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June/July '03 Articles:
Mean Greenies
Editorial: Are You An Environmentalist?
Petty Acts of 'Treason'
Over-Priced Musings
The Muddlemarch: 1
The Muddlemarch: 2
(music reviews)

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CD Reviews | DVD Reviews | Label Addresses

Please visit our staff page if you want to match a reviewer's initials with the name of the person who did the review.

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

!!! Me and Giuliani Down by the Schoolyard (A True Story) Touch and Go Records • Ok, it's pronounced chk, chk, chk, or pow, pow, pow. Basically, the name is whatever makes you feel full of energy, much like their songs will. With two songs at 9 about minutes each, this EP features disco's catchy beats without its overproduced qualities, combined with jam band attitude. No way you can just sit in your chair while listening to this one. (AL)

Canterbury Effect Every Piece Of Me EP Pluto Records • These guys are so fucking tight. Too bad there are only five songs. Once I got over that, I could really take in how incredible the band is. Musically, they play strikingly good melodies that are laden with emotional intensity. The drumming is punctual, guiding the band as the pace changes, followed around by intricate basslines and wandering guitars. The tempo changes are rapid fire, precise and infectious while the vocals are passionate, sometimes bursting forth with screams. This is emotionally amp'd power punk that will grab you the first second you hear it. (CM)

Curse ov Dialect Lost In The Real Sky Mush Records • I'm not too familiar with the hip-hop scene in Australia, but this is certainly some high quality, experimental shit - over 70 minutes worth, to be exact. The politics of their music drips from each song as the beats skip along with staccato vocals dancing over samples, loops, an infusion of international flavors and dope-ass scratches. For the most part, it's a minimalist, stripped down, rapid beat approach with enough stuff going on at once to make it extremely creative – but this isn't you're mainstream style of hip-hop, this is definitely more abstract and unusual. Fans of such artists as Atmosphere, Alias and Busdriver will find this to be well worth adding to their collection. (CM)

Darkest Hour Hidden Hands of a Sadist Nation Victory Records • Maybe I shouldn't be so surprised to see one of the best hardcore bands today put out one of the most immaculate recordings I've heard so far this year. With their trademark gallop that leaves you feeling a little like an innocent bystander in a steeplechase, and the pressing throaty vocals that sound more like a desperate cry for help than singing, Darkest Hour did the unthinkable, they got even better, even harder, even... well, darker. (KM)

Lanky Inner Onwriter Imposter Records • Well damn! I've hit the kick-ass singer/songwriter jackpot! Lanky kicks ass! He has more of an acoustic style than Ricky Valente (reviewed earlier) but he's every bit as good. He adds a lot of melody and texture to his songs and it makes them sound big. Ever wonder how Dave Matthews got all that sound from just five guys? Same premise. This is just straight-ahead, great acoustic pop. Fantastic songs, great playing, solid voice. Great CD. (SH)

Local H No Fun EP Thick Records • Six tracks, includes covers of The Ramones and The Godfathers. What really makes this EP worth the time is the heavy jam session during the first two tracks, one of which, "President Forever," knocks the war on Iraq, the national debt, taking the Statue of Liberty back to the French and urges "I'm president forever, America you've found your man, if we could agree on this one thing, you know, you'll never have to vote again." The production here is amazing, considering how well it makes these two guys sound with their energy, musical attitude and aggression to keep intact. "Fuck Yeah, That Wide" is a track almost 10-minutes long and full of musical clashes, concluding that although there is no fun allowed, this disc is a good time to jam to none-the-less. (JC)

Martin Devaney September Eclectone Records  • This is a smooth disc that I really enjoyed. Walking a very thin line between the singer/songwriter style of folk music and pop radio fare, Martin Devaney manages to blend these two styles in a seamless tapestry of aural delight. Acoustic guitar and downplayed accompaniment make for a very enjoyable disc. (MK)

Nina Nastasia Run to Ruin Touch and Go • As wildly haunting as Bjork, Nina Nastasia and her band play a dreamy form of unsettlingly gentle songs. There is such a delightful urgency to this music. The music begins quietly walking along as though in a dirge, and then the emotion layers in (along with some massively creative instrumentation.) It takes unexpected twists and turns, until it gets going exactly where it wants to go ­ a realm of ghostly traditional folk reanimated into something transcendent. (DP)

Portastatic The Summer of the Shark Merge Records • One can never be too sure what they will get with Superchunk's Mac McCaughn's side project, Portastatic. This is by no means is a bad thing. These songs that don't quite fit the Superchunk mold showcase McCaughn's songwriting ability and his diverse musical interests. With each release, Portastatic sounds more like a great indie pop band than a side project (not that I'm advocating the end of the 'Chunk), even with the revolving cast of supporting musicians. Whatever group or project he's working on, McCaughn continues to prove himself as one of the great songwriters and performers on the indie music scene. (CL)

Radon We Bare All No Idea Records • I miss Radon. Along with bands like Spoke, they blazed the trail for not only Gainesville, but all of Florida, and they became the classics of my youth. This is a collection circa 1991-1993, including the never overplayed self-titled song "Radon." A must for those of us who were there, those of you who heard the stories and pretend to be, and those of you who lived in a cave and just got out. (KM)

Ricky Valente Consolation self-released • Yes! Finally! I nearly cried the day I heard the Freddy Jones Band broke up and I've been frantically searching for a replacement to fill that void. Here it is! Twenty-one-year-old Ricky Valente is a kick-ass guitar player with great song writing abilities and he's not a half-bad singer, to boot! This is a great CD. I will put this in my rotation immediately. "Heavy thoughts, great songs" is what it says in his bio and that's right on. For those of you looking for the next great singer/songwriter, look no further. (SH)

Silverstein When Broken is Easily Fixed Victory Records • I didn't think I was going to like this looking at the cover, I certainly wasn't prepared to like it as much as I do. With a sound mixing some amazing scream-o hardcore and nice indie almost poppy emo stuff, Silverstein create a musical odd couple that works. Pages borrowed from Saves the Day, Grade, Recover, and Thursday. Yet another release that has Victory back in my good graces. (KM)

Supreme Dispassion Yes Lord We Will Shit With You  self-released •  This is not what I expected. Given some of the song titles: Pray That You Do Not Shit Blood, Partial Birth Abortion Baby Jesus, etc., I was expecting some serious death metal. It is, however, a strange mix of Primus/Nuclear Rabbit - very technical and competently played music. This is certainly an angry disc, but the short intricate songs are actually catchy. It is a good disc. (MK)

TES X2 Lex Records • A mixture of refreshing wordplay, flows, beats and sounds have been captured on this second EP from TES. It's his production that carries this release, which is solid and fluent all the way through. His rhyme style is heavily overlooked by each sound he brings to the table, but ultimately what is done here goes hand-in-hand with ease. This release is about "standing up to your fears and conquering them" so it is fitting that the "Ill-will flow," spit next to each sound and beat as it continues to keep heads bobbing until all is said and done. "Fool Time" and "Big Shots" fit nicely next to lounged-out sounds of "Off On Monday" and hopefully is just a stepping-stone towards progressing his talent for what is yet to come. (JC)

Variable Unit Handbook For The Apocalypse Wide Hive Records • "We're drinking bottled water / We'll soon be drinking bottled air." It's just one part of the "Handbook For The Apocalypse," one of 13 tracks on this album from Variable Unit. This is, by far, the most eclectic hip-hop album I've heard in a while. It's one part raw hip-hop, one part jazz, one part soul and all good. VU makes use of keyboard, upright bass, guitar, horns and piano. And while it may be enough to have dope ass music, using funked-up keys, jazzy melodies and bumpin'beats, that's not good enough for VU. They also inject you with insightful socio/political lyrics and samples, adding a new dimension of enlightenment to the entire project. (CM)

Vaux There Must Be Some Way To Stop Them Volcom • They have three guitarists, how can anyone touch that? You simply can't. They are too powerful. So, put down your instruments, step away from the monitor and just accept the fact that Vaux packs a punch that very few can match. I was blown away when the first song tore out from the speakers. The ability to blend hardcore aggression with a mix of metal and melody isn't an easy task, at least not to do it skillfully. Vaux has it mastered. Grab this CD and listen to "Switched On" – you'll be blasted with screaming vocals and soaring guitars then sucked in by a mega-melodic tempo change that borders on poppy. And that's only one of the many tempo shifts in that song. And it works brilliantly. But it's not just a one-hit wonder. The other 10 tracks are equally good, using creative breakdowns, pounding rhythms and basslines and, did I mention, three guitars? Fans of Boy Sets Fire, Errortype:11, Grade and At The Drive-In are likely to rock their socks off to this; but don't get me wrong, this is some next level shit, not another rock copycat. (CM)

YoungBlood Brass Band center:level:roar Ozone Music Records • Think of a college football halftime band. Now add an MC and some attitude and you have the YoungBlood Brass Band. They are absolutely riveting, with complex rhythms and some of the best horn playing I have ever heard. And their cover of Michael Jackson's Human Nature is stupendous. Though different in styles, you could compare them to Ozomatli for their unusual merging of styles. (AL)

µ-ziq Bilious Paths Planet Mu • It's about freakin'time! The last album Mike Paradinas put out aµ-ziq album, it was 1999. He has strayed from the direction he was headed in with Lunatic Harness and Royal Astronomy, eschewing orchestral sounds and more accessible beats, in favor of a rougher, drill and bass sound. Almost all the sounds on this record sound "off" in some way, whether processed to sound tinny or fuzzy. Think of AFX's Analogue Bubblebath series and you'll have the right idea. (AL)

CD reviews

[[[[VVRSSNN]]]] self-titled K Records • The name of the artist is Adam Clayton Forkner, and his moniker is pronounced "version." The music shows the experimental quality that the artist name suggests. Broken beats and electronic effects coexist with acoustic guitars and mellow vocals. However, nothing escapes the digital treatment, as he manipulates every single sound, including the vocals. (AL)

Aceyalone Love & Hate Project Blowed • Aceyalone has been spittin' it for a long ass time. He was the magic behind the Freestyle Fellowship dating back to the early '90s. They were way ahead of the game, delivering thought-provoking hip-hop while the rest of the world rotted away to gangsta rap. Have you heard 1995's Project Blowed LP? Whoa. Get it. That aside, emcee supreme Aceyalone is dropping 14 new tracks with some of the best indie hip-hop stars making guest appearances. The entire album is a bumpin', grooved-out journey with styles reminiscent of The Coup, A Tribe Called Quest, Mos Def and Pharoahe Monch. Guests on this release include Casual, RJD2, Abstract Rude and El-P. (CM)

Against Me! The Disco Before the Breakdown No Idea Records • Gainesville sweethearts and legends in waiting, Against Me! keep us satisfied with a 3-song e.p. that has a little bit of everything. One classic, one quirky experimental moment of genius, and one off key heartfelt redheaded stepchild of a song. All and all another notch in the bedpost for one of G-ville's best things going. (KM)

Amazing Transparent Man Taking Back The Covers Springman Records • Well this is a first. ATM has released a six-song EP of covers. They have punked up six pop hits, including "Fast Car" by Tracy Chapman, "Criminal" by Fiona Apple and my personal favorite, "Man, I Feel Like A Woman" by Shania Twain. It sounds odd but they pull this off with relative ease and make every one of them better than the original! Bravo! (SH)

Amerikan Made self-titled self-released • Again, I totally misjudged a band before I took one listen towards them and now I feel stupid and deserve to be kicked in the head. Mohawks, drinking, and spray paint graffiti, of course I expected Oi, which is usually what is expected from this typical artwork. However, I did not receive Oi. What I received was a group of four talented youngsters who use such music style as Sum 41, AFI, Metallica, and Anti-Flag to produce this CD, which I am surprised has gained no attention from any fan zines, sites, or record labels! Pick this CD up! It has everything any fan of music could enjoy and this band deserves attention! I just want to clarify one thing; this review sucks because I am so stunned and shocked about my decisions towards this band and I am glad they're incredible instead what I had assumed. (CMax)

Anberlin Blueprints For The Black Market Tooth and Nail Records • Orlando's Anberlin is a refreshing alternative to today's stale music scene. Their sound is full of heavy guitars, but the vocals are melodic and sound like a cross between A Perfect Circle and Hankshaw. Even their cover of the Cure's "Love Song" is flawless. (AL)

Angela Johnson They Don't Know Purpose Records • Angela Johnson delivers the goods on They Don't Know. Her songs are full of smooth R&B beats with soulful rhythms and touches of funk. They are augmented by Johnson's beautiful and melodic vocals. (AL)

Arrington de Dionyso and the Old Time Relijun Varieties of Religious Experience K Records • This CD serves up unreleased tracks from the last nine years, and they all have one thing in common: they are all weird. Arrington de Dionyso's voice goes from a high pitch wail to a Popeye impersonation. The music was recorded very lo-fi, with the sound cutting out here and there. If you are into experimenting with your music, check these guys out. (AL)

Asherah Boutros Makes The Bed Innerstrength Records • Asherah easily blends metal and hardcore into an aggressive combination with Boutros Makes The Bed. Vocalist Ryan has no problem changing from death metal growl into throat exploding screams. Blazing fast guitars and double kick drums round out their piercing sound. (AL)

Aspera Oh Fantastica Jagjaguwar Records • This is Aspera's third record, and their sound continues to evolve. They seem to be influenced by 80's electronica, as well as hip-hop and more experimental electronic acts of more recent times. The mood is dark, atmospheric, and somewhat psychedelic. (AL)

Assert Riotous Assembly Malt Soda Records • OK, if I could hear anymore of this CD I'm sure I would love it. But the opening notes deafened me and now I have no idea. Kidding aside, this is balls-to-the-wall hardcore punk. Fans of The Exploited, Cro-Mags and Napalm Death will want to marry this CD. I'm going to get some Q-Tips. (SH)

Astrid Oto self-titled No Idea! • Serious old school punk. This is fierce and screamy. It reminds me of Butt Trumpet in the most wonderful way. Chick singers who can scream and croon like this are the greatest gift on earth. This is angry and ass-kicking rock and roll that will have you pounding your fist and screaming. (MK)

AstroZombies A.D. Mutants At Mosa Trajectum Gangstyle Records • There are some bands that should never be covered. The Misfits is certainly one of them. No one can sing like Glenn Danzig, so why even bother? Astro Zombies A.D. give it their best shot here, with ten Misfits and two Danzig songs. They enlisted the help of six singers, each of whom did a pretty good job. Overall, the songs were pretty close to the originals, except slightly heavier. They made me run for my Misfits CDs. (AL)

Aurore Rien Telesthesia Sun Sea Sky Productions • Aurore Rien's mellow, mostly instrumental compositions sooth the soul while entertaining the mind. They sound a little like Tristeza, with intricate guitar melodies that resonate in your head for minutes at a time. Keeping it from excellence is the sporadic appearance of less than perfect vocals that ruin the mood. Luckily, these appearances are few and far between. (AL)

Bayside / Name Taken split CD Dying Wish Records • Man, by the looks of this CD, I was thinking about pulling a quickie as a review and not even listen to this. After listening, this became a masterpiece. The CD jumps off to a happy So-Cal Indie Power Pop Rock Band Bayside. There are four songs of upbeat melody, chord and progress persistence that make you want to jump around and feel loved (no big words or details needed). Once Bayside is done rocking you around, Name Taken slaughters you with passionate lyrics. Engraved in your mind forever are their guitar and bass lines, as well as their drummer, who around my school is talked of being one of the top 10 best in the world. Both bands feature incredibly talented musicians with passion and emotion! Be sure to pick this one up if you're a fan of Taking Back Sunday, Rufio, Midtown, Thrice, etc. (CMax)

Benny Finnish Road Junction Boss Tuneage • Stir up a heavy European punk sound with rapid indie rock and OY! - Benny is what you get. Include a sub par cover of "(The Land) Down Under" and a bit more attitude and aggression then hold tight through this speed racer paced disc of tracks like "Two Little Boys" which includes more "oy!, oy!, oy!"chants. (JC)

Beth Thornley self-titled self-released • This is driving, melodic rock with power and presence. The centerpiece, Beth's voice, troubled and gorgeous, rides on a wave of instrumentation and sampled loops. Fuzz bass, accordions, and keyboard effects make for an extremely full sound, and the lyrics are very well written and intelligent. The music runs the gamut of emotional depth. Great stuff. (DP)

Bird Gets the Smile self titled EP Reason Y • This four song EP is reminiscent of King for a Day with melodic guitar backed with duel vocals and a driving rhythm section. A very solid release definitely worth checking out. (RP) B-Line • Eightball self-released • I really tried to give this CD a chance, but I couldn't get past how prefabricated radio rock it was. I'm not a fan of this musical style, but many people are so don't let me keep you from checking these guys out. If you're a fan of Creed, Puddle of Mud or Nickelback, I more than recommend this CD. (RP) 

Blueline Medic Text_Bomb Fueled By Ramen • These four fellows from Australia do not disappoint on the follow-up album to their incredible debut full-length in 2001. I had high expectations after finding The Apology Wars to be a fresh rock album, a rare gem. Expectations met. Each of the eleven new tracks harnesses the subdued power that makes Blueline Medic so potent. Songs build with melodic progression, reaching energized and emotional crescendos that rock out. Vocally, Donnie delivers lyrics passionately, with a fluid, mesmerizing tone, reminding me, at times of Morrisey. It comes together as a tightly knit package of rock and roll, delivered loaded with hooks, tremendous melodies and a unmistakable sincerity. (CM)

Brady Brock Warm American Sweater In Music We Trust • When I reviewed Brock's 1st release I knew he had this in him. I recall liking it, but not being blown away. Well I am now. Brock's smooth vocals, talented song writing style, and layered effects on this release are enough to make a hot Florida afternoon as cool as winter in New York. If solo emo-acoustic is your gambit, then this is your next investment. (KM)

Brandtson Death & Taxes Deep Elm Records • The freshman release from these guys didn't do anything for me one bit. The 2nd time around, I'm liking this a little bit more. It's still pretty typical emo-post hardcore in the style of a Vagrant Records band, but the progression is evident. These guys have worked hard, toured hard, and it's evident here. This one has a charm that I see growing on me in time, not an instant classic, but something that will surly find its way into the CD player from time to time. (KM)

Breaking Pangaea Phoenix EP Equal Vision • There is a beauty to this band that I can not understand. Every time I hit up an "alternative music website" such as or, as well as various record labels, I see this band all over the place. In Phoenix, this band brings something I have never heard before, and to some it's " beauty," but to me it was chord, progressions, and solos all thrown together to create one long disc of five songs. Fans of this band (which I know are in the surplus) don't bash me, but contact me and explain how this band does what they do and what the beauty behind their music is, and maybe I will like them. Other than that, their lyrics are very impressive and heart filled, and their talent is far beyond the every day rock band. (CMax)

Cadence Cadence Poisons the Minds of the Children Day By Day Entertainment • In one word, the mellowed-out jazzy-soul hip-hop on this release is simply tired. Cadence is an intellect full on messages, emotion and humor, but his three-year layoff from his craft of rhyming due to his mother's illness has proved him slow off the starting blocks. His flow-style is bland most times, beats focus on a live band sound and they offer little on the "unexpected" side. Tracks "Teach," "Not For A Minute"and "I Am Myself (remix)" (featuring Mr. Lif) are worth a listen. (JC)

Caia The Magic Dragon Guidance Recordings • Caia came about when Groove Armada's Andy Cato met Maiku Takahashi, and decided to collaborate together. The result was The Magic Dragon, a collection of downtempo tracks with a passing resemblance to Groove Armada's softer tracks. Hip hop beats are smoothed down with layered keyboards and echo-y vocal samples. (AL)

Canned Heat Friends In The Can Fuel 2000 Records • 36 years and about the same number of album credits, this blues band gives the term "blues" a good name with their slide guitar, percussion and harmonica jam sessions. This album is amazing, even for a so-so blues fan. Music of drugs, death, sex and survival is what has made up the legacy of Canned Heat and the title of this album seems to be fitting as well. Appearances by Roy Rodgers, Walter Trout, John Lee Hooker and Corey Stevens, to name a few, make a good thing sound even better. You know it's the real thing when the blues make you feel this good. (JC)

Canyon Live In NYC Digital Club Network • Recorded on November 20, 2002 in New York, this disc contains the most recognizable tracks by Canyon such as "Mansion on the Mountains," "Lights of Town"and Ten Good Eyes" as well as covers of the Rolling Stones "Play With Fire" and Neil Young's "Cortez The Killer." Sound quality is great and the jangly emo-rock approach of mixing the power of Crazy Horse and echo experimentation of Pink Floyd together is mesmerizing. Stories are layered in concepts of bitterness, the depths of love and the resurfacing of a soul beaten and battered, overall a dark and mysterious live show. (JC)

Central Falls Love and Easy Listening Truck Stop Audio Recordings • Sounding like an up-tempo Belle & Sebastian, this is one of those indie releases that you hesitate to say "rock" after, and find yourself scratching your heading wanting to almost call it indie-easy listening. Beautiful, nearly flavored melodies, that soothe and still have some sway as well. "Falling Silver" was a standout track, and "The Fights are Staged" among other songs reminded me of some stuff that The Long Winters are doing. (KM)

Cephalic Carnage Lucid Interval Relapse Records • You'd think that such heavy weed smokers would be mellow all the time, but you'd be wrong. Cephalic Carnage is anything but mellow, cranking out insane grindcore with an edge. The vocals are similar to Mortician or Cradle of Filth, depending on the song. This isn't just bang-the-drums-as-fast-as-possible grindcore though. Their time signatures and unexpected breakdowns are mathematical in nature. (AL)

Charlie Brown Gets A Valentine Dismissed Whoa Oh Records • Pop punk can be so formulaic sometimes. Thankfully, Charlie Brown Gets A Valentine throws the predictable old formula out the window. The fourteen songs on Dismissed retain that energy and melody commonly associated with pop punk, yet they spice things up with interesting song arrangements and strong lyrics. (CL)

Chris Katris Songs From The Basement, Vol. II self-released • Comparisons have been made to the sounds of Tom Petty, Wallflowers, Dylan and the Beatles but the basic rock formula by this one-man band experiment is simple and full of pop. Nothing is done on this release to set himself apart from any other musicians compared to the Petty and Dylan's of the world. Vocals are rough and dry and guitar parts are fluent, solid and help maintain the constant flow throughout this collection. (JC)

Clairmel A Letter To Friends No Idea Records • Clairmel have always walked a fine line with me, a foggy part between brilliance and boring. This disc doesn't really solve the argument. Sometimes I really like it, I want to learn the lyrics and sing along, sometimes I get lost along the way and wonder where they went. Included here are the songs from the Hot Water Music split, which I do like well enough. (KM)

Codec & Flexor Tubed Emperor Norton Records • If anything is consistent among most of Codec & Flexor's debut CD, it is the thump-thump-thump of a techno beat. Another is the use of industrial and electro sounds, giving the songs a rough, yet retro sound. What sets them apart is their use of real guitars, taking away some of the impersonal nature of dance music. (AL)

Consumed Pistols At Dawn BYO Records • Gritty British punk with an American pop-punk feel, Consumed blend the two that makes you think the two weren't the quarreling step-siblings they sometimes are. Solid and power-driven, tag this one a few notches below memorable. "Ready to Strike" has that sing-along potential that makes it a gem. (KM)

Converge Unloved and Weeded Out Deathwish, Inc. • I'm still recovering from 2001's Jane Doe, perhaps one of the most brutal CDs I have heard. Now comes Unloved and Weeded Out, a collection of hard-to-find, out of print tracks from the early stages of their 11-year career, including some demos and live tracks. (AL)

Copeland Beneath Medicine Tree The Militia Group • Get those handkerchiefs ready, cause the tears are comin'. Beneath Medicine Tree is one sad album, thanks to Aaron Marsh's pained and helpless vocals, backed by pure musical melancholy. The album's lush production adds to the sadness, much like a rainy day could alter your mood. (AL)

Corey Stevens Bring On The Blues Fuel 2000 Records • This guy says that an Ike and Tina Turner concert was "lifechanging." Whoa. From there, Stevens decided to focus on music. After a "pit stop" in Daytona Beach (ouch!), he ended up in LA. Musically, he plays mainstream pop with a country twang. There's nothing groundbreaking on here, but Stevens does offer up 11 solid tracks of radio-hopeful mediocrity. (CM)

Corky McClerkin Island of Dreams WinCor • Make yourself a nice cool drink and enjoy the soothing sounds of Corky McClerkin. Island of Dreams is full of smooth jazz songs with an African twist. Many of them are instrumental, while others have guest vocalists, both male and female. (AL)

Crash and Burn Sick Again Traktor 7 • Crash and Burn are straight up ass kicking rock and roll. Having been brought up on Black Flag and Guns 'n'Roses, these guys have put together the ultimate bar brawl sound track. With songs titles like "Crazy and Stupid" and "Go Down," I can only begin to imagine how hardy these rockers party. (RP) 

Cursed One Deathwish, Inc. • With metal's hardness and punk's sense of urgency, Cursed form a demented hybrid that threatens your sanity. Fronted by former Swarm vocalist C. Colohan, Cursed take no prisoners with their aural assault, never slowing down to assess the damage. One features eleven punishing songs, including one originally by the Swarm. (AL)

D+ Deception Pass Knw-Yr-Own • My ears don't quite know what to do with D+ to be honest. Quirky isn't really a strong enough word, eclectic indie-experimental that reminds me of The Pupils a little bit. A bit of twang and jangle, slowed down to a difficult tempo. Featuring ex-members of favorites, Beat Happening, help you realize maybe its just inaccessible genius, or maybe just quirky after all. (KM)

Dade County Resistance Every Last Chance Trend Is Dead! Records • Sweet! Nice work here, fellas! This band is a less-polished Simple Plan but they sound more mature musically. Confused? The production isn't quite as slick a big-time studio but the songs don't suffer. If anything, they're better for it. Great punk hooks, great riffs, this band will go places very soon. Check this out immediately! (SH)

Downway / Belvedere Hometown Advantage split CD Sessions Records • "O Canada!" Holy crap! If this doesn't get the country, as well as these bands, any further attention then they might as well pack their bags and call it quits, for this CD is definitely going to put Canada and its scene back on the market! Hosting such talent as Propagandhi and Sum 41, Canada brings you this split CD with "two of the greatest emo-core/punk rock bands in Canada" and, of course, there is nothing false in that statement. Downway opens up the CD with crushing interludes and schizophrenic guitar breakdowns that left me wanting to know where I was and how I was the beholder of such talent. I figured Belvedere wasn't half the magnitude, but I was wrong. Belvedere combines the aggressional chaos in music of Propagandhi, with a voice only to be described as "something found on MTV 2." The blend is magnificent as this band left me wanting more than just five songs! Both bands have gained national recognition and opened for such acts as Lagwagon, H20, and Guttermouth. When will these bands have their own headlining tours? (CMax)

Drunk Horse Adult Situations Tee Pee Records • Only one rock band has the confidence to write a song about J.S. Bach, and that is Drunk Horse. Leaning toward the 70's, their bong-ready tunes remind of the MC5 and Led Zeppelin, each one kicking major ass. You will no doubt be blown away by their arena-sized sound. (AL)

DW Project Emerge Essence of Now Records • This modern jazz ensemble explores many genres in their second album, Emerge, from world beat to lounge and pop. All the songs are instrumental, and will keep you chilled-out for its entire duration. Beautiful jazz-style guitar and keyboards blend well with different kinds of percussion. (AL)

Dysrhythmia Pretest Relapse Records • As far as instrumental "post-rock" groups go, Dysrhythmia is one better ones I've encountered. They weave intricate webs of guitars and drums that lean toward the mathematic. Full of energy, Pretest feels like a kid with ADD, quickly changing moods and tempos. (AL)

El Sob Welcome To El Sob self-released • I do not like the lead vocals. That aside, it's a pretty good album. The music is dark and a bit haunting, like Tom Waits meets Joy Division, or something like that. Oh hell, it's a bit hard to describe. (CM)

Elliott Song In The Air Revelation Records • On Song In The Air, Elliott make beautiful music that is unusual, since it is uplifting and sad at the same time. Few voices can bring out tears more than Chris Higdon's. While he brings you down, the swirling guitars and keyboard and string arrangements bring you back up. This album is quite the emotional roller coaster ride. (AL)

Enlow The Desperate Letters Blood & Ink Records • Hard-hitting metal/ hardcore with throaty vocals. Moments of quiet guitars to keep you off balance til the next punch comes. All and all pretty good stuff, with great a great layout and design. Creative lyrics fill the bill. (KM)

Fall Out Boy Take This To Your Grave Fueled By Ramen • Maybe I shouldn't write off pop-punk after all. Fall Out Boy make an argument that you can play fast and sing sappy and not sound like Blink 182 doing it. The hardcore vocals on "Saturday" caught me off guard, but were nice. I'm a sucker for witty song titles, and FOB pack a few crackers here, like "Sending Postcards From a Plane Crash (Wish You Were Here)" how could you resist putting that on the next mix you send to the one that broke your heart? FOB put the faith back with this one, maybe pop-punk isn't going to go into hell in a designer MTV logo handbasket after all. (KM)

Fin Fang Foom With the Gift Comes the Curse Lovitt Records • There's something about adding piano to rock and roll, especially if the music leans toward the melancholic. Without warning, the vocals go from sad, soft singing, to pained screams. The fact that three people create this full, layered sound is amazing. Listen with headphones for extra effect. (AL)

Flaming Fire Songs From the Shining Temple Perhaps Transparent • This would have been a smash in 1984. And while, it's good at what it is, I'm rather unmoved. With bands like The Faint and Intro5pect taking electronically-enhanced rock in a new direction, Flaming Fire delivers industrial/electronic/avant-garde stuff I've heard enough. Add in the dramatic overload and I'm left with some kind of quirky, goth, metal circus. I'm sure there are fans of this kind of stuff. If that's you, get this. (CM)

Fog Ether Teeth Ninja Tune Records • For a record on Ninja Tune, this second album by Fog is surprisingly non-electronic. Fairly stripped of beats, it feels like a stream of consciousness recording, with vocals that sound melancholic. Turntables are used a lot on this record, but in unusual ways, where you might not even know you are listening to one. (AL)

Freddie Foxxx Konexion BBE/Rapstar Records • Beats by Primo, Alchemist and Hidden Agenda do nothing but instigate and antagonize the hyper, roughed-out rhyme slaying by Freddie Foxxx A.K.A. Bumpy Knuckles. Only five tracks were on the promo released to the press but this album will be worth the wait and full on slammin' beats and rap beat downs. On his forthcoming release, Foxxx spits lyrics while standing on the thin line between aggression and the sense enough to know what crossing that line always leads to. (JC)

Frenzal Rhomb Sans Souci Fat Wreck Chords • And now Australia weighs in with its first young punk band offering. Good on ya, mate! They're more similar to NOFX and Bad Religion than they are to Blink 182 or Less Than Jake, they have a harder edge and get more reckless than those latter bands. That's not to say their worse, just that, while they've shared the stage with bands like Blink, fans of the radio-friendly shtick probably won't dig this. Fans of high-energy, get nuts punk will eat it up! (SH)

Freya As The East Light Drains Victory Records • Freya comes spitting fire, with a sound like the bastard offspring of something like arena cock-rock mixed with Sick of it All. The vocals and bass especially hold down the SOIA reference point, while the vocals at times will wander into the 80's hair band atmosphere. It's a good mix of rock and hardcore, that comes off sounding inventive, creative, and original. I'd put money on them being relatively amazing live, and that sound comes through here on this recording. (KM)

Friends Like These I Love You Tinderbox Music • With Friends Like These who needs enemies right? Distorted guitar and vocal harmonies (along the lines of Brian Wilson) are used as the groundwork for the alternative rock sound captured on this debut. Things continue to progress in a positive direction music wise throughout; the sound is sluggish at times and inspiring at others. The many dimensions within these songs are captivating, at times jazzy, raw, sarcastic and confident. The addition of keys and acoustics help give balance and depth to this project, even if not much more was needed. (JC)

Furthermore She and I Tooth and Nail Records • I don't know why, but even though Furthermore's lyrics are all rapped, I can't consider them a rap act. Maybe it's that they pay more attention to melody and song structures than most, or perhaps it's because they cover an REM song. In any case, if you've ever heard MC Paul Barman or Pharcyde's animated vocals, then you have a good idea what frontman Fischer sounds like. (AL)

Good Riddance Bound By Ties Of Blood And Affection Fat Wreck • With their sixth full-length, Good Riddance shows no signs of slowing down their political, power punk assault. As aggressive, melodic and poignant as their previous releases, Bound By Ties... may actually be their best album yet. There's a perfect balance of full-throttle hardcore tunes and melodic, poppier punk numbers. GR has such an infectious, addictive style of playing that you can't ignore their music. I keep expecting a let down, but with each new album they prove that they are a mainstay of the punk/hardcore scene and deliver something truly worth hearing on each new release. Note: GR's new drummer is David Wagenschutz, formerly of Kid Dynamite and Lifetime. (CM)

Grafton Blind Horse Campaign Dead Canary Records • The last album jammed-out but this follow up to that self titled debut is even better. Steady delivering their brand of raw rawk from Ohio that carries on in a whiskey soaked rampage and small biker bar attitude is evident on tracks like "Pour Like It Rains" and "Sumbitch." What they've done on this disc is hammer down like a stock car on a dirt track and driven some dirty southern rock sounds to the Midwest with authority. (JC)

Greyfield Soundtrack To The Summer Search And Rescue Records • Excellent! Thanks be to Jebus for all these new young punk bands. Someone needed to come along and get rid of the Creeds and System of a Down and Nickleback shite that was clogging the airwaves. Greyfield is doing their part by bringing tight, high-energy punk to your speakers. Think Unsung Zeros, Simple Plan, New Found Glory. This is only a six-song EP but I'll take it! So should you! (SH)

GuFF The GuFF is a Disaster Go-Kart • Athens, GA's GuFF plays a "furiously melodic" form of pop-punk that is heavily infectious, with guitars flying all over the place like so many punk butterflies. On this 4-song EP, They throw hook after hook at you and then they tie you in with powerful, emotional vocals. A fine, upstanding punk rock band in the greatest tradition of the genre. It's good, good, good. (DP)

Habit of Mine Habit of Mine self-released • I like this band but I'm not sure they're going to get the break they're looking for. They sound a good bit like Alice In Chains with a bit of Jane's Addiction thrown in there. Sound intriguing? Check it out! (SH)

Hazel Lord Venus In The Street self-released • Musically, this is a nice CD. It belongs on jazz radio. It doesn't fit in too neatly with what usually goes on here at IMPACT, but for those of you kids into some soft jazz with soft, lilting vocals, give this a listen. (SH)

Headfirst It's Getting Better self-released • Finally, a variety! This band has plunged headfirst into the terms of "love" when pertaining to me because they use a variety of styles such as alternative, which can be compared to that of Papa Roach. Don't forget their punk sides, which can be compared to that of old school No Use For A Name. Everyone in this band is of the highest magnitude, especially their lead guitarist with his deranged solo's and breakdowns. Don't forget the drums, and the bass, which adds the essentials needed to make this music beyond ordinary and beyond incredible. The lead vocalist is definitely awesome as well, and provides the edgy description and background behind this "theistic beauty" of chaos. My little brother quotes: "Headfirst will make it to Warped Tour someday unless some buttholes say, ŒOh you guys suck.'" That is something this band has nothing to worry about. As well as everything else I have stated, their harmonies, songs of all different sorts of melody's and structures, as well as their "screamer" in the background (who I might add produces something I have never heard before), seal the deal. My little brother says: "This Band Freakin Rules!" and I agree. (CMax)

Jaga Jazzist The Stix Ninja Tune Records • As you listen to The Stix, you might be temped to think that Jaga Jazzist is a talented electronica outfit, when in fact, it is a group of ten musicians playing mostly live instruments. Their music can be as erratic as a Squarepusher tune, or as bouncy as a Stereolab one. Their instruments range from keyboards and vibraphone, to trumpets, tuba, and clarinets, plus some electronics and drum machines, as well as regular drums, guitar, and bass. (AL)

James Cohen High Side of Lowdown Northern Blues Music • There's something refreshing about the sound of a flamenco guitar. And in the hands of James Cohen, it is even more so. He adds touches of gypsy jazz and some blues, in a genre called "nouveau flamenco," which has been popularized by artists such as Ottmar Liebert. (AL)

James Crouch Liberty self-released • Dwelling on the classic rock days of the 70's finds Crouch deep inside the world of the blues. Recorded at Full Sail Studios in Orlando, guest musicians help carry out his musical vision and do so in style. Guitar work is nice and bluesy and is what really stands out compared to the overall project of late night heartache, slide guitar, harmonica and down south soul. Instrumental tracks like "Serenity" and "Slide It In" is what this project should have been all about. (JC)

Jared Grabb/The Lesser Birds of Paradise Reading Light Thinker Thought Records • Reading Light is a four song split CD featuring two of Thinker Thought Records'artists. Jared Grabb provides two acoustic tunes, singer-songwriter style with strong vocals. The Lesser Birds of Paradise pick up the pace with some driving indie pop. Both artists have well crafted songs that continue to impress after repeated listens. This is a good introduction to Jared Grabb and the Lesser Birds of Paradise. (CL)

Jim Dugan Marigold I Am Breathing Records • The headline on Jim's press material tells John Mayer to "Move over." Hmm...not so fast, my friend! While Jim does a respectable job of following in John's footsteps, as well as Duncan Sheik's, he has a bit more work to do before he sits in a room with them. While his songs are easy to listen to, they don't give me that same "wow" factor I got when I heard John or Duncan the first time. I think most people will like this. It's not junk. I just think he needs to find his own niche if he wants to earn critical respect. (SH)

Jumbo's Killcrane Carnival De Carne Crucial Blast  • Here is one of those beautiful moments where you get what you expect. When a band names itself Jumbo's Killcrane, you expect raw and furious music. Guess what. That's exactly what you get. This disc, while short (6 songs), is a great one for those who like their music loud and raucous. (MK)

Kat Terran Lion & Blue Little Roar Records • Another female vocalist with an acoustic guitar. There's nothing completely innovative here but there are some background additions of strings that give another layer to this coffee house rock. Her vocals are soothing as the album goes on and really sticks out on tracks like "Three Friends." Sometimes I thought she was going to start yodeling, though. This is for fans of feminist rock, fits right in with Jewel and Tori Amos, but does have a different edge to it. (MP)

Kiyo Chaotech Odd Echo Schematic Records • Chaotech Odd Echo is the work of Japanese artist Kiyoshi Ono, who somehow manages to make experimental electronic music that is both soothing and chaotic. Slow-tempo beats and melodies are the background, while clipped sounds and fragments of noise jump in and out of focus. (AL)

K-Line Lessons Learned Does Everyone Stare Records • Five-song EP from the UK punkers here. Good energy, very textbook punk, a la older Fugazi. Not a lot of surprises but that can be a good thing. (SH)

Kristofer Aström & Hidden Truck Plastered Confessions Simba Recordings • This guy is huge in Sweden. Seriously. He's been nominated for a Grammy over there and has sold over 50,000 albums in Sweden alone. He's a singer/songwriter with strong vocals and mostly slow-paced jangle music in the background. Every now and then, the pace picks up. It's good stuff that will catch your ear, even if you're not trying to listen. (CM)

Lagwagon Blaze Fat Wreck Chords • For 13 years, Lagwagon has been rocking out its own brand of melodic punk rock. This is the band's sixth full-length album and the passionate, high-energy rock is as potent as ever. Joey's vocals ring out over fast paced drums, high pitched, swirling guitars and basslines that keep the melodies throughout each track. Lagwagon is as catchy as ever, but not at all lacking an energize punch to the gut. These guys have been on the punk scene for longer than most and their skills continue to impress with each new release. (CM)

Lamont Thunderboogie Traktor7 • At first glance, I felt equally intrigued and frightened by the illustration of a bearded, gun toting redneck at a trailer park on the cover of Lamont's third release, Thunderboogie. Hmm, what, exactly, is Thunderboogie, I pondered? After a few listens, I discover it's a decidedly thick and heavy sound that is perfectly defined by the CD's title track. "Thunderboogie" (the song) delivers the heavy, blues-rock guitar that is sewn throughout the entire 10-song collection. "I Saw Red" features blistering guitar riffs and there are some well-placed shifts in tempo within the songs. The driving beat and enthralling guitar in "Hell's Got Me Runnin'" made it impossible for me to resist banging my head a bit. Lamont was an excellent release for pent up road rage as I fought crappy traffic on my way home from work. (BB)

Landing Passages Through K Records • Post-rockers Landing are back with their fourth release, Passages Through. Their formula has always worked well, so they left it alone. Intertwining guitars form the hypnotic feel of their songs, with sporadic male-female vocals floating in and out of this slow-tempo album. (AL)

Lee Baby Simms The Escapist Substance Records • Aptly titled, The Escapist allows you to escape on a musical journey with a cinematic, film noir feel. A smoky mood permeates this instrumental record, with reverbed guitars and layered instruments. For fans of Marc Ribot, Tom Waits and Henry Mancini. (AL)

Lefty's Deceiver Cheats My Pal God Records • Psychedelic indie rock. Intriguing lyrics and hip moving melodic pop. Strong vocals with back ups at just the right moments. Nice incorporation of not so dominant keyboard melodies that fit like a glove into each song. There were some classic rock influences underlying the guitar and the vocals sometimes reminded me of Hum. Its tone through the entire album is upbeat and catchy. "Intro to Iselin" has a powerful bass line that moves the song into buildup upon buildup. This instrumental shows the talent for composition this band has when they create music together. (MP)

Les Baton Rouge Chloe Yurtz Elevator Music  • Post punk. They define themselves as post punk, which to me implies that punk is post. I disagree. Anyhow, despite what they say, this is a cool disc that is heavily influenced by new wave and punk. This is a high-energy conglomeration of guitars and female vocals that make my loins tingle. (MK)

Lou Dog High Speed Secrets Lou Dog Music • We indie music geeks are obsessed with classifying artists into all sorts of bizarre sub genres, like the whole "musical hairsplitting" thing Douglas Coupland referenced in "Generation X." Things would be much simpler if we just decided if things were good or bad, a basic either/or proposition. Lou Dog would fall under the good category. I'm not going to waste my time or yours trying to decide which sub genre he bests fits into because this guy just plays solid rock music. He's taken decades worth of popular music and distilled the best elements into his songs. (CL)

Lucia Lie I'll Wake You In The Morning self-released • This is emotional indie rock with a strong Americana feel. It's a bit too wimpy for me and I'm not sure about the self-proclaimed "post-grunge" thing. It acts like it's really gonna rock out, but then it sounds subdued, that the style just doesn't allow for a big breakdown, and then you're back to the lead singer's crooning. These guys are desperately trying to get on the radio, but they're gonna have to try harder. (CM)

Madlib Shades of Blue: Madlib Invades Blue Note Blue Note Records • If you know who DJ/producer Madlib is, then you are pretty excited about this record, as you should be. He was given access to Blue Note Records'catalog, and he made good use of it. He remixed and reconstructed classic tracks from the label, and enlisted artists like Yesterdays New Quintet and the Joe McDuphrey Experience to re-record others. (AL)

Maggie's Choice self-titled self-released • Blues-rock and folk music are wound up and ready for country radio airwaves on this debut out of Portland. At times bluesy, at times country, the pop rock sound is always evident throughout. A more conservative approach on the song writing and mainstream sound has made this band a popular draw at venues around the Northwest. This disc is catchy and not bad for what they were striving for. (JC)

Manic Hispanic Mijo Goes To Jr. College BYO Records • Manic Hispanic is the Mexican Weird Al. This time around, they redo 16 punk classics and rework then into their own Chicano anthems. Songs like "I Turned Into A Martian" become "She Turned Into Llorona" and "The KKK Took My Baby Away" becomes "The INS took My Novia Away." You get the idea. (AL)

Marit Bergman It Would Have Been Good Revelation • She has received accolades galore in her home country of Sweden, and now she pops into the USA with this 4-song EP. There is something very endearing about this music. It almost has an early 80's Olivia Newton-John quality to it, but not quite as sunny. It's bittersweet major-chord rock, wanting desperately to be happy but falling into a purgatory of emotion. And it's absolutely right on. (DP)

Mastodon Remission Relapse Records • Mastodon formed from the ashes of noisecore outfit Today is the Day in 2001. Their sound is as thick as it is loud, with what sounds like a million guitars chugging incessantly in the low end of the audio spectrum. Its screamed vocals and frenetic drumming only add to the chaos. (AL)

Matador self-titled A New Breed Entertainment • Even though they have only been around for a short time, L.A.'s Matador sound like seasoned veterans. Their take on Latin rock features well-composed songs in a variety of tempos and moods. If you don't mind lyrics in Spanish, you should take a listen to their stuff. (AL)

Matt Elliott The Mess We Made Merge Records • Matt Elliott is mostly known for his work as The Third Eye Foundation. This first album released under his own name carries the same eeriness as his other work, except that The Mess We Made is way sadder. Languid, melancholic, dreary...these are all good words to use to describe it. If you are really depressed, stay away from it because you might just kill yourself. Otherwise, let the rain fall down on you and enjoy. (AL)

Melissa Gibson Welcome To Stay self-released • This is very mainstream adult pop stuff with solid female vocals and a reassuring sense with each track. Gibson's greatest influence, she says, is Mary Chapin Carpenter. I think the light rock stations would eat this up. (CM)

Mensen Oslo City Gearhead Records • CHICK ROCK! YES! Take The Donnas, get them really pissed off and then let them play loud. That's what you'll get with Mensen. For the guys who look at The Donnas like the cliché chick punk band, you will NOT think of Mensen that way. If you do, they'll kick you square in the nuts and then walk on your head. (SH)

Metakix Headlines  self-released • Here are some Indian rockers. I can't say I've ever heard metal from India before, and to be honest it would be okay if I didn't hear it again. There is nothing wrong with the disc, but there is nothing special about it. It has an '80s hair band quality to it that I've never been thrilled with. I suppose there is potential for them to turn into the Indian Iron Maiden someday. (MK)

Michael Franti and Spearhead Everyone Deserves Music iMusic • In one word, Everyone Deserves Music can be described as groovy, with a rhythm that hints at different influences, from funk and hip-hop to rock and reggae. Franti's socially inspired lyrics are masked by his smooth delivery and the music's enjoyability. (AL)

Midsummer/Coastal This Ageless Night Sun Sea Sky Productions • Midsummer and Coastal each provide five songs on this split CD. First up, Midsummer crafts some incredibly beautiful material. They're reminiscent of a more coherent, upbeat Sigur Ros (and you actually understand the vocals). Coastal has the difficult task of following up Midsummer, and does so quite well with songs of simple and sparse beauty. (CL)

Minor Threat First Demo Tape Dischord • Minor Threat is one of the most influential hardcore/punk bands of the '80s. Their thrashy, anti-establishment music was groundbreaking and fueled the straightedge movement and the soundtrack for the skateboarding youth of the time. The eight songs on this CD are a studio-mixed version of the bands first demo, recorded in early 1981. Classic tunes on here include "Seeing Red," "Straight Edge," and "Guilty of Being White."(CM)

Motion City Soundtrack / Schatzi split EP Doghouse Records • Another EP for you here. Three songs from MCS and three more from Schatzi. Both bands play a power pop/rock style on here with Schatzi being a BIT more mainstream BUT not in a bad way. They just have more great guitar hooks and melody. It's a cool sample of what these two groups can do. (SH)

Mr. Dibbs The 30th Song Rhymesayers Entertainment • Turntable master Mr. Dibbs returns with The 30th Song. This is no ordinary listen-to-me-scratch record though. It includes a couple of songs only found on vinyl up until now. His style is unusual, like in "Porntablist," where he samples porn movies and Marilyn Manson in the same song. (AL)

Ms. Jaz Chances self-released • Why do people send this crap to IMPACT? They obviously have never read the magazine. What the hell can I write about loungy, adult-contemporary with a sound that makes me feel like I'm at a wedding reception? Nothin'against ya, Ms. Jaz, but I just don't have that much love to give. (CM)

Mudville self-titled Slurry Records • Seductive female vocals from Marilyn Carino lay comfortably overtop post-industrial production by Benjamin Rubin, which comes off sensual on this E.P. of mellow beats and eerie vibes. Musical boundaries are played with when down-tempo electronic beats and keys make this four-song collection a nice introduction before a full-length is released. Live instruments accompany their sound with soft, high-pitched howls and poetic lyrics. If what comes next is better than this, we could be hearing more from these two. (JC)

Nick Forté Pasted Lakes Schematic Records • This is the epitome of cut and paste music. Forté created an album of electronica, then threw out most of it and reassembled the remaining pieces into this album, much of it at random, just to see what it would sound like. His experimentation comes close to Autechre territory, while some of it borders on unlistenable. (AL)

No Direction Staring At The Ground Orange Peal Records • This band is obviously going in the "right direction" in a positive way, but also shifting towards a negative way because I can't grasp any distinct features from this band compared to any other bands I have heard, listened to, or took a liking to. I shall call it "Pop Punk with Punk Attributes." With a cross between bands along the same line as Anti-Flag, Vandals, Bouncing Souls, and of course the mainstream MXPX, No Direction is the music for those who love bands that sound like their favorite band, but are just a band with good song detailing and structures. Forget the words, because with their singer, there is nothing to be heard. Overall, a good disc from a good band, but nothing catastrophic. (CMax)

NOFX Regaining Unconsciousness Fat Wreck Chords • This 4 song EP is just a way for the guys at NOFX to tease you a little. You see, their next full-length album won't come out for a few months, so they put out this CD EP with three songs from it as an appetizer. There is also a fourth song, which will not appear on the full length. (AL)

NOFX The War on Errorism Fat Wreck Chords • Well, I guess it didn't take them that long to release the full length as originally expected. It was worth the wait, since you not only get 14 tracks of powerful, politically charged punk rock, but you also get an Enhanced portion with two videos that trash the current administration, as well as an eight minute trailer for the film Unprecedented. (AL)

Nourish The Flame Trial Into Triumph Blood & Ink Records • This one said (or actually screamed a throaty roar) "tough guy hardcore" from the word "Go!" Traditional tattoo layouts and the 1st song's title "Prepare for War." There is some beauty to be found in this beast, as lyrically they challenge the stereotypes and the breakdowns do conquer some different territories. (KM)

Outsmarting Simon Silent Sober And Sound self-released • Like Bruce Springsteen and Bon Jovi before them, Outsmarting Simon hail from the Garden State, beautiful New Jersey. That's about where the comparison ends. Outsmarting Simon isn't churning songs about the working man or slick "rock"for housewives. They've opted for the indie rock/emo route instead, with a sound similar to the Appleseed Cast. It definitely was the right choice. (CL)

Ozma Spending Time On The Borderline Kung Fu Records • The five members of Ozma make excellent melodic pop with a bit of a punk attitude and catchy keyboard lines. Their sound keeps maturing, but their youth remains. If you like Weezer or The Rentals, there's a good chance you'll like Ozma. (AL)

Pascal Hello, My Name is Pascal Uvulittle • Once you can get over how much of a departure this record is from conventional songwriting, you can really see the genius of it. Pascal's sound is somewhat reminiscent of a Vietnam-era folk sound, but his vocals seem even more desperate, as echo effects make it as though he's singing across a chasm. He calls the style "acoustic pop/punk low-fi," and I call it stirring, fascinating and refreshingly original. (DP)

Pinback Offcell Absolutely Kosher Records  • I'm always happy to get a disc that is hard to compare to anything else. Pop? Light Rock? Who can tell? Who cares as long as the music is this good?  Fun and easy to listen to, this seems like the kind of music that would do well on college radio. Catchy riffs and smooth melodies are woven to a nicety. (MK)

Pineforest Crunch Panamarenko Zip Records • The lead female vocals are dreamy, a little reminiscent of Tori Amos or even Bjork. Musically, they offer up 11 tracks of ethereal pop, combining a catchy, melodic jangle with layers of electronic sounds. They hail from Stockholm and have been compared to such bands as The Cranberries and The Beautiful South – and I can't disagree. (CM)

Pistol Grip Another Round BYO • I thought, based solely on the cover, that I was headed for a rash of heavy metal thunder. It was a pleasant surprise to be assaulted by a Ramones-inspired wad of sound. Here is a group that has taken formula punk and managed to make it sound like their own. (MK)

Planes Mistaken For Stars Spearheading The Sin Movement No Idea • I'd venture to guess a band like PMS is a little too big for an EP like this, that is their sound isn't well showcased in the format. That consideration in mind, this release is pretty good. Full of the fury and chaos you'd expect, just toned down and fit into a 3-song form. While your waiting for the full-length this will kick you in the ass a little. (KM)

Poor Rich Ones Joe Maynard's Favourites Five One, Inc. • For their fourth album, Norway's Poor Rich Ones have moved away a bit from their Radiohead similarities and have evolved into their own. The most captivating thing about them is still the sound of William Hut's soaring vocals. The instrumentation remains as lush as ever, including elements of pop, indie rock and a bit of folk. (AL)

Rapider Than Horsepower Stage Fright, Stage Right Essay • From Indiana, this album is the first of a two-part series entitled Stage Fright, Stage Right, This Is My Big Night. This four-piece band has nice rhythm, no bass guitarist, pounding percussion and crisp guitar work. The vocals are made up of rantings and are hard to make out. I feel the experimentation like I once did with Sonic Youth, just a bit more teenage in attitude and lyrics with comparisons made to Red Krayola, Captain Beefheart and Gastr Del Sol. (JC)

Red Card self-titled Useless Chord Records • Occasionally discordant and disturbing, this band defies comparison to anything I have heard before. Rock music with a strange feel to it, this is something that grows on you. It is intense and driving. (MK)

Rhe Fairy Tails & Happy Endings self-released • Rhonda Everitt (aka Rhe) offers up eight tracks of emotional pop rock with a passionate and moving approach to song structure. Her singing style is sincere and penetrating, reminding me of Natalie Merchant. As a matter of fact, there are songs on here that sound a lot like the lighter 10,000 Maniacs material. She performs both solo and with a band, with this recording being the latter. (CM)

Rickshaw Down The Road And Still Burning Fuel Devil Doll Records • This latest release from Rickshaw includes sixteen tracks compiled from several CDs, EPs and split 7" releases from their five year career. Their buzzing guitars and throaty vocals remind a bit of the sludge metal of Monster Magnet and Scene Killer. (AL)

Risk Relay Low Frequency Listener Ernest Jenning Record Co. • Do you like a little chaos in your music, something that's a little more challenging than your standard listening? If so, check out Risk Relay, purveyors of some wild indie rock. The songs are built upon a solid rhythm section, with lurching guitars and frenetic vocals, not unlike some of Unwound's material. Check it out, if you're up to it. (CL)

Rufio self-titled EP Nitro Records • Sugar covered pop punk that is pretty much pandering and pleading for a place on MTV. Cute sassy styles that fit more on the cover of Tiger Beat magazine then anywhere in the punk section of your local record store. I like pop-punk don't get me wrong, but this one sounds sold-out before they ever even bought in. The enhanced CD aspect just made my stomach that much more unsettled. (KM)

S.A. Smash Smashy Trashy Definitive Jux • Joining a growing list of indie rap artists to emerge out of Columbus, OH these cats come to disrespect and attack your state of mind. Camutao and Metro are blessed with tight beats to rhyme their raunchy lyrics over. Bar brawling, horn dog manifestos, hangovers and wasted talent are all confessions packed into this solid disc, which stays strong front to back. They even brought along an underground guest list from the Def Jukie family as well. Aesop Rock, Vast Aire and El-P appear in fine form and help things stay rowdy and up to the minute on any chaos yet to come from these party starters. (JC)

Secret Service This Landmark Will Distort self-released • This four-track release is a sample taste from these guys in Miami. The opening two tracks are basic hard guitar rock strummed throughout with a bit of attitude and occasional chord changes. Heavy percussion and fluid sound from the band as a whole makes "Hibernation" stand out with hopes that the creativity showed on that song continues to go around on future releases. (JC)

Settlefish Dance A While, Upset Deep Elm Records • Punk emo? Is that a real description? Screw it, I'm going with it. It's a bit more on the emo/indie side but they still throw some punk edge in there. They're like a slower version of Finch. It took me a few songs to get into but I dig it. It's definitely a trip from the mundane. (SH)

Shesus Loves You... Loves You Not Narnack • Shesus plays an edgy form of new wave rock straight from the heartland. The band is 80 percent girlies, including the vocal portion, which is a discordant yet melodic assault on your ears. They rock out with passion reminiscent of The Breeders, jumping all over the place but staying aligned on a course straight toward pure rock and roll. (DP)

Sidecar You're Killing Me Three Mileage Records • These guys pose a good question in their bio: "Is it punk music by rockers or rock music by punkers?" Interesting. I'll go with punk music by rockers. They have some real rock riffs in there that give way to punk mayhem. Good, straight-ahead punk rock. They don't miss a beat and have some great hooks. "I've Finally Become the Asshole" is a great cut. (SH)

Sister Sonny The Bandit Lab Five One, Inc. • Norway has been pumping out good music lately, including Kings of Convenience, Sondre Lerch, Røyksopp, and Sister Sonny. The Bandit Lab is really a double record fit on one CD. Their pop/rock straddles the line between electronica and acoustic, with elements of each powering the songs, which tend to be moody and slow to mid tempo. (AL)

Sixty Stories Anthem Red Smallman Records • You will definitely be humming some of these pop tunes to yourself after one listen. There's a female edge to this Weezeresque band with girl vocals. Driving bass lines got this album off to a great start, with perfect backing vocals that joined shortly at the beginning of the first track, "Countdown." Keyboard melodies and strong vocals complete this hard pop line up. Back up vocals are very strong and break up the lead vocals enough for variation from song to song. Distorted bass gives a balance to the poppiness of songs like "First Bell." "Second-hand Table & Chairs" is where the strong influence of Weezer comes through with every instrument and melody, even down to the feedback. (MP)

Slaughter and the Dogs A Dog Day Afternoon TKO Records • This live CD documents Slaughter and the Dogs' first ever US tour. They run through 15 tracks from their long career, which includes songs spanning from 1976 to 2001. Their brand of music is more rock than punk, but it kicks ass just as well. (AL)

Solea Even Stranger Three Mileage Records • Remember Samiam? Remember Texas Is The Reason? Well, Samiam's Sergie Loobkoff and Texas Is The Reason's Garrett Klahn got together and had a baby. No, not really, that isn't anatomically possible, but they do have a new band named Solea. Named for an old Miles Davis song (as if there were any other kind of Miles Davis song nowadays), Solea certainly has more in common with their previous bands than dead jazz icons. Take one part punk and two parts rock, some tight performances and great production, and you've got a nice little debut EP. (CL)

Sonny A Temporary Remedy Fast Music • Catchy emo rock and melodic punk riffs carry this 11-song release. Songs like "40/35" have some predictable punk progressions but then slap you in the face with great backup vocals and a song like "Through the Looking Glass" to follow. The guitars compliment each other with intricacy and reminded me of Further Seems Forever at times. The vocals were similar in tone and melody to Alkaline Trio. It's hard to nail this album with one genre label. It really is a mixture of many influences ranging from emo to punk and metal and everything in between. I could see fans of Saves the Day and Taking Back Sunday really loving this band. Nothing innovative and life changing, but just some good rock n'roll. (MP)

SöuR Exactly What You Think It Is Gray Goo Transmissions • Fronted by hot blonde Sativa Novak on vocals, SöuR craftily combine hard rock, pop and electronica. Think of Garbage mixed with Lords of Acid and you're pretty close. There is a certain amount of glitz here, from the crystal clear production to the graphically enhanced cover art. (AL)

Star Strangled Bastards Whose War Is It? Go Kart Records • Classic spikes-n-bristles punk fit almost to a formula. Stencil lettered fonts, mohawks, and songs about all the things punk bands should sing about, anti-religion, anti-establishment, and the such. While it's nothing you couldn't find somewhere else in the extensive history of punk, this release has the things you want to see, honesty, passion, and power chords. Lyrically more creative than you might expect, and a good release for the most part. (KM)

Straw Dogs Hum of the Motor Crafty Records • These two guys script catchy, laid-back tunes that remind me of James Taylor, Jimmy Buffet and Counting Crows. It's jangly, earthy and sincere. The melodies are hard to deny, despite the fact that it's nothing spectacular. Be careful, you'll find yourself getting into this. (CM)

StrongPoint Aphonic EP self-released • This is the first hardcore I've heard in a while. I was worried it had gone the way of the Dodo! Not so! StrongPoint tosses in a nice five-song EP of face-smashing hardcore here. They do it right. Good licks, big break downs, good stuff. Check them out live if you're in NY, the Long Island area. Strong Island! (SH)

Sullen Paint The Moon Thick Records • Sullen opens with a raunchy rock-n-roll attitude on "War Forges On," then transitioning into the sounds of "Strawberry Blonde" where female vocals take over during a mellow intro that turns rowdy and sets the table for the rest of this disc. Easily comparable to what Courtney Love and Hole were doing before their freak out, the rock on this album is good but lacks the element of surprise. (JC)

Summer Hymns Clemency Misra Records • Folk music and even blues flow through this record. Flaming Lips influences come through in the vocals. There are even some Sebadoh moments, but this band from Athens, GA has really come across a sound they make complete. Indie folk rock with structures. Pavement with some twang. Members of Masters of the Hemisphere and Of Montreal came together with front man Zachary Gresham for a folk implosion that any alt country indie rocker will love. Tracks like "Upon Your Face" show the versatility of this band with keyboards and slide guitar. (MP)

Ten Grand This is the Way to Rule Southern Records • It's hard to categorize Ten Grand's sound. They are not quite punk, not quite hardcore, and a bit melodic. Their songs are musically complicated, with plenty of tempo and key changes. In short, they are the kind of band that is unusual enough to belong on Southern Records. (AL)

The Allstonians Bottoms Up! Fork in Hand Records • Just like with the dot com craze, hundreds of ska bands flooded the market place a few years back, but most disappeared. Only a few remain, and one of those is The Allstonians. For over 12 years they have been cranking out catchy, rhythmic traditional ska songs with great horns and keyboards. (AL)

The American Analog Set Promise of Love Tiger Style Records • Promise of Love brings more of The American Analog Set's penchant for swirling melodies and hypnotic tunes, without spiraling downward into drone. Taking a cue from Stereolab, they create songs with a catchy beat and smooth vocals, with beautiful keyboard lines. (AL)

The Apparitions Oxygen Think Tank self released • The Apparitions have been together for six years and have created their own genre of music entitled post-secondary-political-science-rock-with-a-minor-in-art-history. If that doesn't describe these guys enough, I don't what would. (RP) 

The Austerity Program Terra Nova Hydra Head Records • One guitarist, one bassist, and a drum machine make up the Austerity Program. Together they play some pretty heavy stuff, with ultra downtuned instruments and top-of ­the-lungs screamed vocals. They remain in the mid-tempo range, with much repetition and not-too-complex songs. Awesome. (AL)

The Cinematic Orchestra Man With A Movie Camera Ninja Tune Records • This album is the score to the 1929 silent film with the same name. Some of its tracks appeared on TCO's Every Day album, which was partly inspired by the time spent working to score the film. Jazzy and downtempo, it can stand on its own as an album without relying on the film to make sense. (AL)

The Coachwhips Get Your Body Next Ta Mine Narnack Records • The Coachwhips bring back the "old swingin garage rock" sound familiarized by such acts as The Hives, The White Stripes, and The International Noise Conspiracy. I can't understand a word they're saying, and that may be a flaw, but all I know is I love The Hives and garage rock in general. I respect the bands that do what they need to do to have fun and can downplay the modern aspect and defunct situations of our lives to produce crappy songs about stupid things that everyone seems to like. Go to a Coachwhips show and go crazy! Or better yet, sit back and relax with The Coachwhips over your home stereo and a glass of iced lemonade in your hand and forget about everything for five minutes. The Coachwhips produce the euphoria of marijuana and they're not illegal! (CMax)

The Connection Thanks For Listening GS4 Productions • A driving rock sound comes through on the opening track "Cash Rationale" and then the 80's dance beat rock on "Let Me Know" helps shed light on the concept here. This 6-track disc is mostly about fall-outs with women and trying to get by in life the best way possible. Though homage is paid here to the many influences around NYC, a clear direction is needed before this becomes worthy of much time, just a bit too much packaging of ideas inside so little quantity. (JC)

The Deathray Davies Midnight At The Black Nail Polish Factory Glurp • Echoes catch you off guard at first then the big guitars, trombone, violins and trumpets sneak in to add depth to this release out of Dallas. Pop hooks and a new approach on their forth album has The Davies being compared to "Wilco at their most focused and Beach Boys at their sloppiest." Though this disc is catchy in a rawk way, it also is balanced by tracks like "Low And Silent" which is mellow with a violin break. Overall this is a solid collection of tracks that get off course and make it back in time to finish the ride. (JC)

The Essex Green The Long Goodbye Merge Records • Although it features elements of the retro sounds of the 60's, like farsifa organs and melodic singing, The Long Goodbye doesn't feel like an homage to an era. Soon it adds some country and pop flavors to the mix, making a well-rounded record for a lazy Sunday afternoon. (AL)

The Fearless Freep Go Cry Mag Wheel Records • The Fearless Freep come with a little more rock than they did on their two previous albums. They remind me of J Mascis and the Fog, with their jangle pop-rock tunes that are perfect for a road trip or an evening camping in a tent. Vocally, Robert John Stephens is gifted; he can really belt out a good tune. The Freep hail from Montreal and have been together for six years. I hope they stick with this, 'cause it's good stuff. (CM)

The Fight Home Is Where The Hate Is Fat Wreck Chords • The Fight is fronted by K8 (Kate) and she kicks ass! It took me a couple listens to be convinced that she's really a she but she's awesome. She's the best female punk singer I've heard in a long while. The band has great energy and their yelling backing vocals make you feel like you're listening to the Sex Pistols with Joanie Rotten on lead vox. Good tunes! (SH)

The Forecast Proof of Impact Thinker Thought Records • The Forecast calls for rock! This Illinois quartet has some thick guitar sounds and anthemic tunes, a la My Hotel Year. A couple of songs sound like early Smashing Pumpkins before Billy Corgan fell in love with his press clippings. They have a softer, gentler side as well, with some good male-female vocals. (CL)

The Gathering Souvenirs The End Records • The Gathering's latest CD, Souvenirs, showcases their ability to perfectly blend aspects from rock, trip hop and electronica into a style they call triprock. Anneke van Giersbergen's vocals are smoky and sultry, with melancholic melodies. The resulting sound is definitely dark, yet organic. (AL)

The Guts Say Good-bye To Fun Spider Bite Records • The Guts remind me of everything that I started listening to punk rock for, catchy guitar riffs, sassy lyrics, and drums that take a beating. Taking cues from the classic East Bay days, these 5 songs might give you hope of filling that void left when Green Day became MTV's sweethearts. "Mary Jane" is the kind of song you listen to over and over and relate all too well. (KM)

The Impossible Shapes Bless The Headless Recordhead Music  • Trippy and cool, this disc is reminiscent of old Pink Floyd and psychedelic bliss. Mellow and transfixing, the tunes are catchy and almost Beatles-like at times. Subtle and calm, this is a great disc to listen to any time.  (MK)

The Indicators Kill The Messenger Lynn Point Records  • Hey! Do you like Tom Petty? Of course you do. You will like these guys. They have a sound that is very reminiscent of Tom Petty, but is not a rip off of it. This is a good rock album. Not too hard, not too wimpy, melodic and soulful, this is a great batch of songs. It seems like this is a group that you will be hearing on the radio soon. (MK)

The Locust Plague Soundscapes Epitaph Records • The Locust is the anti-music. Twenty-three songs in about the same number of minutes make up Plague Soundscapes, which by the way, is a very appropriate title. Hardcore, grindcore, noisecore, who knows what this is? It's explosive, violent, and over quickly. (AL)

The Milwaukees This Is A Stick-Up Does Everyone Stare • I've spent some time in Milwaukee, and it's not nearly as bad as one might think. Granted, I had consumed much of the city's best known export, beer, and my powers of observation might not have been all that keen. The Milwaukee's aren't actually from the fair little city on the edge of Lake Michigan. Who really cares about where they're from as long as they're churning out driving alt rock like this? Veteran producer John Agnello, who's worked with the likes of Dinosaur Jr. and Jawbreaker, gives their melodic guitar rock a nice shine. (CL)

The Oranges Band All Around Lookout Records • Power pop from Baltimore. Whiny vocals combining Elvis Costello influences with Morrissey. The guitar tone gives it a mod rock feel. Think The Strokes but way more pop rock. Very catchy melodies that start to sound alike as the album progresses. The vocals tend to get monotonous by the fifth track or so. Not bad to put on to bob your head to but not a necessary fixture to a CD collection. (MP)

The Parkinsons A Long Way to Nowhere Elevator Music • Going the way of Iggy Pop and The Ramones, these guys are packed with punk and fight. Causing chaos at their live shows is carried over on this disc produced by The Jesus and Marychains'Jim Reid. Everything here is pure adrenaline punk aggression, and consistent in its energy ­ pure balls to the wall. This band hails from Portugal but vocals carry a thick English accent. (JC)

The RavenMasters Painkillers Ionic Records • What could have been a decent 5-track collection is nothing more than an unpolished rock experiment. Much of this disc is rubble, just enough tripped out sounds to merit attention. The distorted collection gets acoustic and emo at times with whining vocals alongside screeching and echoing instrumentation. "The 13th Floor" stands out, the violin and backward cymbal sounds help unleash the possibilities of what the music and vocals could one day create. (JC)

The Real McKenzies Oot & Aboot Honest Don's Records • Everyone put on their kilts, raise a glass of beer in the air and toast the Celtic-inspired punk rock courtesy of The Real McKenzies. Nothing amps you up more than a fast beat, electric guitars and a well-played set of bagpipes. You'll be singing along until your neighbors call the cops on you. (AL)

The Recoil Effect Forever or Never Again self-released • Adventures in lo-fi might be the best way to describe this release from emo-acoustic duo. Acoustic music in itself is pretty low tech of course, but the recording quality multiplies that, leaving the songs more muddled and lacking the power I'm sure they have in a different setting. The last song's live recording has the din of voices drowning out the song. With that as a consideration, this CD has some good songs on it that reminds me a lot of Kind of Like Spitting. (KM)

The Rubinoos Crimes Against Music Zip Records • Together since 1977, The Rubinoos have been cranking out pop-rock tunes with catchy melodies and bouncy beats. For their latest release, they decided to cover 13 of their favorite songs from the 60's, 70's, and 80's, including songs by Elvis Costello, Lou Christie, The Beach Boys, and The Eurythmics. (AL)

The Shut-Ups It Hurts To Be Seen Imperial Fuzz Records • Ready for some fun? Put away all the political mumbo-jumbo and just sit back and listen to the Shut-Ups. They play fun geek pop, a little less loud than the BN Ladies but quirkier and just as fun. If those two bands were on the same gig it would be the funnest show in the history of music. OK, maybe that's a bit brazen but it would be REALLY fun. They play geeky and they're proud. (SH)

The Vanities self-titled self-released • Compared to Mr. Bungle, The Pixies and Frank Zappa a bit more pop in the melodies and punk in the harmonies is delivered on this disc with electric guitars that screech with a synthetic hard rock sound. Bass guitar and percussion are used in an uncanny way along side the guitar squeals of Joe Reilly and Rob Blake on tracks like "The Arabic Russian Disco Song." This feels a lot like Primus at times, the lyrics and vocal style bounces around and unlike Primus, The Vanities are able to sound as though they are improvising through changes in tempo and make it feel natural and not rushed. The production is solid but it's not what makes this album worth keeping. (JC)

The Virtues Ruminate Crying Bob Records/Zip Records • They may be big in Sweden but this pop rock goes nowhere in the States. On this debut album by The Virtues, influences are pawned off as their own from the likes of The Replacements, Lemonheads, Buffalo Tom and Urge Overkill. Vocals are sappy and the all too familiar "strum-a-strum" of the guitar and "verse chorus verse" exchange gets too basic to merit creative praise. (JC)

Thirty Called Arson You're Only A Rebel From The Waist Downward Pluto Records • With some of the most complicated songs in metalcore, Thirty Called Arson somehow get through them, leaving a trail of destruction behind them. Two guitarists create the grumbling background upon which throaty vocals dominate. Under the loudness, though, are some well written songs with more depth than you'd think. (AL)

Those Peabodys Unite Tonight Tiger Style Records • Cowbell. That says it all. These Texans are rock n'roll complete with reminiscent Cheap Trick vocals, but not quite as powerful. It's hard to recreate "The Flame." Eighties guitar that just make you picture long curly blonde hair banging back and forth with a fist in the air, full metal sign flashing. This is definitely guitar driven rock influenced possibly by the likes of Thin Lizzy. Sometimes the vocal stylings even reminded me of Mick Jagger. This seems like a band that would be great live and just okay on CD. "Denim and Diamonds Forever" had a long instrumental introduction with a funk bass line and almost an indie rock feel. Once the vocals enter, I was waiting for the AC/DC cover to start and I was reminded of where I was. This is a great listen for fans of hard rock. (MP)

Threats Twelve Punk Moves Dr. Strange Records • PLAY THIS LOUD, YOU &#$%#&**@ SISSIES! THIS is punk! This is angry, beer-swilling punk that makes you want to punch your kid brother in the throat! YEAH! What ever happened to anarchy? It's right here! (SH)

Timesbold self-titled Tin Drum Recordings • 45 minutes of being lost in a forest might be a good way to approach this CD, as there are moments both beautiful and erie. With a sort of sound you might find from a street musician that's listened to his fair share of indie rock, Timesbold have created something unique in a genre not exactly famous for that. You can absolutely tell there was a lot of work and heart put into these songs. The additions of a music store full of extra instruments rounds out the creative outburst. (KM)

Truth Be Known Stealing Stones To Build Tomorrow Blood & Ink • TBK have a kind of old school 90's metal-core feel, almost like a mix of Bloodlet and Endpoint (If you can mix those two bands?) Great slow dirge parts separated by melodic sometime acoustic breakdowns, TBK keep as interesting as they do intense. (KM)

Two Guys Recorded Absolutely Kosher Records • Patiently awaiting that new Pinback full-length? Well, this isn't it, but it does feature Cameron Jones who's toured with Pinback, and Cameron's older brother Ryan who hasn't. The Portland-based brother's debut is a diverse record, with a surprisingly rich sound for a duo. Cameron's baritone guitar covers a wide array of sounds and adds depth and texture to their tunes. Maybe it's not Pinback, but this album establishes Two Guys as a solid indie rock band in their own right. (CL)

Ugly Duckling Taste The Secret Emperor Norton • This is a party album with emphasis on creativity. These guys, with nearly 10 years of experience, bring a bumpin', fun element ala Paul Barman with a level of funkiness you'd hear on "Paul's Boutique"-era Beastie Boys. From track one to 16, this album is a head-noddin'trip loaded with horn samples, jazzed up grooves, hilarious samples and plenty of beats. This is hip-hop for those who don't take their music too seriously. (CM)

Under The Weather self-titled EP Orange Peal Records • Soon to be gracing the front pages of your every day Rolling Stone Magazine. Under The Weather (mostly known for and as Sloppy Meateaters) bring a colossal debut EP under the new name, and under a brand new style that will soon grow and expand to the masses. Josh Chambers' dark lyrics, mixed with Under The Weather's emo-core song structures and passionate break down's and interludes left me screaming for more than six songs (five originals, and one Nirvana Cover). Knowing Sloppy Meateater's success, Under The Weather is bound to be in heavy rotation on both you local radio station and around the rings of your old CD player. This CD is just one more step to stardom. (CMax)

Uphill Battle self-titled Relapse Records • Combining grindcore's speed with hardcore's aggression, Uphill Battle leave none standing with their music. Their songs are complex, shifting from slow riffing to maniacal shredding. There is no need for this CD to be any longer than its 28 minutes. You'd never survive any longer than that. (AL)

Various Artists Black on Black: A Tribute to Black Flag Initial Records • Nine Black Flag songs get covered on this tribute album, including songs from Converge, The Dillinger Escape Plan (featuring a new singer), Planes Mistaken For Stars, and The Hope Conspiracy. There's even the only song recorded by Coalesce in over two years. If you are a fan of Black Flag or metalcore, get this album. (AL)

Various Artists Contaminated 5.0 Relapse Records • Relapse Records puts out some of the hardest music out there, and to prove it, they have released Contaminated 5.0. This double disc set includes 45 songs of insane death, grind, doom, black and just about every other kind of metal out there. Bands include Mortician, Agoraphobic Nosebleed, Alabama Thunderpussy, The Dillinger Escape Plan, Neurosis, Exhumed, Soilent Green, and tons more. Stop wasting time and go buy this. (AL)

Various Artists Emo is Awesome, Emo is Evil Deep Elm Records • Sometimes it feels like Deep Elm puts a compilation out every few weeks, doesn't it? Just keep Œem coming guys. This one has 19 tracks, including songs by Planes Mistaken For Stars, The Appleseed Cast, Camber, This Beautiful Mess, Pop Unknown, Slowride, and others. It is an excellent way for you to preview what the label has to offer. (AL)

Various Artists Summer Solution Reason Y Records • A first release for a new record company that brings a diverse and eclectic mix of sounds. Nothing that really makes you stand up and take notice, and a lot of bands you haven't heard of, but thoroughly a good listen. You can tell a great energy went into its production, with the spirit of true DIY shining through it all, and you can never fault that. (KM)

Various Artists The Gearhead Records Smash Up Derby Gearhead Records • This budget sampler features tracks from every band on Gearhead, plus tracks from Gearhead singles by The Donnas, The Hives, The Hellacopters, and The Hives. Some of these tracks have been out of print for a while, so grab them up while you can. (AL)

Various Artists The International Language of Love Whoa Oh Records • You've got 16 great punk songs on this disc, by Zatopeks, The 20Belows, The Apers and Twentyyearsold. You can hear influences of The Queers and Bouncing Souls in here. This is a nice mix of some good, new punk. It's not radio friendly like New Found Glory or Sum 41 but it's every bit as good. Listen to this in the garage, not at the office! (SH)

Various Artists The Streets of Philadelphia II Wonka Vision Records • This diverse regional comp. has a little bit of everything to give you a good view of the sounds of brotherly love. Some of the better spins on this disc came from; This Day Forward, Go! For the Throat, Metroplex, and Racing Daylight. A really good mix of a bit of everything. (KM)

Various Artists Transitions Dara Productions • Are you serious? The opening track by Mustafa Akbar is a horrible attempt at R&B with an under produced synth bass line for starters. What follows is a horrible attempt at dance music - much of the music on this disc sounds too generic and comes off more adult contemporary and 80ish than needs to. Def Touch provides a decent attempt at hip-hop a la Prince but overall this is just not worth the time. (JC)

Various Artists Underground Screams Asian Man • There's something beautiful about the underdogs and the minor leagues, about the not so famous who rock it as hard as anybody. It's the beauty and nature of punk rock, it's the living embodiment of DIY... And it's what this CD is all about. The best 26 submissions from over 600 unsigned bands. Running the range from punk to ska. The highlights include The Swayback, Charlie Brown Gets a Valentine, and Resident Weirdo. (KM)

Waterdown The Files You Have On Me Victory Records • This record stuck me the same way Grade's "Separating the Magnets" did, a sort of sweet refreshing slap in the face that said the musical landscape as I knew it was changing before my eyes. I'm not sure if it will have the enduring classic qualities that the Grade record did, but initially its brilliant. Screamo, hardcore, and straight-up rock mixed well for a batch of something all together new. (KM)

Weed Patch Maybe The Brakes Will Fail Ohgrowupalready Records • "Fucked up folk" is how Neil Weiss, head dude in WP, describes his band and, really, that's dead on. There are some Neil Young influences here and he's a fan of Wilco so you get where it's coming from. He's got some good driving songs on here. "Like California" made me want to rush out and take a spin. (SH)

why? Oaklandazulasylum Anticon Records • Yoni Wolf's slightly nasal and underachieving vocal style is recognizable instantly, whether on his efforts with cLOUDDEAD, reaching quiet, or by himself. His use of slow beats, or no beats at all creates a somber mood that lasts throughout the album, augmented by his use of strings and keyboards. (AL)

William Hut Road Star Doolittle Five One, Inc. • The desperate mood played out on this disc is fronted by the fragile, whining vocals of Hut and some dream-inducing music that transforms your attention into a made up world of other dimensions. Keyboard and funeral-like organs float you through the opening two tracks as a buildup to the added percussion and guitar strings later included while keeping the atmosphere intact. Serious mood music that is mellow enough to wind down the night with. (JC)

World Leader Pretend Fit for Faded self-released • This is the first release from WLP. Having been together for little over two years, their music is finely executed and has a unique texture. The opening track sounds like Buena Vista Social Club meets Modest Mouse. Borrowing many styles, these guys have a put together a really catchy mix of a lot of different instruments. If you're into bands like Built to Spill, Pavement or La Gaurdia you should check out World Leader Pretend. (RP)


Mest Live at the House of Blues Kung Fu Records • This is the second episode from Kung Fu Records' "The Show Must Go Off!" series, and it is well worth the money. Mest is captured in all their punk glory as fans go crazy. The best feature of this DVD is the "quint split" option, where you can see all five cameras on the screen at the same time, getting the full concert experience. (AL)

One Man Army Live at the Troubadour Kung Fu Records • Taped at the Troubadour, this DVD features 16 tracks of raw punk energy, and is the third episode of Kung Fu Records' "The Show Must Go Off!" series. Aside from the usual photo gallery and band commentary, you also get Dolby Digital sound and a backstage tour with the band members themselves. A must have for One Man Army fans. (AL)

Various Artists Michigan Fest 2002 Documented Makoto Recordings • This DVD captures the raw energy felt over three days in March 2002, when 34 bands played Michigan Fest. Some of the bands include Aloha, Arab on Radar, Coalesce, Death Cab For Cutie, Dillinger 4, !!!, The Dismemberment Plan, Hey Mercedes, Isis, Milemarker, and Planes Mistaken For Stars. (AL)

In alphabetical order. Please write them.

A New Breed Ent., 9901 Saticoy, Burbank, CA 91504
Absolutely Kosher,
Amerikan Made,
Anticon Records,
Asian Man Records,
BBE, 8b Langton Road, Cricklewood, London, NW2 6QA
Beth Thornley,
Blood & Ink Records,
Blue Note Records,
Boss Tuneage,
Broken Rekids,
BYO Records,
Chris Katris,
Corky McClerkin,
Crafty Records,
Crucial Blast,
Crying Bob Records,
Dara Productions, no contact info available
Day By Day Entertainment,
Dead Canary,
Deathwish, Inc.,
Deep Elm Records,
Def Jux,
Devil Doll Records,
Digital Club Network,
Dischord Records,
Does Everyone Stare,
Doghouse Records,
Dr. Strange Records,
Dying Wish Records,
Eclectone Records,
El Sob,
Elevator Music,
Emperor Norton Records,
Entartete Kunst,
Epitaph Records,
Equal Vision Records,
Ernest Jenning Record Co.,
Essay, 1021 South Walnut, Bloomington, IN 47401
Essence of Now Records,
Fast Music,
Fat Wreck Chords,
Five One, Inc.,
Fork in Hand Records,
Fuel 2000 Records,
Fueled By Ramen,
Gangstyle Records,
Gearhead Records,
Go-Kart Records,
Gray Goo Trans., PO Box 42, Hollywood, CA 90048-4526
GS4 Productions,
Guidance Recordings Inc.,
Habit of Mine,
Hazel Lord,
Honest Don's Recordings,
Hydra Head Records,
Iambreathing Records,
Imperial Fuzz,
Imposter Records,
In Music We Trust,
Initial Records,
Innerstrength Records,
Ionik Records,
Jagjaguwar Records,
James Crouch, no contact info available
K Records,
Kung Fu Records,
Lex Records,
Little Roar Records,
Lookout Records,
Lou Dog Music,
Lovitt Records,
Lucia Lie,
Lynn Point Records,
Maelstrom Music Publicity,
Mag Wheel Records,
Maggie's Choice,
Makoto Recordings,
Malt Soda Records,
Melissa Gibson,
Merge Records,
Misra Records,
Ms. Jaz,
Mush Records,
My Pal God Records,
Narnack Records,
Ninja Tune Records,
Nitro Records,
No Idea Records,
Northern Blues Music,
Ohgrowupalready, no contact info available
Orange Peal Records,
Outsmarting Simon,
Ozone Music, no contact info available
Perhaps Transparent,
Planet Mu,
Pluto Records,
Project Blowed,
Purpose Records, no contact info available
Reason Y Records,
Relapse Records,
Revelation Records,
Rhymesayers Entertainment,
Ricky Valente,
Schematic Records, no contact info available
Search and Destroy, PO Box 8260, Ann Arbor, MI 48107
Secret Service,
Sessions Records,
Simba Recordings,
Slurry Records,
Smallman Records,
Southern Records,
Spider Bite Records,
Springman Records,
StrongPoint, 30 Drohan Street, Huntington, NY 11743
Substance Recs, 3138 NE 65th Ave., Portland, OR 97213
Sun Sea Sky Productions,
Supreme Dispassion,
Tee Pee Records,
The Apparitions,
The End Records,
The Militia Group,
The Recoil Effect,
The Vanities,
Thick Records,
Thinker Thought Records,
Three Mileage Records,
Tiger Style Records,
Tin Drum Recordings,
Tinderbox Music,
TKO Records,
Tooth and Nail Records,
Touch and Go Records,
Traktor 7,
Trend Is Dead,
Truckstop Audio,
Useless Chords,
Uvulittle Records,
Victory Records,
Whoa Oh Records,
Wide Hive Records,
Wonka Vision,
World Leader Pretend,
Zip Records,

Music reviews from past issues: