Donate to IMPACT
Click below for info

Make payments with PayPal - it's fast, free and secure!

Search our Site:

sitemap | IMPACT home

Oct./Nov. '03 Articles:
Global Fear & Loathing
Editorial: Criminalizing Dissent
Notes from the Cultural Wasteland
Elephants Enslaved
The Muddlemarch: 1
The Muddlemarch: 2
Forest Holocaust
From the Closet to the TV
(music reviews)

E-Mail Comments
Subscribe to IMPACT
Where to Find IMPACT
Buy IMPACT T-Shirts
Ordering Back Issues

CD Reviews | Vinyl Reviews | DVD Reviews | Label Addresses

These reviews represent the "best of" music that was reviewed for this issue by IMPACT Press music reviewers. Please visit our
staff page if you want to match a reviewer's initials with the name of the person who did a review.

Aesop Rock Bazooka Tooth Definitive Jux • My friend Jon is a big Aesop fan. But he didn't like this. I need to get that brutha some q-tips to clean out his ears and get back on the non-stop ride that is an Aesop Rock album. This is dope, not just good weed dope, but an endless supply of good weed dope. It's a free-flowin', mad bumpin', speaker thumpin', education dishin', lyrical masterpiece. Good enough? Damn straight, Aesop is sitting high on the throne as indie hip-hop kingpin, the rugged, staccato spittin' MC is as good as they come and then some. And like rockin' the mic wasn't enough, ARock produced most of this album. But don't expect any kind of beat letdown. You're still set for a journey through Aesop's futuristic house of hip-hop funk, including guest appearances from Camp Lo, El-P, Mr. Lif and Cannibal Ox. (CM)

Avenged Sevenfold Waking the Fallen Hopeless Records • Once again I'm floored by Avenged Sevenfold. They combine punk, goth, metal and hardcore in ways I'd never dreamed of. Such lack of boundaries allows them to explore different melodies and sounds, while keeping a raw edge throughout Waking the Fallen. (AL)

Baby Blak Once You Go Blak BBE/Rapster • One-half of the mid-90's Philly crew Ill Advised, Baby Blak has since made his mark in the hip hop game with appearances alongside The Roots, DJ Babu, Sat-One, Grand Agent and DJ Jazzy Jeff. This debut solo effort is packed with a rhyme flow that delivers thought-out lyrics with a freestyle battle attitude overtop bangin' beats by DJ Revolution, Evidence, Necleus, Joey Chavez and others. Many tracks stand out like "No Coast All Stars" which features Obie Trice and Planet Asia in a tag team verbal assault on the jiggy music industry of today and "Economix (The Buildings Fell)" is a different perspective on the September 11th tragedies; Mr. Lish and Last Emperor also appear throughout. Overall, Blak has crafted an album that is full of substance (although at times musically repetitive) and is described as falling in between the mainstream and underground sounds that are out there right now. (JC)

Bear vs Shark Right Now, You're In The Best Of Hands Equal Vision • Each issue I hope for a record like this, from a band I've never heard of that absolutely blows my mind and raises the musical bar another notch. Michigan's Bear vs Shark style is hard to define. It's a mix of everything from indie rock to jazz to hardcore. Some tracks are spastic rock numbers that remind me a lot of At The Drive-In, but even more hyped up. Others are more tempered indie rock tunes with jazzy orchestration, heartfelt vocals and rocking crescendos. While it's easy to write a catchy song, it's hard as hell to write an original, catchy tune that doesn't conform to the standard formula. Bear vs Shark storm onto the scene with a ton of skill and the ability to craft rock songs that set them apart from the rest of the bands in a very crowded scene. This is more infectious than the plague and takes you on more curves than the Pacific Coast Highway. (CM)

Envy A Dead Stinking Story Level Plane • Beautiful desperate hardcore that sounds like a plea for life from the bottom of a well. Quiet moments swell into cacophonous moments of passionate pleas to anything that will listen, this one is truly special. Plus, these guys are from Japan! Who knew they had this good a hardcore in Japan, since this could pretty much wreck a whole lot of bands in the States? Absolutely with out abandon beautiful all the way. (KM)

Melomane Solresol Vermillion Music • Anytime a band meshes instruments for the sheer enjoyment of experimentation AND manages to make good music out of it at the same time deserves their due recognition. On this follow-up to Resolvo, Melomane carries over some of what they did from the first album to provide an atmosphere heavy on catchy melodies, melancholy lyrics, orchestral instrumentations, electronic soundscapes, power-pop and prog-rock sounds that bring to mind The Pixies, Calexico, Beck, Can and Leonard Cohen. On "The Spirit Of Smoke" the line reads "I'll grab your throat like a tropical dancer, like a king in a moat, I'll steal your vote, I'll give you cancerŠ" in a tone that comes off half jokingly but entirely true. Much of this has a touch of sarcasm which adds to the depth of this mostly mellow album alongside music that is as much fun as it is good. (JC)

Mirah Yom Tov Zeitlyn, Ginger Brooks Takahashi & Friends Songs from the Black Mountain Music Project K • Is that ever a long name. The length is as unusual as the album – how do you describe this? It feels like a renaissance faire, a Shakespearean music concert, a little bit of the Godfather, a little "O Brother, Where art Thou?" folk, it's everywhere and more. Brooks' breathy vocals make this album shine. It's truly gorgeous, and the mix of styles is unlike anything I have ever heard, ever. A truly life-affirming experience. Go on, K Records. (DP)

Rhumboogie The Simple Things self-released  • This is not standard fare for IMPACT to review but, damn, what a great disc. These former members of The Movers lay down some off the coolest, smoothest blues and R&B that I have heard in a long time. Think Stevie Ray Vaughn meets the Blues Brothers (without the horns). These guys live and breathe the music they play and their passion for it is evident in every soulful note. A few blues standards are included, but the majority of the disc is original material, which should become standards someday. This is a great, great disc. (MK)

Rocky Votolato Suicide Medicine Second Nature Recordings • It's difficult to maintain my critical composure when I review anything Rocky Votolato (solo or his main project Waxwing) because its all so damn good. This latest release is right up there with everything else Rocky does. This man, and this offering of songs, sing both to the pit in your stomach as well as the end of the hairs that stand on end. From the powerful pleas of the first song "The Light and The Sound" through to the soft unanswered questions of the last song "Mixtapes/ Cellmates" the tracks on this recording sing to the oft-neglected parts of your soul. (KM)

Roy Tacomatose Initial Records • So it would seem that "featuring ex-members of Botch" is going to become the new indie-rock catch phrase. Strange as it might seem, everything these guys do is straight up golden and Roy is no exception. Roy features ex-Botch fellows Dave Verellen and Brain Cook (who incidentally is also in These Arms are Snakes) and brings a kind of naked honesty that isn't loud, but isn't easily classified as quiet since the powerful emotions make the most subtle moments as intense as any separated lovers quarrel. Roy is something brilliant and these 5 songs feel only like the lip separating part of a kiss. (KM)

Soul Position 8,000,000 Stories Rhymesayers/Fat Beats • Where the Unlimited EP left off is where this full length with RJD2 on the boards and Blueprint on the mic picks up. We already knew about the beats that Blueprint provided to the underground sound, but now he makes an effort as an emcee on this release ­ and this should not be overlooked. Blue's insightful stories and uncanny flow are at times braggadocio, at times sarcastic and at times real-life. RJ does his part with thumping melodic beats that carry Blue's lyrics with ease. From start to finish tracks like "Printmatic" sets the stage, "Fuckajob" looks into the everyday lives of a 9-5er, "Right Place Wrong Time" looks at loyalty and "Look Of Pain" possesses an eerily eager beat that carries a street-life story about trying to survive; all making this an amazing effort that hails above the independent masses. (JC)

SushiRobo The Light-Fingered Feeling of SushiRobo Pattern 25 Records • SushiRobo guitarist/vocalist Arthur Rhodes was at one point the bass player for the Posies; the similarities between the two bands end right about there.  SushiRobo eschews the standard heavy, guitar-driven sound that tends to dominate the rock music world.  Instead, they offer us a glimpse into the future of pop music.  Imagine the deep space lovechild of the Dismemberment Plan and Devo, and you're just beginning to scratch the surface of what this band is capable of doing.  This is easily one of the best records I've heard this year. (CL)

The Lawrence Arms The Greatest Story Ever Told Fat Wreck • It's nice when you can count on a band to not just put out good record after good record, but incredible records. Chicago's best punk band, The Lawrence Arms, has yet to put out a record that isn't thoroughly amazing. Every song is exact, crisp, raw and ripping, full of melody and angst. There's anger, sincerity, pain, frustration, sadness, depression and hope laced throughout this record. Brendan tends to stick to the more angry and oft socio/politically-tinged tunes, belting out gruff vocals, while Chris croons the more heartfelt, personally revealing songs with his Dan Andriano-like sensitive vocal styling (Andriano is the crooner from Alkaline Trio). Musically, you can, at times, compare this band with Jawbreaker, the aforementioned Alkaline Trio and The Honor System (the latter two are, not coincidentally, from Chicago). No band has consistently impressed me as much as The Lawrence Arms since Jawbreaker broke up. Now, that's some serious shit. (CM)

Timonium Until He Finds Us Pehr Label • With their third full-length Until He Finds Us, Timonium delivers an incredibly beautiful album. Their dreamy slowcore pop reminds one of bands such as Codeine and Galaxie 500. The vocal interplay of Tracy Uba and Adam Hervey is one of many highlights of this album, particularly on the slow building "Across the Footlights". This comes highly recommended. (CL)

Veil Xe self-released  • I had the pleasure to see Veil live recently and it was a great show. This disc is absolutely fantastic. Predominated by quiet and thoughtful songs without being sleepy at all, there are a few rockers thrown in to provide some musical counterpoint. There is a strong Middle Eastern flavor, which permeates the whole disc with its subtle textures and rhythms. A quartet of talented musicians supply the accompaniment to Holly Brewer's ethereally beautiful voice. Buy it. Now. (MK)

CD Reviews

A Five And Dime Ship self-titled Redundant Audio International • A Five And Dime Ship play instrumental music that dabbles in math and drone rock. Songs blend into each other, at times barely there, and at others explosive. The music is clearly centered around the guitar, which drives the direction of the album with every echo and reverb. (AL)

A Study In Her Auto-Amputation Honest In Secret • From hyper-active, electro space-pop to dreamy pop rock, this release is completely absorbing. It's so well crafted, a non-stop tour of great beats and grooves, with plenty of uptempo stuff to keep you from dosing at the wheel during the more dreamy stuff. At times it reminds me of the Stone Roses or Luna, but other songs have frantic beats more along the lines of drum and bass or techno. It's an electronic rock masterpiece with a mix of male and female vocals, sung accordingly with the tempo of the music. This album will make you speed when driving. (CM)

A Week In July Near Fatal Explosion Orange Peal Records • A Week In July, sadly, live up to there name in a sense. While listening to this indie/emo-influenced band out of Pittsburgh, PA, I recognized nothing new, original, or extra-ordinary. All that came to me was four-chord pop anthems, "jump up and down" choruses, and lyrics of love and passion. In comparison to A Week in July (an actual week), the band is just that: nothing new, ordinary, or extravagant to comment on, just another indie band, from another town, with the same chorus, song structures, and lyrical topics. (CMax)

Abe Ruthless No Nothin' Blues Formula 13 • Abe is here to help you cope with your Ruthless fix. The former lead singer of the Slash City Daggers and founding member of the Fuck You Ups comes with a four-song EP. He gives fans grungy, blues-rock that will make you sway your hips and drink more beer than planned. Featured on this EP is the great Jeff Dahl. (CM)

Academy Making It Personal Orange Peal Records • As a fan of music and, of course, the "underground music scene," I'm astonished by the types of bands, styles, and songwriters that the universe has inherited over the years. One of these "genres" I happen to refer to is indie rock. That is exactly what this band is. I'll be the first one to admit that I'm not much of a fan of indie rock, but I will admit Academy does it good. It seems to me that Orange Peal Records has a thing for indie rock band. I realize, though, there's really nothing worth mentioning about this release. Academy is a band for any fan of straight, pure indie rock with personal songwriting. (CMax)

Afar-i Star Rebel Bandits Self Released • These three Rasta's spit their dread locked rhymes over hyper-bouncing reggae beats that carry a worldwide club appeal. "High Fashion Honnies" and "Hulligan" lead off this collection with thumping bass grooves that carry along a rapid delivery of lyrics by each emcee. "Call In The Army" and "Done Do Time" changes the attitude towards a street leveled approach and then takes time to reflect on life and the changes that ensue. There could defiantly be comparisons made with the flows of Bone Thugs and the sounds of Sean Paul (for lack of better reference) but overall the evolution that takes place on this disc (going from club jams to battle tracks to insightfulness) is a good introduction to this crew out of Central Florida. (JC)

Angry Hill The Rezz Almost Eight Records  • I saw these guys play the other night and they certainly put on a good show. This is a good hard rock disc and if these guys can't make it in commercial radio world, then nobody can. The songs are tight and well written, with plenty of catchy hooks. Good singing, too. There are a couple of slower tunes on the disc that seemed to break the flow a bit. They weren't bad - they just didn't seem to fit. The rest of it is filled with enough groove-heavy rock to keep you going for a long time. Definitely worth checking out. (MK)

Animal Collective Spirit They've Gone / Spirit They've Vanished / Danse Manatee Fat Cat Records • Animal Collective is a group of four people who don't all necessarily appear in the same song. That leads to all kinds of experimentation with music and sound, sometimes resulting in pop, other times folk, and other times weird sound collages. This double CD sees the re-release of two of their previous albums. (AL)

April March Triggers Pias America • On her second album, April March collaborates with French producer Bertrand Burgalat to create smooth euro-pop. Similarities with Stereolab are obvious, specifically in the soothing quality of the vocals. Fans of early Air will also like Triggers for its beautifully crafted electronic sounds. (AL)

Army Of Ponch Vs. The Curse Sabot Productions • A dirtier Army of Ponch than the recordings I'm familiar with, but that's all right with me. 3 songs that lay it out and show you what's up. The blessed music scene of Gainesville, Florida has a mainstay with these guys and everything they put out makes you realize it more and more. It's better than the butter melting on your toast. (KM)

Ashley Raines Dirty Little Soul Howling Dog Records • Some might say that you can't trust a guy named Ashley. But I'd trust Raines. He's a good guy, with powerful vocals and a jangly, folk rock approach that is really solid. But it's not as straightforward as so much recent singer-songwriter folk stuff. This is full of soul and passion and a great appreciation for creative instrumentation, using everything from violin to trumpet to fretless bass. (CM)

Asterisk* Dogma Three One G Records • This CD rounds up every track ever recorded by this Swedish band. Their grindcore meets death metal sound is unrelenting, and the songs are pretty short. I refuse to believe that the lead singer is actually forming words, as opposed to alternating high pitched screams and low guttural throat emissions. (AL)

Atkins Lane Life in the Fast Lane • Straight from their Virginia living room to yours (or wherever you might have your stereo and/or computer) Atkins Lane presents this diverse six song EP. There are elements of emo, pop-punk, and acoustic indie pop in the Atkins Lane sound, though "Between Here and There" shows how dangerously thin the line between anthemic emo and anthemic Journey-style 80's rock can be sometimes. A pair of covers, Morrissey's "Jack the Ripper" and David Bowie's "Hang On To Yourself," close the EP on a high note. There's a good deal of potential here, and it will be interesting to see how Atkins Lane evolves as it works on its first full-length album. (CL)

Atmosphere Seven's Travels Epitaph Records • Lookout! Epitaph is signing hip-hop artists. They started with two of the best indie MCs around, Sage Francis and Atmosphere. Sage has yet to drop his bomb, but this is the offering from Atmosphere, 19 tracks of genre-bending hip-hop genius. Minneapolis' Atmosphere is made up of Slug spittin', Ant droppin' the beats and DJ Mr. Dibbs on the cuts. This is Atmosphere's fourth album, a banging release sure to soothe the needs of any true hip-hop head. The personal and starkly honest lyrics really bring the listener into the music. And while most hip-hop artists have one style, Atmosphere brings a mix of dope ass party tunes, dark, gloomy tracks, smooth, soulful songs and bouncing, rhythmic tunes. (CM)

August Premier Fireworks And Alcohol Fueled By Ramen • Because beer and fireworks are so cool this band must be too, huh? Straight from the formulated music factory comes August Premier, a band ready for TRL and the Top 40 airwaves that are already over-massed with the melodic, pop-punk rock that fills out this release. Much of this sounds the same and comes off half-hearted. (JC)

Azure Ray Hold On Love Saddle Creek • Azure Ray are a duet of female vocalists who use a combination of loop-based electronic music along with traditional instrumentation to create a haunting record of "neo-American gothic balladry." It is bright rays of light cutting through complete darkness, as the music plays between major and minor ­ just when you're about to break from sadness, a sliver of hope breaks in and rescues you. A delightfully delicious record of bittersweet poetry. (DP)

Black Box Recorder Passionoia One Little Indian • Black Box Recorder are unapologetically British, and create euro-pop masterpieces. Fronted by the lovely Sarah Nixey, whose voice alternates between the cold, in-control voice of a dominatrix, to the whispered beauty of a nymph. Providing the highly danceable soundtrack are John Moore (Jesus and Mary Chain) and Luke Haines (The Auteurs, Baader Meinhof). (AL)

Blitzkid Let Flowers Die Antidote Records • Can you say Misfits? Good. Now say Blitzkid. They sound a lot like the Misfits, but not in a rip-off kind of way. They have the drippy horror thing going on, and they write great songs. This is a fun disc, despite song titles like "Nosferatu," "Dying Day" and "Motorized Homicide."  I really, really like this disc. (MK)

Bogs Visionary Orchestra Recession Special Self Released • Described as "The Carter Family meets Allen Ginsberg," this alt-country/Americana sound is deeply rooted in the old country, guitar picking, whiskey sippin' ways. The twanginess rings loudly throughout and the satire included in tracks like "Ben Layden" pokes much needed fun at the life and times of today's world. Showcasing instruments such as a banjo, lap steel and harmonica, the sound is full of a down-home good ol' boy feeling without the horse-patty smell. (JC)

Brandtson/ Camber/ Seven Story Split CD Deep Elm • Deep Elm Records decided to take the split CD idea and make it a threesome with good results. Brandtson keeps growing on me release after release and this song helps that tried continue. Camber hasn't ever done anything for me, and this song keeps that trend in tact as well. Seven Story is another favorite, and this track is a good one, a little poppier than a lot of their other stuff. Good stuff. (KM)

Broken Bottles  Not Pretty Finger Records  • These guys sound sort of like a hepped up version of the Angry Samoans. Crunchy and gritty with a "1,2,3,4" relentless onslaught of rock and roll. Songs about Kelly Osbourne, gothic chicks, and killing cats make for surefire listening pleasure. It took me a couple of times through, but this disc really grew on me. Now I'm sad that it's only six songs long. Listen to it twice.  (MK)

Calabrese Midnight Spookshow self-released • It is quite obvious that the main influence for Calabrese is the Misfits, in both of its incarnations. From the horror movie lyrics and the Danzig wannabe vocals, including multiple "wooo" chants, they got the tribute thing down. I'm surprised they didn't cover any Misfits tunes. In all, Midnight Spookshow was an enjoyable 13 minutes. (AL)

Calico System The Duplicated Memory Eulogy Recordings • A clever mix of emo, hardcore, screamo and punk, mixing the right elements of each. Smoothed over in a Poison the Well, Thursday sort of way, luckily they aren't too hung up on keeping things clean and it gets just down and dirty enough to be some good hardcore. (KM)

Captain Angry and the Bad Moods self-titled self-released • This is lo-fi indie rock at its finest. They remind me of what Weezer, Interpol, or At the Drive In might sound like if you took away all their expensive recording equipment and made them play with their first instruments. The tracks were recorded entirely on a mini-disc player, but the low budget production only adds to the raw energy of the songs. There is an intensity and sincerity in their musical styling. They don't need bells and whistles to make a great album. It isn't quite punk, garage, or emo. It's just pure indie that's nothing like the stale, mediocre tunes you expect from college rock. (BB)

Cathari Cathari Isochromatic • When you put together a program technician, programmer analyst, a combination waiter, guitar player and drummer as well as an assistant chiropractic and singer you get 80's era drum beats and a mellow, tripped-out Star Wars type of electro journey. This album is one to get lost inside of, rainy afternoon kind of music without the sullenness. Much of this is mysterious as vocalist Morgan Solomon sets the mood (although this is mostly instrumental) throughout tracks that feature silly names like "Astrological Clock Fortells the Return of Satan" and "Everything Before, After and, Since". (JC)

Chaos U.K. self-titled Dead Ringer Records  • See the review for Chaotic Dischord. Same thing, but more so. This is a re-issue of their first album. (MK)

Chaotic Dischord Fuck Religion Fuck Politics Fuck The Lot of You Dead Ringer Records  •There are 31 tracks on this disc. That makes a lot of wasted plastic, as they all sound the same. Now, I sound like my mother, but this is trash: old school gutterpunk shit circa 1982. Just because you wear leather and know how to mangle a guitar does not entitle you to make a record. (MK)

Cheer-Accident Gumballhead The Cat CD & Comic Book Set Skin Graft Records • Going back to their roots, Skin Graft Records has released another CD/comic book combo. The comic book is Rob Syers latest Gumballhead the Cat story. I don't want to give anything away, but some cigarettes are smoked, someone gets murdered, and the Gumballhead eats a mouse. The soundtrack is provided by Cheer-Accident, whose mostly instrumental music incorporates prog rock, jazz improvisations, and ambient soundscapes. (AL)

Chris Grace Compulsion Eucommia Records • Pop oriented radio-ready rock provided here with songs as heart-felt and emotional as tempo changes can get. Grace is a pretty good vocalist but the dreary music that flows high and low just sounds to overproduced and cleaned up to the point that nothing on this disc really sounds real, just concocted together straight through. (JC)

Christine Martucci Mama Says self-released • This girl can sing. She belts out powerful, passionate vocals effortlessly. She lays them out over charged up country rock. There are guitar solos and plenty of honky-tonk attitude. She's been compared to Melissa Etheridge, and, I suppose that's fair. If you're in the mood for some down-home countrified rock, Martucci is your fix. (CM)

Circle Vaudeville Reflections Records • Think old garage rock of the '80s vs. modern day post-hardcore. Who wins, you ask? Both styles, according to this peculiar but crucial band known as Circle. As weird as the name, this band incorporates the energy and post-hardcore style of Boy Sets Fire, along with an '80s garage rock feel. Add a scent of "emotional core" and you've basically defined the style, energy, and passion of this band! Despite the fact that their name is a geometrical shape, this band isn't square baby! Garage rock kicking in. (CMax)

Clare Quilty Tremble Remixes DCide Records • Tremble will be the first single from Clare Quilty's next album, Face the Strange. This CD features seven remixes of the title track, each different enough that you won't get bored of listening to the same song over and over. They all share in common one thingŠthe continuous beat of dance music. (AL)

Contact High Missed Opportunities of the Non-Believers self-released • There are lots of styles converging here, but the main thrust is definitely radio rock. There are some good songs with catchy hooks and enough ear candy to keep you listening. This sounds like a lot of the music that saturates the airwaves of rock radio. There are a couple of slower songs that show an ability to write songs that break from the norm. They are really good. (MK)

Cordero Live DCN • Full of energy, NYC's Cordero share their enthusiasm on their Live CD, which features 11 tracks, plus a video for "Vamos Nenas." The lyrics are sung both in English and Spanish by Ani Cordero, while the rest of the band weaves Latin rhythms with rock sounds. (AL)

Craig Roberts Maybe Self-Released • Off the bat this guy sounds almost exactly like Weird Al. On his sophomore E.P. the self proclaimed "comedy rocker" isn't funny and defiantly doesn't rock but "Rowdy Neighbors" does come close. This disc sounds very 80's, it brings back movie memories of a science nerd singing karaoke in his basement by himself for some reason. The words are well written but are annoying when delivered in a whining manner; causing the stories about being trashed, encountering aliens from outer space and other senseless things to come off stale. (JC)

Criteria En Garde Initial Records • This is former Cursive guitarist Stephen Pedersen's newest band. After Pedersen's most recent band, The White Octave, broke up, he moved back to his hometown of Omaha and started up Criteria. Of the three bands, this is the best yet. The melodies on this album are awesome, woven into the fabric of wildly rocking music. Pedersen's vocals are incredible, too. They remind me of a bit of Conor Oberst when he sings with Desaparecidos (also from Omaha). Other times, the vocals are more reminiscent of Weezer. The overall result is an eclectic indie rock album that shows Pedersen's passion for the music he crafts and makes clear that he's not bound to the limitations of a music genre. (CM)

Darediablo Feeding Frenzy Southern Records • Hailing from New York, this instrumental trio creates a wall of sound with their chunky, heavy-on-the-low-end guitars and their massive, intricate drumming. Their use of different keyboards, including Hammond organ and Fender Rhodes, adds a prog rock edge, and rounds out this awesome band. (AL)

Darko Jones Born A Lion Simba Recordings • If you want a no-frills rock and roll album with big guitars, sweet hooks and some catchy-ass lyrics, here you go. But if you're looking for anything remotely intelligent in the music's message, look elsewhere. These are some of the dumbest lyrics I've ever heard. It may be worse than Andrew WK. All the lyrics would be perfect for country music. "Are you in or are you out / Huckle up baby / To the sound of love." Want more? "Man, I'm so sick of this town / Get me the hell out now / Mama don't want to talk to me / Daddy, he just wears a frown." And every song is just as bad. The music isn't good enough to make up for the weak-ass writing. (CM)

Daughters Canada Songs Robotic Empire • One of my biggest complaints about hardcore as a genre is its ability, or more bands ability to rest on the comfortable cornerstones. The need to never divert from the common sound annoys me to no end. With that in mind I applaud Daughters for taking musical chances and jumping with 2 feet into something new and challenging. Unfortunately it doesn't work for me, to spazzy too much treble guitar sounds that sound too much like toys gone wrong. There's some good stuff here, I wish I liked it more than I do. (KM)

David Dondero The Transient Future Farmer Recordings • If you liked his last release Shooting At The Sun With A Water GunŠ then you're going to love this one. Traveling throughout the states has continued to inspire Dondero. No matter how broke or broke-down he gets, his songs about traveling, love, death, hopelessness and all that goes with seeking out the things you'll never find, somehow seem to make us all feel better about your own lives. What he's done with this disc is add depth musically to make a sound that comes off complete and consistent in content. A long list of friends contributed by using a violin, keys, bass, glockenspiel, slide and backup vocals to complement this singer/songwriter. Tracks like "20 Years" and "Dance of spring" show just how much Dondero has progressed, but this whole disc stands out. (JC)

Deadstring Brothers Deadstring Brothers Times Beach Records • Not your average Detroit band but the bluesy country rock on this disc is melded with a 70's feel and a new millennium approach that works well. Rooted deeply in the tradition of Hank Williams and Johnny Cash or The Band and Gram Parsons to the more modern songwriters like Jeff Buckley and Nick Cave the music here carries comfortably fragile melodies and a steady sound that includes a signature country guitar howl. Everything from the background vocals to the piano keys adds to the atmosphere here. Expect a lot of melancholy mixed with a bit of up-tempo ramblings that help to even this disc out as well as a version of "Long Black Veil" originally done by Cash. (JC)

Deceivers Third Machine 53HC Records • With this reissue comes bonus tracks from a band that got their start out of Brazil. Thrash metal with a vocal style that puts Fred Durst to shame is the best way to describe the punk/metal/rap, rapid-fire output of sounds on this disc. Changes in tempo take the music in many directions and builds it to a high point before axing down the progress with authority. What is brought here is pure balls-to-the-wall attitude pushed out with the industrial mayhem of Ministry and the power and agitated prowl of Pantera. (JC)

Dialog Cet Konsumera Era Carcrash Records • For their third album, Dialog Cet went from a three piece to a two piece, but did not diminish their sound. Their music is like a maze of notes, weaving in and out of each other with mathematical precision and complexity. (AL)

Disband In Small Rooms Ernest Jenning Record Co. • Apparently these guys have been together since the mid-90's, roaming about the North Carolina indie music circuit and performing with bands such as Superchunk, Braid, and the Dismemberment Plan.  The payoff for their years of hard work is one impressive album, In Small Rooms. At times, Disband is reminiscent of fellow North Carolinians such as Archers of Loaf and Sorry About Dresden; at others, there is more of a post-punk, DC/Dischord Records sound.  There is a great balance of harmony and dissonance, numerous guitar hooks (or "guitarmonies," as the band might say), and a powerful, driving rhythm section.  In a Clear Channel-free universe, "Basement Life" would be all over the radio.  Good work, gentlemen. (CL)

Ditch The Sound Of Liverpigs Dancing Brown Trout Records • They say they've "tried to free" themselves from all the "new metal bands out there." They do a pretty good job. This is heavy, funky metal that takes elements of Primus, 311, Mr. Bungle, Megadeath. I could go on and on. What is awesome is the way Ditch has pieced them together. It results in a pounding, guitar-based assault that keeps your head bobbin'. Sadly, these guys will likely end up being considered just another one of the new school metal hybrids that falls between the cracks, elbowed out by pretty boys like Linkin Park and ugly freaks like Limp Bizkit. (CM)

Diverse One A.M. Chocolate Industries • Bringing back the old-school feel of spitting poetic lyrics about our society and its politics, Diverse flows over cutty production heavy on scratches, mostly by RJD2, as well as Madlib, Prefuse-73, K-Krux, Overflow and Jeff Parker. This Chicago emcee prides himself on what it is he has to say by holding nothing back with a delivery that is direct and changes pace with each beat. "Big Game" features Vast Aire, "Explosive" features Lyrics Born and "Under The Hammer" features Jean Grae on a debut album that makes waiting through an EP and a 12" all worthwhile. (JC)

Divide by Zero Mirrors Sinister Label • Divide by Zero is a four-piece punk rock band hailing from Chicago. They're influenced by bands like Hot Water Music, Dillinger Four and Small Brown Bike. I recommend this to anyone who is into the aforementioned bands.(RP)

Do Make Say Think Winter Hymn Country Hymn Secret Hymn Constellation Records • Do Make Say Think's latest album is divided into three parts, each consisting of three songs. Each section is meant to be listened as a whole. The instrumental tracks progress from slow and methodical to explosive, then slowing down to close the album. You'll find it hard not to be hypnotized by their charms. (AL)

Doughboys La Majuere 1987 EP Does Everyone Stare? • This is the Doughboys' original demo, remastered and dropped onto CD. These Canadian lads were at the front of the pop punk class, crafting a pop-punk-emo meld that was definitely ahead of its time. These songs retain their impressiveness, not feeling dated in the way so many other late '80s punk bands do. The sound is a bit raw, reminding me how much better bands sound when their recordings aren't overproduced. This album is an honest, three-tracks worth of punky pop rock. (CM)

Down By Law Windwardtidesandwaywardsails Union Label Group • Yep Down By Law is still around, and they are still doing what they do. This offering isn't anything that's gonna change your life, but its solid. The sad thing about bands that survive as long as DBL is they tend to get formulaic at times for better or worse. (KM)

Downpilot Leaving Not Arriving Blue Disguise • This is some sleepy-time indie rock. It's sensitive and passionate, with cooed male vocals flowing sincerely over well-orchestrated guitar pop. There are elements of country, soul and folk mixed throughout. This Seattle quartet should be very please with Leaving Not Arriving, their debut album. The songs are well crafted and show a true appreciation for the art of song writing. (CM)

Drist Bitter Halo Spunout Records • Turn your radio dial to your local "hard rock" station and you might already be hearing this band. They're ready. They sound like MTV2 probably already has embraced them. The problem is, there are dozens of other "hard rock" bands out there that sound exactly like this. For instance, Chevelle and Nickelback. That's not to say they lack skill ‹ this sounds good. They play very well and the vocals are pretty decent. I'm just sick of this shit. (CM)

Edenpark Welcome To Edenpark Nolo Records • sarcastic rock with elements of punk and melodies fuse the fun-time vibe to make a solid sound on this release. At one moment aggressive then another moment more under control, this PA band attacks rock music from a distinct angle that also adds touches of different styles for good measure. Can't say that this collection of tracks is worth seeking out though, but it does sound like this band is worth looking out for in the future. (JC)

El Centro Prohibido Finger Records • I love that bands that tend to make my job hard at times, those bands that strive to be original and incorporate numerous amounts of styles and attributes to their music. Those bands are the reason I often strive to look for new bands and are constantly checking out every band I hear. I have made a delightful encounter with El Centro. Besides the corny artwork and the obscenities within their lyrics, El Centro is, in modern day teenage terms, "Off The Heezy Fo Sheezy!" Hailing from Mexico (could you tell?) these guys can be described as a Sublime/Vandals mix with elements of Pennywise, Bad Religion, and Bob Marley. A great sound with a great message of struggle and believing in yourself! This band has overcome trials, struggles, death, and almost the loss of a band member (their lead singer was in the terrorist bomb attack at the Sari Club, in Bali Indonesia) and are still going strong! Fans of punk, reggae, ska, so be it, check this band out. They're worthy and they definitely deserve your attention. (CMax)

El Nada Nothing For Nobody Finger Records • Southern Cali Hispanic surfin' punk rocker maniacs El Nada push out some raw sounds about their lives and times in Orange County, California. After seven years on the scene, this recording could have been dubbed better; the purpose is well noted though. Tracks like "Blown Speakers In The Varrio", "Police Chase", "Fuck" and "Bums" give you an idea of what to expect here - an all out anarchy party! (JC)

Emmanuel 7 Machines in Routine Thorp Records • Emmanuel 7, at times, has an old school hardcore sound such as Sick of it all, Ensign and Earth Crisis. There's a good blend of old school and new school hardcore, but nothing too groundbreaking. (NP)

Enon Hocus-Pocus Touch and Go Records • With some bands you know what to expect before you even press play.  Enon is not one of those bands.  Their albums are like mix tapes (do people still make mix tapes, or have we officially moved on to mix cd's?) from your crazed music aficionado friend:  you're not quite sure what you'll get, but it's gonna be good.  From twisted new wave to guitar driven indie rock to futuristic Japanese pop, Enon convincingly pulls off a variety styles on Hocus Pocus. (CL)

Every Time I Die Hot Damn! Ferret Music • Dieing more than once must be an intense trip, this album plays on that and is unmerciful, aggressive and hardcore with a pulsating demeanor that maintains a solid backbone throughout. Thrashing guitars, pounding percussion and volatile vocals rant about with lyrics that are tales of love told by a stalker with a temper and self-esteem issues. The cover of this release is a beautiful picture of two women kissing - now any man would go crazy over that, right? (JC)

Evil Beaver Pleased To Eat You Johann's Face Records • Producer Dave Trumfio (Billy Bragg & Wilco, The Breeders, Hole) does well by bringing out the power and aggressive sexiness of this metal-edged female drum and bass duo. Evie Evil and Laura Ann Beaver provide a double dose of fury with a heavy feeding of thrashing rock that maintains its frantic state on tracks like "Ass Salad," "Forbidden Fruit" and "Pleased To Eat You," just to name a few. Mainly, these ladies tear shit up from front to back on this follow up to their well received insistence entitled Lick It, this even sounds influenced at times by Janes Addiction every now and then. (JC)

Exhibit F Blue in the Background Exhibit F • I want to describe this record as "artsy metal." There is definitely a lot of traditional metal influence behind the band members, but they rise above, doing crazy mix-ups of the time signatures and throwing some discord into the mix. It's got elements of emo, punk, and progressive in it, and the band is also female-fronted. The vocals along with the "rare alchemy of heavy sound" make this Southern California band stand apart ­ the record takes turns you don't expect, but appreciate greatly. (DP)

Fairweather Lusitania Equal Vision • If you can get through the 3 minute ambient noise into, you'll find some solid sounds. Soft-spoken and hard-hitting (it only sounds like a contradiction) this follow up to their Alaska EP shows a more mature and experimental side of Fairweather. With a sound that sounds like post-hardcore that's turned back on its self, Fairweather continue to ever alter the musical landscape. (KM)

Five Deez Kinkynasti K7 • Fat Jon provides funky and jazzed-out beats on this release that is soulful and filled with electronic elements and groovin' instrumentals. Five Deez are some guys out of Cincinnati who possess a signature Midwest underground hip hop sound consisting of monotone flows and beats that have a basic backbone underneath the added musical elements. Anyone interested in experimental jazz/hip hop will appreciate this collection of tracks with appearances from Dudley Perkins, Venus Malone, Amleset Solomon and Sonic. (JC)

Flatpoint a/v Black December Redundant Audio International • This 12-song full length by Flatpoint is melodic with a tight hardcore sound. Sometimes out of control, but never too much to where its shitty. This album is definitely worth checking out. (NP)

Forever is Forgotten The Architecture Is Still Burning Thorp Records • Forever is Forgotten is a totally radical hardcore band that rocks super intense like. These dudes throwdown gnarly riffage all over the place and annihilate all listeners' ear drums. (RP)

Fortitude Aronson ­ The Game Sessions self released • This is pure skate music, punk music, however you prefer it to be referred as. A solid sound from Wes B. on guitars carries this release, Dave Kiel pounds the skins with authority and Mike Aronson handles a testy bass while the hostile rantings of Pat Edge round out the fury. The only problem here is that the sound is a little under-produced, like the mixing of the instruments sound levels are off or something, other than that this is solid. (JC)

Fortress Madonna One Hundred Beacons Laughing Outlaw • I don't know if I believe the whole story of Olympic gymnast, turned KGB agent, turned alterna-pop bandŠ but I do believe this is a pretty damn catchy record. Reminding me a little of Robyn Hitchcock and the Egyptians mixed with Love and Rockets, this is a dizzying mix of 80's inspired alternative pop. Everything was pretty good, until I listened to the last song, and that one floored me. Whatever the truth of this shadowy bands beginnings, you can believe they put out a solid collection with this one. (KM)

Frogholler Railings Record Cellar • Hailing from the sub-suburban landscape of picturesque Kutztown, PA, where farms adorn rolling hills, Frogholler creates their fourth record, further showcasing their unique folksy brand of acoustic ballads. It is an infectious, heavily country-influenced collection of tunes, sometimes zippy, sometimes slow and vulnerable. It has the feeling of genuine Americana running through its veins ­ you feel one with this segment of our culture when this music enters your ears. (DP)

Gameface Four to Go Doghouse Records • Gameface is back with their latest full-length, Four to Go. The performances are tight and the production is crisp, but it feels like something is missing. The songs are a solid blend of pop-punk, emo, and indie that sound instantly familiar. With Four to Go, Gameface is heading down a well-traveled road; it's a solid effort, though you've probably heard it before. (CL)

Ghost Orchids The King Is Dead Prince House Records • Electronic rock with a pulsating rhythm that snaps you up with a Matrix-type of aura and mystic. Described as post-punk, this sonic release has been advertised for fans of The Faint, Fischer Spooner, PIL and Caberet Voltaire but also sounds like an up-to-date version of NIN's Pretty Hate Machine, but don't get me wrong, this stands entirely on its own. Take a couple hits and ride this one out through tracks like "Keep Your Secrets" and "Synthesizer Bruises Nothing Can Hurt You". (JC)

Ghosts & Vodka Addicts & Drunks Sixgunlover Records • The members of Ghosts & Vodka have served time in bands like Cap' n Jazz, Joan of Arc, Owls, and Tetsuo, so you know they are good. This CD includes all the tracks from their full length Precious Blood, their debut 7 inch, and an unreleased track. This instrumental band uses multiple guitars as the centerpiece for the music, interconnecting them all over a steady beat. (AL)

Ginger Moon This Is Ginger Moon South Tenth Records • Solid sound from a band that trades male and female vocals back and forth with a rock sound that is influenced by the 70's and 80's. Every track sounds tightly wound with stories about drug abuse on "Stuck With Yourself", the line between the famous and the obscure on "Do I know You" as well as songs about us boys and girls. This comes off really complete as an album and is produced well. (JC)

Giving Chase Nothing Ever Changes Jump Start Records • Giving Chase hails from the college football hotbed of State College, Pennsylvania.  While most of the locals are obsessing over the Penn St. football team, these guys are honing their driving punk and hardcore sound.  The melodic and intense songs are reminiscent of Boy Sets Fire.  Additionally, their aggressive live performance translates well onto this record, as there is a very energetic feel to these seven tracks.  This is some good stuff from Giving Chase. (CL)

Glasseater Everything Is Beautiful When You Don't Look Down Victory Records • I've liked Glasseater a whole lot more than I like this CD. What the hell happened? Take one of the best screamo hardcore bands around and mix MTV pop punk and what do you get a real big disappointment. This sounds like a band that went out to make a record that could be marketed directly at the cute girl Taking Back Sunday, Saves The Day fans. Give me back the "7 Years Bad Luck" Glasseater of old and you can keep this shit. (KM)

Guff Engine Trouble Go-Kart Records • From the hilarious introduction to the last C chord struck, Guff uses its infectious upbeat melodies, octaves, "teenage desperation vocals," and arrangement of music to bring to you a better brand of pop punk. Normally, when reviewing such material of this "long, overdone, and ever-prospering" genre, I bow my head, and pray. Guff, on the other hand was something that I never thought a pop punk band could be: original! More punk than pop, but enough pop for any fan, touring with such acts as Citizen Fish and NoFx, Guff is showing the world that a pop punk band can actually do something out of the norm without the help of MTV or Fuse and still gain respect, the old and proper way! (CMax)

Heavenly States self-titled Future Farmer • This CD starts out with extreme rock and quickly drops off into a weird Celtic sound. Heavenly States blend a some what Jawbox sound on the first track. As for the rest of the CD, I can't quite describe their weird sound. (RP)

Hewhocorrupts Ten Steps To Success Sinister Label • Hewhocorrupts are a band with much anger and no restraint. This 14-minute barrage can be characterized as chaotic at best. Drum beats that are too fast to count, searing vocals and razor sharp guitars blur the line between hardcore and grindcore. (AL)

Holy Sons I Want To Live A Peaceful Life FILM Guerrero • Emil Amos brings us a fragile and saddened collection of songs that reveal the crumbling nature of a man as it happens before you. "Getting Old" and "All The Wrong Things" are tracks that make the end of our lives a little easier to come to grips with, using music that is hippy like The Dead, haunting like Dylan and sounds as good as the mellow albums released by Beck. This recording was done in a way that sounds like Amos was sitting inside an empty room too big to be alone in, adding a bit of denseness to the atmosphere and providing an intimate setting of confusion and comfort the only way a one-man band can. (JC)

I Excuse Burn The Empty To The Ash Newest Industry • Some of the newer punk bands coming out of Japan are really blowing my mind. Envy is an incredible Japanese hardcore band (see review in this issue) that I just heard. Now, I Excuse has come to rock my world. Combining elements of Strike Anywhere, Hot Water Music, Lawrence Arms, Pegboy and Dillinger Four, this Kyoto-based four-piece puts together a raging album of throaty (near-screaming) vocals, incredible guitars that are layered thick and a non-stop rhythm put forth by solid basslines and furious drumming. (CM)

Inhuman The New Nightmare A-F Records • I don't know maybe its just me, with a name like Inhuman, album title like "The New Nightmare" and blood dripping all over the cover art, I thought this record should be totally worshipping the devil metal as fuck. It's not, go figure. Inhuman plays a more typical style of hardcore mixed with punk elements, that are listenable but not distinct from a lot of other things you've heard in this genre before. (KM)

Invisible Invisible Tableturns • Kicking his debut album off with an intro that serves as a warm up for what is yet to come, Invisible spits his flow with a steady and punctual delivery. The quick rhyme releases are soaked in positivity and deeply felt subject matter over eerie, smoothed out beats that carry touches of scratches, strings and samples. Tracks like "The Underground MC" takes stabs at fake rappers, "Do For Self" is about finding ones power from within and "Concrete Jungle" is a street tale cautioning about the downfalls of bad decisions, and those aren't even the best songs on the album. Production is steady and stays bobbin' with beats from BT, Mondee and Invisible himself. After appearing on the State of the World compilation and then debuting with this release, look for more projects from the Invisible, and from this label for that matter. (JC)

IPANEMA Je Suis un Baseball Bat vs. Skull Does Everyone Stare • It is as though a chorus of rock angels has descended upon you. This is a two-song single from a band formed from the ashes of the band Serpico, and features highly melodic, heavily driving rock that has an extremely lush sound. It fills every corner of the musical gland of your brain, leaving no holes. A shining debut ‹ and you can get it on white vinyl! (DP)

J Church/ Storm The Tower Split CD Honest Mike's Broken Rekids • What rock did J Church crawl out from under, I haven't heard a peep from these seminal 90's punk rockers in forever. Doing what J Church do best, these songs have the same power pop strength that you expect with the introspective ideas driving the car along. Storm the Tower is a strange split CD coupling, with a more hardcore feel, but it works for me. Two good bands, one CD, that always seems like a deal to me. (KM)

jkettle Momentary Delights Soul Shard Records • Jeff Kettle is obsessed with Serge Gainsbourg's music, Radley Metzger's films, and the French language. He has incorporated elements of all in Momentary Delights, a smooth downtempo album that goes down easily. Lazy beats meet sweet keyboards with a smoky atmosphere throughout. (AL)

Jodi Shaw The Pie-Love Sky Big Head Records • Folk music through and through. She possesses a soft and beautiful voice that really shines, especially on the acoustic tracks "In Cabrini-Green," and "The End." Her voice has an uncanny resemblance to Doloros from The Cranberries. Not only does her voice resemble her tone but some of her vocal melodies sound to me like Cranberries songs. She's also been compared to Suzanne Vega and Dar Williams. There is a good mix of folk pop songs with a full band and beautiful acoustic, lullaby like songs. (MP)

Kane Hodder A Frank Exploration Of Voyeurism And Violence self-released • Sounding like The Ramones, Refused, and Fugazi in a sort of group therapy session, Kane Hodder seem to borrow liberally from all over the punk and hardcore genres with mixed results. For the most part I got into most of what was going on here, but I'm going to leave the jury out on this one, it could grow on me, or it could get lost in my CD collection, I just can't tell. (KM)

Kate Hathaway One Two Three Kate Hathaway • The debut EP from this Illinois teenage rocker, aptly titled, contains three songs that showcase her hard and edgy yet sexy vocals. For someone so young, she has obvious mastery of guitar rock riffs and has the attitude to make those skills manifest themselves in great works of power and emotion. A great talent with a great future. (DP)

Kid Koala Some of my Best Friends are DJs Ninja Tune Records • The Kid is back with another installment of ultra cool hip-hop beats and hand drawn cartoons (he drew the 50-page booklet himself). Comparisons could be made between this album and some of DJ Shadow's work, mainly the slowed down beats and his choice of vocal samples. Being a fan of DJ Shadow, I thoroughly enjoyed the similarities. (AL)

Kids Near Water Hey Zeus! Candle Light Records • Another UK indie pop-punk machine carrying melodies with screeches of alternative restlessness arrives via Kids Near Water. Though this album may relate to a wide range of rock fans, the vocals are too overlapped by the grunge-fest of music created here. Musically this release jams, comparisons are made towards the likes of Jawbox, The Get Up Kids and Girls Against Boys; but this disc contains a consistent formula that causes very little to stand out. (JC)

Kudzu Wish Reverse Hurricane Ernest Jenning Record Co. • Kudzu Wish kinda sound like they are picking up the hardcore evolutionary path that As Friends Rust started to take recently. Almost an indie-core sound, uniting the best of both sounds with dynamic musical work and lyrical action. This is so much more solid and interesting than you'd expect it to even be, really some awesome stuff going on here. (KM)

Kutless self-titled Tooth and Nail • Kutless is a socially acceptable radio friendly rip off Christian band. They sound so much like Creed, Puddle Of Mud and Hootie and the Blowfish that it makes me sick. Sing to the Lord a new song. (RP)

Landmine Spring Are We The Culprits? Loudspeaker Records • You tread on sacred ground when you name your band after my favorite Quicksand song, but I'll let that slide. LS have a radio ready hardcore feel that toes to closely to the nu-metal line for my tastes. The vocals are good when the screams come in, but the sung parts sound too much like Creed or something. They do some good things here, but originality wouldn't be an adjective to throw around. (KM)

Larry D Go Go Go MOL Records • Larry looks like the kind of guy who lets things just slide off him. I hope so, Œcause a lame ass name like "Larry D" is sure to draw some teasing. And, come on now Larry, you know it's warranted. Teasing aside, the press says it all right here: "You've never heard anybody rock the uke like Larry D does!" Okay, once you stop laughing at the hilarity of that statement, you must realize, it's true. Frankly, I've never heard anyone "rock" a ukulele and I doubt you have. (Not counting Tiny Tim, of course.) To be honest, though, Larry D doesn't really "rock" it. What Larry D does do is play some catchy, stripped down, poppy folk tunes with good vocals and, yep, that rockin' uke. Besides original material, he also gives his own take on Joni Mitchell's "Carey," Queen's "Crazy Little Thing Called Love" and a couple other tunes you've never heard done on a uke. He'd be appropriate at a beach bar in Miami or at some quirky lounge in Key West. (CM)

LFO Sheath Warp Records • When I got this in the mail I noticed that Warp had sent this latest album by LFO on tape, instead of CD. With the extent of piracy on the Net, I could hardly blame them for this. But as I read the press, I found there is a secondary reason. This album is a mix tape of unreleased tracks compiled as something to listen to in the car. Thus, it feels inconsistent at times, but gives you a good sense of what these electronica geniuses are all about. (AL)

Life In Your Way The Sun Rises And The Sun SetsŠ And Still Our Time Is Endless Indianola Records • LIYW do the same old same old, but luckily they do put a bit of themselves into it and change it up a little bit. Straightforward hardcore that reminds me a little of a mature Gorilla Biscuits. As long as you don't use the adjective original than you can say a lot of good things about this release. (KM)

Listener Whispermoon Mush • Floating a flow over low keys and a thumping drum beat on track one, Atlanta's Listener brings his underground hip-hop above ground with his debut release, Whispermoon. It's a collection of personal lyrics and eloquent poetry, spit with perfection. "Hey, I'm a listener and I'm all ears / I've been spoke down to for years with words designed to cause tears, but they don't / Hey, I'm a whisperer and I soak in jeers / Been forced to face my fears with accusations of wasted years, But I'll float." Most of the production work on this release is by Dust from Mars Ill and he does not disappoint. It's raw and minimalist with well-crafted, pointed beats keeping the rhythm, basslines fluidly thumping in the background, sparse samples used skillfully and keys often haunting the landscape. Fans of Sage Francis, Aesop Rock and Alias will find Listener to be a welcomed addition to the new school world of poetic indie hip-hop. (CM)

Low Skies The Bed Flameshovel Records • The Bed certainly won't win any awards for most cheerful album of 2003.  Low Skies creates music that is ominous and brooding, but these songs don't come across as bleak and hopeless.  Led by Christopher Salveter's dramatic and intense vocals, Low Skies' gothic, alt-country tunes are reminiscent of Nick Cave's work. (CL)

Lower Lights Burning First Last Chance Self-Released • Some good ol' country-tingling American rock and roll on this debut EP from these fellows out of Ohio. Right away on "Written In Stone" the energy level kicks things off at its peak as the rest of this collection simply grooves out while staying consistent with their tightly wound jam-band style. They sound like The Stones on "Cross Between" and a bit southern on "Black Bar", all in all providing a good introduction for things to come. (JC)

LP Outsiders The New Crown Luped Up Records • Maybe they call themselves the LP Outsiders because they don't just spin records, and instead play all instruments live. Their musicianship is excellent, and Joe Liedtke's rhymes are sometimes humorous, sometimes pointed. Besides the jazzy, funky elements that you'd expect from a hip hop act, they also throw in a bit of Salsa as well as a little Country flavors. This is truly a unique band. (AL)

Luke Vibert YosepHŠ Warp Records • In Spanish, the word "Yo" means "I," and the word "se" means "know." Also, from chemistry class you'll know that pH refers to the table of bases and acids. Therefore, you could say that YosepH means "I know bass and acid." And indeed he does. Traveling a bit back in time, he explores the acid genre, with danceable tracks full of retro beats, robot voices and vintage synths. Surprisingly enough, this is the first record he has put out on Warp. Hopefully it won't be his last. (AL)

Lyrics Born Later That DayŠ Quannum Projects • Out to prove that hip hop is not just rapping, Lyrics Born unleashed Later That DayŠ on the world. Funk, R&B, Rock, Reggae, Soul, and of course, hip-hop share center stage, with help from guests like Gift of Gab, Tommy Guerrero, Cut Chemist, and the Poets of Rhythm. (AL)

Malefaction Where There Is Power, There's Always Resistance G7 Welcoming Committee • Malefaction grinds through 25 minutes of intense, ear drum splitting music on their latest CD. There's not much of a chance that you will remain standing after you listen to it. They attack topics such as politics, religion, and child sweatshops. (AL)

Manishevitz City Life Jagjaguwar • With a larger band backing him up on his third album, Manishevitz begins things with an 80's feel and a Bowie sound on "Beretta" then carries the jazzy, popish vibe into the title track. His vocals are filled with a swagger and new attitude, a change in style that is more defined in comparison to the previously recorded mumblings on the first two albums. The overall vibe from the band playing together is a nice change as well, helping push this album to the front of the class so to say, or write. What this basically is about is an atmospheric, feel good, indie-pop release topped off with horns, keys, cellos and sarcastic confidence. (JC)

Mara Kate self-titled EP One Day Savior • Super nihilistic art core with angular guitars often times sounding like Botch. This release will set new standards for the highly stagnant hard core scene. It's super rocking and highly recommended. (RP)

Martin Rev To Live File Thirteen Records • A few of you older folks may remember Martin Rev as half of the influential New York electronic-punk duo Suicide.  Along with partner Alan Vega, Rev inspired everyone from Ministry, and the Al Jourgensen family of recording artists, to the Cars.  Even Bruce Springsteen is on record as an admirer of their work.  Martin Rev returns in the wake of the rise of electroclash to show the kids how it's done with a kick ass collection of dark, keyboard-driven madness. (CL)

Matthew Herbert Big Band Goodbye Swingtime Accidental Records • If you don't pay attention, you might be fooled into thinking that this is your grandfather's typical Big Band album. Listen closely, and you'll hear political themes in the lyrics, and some unusual sounds hidden in the mix. The sounds of an anti-war rally fade in and out of one track. Multiple articles about the war were fashioned into an instrument somehow, and played on another track. Every sound has a political reason for existing, so listen up. (AL)

Mercury Switch If You Love Me, You'd Take Me To The City Indianola Records • Wow, I nearly couldn't get past how awful the cover art is to give it a fair review. Brutal metal core with softhearted breakdowns that all seems to be pulled off with a fair amount of skill and tact. When I say they do a cover of Smashing Pumpkins "Tonight, Tonight" you might shudder a little, but damn if they don't do a pretty good emo core version of it. (KM)

Milo Darkside Of The Rumors Gloomy Tunes • The label name is appropriate. Image a depressed Count Dracula singing strange, dark, pop rock tunes. There's a Tom Waits/Johnny Cash feel to the vocal delivery and a wacky sensibility to the lyrics. These are simply crafted tunes for a dreary evening. (CM)

Mindfield Be-low Lifeforce Records • Mindfield's power metal is unrivaled in its energy. With vocals that remind of Amorphis's lead singer when he actually sings, and heavy, sometimes melodic guitars, they will blow you away. Excellent for driving on a curvy road on the edge of a cliff. (AL)

My So Called Band Always Something There To Destroy Me Suicide Watch Records • Due to the name and nature of this band and their album, I was ill spirited when popping this disc in and in high hopes of listening to a few songs and taking it out. This was not the case. My attitude was completely off and this band can most definitely be labeled a good band. Using the styles of emo, punk, and indie to display their talent, these guys put out a good CD with a nice arrangement of styles, structure, and enthusiasm. What else could anyone ask for? (CMax)

Need New Body UFO File 13 Records • When the words "avant-garde" are used to describe a bands sound you know you're in for a trippy ride. Along the lines as Can and Sun City Girls is the sophomore release from Need New Body. Straying from the streets of Philly, this record is heavy on an experimental free-form jazz vibe full of percussion, horns and keyboards that create some great jam sessions and noise that is a refreshing change from the everyday sounds of life. As opposed to their self-titled debut, the tracks here are more structured and contain a newfound playfulness that helps to make this album an enjoyable ride. (JC)

Nerf Herder My E.P. Honest Don's Records • Even though they have been together for over nine years, Nerf Herder has only put out three albums. In fact, this EP is not really a new release. It was originally released by My Records, but the folks at Honest Don's remixed all the songs, added three extra ones, and threw in a video. (AL)

New Mexican Disaster Squad s/t A-F Records • I have seen NMDS live and was concerned when receiving this CD that there is no way the raw energy could be reproduced on a record. Thankfully I was wrong. NMDS really shows off their mix of hardcore and punk by proving that melody can play a strong part in even the most aggressive of songs. I particularly enjoyed Counterfeit II and Ride the Crest. This album does not stop from start to end, it is a brutal attack on all your auditory senses. (MC)

Next Big Thing Radiate self-released  • This is another band that sounds like if they can't make it on commercial rock radio, it simply can't be done. This is a well-done pop album. Catchy songs and lots of melodic hooks punctuate the whole thing and provide a well-constructed background for great vocals. (MK)

Nik Freitas Heavy Mellow Future Farmer Recordings • So if you heard a photographer from the renowned skateboarding magazine Thrasher was releasing an album, what would you expect to hear? Punk rock? Well, in this case you'd be wrong. Singer-songwriter, multi-instrumentalist, and Thrasher photographer Nik Freitas serves up some Beatles-esque pop tunes. Actually, it's probably a little closer to Paul and John's solo work, but that still qualifies as Beatles-esque, doesn't it? Either way, it's some good indie pop. (CL)

No Choice Dry River Fishing Newest Industry • No Choice is a four-piece political punk band from the UK. They have been together since 1983, with their style maturing over the 20 years. On Dry River Fishing, No Choice puts together a diverse album. There is plenty of uptempo punk that is reminiscent of bands such as Strike Anywhere, Good Riddance and Leatherface. The vocals are gruff, but British, so, at times, it reminds me of Snuff. But there are plenty of other influences, including The Clash and, to me, New Model Army. In the end, you have a collection of melodic punk tunes that are creatively orchestrated, incorporating catchy tempo changes and awesome crescendos. (CM)

Omid Monolith Mush Records • Monolith is a mixture of instrumental and vocal tracks, all of them showcasing Omid's talents as a hip-hop producer. His tunes have a slight Middle Eastern flavor, and guest vocalists include Buck 65, Busdriver, Abstract Rude, Aceyalone, 2Mex, and Murs. (AL)

On The Might Of Princes Sirens Revelation Records • Creative, passionate and sincere is how the band describes their music and I couldn't agree more. This is very original indie math rock meets hardcore. Emotional vocals guide the album from the beautifully sung melodies to the tough as nails (or maybe thumbtacks) screams. There are lots of changes without losing all catchiness. The strength of the rhythm section shows on tracks like "You Whistle, I'll Shoot." At moments it was reminiscent of At the Drive In, but it is really hard to put a tag on this band. They jump from genre to genre and can be admired in the age of Good Charlotte. (MP) ***

Paradise Boys PrinceHouse Records ... •The press says they have a "solid grounding in punk rock and indie sensibilities." That's a load of shit, at least musically. I don't hear anything like that. This is dance music with thick keyboards, an uptempo approach and a gritty groove. Some could compare it to The Faint, but it's not as aggressive or complex. It's more along the lines of New Order, but less good. Fans of edgy dance/house music will probably really dig this. (CM)

Pia Fraus Plastilina Claire Records • Pia Fraus are a dreamy synth pop band from Estonia, often times reminiscent of bands like Blonde Red Head and The Cranberries. This album would be a great sound track for a Volkswagen commercial. Caution: do not listen to while operating heavy machinery. (NP)

Pitch Black Dream Never Going Home Pitch Black Dream • A pleasing exercise in subdued electronica, this is a collaboration between Rich Gaglia, front man of Psych!, and singer Bernadette McCallion. They have created a work of intoxicating, sultry ambience, with jazzy chords abounding in the background. It is the music of seduction, as McCallion's sensual voice overlays the hypnotic instrumentation. A truly great record for ambient enthusiasts. (DP)

Plaid Spokes Warp Records • Spokes sees a change in direction for Plaid, taking a cue from their early 90's work as The Black Dog. The beats are a bit more complex and moody than their previous couple of albums, but the beautiful melodies that have become standard in their music remain untouched. (AL)

Polmo Polpo Like Hearts Swelling Constellation Records • Polmo Polpo (Sandro Perri) is an exercise in musical hypnotism. From the opening track, which takes several minutes to go from silence to a loud, repeating drone, which then segues into repeating slide guitar riffs. Waves of sounds come and go, until the album comes to a close with "Like Hearts Swelling", which features beautiful string work by Gen from Hangedup. (AL)

Punishment Broken But Not Dead Thorp Records • Here is your dose of musical adrenaline. Fast and ferocious power chords grinding over howled and moaned lyrics. This is a good hard-core disc, as they go. There isn't too much that makes it stick out from a hundred others, but there is nothing wrong with it, either. (MK)

Q And Not U 2-song EP Discord Records • A two-song tour ready teaser from DC's favorite avant-garde dance punks. All the things you'd expect from Q And Not U, lots of caustic pop, tons of quirky guitars and glittering melodies, and scores and scores of dance. It's a nice release, but you can't say that much more about 2 songs you know. (KM)

QGMR Quiet Is Not Loud Carcrash Records • The revelatory-titled Quiet Is Not Loud is the debut full-length for QGMR, the artists formerly known as Quagmire.  This ten-song set tends toward the loud side of things, with its rumbling bass lines and solid drumming powering the way.  Their sound is reminiscent of bands like the Jesus Lizard and Unwound.  I'd be willing to wager QGMR is most likely at the forefront of the burgeoning Swedish post-punk scene. (CL)

Radio Berlin Glass Action Driver • Radio Berlin formed in 1998, but their sound is reminiscent of '80s new wave with influences taken from punk and indie rock. It's all melded together; the end result is an electro-fied rock odyssey with a garage rock feel, as if Joy Division fused with Depeche Mode and then fused with the Cure and then the White Stripes. Yeah, just like that. (CM)

Redteam Takeover Audiochurch Records • Four tracks included on this release and the majority of it is an up and down tempo rock sound that leans towards metal but stays lost in between. The ruffled vocals do nothing to help here either, attempts to sing sound like a cross between speaking and rapping which becomes clear on "Times Changed" where an acoustic guitar accompanies the vocal flow in a tired attempt to come off like Everlast. The last track attempts to add an electronic flavor but there is nothing on this EP to lose sleep over. (JC)

Respira A Still Silhouette Exotic Fever Records • After spending about 15 minutes of squinting and straining to read what is almost impossible see on the cover of the CD, I finally made my way through the pastel yellows and whites to the name of the band. Thank god the music can speak for itself. Inside this packaging lies a well crafted straight forward indie rock album. Big rock guitars and a tight rhythm section make way to quiet building tension that lets loose on the song "I'm a hypocrite and a liar." Fans of Hot Rod Circuit and Hey Mercedes would enjoy this album. (MC)

Richard Devine Asect:Dsect Schematic/Asphodel Records • Commanding a virtual orchestra composed by various computers, Richard Devine creates some pretty weird IDM (intelligent dance music) normally associated with the Warp and Rephlex labels. To say that Devine is an experimental fellow is an understatement, as sometimes it seems as if he lets the computers write the music themselves from random noises and beats. (AL)

Ripcordz What If They Held A Revolution And Nobody Came? Mayday Records • These guys have been punk rockin' it for over 20 years. Seriously! They play fast-paced, Oi-influenced punk rock that is equally aggressive and melodic. It's snotty, raw punk you simply can't ignore with tons of sing-a-longs and anti-conformist angst. So, put on your steel-toed boots and get to stompin', there's a punk rock party going on and the Ripcordz invited you! (CM)

Rock City Morgue Some Ghouls Antidote Records  • With White Zombie's former bassist, you can be sure that it will rock. It does.  This is a good rock and roll disc, but there is a throwback to '80s glam rock that makes me feel all oogie. Kind of a Motley Skid Ratt thing. They do a great cover of The Stone's "Shattered," though. (MK)

Rockets Red Glare Moonlight Desires Blue Skies Turn Black • This is RRG's second album release. I loved this album from the first listen. At times, the guitars can be very mellow and soft on the ears, while the vocals are usually very monotone but angry, resembling that of Malduit's. When the guitars and the vocals pick up, though, they come together perfectly. This is a CD that has been in my stereo very often. (NP)

Ross Hammond Trio Gauche Prescott Recordings • Interesting title to an album of some really far-out, avant-garde type of jazzy improvisations. All of this is boosting with what a guitar, drums and double bass will create for the future, taking a genre of music and adding more spunk, more avenues of suspension that builds you up before letting you in on the punch line. This is simply a groovy, jam-band collective that stays rockin' coffee shops across America, headed by Hammond and backed by Sameer Gupta and Gerry Pineda. (JC)

Royce Subtleties of the Game Galapagos4 Records • Hard to categorize, Royce incorporates driving hip-hop beats with funky jazz elements and subtle melodies. Not to be pigeonholed, the sweet singing on "Secret Secrets" is followed by the hard driving rapping by Qwel on "Elevation Evaluation." (AL)

Ruston Mire Driving Straight Up In Siam Roam Records • With elements of new wave, pop and rock, Ruston Mire dazzles and entertains the listener. Brian Naubert's vocals are both melodic and strong, while the rest of the band keeps up with him. I have to admit that the album starts off strong and drops off a bit toward the end, but overall is a good listening experience. (AL)

Ryan Farish Daydreamer Ryan Farish Productions/Worldtrax Music • Ryan Farish makes downtempo, electronic, soothing new age music that is similar to Tangerine Dream, or Enigma without the sexual overtones. Lots of piano and keyboards drift in and out of this musical dreamworld over soft beats and tamed basslines. This stuff is perfect for rainy afternoons, or just lounging around the house. (AL)

Sciflyer Fair Weather Karma Clairecords • Don't adjust your stereo. The vocals for this album are mixed low on purpose, treated as another instrument, instead of as the most important aspect of the music. That style fits them well, adding to the trippy vibe of the album. You'll feel like you are in a daze as you experience Fair Weather Karma. (AL)

Scott Miller and the Commonwealth Upside Downside Sugar Hill Records • Miller and his band can carry a tune on either side of the coin and this offering of country-filled rock, split into two sides, is dripping in substance and confident in its delivery. Whether it's the up tempo nature of the first two tracks or the harmonica and steady beat of "The Way", the authentic jam-band feeling is always there and never misses a beat. Pulling from his growing experiences in life, Miller delivers lyrics about his view of the world as an isolated child that has grown to a wanderer trapped in solitude. (JC)

Sea Ray Stars At Noon Self Starter Foundation • For six years, Sea Ray has been crafting their pop rock skills. It has culminated in an expertly performed album of shifting emotions, poppy tunes that melt into darker, sometimes psychedelic, songs. They mix in cello and keyboards along with the standard guitar-drum-bass lineup to set the proper mood. It reminds me of a less rock version of Blueline Medic. (CM)

Seismic Portions Coqi Records • This record is loaded with soundscapes, floating musical instrumentation that takes you on a listening journey from track to track. Generalizing, it's a poppy album with sincere and powerful female vocals. Musically, Seismic is loaded with talent. Styles are fused together, creating a distinctly original sound, combining elements of jazz, soul, electro-pop and rock. It's a record that, upon first listen, didn't strike me, but with each listen it takes me deeper into the layers of each track. If you're ready for a smooth, soulful rock voyage, here's your answer. (CM)

Semi Automatic Wolf Centric 5RC • Semi Automatic are a two piece lo-fi group from New York. Their sound ranges from odd noises to fuzzy keyboard sound accompanied with weird sound bytes. The music itself isn't too bad until the vocals start and the album slowly turns into a mess. If Semi Automatic could find common ground between all the styles on this album and focus on it, I think they could create a very listenable album. (RP)

Shonben 1999 Newest Industry • This posthumous release chronicles the brief history of the London indie rock trio Shonben. Formed in January 1999, Shonben quickly developed a driving, punk-influenced and melodic sound. In early 2000, most everybody in the band moved and got married; alas, Shonben was no more. At least we have this record to remind us of that glorious year of 1999. (CL)

Shortie Worthless Smiles Go Big! Records • From the musical hotbed of Sacramento?  No, seriously, the Deftones and Papa Roach hail from the recall state's capital city, as does Shortie.  Who knew?  Shortie has a radio ready, nu rock sound, with thick slabs of guitar, a tight rhythm section, and aggressive and melodic vocals.  The production is top notch, courtesy of Dave Dominguez, who's worked with Papa Roach, Weezer, and the Offspring among others.  For a band whose members are between the ages of 18 and 22, Shortie is a surprisingly mature and developed band. (CL)

Sick Of It All Life On The Ropes Fat Wreck Chords • While keeping consistent with the sound that made them the godfathers of NYC hardcore, SOIA do something one might not expect after all these yearsŠ keep on evolving. On the first listen I could tell these weren't formula songs, but had a spirit that reflected both historical and progressive. With that consideration in mind, you realize not every one of the 16 tracks is an amazing SOIA anthem, and there are a few songs that might have been better left for an obscure hardcore comp. All and all, this is Sick Of It All as we like them, tough and thoughtful. (KM)

Silo The Huskie Sons Of Columbus Tiberius Reocrds • I feel in love with this after the first track started. This is Saturday afternoon cruising to the beach music. It has serious rock and roll energy while keeping a groove, the kind that causes your whole body to pulsate with the music. It's like a super-charged version of J Mascis and the Fog. There are also aspects that remind me of Modest Mouse and The Pinehurst Kids. There's an Americana feel throughout the album, making wish i was cruising, top down, through the woods, the world flying by and not a care in the world. Music really is the cure for reality! (CM)

Slowride Building Deep Elm • Slowride is anything but a slow ride. They play mostly mid-tempo rock and roll (with a few slower cuts) that is infectious and has a country flair and a grungy attitude. It's solid rock that will absorb you by the second track. And while the music really hooks you, the vocals are equally strong, thrust forth over each track with precision and an anxious energy that adds to the overall feel. (CM)

Small Brown Bike Nail Yourself To The Ground No Idea Records • A new 5 song EP with the token rawness of old Small Brown Bike, while showing some of the maturity that speaks of what's to come (see other review). A sampling of emotions and motions, of the driving guitars and heartfelt vocals that make this band prone to be the next band you can't wait to see live. I'm a sucker for the track "So I Fall." (KM)

Small Brown Bike The River Bed Lookout Records • It took hearing SBB's phenomenal split with The Casket Lottery to open up my eyes to this band that in the past I had always written off as a Hot Water Music cover band. This recording shows just how much they have evolved, and created a sound all their ownŠ and what a sound it is. Great lyrical moments that swerve in and out of solid tracks, SBB found the next level. (KM)

Solger Codex 1980 Empty Records • This is broken up into three parts: The good, the bad and the horrendous. They could have skipped the first two. It's all horrendous. With tunes like "Raping Dead Nuns," this disc makes a great coaster, but it's not good for much else. (MK)

Solution Science Systems Daemon Ex Machina Smiley Jones Records • These guys don't refer to themselves as musicians. Instead, they see themselves as scientists engaged in "photonic research." Musicians or not, their instrumental post-rock music certainly involves a lot of mathy rhythms. You could compare it to King Crimson's instrumental work, with some Pink Floyd influences. (AL)

Soul Plasma Simply Soul Pitch Control • Portland, Oregon seems to be hiding some underground talent out there these past couple years and this emcee is another example of what they have to offer. Off the bat, tracks like "Maneuver" which introduces contagious beats that stay bleeding from out of this release and stay slammin' - bring to life the rhyme delivery of Soul Plasma which is rapid but with a mellowed-out tone. Overall this album is put together well with a lot of content and it flows from front to back nicely. Stories are told with the intent to teach the youth and to carry a positive message throughout the ghetto's of the world. Appearances come from members of Lightheaded and Lojique as well as MG! The Visionary, Dj Evil One and L Pro. (JC)

Soul Purpose Breaking Records Coup D'Etat Entertainment • Production by Koncepts and Zvi is constantly shifting from thumping sounds to a jazzier feel as the emcee of the hour Mazzi spits flows about a day in the lives of Soul Purpose. Throughout their "triumphs, defeats, violence and levity", others join in to flow like Immortal Technique on "The Other White Meat" and C Rayz Walz on "The Last Cypher" but this overall release feels thrown together as things get started slowly before finishing the 23 tracks strong. This may need a few listens to grab a hold of. The beats and rhyme styles change up at times going from a funky 70's bass line to a treble heavy sound. Pumpkinhead, 427, Juggaknotz, Wordsworth and more also appear. (JC)

South Congress self-titled self-released • Indie rock generally lacks soul in the musical sense.  South Congress has got some soul, probably because they're from Philly.  Featuring former members of Bluetip, Regulator Watts, and the Series, South Congress' soulful underpinnings subtly permeate their music to create an intriguing indie rock sound.  These five songs are an impressive introduction to this band. (CL)

Spark Of Life Promises Made. Promises Kept. Lorelei Records • Combining elements of melodic power punk with the intensity of hardcore, Spark Of Life creates infectious tunes that pack a powerful punch. Parts of songs remind me of Face To Face, with big guitars and even bigger hooks and solid vocals sung passionately. Other times it gets very screamy and heavy, guitars swirling, feedback going wild. It's a perfect balance between order and chaos, melody and madness. (CM)

Squirtgun Fade To Bright Honest Don's • I never did understand how a band of such simplicity and containing the status of a newcomer could gain so much attention, popularity, and have advertisements and the press digging frantically at their heels. Little did I know, and am currently dumbfounded, that this band has had "17 magnificent years of vibrant stardom," and are making a comeback in the "scene of today." Once the beholders of fans nationwide and spots on 120 Minutes and MTV2, Squirtgun have come to redeem themselves after a 7-year absence. With the members' occupations and past experiences with bands such as Methadones, Common Rider, The Mopes, and Screeching Weasel, Squirtgun incorporates a dazzling arrangement of punk, pop-punk, indie, emo, you name it, and they do it! On top of that it has an enhanced CD aspect for all you computer-loving, illegal song downloading, freaks! I can't believe I had no idea who this band was. I feel like I've disrespected the Pope! (CMax)

Street Dogs Savin Hill Crosscheck Records • Featuring the original lead singer of the Dropkick Murphys, Street Dogs comes blazing out of the gates with hyper-melodic rock and roll that has plenty of punk attitude. There are catchy sing-a-long parts throughout and plenty of "fist to the air" opportunities to scream. But, it always comes back to the melodies; this album is full of hooks, almost so much that it loses a bit of its edge. Special guests on this record include Ken Casy and Al Barr of Dropkick Murphys and Dicky Barrett from the Mighty Mighty Bosstones. (CM)

Streetlight Manifesto Everything Goes Numb Victory Records • Unfortunately, Streetlight Manifesto formed a few years past Ska's rise in popularity. They might have been up there with the Less Than Jakes and Reel Big Fishes of the genre. They blend ska, reggae, and punk like many others, but what struck me was their dynamic use of the horn section. (AL)

Strike Anywhere Exit English Jade Tree • There are a lot of political punk bands, but few can craft truly compelling songs on diverse subject matter with an urgency that excites the listener. This is theme music for activism; a musical weapon in the fight against the ruling class. Once again, SA blasts out an album's worth of anthemic power punk, thick with melody and relentless in aggression. It's one of those rare albums where every track is good, nothing to skip over. Vegan political punks aren't as easy to come by as I'd like to think, so I embrace Strike Anywhere and commend them for spreading a positive, progressive and proactive message. (CM)

Super Furry Animals Phantom Power XL Recordings/Beggars Group • Once again, Super Furry Animals have released a CD and a DVD at the same time. Their music is expertly recorded melodic rock with influences from classic bands like the Beach Boys while taking advantage of all the technology available to them. Their albums just keep getting better. (AL)

Superjaded Big Since I Was Little self released • Superjaded are Limp Biscuit wanna-bes, playing shitty homiecore crap that sounds like shit. I can't stand this bullshit. I dislike this band extremely fucking much. If you're into bands like Linkin Park or Korn, check this out. Maybe you guys should change your name to rageagainsttheredhotchilikornbisuits. (NP)

Surrounded Safety in Numbers Deep Elm Records • The most compelling thing in Safety in Numbers is Marten Rydell's vocals. His style is low, almost whispered. With little effort though, he conveys great emotional content. Of course it doesn't hurt that he is backed by mellow drumming and layers of strings, keyboards, and other sounds to create a lush environment. (AL)

Swamburger The Roots Of Kin Eighth Dimension • Swamburger is a new school hip-hop artist, a poet with a mind full of ideas, hailing from Orlando. He spits those ideas on track after track on The Roots Of Kin, backed by a mix of soulful samples, party beats and eclectic, funky flows. Swamburger is an incredible lyricist, twisting his tongue in ways that few can while dishing out rhyme after rhyme of intellectually-enlightened lyrics. Three of the 13 tracks feature Sol-illaquists of Sound, a crew including Swamburger and his partners in musical crime: Alex, DiViNCi and Tonya. Having seen them play live several times, I'm glad to see he included tracks with them on his solo album. This isn't one of those hip-hop releases where you say, "This is good for Orlando [or fill in your town's name]." This is an incredible release that deserves widespread attention both musically and lyrically. (CM)

T.S.O.L. Divided We Stand Nitro Records • Together since the early 80's, T.S.O.L has been cranking out rebellious punk tunes, and with Divided We Stand, they show no signs of stopping or even slowing down. The lyrics are just as defiant, and the music just as powerful. Today's punk kids could learn a thing or two from these legends. (AL)

The Alphamales Morally Casual Self Released • Big fans of Pussy Galore and bringing a three-guitar, bass and drums heavy on a stripped down garage and punk rock sound is The Alphamales. The five tracks on this disc are not much to look forward to, just a basic driving guitar style that seems to be the highlight of trip. (JC)

The Anchormen Nation of Interns Unstoppable Records • The press says they "bring to mind Wire, the Gang of Four, and the Nervous Eaters." Personally, I think they bring to mind a psychedelic version of the Mr. T Experience. At times it also reminds me of Atom and His Package, not so much in the sound, but the attitude of the music ‹ kinda goofy, all fun and non-stop rock. Oh, and lots of Dead Milkmen influence. That's almost dead on. Damn, I'm good. (CM)

The Assistant we'll make the roads by walking Alone Records • Ear shattering was the first thing that came to mind. Never mind the fact that there is a girl singer, this band doesn't exist through kitschy things such as that. The Assistant comes off hard and fast by exploding into "be nice to me, I had a ruff day," the opening track. The lyrics are heartfelt and well written. The guitars create a wall of sound, broken only by Leigh Sabol's massive screams. If you enjoyed the early 90's hardcore scene, then The Assistant will be well suited for you. (MC)

The Berzerkers Cut Throat Words self-released • Hailing from New York, The Berzerkers bring a sound of a Sick Of It All/Western Waste sound. Of course, they're not as good as these two bands, but that's besides the point. The Berzerkers, write what they feel, are passionate about what they do, and throw it down (hardcore style!) and, with that, comes respect. In recap, the band isn't as cool as their name, but any fan of hardcore or hardcore punk should check them out! (CMax)

The Blacktop Cadence Chemistry For Changing Times No Idea Records • The folks at No Idea we kind enough to make this mythical recording available to all those who missed it the first time around. Featuring members of Hot Water Music and Army of Ponch, this band was almost as famous for their stumbling drunken shows as they were some of the most powerful heart-wrenching songs you may ever hear. (KM)

The Blow The Concussive Caress K • Khaela Maricich is the body behind The Blow. The results are a delightful mix of eclectic pop songs with Khaela singing smartly over each track. Her vocals are mesmerizing, harmonic and heartfelt. They're also flexible, able to bob and weave through varying styles of music, from a sugary-sweet pop tune to a dancey, almost rap-like song to a stripped down, minimalist and moody track. Comparisons aren't easy, because the album is so varied in style, but fans of Heavenly, Throwing Muses and Velocity Girl are likely to find great joy in this record. (CM)

The Break/Let It Burn s/t split ep Doghouse Records • Let It Burn's brand of punk rock is aggressive and fast. Taking breaks only to let some vocal melody sneak in. The true standout on this split is The Break. This band throws punk rock a loop with some great rhythm section work. The drums are vibrant and keep your hips moving. The guitars are loud, fast, and heavy. Not to many bands make me want to bang my head and move my hips at the same time, but The Break succeeds in creating sing along choruses and dance inducing rhythms. (MC)

The Business Hardcore Hooligan BYO Records • Classic punk rock with a heavy dose of "Oi!, Oi!, Oi!" carries these sounds out of England, proving that some punk veterans still have the balls to hit the streets with their view of social documentation. The balls they play with would be soccer balls and this release will be out in time for the hardcore fans across the pond to grab before the season gets under way. This album is largely devoted to the hooligan antics of their number one sport over there highlighted in tracks like "Guinness Boys" where they carry on that "my football team lost 4-1, feeling bad feeling glum, to the pub on a Saturday night, 30 minutes later and I feel alright" - Oi! (JC)

The Casket Lottery Possiblies and Maybes Second Nature Recordings • Compilation albums are such odd little creatures, these collections of songs never intended to sit aside another.  Singles are interspersed amongst unreleased demos, a handful of covers, and the occasional new song.  But, most importantly, it gives you the opportunity to acquaint yourself with a rather wide sampling of a band's material.  For the Casket Lottery, who have an extensive catalog of work for a five year old band, Possibilities and Maybes is a great place to start or for long-time fans to get those hard-to-find rarities.  The new material gives a hint at the continued development of their powerful and passionate indie rock. (CL)

The Curtains Flybys Thin Wrist Records • These instrumental geniuses play with the boundaries of music. Their music is jagged, experimental, sometimes repetitive, and slightly playful. They don't follow the traditional song structure, instead making musical statements, which sometimes border on chaos. Everyone in the band seems to be experimenting with their instruments. (AL)

The Desert Fathers The Spiruality Three Spheres • The Desert Fathers are a weird combination of Enya ,The Pixies, and Lard. There are some tracks that stick out amongst the randomness, but not enough to tolerate the insanity. (RP)

The Dirtbombs Dangerous Magical Noise In the Red Records • It is appropriate these guys have dirt in their name.  They sound raw and dirty.  They'd probably be at home anywhere there's a little booze and a stage.  Being from Detroit, they've got a little bit of R&B to go with their vintage garage rock sound.  And, they've two basses and two drummers, so you know they've got a rhythm section to keep you movin'.  Let's just get drunk and party all night with the Dirtbombs. (CL)

The Enablers Sweet Fuck All EP Newest Industry • These vocals are so bad-ass. It sounds like Mike Ness, or Paul Westerberg. They're incredible. Spit gritty over the melodic music makes for one hell of a rock tune. What's better than one rock tune? Six! Yeah, it's an EP, and yeah, 12 songs would be better. But, since I was so stoked to hear a great band I'd never heard of, I'm gonna take what I can get. The music is straight-ahead rock and roll, some tunes more punky than others. The sincerity of the vocals, though, carry each song. (CM)

The Everyothers self-titled Hautlab Records  • This disc has all the makings of a pop hit sensation. The songs are catchy and well written. They have a distinct retro '70s feel, but we won't hold that against them. There is definitely talent here and I would be very surprised if we didn't hear more from these guys soon. (MK)

The Fax Electronic Life Plastiq Musiq • The Fax is a progressive electronica experiment, orchestrated by one man and his beloved machines. With aggressive synths and forward-thinking lyrics, The Fax attacks corporate lifestyles and capitalist value structures. The electro-anarchy of the album sounds like the robotic child of The Faint and Orgy. If you're into hardcore beats infused with a punk rock mentality, you'll definitely want to check out this valiant debut effort. (BB)

The Feenom Circle Souled Separately Melatone Music • Intelligent lyrics and rhythmic beats is what you get on this release bringing to mind the music of early Roots, Pharcyde or Tribe Called Quest. This Bay Area crew brings nothing short of an organic, jazzy, hip-hop vibe complete with touches of soul and positive feeling. It's all there, the live music sound and tracks like "Days Go By" and "Tunnel Vision" that shows after six years, these cats continue to be a group that makes music for the future. (JC)

The Fire Theft self-titled Ryko • Even though The Fire Theft is composed by Sunny Day Real Estate ex-members Jeremy Enigk, William Goldsmith and Nate Mendel (also of Foo Fighters fame), you should not be tempted into thinking this is a SDRE rehash. They are older, more mature, and their songs reflect this change. The only obvious similarity is Enigk's unmistakable vocals, which are as high as on 2000's The Rising Tide. (AL)

The Great Redneck Hope ŒSplosion Thinker Thought Records • Musically, they remind me of the Locust, with ultra chaotic guitars and drums. The incomprehensible vocals are yelled at the top of the lungs. However, they have a sense of humor, as evidenced by the song titles ("I'm pretty sure I got my cat pregnant" and "I don't lift weights to impress the bitches. I lift weights to knock a sucka's teeth out."). (AL)

The Handsome Family Singing Bones Carrot Top Records • My first exposure to The Handsome Family was someplace outside of Richmond, VA on a midnight highway, where my friend Rich put some of their stuff on the radio with the prologue of "Don't freak out, but I think you need to hear this." Lord was he right; my heartbroken self sucked up The Handsome Family's creepy country folk sounds like the driest sponge. This release continues to make this sort of thing grow on me. (KM)

The Hint The Black And White LP self-released • This is some catchy freakin' rock. The Hint hail from DC and, in three years, have created an incredibly tight sound that is overflowing with addictive melodies and a rock and roll punch. It's absorbing and infectious, a gem of an album that is sure to get lots of attention, especially since they aren't even on a label. It's hard to really classify these guys. It's mostly just good rock and roll, but it definitely has some "poppy" elements while also making plenty of room for punk influences. (CM)

The Jet City Fix Play To Kill Infect Records • It's the return of Glam! Sure, the guys don't look like "glam," but it really sounds like some kind of glam metal punk hybrid. This is serious rock and roll, loaded with dramatic guitar parts and strong vocals. This is one hell of a rock and roll record, sure to charge you up and have you singing along in no time. And, of course, there are a couple poppier tunes that are the punk'd out version of the '80s glam ballad. They're good, too! (CM)

The Karminsky Experience, Inc. The Power of Suggestion Eighteenth Street Lounge Music • The Karminsky Experience Inc. use their love of Henry Mancini and Roy Budd to create super smooth music on The Power of Suggestion. This downtempo affair combines eastern percussion and aspects of easy listening and ambient to create their soundtrack for life. (AL)

The Kinison Mortgage Is Bank Fearless Records • Intense indie rock meets post hardcore. The screams are similar to The Blood Brothers and some of the tracks like "New Way To Dance" sound heavily Refused influenced. They are not quite up to that caliber but they can be pleasing to the ear at times. The overall tone of the album is heavy but it has its softer moments that make it an eclectic five-song EP. (MP)

The Methadones Carreer Objectives Thick Records  • Take a Screeching Weasel, a Riverdale and a Sludgeworth and what do you get? Nope, it's not heroin - it's the next best thing - The Methadones. Here is a prime example of why pop-punk is one of the greatest forms of music known to man. This is a great disc. You will like it. It even has a video on it (ooohhhh...). (MK)

The Moomaw Collective Self-Titled Simba Recordings • Singer-songwriter Nathen Moomaw will (thankfully) break any concepts or preconceptions you have of what an indie-rock singer-songwriter is supposed to sound like. Bits of indie and emo meshed pretty well with some almost jazzy parts, Moomaw obviously has a diverse CD shelf at home. Sometimes it all seems a little too self-important and takes itself a little too serious, but then most singer-songwriters do. Different and sparklingly impressive. (KM)

The Moviehouse Arcade Fake Lights Claim Everything The New Beat • The guitars run a straight course with tight turns, swift, rigid, punctual notes dancing a pattern over staccato drum beats, punched with emphasis and a smooth bassline that sucks you in before you know it. That's the kind of sweet sound that bad vocals can ruin. Fortunately, that's not the case here. Whether sung, screamed or spoken, the vocals fit perfectly. Think Dismemberment Plan meets Braid. It's a melding of jazzy hyperactivity and groove-filled fluidity. It's a formula that equals "Hell yeah!" (CM)

The New Breed Port City Rebels  Thorp Records  • It looks like and starts like a serious no holds barred hard rock explosion, but then here comes a mandolin. And that whole Celtic feel. It is a bit disconcerting at first, but after adjusting to this juxtaposition of styles, it is a catchy disc. It is not like much that I've heard before, and that, in and of itself, is quite a compliment. (MK)

The Phantom Limbs Displacement Alternative Tentacles • It really sucks that when I now compare the spirited vocals to that of a young Jello Biafra, it will seem too obvious given that this was released on his label. Well, screw it. I said it. Musically, it's nothing like the Dead Kennedys. It's more like funeral-service punk rock, with haunting keyboards, spastic vocals and pounding, foreboding drums. It's a great soundtrack for a haunted house. (CM)

The Phoenix Foundation These Days Newest Industry • Finland's The Phoenix Foundation craft tight, punchy punk rock tunes that have a raw energy that gives a good kick to the head. This is intricate stuff, with meandering guitar parts, loads of feedback, pounding drums, basslines thick throughout each song and vocals that are delivered with intense honesty, not simply screamed. But it's the melodies, the addictive hooks that really grabbed me. While the music is racing along at a rapid pace, the songs grab me, drag me in and won't let go. There's chaos melded with the rhythms, making this more than just another melodic punk album. (CM)

The Planet Smashers Mighty Stomp Records • Bringing a mix of sounds that range from Caribbean to ska then to reggae, the vibin' good times and creativity this band out of Montreal focuses on stays upbeat. The horns provide a distraction from the repetitious beats at times but overall this disc is comical and good-natured. Most of this is pop oriented and many tracks standout. "Direction" sounds a lot like The Police, "Explosive," "Never Going To Drink Again" and the title track are also worth checking out, it's too bad most of this lacks substance. (JC)

The Post Hasten The Homecoming Jalisco • Straying from the tape loops and tribal percussion of their debut, The Post delivers a moody, guitar layered collection with vocals sounding like they came from a mixture of The Smiths and The Cure. Comparisons are also made to David Byrne and Robert Wyatt vocally. The music is still a bit loopy underneath and carries an impromptu instrumental type sound, making this an experimentation that shows progress and remains true to the artist's foundation. (JC)

The Prozacs Thanks for Nothing Irresponsible Records •€ Clocking in at a mere 27 minutes, the Prozacs doesn't mess around on their debut full-length, Thanks for Nothing.  They serve up some catchy, concise punk rock a la Screeching Weasel and the Queers.  While they may not be groundbreaking, the Prozacs get the most out of a tried and true formula with raucous, energetic tunes and just the right mixture of melody and attitude. (CL)

The Receiving End Of Sirens self-titled self-released • This is a five-piece emocore band from Boston that sounds like The Used and a lesser talented Thursday. This is a very solid release for a beginning band and definitely worth checking out if you're a fan of the newly popular emocore bands. (NP)

The Sidecar Project The EP self-released • There is something unique about this artist that sets him apart from other indie synth. I think it's the fact that he makes all of the effects and and electronic instruments blend together so organically. He creates a lush spacescape for listeners to float off into. The sound is reminiscent of The Beta Band, Schneider TM, Stereolab, The Flaming Lips, Lo Fidelity All Stars, and Radiohead. Beautiful melodies are paired with melancholy lyrics, and while far from boring, this is the perfect album to fall asleep to. (BB)

The Silent Treatment After Ours EP Lucid Records • This was hard for me to review because Orlando has a great band of its own called The Silent Treatment. This five-piece, though, is from Chicago. And they're pretty good. They play solid hard rock with an indie/math rock feel. Fans of Errortype:11 or Braid will probably dig this six-song release. (CM)

The Silver Mt. Zion Memorial Orchestra This Is Our Punk-Rock Constellation • The packaging of this disc is nice and what's inside is mesmerizing to the point of hypnosis. Many layers of mellow sounds create an atmosphere of euphoria using guitar, bass, violin, piano, cello and effects. The purpose of these enclosed tracks from a six-piece arrangement out of Montreal is to rally the community and promote spiritual uprising against issues they are faced with at home. Simply put, on a dark thundering afternoon this release is the perfect soundtrack for the day, a lot of noise that stays consistent to its theme without sounding too noisy overall. (JC)

The Vacancy self-titled EP A-F Records • A-F Records (of course run by Anti-Flag) has done it again with The Vacancy! Instead of the average Oi, Street Punk, and Skate Punk, The Vacancy brings a style only to be described as a cross between The Bouncing Souls and Weezer, with a friendly dash of upbeat interludes and choruses on the side. I may not be a fan of this band, but I know talent and originality when I hear it and, with The Vacancy, it has been spotted! For Fans of Rufio, Motion City Soundtrack and bands of that sort. (CMax)

The Vanity Set Little Stabs of Happiness Naked Spur Productions • A great release full on wordy poetic lyrics from left field, alongside a unique collaboration of instruments such as a bouzouki, trombone, sousaphone, tuba, accordion and many others. This elaborate recording can only be led by somebody like Nick Cave & the Bad Seeds drummer James Sclavunos. Maintaining an almost identical sound on this side project as in his full time gig, the change is that chances are taken on this album that makes it all worthwhile. The uncanny approach on their second album is very detailed, taking many listens to decipher, it's like walking down the yellow brick road and seeing things melt right before your eyes while David Bowie echoes in the sky. (JC)

The Wage Of Sin A Mistaken Belief In Forever Immigrant Sun Records • The follow up to their amazing debut, WOS bring down the metal-core hammer for a sophomore release. This one didn't blow me away as much as the first one did, with that said, I still love what this band can do. Their cover of Journey's "Separate Ways" was as unsettling as it was amusing, but all of the hidden track weird stuff just sounds like a mess and kinda takes away from the rest of the record. An evolutionary step for WOS, but sadly its somewhat sophomore jinxed. (KM)

The Wrens The Medowlands Absolutely Kosher Records • The Wrens have been around along enough to have mastered the mix of old and new, and this release proves the point in fine detail. "The Medowlands" is a great mix of melancholy rainy Sunday after rock mixed with pop-sensibilities in delightful form. These songs beg for a drive down a quiet twisted country road as much as they ask for a nap curled up with somebody sweet. File this one under "soundtracks for the good kind of quiet moments." (KM)

TijuanaStripClub Sparklers and Bottlerockets Foggydog Records • Singer/songwriter Randy Cordero brings a set of lungs that sound a lot like Leonard Cohen. This release is carried by Cordero's voice and the Œoutlaw on a lost highway' kind of atmosphere. Blending an alt-country, folk, alt-rock and electronica collective is a progression that sounds far past much of the basic singer/songwriter stuff out there right now. "Hate the Sound of Rain" and "Hapless Suitor" provide a little insight on what is offered here. (JC)

Treephort Buy This Album Or The Terrorists Win Brand Name Records  • This was not quite what I expected based on the cover. I was expecting something light and goofy, but this is a fairly intense punk disc. They definitely have a sound that sets them apart from the millions of other pop-punk bands I've heard. It's different enough to warrant a listen. (MK)

Truth Universal New Orleans' Finest Remix EP Truth Universal Music • Nothing special about this remixed version of "New Orleans' Finest" which features Divine True Earth and is produced by Gensu, who provides a basic hip hop thump to help carry the songs monotony. Three other tracks appear including a Natural Born Wildstyle mix of "Four Track Mind" as well as three instrumentals. The problem here is not much will have you anticipating their forthcoming LP Decolonization any sooner than it is released. (JC)

Unpersons III At a Loss Recordings • This mixture of hardcore, metal, and punk is full of time changes and starts and stops. The vocals degenerate from wild screaming to incomprehensible mumbling in seconds. The guitars are mysterious and overwhelming. No mere mortals can create this chaotic sound. (AL)

Ursula Rucker Silver or Lead !K7 Records • Ursula Rucker has garnered quite a reputation as a spoken word artist, never shying away from touchy subjects, such as slavery, love, feminism, and politics. On Silver or Lead, she pairs up with multiple electronic musicians to make an album of musically driven poetry. Jazzanova, 4 Hero, The Society, the Roots and King Britt are some of the artists she collaborated with. (AL)

Usurp Synapse Disinformation Fix Alone Records • Most of this two disc compendium of their past works is spent journeying landscapes of sounds. A half muted audio clip from a movie or old record mutates into shimmering, beautiful guitars, which then mutates into the Mr. Hyde of the record, a blast of spastic hardcore. This album lets you into the three year life of the band, a life span that contained many musical experimentations and shifts. Brings to mind what kind of deformed baby would come out if Dillinger's Escape Plan and Sonic Youth reproduced together. (MC)

Utah! Plays Wells With Others Bifocal Media • While most bands that boost of having a cello use it only for display purposes on their melancholy "ballad," Utah! incorporates the cello into its core sound.  The results are quite good, as it helps create a unique style in an indie music world that is often all too derivate.  Their songs are alternately jagged and raw, then soothing and orchestral.  With its expressive and original songwriting, Utah! has one damn fine record on its hands. (CL)

Various Artists Advanced Calculus These Bricks Are Mine • This is not just some random accumulation of songs thrown together. Keeping it real in radio and showcasing the eclectic indie/underground sounds of Pittsburgh through 28 bands, here comes this two-disc set of tracks recorded live on a weekly radio show called Advanced Calculus which airs on WRCT 88.3 FM. Everything is provided here from complexity and intensity to popish, heaviness and catchiness all wrapped up inside this nice cardboard casing that tests all realms of jazz, rock and urban music. Blunderbuss opens disc one and stands out alongside Mihaly, The New Alcindors and Young Steele Matula Trio. Disc two is the better disc as it digs deeper inside the Pittsburgh psyche with tracks from Zombi, Lorelei, Black Moth Super Rainbow, Strict Flow and Beam. (JC)

Various Artists Bad Scene, Everyone's Fault: Jawbreaker Tribute Dying Wish Records • I'm a huge, giant, tremendous, humongous Jawbreaker fan. So, when I heard there was a tribute album coming out, I had mixed emotions. I'm not a big fan of covering another band's songs for an entire album. At the same time, Jawbreaker has written a lot of great songs, was an amazing band and could stand to have a tribute album. The result was a mixed bag. There are 18 tracks from 18 different bands. Some replicate Jawbreaker almost exactly, such as Bigwig's version of "Ashtray Monument" and Face To Face's covering of "The Boat Dreams From The Hill." And, sadly, for the most part the bands on here don't stray much from the original. Sure, it sounds good, Œcause they're amazing songs. But I could listen to my Jawbreaker CDs to hear it performed that way. What I prefer is when someone puts a spin on the original. A few bands on here do that: Duvall does a great, mid-tempo take on "Busy" that is nothing like Jawbreaker's version; the Aeffect does an electro-pop version of "Boxcar;" The Reunion Show plugs in for their version of "Unlisted Track" which featured just Blake acoustic on Dear You; Sparta does an incredible, mesmerizing and dramatic take on one of my favorite songs, "Kiss The Bottle;" Good Night Bad Guy slows down "Jet Black" with an acoustic version. All the tracks are unreleased except for Jeff Ott's cover of "Better Half."(CM)

Various Artists D1: The Music is so Beautiful D1 Music • Featuring nine extended remixes, this compilation will have you out on the dance floor in seconds. Tracks by Lisa Hunt, Wanda Houston, D1 MC, and Willie Colon showcase several dance genres, mostly house and two-step. At just under 69 minutes, you'll find it hard to stop. (AL)

Various Artists Death Before Disco PrinceHouse Records • I expected this to be some kind of hardcore compilation, but was surprised to hear dance tunes as well as some punk rock. Ghost Orchids and ADULT start off the album with a couple of electronic numbers, while GoGoGo Airheart flirts with a Disco beat. Other artists include Hint Hint, Dance Disaster Movement, I Am Spoonbender, and Numbers. While the styles vary, the central goal remains clear throughout: to make you dance. (AL)

Various Artists Death Comes Ripping: Deathwish Sampler Deathwish Records • If you know Deathwish records than you know what this is gonna sound like, if you don't, well then you best duck and cover. This comp. brings it down hard with some of the best hardcore out there right now, including: Converge, Horror Show, Ringworm, Some Girls and Embrace Today. (KM)

Various Artists Every Word: A Tribute to Let's Active Laughing Outlaw Records • To most music fans, Mitch Easter is best known for his work as a producer for a fledging Georgia band named R.E.M.  But Easter was also a founding member of Let's Active, a highly influential college rock band in its own right. A number of Easter fans and former collaborators, including the Windbreakers' Bobby Sutliff and Tim Lee, and Velvet Crush frontman Paul Chastain, appear on Every Word. This tribute is a testament to Easter's legacy as a songwriter and a good introduction to Let's Active's addictive guitar pop. (CL)

Various Artists Mike Nardone Presents: We Came From Beyond, Volume 2 Razor & Tie • Nardone is a well-known LA DJ and this is installment two in his series of compilations featuring some of the best in indie hip-hop. While most hip-hop compilations are a dime a dozen, this is a rare gem. The tracks on here are full of soulful, jazzy samples, beats that don't stop and some of the most incredible MCs around. I can always judge a hip-hop album on its head-noddin' abilities. This album gets the "non-stop head noddin'" label. And you don't quit, and you don't stop, just keep on... with such artists featured as Planet Asia, J-Live, Aesop Rock (along with Eyedea & Slug), Vast Aire and many more. It's 16 tracks of goodness that's sure to set the party off right. (CM)

Various Artists Reflections Records Label Sampler Reflections Records • I'm not sure if there is a more powerful hardcore stable than this group of horses. Euro label Reflections has to have the best collection of American and European hardcore bands going. Give Up The Ghost, Black Widows, Striking Distance, Face Tomorrow, Shark Attack, Stretch Armstrong, and of course Good Clean Fun. This one was built to rock the block. (KM)

Various Artists Snoisses: The Skateboarder Sessions Sessions Records • Who better to write music for skateboarding than a skateboarder? This compilation features some of the best pro skaters and their bands with music to get you charged up for a skateboarding session. Steve Caballero's The Faction, Lance Mountain's Stan Guns, Steve Alba's Powerflex 5, and Mike Vallely's Mike V and the Rats are just some of the bands. (AL)

Various Artists The Mic Planet Sessions Insomniac Music • Featuring the most elite underground emcees of the day is the backbone to this compilation. The founder of Insomniac Magazine (Iz-Real) has nabbed the likes of Kool Keith, MF Doom, Planet Asia, Royce the 5'9, Mystic, Immortal Technique and much, much more to compile a collective that stays bangin' with tight production. Aggressive rhyme flows; abstract metaphors and a range of styles that are relative to every coast and every town nationwide make up the majority of this release. Not a stranger to the mic, Iz-Real does his thing on a few tracks and he also includes hip hop trading cards with each disc for a limited time, with the intent to spread knowledge about hip hop's past, present and future. (JC)

Various Artists Too Young To Die Deep Elm Records • A portion of the sale from this CD goes to The American Foundation for Suicide Prevention, in an effort to lower the number of suicides across the country. Artists include Benton Falls, The Appleseed Cast, Camber, Slowride, The White Octave, Planes Mistaken For Stars, and others. (AL)

Vervein Vast Low Cities Angry Moose Records • This four piece female emo band is hard to compare to another. The warm female vocals at times reminded me of Tanya Donnelly while other times Kim Deal took the floor. Either way, the vocals are beauty in its true form with mesmerizing melodies. They never fail to provide great harmonies at any point in this record. The cello is used perfectly and adds so much to each song, filling it completely. The slow songs are hypnotic and captivating while their harder songs are catchy and worthy of head bobbing. (MP)

Villain Accelerate Maid of Gold Mush Records • Villain Accelerate is Sixtoo and Stigg of the Dump. Their collaboration resulted in Maid of Gold, which is full of medium tempo hip-hop instrumental beats just waiting for an MC to rhyme all over them. The beats are a bit more complex and layered than you'd normally find in hip-hop, due to a drum and bass production background. (AL)

Virus Nine Blastin Away A-F Records • The finest Oi/Street Punk band that the state of Oregon has to offer, Virus Nine is back again with their sophomore release Blastin Away! I've been known to put down, bash, and criticize Oi to the thinnest levels of human sanity! So it must mean something when I say, "I like this band!" Just like the last album, you'll endure the guitar solos and interludes, backup vocals that make Oi what it is today, constant ridiculing and mistreatment of our lovely nation and its political system, and you can't forget the drums! From their last album, Virus Nine has matured greatly. I see lyrics of intelligence with more facts than opinions and, of course, the ever-prospering talent of these four men! They even have a few acoustic tracks on the record (a rarity in Oi)! Last but not least, any band to re-do a Garth Brooks song ("I've got friends in low places") is definitely a number 1 in my book. (CMax)

Viva Caramel s/t Viva Recordings/Molecular Laboratories. • Think about the lead singer of The Flaming Lips fronting a band like Guided By Voices, in fact the latter's Doug Gilliard makes a guest appearance on track 12. The album is layered with sweet and catchy indie rock that made me find myself bouncing around with the songs. Overall this is an enjoyable record. (MC)

Vortis God Won't Bless America Thick Records • Vortis is a raucous four-piece from Chicago that blasts out political rock tunes with the vocal duties handled by a 61-year-old political philosophy professor and author. At least you know the lyrics are worth following. Not to short-change the music, because it's damn good. There's a ton of feedback, ripping guitars and drums that keep a mid- to up-tempo pace. It's garage punk rock at its finest and the political punches thrown left and right are awesome. The vocals are thrust forth, sometimes spoken word-style, sometimes with a punky delivery; Regardless, it always seems to produce the needed result. And, from what I read, these guys put on one hell of a controversial show. I can't wait to see it! (CM)

Warsawpack Stocks & Bombs G-7 Welcoming Committee • If you heard Warsawpack's first album, I can tell you flat out that you'll love this new record. If you haven't heard them before, here's the deal. They're a seven-piece band from Canada that fuses together a medley of sounds, including punk, funk, jazz, hardcore, and rock. It results in a groove-oriented rock mix that is equally impressive both for its incredible orchestration and its potent, political message. From American over-consumption to genetically modified crops to the war in Iraq, Warsawpack takes Œem on with verbal dexterity, an enlightened, educated perspective that informs the listener while aurally entertaining them. There's no point to make comparisons with this band. Just try and find a copy to listen to. There's nothing like Œem. (CM)

Westgate Afire Jump Start • Hold on tight, 'cause this is one hell of a ride. Thrashing punkcore blares from the speakers, assaulting your sense of sound. It's a double-pronged vocal attack, with well-sung vocals and pained, hardcore screams. It reminds me a lot of Lifetime. Westgate has a ferociousness that is hard to compete with. It's the mix of melodic punk and hardcore aggression that really makes it impossible to resist – you get your catchy parts but you're not shortchanged on intensity. (CM)

What The... self-titled self-released  • Straddling the line between bar rock and honky tonk, this is a tough disc to review. Credit is due for the fact that I have not heard much like this. It seems that the songs are slightly... underdone, for lack of a better word. The musicians are obviously very talented, but the songs don't seem developed enough. They are almost overly simplistic. Some are better than others. "7 Women" is particularly amusing. I'll bet that they put on a hell of a live show.  (MK)

Whatever It Takes A Fistful Of Revolution/Stars & Skulls EP A-F Records • One of Pittsburgh's most well known and finest portraying of their "punk rock scene" has gathered every song ever written and compacted it into one disc with all the raging angst and fury punk rock has to offer! The band I'm describing is not Anti-Flag (which is what tends to come to mind), but it is Chris #2's (from Anti-Flag) side project. On top of the ever-flowing display of emotion for what they believe in and where they stand, Whatever It Takes uses rampant basslines, colossal drum beats and intertwining melodies of distortion to get their message across. You can top it off with a growing fan base, a lead singer recognized as one of the best bass player in the punk rock industry, and a pure enthusiasm, dedication, and talent. (CMax)

When We Die The Poundstone Society self-released • When We Die has a thrashy hardcore punk sound, often sounding like Total Chaos. It's very heavy and dense with some melody. (NP)

William Elliott Whitmore Hymns For The Hopeless Southern Records • Opening with "Cold And Dead," a hymn as haunting as the album cover, the rusted, well-worn voice of Whitmore achingly starts this spiritual journey. His scruffy vocals and true-country sound has had this man referred to as "Hillbilly Ray Charles" for his style of soul and open-land upbringing. What sounds like homemade instruments are what keep this disc mesmerized with acoustics that add a Southern feeling of being down on your luck and walking a dirt road back to town again in search of change. (JC)


Flatpoint a/v s/t 7" Redundant Audio International • This is just four songs from this experimental indie-punk outfit. The song structures are interesting, but often fall back on your basic punk guitars and yelling vocals. Flatpoint teeters between being an interesting indie rock band and a decent hardcore punk band. I find myself wishing that they'd keep the tempos down and push the songs a little further. (MC)

Jesus and the Devil/Twin Wrecks the Memory split 7" Fudge Sickill Records • Two good tracks included here starting with the straight edged rock of Jesus and the Devil on "I Killed Jacob," which is a battle between good and evil inside the mind of a prisoner who happens to be on a bad luck streak. Things jam out on that track then slow down a bit when Twin Wrecks the Memory, a two-piece band, delivers "Burn Out," a catchy and mysterious ranting of rock and sorts on the b-side. (JC)

Kill the Man Who Questions/Del Cielo s/t split 7" Ed Walters Records • KtMWQ is hardcore/punk at a blistering pace. The guitars hit fast and sting while the vocals come down over the music like acid rain. This is hardcore/punk at its most aggressive. When not screaming the vocals came a little to close to Johnny Rotten for my tastes, but overall when left to their own workings, this is a great representation for the band. Listening to this hardcore made me wonder what to expect from all girl band Del Cielo on side B. The answer, nothing like Side A. Del Cielo is a sweet indie rock three-piece that sings heart felt songs about relationships in the vein of Ani Difranco. A good contrast to the earsplitting hardcore on the opposite side. (MC)

Lipstick Pickups/Bikini Bumps s/t split 7" Geykido Comet Records • Are you tired of The Donna's? Lipstick Pickups are hoping you're not. This three-girl, one guy punk outfit write kitschy songs about boys and the usual. They are a bit more on the garagey side of rock then the Donna's, but give these girls a makeover and some production quality and they will be on their way to the Teen Choice Awards. The Bikini Bumps on the flip side are four guys who play sloppy garage punk. The two songs only give a small sample of what these boys create, but I can imagine what the rest sounds I¹m sure you can too. (MC)

Sin Desires Marie / Del Cielo split 7" Ed Walters • Wow, two great female vocalists – one for each band. What a deal! SDM plays very tight math-rock. It's truly bad-ass stuff. Equally bad-ass is Del Cielo, with technical indie rock and occasional feedback-heavy guitars that kick-in. (CM)

The Code/Whatever It Takes s/t split 12" Spent Records • There's not much I can say about The Code. They are a straight-forward punk band that had me going along with them until the third song, an Op Ivey influenced ska/punk-type rhythm song. I don't miss those days much at all, and I wasn't happy to hear them resurface. Whatever It Takes on the other hand threw down some hardcore/punk songs with a passion. The song that really captured me was "Lips Surrendered," a mid-tempo track that appears to be about a friend who has passed away. That track proved that this hardcore/punk outfit has a softer side that is still hard rocking. (MC)

The Great Clearing Off/the Sound of Failure Sea of Steel vol. 2 Ed Walters Records • TGCO create heavy, metal-influenced hardcore for this the second in a series of split 7's that support the use of bicycles. The drums rarely get a break in the breakneck speed and intensity of the two songs on side A. I was happy to hear some actual guitar leads thrown in to break up the screams. It was a nice touch to hear metal with leads again. Side B gives us the Sound of Failure. This band takes a more straight forward approach to hardcore, with more breakdowns and massively heavy guitars. These two songs hit hard, but this time a bit more sluggish to accentuate the heaviness of it all. This is a good split 7" and I¹m looking forward to hear volume 3. (MC)

Various Artists Your Machinery Is Too Much For Me 7" Geykido Comet Records • Intro5pect has a track on here, so I was already into it. They play a different version of a song off their A-F Records album that features their rapid drum machine beats with punk rock music. It's great. The other bands are No Erasers Allowed, Kill The Scientists and ESL. I really liked ESL's pop-punk tracks and found myself wanting to hear more of them. (CM)


Cinematic Orchestra Man With A Movie Camera Ninja Tune Records • Man with a Movie Camera is a Russian silent film from 1929 that portrays a day in an idealized Soviet society. The Cinematic Orchestra provided a superb soundtrack for it, and this DVD includes the film, as well as a documentary on the making of the film, a video for "All That You Give," a 26-minute live performance, and a couple of other goodies. (AL)

Guttermouth Live at the House of Blues DVD Kung Fu Records • This is the sixth DVD in the "The Show Must Go Off" series by Kung Fu Records, and in a brilliant marketing move, they decided not only to give you a DVD of this concert, but they threw in a CD with the whole thing as well! Watch it at home or listen to it in the car. Check out the band commentary and the bonus footage sections on the DVD, as well as the feature that lets you select which angle to view the action from. (AL)

Mush Mush Tour Spring 2002 Mush Records • Live footage from the likes of cLOUDDEAD, Reaching Quiet, Boom Bip & Doseone, Radioactive and Labtekwon. This was recorded the last two dates of their first ever tour that finished up in San Francisco and Los Angeles. Overall the vibe of these castaways-of-the-underground are mostly moody and atmospheric with the video work coming off like a staged unplugged or televised performance, but it works perfectly because it shows you who the subjects on the other side of the lens really are. If you've been a fan of this type of avant-garde hip hop sound, then this DVD completes the circle for you by bringing you face to face with the ingenuous minds of a newly created genre. (JC)

Neil Hamburger The Show Must Go Off! Episode Five Kung Fu Records • For a first timer, watching this guy can get downright irritating. But even after watching it thereafter it's still so hard to understand how someone can be so annoying, not only that but he's never even funny on this DVD and he¹s supposed to be a comedian! This footage is recorded live at the Phoenix Greyhound Park and I've got to say that the multi-angle option and audio options (featuring "stadium applause") are the only highlights here. Problem with this is not so much the way he portrays himself or his (not-intended-to-be-funny?) jokes but the constant over-exaggerated clearing of his throat throughout this. (JC)

Various Artists Burn My Eye! "Best of" DVD self-released • This DVD recounts some of the best moments from Burn My Eye!, a San Francisco public access show. Most of what you'll see here is guerrilla style concert footage, with stuff from Coachwhips, The Locust, Extreme Elvis, Numbers, Deerhoof, Total Shutdown, and The Lowdown. Also included are interviews that are conducted in very unconventional ways. Apparently there are a couple of hidden gems, but I didn't find them. Perhaps you'll be luckier. (AL)

Various Artists Cinema Beer Buddy, Punk Rock Video Compilation Hopeless Records • This DVD by Hopeless Records features 15 videos, and even though the title says Punk Rock Video Compilation, it's not just punk rock that¹s featured here. Indie rock, hardcore and metalcore also show up, by artists like Jimmy Eat World, Midtown, A.F.I., Poison the Well, The Ataris, Strung Out, Converge, This Beautiful Mess, and others. Not only do you get the videos, but you also get bonus footage for many of the bands. (AL)

In alphabetical order. Please write them.

!K7 Records,
53HC Records,
Absolutely Kosher,
Accidental Records,
Action Driver,
A-F Records,
Afar-i Star, no address
Alone Records,
Alternative Tentacles,
Angry Hill,
Antidote Records,
At a Loss Recordings,
Atkins Lane,
Audiochurch Records,
Beggars Group,
Bifocal Media,
Big Head Records,
Blue Disguise,
Blue Skies Turn Black,
Bogs Visionary Orchestra, no contact info available
Brand Name Records,
Broken Rekids,
Brown Trout Records,
Burn My Eye,
BYO Records,
Candle Light Records,
Captain Angry and the Bad Moods,
Carcrash Records,
Carrot Top Records,
Chocolate Industries,
Christine Martucci,
Constellation Records,
Contact High,
Coqi Records,
Coup D¹Etat Entertainment,
Craig Roberts, no contact info available
Crosscheck Records,
D1 Music,
Dead Ringer, no contact info available
Deep Elm Records,
Definitive Jux,
Dischord Records,
Does Everyone Stare?,
Doghouse Records,
Dying Wish Records,
Ed Walters Records,
Eighteenth Street Lounge Music,
Eighth Dimension,
Empty Records,
Epitaph Records,
Equal Vision,
Ernest Jenning Record Co.,
Eulogy Recordings,
Exhibit F,
Exotic Fever Records,
Fat Cat Records,
Fat Wreck Chords,
Fearless Records,
Ferret Music,
File 13 Records,
FILM Guerrero,
Finger Records,
Flameshovel Records,
Flatpoint a/v, no contact info available
Foggydog Records,
Formula 13,
Fortitude, no contact info available
Fudge Sickill Records,
Fueled By Ramen,
Future Farmer Recordings,
Geykido Comet Records,
Gloomy Tunes,
Go Big! Records,
Go-Kart Records,
Honest Don¹s Records,
Honest In Secret,
Hopeless Records,
Howling Dog Records, PO Box 684, Alamosa, CO 81101
Immigrant Sun,
In the Red Records,
Indianola Records,
Infect Records,
Initial Records,
Insomniac Music,
Irresponsible Records,
Jade Tree,
Johann¹s Face Records,
Jump Start Records,
K Records,
Kane Hodder,
Kate Hathaway,
Kung Fu Records,
Laughing Outlaw Records,
Level Plane,
Lifeforce Records,
Lorelei Records,
Loudspeaker Records,
Lower Lights Burning,
LP Outsiders,
Lucid Records,
Maelstrom Music PR,
Mayday Records,
Melatone Music,
MOL Records,
Molecular Labs,
Mush Records,
Naked Spur Productions, no contact info available
Newest Industry,
Next Big Thing,
Ninja Tune Records,
Nitro Records,
No Idea,
Nolo Records,
One Day Savior,
One Little Indian,
Pattern 25 Records,
Pehr Label,
Pias America,
Pitch Black Dream,
Pitch Control, no address or
Prescott Recordings, no contact info available
PrinceHouse Records,
Quannum Projects,
Razor & Tie,
Record Cellar,
Redundant Audio International, no contact info available
Reflections Records,
Revelation Records,
Roam Records,
Robotic Empire,
Ryan Farish Productions,
Saddle Creek,
Second Nature,
Self Starter Foundation,
Sessions Records,
Simba Recordings,
Sinister Label,
Sixgunlover Records,
Skin Graft Records,
Smiley Jones Records,
Soul Shard Records,
South Congress,
South Tenth Records,
Southern Records,
Spent Records,
Spunout Records,
Stomp Records,
Sugar Hill Records,
Suicide Watch, PO Box 9599, Charlotte, NC 28299
The Alphamales,
The Berzerkers,
The Hint,
The New Beat,
The Receiving End Of Sirens,
The Sidecar Proj.,
Plastiq Musiq,
These Bricks Are Mine,
Thick Records,
Thin Wrist Records,
Thinker Thought Records,
Thorp Records,
Three One G Records,
Three Spheres,
Tiberius Records,
Times Beach Records,
Tooth and Nail,
Touch and Go Records,
Truth Universal Music,
Union Label Group,
Unstoppable Records,
Vermillion Records, no contact info available
Victory Records,
Viva Recording Co.,
Warp Records,
What The...,
When We Die,

Music reviews from past issues: