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Jun./Jul. '02 Articles:

Cruelty Under
the Big Top!

for Sale

Notes from the Cultural Wasteland

The Muddlemarch: 1

The Muddlemarch: 2

Another Oil War?

The Last Taboo

Lone Star Nation?

The K Chronicles

(music reviews)

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CD reviews

31 KnotsA Word Is Also A Picture Of A Word54°40' or Fight! • Though they don't care for the comparison, the sounds on this disc are a mix of 70's rock and Sonic Youth. Catchy indie-rock intensity keeps this release floating with emotionally edgy lyrics (scratchy vocals) and a pulsating bass and drum sound that carry the distorted guitar. The disc moves in a sometimes frantic, sometimes mellow mood evident early in the disc and in tracks "Era Of Artillery" and "Frozen Found Fire." (JC)

A Death for Every SinIn A Time Where Hope Is Lost Alveran Records • From Montreal hails A Death for Every Sin, ready to kick you ass into submission. Coarse, partially muffled vocals and chugga-chugga guitars give them a bit of an old school feel at times, but these guys are keeping their eyes on the future of hardcore. (AL)

A Study in HerDialogic Honest in Secret Records • Unique and dreamy electro-pop with attention deficit disorder. The music in Dialogic alternates between soothing and ethereal atmospheres, to erratic, hyperkinetic drumming. Costas Nakassis and Tamara Black share the microphone duties, in a style that sometimes reminded me of Seely. (AL)

Action SlacksNever Never Shake, Baby Post-Parlo Records • The first two tracks on this E.P. are previously unreleased indie rock tunes that jam out with Billy Joe Armstrong like vocals. The remix of "Shining Jewels" from the bands third album The Scene's Out of Sight features J. Robbins on guitar with a more mellow, acoustic sound. A live version of "I Hope This Makes It Easier For You" recorded in San Francisco is not good quality, but the cover of Gary Myrick and the Figures song "She Talks In Stereo" is a combination of new wave and rock with muffled vocals and sounds fresh. (JC)

AlohaSugar Polyvinyl Record Co. • When I heard Aloha's first album, That's Your Fire, I was impressed by how much was added to the music by using a vibraphone to augment their indie sound. Their follow up, Sugar, is no different. Countless time signature changes and jazzy tendencies make their lush sound powerful, yet poppy at the same time. (AL)

ArizingWomb Medea Records • Arizing is the first CD I've heard this round that fits into the POD (minus the God stuff), AAF thing. I like this. They sound more like Sponge at times, then they get a little Bizkit-ish. It's all the rage, kids! (SH)

Armchair MartianArmchair Martian My Records • They're back! I got my first whiff of AM a year or two ago. I had opened my box of CD's to review, saw theirs and almost used it for a coaster. The CD sleeve looked like someone made it in a car with crayons. I was blown away when I threw it in. So, today I'm not as surprised at what I'm hearing. This is a really great disc, better than their first. This one has slicker production, but not too slick, and the sound is bigger. They play some crunchy pop, like Barenaked Ladies but crunchier. They've even twanged it up a bit on this release. I highly recommend this to anyone. (SH)

ArsonLacerate the Sky Resurrection A.D. Records • This New Jersey quintet takes metalcore to a whole new level on Lacerate the Sky. Razorblade vocals tear through the lyrics, leaving a trail of blood behind. Metal riffs that rumble in the low end, then pierce your eardrums with high-end licks. You may not survive. (AL)

AtomsplitMicrostar Shut Eye Records • This Atlanta outfit will remind you of Sloan and Jimmy Eat World. They are definitely on the scene and need just a few breaks before they hit the airwaves. Folks in the south should start hearing them very soon. They're buzzing on college campuses already. Get on the bandwagon! (SH)

AtreyuSuicide Notes and Butterfly Kisses Victory Records • The first track on Atreuy's debut disc, "A Song For Optimists," has a mean, guttural vocal for the main verses, then switches to a two part harmony for the chorus. All this under metalcore riffs. I found myself thinking of Iron Maiden and Slayer while listening to some of their guitar work. (AL)

Audio KarateSpace Camp Kung Fu • With a name like Audio Karate, I don't think any of us were expecting sophisticated songs about rocket science, so don't let the title fool you. This is more camp and less space for sure. Straightforward pop punk, that's feel-good and catchy. Lyrically as challenging as beating a 5-year-old at scrabble, there is a teen heartbreak angst thing going on here that maybe I'm just too jaded for. (KM)

Beyond the EmbraceAgainst the Elements Metal Blade Records • Long live Iron Maiden!!! I say this because Beyond the Embrace agrees with me. Not to say they are a copycat of the rulers of 1980's New Wave of British Heavy Metal, but they seem to have incorporated the dual guitar attack that Maiden was so famous for. Everything else about their sound is pretty original, from thrash to melodic death metal (that's right!). Hell, there's even some flamenco inspired guitars on one track. These guys don't just play metal...these songs have arrangements. Oh, and they kick ass too. (AL)

BloodletThree Humid Nights in the Cypress Trees Victory • After a number of years of hiatus, Bloodlet is back. The forever evolving sound that once revolutionized the face of hardcore with its evil-core edge, takes yet another evolutionary twist. Musically this is some of the best stuff they have put out, although lacking some of the "epicness" of the last few releases, it makes up for that with sheer brutal force. Singing, instead of the harshly perfect screaming, is a little different and I wasn't convinced I would like it, but it grew on me. I can't say I love the singing concept, but it's really the only weakness in the sound. (KM)

Blowback • Track III String Break Records • Serious politically inspired music that will have you starting your own revolution. There is an almost tenable sense of tension in these songs. They are urgent. They demand to be listened to. The downside is that there should be more thought to musicianship. This would be even more powerful if the songs were better. They serve their purpose, but it could be better. (MK)

Blue Collar Revenge TheorySelf-titled Throw BRYCC Records • Aggressive punk rock with a metal edge is found within these tracks that are powerful, fluent and full of high energy. Vocals are brutal and cover the fragile lyrics with disguise. The band stresses individuality and winning one for the underdog. A portion of proceeds from this disc will help benefit a cultural center in Louisville, Ky. and show what directing anger in the right direction can do for people. This disc comes packaged with a thick booklet with lyrics and thorough info on the band. (JC)

Blue Sky GoodbyeDemo Self-released • As demo's go, this one is definitely pretty good. Emo, with some punk things going on. Not sure where these guys will end up, but this gives some good indications that with time, dedication, and energy they could make some good noise in the future. (KM)

Burd EarlyMagnet Mountain Western Vinyl • This CD with its electronic folk Americana feel reminds me a lot of new Mighty Flashlight record. It's actually a little bit better. It has its roots deep in the folk concepts, with bits of country, folk, and blues music. Still the addition of electric drumbeats makes it a bit avant-garde. It's a very well together creative experience. (KM)

BurnLast Great Sea EP Revelation Records • Money from this release is being donated to Amnesty International. That, alone, makes it a worthwhile purchase. The bonus is that this is some amazing music. Burn burst out of the late '80s hardcore scene with the intense Chaka Harris (later in Orange 9mm) on vocals (plus a cast of musicians who later played in such bands as Quicksand and Die 116). This three song EP is their 1992 demo that was never released. While the material is 10 years old, the sound is as current as can be. Heavy guitars create thick, moving melodies that are buoyed by socio/political lyrics. This release gets under your skin and makes your whole body groove along with it. (CM)

CalliopeBraille Thick Records • Calliope is back with more soothing, atmospheric pop. Braille is their most accessible work to date, with psychedelic elements and space-rock attitude. Sultry, smooth vocals are layered over lush guitars and non-threatening rhythms, with electronic effects adding to the mood. In one word, dreamy. (AL)

CamberWake Up and Be Happy Deep Elm • Oh wow, yeah not so good. The boring, quiet, indie guitar parts are the high point, the rest of it just makes you shake your head and wonder why this ever had to happen. Vocally challenged, lyrically confusing. I'm surprised Deep Elm would waste catalog space on a release like this. (KM)

CelebritySelf-Titled OneDaySavior • From the beginning this CD brings a big sound. The sort of epicness found in a few post-punk bands, perhaps a hybrid of Errortype: 11 and the Foo Fighters. The vocals come off as something that could easily be found in the 80's new wave genre. While listenable and creative, it's nothing that's going to sweep you off your feet on the first listen, but still there is something there. (KM)

CrybabyNo Means Yes EP Two Sheds Music • Swirling rock with a dark feel is buoyed by powerful, dramatic female vocals that really take the listener for a ride. Each track feels more heartfelt then the one prior and, while it's only a five-song EP, it's a powerful and complete release. While the vocals will probably get the most attention, the music deserves credit for being creatively and intricately orchestrated. This band has only been around for only a year or so, but they're already proving they deserve musical respect. (CM)

Curl Up And DieUnfortunately We're Not Robots Revelation Records • When Converge's Jane Doe came out a few months ago, I was blown away by the intensity and diversity on the record. I had the same reaction with this record. A metalcore flurry of guitar riffs, so complex as to seem random at times, and a voice that could shatter glass. I heard licks that could only come from years of listening to Slayer, Iron Maiden, and Neurosis. (AL)

D.S.P.In The Red Ninja Tune • Jonny Cuba and the Loop Professor are long-time contributors to South London's hip hop scene and have mixed a strong formula of emcees from the U.K. and U.S. on this release. Beats work well because the evident influences of DJ Premier and Pete Rock are utilized and contribute to the smooth transitions from track to track. Mass Influence, Juice Aleem and Chill Rob G are vets from the last disc that are joined by newcomers Apathy, Def Tex and Phi-Life. (JC)

DaedelusInvention Plug Research Records • I suspect this is the type of music that would seduce a cyborg. Live instruments conspire with thrown-in breakbeats and hip-hop beats to create the cyber-romantic mood. A computer printer buzzes to the beat. Elements of glichtronica pepper the tracks. at first sound. (AL)

Dark Day DawningNothing That I Would Give Resurrection A.D. • Hardcore and its many sub-genre's most powerful trait is it's ability to really show emotion, to wear your heart on your sleeve, to scream your feelings, and to make something beautiful out of it. This Philly band captures that almost perfectly. 10 songs that tell it not so much like it is, but how it feels. A little screamy, a whole lot of hard, this one goes straight for the heart and the throat. (KM)

Dawncore / Darkest HourWhere Hero's Go To Die Join The Team Player • Well the fact that the Darkest Hour song on this disc is amazing is no surprise. The surprise is Hungary's Dawncore. The song on this split will pound your head and sending you searching the Internet for more than just this one song. The Darkest Hour song is really amazing actually, maybe even one of the best tracks I have ever heard from them. Fans of hardcore metal should track this split down ASAP. (KM)

DeNunzioAuditory Crash Course HEJ Music • These guys have potential, but I don't think that it is fully realized here. The songs are well done, but it seems like they are searching for their style and they never quite hit it. The tunes are good, as far as they go, but they should go further. It is certainly worth a listen and I suspect that future endeavors will prove more cohesive. (MK)

Dillinger FourSituationist Comedy Fat Wreck Chords • No one sounds like D4. They are a breed of punk rock all their own. Their style hinges on fast-tempo, aggressive punk rock and the most amazing tempo changes you've ever heard. Vocally, the duties are handled mostly by Eric, who has a harmonic voice that isn't too in-your-face. Billy, the other vocalist, is the opposite, with gruff vocals that come at you. D4 plays punk rock fast and furious. And all the while it pounds on with immense intensity, there's still plenty of melody to really absorb the listener. (CM)

DiscountSingles #1 New American Dream • Band's come and go, its inevitable. You just don't realize how much you miss then until they put out retrospective collections like this group of singles. Then you wish you were back in the front row feeling they power of the band that won't ever exist again. So it's bittersweet for sure. This collection of earlier obscure releases reminds me of when I first got to know these guys (well and girl) in the sweaty Florida venues of the early 90's. Another volume will be released at the end of the summer to complete the trip down memory lane. (KM)

Don LennonDowntown Secretly Canadian • Imagine having the crap you have to deal with being a musician whose last name is Lennon. To the best of my knowledge, Don is not a direct descendent of the first dead Beatle, but he does write some witty, intelligent pop songs. Like Wesley Willis, Don makes reference to many pop culture figures and other musicians, particularly Dave Mathews. The similarities with Wesley end right about there, as Lennon has much more in common with Jonathan Richman than everyone's favorite mentally disturbed novelty act. Hey, Julian, wherever you are, this is what you should be doing. (CL)

Dora FloodWelcome Dora Flood Records • This spaced-out trip of British-bred indie pop rock is upbeat with music sounds of 1970's Bowie during the Ziggy Stardust days. Sounds slightly push inside that high-speed guitar tempo change that eases right back to wear it started. Nothing harmful, it blends just right. Vocals are Oasis-like, but more popish and carry in a high tone over instruments that are meshed well by each band member. "Go In Tonight" and "Eraser" sound good and also showcase the strong lyrics of emotions within. (JC)

DropsonicBelle 54°40' or Fight! • It's the return of the Classic Rock. Led Zeppelin reborn in a 21st Century band, fused with modern elements and plenty of indie rock goodness. This Atlanta three-piece plays driving rock tunes that move at a quick, energized pace, the kind that gets your legs bouncing in rhythm as your head bobs back and forth. There are some tripped out elements to their sound that are akin of Radiohead or Ours. This is a strong album from a band that's been doing its thing since 1996. (CM)

Dulcineaself-titled Subpar Records • With male/female vocals and a load of catchy pop type hooks, this is really a pretty cool disc. It is nice to say that I cannot readily compare it to hundreds of others. It defies classification to some extent. Firmly rooted in pop rock, this is not your standard radio-vomit. The grooves and beats are infectious and you will like this disc. (MK)

DwindleExpectance Acceptance Guilt Ridden Pop • The only problem with having your record produced by J. Robbins is that you have to deal with the inevitable comparisons to Robbins' bands, the legendary Jawbox and Burning Airlines. Dwindle, have no fear, you stand up quite well on your own merits. I could have produced your record and it still would have been quite good. This is some damn good indie rock. (CL)

Early Day MinersLet Us Garlands Bring Secretly Canadian • Slow-core, sad-core, call it what you will, but the Early Day Miners do it quite well. Like Low with richer, fuller sounds and instrumentation, Early Day Miners sculpt with sounds. They have an almost orchestral quality about them, with violins and cellos working seamlessly within a traditional guitar-bass-drums lineup. Their music also evokes memories of My Bloody Valentine's more ethereal moments. This is an excellent album of beautifully and meticulously crafted music. (CL)

Ed Hale and The TranscendenceRise and Shine TMG Records • This is a 5-piece outfit out of Miami. They play alternative/modern tunes (they call it "planet music"), throwing in all sorts of sounds. Ed has a different sound to his voice, harking back to Bowie and Reed. They sound like the Barenaked Ladies sometimes, other times they get a little trippy. Give it a try. (SH)

Eddie the RatFood For The Moon Too Soon Entartete Kunst • This is not your usual aural experience. Recorded live in March of last year, these nine tracks blend into each other with into one long track of experimental music. It's really a collection of musicians, rather than a band, because at times it seems like each is doing his/her own thing. Which is all part of the idea. For adventurous types only. (AL)

EngineSuperholic Metal Blade • If you need something to make you drive fast, this is the perfect album. Engine is an agro-metal four-piece that combines heavy guitars, pounding drums, strong melodies and smooth vocals to create infectious and intense music. This band could be playing on your local "hard rock" station in no time. They have "that" sound and do it better than a lot of the other bands getting airplay. Think Metallica meets Living Color meets P.O.D. (CM)

Fall SilentDrunken Violence Revelation • Looking at the CD, I didn't really want to like this latest release form Revelation Records at all. The artwork turned off even my pretty tolerant mind, and I'm not even religious. Reading up on them didn't really help, when their own label makes them sound like guys you would never want to know. With all of that in mind, the CD hit the player and didn't leave it for weeks I swear. The only thing that really matters is that these guys have a great, original fucking sound that is brilliant, talented, and creative. This is the musical equivalent of a slap in the face of every stale boring band pandering to the underground masses these days, and I have to applaud it completely. (KM)

FavezFrom Lausanne, Switzerland Doghouse Records • Producer John Agnello has instilled a more versatile approach within this rock band, combining the mellowness of their last album with a tougher sound that has the music moving in many directions. After taking in the screaming guitars and vocals and falling into the lyrics you get a feeling the whole outlook changes. Strong stories run wild throughout this disc (lines like "if you could tell me stories, hell, I'd even go for lies...") with raw power and tempo changes the whole album sounds complete. (JC)

Flipping HadesTell Peaches Lula Called Derailleur Records • Hey, suburbia! You know that band that plays in the garage next door until 4am?! This is them! Flipping Hades has that "thrown together at the last minute" pop-punk sound. They're like They Might Be Giants but more reckless. (SH)

FrictionHours of Operation: Discography 1991-1994 2xCD Polyvinyl Recording Co. • Friction was a band that far too few people were exposed to when they were active. Most people who know of Bob Nanna (drums/vocals), know of him for his time with Braid and now Hey Mercedes. But before those two bands, Bob was kickin' it in Friction, one of the best indie bands ever to come out of Chicago. When this release arrived, my jaw dropped. Then it completely fell off when I saw this was a double-CD. Every song the band recorded (32 in all) is on here, including unreleased material. If you're a fan of Friction's past material, this is a must. But for those unfamiliar, Friction was on the cusp of the emo-indie scene, creating songs that are unmistakably their own but with a sound that is reminiscent of such bands as Jawbreaker and Fuel (the cool Cali band from years ago, not the new crappy one that's on the radio). Bob's vocals are absolutely amazing and the skill Friction displays in tune after tune is a tribute to what a three-piece can do. The packaging for this CD is also great ­ featuring tons of photos, all the lyrics and amazing liner notes that really draw you into what Friction was all about. (CM)

From Monument to Massesself-titled Dim Mak Records • Post punk is alive and well in From Monument to Masses's self-titled debut. Fans of Don Caballero will appreciate the intricate guitar string picking, which is augmented by sporadic spoken word samples that are political in nature. Some songs are extremely hypnotic, others intensely powerful. (AL)

Girls Against BoysYou Can't Fight What You Can't See Jade Tree • The perennial GVSB is back with a new release that will rock you to the fucking moon and bounce you into the stars. The driving fuzz-tone guitars will make you think you found a soundtrack to fit your life at last. Not as experimental as the last release, this one gets back to all the things that make GVSB one of the best around. (KM)

Go For The ThroatHere and Now Uprising Records • 24 songs in just over 21 minutes. These are really short, really angry hardcore tunes. Good stuff. It does not all sound the same as so frequently happens when you have less than 60 seconds to develop a song. This is hardcore as it was intended. Fast, furious and unrelenting. (MK)

GonzalesPresidential Suite Kitty-Yo International • Only Chilly Gonzales could get away with lumping scathing hip-hop tracks with Barry Manilow inspired ballads and European café accordion music in one disc. This, plus much more is what "Presidential Suite" is all about. Of course, most songs feature his infectious rapping style, but those that don't will capture your attention as well. I dare you not to bob your head to "Take Me To Broadway." (AL)

Helen ZachariahDriving Through the Back of My Mind NDN • Zachariah possesses a great multifaceted vocal talent that fully explores its versatility on this fine piece of work. There is mostly a positive life-affirming message that is at the heart of the album, and some pieces that are an exploration of darkness, but in terms of style, she's all over the map. She definitely doesn't belong in the "sunny pop chick" category. (DP)

Holding PatternSmall M Manifesto Matlock Records • Holding Pattern reminded me of the Mercury Program, but without the vibraphone. These eight instrumental tracks are for the most part non-intrusive, perfect as background music while doing other things. The band's original sound, which included keyboards and vocals, is not missed. (AL)

Hopeless Dregs of HumanityRevolutionary Rock Apocalypse Ever Reviled Records • New Jersey is a better place as long as The Dregs are around. Opening with a crowd rousing sing-a-long, "It's Time to Rock", this three-piece punkcore outfit goes on a 35-minute assault of your ears and your mind. Tracks such as "Let's Bomb the Shit Out of Our Problem" and "Officer Friendly" are rebellious (what on here isn't?), sarcastic and downright infectious. The same can be said for much of this thirteen-track album that focuses on such topics as oil wars, school shootings, revolution and wealth. The Dregs, musically, combine elements of such great '80s punk bands as the Dead Kennedys, Angry Samoans, Circle Jerks and DRI. This is snotty and smart with enough melody to satisfy even pop punk fans. (CM)

Hot Hot HeatScenes One Through Thirteen Ohev Records • Scenes One Though Thirteen is a compilation of Hot Hot Heat's songs that have appeared on 7" releases and various compilations. Their guitarless synth pop is quite aggressive, like a revved up the Faint. The sound is centered around Steve Bay's unusual keyboards and Matthew Marnik's strained vocals. (AL)

I, RobotEt Cetera Immigrant Sun • I don't even know what to say. Wow is a good start. Whoa might come soon after. Screamo and quiet. Caustic and abrasive and then gentle. Ten studio tracks, five live tracks and a whole lot of hell raising, ear splitting, heart breaking noise going on. Track 6 and track 2 will blow you away. Another band that just proves the Immigrant Sun stable has some of the best horses around. (KM)

Jim FixThe Neverending Road to Forever Jim Fix • Hailing from the basketball and musical hotbed of Bloomington, Indiana, Jim Fix kicks serious some buttocks with this six song EP. From the opener "The Rules Are Changing" to the instrumental closing of "It's Called the Fast Lane for a Reason", Jim Fix rarely lets off the gas pedal. Their intense, driving songs are emotional without being whiny and pathetic. Fans of energetic, powerful indie rock will love this "neverending road". (CL)

J-LiveAll Of The Above Coup d'Etat Entertainment LLC • To understand how he did it, first you must know where he's comin' from. J-Live takes you there with live instruments and beats that intersect with his creative, storytelling lyrics. While riding the samples and production of DJ Spinna, Usef Dinero, Jazzy Jeff's Touch of Jazz and his own, so much is offered here. This emcee took full advantage of every minute of disc space, many tracks stand out and this is a solid release with a feel good vibe and originality (think Roots, Tribe). "One For The Griot" is a multiple 'choose your own ending' saga about a one-nighter with a bartender that will surely cause a few laughs. Then "Stir of Echoes" takes it back in a L.L., Run DMC kind of way (before echoing the tracks last verse). "Traveling Music" best sums up the purpose of his journey through being overlooked for years while staying underground, deeply layered lyrics track many an experience. With plenty to let out, J-Live spits the soul out of himself. (JC)

Joel Tuttleself-titled GloomyTunes • Joel's folksy approach is balanced well with the lo-fi production and semi-spacey overall feel. These are indie-folk tunes for those seeking creative music that speaks to the listener. Vocally, he reminds me of an older-sounding Adam Duritz (Counting Crows). This is Sunday afternoon, sit on the back deck with a beer and a bowl, chill out and take in your surroundings music. (CM)

John VandersliceLife And Death Of An American Fourtracker Barsuk Records • The atmosphere on this release is hard to put into a musical category. Following up his much talked about concept album with yet another amazing concept album; this time about a boy obsessed with producing home recordings; J.V. explores loneliness, troubled life, love and death. The music pulls in many directions with uncertainty but keeps a core center that serves as the experimental purpose, which is great stories and accompanied music. Multiple harmonic vocal styles are fused with different drumbeats, acoustics, bass, cello, violin, trumpets and more which are all melted into an electronic delivery. This disc is best served from beginning to end as lyrics stand out and blend well with the sonic sounds in tracks like "Fiend In A Cloud," "Nikki Oh Nikki" and "Me And My 424" where he sings "It's not really four tracks/cause you can add and subtract/unlimited the sky above you/and me..." (JC)

JoshuaSinging To Your Subconscious Immigrant Sun • Named for everyone's favorite book in the Old Testament, Joshua is an indie rock quartet from Orange County, New York. Their music is reminiscent of the post-punk DC sound with a healthy dose of melodic, melancholy pop mixed in for good measure. Aptly titled, Singing To Your Subconscious grows on you with repeated listens. (CL)

Killswitch EngageAlive or Just Breathing Roadrunner Records • Another beautiful treatise of anger and ferocity from Roadrunner. If they are on this label, you can bet that it is kick-ass music. Killswitch Engage combines metal and hardcore in a seamless blend that never slows down and never disappoints. This is about as fierce as music can get without losing the sense that you are listening to music. (MK)

Laymen TermsSince Last December Soda Jerk • The first thing that hit was the vocal style is really good and original for the emo genre. Kind of sung and spoken, where the words sort of fall off the tongue comfortably. Sort of like a pop punk band with a Discord sound, meaning its got some pop too it, but its so much more intelligent. This one comes with a strong recommendation. (KM)

Logan's LossRiot Like EP Sinister Label • I really like this. They are a punk quartet who has a sound familiar enough to be comfortable, yet different enough to be interesting. They combine strong songwriting with obvious talent. I'd really like to hear a full length by these guys. They have enough catchy hooks to keep me going longer than this EP can provide. It left me wanting more, which is a good thing. (MK)

Lo-LiteSidekick Slovenly Records • Hmmmm...oh man, this isn't going to be easy. I can't think of anyone to compare this band to. They sound at times like the Stray Cats, then they sound like a Brit-pop band and then they start playing Rockabilly. One thing is for sure: it's fun! And it's entertaining! And if they come in concert you should definitely go. Hearing this live has got to be a blast. (SH)

Lollipop Lust KillMy So Called Knife Artemis Records • I have to admit, I got a little giddy when I saw a CD from the Artemis label in my box. Artemis has been putting out some really good metal lately and LLK has not disappointed. They sound at times like Cold, then Tool, then Powerman 5000, then Sevendust. And they're just as good as any of them. Hell, I'll recommend solely on this quote from the band: "We could wear freaky costumes and be all scary looking, but scary people in the real world look like you and me." Take THAT Slipknot! (SH)

Lone CatalystsThe Catalysts Files B.U.K.A. Entertainment • These guys have been at it since the mid-to-late 90's and this collection of previously released and unreleased material is a good introduction to anyone not familiar with the beats of J. Rawls and the lyrics of J. Sands. Smoothed-out drum kicks with a string and key arrangement form the backdrop for the rhymes found within. "Unity" starts the show with messages of positivity, but the disc really picks up midway through with tracks like "Politix (remix)," "So Clear" and "Ways Of The World." This disc, based on hip-hop reality, includes appearances by J-Live, Rashad, P.A. Flex, Grap Luva and Asheru. (JC)

LTJ BukemProducer 05 Good Looking Records • Take a trip back in time with LTJ Bukem as he unearths some of his musical creations for the first time ever. Some of these songs are more than ten years old! He also offers his interpretation of Herbie Hancock's "The Essence" and the theme song to James Bond films. Any Bukem fan will want to go out and get this right away. (AL)

Malachi ConstantZenith Guilt Ridden Pop • A solid landscape of indie rock is effortlessly displayed by these guys out of Minnesota. They don't take themselves too seriously while fusing together such raw sounds. Focus here is heavy on percussion and simply jamming out through 10-tracks while experimenting with their approach. Mostly instrumentals, the layout of tracks on this disc make for an up and down ride. (JC)

Master Controlself-titled High Speed Athena Records • For their second album, Master Control dropped the guitars and any other acoustic instruments and concentrated on making music on machines. The result is a highly futuristic, robot-voice filled album. Synths abound, and the beats are mellow, except for the electro tracks. You can tell this record was made in someone's basement, which adds to its charm. (AL)

MatthewEverybody Down Rykodisc • This Chicago four-piece plays straight-ahead power pop that is hyper-melodic, very tight and sure to get under your skin (be that good or bad). Their style isn't revolutionary but they're good at playing solid tunes that have enough energy to not be poppy and enough melody to make them poppy. What it comes down to is Matthew plays rock that is radio-ready and emotionally charged; it's indie rock that could easily go major (again, be that good or bad). (Little side note: The green jewel case all Rykodisc releases come in is actually a "registered trademark of Rykodisc." Weird.) (CM)

MaydayOld Blood Saddle Creek • I'm not quite sure what's going on here, but I think its art or something. Hell it's pretty good. It's a little sappy, a little quiet, and a lot indie with a little bit of rural jangle. It will alienate many I am sure, but if you like dive bars, thrift stores, bad haircuts and liking the next obscure sound I'm sure this is the shit. (KM)

MelvinsHostile Ambient Takeover Ipecac Recordings • These guys have released 18 albums throughout their career and they haven't toned down the weirdness one bit. The title of the album is quite adequate, since some songs are as hostile as any Melvins song gets, and at others, waves of guitars and so-slow drums will have you hypnotized. (AL)

MetropolitanDown For You Is You Crank Automotive • This trio out of Washington D.C. fuse the sounds of the Velvet Underground, Sonic Youth and Pavement to put together an album of mostly sonic-pop material. The hooks are catchy overtop tight instruments that feature piercing percussion and accompanied sounds of basic bass and lead guitars. "Girl From Montpelier," "You Want It" and "Wet Cigarette" stand out on this disc produced by Chad Clark who has worked with Fugazi, Dismemberment Plan and Beauty Pill. (JC)

Miguel MigsNude Tempo One Naked Music • Nude Tempo One is the first in a soon-to-be-classic series of deep house mix CDs, put together by popular DJs. This one is compiled by San Francisco's Miguel Migs, who carefully selected tracks by Blue Six, Lisa Shaw, Onda, Fusion Groove and others, to ensure you will not miss a beat. (AL)

MiloSmell the Parade • Smell the Parade is the latest creation of lo-fi mad scientist Milo. Milo covers a wide variety of styles on this home-recorded collection. From the alt-country, Willie Nelson-esque "Open Minds, Open Sores" to the lo-fi punk of "Mirko's Car" to the psuedo-swing of "Love Chained", you're never quite sure what to expect next. Fans of Ween's early, Scotchguard-induced material will dig Smell the Parade. (CL)

MischiefHubble Bubble NDN Records • I don't know how many of our young fans are going to like this but if your dad used to rock out, buy this for him for Father's Day. These three cats have been around for a long time, rocking in bands like The Damned and UFO. This reminds me of a stripped-down Cult. It's very catchy and tight. You can tell these dudes are pros. (SH)

MoneenThe Theory Of Harmonial Value Smallman Records • At times intense, other times melodic, the aggressive percussion and guitar sound is said to be a powerful reflection of their high-energy live shows. The fusion of indie/emo, classical and jazz influences (tracks like "Half Empty? Half Full? I Never Got A Glass To Start With") are blended by anguished vocals and a strong rock sound. Oh yeah, and the song titles are only a glimpse into the lyrics within. For example, the hidden track is a theory of numbers (or Harmonial Value) written in the early 1900's by Dr. Loslo Pronowski and is broken down in a mind bending lecture-like journey. (JC)

Mr. LifEmergency Rations Definitive Jux • The intro sets the stage for this up-to-date political and straightforward hip hop release from the label that has been continuously putting out top-notch product since it's inception. Controversy is abounding within this disc as it centers on (you decide - fact or fiction) the disappearance of Lif himself due to the outward approach he takes against the majority opinion. The comedy behind it shines at the end of track 3 and the full force is felt in the track "Phantom." Lines like "here's what your history books won't show, you're a dead man for fuckin' with American dough" give an idea of what to expect as a stance is taken against censorship and the new surge in U.S. attempts at violating citizens civil liberties. The drum heavy beats keep things up-tempo for this emcee that formerly made music on Grand Royal Records and will grab the attention of many ears this time around. (JC)

MU330Ultra Panic  Asian Man Records • With their 7th full length, Mu330 shows no sign of slowing down or running out of good tunes. Here is a 16-song bevy of delicious SKA. With the addition of Chaz Boyd from the Blue Meanies, MU330 is able to further develop their already wonderful sound. Classic SKA that never disappoints. (MK)

Nagisa Ni TeFeel Jagjaguwar • This is an impossibly gentle band that is on the "vanguard of the burgeoning psych-avant-folk movement" in Japan. There are some fantastic surprises emerging from the gentle sound; once in a while a piercing electric guitar of Floydian proportions will wail from beneath the surface. The album's vocals are entirely Japanese, and are a perfect match for the mostly soothing backgrounds that invoke a running stream in the mind. (DP)

Next Best ThingThose That Time Takes Amendment • Ten songs of straight up 90's style hardcore emo. The sound is stripped down in a good way, leaving a raw fleshy sort of sound that conveys the emotions perfectly. I thought of bands like Outspoken when I heard it the first time. The vocals are powerful as a hurricane both during the screams and the vocal breakdowns when some good screamers loose some of their power. The Next Best Thing has the potential to be the next big thing in the hardcore scene. (KM)

Nik FreitasHere's Laughing At You Future Farmer • If I was a movie reviewer and this were a movie, I'd be giving a solid 2 thumbs down. The good thing is luckily it's not a movie, and I won't have to survive this for 2 hours, these 11 tracks that last a little over half an hour were torturous enough. Sort of a deranged and lost Beatles sound, but for the most part this is sort of it's own original kind of bad. (KM)

NillahThe Power of Pop Shut Eye • This band just plain has it. They've got the perfect ingredients for straightforward, simplistic music. With vocals reminiscent of a Go-Go's/Cranberries hybrid, and ringing guitars playing clear as a bell in the background, this trio whales out a great assortment of eleven pop rock songs that more than live up to the album's title. It's the kind of sugarcoated joyride that everyone should take once in a while. (DP)

No Use For a NameHard Rock Bottom Fat Wreck Chords • One of the most well known bands in the punk world is back to continue their domination of the world. The songs vary widely from fast punk driving tunes to slow sad songs to play for chicks when you want to get laid. The amazing part is that whatever style they choose, it is well done. This is one you should add to your collection. (MK)

NOFX45 or 46 Songs That Weren't Good Enough to Go On Our Other Records Fat Wreck Chords • A sort of garage sale of rare finds and "priced to move junque." With an album title like that, you should know what to expect: some good gems, some surprises, some laughs in the NOFX style, and some real stinkers. A necessity for the NOFX faithful, but the charm will be lost on the uninitiated. (KM)

Noise RatchetTill We Have Faces The Militia Group • Son, why don't you reach down there in my tool box and pick me out one of them there Noise Ratchets? Till We Have Faces is the first full-length from this San Diego quintet that's honed its sound in clubs up and down the California coast. Their aggressive, melodic style is reminiscent of bands like Sunny Day Real Estate. Noise Ratchet's hard work has paid off in an impressive and catchy album. (CL)

Noodle MuffinMagnum Dopus Fyoog State Records • You may first take it as a joke, then you realize it's a pretty damn good one at that. Early on the third track "Backwardz Masking Korruptz Kidz" goes on about drinking a six-pack, snorting cocaine and sending his kid out to get more. The kicker comes in track 13 when the song is played backwards and you get the real intended "subliminal" message of positivity like not being a communist and listening to your parents. The sarcastic lyrics are laid on top of retro synth sounds accompanied by the guitars and drums of the five-member band. Many music genres are poked fun at from Spanish and country to hip-hop. With titles like "The Old Crone," "Wilford Brimley Smoked My Fatty," "Strollin' With My Bitch" and "Penis Envy," not much ground is uncharted. They also do a cover of "You Fucked Up" by Ween and is one of the 8 hidden songs (spread out through 26 tracks). This disc is way out in left field and a damn good break from the norm. (JC)

North of AmericaThe Sepultura Level Plane • I could be blunt and just come out and say it: I fucking love this! It has the raw power and musical talent that you search the stacks of CDs for. A sound that will bring some of the Discord catalog to mind, with swirling guitar sounds. Vocals coming at you from all sides in screams, shouts, and harmony. A rhythm section that never lets things get too far out of hand. A brilliant and ironic band name on top of it all, these Canadians are worth checking out. (KM)

O.A.R.Any Time Now 2xCD Everfine Records • File this under radio-ready rock that is reminiscent of Counting Crows and Barenaked Ladies. It's the mid-tempo kind of pop rock that a live audience really digs. And this double CD release is the perfect experience since it's all live. It's more than two hours of the band performing its hybrid sound that melds pop, ska, reggae, soul and roots rock into a unique and tight package. (CM)

On the Might of PrincesWhere You Are and Where You Want to Be Traffic Violation Records • Originally released on Creep Records in 2000, this album captures the raw emotion this band is capable of. Even though some of their songs are slow and melodic, they are much better at screaming emocore/hardcore tunes that will floor you with their intensity. (AL)

One Nation Underself-titled Alveran Records • Every hardcore band wants to be the heaviest and hardest. One Nation Under certainly belongs in the top ten. Mike English attacks the microphone with a voice most death metal acts would kill for. Two guitars, courtesy of Rich Thurston and Jon Willwerth, trade riffs with unparalleled intensity, while Jason Kleinschmidt rips the low end with his bass. Finally, Robbie Wright's machinegun drumming never misses an opportunity to kick you in the rib cage. (AL)

OnedaeGemini's Curse Mystic Gift Creations • This emcee blends poetry and philosophy on this progressive hip-hop release based on the astrological sign of the Gemini. The pictures painted by the thought-provoking lyrics are like a battle between good and evil. The dark journey begins with a trippy, static-like in-n-out beat on "Horizon Child" while a female vocal arrangement recites "you can choose your own destiny" before Onedae begins to spit in dramatic fashion. There is some serious drama within these diary-like lyrics over spaced out, mood-swing production by The Neurologists and The Bronx Monx. The various styles mesh hip-hop with spoken word, guitar and drum & bass in tracks like "Empiracism" and "Gemini's Curse" - which is the last track and a long farewell. (JC)

OnelinedrawingVisitor Jade Tree • I'm not sure if I can explain how I love New End Original and Far so much but never really enjoy Jonah's Onelinedrawing. It's always good, but just missing something. I meet every release with great anticipation, and then just never quite love it. I'm left with that "so average" feeling. It's a very ok CD, but with what you know Jonah has and can do, you can't help but wish for more. (KM)

Peace OrchestraReset !K7 Records • Peter Kruder's Peace Orchestra project gets the remix treatment from plenty of big name artists like Trüby Trio, Zero dB, Beanfield, DJ DSL, Kosma, and others. There is a highly danceable groove going on here, so get going and get this album. (AL)

PepperKona Town Volcom Entertainment • If this is the vibe that exists in Hawaii, I'm moving. Kona residents Pepper is chock-full of reggae and rock rhythms, perfect for getting in the mood for a surfing session. They call their style "Kona dub rock," and it is reminiscent of Sublime. (AL)

Pitch Blackself-titled Revelation Records • These four Oakland guys play a spooky brand of power punk that is both melodic and dark. They've been around for nearly three years, developing their unique style and sound. It's a hard-to-resist blend of skate punk, hardcore and pop punk that is kicked up a notch by their penchant for the scary. Sometimes they remind me of the mid-'80s Seattle band The Accused ­ but Pitch Black aren't quite as thrashy and definitely have a catchier sound. Maybe it's just that love for the dark and dead. (CM)

PlaidP-Brane EP Warp Records • Plaid is, in my opinion, one of the most accessible electronic groups out there. They have this uncanny ability to blend complicated and sometimes erratic beat patterns with beautiful and playful sounds. No song is either too mushy or too aggressive. The four tracks on this EP are no exception. Also included is the video for "Eyen," the lead single from the Double Figure album. (AL)

Pop UnknownThe August Division Sessions Records • These guys won't be unknown for too long if they keep churning out hook-laden, radio ready tunes like this. Pop Unknown has a powerful presence and energy in their songs that most bands have trouble capturing in the studio. "Alternative radio", as if there is another kind of rock radio nowadays, should eat this up. (CL)

Prefuse 73The '92 vs. '02 Collection EP Warp Records • Four songs to tie you over until Prefuse 73 puts out another CD, probably next year. These songs have the quirky short playful sounds of Mouse on Mars and the glitchy, experimental sound of Autechre except for the final song, "Love You Bring," which is more of a jazzy hip-hop number with out the cut up vocal style Prefuse 73 is known for. (AL)

Pretty Girls Make GravesGood Health Lookout! • The comparison to Bikini Kill is obvious, well, too obvious. PGMG's sound is really something fresh. They flirt with comparisons and genres without really falling into one. Andrea Zollo's vocals are flawless, and whichever person is backing her up really compliments the sound. This CD is very listenable for those who love female-fronted punk as well as people who simply dig a band that rocks. (KM)

Q Not UOn Play Patterns EP Dischord • If your personal ad was to read "Desperately seeking new favorite band, fresh sounds and good live performances a must" then the new two-song EP from Q Not U is your dream date. Creative without obscure alienation and the right mix of everything good. (KM)

Radarself-titled Dim Mak Records • Radar's debut is a political stream-of-consciousness record. The 21 minute opening track, "? part 1," changes tempo a few times, and is largely instrumental. "Dear Freedom" could have been written by the (International) Noise Conspiracy. They can be as slow and quiet as Godspeed You Black Emperor, as loud as the Delta 72 and as weird as Blonde Redhead. (AL)

Radar BrothersAnd The Surrounding Mountains Merge Records • Full of mood and substance, this disc is reminiscent of the first time those 'listen to Pink Floyd and stare at the wall' days started happening. It's easy to get lost within the slow, morbid and dreary feel of the music. This disc grows to become comfortably subtle, dreamy and mysterious. Solid production is what carries this disc, which is best during times of solitude. (JC)

Reaching QuietIn the Shadow of the Living Room Mush Records • Reaching Quiet is why? and odd nosdam, 2/3 of the experimental hip-hop group cLOUDDEAD. A good description of this album is how every track feels like a compilation of hidden tracks from other records. It's very stream of consciousness, where many songs lack a beginning or end. Hip-hop shows up here and there, but this is not a hip-hop record. (AL)

RJD2Dead Ringer Definitive Jux Recordings • Hip-hop producer RJD2 is not interested in showboating his skills with incessant scratching, opting instead to let the whole of his tracks do the talking. Mostly mellow, his beats sound like live instruments, rather than canned. Like DJ Shadow, he samples obscure recordings to create a unique feel. (AL)

Satanic SurfersUnconsciously Confined Hopeless • If you hear the word punk and think of Mtv and Blink 182, it's time to set your sights a little higher with this new release from Sweden's Satanic Surfers. A nice punk, uptempo, poppy feel and still some great political and personal lyrics that show some teeth. Maybe a little poppier than past releases, it still has a good edge to it. (KM)

ScratchThe Embodiment of Instrumentation Ropeadope • The human turntablist is ready to launch his solo flava for your ears. Well, sort of. Yeah, Scratch (of the crew The Roots) is the mind behind all the music, but he is also joined by a star-studded cast including Black Thought and Malik B (both from The Roots), soulful singer Jill Scott and some nice underground cats such as Schoolz of Thought (Scratch's old crew). What makes Scratch unique is his ability to vocally mimic a turntable scratching and his fluid beatbox skills. Scratch says about his quest for these abilities, "I wanted to sound convincing, so people would hear me and be like 'where the DJ at?'" He has succeeded. You will ask yourself that question on numerous cuts. The album flows like a river from hard-edged hip-hop to rhythmatically soothing soul (yeah, I made that word up). (CM)

Selby TigersThe Curse of the Selby Tigers Hopeless Records • My immediate thought was B-52's when I heard this. They say they draw from bands like Devo and late 70's punk. I can see that as well. If you're into that sound, the Tigers will get your tail (sorry). They can definitely hold their own, having played with bands like The Donnas, Scared of Chaka and Rocket From The Crypt. (SH)

SemiautomaticResident Genius 5 Rue Christine Records • Semiautomatic comfortably straddles the line between synth-pop and punk, experimenting with both genres until neither stands out. Smooth keyboard lines and modified electronic instruments clash with distortioned beats and angry vocals, similar to the Faint, but harsher and more electronic. (AL)

Sex Sex SexLike Crows on the Slaughterhouse Fence NDN Records • There are 13 songs on this disc with an additional 10 bonus tracks. This is self-proclaimed destructo-punk and I see no reason to argue. They cover a G.G. Allin tune and generally rip shit up. This is fast music with unrelenting drive. (MK)

Short RoundLanguage Asian Man • I can see this CD creeping it's way into my regular rotation in the coming months. It's unassuming and nothing that strikes you immediately, but it grows on you slowly till you find yourself wishing you wish you knew enough of the words to sing along. Sort of a melodic power pop punk thing, with a good sound that fits a sunny afternoon. (KM)

Simon StokesHonky Upper Cut Records • "Honky?!" Can he say that?! White people are going to be PISSED! OK...Simon is a guy for all you Neil Young and Bob Seger fans. He plays good old-fashioned rock and blues. I'm sure he's shut down plenty a bar and drank everyone in it right under the table. (SH)

Sixty Stories/Painted ThinDifferent Places to Sit/A Loveless Kiss Smallman • To explain: Sixty Stories is featured here with seven songs, along with 5 unreleased songs by "Painted Thin," the previous incarnation of the band. The current one is a three-piece that creates songs built around synthesizer samples, which create a melodic backdrop for some powerful guitar work. These are incisive and passionate songs, driving extremely hard without losing its focus on melody. (DP)

Smackin' IsaiahThe Champagne of Bands: We Know Sexy Fork In Hand • Boston's Smackin' Isaiah have built up a mild rep, and this newest release will add to the myth for sure. If you were to have a party and lock members of Hot Water Music and As Friends Rust (newest incarnation) in a room with good punk records and lots of beer, they might create a band that sounds a lot like this. Equal amounts of punk and rock, and all good. (KM)

Soundtrack MindElementary School Talent Show Shut Eye Records • It's funny; before I knew these guys were from Athens, I thought to myself, "These guys sound like Athens college rock." Take that how you wish. They're solid and tight and deliver melodic pop tunes with a good bit of jangle and catchy choruses. It's not innovative, but it's a good representation of the genre and 10 tracks of tunes that will enhance any lazy afternoon. (CM)

SpokaneAble Bodies Jagjaguwar • The music on this disc is very mellow, delicate and lonesome. These 7-tracks were inspired in part through a car wreck involving the band which prompted emotions along the lines of fortune and misfortune. In essence, the vibe within this release feels as though time is standing still, or slowly ticking away. t times comforting and beautiful, the mesmerizing sounds (including cello, violin and vibraphone) come off dark and dreary just the same. The whole disc is good and recommended during times of solitude. (JC)

Steroid MaximusEctopia Ipecac Recordings • Only a man who records under countless names (Manorexia, Baby Zizanie, Clint Ruin, and most notably, Foetus) would record an album that goes in so many directions. The first track sounds like a horror movie soundtrack. This shifts into a 1970's spy thriller set in Brazil. Throw in some blaxploitation, a little funk and soul, and retro-futuristic electronics, and you've got Ectopia. (AL)

Swearing at MotoristsThis Flag Signals Goodbye Secretly Canadian • Another in a long line of great Dayton, Ohio bands, Swearing at Motorists carries on the tradition of lo-fi, songwriting genius of bands like Guided by Voices. But while lyrically GBV seems to write about anything wandering through Bob Pollard's mind, Swearing at Motorists are painfully grounded in the reality of everyday existence. The duo, whose music consists of guitar, drums, and vocals, has a remarkably full sound (much like early Spinanes) that adds to the weight and power of the lyrics. (CL)

Sweep the Leg JohnnyGoing Down Swingin' Southern Records • Back with their fourth album, Sweep the Leg Johnny pile on the layers of complicated guitar and drum patterns, wacky saxophone and dual voice singing that makes them weird enough to be on Southern Records. Is math rock still cool? You bet it is. (AL)

Tapping the Veinself-titled single Revolution Entertainment • If Gwen Stefani and Cindy Lauper merged into one body and started a synth/industrial/goth band, Tapping the Vein would be it. These two songs (and one remix) reveal Heather Thompson as a capable vocalist with a wide range of emotions. Musically, the rest of the band is just as versatile, with heavy industrialized guitars in "The Ledge," and a sinister pop feel in "Sugar Falls." (AL)

TaylaProducer 04 Good Looking Records • Even though Producer 04 starts out with some smooth house music, it morphs into drum and bass territory for a couple of tracks. Then it changes pace again, laying down some downtempo grooves. The one thing all tracks have in common is the use of lush atmospheres that draw you in. Awesome for headphone listening. (AL)

The Art GhettoBroadcast Trocar Records • Heavy on the jangle, this one-man show is mostly a collection of varied rock tunes that are both quirky and often experimental. It's fairly lo-fi material, which works. The sound is at times melodic and other times noisy with plenty of guitar feedback. This is definitely an entertaining release from a musician who is both skilled and passionate. (CM)

The BellRaysIn the Light of the Sun In Music We Trust • Time for a soul injection. And the BellRays have the necessary medicine. This LA four-piece belts out soulful rock and roll that will make your ass shake and your body quake. Lisa Kekaula delivers vocals that are undeniably strong, backed by solid, rocking instrumentation. These guys have opened for everyone from The Muffs to Public Enemy. This release is a re-issue of their first album (originally self-released on cassette in 1993), re-mastered and released on CD for the first time. (CM)

The BreakSelf-Titled Doghouse • It seems that the major indie labels are digging and searching desperately for the next radio friendly band. Doghouse has found that with The Break. Straight up rock and roll, with only slight hints of a sound that might connect this band to punk, hardcore, or emo. It's not entirely horrible, it's actually a really good disc. You just get the impression that this band is going to be all over rock radio tomorrow, so why should I like them today. (KM)

The BrockmeyersPaul, the Album. Fudge Sickill Records/Hewhocorrupts • This Chicago-area trio originally formed in 1996, called it quits and is now back again. They play super melodic punk rock that combines elements of other Chicago bands such as the Smoking Popes, Alkaline Trio and Lawrence Arms. There are 14 tracks on this fun-filled album, each bound to make you want to dance like a crazy monkey. (CM)

The CapsulesReverser Urinine Records • Julie Shields has a beautiful, playful voice. It has a soothing quality that has the power to make you feel better, no matter the situation. Accompanying her are Jason Shields and Kevin Trevino, whose bass and drumming compliments her guitar playing to create simple pop songs with a swirling, melodic sound. (AL)

The Casket LotterySurvival is for Cowards Second Nature Recordings • Nathan Ellis and Stacy Hilt make up two thirds of the Casket Lottery, and both played in Coalesce before that. They wanted to explore more melodic avenues. With Nathan Richardson on drums, the group was born. They can be mellow ("Since You"), aggressive ("Sick"), or both ("Getting By"), but have a decidedly indie sound. (AL)

The Cinematic OrchestraEvery Day Ninja Tune Records • J. Swinscoe is the brains behind The Cinematic Orchestra, recording the other band members playing their instruments, then resampling and resequencing the recording. What they achieve is nothing short of excellent, blending jazz, soul and funk with the downtempo / chill out genre. Occasional vocals by Fontella Bass and Roots Manuva add a human touch to the tracks. (AL)

The CodeAlert Aware Involved A-F Records • A little Bad Religion, a little Op Ivy, a little Good Riddance and there you have a very formulaic punk band. Take the hooks that worked before, and don't diverge too much and you have something that sounds good but limited. Lyrically they are in the right place with some great songs, songs with some purpose, but you won't get past the stale punk rock sound to notice. (KM)

The ConnectionExtended Play GS4 Productions • This band sounds a lot like a band called Athaneum. Most of the time anyway. The singer for EP sounds like a cross between Athaneum's singer and the dude from Bad Religion. They sound like an unplugged version of The Strokes. (SH)

The DecalsDrive By Kiss Off Fork In Hand Records • Yeah! Chick Punk! I love it even if they are vaguely frightening. This is hard driving rock like yer mom would make if yer mom rocked. Ten songs that start with a bang and keep banging all the way through. These gals are angry and they let it show. This is a really great disc if you can imagine The Go-Go's making a disc with Motorhead.  (MK)

The Ex-PresidentsFallen Working Class Off Axis Studios • This is for fans of Slipknot, Mushroomhead and 24/7 Spyz (minus horns). Those bands are maybe not really comparable, but The Ex-Presidents don't sound the same song after song. They stay pretty planted in hardcore but they also get a little Bad Brains on you every once in a while. Of course, then on "Johnny Unite-Us" they get plain weird. (SH)

The Fantômas Melvins Big BandMillennium Monsterwork Ipecac Recordings • Combine Fantômas's amalgamation of death metal and unintelligible vocal sounds with the Melvins post-punk power and you get this once in a lifetime recording. Both bands got together to perform live on New Year's 2000, and recorded it. If you've never heard either of these bands, you might be put off initially by the chaos. Give it a chance, though, and soon you'll be a fan. (AL)

The Get Up KidsOn A Wire Vagrant Records • I'll preface this by saying this is a solid release. But this doesn't really strike me as a solid Get Up Kids release. I know, bands change, "mature," develop. But I was happy with the punchy emo-rock that this Kansas City outfit had been producing since 1994. Their sound has definitely changed over time, but this is the most drastic change to date. Gone is the punk element. In is a Midwestern (sometimes country-ish) sound that is at times jangly and very poppy. The vocals are still what you expect, heartfelt and all Matt Pryor. But I really loved the energy and drive of previous releases and that just isn't here. It reminds me of the trend in indie music now, ala Jets to Brazil ­ "new school" indie rock that is a bit country, which is always too much country for my liking. (CM)

The Grand PrixxDrive Me Crazy Fork In Hand Records • 15 songs in 21 minutes. This is fast pop-type punk for people with very short attention spans. The music is rooted in that pop-punk genre, but is generally a bit faster and fiercer than most of the band's contemporaries (The Queers, Screeching Weasel, etc.). It is definitely worth a listen if you don't mind the really short songs. (MK)

The Hidden ChordThe Captain and His Entourage Level Plane • It's like somebody made the perfect blend of two of the best bands ever, The Pixies and Fugazi, without making it sound like they we trying to copy anybody's style. This CD is so complete, the music so well constructed, you will find yourself lost in a dizzy amazement. Angry enough to be badass, but not so pissed that song craft has to be sacrificed. Totally fucking sweet. (KM)

The John Sparrowself-titled Arms Reach Recordings • A little more like radio type rock than most of the discs I get to review, however, it is actually better than most also. This is a band that knows how to build a song up and keep it going with pop hooks and a well-developed structure. I hope to hear more from this band in the future. It is pretty good rock. (MK)

The Lords Of The New ChurchBelieve It Or Not EP NDN Records • Yes, it's true. They are back, believe it or not. Of course, they are without the late Stiv Bators, but Brian James and Dave Tregunna are still the foundation to the band. This three-track EP is pretty solid. While it's only three songs, it clocks in at nearly 15 minutes. The opening track is a rockin' tune with strong melodies and a catchy chorus that reminds me of the '80s. Track two is catchy throughout, but lacks a real edge and, instead, uses a slow-grind approach that is rather effective. The release closes with wandering guitars and an old school punk attitude. (CM)

The Lot SixGwylo Espo Records • These guys out of Boston push out some aggressive rock with a punkish attitude. The edgy vocals and feedback-heavy raw sound carries the disc well in an up and down way. The music changes from time to time, from screaming to wrenching vocals and freelance music features trumpets and trombones meshing with distorted guitar and drum sounds. Many rock influences come out in these tracks and they are all fused together well. (JC)

The Most Secret MethodOur Success Superbad Records • This trio has been around since 1996 but has not played much since 2000. They might call it quits, possible making this their last record. Instrumental tracks coexist with vocal ones when all three members contribute. Jazz influences show up here and there in Johanna Claasen's bass playing, while Marc M100's guitars are both precise and raw. (AL)

The NeurologistsNo Future ­ Aug. 44, 2007Mystic Gift Creations • No Future is a hip hop soundtrack to the end of the world. Apparently, the world ends in August 44, 2007 (is that September 13 then?). These mostly instrumental tracks keep the mood dark, with eerie samples and other effects. Rhyming and other contributions are provided by Ubiquitus Zenith, Onedae, Steve Austin of Electric Fence, the Begger and Alex of Sicksense. (AL)

The Plastic MasteryBefore the FallTwenty-Seven • There is a surprisingly full sound to this heavily layered brand of pop that fills every crevice in any musical void imaginable. Sound comes from all directions. The mood is one of cheerful desperation, and there are enticing rhythms throughout that drive the music forward. Weezer-like harmonies combine with original melodic arrangements to make a great record that strikes just the right emotional chord. (DP)

The Plus OnesIt's a Calling Asian Man Records • This is a fun collection of power-pop songs that sticks to traditional melodies, chords, and harmonies. There isn't a lot of experimentation here ­ and that's not the style of the Plus Ones. They'll just throw it out there, and give you those tried and true refrains that you've come to appreciate in your rock and roll. And they do it well. It's a Nerf-Herder-like style that will make your toes tap and refresh your hunger for zonked-out bubble gum. (DP)

The Reputationself-titled Initial Records • Elizabeth Elmore (ex-Sarge) is back with a new band and it's as good, if not better than Sarge. Elmore has crafted exquisite, tight, melodic pop rock tunes that are offered up with complete vocal and lyrical sincerity. The music is full of energy while thick with hooks that won't let go. Elmore's vocals are irresistible and incredibly confident, floating over track after track. "Misery By Design," track three, is absolutely addictive and track six, "Alaskan," is really beautiful and reminds me of some of the best 10,000 Maniacs material. Whether you're looking for pop or rock, this release can satisfy your needs. (CM)

The SurvivorsDeath Cures Addiction Knife Or Death • A strange combo of East and West coast style hardcore, with bits of NYC hardcore elements, a little bit of Instead and Orange County punk all at once. Straightedge posi-core, with all the classic elements that you come to expect from the genre. If there is a weakness, it's that pretty much everything is what you would expect. Still, these guys do it up all right. (KM)

The Trouble with SweeneyPlay Karen & Others Basement Life Records • The Trouble With Sweeney play indie pop songs without the grittiness of indie music. They come close to sounding like Beulah and Koufax on the first couple of tracks, while an alt-country sound permeates others. A couple of ballads and a cover of Simon and Garfunkel's "The Only Boy Living in New York" finish off the album. (AL)

The Warren CommissionTricked by Cleverness Espo Records • After a number of demos and one EP, The Warren Commission finally released their debut album. A guy and a girl share vocal duties, sometimes harmonizing beautifully. These 13 pop tracks are well crafted, at times emotional, at others just fun. (AL)

This Day ForwardKairos Eulogy • There is a large variance in the sound of the sung and then screamed hardcore style vocals, the very melodic post-hardcore music, and the soft emo breakdowns. It creates a great mature sound, but at the same time becomes formulaic at times. You can't fault the effort and the passion. (KM)

Thought RiotShattered Mirror Syndrome A-F Records • For five years, Thought Riot has been honing its skills. The California quintet is offering up their debut album, Shattered Mirror Syndrome, and it's one hell of a release. Combining the energy and lyrical-awareness of such bands as Good Riddance and Strike Anywhere, it's fitting these bands toured together in the Spring of 2002. Thought Riot will pound you with intense tune after tune using intricate guitar parts, a nonstop drive and strong melodies to draw you in. They seal the deal with intelligent, socio/political lyrics that cast a real maturity over the band as a whole. This is thirteen tracks of fist-in-the-air, scream-out-loud, drive-really-fast punk rock. (CM)

TraindodgeOn A Lake Of Dead Trees Ascetic • Think old Braid, but a little harder. That's what I thought of at least. They have a sound that's not quite hardcore, but really enjoys towing that line. All of the instruments are played in a powerful, yet smartly restrained way that give a good strong sound without being loudly obnoxious or off base. There is some quality, talent, and creativity going on here indeed. (KM)

Troy GregorySybil Fall of Rome • Lots of different styles of music combine to form a strange and eclectic mix. Some songs sound like '60s garage rock and some sound like old school punk. It certainly has a different sound, some not so pleasant, some really slick. (MK)

TTCCeci N'Est Pas Un Disque Big Dada Recordings • Without accepting the fact that I failed French class in high school, I tackled this disc of French hip hop. The beats of Mr. Flash, Hitekk Le Receleur and Para One aren't bad as many b-boy influences are used including beat boxing in a Biz Markie-like track "Pollutions" which features La Caution. TTC members Tido Berman, Teki Latex and Cuizinier add elements of English and an appearance by Dose One (cLOUDDEAD, Anticon), whose flow sounds at times like it is French itself on the track "Pas D'Armure." Songs are described as a mixture of humor, silliness, emotional lurching, grits and guts. (JC)

Ugly CasanovaSharpen Your Teeth Sub Pop Records • Rumor has it that Ugly Casanova is a side project of Modest Mouse frontman Isaac Brock. Supposedly, these songs are those of a deranged fan of the Mouse recorded by Brock and a cast of supporting characters. Whatever the case may be, these songs definitely have Brock's fingerprints all over them. Ugly Casanova's material is a little more experimental and ambitious than the work of the Mouse. Though a little inconsistent, the good certainly outweighs the bad on Sharpen Your Teeth. (CL)

ValetThe Glamour is Contagious Valet • Maybe it's something in the water or the seemingly endless winters; Minneapolis just keeps spitting out cool rock bands at a tremendous pace. Valet is another in a long line of outstanding Twin Cities rock and/or roll bands. Their debut full-length, The Glamour is Contagious, is full of catchy, melancholy pop. "Zurich" is one of the most perfect pop songs I've heard in quite sometime. This is some good stuff. (CL)

Variable UnitSeven Grain Wide Hive Records • Variable Unit reminded me of Groove Collective, without the Latin influences. They mix instrumental hip-hop, dub, soul and rock, with a chilled out result. A few tracks have rapping in them. Their use of live instrumentation adds warmth to the songs. (AL)

Various ArtistsAsian Travels 2 Six Degrees Records • This second compilation brings together western and eastern cultures by blending electronica with Indian and Pakistani music. While this is not a new idea, it serves as a reminder that at least some people embrace each other's cultural differences. Some artists included here are Karsh Kale, Govinda, Banco de Gaia and dj Cheb i Sabbah, providing new and unreleased original tracks and remixes. (AL)

Various ArtistsAtticus...Dragging the Lake SideOneDummy • A joint project between SideOneDummy Records and the Atticus clothing brand. With unreleased songs from bands like The Movielife, Rival Schools, New Found Glory, Alkaline Trio, and the Mighty Mighty Bosstones to name just a few a few you can't really go wrong. If you are looking for a crash course in the some of the better new bands out there, this could be a good starting point. (KM)

Various ArtistsBread and Roses Entartete Kunst Records • Entartete Kunst's latest compilation features the sounds of angry women. Angry with the current state of this world, and they are not afraid to let you know exactly how they feel. The songs lean toward the electronic side, with medium to slow tempos and mostly with vocals that sound sad somehow. Artists include Lucha, Drowning Dog, Raw Knowledge, Klevervice and others. (AL)

Various ArtistsCommercial Traffic Violation Records • This is a nice mix of punk, hardcore and one emo track. On here you'll find bands like Letterman, Jan Cux, Contra, Splurge and Striped Bastards. This is like a test drive before picking up more from these bands. My personal faves are Letterman, Splurge and Robotnicka. (SH)

Various ArtistsElectric Lotus Milan Entertainment • Brought together by DJ Baba G, these five artists (Dan the Automator, DJ Swamp, Damon Elliott, Scott Harding and Badar Ali Khan) create nine tracks of hip-hop mixed with tabla, sitar, and other Eastern Asian instrumentation, a style called "sufi trance." The mixture is quite unique, worth a listen if you've never experienced the genre. (AL)

Various ArtistsLocation Is Everything Jade Tree • I won't make a secret out of it, I love Jade Tree Records. Pretty much everything they put out is about brilliant. They are to this generation what Revelation Records was back in the day. It's the label that bands want to be on, and it's the label that good bands are on. This comp documents their incredible stable of bands, and pretty much will prove all of my earlier statements true. Contains tracks from lots of good bands, and unreleased tracks from Jets to Brazil, Milemarker, The Promise Ring, and Girls Against Boys. (KM)

Various ArtistsMusic Inspired By The Film "Scratch" Transparent Music • I finally saw this movie. It's an amazing small release film about DJ'ing featuring all of the cool cats who helped create and then elevate this genre of music to the level it's at today. This release helps to showcase the genre in its purest form. I'm a big fan of Mix Master Mike, the X-Ecutioners (except for their weak new album) and Faust, all of whom are featured on here. But there's plenty of others, some of which I'd never heard of. The result is more than 10 tracks (over 40 minutes) of some of the dopest wax-spinning ever recorded. The highlight for many will likely be track seven, a seven DJ assault on Herbie Hancock's "Rock It." It's a composition of the highest skill, showcasing some of the best turntabilists around. (CM)

Various ArtistsRamones Forever: An International Tribute Radical Records • You'd think there would be a thousand different Ramones tributes out there. I mean, their songs are not the hardest to play. Why should you care about this tribute? First, some of the proceeds go to the Joey Ramone Fund. Second, these are not typical cover songs. Moog intensive drum and bass, fucked up lounge, ska, and of course, punk are some of the styles used to interpret these 23 Ramones tracks. (AL)

Various ArtistsRevelation 100 Revelation • Wow, has it already been 15 years? I guess so. To celebrate 15 years and 100 releases, the folks at Revelation Records have been kind enough to open the vault of hard to find releases and give us a 20-song sampling of their rich treasure. Unreleased, alternate versions, or just plain hard to find songs by Sick Of It All, Burn, Sense Field, Gorilla Biscuits, Youth Of Today, and Quicksand. So rock this CD and lift a glass to another 100 releases. (KM)

Various ArtistsRewind Ubiquity Records • Get ready to go back in time and experience some popular songs from a few decades ago, revamped and reworked by today's artists. Cream, the Doors, Pink Floyd, Nat King Cole Michael Jackson and Aaron Neville are some of the old timers that get the treatment. The new versions are mostly electronic, in the downtempo variety, some with Latin instruments added for that extra spice. Whether you know the originals or not, this is a solid compilation of grooves. (AL)

Various ArtistsSoul Sessions Giant Step Records • Giant Step has played a vital role in the development of soul music in the past decade, and they continue to showcase their forward thinking with Soul Sessions. The soon to be famous duo Koop sits alongside legendary Herbie Hancock and Chaka Khan. Smooth singer Ultra Nate and Jody Watley coexist beautifully. See where soul is going in the 21st century with Soul Sessions. (AL)

Various ArtistsStone Love: Champion Sound Vol. 1 Groove Attack Records • During the last twenty-eight years, the Stone Love label has recorded countless remixes of reggae's best known as "dubplates." On this compilation, fifty-eight of them are continuously mixed, including artists like Shabba Ranks, Beenieman, Bounty Killa, Buju Banton, Ky-mani Marley and others. Close your eyes and you'll feel like you are in a dancehall in Kingston, Jamaica. (AL)

Various ArtistsSuba: Tributo Six Degrees Records • A few days before his solo debut was released, Suba died in a tragic fire. His album, Sao Paulo Confessions, was released posthumously, and was received with critical acclaim. In it, he combined the tropical rhythms of Brazil with cutting edge electronics to create a relaxed, yet futuristic sound. Now, several artists gathered to remix, or re-record, some of his best work. There are even some songs that Suba never got to release. (AL)

Various ArtistsSweet 16s Turned 31 ­ A Tribute To Bob Seger Urinine Records • For reasons unknown, here it is ­ an amped-up tribute to the man who "turned the page." There are four bands and four tracks to this disc and each song is covered with a sonic, distorted, raw rock sound and it works well. [Daryl] covers "Mainstreet" and Sweep The Leg Johnny does "Night Moves" but Saraswati doing "Feel Like A Number" and The Hillary Step covering "Against The Wind" sound like their own while staying true to the originals. (JC)

Various ArtistsThe BRYCC House Benefit CD The BRYCC House • More important than who plays on this I guess would be who it benefits, The BRYCC House is a youth-run youth center in Louisville, Ky. Kids are always a good cause, and when it's kids who are doing it for themselves, hell it's even better. As one would expect a lot of the bands are regional to the area, but Louisville is a good place to hear up and coming bands, on top of that there are more recognizable acts such as Mike Park, De La Hoya, Chumbawamba, and Noam Chomsky. Do it, for the kids. (KM)

Various ArtistsThe Warning Compilation Universal Warning Records • Record compilations have a chance to be all-star releases, to bring together the best the world, or music, has and create a super great listening experience. This comp falls short of said goals. There are some good moments, the Jazz June songs are good, as are the Sadahru songs. For the most part, this comp, is just a slightly better than average listening experience. (KM)

Various ArtistsUnreleased 1 Deep Elm Records • Talk about kicking things off with a bang. The first song in this compilation of never before heard songs is "Blinders," the first song ever recorded by Planes Mistaken For Stars. After that song, you'll be ready for the rest, secure in the knowledge that no one else has these songs by Triple Fast Action, Five Eight, This Beautiful Mess, Red Animal War, and others. (AL)

Various ArtistsVictory Style 5 Victory Records • Prepare yourself for 23 tracks of raw energy. Victory Record's fifth compilation features unreleased material from Atreyu, Taking Back Sunday, Student Rick, Waterdown, Voodoo Glow Skulls, Angela Delamorte, Hoods, River City Rebels, Armor for Sleep, Bloodlet, Dead to Fall and a cool cover of Bowie's "Ziggy Stardust" by Grade. You also get tracks from Snapcase, Minus, Ringworm, Darkest Hour and others. Don't miss this chance to see what Victory Records is all about, and get your eardrums punctured in the process. (AL)

Venus Throw Film Noir self-released • Everybody needs some rockabilly sometime. If music was like the food pyramid (and if you've been drinking enough, this analogy makes perfect sense), rockabilly wouldn't be a grain or something, but you'd need it periodically to keep you regular. So when you're feeling somewhat deficient in that area, pick up a copy of Film Noir. It's good for a well-balanced musical diet. (CL)

Via TaniaDream Of... EP Chocolate Industries • Silky, smooth, soothing and surreal are all good words to describe the vocals and music offered up on this six-song EP from Australia native Tania May-Bowers (aka Via Tania). Her style reminds me of Sade, but more experimental and artsy. She's very soulful, purring lyrics over ethereal sounds that pull you along a dreamy path. (CM)

Watch It Burn / TiltwheelTwice the Dose EP ADD Records • Watch It Burn tears out the gate with amazingly tight, super melodic power punk that is absolutely infectious. The guitar parts are intricate, weaving in and out while the drums pound a steady, uptempo course and the bassline creates a powerful foundation that will have your head bobbing in no time. The vocals are strong in their own right, belted out in a heartfelt way that adds a great deal of maturity to the overall feel. Tiltwheel rolls in with their offering and keeps the quality pace. These guys have been rockin' for over seven years and it shows. They're really solid, punching out tunes that are reminiscent of Jawbreaker and Hot Water Music while maintaining an originality that has made Tiltwheel a mainstay of the punk music scene. All in all, a great CD of six tracks of amazing punk rock. (CM)


Offwhyte High Fidelity Maxi-Single 12" Galapagos4 • Featuring three cuts plus instrumentals of two of the cuts, this is a quite impressive 12" from one of the better underground MCs. Offwhyte's flow is constant, ever-moving, rapid-fire and on point. The beats are simple, but not weak at all; they pound a head-noddin' bump that's infectious while buoyed by a nice selection of loops that keep the vocals at the forefront. And the bass, it's lovely, especially on "Compliments and Novelties" which features live bass from Griffen Rodriguez. (CM)

Qwel Face Value 12" Galapagos4 • This soul-infused hip-hop album includes five tracks (two of which are instrumentals of other cuts on the record). Qwel hails from Chicago and brings plenty of game to the court known as underground hip-hop. His rhyming abilities are fantastic, flowing like a river over beats fortified by amazing keys and very live-sounding instrumentation. Galapagos4 has a whole lot of quality in their hip-hop stable and Qwel is definitely a thoroughbred. (CM)

Tekulvi / Zelienople split 7" Loosethread Recordings • In all honesty, I'm not sure if I could tell these two bands apart. However, that's not really a bad thing as both play simple (but complex?), mostly-instrumental tunes that move along at an ethereal pace, drawing you in and almost hypnotizing you into liking it. Each band is precise with their delivery, all the notes falling into just the right places. The clear vinyl is also quite nice. (CM)

The Sights double 7" Fall of Rome • This will cure anyone's need for pop. These guys play '60s influenced pop rock that is completely irresistible. Vocally and musically, these guys do it right. The melodies are tight and catchy while there's just enough energy to the music to keep it upbeat and not boring. My only complaint is that I'd prefer these four songs on one 7" instead of dividing them up over two (although both are colored vinyl). (CM)

The Vincents / The Igniters split 7" Diaphragm • This split slab of vinyl features two Ohio bands. The Vincents play two cuts of rough and tough rock and roll that is loaded with sweat. It hard, heavy and packs a punch. The Igniters offer up two tracks as well. Their style, though, while still rock and roll, is less heavy, more melodic and loaded with '60s and '70s influences (and tons of feedback). (CM)


Better Living Through CircuitrySeventh Art Releasing • This movie is an 85-minute trip (no pun intended) through the world of rave culture. An incredible amount of artists were interviewed for this film, including Moby, DJ Frankie Bones, the Crystal Method, DJ Spooky, Lords of Acid, DJ Keoki, Jack Dangers, Death in Vegas, Scanner, and many others. Most of them also appear in snippets from their show. It was surprisingly objective when it comes to drug use: it doesn't promote them, but it also doesn't preach. If you like dance music, and raves in particular, I suggest you get this movie. (AL)

Through The Years Of Hip HopVol. 1 - Graffiti Rap Entertainment • Much more is expected from this video than is delivered, hopefully the remaining three parts of this series is not as boring and pointless as Vol. 1 proves to be. This video looks old and outdated and the narrator telling the stories of graffiti writers in no way sounds connected with the subject. It feels more like being in a classroom watching a documentary with a quiz forthcoming. Even the story itself is rushed through and from a selective viewpoint. Not even classic videos (used as fillers) by Run DMC, Dana Dane and De La Soul can save this project. (JC)

BadsvilleAcetate Records/BRI Video • Part concert film, part documentary, all rock and roll -- this video is packaged with raw concert footage and interviews of the Los Angeles scene at the turn of the century as it was unfolding. A ton of footage is provided with creative video angles and effects that stray from the norm. You get the good and the bad here, some interviews lead to nowhere but others offer first hand accounts of the up and down world of being in a band through drugs, recording and being dropped from their labels. Before it's all said and done the footage of bands like Dragbeat, Dogs Amour, and the Hangmen standout the most and in the end the feeling is that through thick and thin it's simply about making and performing one's music that keeps the L.A. scene thriving. (JC)

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

Alias The Other Side Of The Looking Glass Anticon • Pushing the boundaries of originality and standing on his own ground, this producer and emcee reaches deep inside and delivers complex, insightful tales in a monotone like way about life and it's despair. The personal journey is evident in tracks like "Dying To Stay" where he breaks down his piece of mind just to keep it all together. This goth-hop album is full of trippy, graveyard-like sounds, with a hollow type of vibe. Dark samples and dubbed out drumbeats are only part of the sound. There are plenty of lyrics to dissect such as "sad how bad times make good music" and "pay attention to the context dreaming is what helps me think clearer." The surprise track is the finale "Final Act" where the energy is pushed to another level and the album concludes in a derailed train type of way. Also included are standouts like "Watching Water" (from the Anticon Giga Single), "Getting By (Version 2)" and "Inspirations Passing." (JC)

Avenged Sevenfold Sounding the Seventh Trumpet Hopeless Records • This is the most unique metal I have heard in quite some time. I ran out of fingers counting the different influences I heard on this album. Let's start: death metal, black metal, hardcore, melodic punk, prog rock (really!) and straight up rock and roll for starters. What bands do they sound like? How about Guns 'N Roses, Kittie, Helloween, Cradle of Filth, Pantera and Bad Religion, all rolled into one. (AL)

Avoid One Thing Avoid One Thing SideOneDummy Records • Ahhhhhh... I was really starting to worry that I'd have a hard time picking my CD of the month but, alas, here is Avoid One Thing. I knew it as soon as the first track hit. This is straight-ahead, rock out, like us or "F"-off punk, a la Less Than Jake. This is really, really solid, all the way around. The music is tight, the songs are well crafted, the harmonies are there. I can't really find anything wrong with this disc. There are 11 excellent songs here and I highly recommend this one. (SH)

Ex Number Five The Team Players Association OneDaySavior • This band was brought to my attention the same way a lot of people heard about them, on They were for a long time the buzz on the charts there. This band from Jersey is worthy of the buzz and then some. Best complimented by a friend of mine when they said, "Oh my god this is the best Farside song I have ever heard, they got so much better." This band rocks plain and simple in a post-hardcore, emo-rock sense of the word. This release is a great argument for making them your next favorite band. (KM)

Hella Hold Your Horse Is 5 Rue Christine Records • These two guys must be on speed or something. A drummer and a guitarist, each one's playing more intricately than the other. Take Don Caballero's most complicated song and speed it up two or three times and you've got Hella. They play so fast it's almost hard to tell what is going on. Fans of Lightning Bolt, Primus and Storm and Stress will love this. (AL)

Inner lovetheonlyway Caboose Music • This is wonderfully haunting music that is slow-paced, emotional, and out of this world. Employing unconventional rhythm, the oft-acoustic melodies are a vehicle for female vocals that are nothing short of perfect, and lyrics that are penetrating. The singer and songwriter is Jennifer Turner, who has co-written songs with Natalie Merchant, and she has created an original masterwork of emotional truth. (DP)

L'roneous Imaginarium 6 Months Distribution • A smooth rhyme style he labels "L'chemy" mixed with in-depth topics and tales push this emcee to the head of the underground as he pulls tricks with his words through well written poetic thoughts. L'ron is looking at hip hop as a voyage while he drops his load of lyrics effortlessly over production by DJ Zeph, which is not overdone while utilizing touches of jazz, samples and turntable techniques. His flow melts over the beats and the disc rides straight through. "No Limitations" and "The R.A.I.N.S." are insightful, "Manifesto" is a head-nodder and "In The C.O.R.N." features the music of Black Sabbath's mellow "Planet Caravan" and deserves a playback as does the rest of this disc, and just wait till you get to the bonus tracks. (JC)

Paul Westerberg Mono/Stereo Vagrant Records • Paul Westerberg, both with the Replacements and as a solo artist, has been writing great songs since you were still being breast-fed. Throughout his two-decade career, Westerberg's work has expressed brutal honesty, wicked humor, and heartfelt longing, often all in one line. Mono/Stereo continues on in that grand tradition, with a two disc set, each with its own distinct personality. The Mono portion features his more upbeat, rocking tunes, while Stereo is more of Westerberg's quieter, introspective side. As the liner notes say, "Unprofessional? Perhaps. Real? Unquestionably." Mono/Stereo is another tremendous effort from one of rock's "real" songwriters. If you're not familiar with Westerberg and his work, this is a good place to start. (CL)

Remembering Never She Looks So Good in Red Ferret Music Corp • It's been about 6 months since Remembering Never's last album, Suffocates My Words to You, and they just keep getting better. You could probably categorize them as hardcore, but they are much more than that. Pete can yell with the best of them, but he can also carry a tune and harmonize. If they keep putting records out this regularly, I'll be happy forever. (AL)

Sharon Jones and the Dap-Kings Dap-Dippin' Daptone Records • Thank goodness some people still like the old 1970's funk sound. Sharon Jones and the Dap-Kings recreate the feeling of the era, right down to the sound of the equipment. Only once the spell is broken, when they cover Janet Jackson's "What Have You Done For Me Lately?" You will get your feet moving, that's for sure. The question is, will you be able to keep up? (AL)

Super Chinchilla Rescue Mission / The Timversion ...Go Halves on a Bastard split CD ADD Records • It's not often that I put a split CD in as one of my Top Picks. Rarely do both bands impress me enough. This one would have made the list for SCRM alone. I was immediately recalling Hot Water Music and Jawbreaker. The vocals are gruff and powerful, the lyrics poetic and storytelling. All the while, the music churns in the background, moving fast, pounding hard and thick with guitar and bass. It's a real pounding, full of melody and aggression­four tracks worth. I was already satisfied. Then came The Timversion; while not as good as SCRM, still impressive. They, too, are reminiscent of HWM and kick out five tracks. But SCRM steals the show, and this is a show you don't want to miss. (CM)

The Queers Pleasant Screams Lookout Records • I mean, hey, it's the Queers. If you've heard one Queers disc, you've heard them all, but does that mean you should not buy this one? Hell no, it doesn't. The Queers are the greatest punk band ever and these 14 songs serve only to propel them farther into the heavens of pop-punk. (MK)

The Rise Signal To Noise Ferret Music • This is definitely my pick of the issue and likely on my list of the best of 2002. The Rise play hardcore meets digicore. It's like the Faint but with less New Wave and lots more Hardcore. The electronic elements (mostly keyboards and loops) are varied and selective, simple in most cases and not at all overused or relied upon. The bulk of the music is huge guitars, intense drumming and thumping basslines. Vocally, most of the lyrics are delivered through powerful screams that aren't completely guttural, more emotional and less angry. This is definitely the wave of the future for hardcore, embracing a diverse sound while holding true to the intensity of the genre. (CM)

Tip Jar Give 'til It Hurts Trocar Records • What is not to like? This is a really quiet, mellow disc featuring Linda Enns and Mike Jacobs as a songwriting/performing team who bring a wonderful sense of humor into their music. Songs like "Daddy Drinks Because You Cry" and "You're Different and That's Bad" combine talented musicianship and a delicate blend of humor and pathos to create a really wonderful disc. (MK)

Unsung Zeros Fading Out Eulogy Records • Do you like Blink but don't want to support corporate America? Step right up and grab your copy of this Unsung Zeros EP. Hell, I like them better than Blink anyway. I'm not sure if...HOLD THE PRESSES!!! I just looked at their release and this band is from right here in Orlando?! Dammit! I have GOT to get back in the scene. This is without question the best band I've heard in Orlando in eight years of living here. And that includes the platinum puss-rockers Creed and Matchbox 20. I've gotta go now -- I have to find out where these kids are playing next. Oh, go buy this! (SH)

Whippersnapper Appearances Wear Thin Fueled By Ramen • This record might be one of the best new things I have heard in a few months. I had heard word that these guys had talent, and this CD shows it and then some. Catchy and still hard incorporating great hardcore and punk elements that remind me of the beauty of listening to bands just to find a gem like this one. The song "Don't Leave Me" and "To The Third Degree" both really stood out, but there aren't a lot of weak tracks on this. Definitely the best thing to come out of Atlanta that I have ever heard. (KM)

In alphabetical order. Please write them.

5 Rue Christine Records, PO Box 1190, Olympia, WA 98507
54°40' or Fight!, PO Box 1601, Acme, MI 49610
6months Distribution, 5878.5 Doyle St., Emeryville, CA 94608
Acetate Recs/BRI Video, 2020 Broadway, 2nd Fl., Santa Monica, CA 90404
ADD Records, PO Box 8240, Tampa, FL 33674
A-F Records, PO Box 71266, Pittsburgh, PA 15213
Alveran Records, PO Box 10 01 52, D-44701 Bochum, Germany
Amendment Records, 580 Nansemond Cres Portsmouth, VA 23707
Anticon, c/o 6months Distribution, 5878.5 Doyle St., Emeryville, CA 94608
Arms Reach, 1624 W. Columbia Apt. #1s, Chicago, IL 60626
Artemis Records, 130 Fifth Avenue, New York, NY 10011
Ascetic Records, 5248 Bancroft #B St. Louis, MO 63109
Asian Man Records, PO Box 35585, Monte Sereno, CA 95030-5585
B.U.K.A. Entertainment, 352 Scott Lane, Venetia, PA 15367
Barsuk Records, PO Box 22546, Seattle, WA 98122
Basement Life Records, 36 Dartmouth Street, Williston Par, NY, 11596
Big Dada, c/o Ninja Tune, PO Box 4296, London, SE11 4WW UK
Blue Sky Goodbye, 151 Wellington Pkwy Noblesville, IN 46060
Caboose Music, 4760 Melrose Ave, Los Angeles, CA 90029
Chocolate Indst., 1573 N. Milwaukee Ave. #442, Chicago, IL 60622
Coup d¹Etat Ent. LLC, 532 La Guardia Place, #704, NY, NY 10012
Crank Automotive, PO Box 50071, Arlington, VA 22205
Daptone Records, 182 Havemeyer St., Brooklyn, NY 11211
Deep Elm Records, PO Box 36939, Charlotte, NC 28236
Definitive Jux, 199 Lafayette St. #3b, NY, NY 10012
Derailleur Records, PO Box 10276, Columbus, OH 43201
Diaphragm Records, PO Box 10388, Columbus, OH 43201
Dim Mak Records, PO Box 14041, Santa Barbara, CA 93107
Discord Records, 3819 Beecher St. NW Washington DC 20007
Doghouse Records, PO Box 8946, Toledo, Ohio 43623
Dora Flood, c/o Michael, 300 16th Ave. #604, San Fran, CA. 94118
Entartete Kunst, PO Box 411194, San Francisco, CA 94141-1194
Espo Records, PO Box 63, Allston, MA 02134
Eulogy Recordings, P.O. Box 8692 Coral Springs, FL 33075
Ever Reviled Records, PO Box 1904, New Brunswick, NJ 08903-1904
Everfine, 19632 Club House Rd. Ste. 520, Montgomery Village, MD 20886
Fall of Rome, Box 69431, Los Angeles, CA 90069
Fat Wreck Chords, PO Box 193690, San Francisco, CA 94119
Ferret Music, 47 Wayne Street #3, Jersey City, NJ 07302
Fork In Hand, PO Box 230023 Boston, MA 02123
Fudge Sickill Records, PO Box 7052, Villa Park, IL 60181
Fueled By Ramen, P.O. Box 12563 Gainesville, FL 32604
Future Farmer, PO Box 225128 San Francisco, CA 94122
Fyoog State Records, PO Box 25697, LA, CA 90025
Galapagos4, 1457 W. Rascher, Suite 2, Chicago, IL 60640
Giant Step Records, 62 White St., Suite 3R, New York, NY 10013
Gloomy Tunes, PO Box 2039, Atlanta, GA 30301
Good Looking Records, 84 Queens Road, Watford, Herts, WD17 2LA, UK
Groove Attack Records, Schanzenstr. 36, GBD. 31, 51063 Cologne
Guilt Ridden Pop, 2217 Nicollet Avenue South, Minneapolis, MN, 55404
HEJ Records, 3109 W. 37th Ave., Denver, CO 80211
High Speed Athena Records, no contact info available
Honest in Secret Records, PO Box 610, Toledo, OH 43697
Hopeless Records, PO Box 7495, Van Nuys, CA 91409-7495
Immigrant Sun Records, PO Box 150711 Brooklyn, NY 11215
In Music We Trust, 15213 SE Bevington Ave., Portland, OR 97267-3355
Initial Records, PO Box 17131, Louisville, KY 40217
Ipecac Recordings, PO Box 1197, Alameda, CA 94501
Jade Tree, 2310 Kenwynn Rd. Wilmington, DE 19810
Jagjaguwar, 1021 South Walnut, Bloomington, IN 47401
Jim Fix, P O Box 6834, Bloomington, IN 47407
Join The Team Player, Alloettingerstr. 6a 81673 Muenchen, Germany
K7 Records, 425 West 15th Street, Suite 2R, New York, NY 10011
Kitty-Yo, Hölzel, Wagner GbR, Greifswalder Strasse 29, 10405 Berlin
Knife and Death Records, 805 Adele St. Northfield, NJ 08225
Kung Fu Records, P.O. Box 38009 Hollywood, CA 90038
Level Plane, P.O. Box 280 New York City, NY 10276
Lookout! Records, 3264 Adeline St. Berkeley, CA 94703
Loosethread Recordings, PO Box 220180, Chicago, IL 60622
Matlock Records, PO Box 649, New York, NY 10069-0649
Medea Records, PO Box 99055, Troy, MI 48099
Merge Records, PO Box 1235, Chapel Hill, NC 27514
Metal Blade, 2828 Cochran St. PMB 302, Simi Valley, CA 93065
Milan Ent., 8750 Wilshire Blvd., 3rd Floor, Beverly Hills, CA 90211
Mush Records, 1742 Laurel Canyon Blvd., Los Angeles, CA 90046
My Records, PO Box 41730, Santa Barbara, CA 93140
Mystic Gift Creations, PO Box 1404, NY, NY 10013
Naked Music / Astralwerks, 104 West 29th St., New York, NY 10001
NDN Records, PO Box 131471, The Woodlands, TX 77393-1471
New American Dream, P.O. Box 265 Balboa Island, CA 92662
Ninja Tune, PO Box 4296, London, SE11 4WW UK
Ohev Records, PO Box 772121, Coral Springs, FL 33077
OneDaySavior, P.O. Box 372 Williston Park, NY 11596
Plug Research Records, 707 N. Ridgewood Pl. #201, LA, CA 90038
Polyvinyl Recording Co., PO Box 7140, Champaign, IL 61826-7140
Post-Parlo Records, PO Box 49121, Austin, TX 78765
Radical Records, 77 Bleecker St., New York, NY10012
Rap, Attn: Marketing, 19 Lincoln Ave., Carteret, NJ 07008
Resurrection A.D. Records, PO Box 763, Red Bank, NJ 07701
Revelation Records, PO Box 5232, Huntington Beach, CA 92615-5232
Revolution Ent., Oeschstrasse 40, D-73072, Donzdorf, Germany
Roadrunner, 902 Broadway, NY, NY 10010
Ropeadope Records, PO Box 1021 Village Station, NY, NY 10014
Rykodisc, PO Box 141, Gloucester, MA 01931-0141
Saddle Creek, P.O. Box 8554 Omaha, NE 68108
Second Nature Recordings, PO Box 11543, Kansas City, MO 64138
Secretly Canadian, 1021 South Walnut, Bloomington, IN 47401
Sessions Records, 15 Janis Way, Scotts Valley, CA 95066
Seventh Art Releasing, 7551 Sunset Blvd., Ste. 104, LA, CA 90046
Shut Eye Records, 244 Iswald Street SE, Ste. 1-A, Atlanta, GA 30316
SideOneDummy, 6201 Sunset Blvd., Suite 211, Hollywood, CA 90028
Sinister Label, Box 1178, LaGrange Park, IL 60526
Six Degrees Records, 602 20th Street, San Francisco, CA 94107
Slovenly Records, PO Box 204, Reno, NV 89504
Smallman, PO Box 352, 905 Corydon Ave., Winnipeg, Manitoba R3M 3V3
Soda Jerk, PO Box 4056, Boulder, CO 80306
Southern Records, PO Box 577375, Chicago, IL 60657
String Break Records, P.O. Box 2924, Venice, CA 90294-2924
Sub Pop Records, PO Box 20645, Seattle, WA 98102
Subpar, c/o Dulcinea, 3587 19th St., San Francisco, CA 94110
Superbad Records, PO Box 21313, Washington, DC 20009
The BRYCC House, 1055 Bardstown Rd. Louisville, KY 40204
The Connection, c/o GS4 Prod., 12 McClelland Ave., Wayne, NJ 07470
The Ex-Presidents, c/o Jim, 52 Cedar Terrace, Parlin, NJ 08859
The Militia Group, 16662 Goldenwest St #1, Huntington Beach, CA 92647
Thick Records, 409 N Wolcott Ave., Chicago, IL 60622
Throw BRYCC Records, 1055 Bardstown Rd., Louisville, KY 40204
TMG Records, 405 E. 51st Street, #2D, New York, NY 10022
Traffic Violation Records, PO Box 772, East Setauket, NY 11733
Transparent Music, 59 West 19th Street, NY, NY 10011
Trocar Records, 2226 Eastlake Ave. E. #185, Seattle, WA 98102
Twenty-Seven Recs, 343 SW 184 Way, Pembroke Pines, FL 33029
Two Sheds Music, PO Box 5455, Atlanta, GA 31107-0455
Ubiquity Records, 864 W. 16th Street, Newport Beach, CA 92663
Universal Warning Records, 2800 Irving Street, Denver, CO 80211
Uppercut Records, 4470 Sunset Blvd., #195, Los Angeles, CA 90027
Uprising, Box 42259, Philadelphia, PA 19104
Urinine Records, 6808 Madison Dr., Indianapolis, IN 46227
Vagrant Records, PMB 361, 2118 Wilshire Blvd., Santa Monica, CA 90403
Venus Throw, 10301 Duryea Dr, Richmond, VA 23235
Victory Records, 346 N. Justine St., Suite 504, Chicago, IL 60607
Volcom Entertainment, 1740 Monrovia Ave., Costa Mesa, CA 92627
Warp Records, PO Box 25378, London, NW5 1GL
Western Vinyl, P.O.Box 211671 Bedford, TX 76095-8671
Wide Hive Records, PO Box 460067, San Francisco, Ca 94146

Music reviews from past issues: