood, but think their music is too slow, then you need to listen to The Zone. They specialize in pure soul-jazz, and are often confused for a jam-band. Not only is Topaz's tenor saxophone flawless, but Ethan White's manipulation of the Wurlitzer organ is worthy of Hancock comparisons. You won't remain seated for very long when listening to this CD. (AL)

Tristeza Mixed Signals Tiger Style Records • You would think it would be hard to remix a Tristeza song. They tend to write hypnotic instrumental songs with almost no electronics, but plenty of guitar string picking. Many artists felt up to the task, and this CD includes eleven remixes. More like interpretations, really. Styles range from the stuttery IDM of Randomnumber's version of "Building Peaks," to the ethereal ambient of ::lackluster's "Respira." If you have an open mind, and if you enjoy Jimmy Lavalle's Tristeza-meets-electronica side project The Album Leaf, then you will definitely like Mixed Signals. (AL)

UK Subs/ National Razor FDIC Gruesome Twosome Vol. 1 VMS • This split is a strange combo of old and new. Classic Brit-punk band the UK Subs offer up their still not stale rock-steady punk, while relative new-comers National Razor do it up Yank-style creating a split CD that works. If you like your punk in your face with bristles and spikes and a fuck you attitude then this CD should have you super-gluing your hair in no time. (KM)

Until the End Blood in the Ink Eulogy Recordings • Until the End is a straight edge hardcore quintet from South Florida that has been around for about two years. Their heavy guitar driven sound is only surpassed by Mean Pete's gritty, deep vocals. The lyrics are quite explicit, thrusting their point of view down your throat with the force of a battering ram. (AL)

Us vs. Them self-titled LittleFuryThings • When listening to this EP, I couldn't help thinking of Billy Mahonie and Don Caballero minus the complicated guitar picking. Us vs. Them play solid instrumental post-rock for driving fast. They keep the distortion in check, using only minimal amounts without diminishing the music's effect. (AL)

Various Artists A Compilation LittleFuryThings • This compilation of 16 tracks by eight different artists represents LittleFuryThings's diverse roster. Instrumental post-rock by Sparagmos, Us vs. Them and Interior is juxtaposed by the hip hop / spoken word of Cococainut and the braindance of DJV and Christian Science Minotaur. Also included is mellow indie rock by Astronaut Lost and Wave. (AL)

Various Artists Bringing It Home, Vol. 1 B.U.K.A. Entertainment • J. Sands and J. Rawls of Lone Catalysts went back to the stomping grounds of years past and put together a compilation of underground talent from the Pittsburgh, Columbus and Cincinnati areas. These 19 tracks of pure hip-hop contain production from the likes of Usef Dinero and Rashad who form flawless beats as they are joined by stinging rhyme deliveries from talents like BJ Digsby on "Surrender," where a godfather like horn section in the backdrop helps the track ride. Afaliah Afelyone holds her own on "In/Exhale" where she aggressively attacks the beat before chanting a short version of "Buffalo Soldier." Many other groups shine on this disc such as Rhul Ave., Destiny, The 3rd and S.P.I.R.I.T. (JC)

Various Artists Volume 1 • This Columbus, Ohio compilation features 21 tracks of rock sounds delivered from different angles - aggressively, acoustically, heavy, loud and in a mellower folk-like vibe. The disc flows well through the bands different styles and attitudes. Silo the Huskie, The Jive Turkeys, The Bygones, Tiara, The Velveteens and Jack Neat are a handful that stand out. (JC)

Various Artists Escape the Furnace Volumes 3 & 4 Blacklight Records • This double CD includes 30 tracks from 30 different artists of Industrial, Gothic, Darkwave, Ambient, Techno, Synth-Pop & Experimental Noise for more than two hours of music. If you are interested, you'd better hurry, because they are only making 1,000 of these puppies. (AL)

Various Artists Home Alive Compilation II: Flying Sidekick Broken • Home Alive is a non profit Seattle-based anti-violence project that offers affordable self-defense classes, provides public education and awareness, and leads local community organizing efforts. This album is a benefit for the organization and features some of the most socially conscious and active artists such as Amy Ray & The Butchies, The Need, The Pinkos, and The Black Halos. (DP)

Various Artists Honest Don's Dirty Dishes Honest Don's Records • If you enjoyed Honest Don's Greatest Shits, then you should get Honest Don's Dirty Dishes. It features 17 tracks from, among others, Chixdiggit!, Teen Idols, Fabulous Disaster, Dance Hall Crashers, and unreleased tracks from Limp, Squirtgun and Nerf Herder. Melodic punk rules at Honest Don's! (AL)

Various Artists Hopeless Records' 50th Release Hopeless Records • Well, the title says it all. This is Hopeless Records' 50th release, and to celebrate the occasion, they let the fans pick the songs on their website. Over 6000 people voted, and 39 songs were picked. I won't tell you who made it, but I will tell you that all the songs are from the first 49 releases on the label. (AL)

Various Artists Superrappin Mix-CD Groove Attack Records • Mixed by Kut-L and Adlib, this disc is a good collection of hip-hop from the underground, showcasing beats and lyrics and opening with the appropriate track "It's Only Right" by Grand Agent and Planet Asia. The selection of tracks are taken from the labels latest releases from artists such as Lone Catalysts, Phife Dawg, Cali Agents and Biz Markie; a few remixes are included as well. Beats are tight and the disc flows from front to back well, mainly because of multiple production tracks from DJ Hi Tek, Madlib, J. Rawls and Jay Dee (on "The Look Of Love Pt. 1"). (JC)

Various Artists Supreme Nocturnal Destruction Blacklight Records • Blacklight Records is a rising star in the industrial music genre, and that claim is backed up by this sampler. Torn Skin features mean guitar lines and create some of the more "traditional" industrial music. Fatal Blast Whip reminded me of Nitzer Ebb, with pulsating yet danceable beats, while Uniglory's female vocals and quick beats gave a different take on the style. Finally, Twit/ch and Blackhouse deal more with dark soundscapes than actual songs. (AL)

Various Artists Another Year on the Streets Vol. 2 Vagrant • The first incarnation of Another Year on the Streets was maybe one of the best comps I have ever heard, even the songs by the bands I didn't care for usually were good. Volume 2 falls a little short of that high bar, but still presents some really good music. Featuring some of the best and certainly most popular bands out right now, like Alkaline Trio, The Get-up Kids Saves the Day, Dashboard Confessional, Hey Mercedes, Face To Face and a host of others. (KM)

Victer Duplaix DJ Kicks !K7 Records • Victer Duplaix has collaborated with plenty of musicians, from Jazzanova and Incognito to Erykah Badu and Musiq Soulchild. The variety of styles he has worked with is reflected on DJ Kicks, a mix CD of neo-soul, hip hop, jazz and more, in the style of King Britt's Sylk 130 project, As One or Victor Davies's latest CD. (AL)

When Dreams Die My Proudest Invention to Date Ides of March • In My Proudest InventionŠ When Dreams Die showcases their ability to mix hardcore, noise and progressive rock with the impact of a bulldozer. The vocalist switches back and forth between emotional singing and guttural screams without missing a beat, while the rest of the band breaks down into free form musical disasters that leave you wondering what just happened. (AL)

Willard Grant Conspiracy & Telefunk Split E.P. Konkurrent • This is the 8th installment within the "In The Fishtank" series that offers space for expression and experimentation to invited bands, and was recorded in two days while the bands passed through Holland. Each band, one east coast band and one Dutch duo respectively, took time to choose a few traditional songs from the late 1800's and early 1900's to include on this six-song collaboration. The disc has a "warm, smooth n' tender sound" with music that combines banjo pickin' with a lazy stand up bass and deep male vocals alongside soft female vocals. This is a comfortably mellow E.P. but "Dig A Hole In The Meadow" really stands out. (JC)

Years Apart The Now Or Never self-released • Greensboro's Years Apart will remind you why it was you go see shows of bands you have never heard before. Sure you see a lot of really awful bands, but then one comes along to rock you and bring your faith back to you. That's how I felt when I saw these guys live, and this CD while lacking some production quality, brings their hard but still poppy punk sound out. These guys are brimming with talent that will do well as it matures. (KM)

Zonic Shockum Here Today... Stain • A female-fronted punk band from Philadelphia, ZS is now enjoying its thirteenth year of existence. This 6-song EP contains a powerful, appropriately discordant brand of hard sounds that sometimes reaches layering and subconscious probing of near-Floydian proportions. The sound has traces of the band's past, which had a much more of a loopy, techno sound in the earlier days, but they've incorporated some hard rocking into that since which has added some ass-kicking juice into the formula. (DP)


Imperial Element 12" I Exist Records • Epic and T.I.M.E. form this Atlanta duo of what they call positively progressive thinking man's hip-hop. "Make the best of what I got..." is spit on "Gotta Live" over a slammin' beat with horns in the backdrop, covered with thought-out lyrics and speedy wordplay. On the B-side is "Ominous," a track that digs deeper into the mind with more conscious lyrics and darker production style. (JC)

Peaches Set It Off 12" Kitty-Yo Records • Peaches has become somewhat of a household name in some circles, with plenty of producers salivating at the chance to remix one of her tracks. Here, three lucky musicians got their break. The title track gets the treatment from Tobi Neumann and DJ Assault, while Kid 606 closes things out with his take on "Fuck the Pain Away." Now Princess Superstar and Lil' Kim have some competition for dirtiest lyrical content! (AL)

Pitch Black self-titled 7" Cheetah's Records • Black is an appropriate term to help describe this band's sound. Heavy on the feedback and aggressive punk rock influences, this is quite a bit darker, though, than your standard punk. It features ex-members of the Nerve Agents, Big Rig, Screw 32 and Stressboy. There are only 300 of these hand screened, hand numbered, pitch black vinyl slabs available. (CM)

Raw Produce I Am Myself 12" Insomnia Records • Boston's duo of Cadence and Pitch are tearing it up on this two cut 12" (plus a bonus track). The title tune features Mr. Lif (also from Boston) and he definitely brings it. Everything on here is smooth as hell, with jazzy keys, funky basslines, cuts in just the right places and bumpin' beats that are sure to get heads bobbin'. (CM)

The Deathray Davies Without a Trace 7" Has Anyone Ever Told You? • The title track is straight up pop rock with a '60s feel and hooks galore. The flip side continues with the '60s influences, but a little slowed down, organ added and vocals more upfront. This six-member band (fronted by John Dufilho) from Texas is sure to brighten eyes and ears around the globe. (CM)

The Pre-Teens Mess 7" Cheetah's Records • With the first 300 on colored vinyl, you better grad this quickly. It features two female vocalists harmonizing beautifully over intricate power pop that's heavy on the melody. This release is not to be missed (they also have a CD). (CM)

This Computer Kills self-titled 7" Sedition Records • This Reno, NV three-piece throws punch after punch on this four-song vinyl release. The lyrics are personal, angst-filled and often angry. The music swells with each second, putting forth a heartfelt intensity that straddles the border between indie rock and hardcore. Besides the high quality of the music, I like the white vinyl and the excellent artwork. (CM)


Punk Broadcasting System Volume 1 Coldfront • Ah, the novelty of seeing all your favorite punk bands in short mini-movies. This collection is packed solid from start to finish with just about the best punk and hardcore out there. Refused, AFI, The Atari's, Movielife, MXPX, Horace Pinker, Snapcase, and the Descendants! Yeah this one comes highly recommended. (KM)

Blank Generation MVD • Classic footage from the earliest days of NYC punk combined with the songs that made them famous create a less then wonderful documentary. There was evidently no sound from the original film, so what you end up with is pictures of bands rocking out, and a medley of songs played over the top of it. On top of that, nothing is really noted to tell you who the bands areŠ sure we all recognize the Ramones and Blondie, but would you know Johnny Thunder if he came to dinner at your Mom's house? It is a good document, in terms of footage, but for anybody who didn't live through that era I am not sure it will help him or her to appreciate it for what it meant to all the music we listen to now. (KM)

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

An Albatross Eat Thunder, Shit Lightning Bloodlink Records • Even though this EP only has about 11 minutes of music for your CD player, it features over 45 minutes of concert footage as part of the enhanced portion. If youıve ever heard The Locust, you know what An Albatross is like: total chaos in songs that clock in under a minute. The closest they get to a genre is death metal or hardcore, but they throw in funky keyboards and switch styles a few times per song. (AL)

Azure Ray November Saddle Creek • Gorgeous female vocal harmonies and dark, moody acoustic music are the centerpiece of this duo. They create and sustain an elevation of the consciousness to a place of softness and peace. It's exceptionally dreamy, surreal, and very personal, and they employ instrumentation and percussion that gives the vocals an otherworldly feel. This 6-song EP contains five original songs and a cover. (DP)

Baba Mind Music Velour Records • This artistic project is full of top-notch lyrics that will resonate in the mind. Live musicians mixed with the studio sound pushes this New York emcee to great heights on spoken word tracks like "Why? (Part III)" and everyday thoughts on life with Pauly Ethnic and Invincible on "Blues Man." The Jazz touch alongside the hip-hop original beat box and b-boy flows is within the same realm of Tribe Called Quest and The Roots. The lyrical-delivery skill level varies at times but this project is well thought out and laid down. Baba shows love to pioneers such as KRS-One, Rakim and Guru on "X-perience" while repeating "experience teaches wisdom." "Cycles" and "The Moment" stand out on this release as well. (JC)

Desaparecidos Read Music/Speak Spanish Saddle Creek • Featuring Bright Eyes frontman Conor Oberst on vocals and guitar, one might expect an emotional sob-fest. But Desaparecidos ("disappeared" in English) presents the crunchy, harder side of Oberst. No less emotional, Read Music/Speak Spanish tears into socio/political tunes with an energetic intensity, plenty of feedback and no shortage of melody. Besides the drum-guitar-bass lineup, the addition of keys adds a new dimension to the sound. This is a really fantastic release because it takes advantage of Oberst's awesome vocal abilities while delivering the aggressive sound I was always craving from Bright Eyes. (CM)

Filthy Theiving Bastards A Melody Of Retreads and Broken Quills BYO • This is one of the best discs I have reviewed in years. A couple guys from the Swinging Udders, Me First and The Gimmie Gimmies and Camper Van Beethoven combine to make a wildly unexpected gem of a disc. This sounds like The Crash Test Dummies with a bit less of the artsy moodiness. Accordion, mandolin, violin, upright bass and more unexpected tastiness make this the disc you need to own. (MK)

Flanger Outer Space / Inner Space Ninja Tune Records • Like Squarepusher's dabbling with jazz fusion in Music is Rotted One Note, Flangerıs experimentation with Latin percussion and downtempo beats in Outer Space / Inner Space can be called nothing short of brilliant. Gathering musicians from Chile, Germany and Denmark, Burnt Friedman and Atom™ explore the relationship between the outer space of sounds emitted by instruments, and the inner space of the computers used to process those sounds. The presence of these machines, evidenced by the recurrence of clipped beats and other cut and paste techniques, is incorporated with the warm flow of the live instruments, maintaining the balance between the two sonic places. (AL)

Mates of State Our Constant Concern Polyvinyl • This album will brighten any day. It is one of the most fantastic, uplifting and lovely albums I've heard in a long time. Dueling vocals ring out over poppy drumbeats while keyboard rhythms pulsate. Kori Gardner and Jason Hammel make a great couple - the two are married -- with an infallible ability to craft pop masterpieces. And while being just a two-piece might handcuff other groups, it is what makes Mates of State so damn good -- the complex simplicity of each song is unmatched by any other pop artist. Each tune is is dripping with emotional sincerity and a heartfelt intensity. Irresistible, I swear. (CM)

Pipedown Enemies of Progress A-F Records • Punk to me was always more about politics and less about broken hearts, and Enemies of Progress is as politically powerful as it gets. With a sound that is a strong armed twisting of Bad Religion and Refused, Pipedown bring so much passion and power that I am almost wondering how they fit it all on the disk. From the first song on, Pipedown has you searching desperately for a brick and a target for all those repressed feelings. I can't think of a better time for a band like Pipedown with the given climate of the nation. So put on a black armband and buy this damn record. (KM)

Remembering Never Suffocates My Words to You One Day Savior Recordings • This is quite a versatile band. In just seven songs they traverse multiple metallic genres that share one thing: anger. Though they could probably be considered a hardcore band, I'll be damned if "Paving the Way to Hell One Stone at a Time" isn't black metal. "Words" has a bit of punk and progressive metal in there. The fact that Pete Kowalsky can follow the meanest screams with rather good harmonies is impressive. Keep your eyes out for these guys. (AL)

Slowride As I Survive The Suicide Bomber Deep Elm • Pounding out powerful punk anthems is something Slowride is quite good at. All 11 tracks on this debut full-length album are fantastic. Each tune is loaded with melodies and plenty of hooks, reminiscent at times of such greats as Green Day, Jawbreaker and Jets to Brazil. The vocals are rough, raw and heartfelt and they sit perfectly on top of the emotionally-charged musical assault. Get your blood flowing, your heart pounding and your ears tingling 'cause thereıs not one damn thing "slow" about Slowride. (CM)

The Lawrence Arms Apathy and Exhaustion Fat Wreck • We get a lot of CDs, but there are always those groups that I get super-amped about when I see a new release. You can put The Lawrence Arms at the top of that list. Ever since Jawbreaker broke up (and didn't satisfy my punk rock needs with Jets to Brazil), this Chicago trio has filled that void. Vocal duties are split between Brendan (gravely voice and the more "punk" and often socio/political lyrics) and Chris (more emo vocal stylings and "cheesier," romantic lyrics). Both approaches are amazing in their own right. Musically, The Lawrence Arms have sounds akin to old Jawbreaker, Pegboy, Crimpshrine and Alkaline Trio. This release gets an early jump on best punk album of 2002. (CM)

Various Artists Definitive Jux Presents II DefJux • If you are a fan of hip-hop (that does not include such whack crap as Jay-Z, Busta Rhymes or Mystikal), this is a must have. Consider this a bible of the new school of real hip-hop, where experimentation is king and intelligent lyrics flow like champagne at a New Year's Eve party. Definitive Jux (headed by former Company Flow frontman El-P) has a crew of hip-hop artists that is unmatched by any label around. This release showcases exactly why DefJux is where it's at for hip-hop that breaks boundaries. Names to watch out for: Aesop Rock, Cannibal Ox, Mr. Lif, MURS; I could go on, but Iıll just trust you'll spin this CD as soon as possible. (CM)

XIII PFP Words Left Unsaid self-released • As I write this review, I am downloading some free tracks these guys have on their website. They teased me with their three song EP and I had to go get more. This is a metalcore band who is not afraid to experimentŠwith horns. It actually works, because they are not trying to be a ska-core band. They have more of an unsettling effect, like in a suspense movie. The lead singer has a voice similar to the guy from the Locust, except that he sings here and there, amid his high pitched screams. (AL)

In alphabetical order. Please write them.

!K7 Records, 425 West 15th Street, Suite 2R, New York, NY 10011
23 Records, 118 Trafalgar St. Sheffield, S1 4JT
Absolutely Kosher, 1412 10th Street, Berkeley, CA 94710
A-F Records, PO Box 71266, Pittsburgh, PA 15213
Allegory, PMB 228, 11024 Montgomery NE, Albq., NM 87111-3962
Alveran Records, PO Box 10 01 52, D-44701 Bochum, Germany
Arborvitae Records, PO Box 857, Champaign, IL 61824
Arise Records, PO Box 45, Shelbyville, KY 40066
Astralwerks, 104 W. 29th St., New York, NY 10001
B.U.K.A. Entertainment, 352 Scott Lane, Venetia, PA, 15367
Big Dada, c/o Ninja Tune, PO Box 4296, London, SE11 4WW, UK
Big Wheel Recreation, 325 Huntington #24, Boston, MA 02115
Blacklight Records, PO Box 6552, Kokomo, IN 46904-6552
Bloodlink Records, 4434 Ludlow Street, Philadelphia, PA 19104
Broken Records, PO Box 460402, San Francisco, CA 94146
Brownie Points, PO Box 214625, S. Daytona Beach, FL 32121
Burn Burn Burn, 1111 E Madison PMB 287 Seattle, WA 98122
BYO Records, PO Box 67609 Los Angeles, CA 90067
Cargo Music, Inc., 4901-906 Morena Blvd., San Diego, CA 92117-3432
Caulfield Records, PO Box 84323, Lincoln, NE 68501
Cheetahıs Records, PO Box 4442, Berkeley, CA 94704
Chumpire, PO Box 680, Conneaut Lake, PA 16316-0680
Coldfront Records, PO Box 8345, Berkeley, CA 94707, PO Box 10276, Columbus, Ohio, 43201
Cryin Blue Wine, PO Box 455, Poway, CA 92074
Dare to Care, 2273 de Champlain Montreal, Quebec H2L 2T1 CANADA
Deep Elm Records, PO Box 36939 Charlotte, NC 28236
DefJux, 199 Lafayette St. #3B, NY, NY 10012
Disc Lexia Records, 00001707 33rd Ave., San Francisco, CA 94122
Divot Records, PO Box 14601, Chicago, IL 60614
Does Everyone Stare?, PO Box 35004, Edmonton, Alberta T5K 2R8
Dog Fingers Recordings, PO Box 2433, San Antonio, TX 78298
Double Zero, PO Box 7122, Algonquin, IL 60102
Edel Entertainment, 79 5th Ave., 16th Floor, NY, NY 10003
Eighteenth St., 1210 18th Street NW, Ste. 200B, Washington, DC 20036
Empty Records, PO Box 12034, Seattle, WA 98102
Epitaph Records, 2798 Sunset Blvd., Los Angeles, CA 90026
Eulogy Recordings, PO Box 8692, Coral Springs, FL 33075
Fat Wreck Chords, PO Box 193690, San Francisco, CA 94119
Fearless Records, 13772 Golden West 545, Westminster, CA 92683
G-7, PO Box 27006, 360 Main St. Concourse, Winnipeg, MB, R3C 4T3
Gratitude, 8433 N Olympia St., Portland, OR 97203
Gravity Willing, 6777 Sueno Road, Goleta, CA 93117
Groove Attack, Schanzenstr, 36, Gbd. 31, 51063 Cologne, Germany
Has Anyone Ever Told You?, PO Box 161702, Austin, TX 787161702
Honest Donıs, PO Box 192027, San Francisco, CA 94119-2027
Hopeless Records, PO Box 7495, Van Nuys, CA 91409-7495
Hydra Head Records, PO Box 990248, Boston, MA 02199
Hydrahead, PO Box 14624, Chicago, IL 60614
I Exist Records, 3650 Ashford Dunwoody Rd. #5-F, Atlanta, GA 30319
Ides of March, PO Box 722, Wappingers Falls, NY 12590-0722
Initial Records, PO Box 17131, Louisville, KY 40217
Intelligent Records, 203 Washington St., #102, Salem, MA 01970-6500
Jade Tree, 2310 Kennwynn Rd., Wilmington, DE 19810
Johannıs Face Records, PO Box 479164, Chicago, IL 60647
K Records, PO Box 7154, Olympia, WA 98507
Kimone, 14 Duval St. #1, Brighton, MA 02135
Kitty-Yo Int., Greifswalder Straße 29, 10405 Berlin, Germany
Konkurrent, PO Box 14598 1001 LB Amsterdam, NL
LandSpeed Records, 39 Broad Street, Quincy, MA 02169
LittleFuryThings, 71 Sherman Street, 2nd Floor, Brooklyn, NY 11218
Lookout Records, 3264 Adeline St, Berkeley, CA 94703
Mainframe Theory, 416 South 23rd Ave., Hattiesburg, MS 39401
Matlock Records, PO Box 649, Peter Stuyvesant Station, New York, NY 10009
Merge Records, PO Box 1235, Chapel Hill, NC 27514
Motel Records, 210 East 49th Street, New York, NY 10017
Mush Records, 1742 Laurel Canyon Blvd, Los Angeles, CA 90046
MVD, PO Box 280, Oaks, PA 19456
Neutron Records / Edel Ent., 79 Fifth Ave, 16th Floor, NY, NY 10003
Ninja Tune Records, PO Box 4296, London, SE11 4XX, UK
One Day Savior Recordings, PO Box 372, Williston Park, NY 11596
Oneday Savior, PO Box 372, Williston Park, NY 11596
Orange Peal Records, PO Box 15207, Fremont, CA 94539
Polyvinyl, PO Box 1885, Danville, IL 61834-1885
Radiation 4, PO Box 1417, Bellflower, CA 90707-1417
Red Sea Entertainment, PO Box 30436, London NW6 7FR
Rephlex Records, PO Box 2676, London, N11 1AZ, England
Resurrection A.D., PO Box 763 Red Bank, NJ 07701
Roam Records, 3539 27th Place W. #116, Seatlle, WA 98199
Rodent Records, 250 Napoleon St., #D, San Francisco, CA 94124
Saddle Creek, PO Box 8554, Omaha, NE 68108-0554
Sedition Records, PO Box 18921, Denver, CO 80218-0921
Sessions Records, 15 Janis Way Scotts Valley, CA 95066
Simulcast Records, PO Box 703463, Dallas, TX 75370
Smilex Records, PO Box 3662, Los Angeles, CA 90078
Sound the Alarm, 2769 Chaddsford Cir. #203, Oviedo, Fl 32765
Southern Records, PO Box 577375, Chicago, IL 60657
Stain, PO Box 2501, Philadelphia, PA 19147
Suicide Squeeze Records, PO Box 80511, Seattle, WA 98108
Superrappin, 535 W. 34th Street, Suite M2, NY, NY 10001
The Ambient Mind, 1510 Quail Ridge Rd., Suite I, Raleigh, NC 27609
Tiger Style, 149 Wooster St. 4th Floor, New York, NY 10012
Train Wreck Music, 2007 Buchanan St., Apt. #4, San Fran, CA 94115
Truckstop Audio, 2255 S. Michigan, Suite 4W, Chicago, IL 60616
Ultimatum Music, 8723 W. Washington Blvd., Culver City, CA 90232
Undecided Records, 10695 Lake Oak Way Boca Raton, FL 33498
Unity Squad Records, Box 1235, Huntington Beach, CA 92647
Vagrant Records, PMB 361, 2118 Wilshire Blvd., Santa Monica, CA 90403
Velour Recordings, Inc., 28 Warren Street, 2nd Floor, NY, NY 10007
Victory Records, 346 N. Justine St., Suite 504, Chicago, IL 60607
Vital Cog, PO Box 7846, Princeton, NJ 08543
VMS Records, 100 E 23rd St., Baltimore, MD 21218
Wave Music, 244 W 54th Street, Suite 800, New York, NY 10019
Years Apart, PO Box 77715, Greensboro, NC 27417

Music reviews from past issues: