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Oct.-Nov. '00 Articles:

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Editorial: Scapegoating

Understanding Religious Wars

Vaccines: For Your Health or Their Profit?

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Black Myths

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This Issue's Top Picks | Vinyl reviews

CD reviews
200 North/Esteem Split CD Eulogy Records • Holy Hardcore Hammer of the Gods! This is the best hardcore release this year, if not in years. 200 North is a young straight-edge band that shows promise. Esteem, Florida's best-kept hardcore secret, deliver. They power through seven amazing songs. Emotional and positive, and extremely well produced, Esteem has put out a watershed release that sets a new direction for hardcore. It's nice to put the '90s behind us and see that there is a future to hardcore, all the more amazing that it's coming from Naples, Florida.

7 Seconds Scream Real Loud... Live! Side One Dummy • This is surprisingly clear for a live recording and a solid document of all your favorite 7Seconds songs. You even get covers of "If the Kids Are United," and "99 Red Balloons," and 24 more songs. If you've always wanted to know what 7Seconds were about, get this CD, particularly if your first and last experience with them was the Soul Force Revolution album. If you're a long time fan, well, these 26 songs are well worth having.

90 Day Men (It (Is) It) Critical Band Southern Records • Have you ever played that game where someone asks you what the perfect line-up for a three band concert would be? Mine would have to be Blonde Redhead, Don Caballero and 90 Day Men. The three bands compliment each other musically, with 90 Day Men bridging the gap between the other two. They play with the same experimental attitude that Blonde Redhead has, yet they also play chunkier guitar riffs, a la Don Caballero.

AFI The Art Of Drowning Nitro • I'm not quite sure what happened, but I just did not care for this disc too much. It doesn't seem hard enough to be hardcore, but it's not punk enough to be punk. It really doesn't even seem like a delicate blend of the two. There are 14 tracks here and some of them are really good, but not good enough to support the rest of it.

Agent Orange Greatest and Latest... Cleopatra Records • Agent Orange is an '80s Orange County skaterock/punk band that wrote the songs that formed the soundtrack to my early teens. Flashforward to present day and they've released a recording of some new material and some older material. My favorites are all here: "Breakdown," "Everything Turns Grey," "Cry for help...," "Bloodstains." I'm not a big fan of the re-recordings, as the energy captured on the originals isn't, and can't be, recaptured. Punk isn't just about the songs. It's in the emotion of the delivery. Ideally you'd have new emotions to share 16 years later, lest you inadvertently parody your earlier works by emoting, rather than sharing genuine emotion. There are no liner notes explaining why they felt the need to re-record these songs, or why they got back together. I'm probably harder on this because I really hold these guys in high esteem.

Automator A Much Better Tomorrow 75 Ark Entertainment • Back in 1996, Dan the Automator released the A Better Tomorrow EP. Recently, he decided to add a few vintage tracks to that record and turn it into an LP. His raw Hip-Hop beats are good either on their own, or accompanied by rapping by Sinister 6000 (Kool Keith), Neph the Madman, and Poet. Also lending his scratching skills is DJ QBert on the track "I Want Da Mic." The result is a more complete taste of the Automator's musical style around 1996.

Beth Hirsch Life Is Mine Studio K7 • You've probably heard Beth Hirsch sing before, performing on Air's Moon Safari album. Her sensual, soft voice has a certain beauty and emotion that is not lost in this remix EP. Four versions of the title track appear here, including the album version and three remixes by Red Snapper, Tommy Hools and Borngräber & Strüver. All three tracks differ in musical styles. The Red Snapper mix is moody and almost Trip-Hop. Tommy Hools adds a house/Disco beat to his rendition, while Borngräber & Strüver give it a nice piano melody and a combo of Breakbeat & Drum ‘N Bass.

Big L R.I.P. Rawkus • If you haven't yet heard, Big L is dead. If you're like me, you probably never even new he was alive. And for good reason, the music on this disc is entirely forgettable and dated. Is it merely coincidence that all these dead gangster rappers sound the same or is there some conspiracy that continues to rid the world of mediocre and cliche hip hop?

Billy Bacon & the Forbidden Pigs Pig Latin Triple X Records • The press kit describes Billy Bacon & the Forbidden Pigs as the "kings of TexMex Blues-abilly." That's the perfect way to describe their sound. Songs combine the Mexican sounds of the Norteña and the Cumbia styles, with a little of Blues and Country, with a touch of Jimmy Buffet. Some of them reminded me of the Monkees for some reason. (Imagine Davie Jones drunk of his ass in Tijuana.) It might sound like a gimmick, but Mr. Bacon has been doing this for over a decade.

Blonde Redhead Mélodie Citronique Touch and Go Records • As you may know, the members of Blonde Redhead are multi-national, their members hailing from Japan, Italy, as well as the U.S. This EP features 3 tracks from their last album, Melody of Certain Damaged Lemons, re-recorded in different languages. There's "In Particular" in French, "Hated Because of Great Qualities" in Italian, and a remixed version of "For the Damaged" in English. Also included are two unreleased tracks, one new track and a cover of Serge Gainsbough's "Slogan."

Bob City self-titled Derailleur Records • I had a hard time understanding the lead singer, but I'm surprised I didn't hear him say "pedal to the metal" on this album. Bob City's music is blues and country influenced garage rock, with above normal production values. There's a certain Mad Trucker Gone Mad thing going on at times. This 25-minute CD starts out with the punchy "Boystown" setting the mood, letting you know they are here to kick some rock and roll ass. After that you'll be hooked in, unable to press the stop button (not that you'll want to).

Books on Tape Take a Read on the Riding Mad Mad Records • Books on Tape plays "abstract beat compositions for a sophisticated audience," according to the literature that came with the album. Their music is not as abstract as perhaps Autechre or Squarepusher, but it is cool. This music is appropriate, mostly for chillin' out after a long night of raving, or for getting your groove on with your honey. Apparently their music has been heard on MTV's teem-romp drama "Undressed," so you know it's got to be sexy.

Brandtson Trying to Figure Each Other Out EP Deep Elm • Brandtson gives us a new 6-song EP full of songs inspired by heartbreak and hope. Their style of chiming guitars and dual vocals is a perfect compliment to their hook-laden pop tracks. The press release said "signature aggression," but I'd have to disagree... not that there's anything wrong with that. This is passionate, melodic, and real.

Burning Heads Escape Victory Records • Though this starts off in a hardcore vein, Burning Heads play pop punk and reggae as well. This is a really catchy and likable album, so give it a listen. The CD also includes two very cool animations in QuickTime you can play on your computer.

Carl Verheyen Atlas Overload Provogue • Now here's a guy with a resume. Besides fronting Supertramp post-1985, Verheyen has contributed music to over 100 major movies, and has played alongside greats such as Dave Grusin, Stanley Clark, and Little Richard. His fantastic guitar prowess creates an atmosphere sometimes as powerful and rockin' as George Thoroughgood, and at other times gentle as Joni Mitchell with a skinned knee. This album is full of good things.

Cave In Jupiter Hydra Head Records • All expectations should be left behind before you play this CD. Cave In have morphed to become a progressive pop band, similar to Our Lady Peace. You must commend their bravery in searching out their bliss in Middle Eastern tones and higher octave singing. The instrumentation is lush and beautifully arranged and, ideally, fans of Radiohead and other bands pushing their envelopes will get hold of this release and appreciate its artistic merits as a concept album.

Chainsaw Kittens The All American 4 Alarm Records • You know the name, you know the sound, you know this band, right? Wrong! This is a bit of a different Kittens disc. There is some piano here and at times they sound more like Ben Folds Five than their usual noisy selves. Still, there is plenty of noise, like on "Gleaming Soft White Teens" and "The Treasure Is Love." However, their best song on this disc is, of course, the genius cover of "We Got The Beat."

Chixdiggit From Scene to Shining Scene Honest Don's • These songs are going to get stuck in your head, bouncing around like moths on a light bulb. This is good, fun pop-punk in the Queers style. There are 11 songs on the disc and my only beef with the whole thing is that it seems kind of short. I guess that means that I will simply have to purchase their next disc.

Chubb From Us to You Pop Culture Records • High energy "new skool" punk, which translates to some good punk tunes like "Just Another Love Song," and others that don't show much range. When they change tempo and slow down they display some serious musical talent. Based out of Ottawa, these three guys have a strong following in their home country and are looking to pick up some fans here in the states. With the So-Cal punk sound and the Canadian musical heritage of such greats as Celine Dion, I'm sure this won't be a problem.

Close Call Too Close EP Espo Records • With nods to Burn, Judge and other old-school hardcore bands (plus newer bands like Hot Water Music and Avail), this four-piece from New England is ready to tear it up with Too Close, a six-song EP. What this CD offers is pounding rhythms, fast-paced music, vocals that are more spoken then sung, group chanting, and plenty of melody spread throughout. This is windmill inducing, stage-dive encouraging hardcore for those who prefer it with more punk than metal.

Coach Package Deal Doghouse Records • This trio from Germany sounds like a garage Jesus Jones. Their brand of pop isn't too bad but it's not astounding either. The singer's voice could use some work but, overall, they're pretty tight. Their live shows are said to be their strong point, so if they come to your town, drop by and have a peek.

Confrontation Camp Objects In The Mirror Are Closer Than They Appear Artemis Records • This will have all those little "wiggers" blowing out the five-million mega-watt speakers in their tricked out hoopdees. Here are a few guys from Public Enemy (Chuck D and Prof. Griff) and a few ass-kicking rock stars together to make the rap-metal album of the month. This is good stuff, with that definite flavor from Public Enemy, but with enough rock, and soul, to make it a very cool hunk o' plastic.

[DARYL] Communication:Duration Urinine Records • These guys proclaim to be the next wave of music and ask that we all remember they were first, before all the bandwagoners jump onboard. Normally, I'd pan a CD just because I hate egotism and view that as egotistical. However, this band backs it up and, though I don't know if this music will be the rage in a year or so, they're definitely a talented band. There are a lot of keyboards on here, like Flock of Seagulls keyboards, but this isn't retro. They're making a new brand of retro that isn't retro at all. It's like straight-ahead rock but with Moog'ish keys. If you're confused, give it a listen. I think you'll dig it.

Deltron 3030 self-titled 75 Ark • World War IV is over and half the world's a desert Š at least that's the story behind this hip-hop epic. Combining the vocal skills of Del tha Funkee Homosapien, producer Dan the Automator and DJ Kid Koala, they team up to travel through the galaxy and "experience life as a crew." This album is their story, told through spaced-out samples, smooth beats, constant changes in sounds, and Del's unmistakable flow (delivering futuristic lyrics). They meet many along the way including Billy Ray Valiftine (Mr. Lif), Wimpy (Peanut Butter Wolf), Vince Paul McMahon (Prince Paul) and many others. The result is an out-of-this-world experience, sci-fi hip-hop of the dopest design. This, literally, takes hip-hop to the next level.

dewey defeats truman B-Sides, Rarities and Out-Takes Silver Girl Records • Featuring ex-members of Red Dye No. 5 and Luper, dewey defeats truman (yes, all lowercase) offers eight tracks of creative guitar pop-rock. The vocals are superb while the song structure is original, captivating and very melodic (even Sebadoh took note, covering dewey defeats truman's "Magnet's Coil" ­ the hidden song after track eight). B-Sides is only a teaser for what we can expect in the future from this San Diego three-piece ­ expect a debut album shortly.

Dirty Barby Sleep When I'm Dead self-released • Dirty Barby takes a lot of ideas that have existed in punk for decades and, miracles of miracles, actually make them work. The sing-screamy vocals remind me of all-female punk rock from the early '90s. You could say Dirty Barby is an evolution of the bands The Third Sex and Raooul, if those bands had learned to play their instruments. It's not to say this is a female-fronted group Š with their horror-drag, who knows? Nevertheless, I'm a big fan of this CD because the vocals are their own instrument and the music is fast driving punk rock mixed in a way making it easy for repeat listening.

DJ Rap + Kenny Ken Brave New World Intuit-Solar • After the much-hyped release of the sexy DJ Rap's Learning Curve, she teamed up with the well-respected Kenny Ken to release this 13-track, continuous mix of some of their favorite Drum ‘n' Bass tunes. Featured are G Squad, Hybridz, A-Sides, Ray Keith, DJ SS, DJ Hype, Randall/Flexx, Mickey Finn/Special K, as well as Rap and Ken themselves. If you like Drum ‘n' Bass, you owe it to yourself to get this album.

DMT Terminal Illness and little dog music por la chupacabra Stray Records • Drum Machine Technicians (DMT) was conceived by DJ Cue and Eddie Def, as a series of 5 discs to be released, featuring Eddie Def in the first and third, DJ Cue in the second and fourth, and both in the final disc. Terminal Illness and little dog music por la chupacabra is the first installment, featuring Eddie Def manning the turntables. Unfortunately, this is not what you would call "Skratch" music. Instead the repetitive beats that seem to go nowhere make this more of a Muzak record. The beats are cool, but this seems to be more of a collection of samples, rather than songs.

Drowningman Rock And Roll Killing Machine Revelation Records • Holy shit! If music could kill you, I'd be dead! This is brutal, shit-kicking, eye-gouging, monster walls-of-noise that will blow you away. Check out tunes like "If God Loves A Winner, He's Going To Want To Fuck Me In A Minute" and "Last Week's Minutes From The Meeting Of The Secret Society Of Your Friends Who Actually Hate You". This is like very few things on Earth and it will be to your detriment not to experience Drowningman.

EC8OR The One and Only High and Low Digital Hardcore Recordings • There are really two types of recording artists in this world. There are those that, when recording, monitor audio levels so as to not get any distortion from overmodulation, and then there's the Digital Hardcore roster. Not one sound on EC8OR's CD is spared from this sonic anomaly, but of course this is exactly the point. After all, how else would you rebel against the over-produced syrup crap that is on the radio these days? Influenced by both punk and techno, EC8OR is political and beat-heavy. Gina D'Orio's high pitched shrill vocals threaten to pierce your eardrums, while the distorted drumbeats laid down by Patric C threaten to pierce your speakers. This is not for the faint of heart.

Eulcid The Wind Blew All The Fires Out Second Nature • The liner notes state that this album is for use with headphones. I'm greatly inclined to agree with them. There's a lot of studio trickery and progressive experimentation here, such that you can't put it in the context of songs but rather as a whole, a complete musical composition. Eulcid is a band that aspires to artistry, so definitely give this a listen with headphones on. This is your indy-punk rock Pink Floyd.

Favez Gentlemen Start Your Engines Doghouse Records • Favez is a five-piece rock outfit hailing from Switzerland. Their vocalist, while not American, spent a lot of time in the U.S. and his Swiss accent is nearly impossible to detect. The music is energized rock with keen melodies and a pop sense ­ a la Errortype 11, Tugboat Annie or Jimmy Eat World. Moving forward from their debut album, this second release is far more intense and powerful.

Fear American Beer Hall of Records • Remember Fear? Of course you do. You love them, too. Lee Ving is at the reins with a new back-up band, though the sound is, joyously, still the same as it ever was. This is fast, ferocious, old-school, beer-fueled, punk rock and roll. The music is fast, funny, and very easy to listen to.

Fifteen Hush EP Sub City • Jeff Ott and company are back with three tracks of socio-politically aware, catchy, punk tunes. "Hush" is a song that criticizes a society that fails to truly help child abuse victims speak out ("And the adults say ‘hush, hush, keep it down now, voices carry.'"). "Every year at this time" is a look at the sadness that surrounds each passing year, but tries to have an optimistic outlook. The last track, "MRR", is a very pointed, and accurate, attack on Maximum Rock N' Roll magazine, the bible of punk rock. This is a solid, three-track release from a band with a mission. Also, proceeds from this release benefit The Purple Beret's, a women's rights group.

Fly Pan Am Sedatif en Fréquences et Sillons Constellation Records • The title of this CD translates loosely into "grooved frequency sedative." It's an appropriate title, since you may very well end up feeling sedated by the time it is over. There are three tracks divided into two sides. Side A has parts and pieces from their debut LP looped together to form a kind of Cliff Notes version for those that can't get through the whole album. Side B features a repetitive groove, while tape manipulations add a different dimension to the track. You may find yourself fast forwarding through the non-musical parts, but when they actually play music, it is beautifully drone.

Gameface Always On Revelation Records • For 10 years, Gameface has been rocking out emotional punk tunes infused with loads of melody. I first heard Gameface in 1991 and have been a loyal fan ever since. Always On is a 10-track album displaying the quartets' ability to script sentimental songs that have a pop-sense but pack a powerful punch. Jeff's sincere vocals and lyrics meld perfectly with the blend of melodic punk rock and the subtle country twang. Gameface has set the standard for many of today's punk bands and they continue to set a superior example with each new release.

Glasseater 7 Years Bad Luck Eulogy Recordings • Hailing from Miami, Glasseater is a five-piece that has mastered how to effectively combine sung and screamed vocals. Capitalizing on Jason's fantastic singing ability, the intensely screamed parts, while used sparingly, do a great job of adding aggression to each track. With 7 Years Bad Luck, Glasseater has fused the finer aspects of melodic punk rock with hardcore power. This album features nine tracks that will get your toes tappin' and your heart pumpin'.

Hey Mercedes self-titled EP Polyvinyl Record Co. • "Long live Braid!" I scream as I listen to this debut release from Bob Nanna and two other members (Damon and Todd) of the great and deceased Midwest band Braid. The fourth and final spot in Hey Mercedes is taken by non-Braid member Mark Dawursk (ex-Alligator Gun member). The four-song EP clearly shows Braid broke up before they were really done. The vocals are the distinct and sincere vocals that are undeniably Braid, I mean Bob. The music, while still having many of the great aspects of Braid, is more straight-forward and rock-oriented ­ this new band is less quirky. Hey Mercedes delivers creative, honest rock tunes that feature diverse guitar parts and driving rhythms. I anxiously await their full-length release.

Homeless Wonders self-titled Suburban Home Records • I heard these guys on a compilation disc a long time ago and I remember not being impressed and now I can't remember why. This is a pretty good disc. It's fast and melodic with just a hint of anger thrown in to keep you from going into a diabetic coma. If you thought that the Dead Kennedys had the market on short songs, check out "School Sucks" on this disc, clocking in at an amazing 7.5 seconds. Don't blink or you'll miss it; and you don't want to miss it.

Hush self-titled DTW • Detroit is getting much respect from the hip-hop world since Eminem broke. Well, there's more to Detroit's hip-hop scene than just Eminem and Hush is here to show you why. Hush spits his rhymes skillfully, with great delivery using beats and samples that are perfectly crafted. Blasted by sounds, Hush pounds out varying styles, mixing in opera loops and strings, orchestration and multi-track vocals. While the music is a serious display of skills, Hush says, "Most of [the album] is funny. One day I'll be in a hardcore mood." I'm fine just having fun with this album.

Imbroco Are You My Lionkiller? Deep Elm • Imbroco has a fascinating style, sometimes sounding discordant. But then it's made clear a couple seconds later that the apparent discordance was all part of their subtle plan. There's obviously a lot of work put into this great layering of instrumentation and varied tempo and dynamics, yet it has a sound that is innocent and unpretentious. Excellent work with distortion.

IQU & Friends Teenage Dream K Records • This latest release by IQU is supposed to be an EP, but it's over fifty minutes in length. Their style is electronic, with electric guitars and standup bass thrown in for fun. For this album, IQU enlisted the help of some of their friends to remix the title track, each incorporating his own interpretation of the track. Styles range from acid jazz to drum and bass, with many variations in between. Somehow, each remix sounds very different from the others, so you won't be bored senseless by listening to the same track seven times.

Jebediah Of Someday Shambles Big Wheel Recreation • G'Day! We have some Aussie popsters here, mates. They are apparently all the rage in their homeland and are now testing the waters with us Americans. They've got a big sound, that's for sure. They're part indie-pop and Brit pop and name the Pixies and Blur among bands they sound like. Check out "Trapdoor" right away and then go back to the beginning. Cool stuff.

Jejune R.I.P. Big Wheel Recreation • Being a huge fan of Jejune I was equally happy and sad to see this CD, as this is their latest and last recording. They seemed on such an upswing with This Afternoon's Malady. The soaring vocals float up in the new material, though Araby sings only two songs. The tunes are extremely eclectic in style, to the extent you wouldn't think it was Jejune. This is a reason they broke up. Nevertheless, this CD is a must for fans of Jejune, if only to have the songs from their split 7" with Jimmy Eat World on CD format (even though the vocals are muffled by the mix.)

Jets to Brazil Four Cornered Night Jade Tree Records • Throw out your expectations of this album. It's not like their first album, Orange Rhyming Dictionary, nor is it like the members' previous bands, Jawbreaker, Handsome, Van Pelt or Texas is the Reason. This is a 13-track album that is "exactly what we wanted it to be," according to lead singer, guitarist Blake . He croons bluesy, folksy pop-rock tunes with his trademark vocals backed by the band's creative orchestration. While some of the tracks on here capture the intensity that made Jets so great, quite a few tracks lack that energy, ending up somewhat unremarkable. I guess I had too many expectations, because this is a good record ­ it's just not what I hoped to hear from Jets. Maybe it will grow on me.

Jimmy Eat World/Jebediah Split CD EP Big Wheel Recreation • Some things I simply don't understand. Like quantum physics, calculus or how Jimmy Eat World ever got any indie cred. These guys are nothing more than spoiled rotten mama boys churning out watered down pop rock. These are love songs for little girls to drool over, a mere genre and haircut away from N'Sync - far from their best material. Jebediah isn't any better. With any luck, they too will have a lame theme song on some teeny bopper melodrama.

King Apparatus self-titled Asian Man Records • I can just imagine King Apparatus playing at a local bar, entertaining the late '20s, early '30s crowd. They play poppy-ska, but the singer's style is very reminiscent of Jimmy Buffet. I don't mean they sound alike, just that they have a similar laid back attitude. This CD would be great to listen to while driving on your way to the beach.

Landos 45 The End Harmless Records • This is a five-song EP and I guess that is enough for me. I listened to this disc a few times and it just didn't do a thing for me. There are some big guns in this band (ex-Bolweevils lead singer), but it seems that they just can't get it together enough to come up with any really great music.

Link 80 The Struggle Continues Asian Man Records • It took me a couple of times through to decide that I liked this disc, but I really don't know why. At first it seemed that they couldn't decide whether they are a punk, metal or SKA band. It all came out well in the end. This is a pretty decent SKA-core disc in the old Voodoo Glow Skulls idiom. There are a lot of good tunes on the CD and I think that if you are a good and pure person, you will like this album a lot. Maybe even if you are not.

Lucid Nation DNA Brain Floss Records • These are five chicks who rock. There is an AC/DC cover on here (the growling "Night Prowler" from Highway to Hell) so you know immediately that these ladies are goddesses of rock. I really like this album because it is so hard to describe. It does not compare to much else. It's kind of hard, but kind of mellow, kind of different but not inaccessible. It is really good. I hope that if these gals make it big (and they should) that they will not turn into a bunch of radio-rock pussies.

Luckie Strike Future is Turning Tomato Head • I'm going to start off with a complaint: This is only a six track EP. If you buy it and listen to it, you will wish that it was a full-length because it will make you a happy, better person by listening. They have a great female singer who does justice to this fun pop-punk. They also cover an Elvis Costello tune on here, but we should try not to hold it against them.

Midget Handjob Midnight Snack Break at the Poodle Factory Epitaph Records • This was a surprising CD for Epitaph to release. It is nowhere near punk. However, frontman Keith Morris used to front Black Flag and the Circle Jerks, so perhaps my initial reaction was premature. Anyway, Midget Handjob's music serves as a backdrop for the spoken word narratives Morris serves up, reminiscent of MC 900 Foot Jesus. You might be turned off initially by the spoken word (as I was), but just listen ­ you'll soon be entranced by the stories that Mr. Morris weaves. Particularly entertaining was "Hurricane Morris", a 14+ minute track in which he relives his experience during a night in New Orleans while enjoying some Hurricanes.

Midiron Blast Shaft Starts Fires in Your Pants Reptilian Records • Here is a real cool disc from a band I've never heard of. I love the name, don't you? This is an energy packed album that you can listen to over and over. When you listen to it, you can hear all the influences that have combined to make this band what they are. The sound is heavy and fast, but they are tight and well-produced. This is a band I would love to see live.

Minor Disturbance Bullet For You Run & Hide Records • Their CD says "Punk for life" on the back. That's as good an explanation as I can give for this band. The production isn't too tight or clean on here, but it's their first go round. Throw ‘em a bone.

Murphy's Law The Best of Times Artemis Records • Since the 1980's, Murphy's Law has been churning out some of the most rockin' punk, hard-core, funky music that your lame ass has ever heard. This new 19-track offering has lots of fun tunes and fast, funky beats to keep you skanking, thrashing and plooking all night long.

Mushmouth Lift The Curse Triple Crown Records • Wow! And, in fact, holy shit. These guys come out of the corner swinging and don't stop until they wrench the last screaming chord out of their fatigued guitars. This is hardcore the way it was meant to be: raw, angry, and fast. This nine-song CD has my vote for the best new hardcore that I've heard this year. There is a metal edge to the disc that blends in perfectly without overwhelming the HC feel.

Old School 101 Pura Vida Victory • Not being a fan of their first record, I am really surprised at how good this new release is! You get a lot of fun, positive hardcore here, and some horns for good measure. Skip Skool's voice really carries throughout this record, as he is a singer, not a growler or screamer. If you like fun and fast hardcore that doesn't dwell on problems or pointing fingers, Old School 101 is here for you.

oRSo Long Time By Perishable Records • Some refer to oRSo's music as circus music, some form of weird musical sideshow. There are certainly lots of instruments, some of which you may not encounter on a regular basis: banjo, melodica, organs, typewriter, office chair, tuning pegs, 55 gallon drum, even a glockenspiel! The music is slow in tempo, arranging all these instruments (among others) and vocals into a listenable concoction you're sure to enjoy. Step right up, Folks!

Paris Texas Brazilliant! Polyvinyl Records • Fast, hard-driving pop is the way to describe this Wisconsin-based (huh? I thought they were from Texas?!) band. It's been a long time since I've listened to a CD that has started off kicking ass on the first cut and kept right on through, but this one does just fine. OK, it's only a five-song EP and track five is a BIT down tempo, but it doesn't completely wuss out. This is the best power pop I've heard in a long time.

Pele The Nudes Polyvinyl Records • Somehow, most instrumental bands tend to lean to moody, sad songwriting. Not Pele. Their music has an uplifting quality, even though no words are ever uttered. They also have no fear of mixing genres, by blending jazz, country, and pop. They even have some acoustic guitars at times. Think of a less schizophrenic Don Caballero.

Peterbuilt Rumormill EP Amateur Records • Peterbuilt is a four-piece emo rock outfit from Orlando, Florida. This seven-song release displays the band's ability to deliver heartfelt tunes with a blast of energy. The vocals are well-sung and very emotional (sometimes too dramatic sounding, though). While these songs have an intensity to them, their live show is far more powerful. I think this CD is a good representation of the solid song-writing, strong melodies, and creative guitar parts that make up Peterbuilt ­ just don't miss seeing them live.

Pg. 99 Document #5 Reptilian Records • This CD is the soundtrack to a twisted, frightening, violent, yet sometimes beautiful, movie. While this isn't really a movie soundtrack, it does move through tracks like it was telling a story. The music is intense, chaotic, scary, and hard as hell ­ with brief interludes of melody. The vocals are spastically screamed over three guitars blaring feedback and searing sounds, a dark and powerful bassline and schizophrenic drumming. It comes together as a brutal 10-track assault on your ears.

Premium Lucky self-released • I was very impressed when I popped this CD in my stereo. What I heard was a very well produced, independent release of hard music. This band would do very well on the Ozzfest stage, sounding a bit like Korn and Papa Roach. The guitars are churning, the vocals angry. Premium packs a punch, but is not too aggressive for radio play.

Proudentall What's Happening Here SunSeaSky Productions • Proudentall is a three piece pop-rock combo out of Kansas City. Formed in ‘96 and, to the best I can gather, they are now putting out their first album, What's Happening Here. It features an early Police pop-punk sound on tracks like "The Blood Race" and Track 4 (the damn typeface on the album is unreadable). They claim it's all about making good music that's emotional. If so, the predominant emotion would have to be melancholy.

Refused The New Noise Theology EP Burning Heart • This is an amazing record! "New Noise" starts this off, You'll "woo!" along in short order. If you have their final full-length, The Shape of Punk To Come, you're familiar with "New Noise" and "Refused are Fucking Dead." However, this EP has two new songs and a very cool remix of "Refused are..." I really recommend getting this, as "New Noise" is an amazing song, and the CD has the QuickTime video you can play on your computer.

Sayhitolisa Living Better Through Electricity Intelligent Records • Hey! This is pretty fricking good! It's power pop, but it rocks a little more than that happy power pop that the kids are listening to these days. "Paper Plane" and "Washed Up" exhibit that rockin' sound. However, on some songs, like "Pimpin'" the dude just flat-out screams. I'll be digging this for a while.

Shutdown Far and Few Between Victory Records • In short time, Shutdown is coming back to hardcore swinging with a new full-length. The music is extremely tight and explosive, yet they are essentially singing the same damn hardcore themes of staying true and holding strong and never changing and watching you fall down. In their attempts to be true to hardcore roots of singing what's in their hearts, well, it's the same song from the '80s. Though they haven't developed in the lyrics department, sonically this is amazing hardcore, making me want to sing along despite the tired words. You'd be a fool to miss out on this record, so pick it up, sing a long, and hope they tackle less introspective material in the future.

Sig Transit Gloria 2 8 2000 EP Johanns Face Records • This is a poppy record with great use of keyboards to further their music. Whereas emo focuses on what never was nor will be, Sig Transit Gloria sing of wishing to spend nights together, first kisses, spending more time together, parents coming home, sneaking off together, and all the youthful glories of racing hearts and hormones. Get this EP now! I've been listening to this constantly.

Slow Jets Worm into Phoenix Morphius Records • Featuring ex-members of Roads to Space Travel and Land Speed Record (particularly Marc Berrong, whose credit is "magician"), the Slow Jets construct pop songs with a bit of an edge, thanks to Greg Prestons strained, and sometimes out of tune, vocal style, reminiscent of the Lynnfield Pioneers' Dan Cook. I must admit, it took me a couple of listens to warm up to this CD, but after the fourth or fifth time, I began to really dig the jangly guitars and catchy hooks.

Slowcoach New Strategies are Necessary, This is not Solid Ground Silvergirl Records • The debut album from Slowcoach, out of central California, puts together rock and some very trippy mood tracks for a strong first showing. They get a little left of center on "Black Tar" which is reminiscent of Phillip Glass on quaaludes. When they stick to the rock they're good, just wander off to get a snack during the intermission tunes.

Sonic Joyride Behemoth Anomoly Records • Sonic Joyride is anything but. Instead of wasting anymore of my limited brainpower on this crap, I'll let the lyrics speak for themselves. From the chorus to Modern Day Galahad: "I want to sing, I want to dance, I want to live out loud / I want to cry, I want to feel, I want to live somehow / Fly me to the moon." Nuff said.

State of Bengal Visual Audio Six Degrees Records • There has been a rising interest in Asian influenced electronica recently, and State of Bengal (AKA Sam Zaman) is partly responsible, as co-conspirator with Talvin Singh and the Anokha collaboration. Visual Audio is his debut record, and it combines Drum ‘N' Bass, Breakbeat, and Hip-Hop with Indian musical elements such as tablas and unique vocal arrangements. If you are at all interested in the up-and-coming Asian Underground movement, I suggest you give State of Bengal a listen.

Statiks Dead Ends And Decadence Unity Squad Records • Okay, it seems that there is a chick playing bass in this band. I am usually more apt to fall in love with a band if there is a girl involved in some capacity, but this was not enough to make me wet myself. This is driving, rock-oriented punk that almost has an old-school feel. The actual recording seems pretty poor - it almost sounds like a demo tape, not the final produced piece. It wasn't bad, but it wasn't great either.

Stephen Pearcy Before And Laughter Triple X Records • Recognize that name but can't quite place it? Let me give you a hint: "What comes around goes around, I'll tell you why..." Got it now? That's right, this is THE Stephen Pearcy, of Ratt fame. I was going to say "formerly of Ratt," but Ratt is still out there playing (state fairs mostly, I think). There are tunes on here from his Ratt days, his days with his old band Arcade ("Cry No More" is a great track) and his current "other" band, Vicious Delite. There aren't any surprises on here; Stephen doesn't try to be Pearl Jam or anything like that. It's all 80's metal, all the time. There are 19 songs on here, some you've heard, some you haven't. I'm a metal head from way back so you know I'm giving this the two-fisted pump all the way.

Sunday's Best Poised to Break Polyvinyl Record Co. • There's a definite difference between pop and candy-coated pop. With Poised to Break, Sunday's Best delivers a mature, energized pop record, free of the forced and sugar-sweet pop attitude that takes away from true quality. Instead, this 10-track album puts forth hook-filled rock tunes loaded with infectious melodies and supported with heartfelt vocals. Blair (The Jealous Sound, ex-Knapsack) guests and co-wrote one track. This is an honest album of massively addictive proportions.

Talib Kweli & Hi Tek Reflection Eternal Rawkus • Kweli (who teamed with Mos Def in Black Star) is ready to wake people up, teamed with his DJ, Hi Tek, creating the musical force known as Reflection Eternal. This album is a lyrical journey featuring smooth flows and creative styles (including such guests as Xzibit, Mos Def, De La Soul and Kool G Rap). Hi Tek is one of the best, dropping original beats, skillful scratches, a scattering of samples and some of the coolest hooks you've ever heard. Kweli's flow is unstoppable, spitting out rhymes that leave any normal person tongue-tied ­ riding anything Hi Tek throws out for him. Reflection Eternal is a soulful blend of urban rhythms, jazzy interludes, funky flows and ghetto attitude.

The Blood Brothers This Adultery is Ripe Second Nature • Led by a sneering voice ala ‘70s punk rock, you have a minimalist take on horror rock with The Blood Brothers. The better songs here are "Doctor Doctor", the tempo-shifting "Marooned on Piano Island" and "This Adultery is Ripe." Sadly, the other songs are marred by sonic monotony for a band with demonstrated potential for inventiveness. If you like horror movies and the band Ink and Dagger, give this a listen.

The Fuses Are Lies Reptilian Records • What's old isn't always new again. This sounds like a reissue of an '80s political punk band. That would be great, but last I checked it was the year 2000. The Fuses cite their influences as Buzzcocks, Wire, Gang of Four, and Minutemen. The Fuses pay good tribute to these bands, so if you like those bands and that sound, this may be up your alley.

The Go-Nuts Dunk and Cover Lookout Records • It is a sad thing, but I must destroy this disc. What makes it especially sad is the fact that I really like it. The major problem is that the songs (especially the "Fabulous Go Nuts Theme Song") are so damn catchy that you can't get them out of your head without heavy equipment. These guys have managed to invent an entirely new genre of music: Snack Rock. It sounds suspiciously like pop-punk, but every song deals with snack foods in some way. This is a very funny, very good disc. I will miss it.

The Hives Veni Vidi Vicious Epitaph/Burning Heart • Hailing from Fagersta, Sweden, retro rockers The Hives forge a sound that's entirely American by borrowing freely from '50s rock, '60s garage rock and '70s punk rock. There is potential here, but the less than stellar production and the cheap packaging keep this from becoming anything more than a mere novelty record. However, don't hold that against them, because the focus with these mods is most certainly on the live show. There's simply too much fun here to be contained on CD.

The Lesser Birds of Paradise A Suitable Frame Loosethread Recordings • Mark Janka intended this to be a solo project. Instead, it blossomed into a full-blown band with five total members. Janka is still the frontman, penning creative, sometimes personal, stories and singing them in a soft, sensitive voice that is beyond perfect (his vocals remind me of John Samson of The Weakerthans with musical qualities of Luna). The tunes on here are slow and soothing, melodic and musically magical ­ country charm with an indie touch.

The Letter E No 5ive Long Player Tiger Style Records • The Letter E was formed over three years ago by members of June 44, Rex, and Blue Man Group. This instrumental full length debut sports guitars, bass and drums, accentuated by guest musicians playing drums, strings, keys, and horns. No 5ive Long Player doesn't aspire to lofty goals, but rather it simply entertains the listener with mid-tempo, somewhat light fare songs.

The Mercury Project Luckie Strike Fastmusic • This is an eclectic record, starting off with a punk screamer song, then moving to a poppy number and varying throughout. The majority of this album is in a poppy alternative rock vein, with solid female vocals. "Routine" is the stand out track to listen for.

The Movielife This Time Next Year Revelation Records • Combining elements of hardcore, pop-punk, emo and indie rock, The Movielife offer twelve tracks of melodic, energetic, tempo-changing tunes. The vocals are boyish, filled with angst and delivered honestly. The music supports the heartfelt, emotional aspects of the songs by pounding out sturdy rhythms and infectious melodies with a hardcore intensity. This is a band to watch out for ­ I expect it'll become a mainstay in the punk scene.

The Others 8 Song Demo self-released • Fronted by Lucy Risso on guitar and lead vocals, The Others are a powerful, indie-rock quartet from the DC area. They were most recently featured on Deep Elm's "Emo Diaries Chapter 5" and for good reason. The Others have strong emotional aspects to their music. The female vocals are superb, backed up by powerful, intense rock. They've shared the stage with many bands, from The Dismemberment Plan to Velocity Girl to Juliana Theory. Now it's The Others turn to be center-stage.

The Rayguns Talentless Fools Tomato Head Records • "Ska-pop-geek rock, served up Amish tough". OK, cool. The Rayguns have all the lyrical depth of the Dead Milkmen, but they're so much fun to listen to. Heavy on the horns and driving guitar, these boys from Topeka, Kansas got it all figured out. I'm still wandering around singing their hooks.

The Secondhands The Same Trains Kick Save Records • What's curious about The Secondhands is not that they play instrumental ska/reggae, it's that they're from Kansas. What the hell are these guys from the heartland playing music that originated thousands of miles away? Whatever the circumstances that led to their formation we may never know, but you need to know that The Secondhands are superb. Even though the ska fad came and went, you should still give The Same Trains a listen. You will be pleasantly surprised.

The Spooks S.I.O.S.O.S. Volume One Artemis • Hip hop is at the forefront of today's popular music. And rightfully so. The music transcends itself so often that last year's beats are already archaic while modern rock continues to sound stale. It's because groups like Wu-Tang, Outcast and now The Spooks continually push the envelope. This new clan is surprisingly good, producing fresh, innovative sounds that are submerged in what appears to be tightly organized and legitimate "songs". Add one hell of a chanteuse and you have a near classic hip-hop record.

The Stereo New Tokyo Is Calling EP Fueled By Ramen • Blasting forth with a style that lends them to sound like Green Day meets Journey, The Stereo rocks uptempo, hyper-melodic, pop-rock gems. Each of the four tracks on this new offering (again produced by J. Robbins) is loaded with hooks and choruses that you'll be singing along with immediately.

The Story So Far When Fortune Smiled Hopeless Records • This six-song EP is a gem. These guys have a sound to be reckoned with. It is definitely pop-punk, but without the slick, sugary-coating that you get from so many bands today. The sound is more raw: a little more distortion, a little more anger, a little more listenable. This is a disc that starts out with a punch and keeps punching all the way through.

The Stryder Masquerade in the Key of Crime Equal Vision • These four guys have perfected the art of creating pop-infused rock music. Instead of allowing the melodies and pop aspects to sugar-coat the "rock" aspects, The Stryder uses these aspects to suck in the listener. From there it's a hook-filled journey through emotionally charged, guitar soaring, vocally-wowing rock tunes. These 12 tracks came as a surprise, impressing me with their tight orchestration and creativity. I've been bobbing my head ever since.

The Walnut Street Project Magic Patterns Dance Explosion Records • You know the whole "can't judge a book by it's cover" thing? I say posh to that. When I picked this up I said "emo" and emo is what it is. It's a bit poppier though. They remind me of Plumb at times. The music is solid and they have some real nice, tight hooks. My advice to the band is to turn down the lead vocalist's mic. Not because she's bad but she comes through a bit loud (she's awfully cute, too!). I know the band couldn't give a rat's ass what I think about the mix on their CD, and I really do think they're good, I'm just trying to help. I think it would give their sound a more somber feel, especially on a track like "Turner Station." Then again, maybe they aren't going for a more somber feel. Never mind, I'm just going to shut up now.

Totimoshi self-titled self-released • This Oakland trio's sound is a bit too fast to be considered sludge-rock, but it's close. The guitars are low and fuzzy, the drums in-your-face. The singing is a combination of Eddie Vedder, Scott Weiland, and an old, crotchety woman (don't ask, you'll have to hear it).

Twelve Tribes Instruments Eulogy Records • Ah, there it is. I knew there would be one in here somewhere. My editor's so good to me. HARDCORE, baby!!! Thrashing, neck-lashing, head-bashing hardcore! I don't know any other way to describe it. Is it good? Yep. Plus, it's only a five-song EP so you really can't go wrong. Word.

Union 13 Youth, Betrayal, and the Awakening Epitaph Records • I love these guys and this disc did not let me down. There is all the energy, anger and talent I have come to expect from Union 13. These 17 politically charged tracks get a message across without being preachy and whiney. This is rocking, fast, but still melodic. Definitely worth the price of admission.

Unit F Hollow City Finger Records • There was a lot of promotional material with this disc. That usually means that the music can't stand on its own. This disc was OK. It has some fun tunes like "My Baby Barfed" and "Jesus in Spaghetti". They have an old '80s metal sound. It's like a punk band mixed with Piledriver or Overkill. It took me a while to decide which band they reminded me of. Remember Green Jelly? They sound like them, but not as good.

Until The End self-titled Equal Vision • Trying to "give kids a positive [straight-edge] message" this five-piece hardcore band from south Florida has, at least, succeeded in creating some ferociously intense music. The drums pound, kick drum thumping rapidly as guitars crunch through each new chord with a hearty bass line to back it up. The vocals are both spoken and screamed, an aggressive blend. This five-song debut is a great start ­ committed, creative and capable of destroying your hearing.

Up In Arms Fight to the Death Uprising Records • This is fierce old-school hardcore. These five guys are bringing some anger and life back to the music. There is nothing soft and fuzzy about this. If you like hardcore to be, well, hard, then check this out.

Various Artists 4-band split CD Grub Records • This is a split with four bands contributing between 5 and 7 songs. The bands: Bedford; The Supereighteen; Sometimes 7; and The Floatation Walls run the gamut from pop-rock to just strange. Most of the disc is pretty good, but I don't think I'd sit through an entire CD from any of these bands. The Floatation Walls were the highlight of this disc with a strange musical sense and some cool sounds. It is worth checking out for the measley $6 ppd they are asking.

Various Artists Culture Shock Punk Rock Tomato Head • I don't even have to review this one. The bands speak for themselves ­ Digger, MU330, Alkaline Trio, and 24 other great bands and tracks. This is high on my list of great compilations, spanning the sounds of punk, indie rock, emo, pop punk, and ska. It should be in the collection of all punk enthusiasts, past, present, and future.

Various Artists Digging It Up Grub Records • Here is another release from Grub and thank goodness the sound is infinitely better than the cacophonous Out Of The Woodwork album (also reviewed). Here we can hear the bands and we like what we hear. There is punk, ska and hardcore and most of it is pretty darned good. There are a few clinkers but, hey, there are 29 songs and 29 bands. You can't have it all. This sampler is well worth giving a listen. There is info about each band given for when you find your new favorite.

Various Artists For the Benefit of Mr. T Their Old Stuff is Better Records • Nowhere on this CD does it say if the money from its sale will actually go to Mr. T or not, who announced in 1998 that he was battling lymphoma, and was apparently broke. The songs on this CD sound very lo-fi, others sound like they were actually recorded in a studio. The styles vary, from rap-rock to metal, and messy electronica. I only recognized two bands on here, Victoria Principle and Slackjaw, but besides them, I was clueless. There's only one reason to get this CD, and that is because Mr. T himself has a track, a little ditty called "Treat Your Mother Right." Think of Eddie Murphy's hilarious "Party all the Time" but with the Mohawked-one grunting through the lyrics. It's scary and funny and worthy of collecting. Play it at your next party and watch people's jaws drop.

Various Artists Holiday Matinee CD Compilation Vol. 2 Better Looking Records • The bands on this compilation all enjoy publicity from Holiday Matinee, hence the CD's title. Most of the songs have been recorded this year, with unreleased ones from The Busy Signals and The Album Leaf. Also appearing are No Knife, Cursive, Tiara, The Mercury Program, Tristeza, The Faint, and Vue, among others. This is an excellent compilation, featuring bands that perhaps don't get the attention that they should.

Various Artists Live at the Complex 2 Entartete Kunst Records • Most of the "degenerate" (their words, not mine) artists on this compilation live in a "Complex" in San Francisco. The music covers the electronic music spectrum, from Drum and Bass, to Breakbeat, to Trip-Hop and more. I use these terms loosely, since the songs don't stay constrained by genre definitions and evolve into their own works of art, which they refer to as No Field Abstract. Artists include Oddjob, Healamonster, Tej, Phantom Patient, Pinkwater and the sometimes disturbing spoken word tracks by Raw Knowledge. I would run out and get a copy of this comp as soon as possible, since there are only 1000 in print.

Various Artists New Sounds New York Volume 1 NSNY • The debut release for this NYC label is a compilation featuring 10 bands, all from NYC. Most of the bands are punk or, at least, punk-influenced. There are varying styles on here Š from hardcore to garage punk to noise to experimental rock ­ and, for the most part, they're performed quite well. Bands include The Kill Van Kull, Elvis 77, GutterGirl, Emok and more.

Various Artists Out of the Woodwork Grub Records • There are 24 songs on this disc and most of them are so poorly recorded that they are painful to sit through. Remember when you were cool and in a band in high school and you put your little cheap-ass tape recorder in the corner when you practiced and it sounded like the shit that it was? That's what this sounds like. I'm sure that some of the songs are great, but the sound quality is so bad that this disc isn't worth the $3 it costs.

Various Artists The Ecstasy of the Agony Alternative Tentacles • An amazing 30 tracks fill 75+ minutes of this compilation, 11 of which are either previously unreleased or exclusive to this album. Most acts on here are punk or hardcore bands, like Amebix, SNFU, Pitchshifter, Lard, or Ratos De Porao. However, some tracks are spoken word, by the likes of Noam Chomsky, Jello Biafra, and Mumia Abu-Jamal. As with anything the former Dead Kennedys frontman is involved with, this comp is very political and well worth the $6 price tag.

Vicious Delite Vicious Delite Triple X Records • It must be my lucky day. I got to review Stephen Pearcy's greatest hits disc and now this, his new band's release. Rock on!!! This is '80s metal updated just a tad. It's not as glammy and the guitars are more straight-ahead and crunchy. If you don't like the Tools and the Panteras and the other metal bands of 2000, this is for you.

Voodoo Glow Skulls Symbolic Epitaph Records • Has it really been 12 years? For more than a decade, the Voodoo Glow Skulls have been pounding at their instruments, first as a punk quartet, and eventually transforming into the bilingual ska-core group that has just released Symbolic, their fifth full length. Undaunted by the passing fad that was ska, they press on, as fast and furious as they've ever been. From listening to this CD, I get the feeling that they are not going to stop anytime soon.

Waxwing One for the Ride Second Nature Recordings • This band from the Northwest is ready to take on the entire country after building a fanbase in their area. It shouldn't be too hard, given the collection of tunes that is One for the Ride. They combine power and beauty in their songs, with truly strained and emotional vocals pleading over guitar hooks. It shows that every member of Waxwing is passionate about their music.


Churl self-titled 7" Grub Records • This trio from Virginia rock out five uptempo, hardcore-punk tunes on this release. The recording is only so-so, giving it a rougher sound, adding to its already old-school feel. While this doesn't break new ground, it's not bad for those who miss punk served the way it used to be, angry, fast and under-produced.

EC8OR I Won't Pay/Gimme Nyquil All Night Long 7" DHR • This is a Digital Hardcore Records limited release of two tracks by EC8OR. "I Won't Pay" is a short blast of noise, though surprisingly "Gimme Nyquil..." is a cohesive song with guitar riffage and a droll delivery of vocals. It's the most accessible track I've heard from these folks in a long time. Definitely worth checking out if you can find it.

Get High self-titled 7" Aloes Internatural • This is hard rock created by four guys from Massachusetts. The music is aggressive, but not hardcore. Instead it uses funkier styles, thick basslines and a fairly uptempo pace to generate the intensity. The four songs on here, while they don't blow me away, definitely display the band's creative abilities and has me convinced they must put on a killer live show.

Helen Zachariah Save The Plants 7" NDN Records • Helen is an artistic songwriter (and a painter) from Wales. The opening track is a meandering and repetitive pop tune. That's followed by a song that drags on with noisy guitar work and mostly-spoken vocals. The B side is not much different than the A side, offering hyper-artsy, noisy, pop with vocals that are probably the best part of this mediocre release.

Semi-Truth You Call 7" NDN Records • Fronted by Jeremy Gluck (ex-The Barracudas), this five-piece creates pop songs with a rock edge. The vocals are good, except they are constantly being manipulated, taking away from how good Gluck really sounds. Despite the random bursts of noisiness, there's a definite Pixies influence throughout this three-song record, but not enough to make this an impressive release by any means.

Soulviet Union When You Get On/Let's See 12" Ambassadon Records • Soulvient Union is a five member hip-hop crew from the northeast. This two-song 12" flows smoothly with solid beats and rhyme delivery. The loops on "When You Get On" create a thuggish sound, akin to Mobb Deep, but I wouldn't call this gangsta rap - it's far more interesting. On the flip side, "Let's See" has more of a party bounce too it, a funky, quick spit song that is repetitive, but still highly enjoyable.

The Wayouts self-titled 7" Harmless Records • It's two bad these are the final two songs from this Chicago-area quartet. Their sound is emotional-charged rock with creative instrumentation. They make great use of tempo changes and crescendos within their songs to bring out the driving, more aggressive aspects to their song writing. I will miss them.

Various Artists Free Mumia 10" Entartete Kunst • This benefit album for Mumia Abu Jamal features speeches by Christina Gutierez and revolutionary organizer Pam Africa with music on the flip-side. Gutierez opens the spoken word with a poignant and heartfelt speech about justice, equality and human rights. Africa delivers two equally heartfelt speeches from a more aggressive perspective with a no-shit attitude about U.S. human rights violations, the death penalty and our corrupt government. The music on side B, created by DJ Slo Mo, is a hip-hop driven instrumental track loaded with socio-political samples, creative mixing and a "slo-mo" beat that pulls you along with each thump.

Various Artists Paint By Numbers 7" Nice Transportation Records • Side A features Stomp Recreational Choir presenting a rapid-fire punk rock tune with solid tempo changes and fairly basic chord progression. Following that is Shortround with a poorly recorded hardcore number. The B Side offers a solid, old school, DC-ish punk tune from Autumn 80 along with a rocking, uptempo, catchy and creative punk ditty from Pennies on a Rail.

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

A Planet For Texas You Can Still Rock In America Diaphragm Records • They call this "agro-rock." I don't really care what the hell they call it; I call it kick-ass rock. It's borderline hardcore with a hillbilly twang (hence the agro-rock thing?). This is the band you would actually stay around for after the nationally-known band has left the stage at the club downtown. I'm sure A Planet would kick most bands' asses. They seem like a bunch of foul-mouthed, drinking a-holes who want to rock out and party like there's no tomorrow.

Dashboard Confessional The Swiss Army Romance Fiddler Records • Acoustic guitars have long been associated with folk music and protests in the '40s-'60s, and metal ballads in the '80s. This explains an aversion to the instrument. Yet, if you are able to erase the clichés, a lone acoustic guitar offers a wonderful means of expressing one's emotions and poetry. This is the success of The Swiss Army Romance. The acoustic sound is taken back and accompanied with a remarkable voice in an "emo" context. The heart on-the-sleeve lyrics capture plenty of fleeting emotions and doubts, all celebrated through a truly-promising voice. This is a rare find where the artistry overcomes material and scene boundaries.

DJ Assault Off the Chain, for the Y2K Intuit-Solar Records • If you are not familiar with the term "Ghetto Tech," you are in for a surprise. This emerging style features Techno beats with raunchy phrases and a Booty Bass feeling. The first words uttered are "Fuck you hoe," the title of the first track, and they made me laugh out loud. This song, along with track two, have a certain Rappin' 4-Tay - Playa'z Club bounce to them. After that, the tempo picks up, and the remaining 81 (yes 81) tracks are mixed together in a misogynistic flurry of beats and curses. Witness "Ass -N-Titties," "Asses Jigglin," and, for some reason, two different tracks named "Big Booty Bitch" (probably was too large a booty for just one song).

Ice-T Greatest Hits: The Evidence Atomic Pop • This is all The Evidence you need to understand Ice-T was a rap pioneer, one of the first true pimps who challenged authority directly. Ice-T started his verbal assault in the mid-late 80's with such classic LPs as Rhyme Pays and Power. He offered listeners rugged, uncensored, rebellious lyrics that spoke out against drugs (in favor of "dope" music in the amazing "I'm Your Pusher"), against street players (in the funky "High Rollers"), about gangs (in the dark song "Colors" -- title track from the movie), and about street life (in the remixed, uptempo and hook-filled "The Lane). While free speech opponents ripped Ice-T for his anti-cop, profane lyrics, many failed to see, not only that he wrote great lyrics, but that they were, for the most part, very positive. This is a suberb collection of tracks spanning 1987-2000, documenting Ice-T's versatile hip-hop style.

Koufax It Had To Do With Love Vagrant Records • I have to say that It Had To Do With Love is a refreshing change from the stagnant state that music is currently in. Playing pop music with a piano and keys backbone, Koufax gives a nod to the '70s musical tradition while keeping at least one foot firmly planted in the present. The piano provides the base on top of which beautiful pop songs come to life, freeing us from our misery-filled lives.

Ratos De Porao Sistemados Pelo Crucifa Alternative Tentacles • Back in '83, Ratos De Porao released, what at the time was, the only hardcore album in South America. They recorded it in one day with no knowledge about recording. After 17 years, the songs have evolved a bit (as well as the lineup), and RDP thought it was time to re-release these songs using better recording techniques. They also added two re-recordings from their second album and a cover from Portugal's Aquidelrock. Plus they included the original version of the album in its entirety as a bonus track. This way you can compare both recordings and judge for yourself which is better. (I prefer the original version. Call me sentimental.)

Red Radio Flyer Gettin' Somewhere Mother West • This New York band has real heart and substance to their music, and a very professional, polished style. There's a near-country sound to this album, but it isn't country ­ in much the same way the music of Counting Crows is not. Look for this band to go far ­ they have the makings and the ability to perform eloquently.

Screeching Weasel Teen Punks In Heat Panic Button • I mean, what can you say? It's Screeching Weasel. They are the Grand High Poobahs of that sweet, sweet pop-punk style that sounds like the bastard child of The Beach Boys and AC/DC. There are 20 songs on this disc and they run the whole spectrum of emotions from the touching "I Love You" to the even more touching and sentimental "I Wanna Fuck". SW has brought in new guitarist Phillip Aaron Presley, of Teen Idols fame. This is beautiful.

The Jealous Sound self-titled EP Better Looking Records • Blair Shehan, the genius behind the now-defunct band Knapsack, is in fantastic form with his new outfit ­ The Jealous Sound. Using powerful crescendos and tempo changes, Shehan's new band delivers a sound that is similar to Knapsack. However, gone are the screamed vocals. Instead, Shehan delivers breathier, equally heartfelt vocals. The intensity of the songs is immense -- not with the same hardcore style of Knapsack, but just as powerful. Whether you want to look at this as a renamed version of Knapsack or not is up to you. The fact is, this six-song release is a welcomed and remarkable debut from one of the best front-men in music today.

In alphabetical order. Please write them.

4 Alarm Records, 660 W. Lake Street, Chicago, IL 60661
75 Ark, 77 Chambers St., 4th Floor, NY, NY 10007
Aloes Internatural, 279 Pearl St. #31, Cambridge, MA 02139
Alternative Tentacles, PO Box 419092, San Francisco, CA 94141-9092
Ambassadon Records, PO Box 20052, Scranton, PA 18502
Anomoly Records, PO Box 260, Milton Mills, NH 03852
Artemis Records, 130 5th Ave., NY, NY 10011
Asian Man Records, PO Box 35585, Monte Sereno, CA 95030
Atomic Pop, PO Box 7639, Santa Monica, CA 90406
Better Looking Records, 11041 Santa Monica Blvd. PMB #302, Los Angeles, CA 90025-3523
Big Wheel Recreation, 325 Huntington Avenue, #24, Boston, MA 02115
Blacklight Records, PO Box 6552, Kokomo, IN 46904
Brain Floss Records, 8409 Hollywood Blvd., LA, CA 90069
Cleopatra Records, 13428 Maxella Ave #251, Marina Del Rey, CA 90292
Constellation Records, PO Box 42002, Montreal, Canada H2W 2T3
Dance Explosion Records, 626 Walnut Street, Meadville, PA 16335
Deep Elm, PO Box 36939, Charlotte, NC 28236
Derailleur Records, PO Box 10276, Columbus, OH 43201
DHR 270 Lafayette Street Suite 1302, NYC 10012
Diaphragm Records, 2480 Indianola Avenue, Columbus, OH 43202
Digital Hardcore Recordings, 2 Prowse Place, London, NW1 9PH UK
Dirty Barby, PO Box 141466, Orlando, FL 32814-1466
Doghouse Records, PO Box 8946, Toledo, OH, 43623
DTW, PO Box 250584, West Bloomfield, MI 48325
Entartete Kunst Records, PO Box 411194, San Francisco, CA 94141-1194
Epitaph Records, 2798 Sunset Blvd., Los Angeles, CA 90026
Equal Vision, PO Box 14, Hudson, NY 12534
Espo Records, PO Box 63, Allston, MA 02134
Eulogy Recordings, PO Box 8692, Coral Springs, FL 33075
Fastmusic, 401 Broadway #2011, New York NY 10013
Fiddler Records, PO Box 330667, Miami FL 33233
Finger Records, 4360 Campus Dr. #A-1, Newport Beach, CA 92660
Grub Records, 400 Park Rd., Parsippany, NJ 07054
Hall of Records, Box 69281, W. Hollywood, CA 90069
Harmless Records, 1437 W. Hood, Chicago, IL 60660
Honest Don's, Box 192027, San Francisco, CA 94119
Hydra Head Records PO Box 990248 Boston MA 02199
Intelligent Records, 203 Washington Street, #102, Salem, MA 01970-6500
Intuit-Solar, PO Box 250584, West Bloomfield, MI 48325
Jade Tree, 2310 Kennwynn Rd., Wilmington, DE 19810
K Records, PO Box 7154, Olympia, WA 98507
Kick Save Records, PO Box 404, Appleton, WI 54912-0404
Lookout! Records, PO Box 11374, Berkeley, CA 94712-2374
Loosethread Recordings, PO Box 220180, Chicago, IL 60622
Mad Mad Records, ??????
Morphius Records, PO Box 13474, Baltimore, MD 21203
Mother West, 132 West 26th St, New York, NY 10001
NDN Records, PO Box 131471, The Woodlands, TX 77393-1471
Nice Transportation, 322 B West Bessemer Ave., Greensboro, NC 27401
Nitro Records, 7071 Warner Ave. F-736, Huntington Beach, CA 92647
NSNY, 286 East 2nd St. #4d, NY, NY 10009
Panic Button, PO Box 148010, Chicago, IL 60614-8010
Perishable Records, PO Box 578804, Chicago, IL 60657
Polyvinyl Record Co, PO Box 1885, Danville, IL 61834-1885
Pop Culture Records, 7326 Rideau Valley Dr., Kars, Ontario KOA 2E0
Premium, 1700 Kiefer Drive, Zion, IL 60099
Provogue, PO Box 231, 2650 AE Berkel (Z-H), The Netherlands
Rawkus, 676 Broadway, 4th Floor, NY, NY 10012
Reptilian Records, 403 S. Broadway, Baltimore, MD 21231
Revelation Records, PO Box 5232, Huntington Beach, CA 92615-5232
Run & Hide Records, PO Box 35094, Philadelphia, PA 19128
Second Nature Recordings, PO Box 11543, Kansas City, MO 64138
Silver Girl Records, PO Box 161024, San Diego, CA 92176
Six Degrees Records, PO Box 411347, San Francisco, CA 94141-1347
Southern Records, PO Box 577375, Chicago, IL 60657
Stray Records, 4430 Telegraph Ave., PMB 72, Oakland, CA 94609
Studio K7, 210 Fifth Avenue, New York, NY 10010
Sub City, PO Box 7495, Van Nuys, CA 91409
Suburban Home Records, Box 40751, Denver, CO 80204
SunSeaSky Production, 307 West Lake Dr., Random Lake, WI 53075
The Others, c/o Snap Pop!, 10272 Latney Road, Fairfax, VA 22032-3256
Their Old Stuff is Better Records, 1401 Portland Ave. S #C303, Minneapolis, MN 55404
Tiger Style Records, 149 Wooster Street 4th Floor, New York, NY 10012
Tomato Head, PO Box 61298, Sunnyvale, CA 94088
Totimoshi, 406 43rd St #2, Oakland CA 94609
Touch and Go Records, PO Box 25520, Chicago, IL 60625
Triple Crown Records, 331 W. 57th, PMB 472, NY, NY 10019
Triple X Records, PO Box 862529, Los Angeles, CA 90086-2529
Unity Squad Records, 354 W. 100, N. Logan, UT 84321
Uprising Records, Box 1096, NY, NY 10003
Urinine Records, 6808 Madison Drive, Indianapolis, IN 46227
Vagrant Records, PMB #361, 2118 Wilshire Blvd. Santa Monica, CA 90403
Victory Records, PO Box 146546, Chicago, IL 60614

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