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Winter '06 Articles:
IMPACT's Survival & You
Corrupting the Cross
Dog & Cat Fur From China?!
The Muddlemarch: 1
The Muddlemarch: 2
The World's #1 Terrorist
Cut Your Kids No Slack
(music reviews)

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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.

Bling Kong Do the Awesome Redder • Holy crap! There are 11 people in this band! You usually don't see that unless some of them are carrying horns. But as it turns out, in addition to traditional and non-traditional band elements that serve up a full, wild mix of sounds, they have cheerleaders. Yes. This is a recipe that calls for a metric fuckload of fun. It is an energetic power trip from a large group of certifiable weirdoes who justly deserve such a trip. You just cannot dislike this album, because above all the Kong, its audacity is what makes it fantastic. (DP)

Dance Hall Crashers The Show Must Go Off! DVD Kung Fu Films • This is episode 18 of an awesome set of DVDs released by Kung Fu Films showcasing live performances of various bands. On this disc, DHC shines brilliantly at the House of Blues with their classic brand of harmonic female-fronted ska/punk. It has an incredible sound mix and is brilliantly shot. Iım so impressed with the quality that Iım going to go order more in this series from Kung Fu right now. (DP)

Epica Consign To Oblivion The End Records • As the band's name suggests, this band's sound is quite epic. Their symphonic metal features the mezzo-soprano vocals of Simone Simons, who sounds a bit like the front woman for Nightwish. In fact, their sound is a cross between Nightwish and Rhapsody, with bits of Therion and Cradle of Filth thrown in there as well. It is quite dramatic, which is a good thing if you are a fan of this genre. (AL)

Halloween, Alaska Too Tall to Hide East Side Digital Records • This is actually the second album from these guys I have reviewed within the last year. And just like the first, I remember there being a strong Postal Service vibe. Electro Indie-pop if you will, this one comes across more cohesive right from the start with "A New Stain". The elegant rhythmic flow of the bass in "Drowned" is complemented beautifully with open guitar chord arrangements that dramatically lead to the climactic choruses which are brought to life with exploding drums. The intro to "Receiving Line" is a cross between Traveling Wilbury's opening to one of their songs "Margarita" and a Pete Townsend song I can't quite put my finger on. Strange mix, but good nonetheless. (SP)

Koenjihyakkei Angherr Shisspa Skin Graft Records • If you like Ruins and their frenetic musicianship, then you'll love this side project from Ruins drummer Tatsuya Yoshida. It is a similar formula, where indecipherable vocals go all over the place over fast paced, almost improvised music, but with a lot more instruments and a prog rock influence. Also, there are two females in this band who also perform some operatic vocal gymnastics that you'll either love or be driven insane by. This is as experimental as it gets. (AL)

Made in Mexico Zodiac Zoo Skin Graft • What a beautiful catastrophe it is! Formed with ex-members of Arab on Radar, Providence's Made in Mexico is headed by the tough-as-nails front-woman Rebecca Mitchell on an album full of psychedelic mayhem and arty chaos. While the album sound like it was recorded underneath a bunch of fighter jets doing tailspins, is one of the most rewarding audible frenzies of the year. (CP)

Mercurine Waiting for Another Fall self-released • Robots in the future will absolutely adore Mercurine, who have infused looped backgrounds into their pop to create a sound that seems like it is calling to us from twenty years hence. I would expect to hear this music playing in some Blade Runner dystopia. It's a very exciting album with mellow rhythms that elevate the experience to a state of soothing electronica soma. If I were totally piloting a spaceship through a celestial obstacle course, I would want this to be my soundtrack. And from me, that's a hell of a compliment. (DP)

Music Versus the Heart self-titled Sorry for the Memories Recordings • Music Versus the Heart is a melodic rock band that makes their songs just catchy enough without over doing it. The band has tempo changes throughout the album which keep it entertaining. Slower songs such as Just Between the 3 of Us and Epic incorporate back up vocals to add a different harmony appeal to the music. Songs such as Intro to Life keep the energy of the album high. Between the harmonies and guitar hooks, this disc is one that will be hard to put down. (KB)

P.O.S. Audition Rhymesayers • Oh my, this is good. There's a lot of shit-hop out there and it's hard to weed through the trash. I think a lot of people write off hip-hop because they're used to hearing crap like Nelly and Black Eyed Peas. But there's a whole movement of indie/alternative hip-hop that doesn't focus on bling, bitches and bullshit. On this, P.O.S.'s second album, he brings an indie rock influenced swagger, with hints of pop, punk, funk, jazz and old-school hip-hop. It's a blend that keeps the music fresh and hyper-original. There are tracks that are reminiscent of other rap artists, like Eminem and Atmosphere, but a track later P.O.S. sounds completely different. His rhyme flow is outstanding, flipping smart lyrics effortlessly. But it's the diversity of the album that makes it standout and deserve attention. Tempos change frequently and a variety of sounds are thickly layered. Some tracks mix in big guitar riffs. Others use horn and keyboard samples. Even then, the samples and loops are used creatively, unexpectedly even. And that's something you don't find much in hip-hop, the opportunity to be surprised. This album didn't surprise me that it was good, but did surprise me by just how good it is. (CM)

Prefuse 73 Security Screenings Warp Records • 2005's Surrounded By Silence saw Prefuse collaborating with a ton of artists, a departure from his usual style that got him some flack by a few critics (one track features a clip from a less-than-flattering interviewer grinding him about its over-reliance on guest artists). On Security Screenings, he returns to his roots of slicing and dicing just about every sound (except for the actual beat) on just about every track, and with no guest rappers. In fact, there are hardly any vocals at all, cut up or not. Personally, I did not mind the rapping on Silence, yet I don't miss it on Screenings. This is supposedly a transitional album intended to prepare you for his next one, which will apparently be an even greater departure from his usual sound. I am not sure why, but the cover art spells his name in Roman numerals as "Prefuse LXIII," which means Prefuse 63! (AL)

Secret Mommy Very Rec Ache Records • Sometimes I'll be listening to some glitch-pop or laptop music, and I'll recognize a sound that was sampled here and there. Otherwise, much of the noises remain a mystery. Secret Mommy wants his listeners to be informed, which is why he lists what sources he used to create his songs, which makes them sound more amazing, since you can tell what the sounds are for the most part. Tennis rackets, swimming sounds, squash court sounds, tap-dancing...the list goes on. The music is quite out there, like a cross between Mouse on Mars and Prefuse 73. (AL)

The Bluefoot Project Brave Chocolate Fireguard • The Bluefoot Project has created an immediately captivating and refreshing album that pulls you in from the opening moments. Very soulful female vocals carry this release overtop of a long list of influences that are combined here to create an atmosphere that is at times exotic, at times poignant and usually always intriguing. The electro elements are fused with minor break-beat sounds and a live-band funky jazz style that has been smoothed out for general consumption on a day where chilling out takes on a new meaning. Worth looking out for if in need of a change of pace from the jazzy hip hop sounds you've been used to listening to. (JC)

The Kissers Good Fight Skeptic Rock Records • Ripe melodies with a pop-punk and traditional Irish-rock flavor equal the right ingredients for this band out of the Midwest. Anti-war songs and a healthy dose of Celtic influences are spread throughout this release, which is put together well from front to back. With five members providing the proper sounds with an array of instruments, the music has a feeling of authenticity to it, even with humorous moments like "Kicked in the Head" and "Pictures at an Execution." The one song on this album that needs to get in the hands of a war protester is "Captain George," a deep-seeded request from someone who has "forgotten what we're fighting for" and wonders "when are we gonna sail ashore." (JC)

Tim Fite Gone Ain't Gone Anti • Tim Fite takes sampling to new extremes on Gone Ain't Gone as he's rummaged through the dollar bins of local record stores and sampled the best parts of a number of forgotten releases, that well, never were really fully released I guess you could say. Regardless, this is an amazing collection of thoughts delivered in an alt-country way with a hip-hop backbone that challenges the social extremes of our lives. One moment Fite sings with a rusty folk voice, the next he switches to an emcee tone and then at a moments notice he takes his throat to new limits by providing screamy commentary. A solid collection is included throughout this entire offering and is a sure bet to be on repeat once you've heard it through the first time. (JC)

Tokyo Rose New American Saint SideCho Records • I had heard about this band a while ago but I never really kept track of them. I guess I was the one missing out. Tokyo Rose blends raw motion and catchy guitar hooks in order to complete their sound. Slower songs like Meghan Again are beautifully crafted and sung. The lyrics throughout the album are easy to relate to and delivered with true passion. I'm going to have to keep better tabs on Tokyo Rose from now on if they are producing music this great. (KB)

Various Artists Protect Fat Wreck Chords • This compilation is a benefit for the National Association to Protect Children. Now that you know why you should buy it, I'll tell you why you will want to. Protect features twenty six amazing songs by various hardcore and punk bands. Fifteen of the songs are previously unreleased. Jawbreaker, Matt Skiba (of Alkaline Trio), MXPX, NOFX, Anti-Flag, and Against Me! are just a few of the artists to lend their talents to this compilation. Protect features great songs and it is for a great cause. Go buy it. (KB)

Veronica Lipgloss and the Evil Eyes The Witches Dagger Gold Standard Labs • If bands like Sleater-Kinney, Schoolyard Heroes, Lion Fever, Giant Drag, and the New Pornographers have taught us anything this past 12 months, it is that 2005 is the year of the front woman as far as indie rock goes. Prepare for Rhani Lee Remedes to join that rank and file as her eerie coo is joined alongside the jittery guitar licks of James Caperton as The Witches Dagger melds free-jazz, grimy rock musings and fuzzy synth licks to make for one of the years most twisted and sonic psychedelic stews. (CP)

With Resistance Real Hardcore Kids Have Day Jobs Immigrant Sun • Another amazing release from one of my favorite indie labels. The record has that kind of name that I see as I'm opening and know I'm already going to love this. Hardcore hasn't done much for me lately, with bands churning out the same riffs for 10+ years now. With Resistance break any molds they can find, and on the way crack a few walls, doors, windows and anything else dumb enough to get in the way of the sheer power. Creative without giving anything silly and artsy, powerful without being boring, and inspired... With Resistance are a blinding bright light that hardcore needs to see. (KM)

Yesterday's Ring Back from El Rancho New Romance for Kids Records •Wonderful Americana rock (or is it Canada-ana for these Quebecors?), with just enough twang and Tex-Mex for spice, plus a sense of bittersweet humor that makes this release a pleasure to listen to. Hoarse, weathered vocals talk of life on the road, cigarettes, whiskey and longing. This album features great songwriting with moments of folk, Country & Western and even hints of the Replacements more somber moments. Highly recommended. Hey, Yesterday's Ring, next time you head to El Rancho, I wanna go! (H)

CD Reviews

20 Minute Loop Yawn + House= Explosion Fortune Records • It's too bad this record dulls out midway through and never quite recovers the momentum it starts out with. Vocalists Kelly Atkins and Greg Giles float their angelic voices over colorful power-pop lyrics (albeit a tad precocious). The band emits a clear, clean, bright sound throughout but begins to drag with "Carlos the Jackal" and just flames out. (DE)

40 Watt Hype Grand Unification Theory (Vol. 4) self-released • When a band has eight members, I have high expectations. They are easily met on this 11-track release from these Cali hip-hoppers. Blending funk, Latin influences and a knack for banging beats, this is a live instrument hip-hop album that will get any party started. It's impossible to not feel the groove and your head will be nodding along in no time. The live horns are absolutely essential, used sparingly but perfectly, they add an eclectic feel that sets them apart from other hip-hop bands, even live ones. Fans of Jurassic Five, The Roots and Cue Estey will dig on this. This isn't radio rap. This is hip-hop music for people who want to hear about more than bling and bass. (CM)

A.J. Rosales Resistor self-released • The second track "Union" has some really moving acoustic guitar work as far as skill goes. I would like to hear how some cool vocal harmonies would go over the choruses because they come across as empty at moments. This is an eclectic mix of acoustic rock with passionate lyrics. A prime example is the third track "Rare", which has an STP vibe during the choruses. There are a few dreamy instrumentals like "Transistor". The album lacks variation partially due to lack of electric guitars and catchy vocal hooks. Unfortunately the vocals are easily forgettable. (SP)

A.R.E. Weapons Free in the Streets Defend Music, Inc. • A.R.E. Weapons is a band with a very unique sound. Though the basis of the album is rock, there are many electro, new wave, hip-hop, and industrial influences heard throughout the songs. The band takes a minute to warm up to at first, but once you give this album a chance, it becomes impossible to keep your feet from tapping along. The lead vocalist has a very smooth and pleasant voice to listen to, which helps round out the album's sound. (KB)

Abner Trio Distant Thunder of Sacred Force Joyful Noise Records • Heavy darkness falls around Abner Trio; sadly the band gets lost in the heavy fog of down-tuned dissonance. The band excels in metallic punch, but the fight the band puts up is really against itself due to the shallow songs coupled with poor production values. (DE)

ABSU Mythological Occult Metal: 1991-2001 The End Records • If you are an ABSU fan, then you should get your hands on this 2-disc set. It features a bunch of hard to find tracks, including alternate versions, some vinyl-only tracks, a few covers, live tracks and two unreleased songs. Their black/death metal sound is as dark as it gets. (AL)

Adolescents O.C. Confidential Finger Records • This is the first album in almost twenty years from the Adolescents. From start to finish, the songs are fast, old school punk rock. Track 4, California Son, is one of my favorites because of the backup vocals incorporated during the chorus. The lyrics range in subject matter, which helps to keep the album both entertaining and fun to listen to. (KB)

After The Fight Basura Solamente Bone Records • What happened to the days of having a mean looking cover and a mean sounding name and actually having a little (just a little) bit of what the package displays in the music? The intro to this release from ATF "Battleship Sunk" is promising, but the following tracks tell tales about a girl that their mad at, while a polished punk rock sound, complete with the typical punk chants, this time with cheesy guitars and vocals, back these ideas up. (JC)

After The Sirens We Have No White Flags self-released • Let's talk about first impressions, this records title turned me on, there isn't a better way to put it really. It made me want to rip open the packaging and ask the questions and get the answers. Those answers, in their musical form, weren't what I expected them to be. More points, I love to be taken by surprise, to get the unexpected. Hitting you hard like as a band, but with the open handed passion of a singer songwriter. To say I was thrown off is only to say I was delighted with every twist and honest turn ATS took me on. Certainly recommended. (KM)

Age of Silence Complications EP The End Records • If The End Records keeps putting out bands like this whose songs seem like they are carbon copies of Type O Negative, they too may see the end of their label in the near future. Age of Silence goes way overboard on the icy keyboard licks and vibes from Transylvania. This is a perfect album for the Goth in your family that wears all black, is as pale as flour and likes to cut themselves regularly. I'm pretty tolerant toward all Scandinavian metal, but for some reason all of the bands from Norway seem to rub me the wrong way. (CP)

Altamont The Monkee's Uncle Ant Acid Audio • After all these years of blowing minds on drum duties for the Melvins, Dale Crover lays puts down his sticks for a moment to pick up the axe and take heed of vocal duties on an album laden with garage rock befittingly enough for a hearted pub brawl and some noisy and sludgy rhythms that just goes to prove you can't go home again. Oh yeah, I forgot to mention that there is a lot of noise. (CP)

American Analog Set Set Free Arts & Crafts Productions • This album by AmAnSet is more straight-forward than previous efforts, which sometimes created hypnotic atmospheres. Andrew Kenny sings almost in a whisper, and the rest of the instruments are subdued as well. AmAnSet's is always good for relaxing. (AL)

Ani Kyd Evil Needs Candy Too Alternative Tentacles Records • As a rule, a female singer adds about 10 bonus points to any band. Ani Kyd adds about 25 points to hers. This is stomping metal fronted by Ani Kyd, a lady with the duskiest, throatiest voice I've heard in a long time. She belts it out and sounds a lot like the singer from 4 Non-Blonds (remember them?). Great music, great singing. (MK)

Animal Collective Feels self-released • From one track to the next I kept waiting, praying, longing for some type of connection or melody or anything that I could cling to for writing purposes, but nothing folks. I'm tapped on this one. Who this cd would appeal to I would love to know. The artwork font is so horrific I can't even tell you what kind of record label would release this mess. It had to be self-released and self-produced. There is no other excuse I can think of to give this album as being one of the most boring pieces of music I have been exposed to in a while. Stay away, I don't even think this one could put you to sleep if you tried, it's that bad. (SP)

Annalise Here's To Hope No Idea • For 10 years, this five-piece from England has been crafting their sound. Mixing new wave, indie rock and pop punk, they've created a very genuine sound that is heartfelt without becoming emo. There are elements of the East Bay sound made famous by Green Day and the Brit rock style of The Clash. The end result is ten tracks of melodic goodness. (CM)

Anti-Social Music Sings The Great American Songbook Peacock Recordings • What could be more punk rock than not playing punk rock music? Anti-Social Music proves that by playing chamber music. They probably fit in better with the experimental crowd than your average Fall Out Boy fan, but I guess that's part of the point. Give them a shot and expand your musical horizons. (AL)

Ari & Uzi If We Were All Suddenly Somebody Else Anchorhouse Records • David Hinkle and Brian Smith recorded this acoustic album in their dorm room during senior year of college, and everything about it reeks of the indecisiveness of entering the real world. Each track bleeds into one another like a thirty-year old reminiscing on the early part of being alive. The first track ("The Day Before") ends with the lyrics "all good things come with time," and don't we wish. The following songs are about some strange occurrences with a lady and more strange occurrences about a wife, mom, high school and a weak stomach, all delivered in off-key guitar and vocal pieces. (JC)

ASG Feeling Good Is Good Enough Volcom • ASG play radio ready rock in the same vein as Queens of the Stone Age or Fu Manchu only with a touch of punk to keep things moving. These guys will definitely appeal to the stoner metalhead in everyone. This is definitely a band everyone should keep an eye on, very solid and surely on their way to becoming the next big rock radio hit. (RP)

Askeleton (Happy) Album Goodnight Records • This is the sound of lots of being on a lot of happy pills when the real you is trying to break free. Nonetheless, Askeleton adheres to a nice texture of placid indie pop that will leave you feeling as fresh as a daisy if you play it while getting out of bed in the morning. Incredibly catchy, indeed! (CP)

Asthma Attaq Breathe Heavy Forever Escaping Boredom • It's once in a great while I will get a real gem like this album. Asthma Attaq are a spazz rock band who at times sounds like Lightning Bolt and at other times like the Blood Brothers. Being able to fuse many genres is definitely one of this bands strong points and they do it quite well. This album may not appeal to all listeners but it will truly turn heads. (RP)

At Risk self-titled Bloody Knuckles • 12 songs in nineteen minutes. How punk rock is this? Even though they're from Santa Cruz, these boys rain down the riffs and play serrated brand of hardcore apt for pumping those fists while keeping true to legends from NYC like Biohazard, Sick of it All, and Madball....and they are super pissed. (CP)

Banditas self-titled Last Drag Records • With a catchy swag, Banditas tread lightly into the garage-punk, feedback laden rock-n roll world. Good, but not great songs, make this one strong enough to be interesting, but nothing powerful enough to stay with you, make you dance across the room, or fill your head with psycho-pop dreams. The disc does leave me feeling these guys would be a blast at any given club on a Friday night. (KM)

Beeblo Pirate vs. Ninja Omega Point Records • A cross between They Might Be Giants and Atom And His Package, Beeblo makes music that feels like he recorded it by himself in his bedroom. That goes with the lyrical content, which makes him seem like a pretty lonely guy. Which is surprising because the songs are pretty catchy and upbeat, with plenty of obsolete keyboards and other equipment. (AL)

Bent Outta Shape Stray Dog Town Recess Records • This album was recorded in April 2005. It features aggressive punk rock songs with a somewhat rough edge. The singer's coarse vocals are complemented by the tight, and sometimes melodic, music. The album is very solid throughout. A highlight for me is the sing along feel that the background vocalists provide. Lyrically, the album focuses on lonesomeness, mentioning some form of the word "lonely" in most of their songs. (KB)

Bigg Jus Poor People's Day (Orchestrated by DJ Gman) Mush Records • Holding it down for the less fortunate, former Company Flow mate Bigg Jus and DJ Gman spend this release documenting the troubles in the world with the overwhelming power that the media holds and beyond. The political aspects fused with the thumping beats from beginning to end offer food for thought about the chaos quietly going on around you. "Orbital Mechanics" and "Anything You See Fit (Change by Design)" are a couple tracks that expand on these issues and are a good taste of what is offered here. (JC)

Billy Brush Lair self-released • This album is like a soundtrack to a movie that doesn't exist. Musically, it is all over the place, with many instrumental rock tracks, some pop ones with vocals, a few piano-only interludes and a bit of ambient here and there. It is a great album to listen to via headphones, and from beginning to end. (AL)

Bisc 1 The Basics EP Embedded Music • "This is vitamin music," raps Bisc 1 on the opening title track, which is a solid introduction to this long-time collaborator at Embedded Music and beyond. With six tracks on this offering, it's hard to tell if a full-length would have just been too much to digest. Bisc rhymes with a steady tone that grows tiresome at times and must rely on the snapping production to help carry this offering of poetic relief. Beats are provided by Drake, DJ Ese, DmFields and Esen. (JC)

Bitter Tongues Clovis United Edge Records • Bitter Tongues play hard hitting postcore along the same lines as Quicksand or Fugazi. All the tracks on this album are really solid, driving and heart felt. (RP)

Black Cougar Shock Unit Godzilla Trip Wire Newest Industry Records • Gothic thrash metal abounds in Godzilla Trip Wire. Unfortunately the thrash is mind-numbingly boring. Black Cougar Shock Unit dig up the anger and rage, but it comes across as so much mimicry of every other thrash metal band alive. The songs plod along and never really take off. (DE)

Blackalicious The Craft Anti- • This album opens with a song that someone might mistake for the Black Eyed Peas. It didn't sit well with me; it might not sit well with Blackalicious, either. I don't know. The production is great and there is a good vibe throughout. It's not bad. But it's got such a pop feel, it lacks any intensity. I may nod my head, but it's more like I'm lulled into it than really bumped. I really liked Nia, their first album; it felt so fresh, tight and creative. This doesn't sound that much different, but something is missing for me. If you're a previous fan, download a couple tracks online and see what you think. Fans of Jurassic 5 and Black Eyed Peas may wanna give it a listen, too. (CM)

Blackmaker Staggering to the Surface Kentland Records • Hmmm... is it 1995 Seattle? Or is it the Sunset Strip antics of Stone Temple Pilots? Whatever it is, it's just boring. STP is over, Kurt is dead. So why the hell is this band releasing an overwrought imitation of those '90s acts? As if we don't have enough bad "tribute" bands already, we have another blatant grunge rip-off. Don't quit your day jobs, dudes. (DE)

Boris With Merzbow Sun Baked Snow Cave Hydra Head Records • Even though this CD is one 50+ minute track, it is really a split CD between Japanese noise makers Boris and Merzbow, with Merzbow taking the first half hour, which starts out as the sporadic strumming of an acoustic guitar, but after about 14 minutes devolves into what I can only describe as the sound of raw electricity. This atmosphere is carried over and exploited by Boris who builds more cacophony on top of the chaos. (AL)

Boy Sets Fire Before The Eulogy Equal Vision • This is an essential collection completer for the Boy Sets Fire fan. This is early material, dating back to their very first release, a four-song demo that rages right out of the gate. While their sound has been polished and perfected over the years, the raw energy captured on this 20-track release is undeniably BSF. Besides the guitar-crazy, chunky, screamo candy they crank out, there are also the characteristic passionate indie rock elements, sometimes even crossing over to mainstream hard rock. Some may already have the In Chrysalis EP (a great five-song release), but that's only a small portion of the treats packed into this disc. This is hardcore music with an open mind. (CM)

Boy Sets Fire The Day The Sun Went Out Equal Vision • This album remains one of the best to ever be recorded; not just for BSF, but in the realm of hard rock. BSF combines hardcore music, technical skill and a fondness for straying into the realm of indie rock. The result creates a balance between intensity, creativity and melody. When first released in 1997, I was blown away. I had never heard a band that sounded sincere and so intense. The production wasn't overblown, keeping a more honest kind of feel, as opposed to a more commercially-produced rock album. The album went out of print, but has now been re-released. For fans of BSF, this is a must have that gives you a glimpse at some of their older material. For those not familiar with the band, this is an intensely-hard rocking album with a mix of sung vocals and screaming, chunky breakdowns, tempo changes galore and sick guitar riffs that will blow your mind. (CM)

Brady Bastards The Deep End Sling Slang Records • The Deep End is a very solid rock album with punk influences throughout. The most intense track is See You When I Get There, which was written for a friend who passed away. The backup vocals are used very well on that track which helps bring out even more emotion in the song. The album's subject matter varies greatly though, which is evident in She's Online. That song talks about an online relationship and instant messaging. (KB)

Braille aka Towers Thin Cities Common Cloud Records • No, the name of this band is not Braille aka Towers. The band formally known as Braille has changed their name to Towers because of a rapper in Portland being the real "Braille." So Towers has a new album and I hope for their sake the record label didn't print too many Braille CDs. I have a Braille CD, but didn't find out about the name change until I went to the website. Whatever the name, this is a solid slow to mid tempo emo album that shows that a three piece can have a full sound with dynamics. The vocals are weak at moments, where you find yourself nodding off from the monotony of the emo world. The music really is beautiful and the vocals work at moments, but there isn't enough range and variety to keep me awake. (MP)

Bunnygrunt Karen Hater's Club Happy Happy Birthday to Me • If all records in this world were as catchy as this one, we would go through life bopping constantly to the music in our heads. This is ultra-cutesy tweerock punk with dueling male and female vocals, and a farkin' awesome jangly sound. They have a strange little cult of personality, the kind that isn't dangerous like Kim Jong-Il. It's just the right kind to give you maximum enjoyment. (DP)

Burdocks What We Do Is Secret Black Mountain Music Records • Burdocks seem to think that if they hit hard enough, you'll recoil; in the end they're just hitting each other into an atonal mess of distortion. If you like discordant beatings, then this one is for you; if you actually like music, then skip this one. (DE)

Burning Star Core The Very Heart of the World Thin Wrist Records • This is one of those bands that creates dense, droning rock music to be listened to through headphones. Sometimes they go into truly avant-garde territory, but if you are a fan of noise/drone rock, you should like this just fine. (AL)

Calico System They Live Eulogy Recordings • This album is exceptional hardcore with metal, screamo, and emo elements. The songs have a way of being extremely intense, but also melodic at the same time. The pounding percussion and screaming vocals keep the songs fast paced. The lead singer shows his ability to both sing and scream effectively in songs, such as Venomous Lipstick. The compassion and power in the lyrics match the music perfectly. (KB)

Cave In Perfect Pitch Black Hydra Head Records • Cave In have been around for a while and this is their most mature album yet. No longer part of a major label, they were free to do what they wanted, and they did it. Stephen Brodsky goes from melodic singing to screaming quite often, and the guitar work straddles the line between metal and sludge rock. (AL)

Charlie Hunter, Chinna Smith, and Ernest Ranglin Earth Tones Breadfruit Music Co. • These are three guitarists that come from different musical backgrounds, yet are able to combine their skills into one very enjoyable package. Charlie Hunter plays an 8-string guitar/bass hybrid, allowing him to play both instruments at once(!). Chinna Smith has been playing guitar in the Jamaican scene for years, and Ernest Ranglin has been credited with inventing the ska guitar sound. These 9 instrumental songs are highly melodic, sometimes seemingly improvisational, and as smooth as can be. The tackle a few covers, including songs by Edie Brickell and Peter Tosh. (AL)

Chris Leo White Pigeons Fifth Planet Press • In these days of singer/songwriters popping up left and right, it's nice to see someone like Chris Leo who maintains the status a pop chameleon whether it be sunny tracks like "A Trinity of Pairs" and "Secondhand Smoke" alongside a potent hint of folky wit. (CP)

Chromelodeon Heart of Sawdust Bloodlink Records • The first time I heard Chromelodeon, it was their album In The Year 20XX, which I really liked, but wished was longer. With this album, m y interest has been renewed, as I enjoyed the pseudo-sci-fi atmosphere they bring. Their eight members use all kinds of instruments, including keyboards, vocoder, Theremin, violin, accordion, and others. (AL)

Clue to Kalo One Way, It's Every Way Mush Records • Clue to Kalo is an electro, indie-pop band which creates mid tempo songs with many entertaining elements. The band used many different instruments in the recording of this disc, such as a mandolin, accordion, and organ. The songs, musically, are beautifully crafted and the many different components really make them enjoyable to listen to. The lyrics are blended in perfectly with the music, which ties together all the final elements of this album. (KB)

Cordova Lie Until it Becomes the Truth Limekiln Records • This EP has a lot if interesting elements to offer. Cordova's musical style is a creative blend of indie and funk with emo and aggressive influences. The opening track, Atomic Lipstick, is a fun and dance inducing song, but the lyrics do not hold any real obvious meaning. The rest of the EP provides a range of slow and mid tempo songs with breathy vocals laced over the melodies. (KB)

Coretta Scott Scream & Shout Rise • An incredibly tight melodic rock and roll band with heavy punk, metal, and alternative influences, Corretta Scott is all about emotional power. Some really great songwriting comes out of these Washington-staters that really hits home. They find their notes, driving track after layered track of their heartfelt, desperate offerings right into the hole of the needle. A truly great listen. (DP)

Crime In Stereo Fuel. Transit. Sleep. EP Nitro Records • Three tracks is such a tease. If it sucked, I'd be glad to get it over with. But this is brilliant punk rock reminiscent of Strike Anywhere and Good Riddance, with a dash of '80s hardcore ala Gorilla Biscuits. Equal parts melody and intensity, Crime In Stereo capitalizes on great vocals (buoyed by great vocal harmonies), killer guitars that never stop moving and a catchiness that retains its aggressiveness while also hooking you. I want more. (CM)

Crime In Stereo The Contract EP Blackout Records • If you really had to pick between the two Crime In Stereo EPs (see above), I'd suggest this one simply because it has one extra song, four altogether. As for the music, I'd suggest reading my review above. This release sounds very much along the same lines, but with one more song to rock out to. Really, I'd suggest getting them both and burning them to one seven-song CD. (CM)

Cult of Sue Todd Nothing Noteworthy Happened Today self-released • This is an interesting mix... at once you hear the jangly, folky strains, but there's something more ominous. Creepy, spacey organ in the background, and the quirky vocal track is a bit understated, as though it doesn't want to be in front. It's really difficult to classify this record ­ not that indie rock demands to be classified, it's just especially so here. I would pre-download an mp3 and see if it's your thing. (DP)

D.O.A. War On 45 Sudden Death Records • Originally released in 1982, War on 45 had 8 songs. Later on, it was re-released with some track changes and different artwork. Now they have put them together into an 18-track CD with additional tracks that span their entire career. Fans of this legendary punk rock band will want to get their hands on this quickly. (AL)

DangerDoom The Mouse and the Mask Epitaph • Musically and vocally, this hip-hop collaboration between MF Doom and Dangermouse is incredible. But, despite how many times I listen to it, the Adult Swim clips, skits and samples detract. While I love Aqua Teen Hunger Force, hearing Shake talk about rapping is just gimmicky. Unfortunately, the Adult Swim-related injections happen too often to simply ignore. When I do force myself to put them aside, this album is downright slammin'. It's musically deep and creatively produced with a mix of sounds (from a jazzy vibe to a trippy spacey feel). MF Doom's vocals, meanwhile, are sick good. His deep, fluid flow is super distinct and even more tight. And if that wasn't enough to vocally convince you, guests include Talib Kweli, Ghostface, and Cee-Lo. Track 6 may be the best on the album, dropping a badass jazz horn hook and Talib's sweet rhymes spit on top. This could be one of the best hip-hop albums of the year, except for the unnecessary, out of place and excessive use of gimmicky Adult Swim references and skits. Did Cartoon Network fund the album? (CM)

Days Like These Inventure Lobster Records • Too much drama here for me folks. While going overboard on the icy synth lines, Days Like These is merely reduced to nothing more than a poor man's Evanescense (as if Evanescence was some prize) except every song has a big fat slab of eighties hair metal monster ballads that seem like they were produced by the guy who does the effects in Linkin Park. (CP)

Dead By Wednesday self-titled Mindsnap/Stillborn • While the album title itself represents what is erringly becoming more and more true these days, Dead By Wednesday is full of fist pumping anthems for disenfranchised Americans and chock full of thick riffs from a band with dual lead singers that have sputtering battles in the choruses of the tracks. (CP)

Dear and The Headlights self-titled Common Wall Records • Spastic, solid indie pop rock that broke right into a Hot Hot Heat beginning and continued with catchy beats and melodic choruses. The three song EP changes from song to song, but the vocals always come back to their Robert Smith sound, although moments go into Radiohead range. By the second track, the music takes on a sweeter sound, which also happens to be acoustic. This was refreshing, and surprisingly better with each listen. It's full of passion that really comes across musically and lyrically. (MP)

Deerhoof The Runners Four 5RC Records / Kill Rock Stars • For this album, Deerhoof changed things up a bit. The music is more simple, and not as "out there" as previous efforts. The high pitched vocals remain unchanged though. I guess they wanted to more closely resemble what they sound like when they play live. (AL)

Demander self-titled EP Triplicate Records • Demader is a rock trio out of New York fronted by a female voice that carries on with anguish. While well-polished sounds back her stories of lost or misplaced love and lust, the swagger of the band follows suite. On "Wicked World," lead singer Karen Kanan Correa sings of her mother not approving in a near-perfect Gwen Stefani impersonation. Overall, of the five tracks on this release, it's the openers "Elyah" and "Samthurman" that warrant any real attention. (JC)

Detonation Portals to Uphobia The End Records • Detonation plays melodic death/thrash metal with a bit of melodrama in their sound. The guitars play well off each other while the drumming pounds you into the ground with its relentless pace. The vocals are screamed pretty much all the time, and reminded me of In Flames. There are slower moments, and even a flamenco guitar thrown in for effect in one track. (AL)

Diesto Doomtown 7 Elastic Records • Self-described thunder trio Diesto are no stranger to hard and heavy rock. This three-piece has enough low end to kill a small child and a enough rock to kill a grown man. If you were to compare this band to another I would say they are a cross between The Melvins and Floor only louder and more distorted. (RP)

Dirty Faces Superamerican Brah Records • this disc took me a few times hrough to really get the hang of it. Dischordant and fractured, it is not your typical radio crap, always a good thing to be able to say. This is a strange mix of distorted groove beats and driving rock. Definitely worth a listen. (MK)

Disengage Application for an Afterlife Fractured Transmitter Record Co. • Disengage vocalist Jason Byers bellows typical teenage angst-filled lyrics such as "I'll tell you once, I'll tell you twice/ Latch key kids you can never trust/ There's too much time inside their head/ To plot crimes and plan revolt" ("University of Texas Militia"), and he never lets up. The band undertows his vocals, slamming out rote metal riffs by the score. Rock 'n' Roll has always been about releasing anger, angst, frustration, and woe. The problem here is that Disengage do nothing but wallow in tortured rock clichés. (DE)

Dogme 95 Arcadian Hymns Mission Label Records • When listening to the opening track "Summon My Baptist Ways," I didn't want to go any further with the out of key chanting harmonies and all, but I did and bravely I might add. Horrible. But it gets even worse vocally on the second song "Kingdom/Garden." These guys put simply can't sing, yet they are brave enough to attempt to harmonize. Yikes. What I can't seem to fathom is how other people involved in the process couldn't hear this for themselves and stop these guys in their tracks. Instead they send the album to places of publication where we rip it to shreds because it is our musical responsibility to be brutally honest. Over and out. (SP)

Donald Knaack (The Junkman) Junk Music 2 self-released • If you can find one thing NOT to like about this disc, I'd like to hear it. Donald Knaack is a classically trained percussionist who takes his drumming and combines it with a passionate concern for the environment. He uses found objects to create percussive instruments and then composes amazing music to play on them. The most obvious analogy to draw is to The Blue Man Group, and it is not a bad analogy. This is one of the coolest discs I have heard in a very long time especially the amazing 26 minute Surfer at the River Styx. (MK)

Dope Smoothie A Sunset Panorama Elitist Low Brow Records • Dope Smoothie huh? Now there's not only a good idea for a mixed drink but a cool band name as well. These northwesteners can range from punky, to twangy, to witty while still retaining an avant pop guile. (CP)

Dope Smoothie Go Strike self-released • Just because Dope Smoothie hails from Seattle does not give them the right to dig up Nirvana. It's as if the band decided, "hey we're from Seattle so we gotta sound like Nirvana, right?" And it's not really that guitarist/vocalist Josh Bate is bad, it's just that he's a bad Kurt Cobain imitator. (DE)

Dressy Bessy Electrified Transdreamer Records • From the psychedelic mod outfits lead singer Tammy Ealom sports through the play on Creedence Clearwater Revival's "Who'll Stop the Rain" ("Who'd Stop the Rain"), you know where Dressy Bessy is coming from and where they're going. It ain't quite retro and it's certainly not "contemporary," but somewhere spliced between. It's going forward by going backward and it's all a good time. (DE)

Dynamite Ham I Believe in You self-released • Who doesn't love a good tribute album? Well, this one is really good, because it is a tribute to ­ get this ­ Dr. Frank of The Mr. T Experience and broadway composer Frank Loesser. It spans many genres, and is engineered by an indie film soundtrack creator with an extensive arsenal of quirky instrumentation on hand to create these innovative interpretations. Any fan of MTX will love this, and most other people will also. (DP)

El Buzzard Gringa The Electric Human Project • It wouldn't be hard to convince someone that El Buzzard was made by the vengeful bastard sons of the Melvins these sonic terrorists combine lots of screeching and sludgy riffs which will make you feel like you had broken glass shoved into your ears. Totally fucking amazing! (CP)

Erin Tobey self-titled Plan-It-X • This is emotional, low-key, rainy-day fare. It is soft, mostly minor-keyed, with a tiny little slice of acoustic guitar in the back. Tobey's gorgeous vocalizations remind me of the minimalism employed by Mazzy Star, in a style that sounds so heavy with the burden of feeling too much in a world that feels too little. So heavy that it is almost resigned. Almost. It's what we have left that keeps us going. (DP)

Face To Face Shoot The Moon: The Essential Collection Antagonist Records • The defunct punk rock legend that was Face To Face is no more. But their long musically history is well-documented on this outstanding and large collection of material spanning over 10 years. Released on lead singer Trevor's own label, the 21-track album is a sampling of some of the band's best material. Their brand of power punk (with enough melody to sometimes brand them pop-punk) is unmistakably their own. Included on this release are such fan favorites as "Disconnected," "Don't Turn Away," "You Lied," "Disappointed" and "I Won't Lie Down." There's also one unreleased tracks, a live version of Disconnected from 2004 and a few other live tunes. Their out-of-print material is soon to be re-released on Antagonist, but this is a good sampling of some of their best stuff. (CM)

Flotation Toy Warning Bluffer's Guide to the Flight Deck Misra Records • When you put people together who are way too smart for their own good, this is what you get, an album of eccentric sounds that come across like a combination of funeral music and emo pop standards. The artsy aspect to Flotation Toy Warning gets a comparison made to the Flaming Lips, but also to experimental bands like The Unicorns, Van Dyke Parks, Scott Walker, The Dreamies and Curt Boettcher. The spacey vibe is captivating through 10 tracks and become gently transing if you so choose to accept its addiction. (JC)

FM Bats Everybody Out...Sharks in the Water Vinyl Dog Records • FM Bats play 60's-influenced garage rock sounding much like the bastard child of Jon Spencer Blues Explosion and R.L. Burnside. Its seems as if this retro lo-fi rock is all the rage now a days with tons of these bands popping up and adding nothing to the originality of the sound. (RP)

F-Minus Won't Bleed Me/Failed Society Alternative Tentacles • Sadly enough it seems as if F-Minus's supercharged garage/oi punk sees the bands name as predicting what kind of grade this album would get in this review if fact Impact did grade albums. However, they play with a style that is so fast, serrated, and defiant that it seems like they don't give a fuck what we think, so more power to them. (CP)

Former Cell Mates Hustle Newest Industry • Rock inspired drinking music or drinking inspired rock music you be the judge. All I can say is FCM tear it up with their own brand of raucous rock. Think Motorhead meets Monkey Wrench with a slight country twang. Great album full of whiskey soaked broke heart anthems. (RP)

Gang Gang Dance Hillulah EP The Social Registry • Need creepy background music sounds in your life? Check out this EP from Gang Gang Dance, which happens to be a full collection of hypnotic noises that have been captured while on tour in 2003. Four tracks and 33 minutes later, it's a wonder you haven't got lost within the confusion that is sometimes monotonous, yet full of detours all at the same time. Electronic drones, live-band impromptu sessions, echo effects and tribal rock influences are a way to describe this artsy style of music. (JC)

Gas Money 22 Dollars self-released • The old-time country music sounds of the far, far past are reincarnated by Gas Money, who sing about playing shows at the local honky-tonk bars for drink tickets and $22 on the opener "Drink Tickets" to start this offering. The better songs on this release are the ones that stay geared toward the acoustic guitars and don't try to get overly aggressive on tracks like "All Alone." But saying that, there is an authenticity to this album, the second release from the band out of Pennsylvania. "Nashville Hotel" is a firsthand account of how things always seem better by just dreaming about them while other songs like "Whiskey Drinkin' Friends" are bound to become a bar anthem. (JC)

Gina Young She's So Androgynous Exotic Fever • Why yes, she is. Gina is a hardcore rocker and songwriter whose songs have appeared on Dawson's Creek and in the upcoming film I Was a Teenage Feminist. She uses considerable helpings of attitude in her brand of gay-fem, riot grrl rock. She has a clear, stunningly beautiful, strong voice, and crafts her songs extremely well. Her music has a rebellious power that is truly infectious. (DP)

Glitter Pals Unleash the Compassion Love Pump United • The opening track on this album sounds like a stoner chant complete with moans and guitar chugs. Clocking it at a little under nine minutes G.P. have put together a blazing tribute to the god of all things rock. Think hardcore meets Metal with a dash of stoner. (RP)

Goblin Cock Bagged and Boarded Absolutely Kosher • It is a crying shame about the name of this band. As a result of it, you will never hear them on the radio. This is the kind of band you want to hear on the radio. Similar to Clutch in those big, heavy bass oriented grooves, but slightly more off kilter. This is really great music, especially my favorite track, Winky Dinky Donkey. I love these guys. (MK)

Gravenhurst Fires in Distant Buildings Warp Records • "Down River" is a mellow opener with vocals that sound a lot like the softer side of Roland Orzabal from Tears for Fears. "The Velvet Cell" starts off with a total Strokes feel to it in the guitars and bass, and again with the delicate vocal delivery. The sixth track "Cities Beneath the Sea" brings forth some folk appeal to the EP with its dissonant acoustic performance. The bass lines come in and literally take the listener for a stroll, very nice. If you are Tears for Fears fan, you may want to check these guys out. (SP)

Groove Divinities Groove Divinities Do Right Records • Ooooh yeah. Get on your big ass pimp hat and your tall KISS boots. What the hell ­ get a leisure suit, too. This is smooth, grooving music that will throw you back to the 70's and smack you around a bit while you are there. This is a really infectious disc with excellent musicianship. (MK)

Hail Social self-titled Polyvinyl Records • This indie four-piece band out of Philadelphia relies on bass guitar sounds to accentuate the new wave influences on their self-titled debut album. "Come Out Tonight" is an example of the structured backbone to this band, with a driving sound that weaves in and out of tempo changes with The Cars-like drive. The opening track "Hands Are Tied" is a strutting anthem of adolescent emotions, just as the rest of this release becomes. But it's the catchy, angular moments, which resurface throughout these nine songs that are able to keep listeners tuned into the anti-social overview sung with melodious fevers. (JC)

Hanner No Guts, No Gravy Unsound • Hanner is a very primal kind of subdued acoustic folk. It features light, breathy female vocals that seem almost frightened, somehow. Almost as if the truth behind the words is being forced out of the singer under sublime duress. All of this is layered on generally high-tempo, plucky guitar with unmistakably-country sensibilities. But country in an old American folk way, not a Top 50 Country Chart way. And that means it's really great. (DP)

Hans York Inside Out Hazzazar Records • A creative pop record inspired by world music with orchestrated elements and soothing backdrops is delivered by Hans York and a long cast of friends on this release. With a diverse number of instruments and programmed sounds instituted throughout, this record is an adult contemporaries dream. But for other folks, it's a lot like the fourth track on the album entitled "Bored Out of My Mind." (JC)

Harris The Light Is Seeping Through The Cracks self-released. • Harris couldn't have gone out and tried any harder to photocopy the indie rock formula if they'd added Bob Nanna to the line up. Sounding too much like Braid, and trying to cover that fact by adding some Appleseed Cast, Captn' Jazz, and even some Make Believe, Harris make it hard to figure out how they actually would sound without the flattering emulation. Hopefully they can figure out who they are by their sophomore release. (KM)

Harris The Light Seeping Through the Cracks self-released • Harris have put together an album full of blistering Braid influenced emo rock gems. Their influences are noticeable at times but never to the point of being an annoyance. Their are some real stand out tracks on this album such as the instant pop classic "Carousel" and the ever urgent opening track "Solid Ground". If you enjoy bands like Minus the Bear, Up,Up,Down,Down,Left,Right and Bear Vs. Shark you will surely love this band. (RP)

Headwound City self-titled Three One G • With a name like Headwound City, and members from Blood Brothers, the Locust, and to a lesser degree, the Yeah Yeah Yeahs, you know the music is going to be aggressive. Screamo vocals, unrelenting guitars and bashing drums characterize the sound. They have the fondness of The Locust for short albums, clocking in at under ten minutes. (AL)

Heston Rifle What To Do At Time Of Accident Ernest Jenning Record Co. • More and more each day do you see bands playing instrumental post rock, and frankly, many of them are interchangeable. What I liked about Heston Rifle is the way they change tempos and time signatures, sometimes mid-song, throwing you off as you listen. They are not afraid to slow things down, or to explode in experimentation. (AL)

Honeyhander I Woolly Mannerisms Strictly Amateur Films Records • "Professional Poise" hits with a NIN Pretty Hate Machine influence. The industrial sounding vocals here are reminiscent of the first lead singer from Faith No More's debut album Introduce Yourself, Chuck Mosely, minus the distorted effect of course with the rapping delivery of the vocals going against the backbeat of the electro song. The third track off this EP, "Our Connoisseurs are Feeders" comes in with hypnotizing guitars in the vein of rockers like Sparta and U2 as far as guitar tone is concerned. Only suggestion I could offer is to not have the vocals distorted on the majority of the EP like they are. It's difficult to make out the lyrics at times, but other than that this EP rocks. (SP)

Hoods The King Is Fucking Dead Eulogy Records • Same label. Is it a mistake to make comparisons to Evergreen Terrace? No. This, like ET, is a rockin' full force hard core disc. Lots of grinding breakdowns to keep you in the pit throwing fists with the worst of them. The music jumps from these breakdowns to driving, anthemic hardcore. Fierce and ferocious. Good Stuff. (MK)

I Am Electric Thrush Esoterik Musik • Boucy, catchy and spastic rock at all the right moments in the key of At The Drive-In and Fugazi. The vocals are very reminiscent of Fugazi, but even the song writing goes along that route as the album progresses. "Art of Kanly," one of my favorites, is a track with very catchy rhythms and driving melodies. An electronic intro on "Superior Machines" really changes the pace and shows how this band varies. Post-punk influences meld with modern experimental rock. (MP)

i.INSIDE The Mold That Shapes You EP self-released • This EP contains six tracks that range in tempo but are consistently solid. The songs are well crafted and have listeners moving to the beat in no time. The singer's voice flows effortlessly over the music. The band's sound is a reggae-influenced rock that can be compared to 311, but an edgier version. (KB)

Icebird Magnitude Flying Squirrel Records • Los Angeles has always been the breeding grounds for young and dangerous new rock groups. Having said that, Icebird are among the new wave of young groups who draw their influences from a time when people were more willing to say what they mean and just plain rock out. If you're a fan of The Stooges, Sonic Youth or The Pixies this is highly recommend to you. (RP)

Icky Boyfriends A Love Obscene Menlo Park Recordings • Finally, one of the most overlooked cult bands in history (that's why they're a cult band) get some recognition on this double disc, 52 song compilation of one of San Francisco's greatest exports. A Love Obscene is the perfect place to start for all new fans as well as a perfect album for all the old ones from these underground avant-garage legends because most of these songs never sat the light of day on CD until now. (CP)

Ill Repute Live Let Them Eat Records • This band's fast, punk rock sound comes across great on this live recording. It really captures the feeling of an Ill Repute show. The songs are catchy and amusing, which keeps the crowd singing along on the record. The disc also has some special CD-ROM features when put in a computer. These include videos, flyers, and other extras dating all the way back to 1984. (KB)

Infinite Number of Sounds Radio Whales self-released • Even though they employ a liberal amount of electronics and effects, these guys are a rock band. The kooky keyboard lines don't take away from the sound, but rather enhance it. They don't quite live up to their name, since the songs don't stray too far from the same artistic area, but it is a good try nonetheless. (AL)

Innaway self-titled Some • Inspired by classic psychedelic rock of many flavors and newer ambient rock, these guys are definitely for those of you out there who thrive on it. They had only the best of your drug-induced cravings in mind while making this album. It is dreamy and atmospheric, and possesses that quality of gentle transcendence that you look for in whatever haze you happen to be in. Truly impressive in invoking the skills of the great masters such as Led Zep and Floyd. (DP)

Interfuse Closed Doors Open Tracks Tragic End Records • Interfuse revels in diabolical thrash; but the sound is all fury, not much melody. In fact it's mostly atonal pounding. (DE)

Jai Alai Savant Thunderstatement Gold Standard Labs • Jai Alai Savant has an uncanny knack for laying some serious stoned dub licks of the Specials and Madness and lays down their own quirky worldly dance grooves on song with catchy titles like "Scarlett Johansson, Why Don't You Love Me?" I've been asking myself that ever since I saw Ghost World. (CP)

Jason Sears and Mercury Legion self-titled Malt Soda Recordings • The first 13 songs on this album are originals from Mercury Legion written by Bryce Fraser. The new lyrics for this record, penned by Jason Sears, were written after the September 11th tragedies in 2001. Most of the songs are fast paced in true punk rock fashion. The bonus CD includes various punk rock artists and it is titled, For Those About to Trip. This bonus disc includes twenty more tracks. (KB)

Jeff Black Tin Lily • Dualtone • As much as I detest blatant con jobs passing themselves off as "originals," every now and then an act comes along wearing its influences openly and actually doing them justice. Jeff Black is just that sort of act. His connections to Springsteen and Mellencamp are fairly obvious. He makes earnest, heartland rock 'n' roll tinged with country melodrama. And it works for the most part, save for the overly maudlin (mawkish, even) lyrics of "Nineteen." Though Tin Lily could be a little more immediate in its delivery, it is a solidly sweet record. (DE)

Jeff Caudill Here's What You Should Do self released • Jeff Caudill retains an earnest voice, but the songs he's singing are boring. It's not that he's bad; it's just that he's not remarkable. Caudill and fellow producer/instrumentalist Robbie Rist have created a record that hovers in a Creed type rock area. (DE)

Jel Soft Money Anticon Records • Not every track on Soft Money features vocals, but those that do take on commercialism and the government's war on terror. The vocals are almost unnecessary, since Jel is a top notch producer who creates hip hop beats for the underground. His tracks can have an edge to them, but tend to live in the mid tempo, more for head nodding than fist pumping. (AL)

Jello Biafra & The Melvins Sieg Howdy • Alternative Tentacles Records • Jello and the Melvins are back for more with this album that features 7 new tracks and some remixes. There's a cover of Alice Cooper's "Halo of Flies" and a reworked version of "Kalifornia Uber Alles" that takes aim at California governor Schwarzenegger's administration. The remixes are by Dalek, Ministry's Al Jourgensen, and Deaf Nephews. (AL)

Jess Pillmore Reveal Lujo Records • This album includes twelve tracks from female vocalist, Jess Pillmore. The songs are mellow and passionate. Described as "folktronica", her songs come across as a mix of indie pop with electro and folk influences strung throughout. Her style is creative and the songs are diverse enough to keep the album alluring. (KB)

Jumpsuits Regret Make or Break Records • Regret was recorded in Chicago, Illinois. The songs are a little quirky but they are also catchy. The Jumpsuits fuse together different elements to produce a creative sound. This sound is solid alternative rock with indie influences. The different tempos throughout the album keep it interesting and fun. (KB)

Junk Science Feeding Einstein Embedded Music • Baje One and DJ Snafu are Junk Science, not to mention also being members of the group Nuclear Family out of Brooklyn. Over slick and solid drumbeats, this release is an everyday ride in the lives of these two guys, with a lengthy list of guest appearances. "Roads" features Scott and Probe, "The Blaze-O" features Cool Calm Pete and rhymes are also delivered by B Eazy, Raad Haider, Krayola and others. What makes this work so well is how the flows seem to never stop coming, just as the musical backdrop continues to keep providing what you paid for. (JC)

Khanate Capture & Release Hydra Head Records • If you like bands that play a riff about every 10-15 seconds, hardly ever hit the drums, and scream in a high-pitched wail, then Khanate is for you. This 43 minute CD has only two songs, and they are both pretty much the same. (AL)

Killing The Dream In Place, Apart Deathwish • I've always liked California hardcore, being an east coast kid, used to the brutal and sometimes mean spirited east coast vibe, the west coast bands always seemed just as hard and yet with this feel that the rose above the simple dumb emotions that some hardcore can get caught up in. Killing the Dream follow this example, with hard, fast, desperate, energy filled metal-core that kicks your heart and mind into a positive gear. This disc found its way onto the morning commute to work easily, as it had me finger pointing long before the first coffee had made its way into my system. (KM)

Knut Terraformer Hydra Head Records • Knut is one of those bands that takes elements from sludge rock and blends it with metal and hardcore to create a massive sound. The guitars sound like they are going to cave in your chest, and the vocals (which are sparse) sound like they are going to destroy your ear drums. (AL)

Labtekwon Avant God Morphius/Ankh Ba • As the voice of the next black movement, Labtekwon releases Avant God as a personal expression against "underground white kids from the suburbs" and "cornball black kids trying to act bling bling." The progressive sounds found within this release are a major step forward for this Baltimore native from The Ghetto Dai Lai Llama DVD that came out early this year. This time around Labtekwon works his way inside the psyche and pushes buttons by delivering his wordplay through speedy rhyme styles over rhythmic beats and live instrumentation. The diary-like dialogue attacks those who provide the basic and formulated mainstream sounds without a trace of making their own art of hip-hop unique. (JC)

Lake Trout Not Them, You RX Records • Were it not for the psychedelically sweet cover of the Rolling Stones' "Street Fighting Man," Not Them, You would pretty much be a wash. It's not particularly bad, but not particularly good either. Lake Trout moves along on a slightly prog-rock/new wave course, but never really takes off. Pleasant enough but dulls out quickly. (DE)

Logh A Sunset Panorama Hydrahead • Leave it to the folks at the Hydrahead label to put out something that is a total mindfuck and leave it to a band like Logh to make that said mindfuck. With A Sunset Panorama, Logh takes the listener on a journey of droning post rock that is sludgy at times with cascading guitar layers making it a perfect album for playing around that homemade gravity bong made from the two liter bottle. And with cool song titles like "A Sunset Knife Fight" and "Bring on the Ether", how could you go wrong? (CP)

Longshot Civil War Pt.2 EV Productions • With 36 underground emcees taking part in this mix tape and DVD follow-up to the original Civil War offering, Longshot is looking to squash all ideology behind the hometown hating that goes on throughout his town of Chicago. Maybe Common and Kanye haven't gotten the memo, but there is plenty of talents abound in their hometown. Mixed by DJ Risky Business, the banging beats on this album really help to carry the majority of these emcees who rely on structured verse-hook-verse styles that are ready for club and radio play. The guest list is thick, and each track blends into one another superbly without ever letting up, offering a full plate of the talent that seems to be hidden somewhere in the Midwest. Well worth the dollar. (JC)

LSA Bits And Pieces IllEllements Records • While most of the album centers around downtempo, chillout music, there are elements of drum 'n' bass and hip hop scattered throughout. There are vocals in a few of the tracks, which frankly I could have lived without. Otherwise, this album is great to listen to...I found it quite relaxing. (AL)

Ludo Broken Bride Redbird Records • Okay, so I'll admit that I've been loving this return of the progressive/art rock musings that have been intertwined into metal and hardcore for the year of 2005, but this is just trite. Ludo is merely and emo opera for the Hot Topic generation with sappy hooks, sloppy melodies, and rickety bridges in their sound. Next movement in music, please. (CP)

Luke Doucet Broken (and other rogue states) Six Shooter Records • With an array of substance and a throat full of melodies, Luke Doucet again paints pictures of creative occurrences such as on the opening track "Brother," where the tale of murder and mystery begins the release. Though this offering is not as intimate as his last effort, Outlaws, it does carry on the musicianship and wit with lines like "but you've got to have a heart to have a broken one." Doucet is a loner in the cowboy sense of the word, someone who has taken what the boring singer-songwriters have been doing and made the style much more listenable. (JC)

Madeline Kissing and Dancing Plan-It-X • Very simple acoustic music and gorgeous female vocals are the centerpiece of this great little record. A singer/songwriter from Athens, GA, her songs are hip little ditties sung with bright, energetic confidence, and are extraordinarily clever. Her infectious voice burrows into your head as you bop along. (DP)

Mahi Mahi (Re)Move Your Body Corleone Records • The songs on this album are definitely capable of making listeners move their bodies. Mahi Mahi's sound is comparable to bands such as The Faint. The songs on the album are tight and well put together. While the album is well constructed, I would like to hear some of the songs a bit faster. The tempo of the album seems slower in comparison to other similar bands. (KB)

Many Birthdays Sub Rapid Express Red Cake Records • Eastern melodies blend with broken bits of vocals that are more like spoken word than singing. Each time they come in, they have a very robotic style to them. The vocals along with drum machine, synth driven beats break the flow. The music is unique and creative, but the vocals (male and female) threw me off every time they entered a song with their rhyming melodies. The album sounds like a conceptual CD with many ups and downs like it's telling a tale. Keys, synths and a theramin give the music an edge, as well as the international style. The music seems to travel and bring something back from different parts of the world. (MP)

Marco Argiro Not Coming Home self-released • Argiro's music is a creative mix of pop and rock with many different influences, including electro, punk, and dance. His vocals are strong and fit nicely with his mostly guitar driven music. Argiro's voice stays smooth and inviting over the varied tempos throughout the album. Lyrically, the song subjects are diverse. He even includes a song titled Lauderdale, since he is from South Florida. (KB)

Marigold Audible to Animals Text Book Music • Right off the bat the vocals on this album hit you like a 20 year old man trying to sing like a ten year old girl. The music is really great but its hard to get over the fact that singer is trying to hard to be Jeremy Enigk. Don't get me wrong this band is very talented but the vocals are such a Sunny Day Real Estate rip off it ruins the whole package. (RP)

Mem Shannon I'm From Phunkville Northern Blues Music • These days it seems as if most blues artists can't quite cut the mustard but Mem Shannon defies the curse by showcasing what a renaissance man he is by combining elements of soul, jazz, and funk as well. There is even a loungey version of the Beatles' "Eleanor Rigby," perfect for playing while you complain to the bartender as he is pouring you your ninth drink. (CP)

Mikki James Guess What... Xemu Records • Guess what? This record sucks! Shitty noise over screechy guitars that would make Ted Nugent picks up a gun and takes dead aim. Bassist James screams "Guess what? Fuck you!" over and over in the title song. No man, fuck you for even contemplating this mess. (DE)

Mikoto self-titled Level Plane Records • The songs on this five song EP are hard but melodic at the same time. This gives them a catchy element that comes through the intensity. Vocalist Ray Harkins chooses to take a break from screaming in order to sing some of the choruses. This gives the EP a little more variety. The song meanings are explained underneath the lyrics in the insert that comes with the disc. The emotion filled lyrics help to bring the whole EP together. (KB)

Ming & Ping MP2 Omega Point Records • Ming and Ping is a twin group, originally from Hong Kong, but now creating music in San Francisco for your listening pleasure. The wistful and delicate synthesizer pop songs hook listeners with their varied tempos. Vocals change from the deep, smooth main singer to the higher pitched harmonies done for some back up and choruses. This album is really catchy, in a guilty pleasure sort of way. It will have listeners moving and tapping along to the beat in no time. (KB)

Minus Story No Rest for Ghosts Jagjaguwar Records • Vocals aside, imagine the "Thirty-Three" vibe of Smashing Pumpkins' Mellon Collie with a modern electro feel accompanying the arrangement and you have " I Was Hit", the first song off the new full length album from Minus Story. His vocals have a very familiar resonance to them, that at the moment I am at a loss for comparison. "Little Wet Head" reminds me of the Flaming Lips vocally. The music here is very creative and unpredictable. The marching soldier backbeat to "Will I Be Fighting?" with its kick bass-snare hits is a nice touch. There are moments when the music has a Death Cab influence. (SP)

Model Down Voice of the Circuit Modern Radio Record Label • A band that must be heard by fans of the Stooges and the Modey Lemon, Model Down, is light heartedly gritty and abrasive as all the members exhibit a precise chemistry playing together as they do singing on the call and response frenzy of tracks like "Rock Moves." (CP)

Modern Machines Taco Blessing Recess Records • When your album cover has a picture of Jesus at the last supper with a taco and a bottle of hot sauce in front of him and you're band members dressed up as his disciples, don't expect your tracks to make it on the Pope's iPod. However, Modern Machines does make for an interesting as they play their own wild punkabilly ruckus cut from the cloth of Reverend Horton Heat and the Supersuckers. (CP)

Moggs The White Belt is Not Enough Absolutely Kosher • Duran Duran might have been proud, because this band consistently straddles the line between discord and rhyme. Powerful guitars and drums assault your senses in this incredibly unique style of hard rocking garage/math. These two were accomplished sonic engineers who decided they were sick of computers and recorded this whole thing in a house with bare rooms. A really cool concept album that sounds great. (DP)

Mon Frere Real Vampires EP Cake Records • This five-song EP is very catchy and has many great clap along parts. The aggressive lead vocals are supplied by female singer, Nouela Johnston. She sings with energy and passion that really carries the songs across to listeners. Keyboards are used to change up the songs a bit. The music is skillfully crafted to accompany Johnston's soulful and almost teasing singing. (KB)

Monster-0 ...And Then There Were Zero Omega Point Records • The video game enthusiasts and laptop punk rockers are back, as Daemon Hatfield and Lindsay Williams returns with ...And Then There Were Zero, with all their insecurities that come along as well. With the vast variety of electro sounds and calculated additions of the drummer, this album actually takes them a step forward with strong song structures and creative substance that is bound to keep us all hearing from them in the future. (JC)

Moonlight Towers Like You Were Never There Spinster Records • A crisp power pop rock sound lingers throughout this release from Moonlight Tower, a four-piece outfit out of Austin, Texas. Everything that has to do with heartache and love-ache are available here, with a polished southern twang and well produced musical moments that start with melodic vocals and end with well-calculated guitar and drum pieces. Like You Were Never There is sure to be a college radio staple and bound to bring the youngsters out to their live shows. (JC)

Morricone Youth Silenzio Violento self-released • It's hard to determine just what kind of wacky influences came together to make this seemingly Spanish/big band/spy music fusion... and I feel crass in just trying to label this stuff. It sounds so tight and refreshing, exuberant in its confidence in making all of its brilliant, salsa-flavored components fit so well. It doesn't even ask to be labeled, or judged, it just is. I'm definitely subjecting this to intense scrutiny in weeks to come. (DP)

Mustard Plug Masterpieces: 1991-2002 Hopeless Records • Was ska just a fad? Maybe, but these guys put out consistent ska/punk music for over ten years to countless fans. Mustard Plug is one of the few ska bands that could put out a greatest hits album, and this is it, all 19 tracks of it. Plus, there are two videos in the enhanced portion of the CD. (AL)

My Precious/Gauge Means Noting Missing Tom Split EP I've Come for Your Children • Both of these bands sound like the same one. They each have screeching guitar licks, a singer who sounds like they're being forcibly thrown in a tree shredder lots, of cymbals and Japanese lyrics. Oddly enough is it interesting. (CP)

Mystechs Warriors & Warlocks Omega Point Records This is a weird one for sure. Rock, metal, pop, disco and a bunch of other genres play a part in this strange opera about a kid who cannot tell the difference from Dungeons and Dragons and real life. It's hard to tell if they are making fun of the whole D&D thing, or if they are really into it. My guess is a bit of both. (AL)

Naked Aggression Heard it All Before SOS • This is a fantastic 27-song compilation of Naked Aggressions's best songs. Originally formed around the time of the first Gulf War by "discontented classical music students," this thrashing, high-speed power punk is fucking primal. Music like this is at the core of what punk rock is, and this pissed-off-and-loving-it band fits their name like a glove. (DP)

Nashville Pussy Get Some Spitfire Records • Raunchy rock-n-roll is delivered on this album from Ted Nugent fans with an opening track of females harmonizing "we got the pussy" before a Sam Kinison-like lead singer chimes in "you got the time." The Southern-fried sounds from these two chicks and two dudes are bottle deep in sex and booze, in the most gutter of ways. Big-time guitar whaling with a mixture of sleaze and glam at a redneck nightclub is a way to explain the party tunes offered up throughout 13-tracks. (JC)

Nausea The Punk Terrorist Anthology, Vol. 2 : '85-'88 • • Alternative Tentacles • Thirty songs from one of the greatest as well as overlooked New York bands that didn't let all the bullshit bottle up inside of them. Sure, a lot of the so-called hardcore bands these days try to find a middle ground between metal and punk with the occasional emo consequences, but Nausea was one purely original in their own rite as they took supercharged punk fury and played it in the key of some raucous grindcore. If you claim that you're true to the New York hardcore scene and don't have any Nausea in your record collection, then you just flat out suck. (CP)

Neon Blonde Chandeliers in Savannah Dim Mak • Neon Blonde are a side project of Johnny Whitney and Mark Gajadhar of Blood Brothers. Although this album is slightly more tame than The Blood Brothers it still has all the swagger and attitude any fan could want. Neon Blonde for the most part sound like Elton John meets Bowie with a dash of Mick Jagger. That description may sound like a horrific car crash, but trust me these guys pull it of flawlessly. (RP)

Neshamah Communicating in Heart Beats Blood and Ink • Neshamah are a metal core band from Capetown, South Africa. This genre of music has been done by everyone and their mom nowadays. So my taste for this style of music has been soured by the overkill. If you're a fan of Jesus and metal check 'em out. (RP)

New Black Time Attack Thick Records • New Black really try, I mean really try hard to be "authentic" 1979-era new wave/punk. But try as hard as they may, they seem to lose sight that authenticity means little when the songs don't cut it. The nerve-grating vocal delivery only makes the songs even worse. (DE)

New England Roses Face Time with Son Doggpony • Holy chowder, this is really out there. In this part-time side project, we hear, in sort of a stream-of-consciousness fashion, music fading in and out of various styles employing various loops. In the meantime, assorted special effects are waiting in the wings to challenge you further. It is as though they combined sounds to appeal to different parts of your brain simultaneously. They cover music by Dave Matthews, Tracy Chapman, and George Michael in a highly experimental form. It works well, if you are into art of this kind. (DP)

New York Rifles Faraway Faster Empty Records • With a rhythm section that exhibits a rather exceptionally jagged rhythm section, Portland's New York Rifles (that right, there form Portland) blend in the fuzzy punk musings of Siouxsie and the Banshees and X and blend it together to thrust it into a power pop overdrive. (CP)

Ninja High School Young Adults Against Suicide Tomlab • If you threw a party and invited Cex, M.C. Paul Barman and Kerbloki this is what it might sound like. This album mixes everything from jazz to trip hop to highly danceable techno, which the band calls positive hardcore dance-rap. I was really expecting not to like this album but it really grew on me, all the songs are really upbeat and fun to listen to. For your next house party invite these guys for a guaranteed good time. (RP)

Noam Chomsky The Imperial Presidency G7 Welcoming Committee Records • Talk about a man who needs no introduction at all. It seems like Chomsky comes out with one of these lectures on CD once a month, and for the sake of the world at large, thank you that he does. Today Chomsky takes on your favorite target and mine too, George W. Bush and his cronies. Recorded a year ago, this CD has some great info, and some startlingly accurate predictions that have already come true. This CD is a must own. (KM)

Nural The Weight of the World Hopeless Records • This album is truly the result of punk not being marketable to a label. Nural play jesus inspired emopopcore along the same lines as Armor for Sleep, Coheed and Cambria mixed with Life House or The News Boys. I would like to say this band isn`t talented, but they are very good at what they do. Although like with many other jesus inspired rock groups they have chosen to take the path that leaves the listener alienated and uninspired. (RP)

Onion Flavored Rings Two Minutes' Enlightenment No Idea • Playing out their special brand of intelligent, dueling-harmony pop punk, OFR have a strong and obvious Dead Milkmen influence with a layer of well-executed dorkiness on top. In a nutshell, "heartfelt, bitter and cynical songs of doom, science and girls." Feed your inner punk rock geek. Of special interest to former Lookout! Records fans ­ this band features former members of Crimpshrine and Monsula. (DP)

Ox Dust Bowl Revival Second Nature Recordings • Obsessed with geographical locations and automobiles, there is little excitement from Canadian singer-songwriter Mark Browning on this release of indie folk tunes. Influences from the likes of The Byrds, The Flying Burrito Brothers, The Velvet Underground, and Frank Zappa, do nothing to make this enjoyable. You could even hear a bit of a Neil Young influence somewhere in there as well such as on "Stolen Car." Overall, this release is just too dusty to sit well on the palate. (JC)

Patricia Vonne Guitars & Castanets Bandolera Records • Patricia Vonne's steel caress of a voice is as sharp as Zorro's sword. Vaulting from the sinfully delicious "Fiesta Sangria," through the feisty "Rebel Bride," Vonne's fluency in flaminco, tejano, and all-out rock 'n' roll is self evident here on her sophomore record. She hisses, belts, and, well, just sings her ass off in both English and Spanish throughout Guitars & Castanets. Don't fight her, just surrender to her powers 'cause it's worth the pleasure. (DE)

Pattern Is Movement Stowaway Noreaster Failed Industries Records • Although the music is interesting on "Maple", it is almost impossible to get past the incredibly annoying redundant lyric and vocal melodies throughout the course of the song and the majority of the album for that matter. Again with the second track "It's the Wine". The music rocks, but the vocals are pointless. Basically, this is the formula for the rest of the CD. Definitely an acquired taste vocally. (SP)

Pavilon M2 Safety About Your Glass Face Free Dimension Records • These players are straight out of the Czech Republic. Very cool rocking second track "Desperate Legacy". It has a Jawbox vibe to it. Anyone remember those guys? "Surely Power" reminds of an Afghan Whigs/early Cranberries feel. What I'm trying to get across is that there is definitely some early to mid nineties rock inspiration going on here. The eighth song "Four Seasons of the Cube" shows these guys are versatile and not to be reckoned with when they are in the zone. I can imagine this stuff coming across very powerful live. (SP)

Pistola Hold For Bliss Deseo Records • Pistola seek to be in the same goth girl head banging throw up the devils horns corner as Evanescence, but whereas the latter bring both harmony and melody to their slam, Pistola merely slams. This is not the hammer of the gods. (DE)

Poetry Band Exit La Cha Music • Doing their best Jim Morrison impersonation, Poetry Band is made up of poet/author Wilson Sherman and four others who offer the background sounds with guitar, drum, bass, piano and various horns along the way. The 60-plus minute track on this release is one continuous mind-fuck, mesmerizing the listener into falling deeply into an abyss headed for, quite frankly, nowhere. But damn, the free-form jazz-rock that is created from this Christian collective sure is a nice backdrop to chilling out and catching a buzz, even while getting lost within the social and political meanings. (JC)

Post Stardom Depression Prime Time Looks a Lot Like Amateur Night The Control Group Records • Another trite scream-fest of a metal record. Post Stardom Depression seem so intent on driving home their pummeling sound, they overlook the fact that their songs are really bad. The furious sound the band employs offers little discernment regarding the craft of songwriting. But the album cover art is really interesting. (DE)

Propagandhi Potemkin City Limits G7 Welcoming Committee • These rightly-cocky, goofy Canadian fuckers think they are so funny. According to their label's web site: "As a general rule, record reviews are trite and meaningless, serving at best as consumer guides and at worst as currency with which to currey favour with, and solicit advertising from, record labels and publicists." While they're right (note the G-7 ad in this issue!), look at that silly way to spell "favor." What a bunch of punk assholes, although I do love a good curry. And who is this new fucking singer, Glen Lambert, replacing former lead singer and founder Chris Hannah? Granted, he sounds just like Chris and even looks like him. Did they have some fruity Canadian reality show to help pick the new lead signer, ala INXS? Oh no, Propagandhi is too fucking punk rock to sell out to the corporate media machine. Okay, all this silliness aside, Chris is still the singer and Propagandhi is still fighting the establishment with rapid-fire punk rock. They're just going about it in a more fun way than most. Is this their best album? Probably not, but it's still excellent. The wicked fast guitar parts are there and the fist-in-the-air political lyrics are as biting as usual. But what's with the "Boys Of Summer" (Don Henley) guitar rip-off in track 6? I can only hope the boys meant to do it, 'cause I love it. Steal away, brothers! Props to the Sue Coe artwork used on the booklet, a not-so-subtle commentary on the cruelty of factory farming. And the diss on The Offspring's Dexter Holland buried in the liner notes is brilliant stuff. (CM)

Psyche Origami The Standard Arc The Finger Records • This album centers around a fictional gas station where the PO guys work pumping gas and reciting rhymes. The beats are funky and full of jazzy vibes, and the vocals and lighthearted but also political at times. (AL)

Race!!! Travels Prescott Recordings • This jazz quintet leans on the side of improvisation on these eleven tracks. There is a lot of noodling going on with no particular direction, which is fine because it is on the mellow side. Some tracks flow right into each other seamlessly, keeping you in a trance. (AL)

Racebannon The Inevitable Alone Records • For over nine years, Racebannon has been terrorizing audiences with their brand of metalcore, fronted by the tortured and unstable vocals of Mike Anderson. This double-CD release is a compilation of out of print 7" recordings, some demos and even some unreleased tracks. The Inevitable is essential for a true fan and a good introduction for a newcomer to their sound. (AL)

Ramallah Kill A Celebrity Thorp Records. • Ramallah came to me highly recommended, and they have certainly gotten some good exposure from a myriad of comps I've seen them on. On listening to the full length it's exactly what I expected, and sometimes that's good, sometimes its not. Ramallah play some straightforward hardcore, great visionary lyrics with purpose, and a certain power. The only downfall is that it's so straightforward I could see them playing Ozzfest, with riffs and leads that go nowhere. Still, overall a good release. (KM)

Renee Heartfelt Death Of The Ghost Textbook Music • A slow, dramatic beginning to this record was similar to the long, instrumental beginnings of almost every Cure song. The music was reminiscent of so many '90s bands, it was hard for me to nail it to just one. I heard Samiam, Dig, Helmet and Sponge at different times. Weird combination? Yes, I thought so, too. To make it a little more confusing, I'll add Year of The Rabbit to the mix and there you have it. The alternative rock band has all the right elements to add to this well produced, radio ready rock. (MP)

Repatoids Park A Tiger RRRecords • With numbers like "Mexican Fiasco" that have a youthful onslaught of this us-against-the-world aura, Reaptoids is full of garage laden angst with just the right touch of brash swagger. (CP)

Resident Genius/Howard Zinn You Can't Blow Up a Social Relationship Thick • Bad Religion did this once with Noam Chomsky, splitting a record with a lecturer. The band plays highly politically charged punk rock, offering incisive criticism of the Bush Administration. It is a nice fit with the thoughtful musings of historian Howard Zinn (a friend of Chomsky). These split CDs are definitely a novel idea -- you get a lot more substance for your punk dollar. (DP)

Richard Vission Automatic Thrive Records • Even though this is a dance record, it is not your typical house album, with the same beat over and over. In fact, it features remixes of bands that are not considered dance music, like INXS, The Bravery and Green Velvet. The result is a more robust mix, with 20 tracks in total. Also included is a second disc with nine of the songs in their full format. (AL)

Roma 79 The Great Dying Ascetic Records • Roma 79 is a solid, indie rock band. This three-piece has a very smooth style in their music. Heads Down is the beautiful, slow tempo song that starts it all off. Throughout the rest of the CD, Roma 79 changes the tempo back and forth. The singing, lyrics, and music are all blended perfectly and result in a great album. (KB)

Rumbleseat Rumbleseat is Dead No Idea • With unusually powerful acoustic guitars played with Richie-Havens-like strength and tempo, this passionate duo took some time off from the punk rock touring scene and recorded this fantastic album culled from some basement sessions. The ferocity and control with which they execute these gems is unmatched in my recent experience, true cries from the heart that echo in your mind long after you turn the player off. (DP)

Russell Stafford Fresh Water Shiney Heinie Records • Russell Stafford plays all the instruments here, too bad it doesn't matter as his songs are DOA. His vocals are ingratiating; he can't decide if he's Aaron Carter or Jack Johnson- as if those two were models of great singing. (DE)

Screeching Weasel WeaselMania Fat Wreck • This is an awesome 34-song collection of the best of SW. Pulled from 13 different releases (spanning 1988-2000), these songs document SW's long career of pop punk, snotty rock goodness. The old school classics (like "Hey Suburbia," "My Brain Hurts," and "Jeannie's Got a Problem With Her Uterus") are on here along with newer tracks. Fans should definitely get this ­ it's easier than burning your own collection. For those not too familiar with SW, start with this. If you're a fan of The Ataris, Green Day, Yellowcard, etc., this album will likely be up your alley, and at the very least will give you a taste of a band that influenced numerous punk bands around today. (CM)

Scylla and Charybdis A Product; They Avoid Transactions Sorry for the Memories Records • This is jazzy math-core if you will. For starters the second track "6 A. M Desert Drive" makes for an interesting listen. I am not a hundred percent cool with the screamo vocals. They are frankly trite at times. Other than that rockers such as "And At This Moment, It Became Apparent to Me" and "Please Dim the Lights" are just plain fun. This is actually a local label these guys are on (SFTM Records). They have a few other awesome acts on their bill like Orlando's own Music Versus the Heart. We will definitely be hearing more from this label in the near future. Key track here is "Redundant Fears and What Has Come To Be." (SP)

Self-Evident Epistemology Doubleplusgood Records • Strong, choppy mathy melodies floating between Don Caballero and Fugazi. The music sounded like Battles one second and then Cursive the next. Bass driven melodies were beautifully orchestrated with bass runs that would make any mother proud. Some heavy moments gave it more of an edge, but never staying on one genre too long. The many changes kept me moving different ways. My slow hip sway back and forth started on the slower emotive moments, then a quick jerk (almost Elaine dance for you Seinfeld fans) to a mathy progression moment, then a little shoulder move I can't control whenever I hear jazz and finally a heavier head movement back and forth with the loud distortion guitar melody. I almost forgot the air guitar to the Prog Rock Rush moments. I'm all over the dance floor on this one, but one thing my many dances can agree on is that this CD is just plain good. (MP)

Sex Slaves Bite Your Tongue Radical Records • This dirty punk trio out of New York has but a few things on their mind, such as playing loud punk tunes about sex, booze and surprisingly needing more sex. Such as on "All Night Long" where regardless of what's going on, the bottom line always is "cuz I just wanna fuck you all night long." Then in the very next song, they're singing about how the "love is contagious," which must really mean that the sex is contagious right? Either way, the sleaziness goes from the cover art (of two girls making out) to cheesy songs such as "One More Night" which clearly takes away from what a sex slave mentality should be all about. A cool version of "Seek and Destroy" is included along with a tribute to Jack Daniels and cocaine. (JC)

Sicbay Suspicious Icons 54 40 or Fight • This is for all the people who miss the old school D.C. glory days. Featuring Nick Sakes of Dazzling Killmen on guitar and vocals Sicbay are the band that remembers what good music should sound like. At times sounding like Sebadoh and at other times like a strange hybrid of Jawbox and Minor Threat. (RP)

Since By Man Pictures From the Apocalypse Revelation Records • And what an apocalypse it is! Since By Man rawks!! Their own patented brand of razor sharp hardcore mayhem and all out sophisticated chaos will kick you ass left, right, up and down and leave you begging for more. A must have for any fans of Quicksand and Helmet. (CP)

Single Frame Boy/End/Basement Volcom Entertainment Records • Single Frame doesn't know what it wants to be: an avant-garde collage, Gary Numan-style synth rock, or a ripping punk band. Because of their indecision, Boy/End/Basement comes up as quite a mess. It revels in its weirdness to be sure, but the weirdness gets annoying due to the screechy vocals, jolting rhythms, and directionless songs. (DE)

Skullfuzz self-titled Hawthorne Street Records • Skullfuzz not only has a cool name but a lot of the songs on this album make for a pretty grimy hybrid of stoner metal and biker rock all of which are massively guitar fueled. However, these dudes do seem like they listen to too many Stone Temple Pilots records and need just a little bit more time to find their own way. (CP)

Snowblood Being And Becoming SuperFi Records • Don't let the soothing instrumental opening track fool you...Snowblood can get quite aggressive. They build up tension across a few tracks until finally they release it in a Neurosis-style breakdown, only to slow things down again and start over.

Solea self-titled Textbook Music • Solea skips all the introductions and goes right in for the kill. This CD is full of catchy and powerful pop/rock songs. Even from the first ten seconds, there is a hook that grabs at your attention. Each song offers a different form of intriguing bait. The songs are melodic but rocking at the same time. This is definitely an album worth getting your hands on. Features former members of Texas is the Reason and Sense Field. (KB)

Songs of Green Pheasant self-titled FatCat Records • The floating atmosphere within these songs by Duncan Sumpner are mesmerizing acoustic landscapes that carry on the true qualities of what a singer-songwriter should be. The musical sounds are gripping and resonate in a way that few other releases have been able to capture. The typical offerings today are either filled with boredom or are overproduced at the cost of losing the unspoken vibe that was there when it was first created. This offering is complete with amazing vocal harmonies and a vintage (record player like) sound that is enchanting throughout. (JC)

Spoon Gimme Fiction Merge Records • Following the cut and paste pastiche of Pavement, the quirky groove of Modest Mouse, and throwing in a little Neil Young fuzzed out guitar, Spoon's Britt Daniel and Jim Eno have produced a record of sheer sonic joy. Now going on ten years, the band shows no ebb in its creative pulse: tight grooves, hypnotic melodies and lyrical playfulness. (DE)

Stars Are Insane 9 Untitled Songs Rok Lok • Minimalist rock performed by one musician, very little can be said do the sparseness of this album. If you're a fan of God Speed You Black Emperor you should check this out. Strongly recommend for the soundtrack of your next indie film. (RP)

STNNNG Dignified Sissy Modern Radio Record Label • The vocals have a Jim Morrison feel to them with his storytelling charm he had with the Doors. Don't get me wrong, he doesn't sound like Morrison though. There are times in "Continental Dog" when the vocals even come across like Black Francis of the Pixies at their most crazy moments. Socially conscious lyrics are prominent throughout "My Golden Oldie" and "A Topography of Boils" backed by chaotic and sometimes uneven hard rocking guitars. Most of the time the music is dead on with the melodic-less vocals. I am curious to see what kind of a fan base this band has because I find it almost impossible to be able to sing along with the tracks whatsoever. (SP)

Suffering & The Hideous Thieves Ashamed Lujo Records • Suffering refers to the band's lead singer, J. Suffering. His is truly an apt name, as he plows through these 12 tracks with abandon, singing, screaming, etc. Behind him are The Hideous Thieves, who play music that is both heart-wrenching and beautiful, accentuated with violins, piano and other keyboards. (AL)

Swing Ding Amigos Kings of Culo Recess Records • The hilarity of this three-piece Mexican look-alike punk outfit out of Arizona is overshadowed at times by the hard-edged riffs, and even harder attitudes, on a release that's bound to rock your balls right out of your scrotum. This disc is so surprisingly good, that it doesn't matter that half of it is in Spanish, because the tight rocking grooves come across effortlessly. Drugs, sex and booze are on the menu, and don't forget about the humor, such as in the opening track about needing to take a shit. Other standout tracks include "To My Niggaz in the South," "R is for Nighttrain" and "Undercover Nugger." (JC)

Tarantella Esqueletos Alternative Tentacles Records • Esqueletos is a bit of Alt Country, a bit Southwestern, and a bit Latin. The singing is done in Spanish and English, with Kal Cahoone's vocals being sexy and dramatic at the same time. Calhoone, having lived in Argentina for a while, brought some of the flavor of the country into the songs, which sometimes feel like they were ripped out of a movie. (AL)

Tarantula A.D. Book of Sand Kemado Records • This is an instrumental rock symphony. Electric violins dance among electric guitars creating a heavy and dark wall, with dramatic build-ups and downs from song to song. Sweet symphonies of strings argue with distorted metal guitars. It sounds like a story is being told with the instruments being the voices. There are vocals on "Sealake," which reminded me of Sigur Ros, only in English with a few voice cracks and a Bjorklike vocalist on backups. It's beautiful at times, uncomfortable at others, makes sense one moment, then chaos breaks the logic. This unusual, dramatic experimentation in rock should be commended for a job well done. (MP)

Teenage Fanclub Man Made Merge • Teenage Fanclub desires to intoxicate listeners on their first record in five years (!), and they do so with a pinch of Beck, swirls of vintage R.E.M., a dash of Wilco, and a delicate blend of the Byrds. This is one hell of a drink. From the captivating opening number, "It's All in My Mind" through the sweet farewell of "Don't Hide," Teenage Fanclub pile on the jangly guitars, luscious vocal harmonies, and bouncy rhythms. Though it's been five years since the band's last record, Man Made proves itself worth the wait. (DE)

Ten Volt Shock self-titled Bakery Outlet Records • These German boys throw the level all the way to DEFCON 1 on their gritty stew of artcore and noiserock perfect for playing when and if machines take over the world in the future (and you know they will). (CP)

Ten Words for Snow D-Na Contraphonic Music • Ten Words for Snow definitely stands out in the indie rock crowd. For starters, the dual male and female vocals of members Justin Berger and Shannon Hibbard are very enjoyable. On top of that, Hibbard's keyboard parts come across in the songs as a strong and unique element to the band's music. The songs on D-Na are just the right amount of creative and catchy. (KB)

Tender Forever The Soft And The Hardcore K Records • Before you pull that hoodie over your head and start the mosh, there's no hardcore. If you can get over that you'll be delighted by the "soft." Female lead vocals that sound like a straightforward Bjork, with creative instrumentation and clever laid tracks. Quirky of course, artsy enough, but this one will win you over pretty easily. (KM)

Terminus Victor Under Surveillance Innocent Words • For those of you, who think that walls of fuzz can only sound good with shoe gazer music, think again. The vibes that the duo of Scott Kimble and Don King (no, not the evil boxing manager) emits can be abrasive and intricate all at once. So whether, it's DEFCON 1 or orange alert time, be sure to have your duct tape ready because Under Surveillance, is apt for the post-apolyptic times. (CP)

The Advantage Elf-titled 5RC Records • In Elf-titled, The Advantage returns with 16 more servings of note-perfect Nintendo music played on regular rock instruments. As on the first record, these tracks are a trip down memory lane for those who grew up playing the 8 bit games. Included are tracks from Contra, Double Dragon, Metroid, Castlevania, and Bomberman 2, among others. (AL)

The Auto Body Experience Forgotten Lots self-released • What an inventive record this is! This is side-splittingly comic rock that is heavy on the horns. They're all about capturing the zeitgeist of middle class American life, poking fun at a variety of topics, such as office life, childhood, science, and the pathways underneath Disney World. It sounds at times inspired by Mr. Bungle, with the way the horns lead the music down some truly bizarre pathways. More fun than shaking a wet stick at an old dog. (DP)

The Bellakun Bendición Maldita Has Anyone Ever Told You • The album title translates to "Damned Blessing." This album is a damned blessing, because I needed a good dose of keyboard heavy indie pop. Think Mates of State without the saccharine or Bright Eyes without those distinct vocals and a lot more keys, or maybe even a bit of Modest Mouse. Really, it's pretty original material, so these comparisons might not help a ton. But if you're a fan of mid-tempo indie pop, loaded with layered melodies, great keyboards and sincere, non-intrusive vocals, you have got to check this out. I find it downright delightful. (CM)

The Briefs Steal Yer Heart BYO Records • The Briefs seem to have many influences in their music. The songs are power pop with seemingly British and old school punk rock elements to them. They are very catchy and even funny in some cases, such as on the track Getting Hit on at the Bank. The Briefs have an element of fun in their music. Not only does this album make you move, it also makes you smile. (KB)

The Budos Band self-titled Daptone Records • The Budos Band plays old-school funk and soul. Even the quality of the recording makes it sound like it was put on vinyl 40 years ago. They have infused some afrobeat into their instrumental sound as well, reminding the listener of Antibalas. You are not encumbered by vocals, which lets you enjoy the quality of their musicianship. (AL)

The Celebrity Pilots Beneath The Pavement, A Beach Sunken Treasure Records • Celebrity Pilots blast out a sheer sonic sound reminiscent of Taking Tiger Mountain By Strategy era Brian Eno. And if that's not enough to entice anyone with a musical palate, then those people just have plain bad taste and probably like Gwen Steffani. (DE)

The Clientele Strange Geometry Merge • This British trio plays a very smooth, extraordinarily quaffable brand of dreamy pop. They have a very special quality, a gentleness that is so well-engineered, it comes across as effortless. The melancholy melodies are difficult to forget, and the vocals and songwriting are first-rate, with robust percussion that supports the music beautifully. Delicious. (DP)

The Commercials/Shadow Agency The Split Blackout! Records • This is a split disc featuring The Commercials and Shadow Agency. The Commercials offer up catchy and melodic power pop on two originals and a cover of Building written by Sense Field. Shadow Agency ends the split with three originals. These last three songs are more aggressive than the first three. The vocalist switches between singing and screaming which keeps the songs catchy and entertaining. (KB)

The Dead Science Frost Giant Absolutely Kosher • I don't believe I'd heard the term "gloom rock" until this evening when I popped this in, but it's quite adequate. An experimental jazz-rock band that features hauntingly strange, breathy vocals that are the true centerpiece. The music seems pretty straight up for stretches, but then it throws without warning some delightfully discordant curveballs and insistent guitars at you. An extraordinarily well crafted record that speaks a new language. (DP)

The Door-Keys self-titled self-released • A humble little indie band that plays catchy, pop/punk/folk music, these Indianans sing with harmonies reminiscent of the Beatles, and are barrels of bouncy fun (collectively and individually). They just sound like they love what they're doing, in their confident rhythms and deftly flitting backing guitars. Cheap CD, too! (DP)

The Drift Noumena Temporary Residence Ltd. • Aptly titled, The Drift will make you drift into a state of relaxation. These six tracks of instrumental rock flow into each other and seem to go on forever. The addition of a trumpet goes a long way to make them stand apart from other post rock artists. Think Godspeed You Black Emperor crossed with Tortoise. (AL)

The End Of The World 4 Song EP Risk The Rook Records • TEOTW traffic in predictable sludge hard rock. Their enthusiasm for screaming wears thin quickly. There's just not a whole lot going on here, if you've heard one overwrought hard rock/metal band, then you've heard this one too. (DE)

The Four Eyes Sweet Sounds! Plan-It-X • Where my geeks at? This rock is for you. It's fun-ass, honky-tonky punk rock by geeks, for geeks. With songs like "Debate Team" and "Calculator Man", these guys make absolutely no apologies for their nerdian ways. Peppered with amusing cultural references and whimsical sound effects, these are clearly folks with novelty influences, and this is their homage to just about everything these guys like. By the time you're done listening, you will be smarter. (DP)

The Juliana Theory Deadbeat Sweetheartbeat Abacus Recordings • The fourth album from The Juliana Theory is a steady dose of driving rock n' roll with an abundance of lyrics about saying goodbye to the past in one form or another. "We could wish that everything was easy" bellows lead singer Brett Detar on "We Make the Road by Walking" and it sounds as if there was a point in time that this band thought that very way. "Shotgun Serenade" ups the ante with a heavier sound that sends out a proper good riddance to any ideas of reconciliation while the rest of the album teeters on the verge of breaking down in one form of another over some solid musical backdrops. (JC)

The Mentals Oh Well 4 Track Recordings • The Mentals main man, guitarist/vocalist Steve Tobin references his car accident in the liner notes; my sympathy goes out to him and I applaud him for regaining his health and his love of music. Unfortunately, Tobin's music is really bad, incredibly sloppy amateurish thrash noise. But if he's happy, then fuck me, right? (DE)

The Mini Thins In Black Because I Asked self-released • A bunch of dudes having fun making goofy rock and roll songs for their friends. Nothing to out standing here just Ween esque rock music only less interesting. (RP)

The Motion Sick Her Brilliant Fifteen Digital Bear Entertainment • This is a quirky, fun, emotional indie pop album loaded with irresistible hooks and infectious melodies. The sincere vocals are almost too honest, sometimes sounding a tad pathetic. But, it's emotional stuff and that's okay. The music isn't complex, but the well-crafted pop tunes are strikingly good and often loaded with great keyboards. It's hard to write simple pop tunes that don't come off as trite and uninteresting. The Motion Sick has overcome that thanks to a gift for smart melodies. Take parts of Smoking Popes, Death Cab and The Jealous Sound and it may resemble aspects of The Motion Sick. I'd suggest skipping track four, "Grace Kelly," the least impressive of the 11 songs. (CM)

The Northern Hues EP Tailwhip Records • I usually disdain bands that wear their influences so apparently, but The Northern Hues predilection for R.E.M. is just so pretty, I can't help but like them. The twin guitars of Aron Brand and Jeff Rains chime and shimmer in a spacey trip into atmospherics. And while vocalist Dan Avidan seems to push his inner Michael Stipe a bit too strongly, he comes across as sweet and cool as ice cream. (DE)

The Posies Every Kind Of Light Rykodisc • It's not everyday I get the chance to review a legend in the indie rock scene. Well maybe we won't call them legends, but they certainly have a pedigree. Kicking around since the '80s The Posies have made a name for sure. This new release thankfully doesn't sound like an old band trying to make a few bucks, but more an inspired and thoughtful release. With song craft light years ahead of many of their peers, The Posies build these delightful poppy tunes with the right swings and swells to capture all the right emotions and feelings musically. (KM)

The Post In the Event of Tomorrow self-released • The opener "Where are the Wolves" immediately possesses a Radiohead vibe complete with the whole Thom Yorke rip kit. As the album progresses, it becomes a safe assumption that this singer is obsessed with Radiohead as he attempts to recreate and emulate Thom Yorke's whiny and mumbling sound even more so with the third track "Into the Lifeboats". You've got to hear it for yourself. It's as if someone told him to go into the studio and try to pull off his best Thom Yorke impression. Good job I guess, but we would like to hear something a little more original next time. (SP)

The Rakes Retreat EP Dim Mak • Never has sounding British and snotty sounded so good since the Jam. I know what you're thinking but don't even say the words new wave or post punk. Okay, maybe a little post-punk but with catchy and dancy tracks like "Retreat" and "22 Grand Jobs," can't a band still make you strut without being pigeonholed?! With an upcoming full length, I smell a Mercury Prize nomination for The Rakes in '06. (CP)

The Red Rose Girls self-titled Empty • This band is unique in that it combines the talents of three former front-women of other bands into a delightfully harmonic and powerful trio. They sing songs in the style of traditional American folk music. Think Soggy Bottom Boys from "O Brother, Where art Thou?". Except they're girls. See band name. Anyway ­ wonderful singing is definitely the hallmark of this group. It makes the minimal acoustic accompaniment go crazygonuts. (DP)

The Red Thread Ship in The Attic, Birds In The Subway Badman Recording Co. • Track after track played and I struggled to latch onto something. So quiet and unassuming it became too much so. Certainly good and well played, but I was left unmoved by the experience, which isn't really the way I think of music. Quiet, jangly indie rock with a very slight lounge quality that could serve you well as background music when you want something that won't in any way possible distract you. (KM)

The Saints Nothing is Straight in My House UFO Music • The Saints rely heavily on their rocking guitar riffs. The album comes off sounding like a solid rock album with garage type elements. In this sense, they could be likened to bands such as the White Stripes and Jet. Some songs on the album, such as the title track, provide a faster tempo and very catchy chorus. Others, such as Digging a Hole are sort of melancholy and slower. This all makes for an appropriately diverse mix. (KB)

The Secret Process Telecommute K & H Productions • If you are looking for something different and unique, look no further. Telecommute is a mostly instrumental album with some vocals sporadically placed here and there. The opening track incorporates the sound of a dog eating and drinking. The rest of the album continues with the creative song styles of the band. This electro indie CD is very unusual but at least it is something different. (KB)

The Stivs Sweet Heartache and the Satisfaction Boot to Head • These five guys embody the soul of fast, hard rock and roll. There is attitude thrashing about all over the place, brimming with energy. The lyrics are all about transcending ordinary life into a new plane where humans subsist on rock alone. I'm paraphrasing, but they have that same kind of AC/DC mentality about rocking, that it's more than just something you do, it's something you are. Great CD for some loud, powerful escapism. (DP)

The Tah-Dahs Le Fun Undeniable Records • Here we have pop rock with Weezer undertones throughout on such tracks as "Alcoholic" and "Mix Tape = Love". The vocals fall out of key at times in "The Cute Band" and the lyrical content could be etched up a notch in the future. All in all, this band has potential for the future and actually this is a decent start as far as pop appeal is concerned. "The Clap" has a Pixies guitar feel to it and captures you melodically like a good upbeat Michael Penn tune. (SP)

The Tossers The Valley Of The Shadow Of Death Victory Records • When you have a formula that works, you stick with it. The Tossers have been making Celtic-inspired rock/punk music since the early 90's, blending traditional Irish folk songs and instrumentation with distorted guitars to create a sound that clearly belongs in a bar. (AL)

The Transit War !Ah Discordia! EP Orange Peal Records • Using strong melodies and building emotional intensity, this album really caught me by surprise. The music is a perfect blend of math rock cleverness, mainstream rock melodies and an emo side that doesn't get on my nerves. It reminded me, at times, of old Get Up Kids (Four-Minute Mile era). I can also hear big hints of Knapsack, and The Jealous Sound for that matter. The guitars are so lively throughout the entire eight-track release and the more I listen, the more I like this. Get it and you'll be hooked like me. (CM)

The Twilight Transmission The Dance Of Destruction Revelation • The Twilight Transmission's sound mixes metal with punk and hardcore. At times, they sound like Coheed & Cambria. Other times they sound like Avenged Sevenfold. Take those two and give it a bit of a more raw punk feel, and it's pretty close. The vocals are forcefully sung, screamed on occasion and have an aggressive, powerful energy. Musically, the guitars get my attention. There are two of 'em and they are constantly active, ripping meandering, creative leads throughout the eight-track release. There are also plenty of tempo changes and variations in style, so you don't end up feeling like each song sounds the same or lacks originality. (CM)

The Vets Ad Infinitunt Modern Radio Record Label • I apologize if I got the name of the EP incorrect, but the font is very difficult to make out. "Time Ghost" is a good rocker to start out the album with. With Mineral sounding guitar tones and dreamy vocals in "Clard Phelps," an unpredictable format is proposed like the first track. These tunes are not verse chorus verse chorus, but rather epic in content. "The Great Indoors" has a modern day Doors feel to it. I can almost hear Morrison going on and on about a lizard with the moody guitar lines and cymbal accents. (SP)

The Vision of a Dying World Feelin' Alive self-released • A great little acoustic folk/blues record, which has an overbearingly sad quality. Hey, it's a dying world. But it is extraordinarily heartfelt in exploration of the slightly darker side of human relations. There is really fascinating percussion going on ­ it seems they grabbed just about anything that was lying around to make the rhythm section, along with a plucky little guitar keeping the pace alongside. Really cool and mellow. (DP)

The Wheel Works Audios self-released • Eclectic and creative, this two-disc set from The Wheel Works hits a number of different areas with its indie rock and pop-influenced soundscapes. The four members add touches of violin, keys and cymbals with their operatic jazzy guitar, bass and drum parts to essentially close out a period of their creative process by compiling it all here. These songs were created from rather organic jam sessions with each member adding their personalized touch while in the garage, or in the studio for that matter. Each track literally takes different musical avenues before coming to a conclusion, and lets hope the band as a whole continues to travel down their elaborate roads as well. (JC)

The Winter Set Smoke Break EP Desolation Records • This psychedelic Indie rock EP starts out with a Zeppelin based guitar riff behind dreamy vocals in the opener "Cowboys and Indians". The second track "Home for Me and You" has a Beatles feel with its Harrison-ish guitar lead and tone in the verses accompanied by a three part vocal harmony. The title track is laid back and a bit of a departure tempo-wise from the beginning of the EP. The dreamy five-piece conclude their EP with the Beatles vibe again with "Mediterranean". (SP)

Tiara Chained to the Crown WeWantAction • Such a great fullness that this band exudes! There are so many things going on confidently in the layers of this highly absorbing, melodic dream pop. The veteran 10-year old, five-piece Tiara achieves some of the most stunning and unexpected crescendos I have experienced, and listening to the subtle nuances of it all on headphones is highly recommended. It spares no expense, putting frilly edges on just about everything. (DP)

Tiny Amps Trill and Swagger Redder Records • If the Tiny Amps prove anything, it's that the most intricate and unique music is always under the radar. With a proper ebb and flow of moody melodies and whimsical hooks, the Tiny Amps have a crafty guile for creating ample rainy day pop and indie musings. (CP)

Tortoise and Bonnie "Prince" Billy The Brave and the Bold Overcoat Recordings • This album evolved from a collaboration that was originally for four songs. It grew into this ten-track album of cover songs, which covers multiple genres and artists. Starting out with Brazil's Milton Nascimento, followed by Bruce Springsteen, and on through Elton John, the Minutemen, Devo, Melani and Quix*o*tic, just to name a few. The result is remarkably cohesive, given the disparity of the musical span covered. (AL)

Tubers self-titled Bakery Outlet Records • Tubers are a three-piece band from Florida featuring members of Twelve Hour Turn and The South. I have been a fan of Twelve Hour Turn for quite some time so this release was definitely a well welcomed treat. Tubers have a country type twang that was some what present on the last Twelve Hour Turn although less abrasive Tubers still have that same urgency. If you're a fan of Old Growth, Twelve Hour Turn or The South pick this album up you will not be disappointed. (RP)

Turn Me On Dead Man God Bless the Electric Freak Alternative Tentacles • Keeping with the raw rock formula that makes many bands stand out among the frail sounds of the now, this release from Turn Me On Dead Man channels the psychedelic sounds of the 70's and adds a twist of Scott Weiland-influenced styles for good measure. By resurrecting the ghosts of Ziggy Stardust and George Harrison, the music on God Bless the Electric Freak is both addictive and refreshing, with a steady dose of no nonsense rock-anthems that make this album worthy of continual spins from beginning to end. By paying homage to the rock roots of the past, this San Francisco band has created something worthy of looking out for in the future. (JC)

U. Utah Phillips Starlight on the Rails: A Songbook AK Press/Daemon • Here is a divine collection of spoken word and folk music by Phillips, a seasoned westerner brimming with timeless wisdom. Wielding a cowboy hat and a full, white beard, he certainly looks the part as well. His stories transport you into the history of his life by the fullness of his voice, and his songs are inspirational, both in their simple acoustic beauty and in their political weight. Comes with an accompanying 12-page book. (DP)

Una Corda Proper Position For Floating [1881] We Used To Be The Future Recordings • Any particular track from Proper Position... can have moments of quiet charm, followed by distortioned segments of driving beats. This instrumental quintet features two guitarists, two bassists and one drummer, which explains their full sound. (AL)

USS Horsewhip Wants You Dead self titled New Regard Media • Now this band has an interesting name, but that's about it. Horsewhip churns out rehashed punk/metal. Lead vocalist James Burn seems to believe that if he screams loud and long enough that some kind of point will be made. The only point he's making is that he screams really loud. Punk/metal can contain melody, but this band seems determined to center itself on a slash and burn sound over any sense of melodic content. (DE)

Valient Thorr Total Universe Man Volcom Entertainment Records • Is this record a joke? I can only hope it is, because if it's not, then this band makes Spinal Tap the best heavy metal band ever. Ridiculously bad, overly theatrical metal. If their inspiration is Queensryche, why not call the record Operation Dumbass? (DE)

Valina Epode EP 54 40 or Fight • The opening track on this album grabs the listener by the ear with its rapid drumming and angular guitar rhythms. This pace is held up through out the entirety of the EP with very few down points. Valina for the most part sounds like a mix of Jawbox and Shiner. (RP)

Various Artists Amsterdam Calling Dutch Rock & Pop Institute • This compilation was put out before New York's CMJ Music Marathon which took place in September 2005. Its purpose was to introduce listeners to five bands from the Netherlands that would be performing at CMJ. The five bands on the compilation are Face Tomorrow, Blues Brother Castro, ZZZ, Voicst, and Malkovich. Each band contributed two tracks for the album. With musical styles ranging from alternative to moody, keyboard driven rock, these Dutch bands have put together a solid compilation. (KB)

Various Artists Clubplanet Party Mix Rhino Records • Get ready to feel nostalgic as you listen to this continuous mix CD of dance music tracks from the '60s through the 90's. It's a weird combination to have Aretha Franklin and Leadbelly on the same mix as House of Pain and Naughty By Nature, but it works out well in the end, providing some welcome variety to the album. (AL)

Various Artists Indie Translations of Usher Urabon Records • This CD features ten songs originally from R&B star, Usher, redone by various indie bands. Some of the songs are done a little too similar to Usher's original versions but others are substantially different. Throwback, performed by Blued, is definitely one of my favorites on the disc. This album combined the catchiness of Usher songs with the sometimes sultry and sometimes rocking styles of each of the bands. It was an interesting idea, which for the most part, worked. (KB)

Various Artists This is Indie Rock: Volume Three Deep Elm Records • Featuring 12 songs from 12 various indie rock artists, this compilation is actually very diverse. Track four, Nice Day, by the Annuals, has an almost folk-like quality to it. Encyclopedia's track, Let's Be Friends, is one of my favorites on the album. Their style on that song is sort of like Reggie and the Full Effect with how they incorporate the keyboard. Element's Wake From This has great harmonies and guitar hooks which make it another highlight of the compilation. Do not let the term "indie" fool you. This album has a really great mix of styles. (KB)

Various Artists We Reach: The Music of the Melvins Fractured Transmitter Recording Co. • Here is a quote from the liner notes by Greg Werckman, the co-owner of Ipecac Recordings, the Melvins' current label: "There are not ANY tribute records that are great records." Hey, at least he's being honest. He has a point, but I suppose this one is decent, if only because of the bands: The Dillinger Escape Plan, Mastodon, Strapping Young Lad, Isis, CKY, Eyehategod, and a few others. (AL)

Various Artists Wu-Tang Meets the Indie Culture BabyGrande/Think Differently • Cashing in on the Wu-Tang name has never been as obvious as this offering presented by Dreddy Kruger, who has enlisted a load of underground emcees and a few of the real Wu members for this project. That said, there are more than a handful of solid offering here, and will be a delight to Wu fans as well as those who dig Ras Kass, Vast Aire, C-Rayz Walz, MF Doom, Planet Asia, Aesop Rock, J-Live, R.A. the Rugged Man and many more who appear. The Gza turns up, as does U-God and the Rza, but no other Wu members appear and it's probably better they didn't, as some no-holds-barred emceeing takes place over some seriously tight and vintage Wu beats for the real heads in the crowd. (JC)

Veda The Weight of an Empty Room Second Nature Recordings • Singer Kristen May really makes Veda stand out. Her voice is beautiful and pure, yet extremely powerful. The alternative rock sound that the rest of the members of Veda so skillfully create, complements May's voice perfectly. Together, the band produces very dramatic and passionate songs. (KB)

Vindaloo Diary of a Traveling Salesman self-released • The title track and opener right off the bat reminds me of Seven Mary Three, which most of us have tried to forget at this point, especially in the Orlando area. I hear this mostly in the vocals. The clean chorus effect on the guitars in "Paid in Full" brings me back to late nineties rock. This album definitely falls into the Alt-Rock category. On "Mocking" the chorus sounds a bit like a Motley Crue hook. The opening and main guitar riff is still pretty catchy though. (SP)

Walk About Waiting For James self released • Walk About vocalist/guitarist George Ayers sure displays his Kurt Cobain fix throughout this record. Though Nirvana seems to be the band of such slavish mimicry, the band dresses itself up as Green Day on "Just Another Day." Discipleship notwithstanding, Walk About doesn't flatter either band in its tired attempts to resurrect '90s alt rock. (DE)

White Widow No Wood to Knock On self-released • Perhaps the opening refrain of her album explains it best, "It's my birthday, I wanna piss everybody off." She's got a chip on her shoulder the size of an electric guitar and she uses it to lay on the rock extraordinarily thick. This is girl-fronted rock with balls, yet has an enticing sweetness to it that the Widow uses to lure you into her web. Great songwriting and robust, well-engineered accompaniment make her ultra-emotional vocals shine. (DP)

Wilderness Wilderness Jagjaguwar • Imagine a hyperactive Bob Dylan, possibly on meth, warbling over clanging guitars, buttressed by one of those wind-up monkey drummers; this is what you hear from Wilderness. The band seems overly obvious to its weirdness to the point that it's just annoying. (DE)

Winter Equinox Safe And Sound Crony Records • This Ontario quartet makes mostly instrumental music with post-rock leanings. Their use of the clarinet and the flute gives the album a cinematic quality, giving off hints of a score. They also use the piano to induce melancholy, which is a pervasive feeling throughout. (AL)

Zom Zoms One Brain Omega Point Records • New wave techno freak-out music is one way to describe this release from Zom Zoms. So we'll just go with that for right now. Very much into the synth sounds with a hyperactive keyboard tendency, the Austin, Texas threesome are like a small group of nerds posing as mad scientists who get a kick out of juvenile musings. Clearly out to make others ask, "What the fuck is going on here?" the adult-cartoonish humor is strictly for a select few. (JC)

DVD Reviews

A-Track Sunglasses Is A Must Audio Research • A-Track started DJing at 13 and soon started winning competitions, and eventually ended up as part of the Invisibl Skratch Piklz and most recently toured with Kanye West (and he's only 23). What's remarkable is that throughout this time, there was always a video camera somewhere in the vicinity, so he has a large part of his life documented on video. This is where this DVD comes into play: it includes much of that video, from scratch competition footage to behind the scenes looks at his life and art. I can't say you're going to watch this over and over, but it is interesting to watch at least once. (AL)

Bouncing Souls Live at the Glasshouse Kung Fu Records • This is the nineteenth installment in Kung Fu Records The Show Must Go Off DVD series. I am a huge fan of this series from Kung Fu Records because I think they put some of the best live DVDs out. This one is no exception. With a track listing of twenty five songs, the Bouncing Souls made sure their set list reflected their whole career. There is something on this DVD for everyone who is a fan of this band. (KB)

Hella Concentration Face DVD / Homeboy CD 5RC Records / Kill Rock Stars • If you've ever heard the music of Hella, then you know what a complete musical chaos they create. It's as if they are making it up on the spot. One guitarist and one drummer make such a racket that you wonder how they do it. Now you can see how they do it on this DVD which features live material as well as studio footage. Also included is a CD with about a half hour's worth of new material. This should keep you busy for a while as you try to decipher how on Earth that drummer can go so fast. (AL)

Plan-It-X Fest Plan-it-X Records •A DVD of the 10th anniversary party for a nice indie label doing their thing for a long time now. With one song from a tons of bands like, Toys That Kill, This Bike Is A Pipe Bomb, Abe Froman, Carrie Nations, Japanther, and Operation: Cliff Clavin to name just a few. The quality could be slightly better, but it's a birthday party so just relax and have some cake. (KM)

The Screamers Live in San Francisco Target Video • Live performance of a group long known as "The best unrecorded band in the history of Rock 'n' Roll." In this rare film they live up to that moniker, with a stripped down, guitar-less sound comprised of drums, an evil synth and the spastic pantomime of vocalist Tomata du Plenty. The Screamers took the punk blueprint of nervous energy, paranoid antics and confrontation and married it to their own unique vision. DVD extras include studio videos for "122 Hours of Fear," "Magazine Love" and "Vertigo." An indispensable document. (H)

Vinyl Reviews

Björk Music from Drawing Restraint 9 One Little Indian • This record is actually a soundtrack for artist (and Björk hubby) Matthew Barney's most recent film project, the latest in his Drawing Restraint series. Taking themes from Shintoism and traditional Japanese music, Björk and Barney explore the idea of creativity and self-imposed resistance and whether one can exist without the other. Like Barney's work, some of this album asks for a bit of patience on the part of the listener. Though Björk fans will find some of her trademark dreamy melodies and lilting vocals, many of the tracks involve repetitious drones and electronic screeches. Not a pop record, but a cinematic journey, and one worth taking for the musically adventurous. (H)

Dog Assassin self-titled Spacement Records • Talk about Reno 911! High quality hardcore from the Biggest Little City in the World. Marrying progressive politics with buzzsaw guitars and a dual-assault vocal attack, Dog Assassin has the crosshairs set on a host of evil-doers: sexists, racists, warmongers, homophobes, religion, mindless consumer zombies and the slaughterhouse economy. You know, the usual suspects. Music to get the blood (and fist) pumpin'. And I usually hate this shit! (H)

Entertainment Patroness b/w the Cold Fraction Luminal Records • Lipstick traces on the (clove) cigarette? Fans of Interpol, the Cure, and particularly Joy Division may enjoy this dark, guitar and synth-based combo. Heavy bass noodlings recall Peter Hook's front and center approach with JD and New Order, while tortured, faux Brit-accented vocals channel Pornography-era Robert Smith. Not exactly groundbreaking in the originality department, it is moody and well-produced. Should be listened to late at night. (H)

Environmental Youth Crunch/Pink Razors The Hits Dead Tank Records • Fantastic packaging by Paper Tiger. Hot pink vinyl fer chrissakes. Nice. The problem with a great packaging is that it can promise more than the contents can deliver. EYC are a bit pissed about environmental destruction, but they can't say no to a nice, punk-ish pop tune, with jangly guitar work that does stand out. Unfortunately they also can't say no to Big Messages, and lest anyone not get where they stand they spell it out for you, though not without a healthy dollop of humor ("St. Augustine is Where I'll Always Pee"). The Pink Razors churn out hopped-up power punk with moments of Superchunk-iness, but the songs, in terms of tempo and tone tend to mush together. As they themselves sing on "Totally Nautical, Dude," "Nothing fuckin' changes!" Again, there's nothing "bad" about either of these bands, but they don't excite, and in the end demonstrate the old adage reversed: Don't judge a cover by it's book. (H)

Soul Emigre 2001­2003 Spacement Records • Gotta love something that comes in a package this DIY. Makes Fugazi look slick. The music combines elements of punk, clangy indie guitar, intricate time signatures, raw screams, spoken snippets, controlled fuzz bursts, even jazzy interludes made all the more impactful by smart musicianship. And tight, damn it's tight. This band understands that the contrast of silence and noise can carry more emotional punch than a hundred guitars turned up to 11. Real heart, pick this up. (H)

Splintered Tree and the Sweet Leaf Boys Dark Town b/w Shit Do Stink Splintered Tree Records • A-side "Dark Town" is the fun-luvin', country-inflected surf tune Lou Reed never wrote, but should have. B-side "Shit Do Stink" addresses what we all know to be true but don't have the guts to say. Not the novelty record genre I was ready to lump it into, Splintered Tree writes a great song, has a blast doing it, and wants to take you with them. If you don't smile after listening to this single (and tap your toes), then just give up, man. (H)

Vivisuk U.S. Disastwhore Bacon Town Records • Great title. Vivisuk specialize in standard-issue hardcore. The sound quality is a bit muddy, and the tunes, though they have great energy and the requisite evil names ("Death Threat," "Bullet in the Chamber" are typical), can't escape the assessment that we've heard this before, but better. Having said that I suspect this is a band who would be a blast to see live. Even amid the hiss, there's a charisma here that's hard to dismiss. (H)

X:144 & SPS Last Voice b/w 3 Degrees of Ventilation Nonsense Records • The quality on these tracks come more from the production and DJ skillz than the MC. Nice jazzy piano, bass, string and vocal samples, propulsive beats, quick cuts and unexpected drops. Fantastic. As for the MC, it may be where my particular sympathies lie, but though I found the flow competent I found myself dropping the needle more on the instrumentals. It was, and I know this sounds horrible, inauthentic. I felt I was hearing an imitation of someone he'd heard before. Tough, direct, to be sure, but a copy, a borrowed confidence. Pick it up for the beats, scratch the vocals. (H)

Record Label Addresses
In alphabetical order. Please write them.

4 Track Recordings,
40 Watt Hype,
5RC Records,
A.J. Rosales,
Abacus Recordings,
Absolutely Kosher Records,
Ache Records,
After The Sirens,
AK Press Audio,
Alone Records,
Alternative Tentacles,
Anchorhouse Records,
Animal Collective,
Ankh Ba,
Ant Acid Audio,
Anticon Records,
ArcTheFinger Records,
Arts & Crafts Productions,
Ascetic Records,
Auto Body Experience,
Babygrande Records,
Bacon Town Records,
Badman Recording Co,
Bakery Outlet Records,
Blackout! Records,
Bloodlink Records,
Bloody Knuckles,
Bone Records,
Boot to Head Records,
BYO Records,
Cake Records,
Chocolate Fireguard,
Common Cloud Records,
Common Wall Records,
Contraphonic Music,
Corleone Records,
Crony Records,
Cult of Sue Todd,
Daemon Records,
Daptone Records,
Dead Tank Records,
Deep Elm Records,
Defend Music Inc.,
Desolation Records,
Digital Bear,
Dim Mak Records,
Do Right Records,
Dogme 95,
Doggpony Records,
Donald Knaack (The Junkman),
Dope Smoothie,
Doubleplusgood Records,
Dutch Rock & Pop Institute,
Dynamite Ham,
East Side Digital,
Elastic records,
Embedded Music,
Empty Records,
Epitaph Records,
Equal Vision,
Ernest Jenning Record Co.,
Esoterik Musik,
Essay Records,
Eulogy Recordings,
EV Productions,
Exotic Fever Records,
Fat Wreck Chords,
FatCat Records,
Fifth Planet Press,
Finger Records,
Flying Squirrel,
Fortune Records,
Fractured Transmitter Recording Co.
Free Dimension,
G7 Welcoming Committee,
Gas Money,
Gold Standard Labs,
Happy Happy Birthday to Me Records,
Has Anyone Ever Told You,
Hawthorne Street Records
Hazzazar Records,
Hopeless Records,
Hydra Head Records,
I've Come For Your Children,
IllEllements Records,
Immigrant Sun,
Inked in Blood,
Innocent Words,
Jagjaguwar Records,
Jeff Caudill,
Joyful Noise Records,
K Records,
Kemado Records,
Kentland Records,
Kill Rock Stars,
Kung Fu Films,
Kung Fu Records,
La Cha Music,
Last Drag Records,
Let Them Eat Records,
Level Plane Records,
Limekiln Records,
Lobster Records
Love Pump United,
Lujo Records,
Luminal Records,
Make or Break Records,
Malt Soda Recordings,
Marco Argiro,
Menlo Park Recordings,
Merge Records,
Misra Records,
Modern Radio,
Morphius Records,
Morricone Youth,
Mush Records,
New Regard Media,
New Romance for Kids Records,
Newest Industry Records,
Nitro Records,
No Idea Records,
Nonsense Records,
Nor'easter Failed Industries,
Noreaster Media,
Northern Blues Music,
Omega Point Records,
One Little Indian,
Orange Peal Records,
Patricia Vonne,
Peacock Recordings,
Plan-It-X Records,
Polyvinyl Records,
Post Stardom Depression,
Radical Records,
Recess Records,
Red Cake Records,
Redbird Records
Redder Records,
Revelation Records
Rhino Records,
Rise Records,
Risk The Rook Records,
Russell Stafford,
RX Records,
Second Nature Recordings,
SideCho Records,
Six Shooter Record,
Skeptic Rock Records,
Skin Graft Records,
Sling Slang Records,
Some Records,
Sorry for the Memories,
SOS Records,
Spacement Records,
Spinster Records,
Spitfire Records,
Splintered Tree Records,
Stillborn Records
Strictly Amateur Films,
Sudden Death Records,
Sunken Treasure,
SuperFi Records,
Target Video,
Textbook Music,
The Burdocks,
The Door-Keys,
The Electric Human Project,
The End Records,
The Post,
The Social Registry,
The Vision of a Dying World,
The Wheel Works,
Thick Records,
Thin Wrist Records,
Think Differently Music,
Thorp Records,
Three One G,
Thrive Records,
Tom Lab,
Triplicate Records,
UFO Music,
Undeniable Records,
United Edge Records,
Unsound Records,
Urabon Records,
Victory Records,
Vinyl Dog Records,
Volcom Entertainment,
Walk About,
Warp Records,
White Widow Music,

Music reviews from past issues: