<%@ Language=VBScript %> <%response.buffer = TRUE%> H-M Music Reviews
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H-M Music Reviews

The Half-Empties Full Bore
Full throttle punk rock that keeps the head bobbing from the first ten seconds of "Repeat Offender" on through the 24 minutes that follow. The lack of variation and melody on the aptly named Full Bore is forgivable, seeing how the Half-Empties write the kind of face value political lyrics that are as endearing as they are cliche. Songs topics include, and here they come: capitalism is bad, work sucks, pollution, apathy, and homelessness. All complete with lyric sheet spelling mistakes. Keeping a straight face is difficult four or five songs in, but fans of speedy, rough sounding punk will dig one of Arizona's punk scene staples. The hooks in "The Recycler" are as good as any No Empathy song. Out of Step Records JS

Half Japanese Hello
Jad Fair and his band create a goofy cacophony of squeaks, nursery rhymes gone wrong, horror folk, and mindfucker high end noise jams. A blessed mess of weirdness, newbies to Fair and crew will probably run with tails between their legs like wounded dogs. Longtime fans or those looking to expand the mental vortex will be very pleased. Love ‘em or hate ‘em, Half Japanese get credit for doing something radically different. Alternative Tentacles JS

The Handshake Murders Bury the effigy
If The Handshake Murders was a title of a John Grisham novel, it would assuredly be about a young lawyer working for a firm of psychotic lawyers with a dark past. When the young lawyer discovers he is being tied to the grisly murder of the only partner who was kind to him, he has no alternative but to take matters into his own hands. Where it goes from there I'll leave to Grisham. That would be one exciting book, though. If John Grisham, who was a lawyer, were to sue The Handshake Murders, the musicians, it would be on the grounds that as they have tried to blend death-metal vocals into discordant emo/punk, there is cause for punitive damages. The Handshake Murders, he would say, won't even give us death metal they way we would like it. By simply giving their songs no melody and an unintelligible singer they feel they have achieved great death-metal heights. Ladies and Gentlemen of the jury, we all know that growling and minor chords alone do not make good death metal. I ask you to vote your conscience. I rest my case. Tree of Woe RG

Happy Campers Self-Titled 12" EP
This 12" delivers six tracks of melodic punk with a nice punch behind it. The music is well played with hooks and tempo-changes a-plenty with a production that is good without being overproduced like a lot of the more mainstream melodic punk acts. The lyrics seem to be of a personal nature and at times sort of reach the cheese region, but that's OK because the music has a way of capturing your attention. This band is far more rockin' and edgy than most of the melodic stuff that gets recognition these days. AVD Records BD

Himsa Groundbreaking Ceremony
This is soooo Dead Guy. Vocals like Morning Again. Hectic, crazy, metal. We mostly like it, but there are so many parts that sound like so many different bands -- we could have swore track two was a Strife cover ... we even had to check -- that we just don't know what to think. Seriously, is this a collaboration between Disembodied, Slayer, Megadeath, Trent Reznor and the above mentioned? It seems Himsa has combined all current metal chiches into the ten varied tracks. We're buying it though. Revelation Records MH/AH

The Hokkaido Concern Self-Titled EP
Instrumental bands can be hit or miss, and as far as I can tell, there usually isn't too much gray matter in between. Too bad this release disproves my theory. At times, the band's eclectic sound strikes original chords and has shades of Trans Am and other interesting groups. Unfortunately, other spots are just boring or completely overdone. Restraint can be a good thing, especially with wailing guitars without vocals to moderate them. My friend Nick's recommendation of the band is a perfect example of their mediocrity. Nick thinks The Hokkaido Concern is a wonderful band. Nick also seems to like all jam bands, and thought "Hey Dude, Where's My Car" and "Zoolander" were "totally the coolest and funniest movies ever man!" So, take his recommendation as you will. As far as I'm concerned, the album falls a little short, but it's not a bad start for the Philly four-some. CS

Hopeless Dregs Of Humanity Buildin' Da Muthaphuckin' Revolution! 7"
Hopeless Dregs of Humanity are a poppy political-punk band who bring to mind Propagandhi or I Spy, only a bit rougher and more DIY than the well-known Canadian bands. Although the music is upbeat and solidly played, I just have trouble finding this inspiring. The band urges support for a number of direct action groups who they provide a list of contacts for, but the list seems to run the mundane gamut of Food Not Bombs and Mumia support groups that are not hard to track down anyway. I'm guessing this is one of those "local" bands that amasses a loyal following among the town activist/punk scene, but doesn't hold a lot of appeal for people outside of that scene. They're certainly not terrible by any means, but they're not too memorable either. Ever Reviled Records BD

Hopewell The Curved Glass
Somewhere between art and sex lies a cool cavern of sounds and thought, tempting you like some sea hag lying on the rocks. These three guys and girl wander through cacophony and bliss, kissing your boo-boo and eating you back to life, slowly and methodically. The Russo brothers play in the equally influential outfit Mercury Rev, so this has that general appeal. Essence of the Flaming Lips resounds too. It carves and scrapes with loops and bells to boot. Their drummer, Dalia, is one hot ticket. Ethereal and rockin’, noisy but harmonious, Hopewell sends warm icepricks through you and keeps them coming back for more. Visit their site for more info if you don’t get what I mean. This is some good stuff and there’s nothing like a beautiful percussionist to help make me an instant fan. Tin Drum Recordings MW

Horizon Where the Blind Lead the Blind
Absolutely horrid production values and a very dated straight edge hardcore sound hinders this band’s decent messages. Horizon could have easily been released by Conquer the World Records back in the early '90s. And, in this day and age, that is not a compliment. This nine-song album is a mess of thick mud guitars, goofy metal riffing, and chipmunk vocals. Lyrics are political and well spoken, despite the overdone territory they trample, and they get points for putting together a reading list for folks who peruse the CD booklet. Come on though, no one needs to hear second rate Chokehold in 2001. Catalyst Records JS

Hundred Hands Little Eyes
When members of The Appleseed Cast are involved in any kind of project, you can bet your bottom dollar it will turn out amazing. And this EP, entitled Little Eyes, is nothing short of the mark with it's ability to paint a picture of far distant lands and surround the listener in an atmosphere of intriguing guitars and intimate vocals. Aaron Pillar and Christopher Crisci of The Appleseed Cast join forces with producer/drummer Ed Rose and together they created a six-song menu that leaves you hungry for more. The opening track, "A Replay," pours over with heart wrenching lyrics -- "scars on my back. They prove a point. It points to you. And this life. And this world. It's a tidal wave." And as promised by Deep Elm, this won't be the last we hear form this project. In fact, Hundred Hands is expected to be in the studio sometime this year or the beginning of next. So we will sit and wait patiently, biding our time, and hoping that the first listen of their full-length album will leave little for us to desire. But for now the sensuous soundscapes of Little Eyes will do just fine. Deep Elm NH

Ides of Space There Are No New Clouds
Good name for this band. They have a good, clean, produced recording and an in depth use of instruments for their polyphonic sound. In the press release the band was asking sarcastically to be "pigeonholed" well here goes ... Take the softer side of Smashing Pumpkins mixed with the Breeders and you will have Ideas of Space. The vocals are a complete rip off of Billy Corgan with half the talent. The music lacks any contrast from song to song. It's cohesive but all the songs blend together offering no memorable moments. "Switchboard" offers the most potential showing of the bands range and dynamics but one song does not make an album. Better Looking Records AH

I Hate You Discography 1995/1998
What I Hate You lacked in dexterity, they more than made up for in rage and bile. Many remember them as the band that destroyed the cliches of what a straight-edge, hardcore band could be in the late '90s. Now, their recorded output is collected here (all 41 songs of it) from their legit releases, demos, live recordings, and final unreleased recording session. Yes, it's a lot of filler, no doubt, especially since most of their songs don't last more than 60 seconds. I Hate You also employ a special guest star appearing repeatedly on every song -– yes, our old friend, the word "fuck"! Turf the demos, live songs, filler, joke songs and repeated tracks and this would have been a keeper for anyone into sarcastic hardcore. As it stands, Discography 1995/1998 is only tolerable in its entirety to longtime fans of the band and collector nerds. Deathwish Inc. JS

Imaginary Bill Self-Titled
I used to skate with my next door neighbor. He was Japanese, and spoke little English. We didn't need to talk much though, because our language was skating. I'd go next door, and we'd try out tricks all day -- me with my cheap skateboard banging into everything. I never realized that something that looked so innocent and fun could carry such possibility for pain. One day I was trying an ollie in the driveway and slipped on my landing, smashing my forehead directly into the pavement. A huge purple lump amassed outside my skull. At that moment, I knew I was human and that things in this world were going to try to hurt me. Sportin & Company Records RG

In Dying Days Life as a Balancing Act
Rocking hardcore with awesome riffs and chillin' melodies. Tracks laced with the unquenchable fury of raw guitars, vocals and technical machine gun blast beats make this a breath of fresh air. Reminds me of late '90s hardcore such as Morning Again, Harvest, Kiss It Goodbye, or Indecision. Some of the guitar riffage is akin to Maiden! "The Day I Played the Dating Game" is a phat song name and a great technical cut. This album takes off like a bullet piercing your ears with a zero gauge. One Day Savior CR

In My Eyes Nothing to Hide
Classic old-school hardcore sound. If you miss bands like Chain of Strength, this is definitely up your alley. I imagine these guys would be fun live, but on CD it becomes quite monotonous. A regurgitated sound that some people are devoted to but we feel just keeps coming out to sell records for the big boys. Our advice ... buy Youth of Today or Chain of Strength instead. An overall alright release and nice use of metallic ink in the packaging. Revelation Records MH/AH

Insurrection Self-Titled 7"
When I dropped the needle on this EP by Baton Rouge, La.'s now-defunct Insurrection, a horribly muddy sound quality rose to meet me. Upon closer inspection, I realized that I was in fact listening to the live side of the record. "No problem," I thought, "Maybe the studio side is better." After flipping the record over, I discovered that the studio side of the record sounded just about as bad as (if not worse than) the live side. When I cranked my speakers up, I was sort of able to discern that Insurrection was some sort of crusty peace-punk band who really wanted to be Aus-Rotten. They had a slowed down, minimalist sound derived from bands like Crass and boring, unoriginal political lyrics. Like Aus-Rotten, who have a song titled, "Tuesday May 18th, 1993," Insurrection has a song titled "July 28th, 1997." If that's not a blatant rip-off, then I don't know what is. The artwork on the record's sleeve also looks like it was lifted from some sort of clipart program, but at least the band didn't steal that from Aus-Rotten. In short, Insurrection's 7" is impossible to listen to due to terrible sound quality, unoriginal, and ugly to boot. Autonomy-Resistance-Equality Records BD

Isis The Red Sea
Boston’s Isis are beyond a doubt one of the most extreme bands out there right now. Inspired by bands like Neurosis, The Melvins, and Black Sabbath -- of course -- this unmerry band of riff ravagers, including one of the best drummers in sludge rock, has created a sound unlike anything heard before. "The Red Sea" is their second EP, and it compiles three songs recorded in 1999, and another four-song demo done in 1998. The two separate sessions do create a sound inconsistency on this CD, but both sessions are amazing, especially the three newer songs which punish and pummel the listener beyond the threshold of ear tolerance. A deep rumbling of sludge and unholy groove chugs this band along, maintaining a pain and pleasure auditory S&M. Scary and intense, Isis is definitely the band for the dominance dungeons. Second Nature Recordings JS

The (International) Noise Conspiracy The First Conspiracy
The First Conspiracy is a re-release of the debut release from the world's best dressed anarchists and clever musical thieves; this band often admits to nicking all of their ideas from the history of rock. With the recent release of their second Epitaph full-length, A New Morning, Changing Weather, G7 picked the best possible time to introduce The First Conspiracy to the now eager buying public. For those waking up from indie rock hibernation, The (International) Noise Conspiracy are a stripped down Swedish garage rock group led by Dennis Lyxzen, infamous for exposing politics to the Epitaph crowd in his previous band, The Refused. The material on The First Conspiracy doesn't have the production values or the songwriting prowess of newer material, though, and this is strictly for Noise Conspiracy enthusiasts. Also, an embarrassing nod to The Make-Up rears its head more than once and crashes an otherwise rockin' party. G7 Welcoming Committee JS 1.18.2002

The (International) Noise Conspiracy Capitalism Stole My Virginity
OK, lookout! Hold back my friend. Wh ... what have we got here? Oh. Oh no! Three, that's 3, songs! Argh! What to do, what to do? I'm not sure. But, I guess I have to say something here, right? Yes. OK then, here goes. Ahem. Right ... The (International) Noise Conspiracy has gained quite a following for their brand of Fall-style alterno-rock which blazes through territory we are oh so familiar with but deviates from the accepted norm with a tongue and cheeky approach knowing darn well that their band is slightly better than your band. It's true. Because of this notion, they have landed themselves on the grand label Epitaph and have remained there amongst the other indie giants for quire a spell. For this EP though (as so many other groups do, thank you do much for supporting the up and coming label!) they went to G7 and have a trio of decent tunes to let you know that, yes, they are still around and still hard at work to make the globe a bit more pleasant by constructing songs that equal convex and pop. I like these guys (and gal) from Sweden, really. Mind you, I am a metal maniac, but that doesn't stop me from loving all types of strong-willed and well put together music. TINC is one of those bands that stick to my ribs long after I exit a show or turn off the stereo. So if you know the Conspiracy, then this should be in your collection. If not, then pick this up for a cheap-o price and see what you think. Either way, you win! G7 Welcoming Committee MW 1.18.2002

The Jazz June They Love Those Who Make the Music
Don't ask where the Jazz is. It is a cruel, cruel trick when bands decide to name themselves against the genre of their music. Funny because it is true. The Jazz June does trick you a little with a 20 second jazz drum intro that quickly fades away, like your hunger after a super-sized Big Mac. The Jazz June really has the build up and release mechanism mastered in almost all of the songs on this CD. There should be a little "Place air-guitar-jump here" guide to most tracks. Justin Max's power drums drive, at a very high speed. Damn, Justin, Damn. Don't plan on listening to this CD without headphones, while singing along at the top of your lungs. The songs on this album could be taken seriously, if you wanted to. Or, as I previously suggested, you could just nod your head and pretend to be the rock star you know you could. This CD is full of well-produced straight guitar-driven melodies and hard sounding drums that are knit together with great vocal melodies. This CD is actually a reissue from 1997, and all I want to know is why I didn't hear it before. I have four words for this album: This Band Can Rock. Initial Records JR

The Jazz June The Boom, The Motion, and The Music Initial Records Reissue
Amazing indie emo! Bears an uncanny resemblance to Piebald's "When Life Hands You Lemons" without the whiney vocals. Six triumphant tracks of driving rock sound. The June has an obvious influence on nearly every new emo/indie band possibly as well as Get Up Kids and Jimmy Eat World. This is a gnarly reissue with really cool packaging. From soothing melodies to soaring riffs. This is a must have for fans of Piebald, Cap N Jazz. "Bullets in the Backpocket" could easily be mistaken for a Piebald song, which is good, because Piebald is a damn good band. Awesome and dynamic. Good call by Initial to reissue this classic. Initial Records CR

Jemo is a solo project by Toronto coffeehouse performer and studio musician Jeff Dantowitz in an attempt to capture the combination of his poetry and music. Jemo used to play in death-metal bands and even jazz groups, whatever he could do just so he could "play." Then Jemo began to play his own material and found that ever so satisfying, so he decided to name himself and release a CD. How he decided on the multi-dimensional moniker Jemo is something I'll let the mystics ruminate over. As for Jemo's music, the disc certainly shows off Jemo's musical versatility -- he plays everything on it -- but it sounds like an experiment by someone who thought they could write their own Pearl Jam record all by their lonesome. Well, you did it, Jemo, you did it. I leave you with a quote from a member of Sepultura I got from Jemo's website -- apparently two Seps caught a Jemo set whilst in Canada. "I myself prefer natural breasts. My own wife has thought about having implants, but I must say I don't encourage it. I like to touch and squeeze her just the way she is." Ah, romance. RG

Jester X
This is just silly, malformed garage funk rock that should have died with the other Infectious Grooves rip-offs back in the mid '90s. Amusing frat boys who smoke weed and can play a note or two does NOT a band make. Luckily there were only three songs to get through. My buddies and I giggled and made fun of this the whole time. Forget this band. Next! MW

Jesuseater Self-Titled EP
Four songs of mid-tempo, cuss-filled hardcore rock and roll. Jesuseater have that New York hardcore chunk sound, similar to Burn or Rest in Pieces, but also give off the scent of DC emo-rock bands like Swiz and Sweetbelly Freakdown, which makes a lot of sense since this features ex-Sweetbelly/Swiz vocalist Shawn Brown. The lyrics are despicably bad, consisting of the cheesiest combo of tired cliches and shameful posturing. The future ain't too bright for Jesuseater, at least not in my listening domain. Deathwish Inc. JS

Johnny Thunders and the Heartbreakers Dead or Alive DVD
There are a lot of films made about bands on the road, but truly the best one is Satisfaction. An all female band decides to put their rock to the test by hitting the road and playing at a club by the beach. What do they find? Romance? Adventure? Themselves? Man, all three! Plus the cast is great. They may not be that well known, but just you wait. That Justine Bateman's gonna be a big star, I guarantee you. Cherry Red Records RG

The Jocks The Top Three Answers On the Board
Ka ka market. That is where this band took their band pictures. A chinese restaurant to some a very comical joke to high schoolers. Atleast they look like high schoolers on the back of the cd but I think this band tranforms (the cd does have a robot on it) into mid-twenty year old punk rockers on the cover shots. I am confused maybe it’s a transformer robot theme graphically carried threw in design. You can tell this is a straight-forward punk release by the cd design. I think everyone can tell what the bands sounds like by the design. Decent punk in that melodic punk kinda way similar to the Broadways. Good but not great drumming and guitar playing with the your typical vocals and non-existant bass player which is always result from the better desired recording that was never achieved. No lyrics so I have no comment. A quote from Cometbus which I can respect but also could be seen as trendy and credible. Yahoo for any band that has members that are in high school but you can still tell the need some direction.
New Disorder Records AH

The Judas Factor Kiss Suicide
The lyrics have a real straight forwardness to them, they basically boil down to someone questioning life and power and why they want the former and don't deserve the latter. There is a lot going on here with strong guitars and drums with scratchy, screamy vocals and a good dose of extra distortion. Good song writing structures which make their songs have variety. Similar at points to Dead Guy. Recommended purchase. Revelation Records MH/AH

Kammerflimmer Kollektief Incommunicado
Anything as of yet with the pre-title "New," does very very little for me. I'm sorry, but turning 30 and being a fan of original lines of music, the whole "new" thing-a-ma-hoozit makes me cringe a bit. For example, the pan flash of "Nu Metal" (see Slipknot, Korn, Limp Bizkit, etc.) is like a red-hot poker being shoved up my bum every time I am introduced to a new dulled shot-put like that. It is overly aggressive, boring, and the combo of rap and rock seemed to have gone out in the late '90s when the Chili Peppers began to suck ass. Here though, the German sextet re-enact the whole noise puddle of new jazz, which is no more than bow and worship of Bitches Brew and the deconstruction that Sun Ra and Material did years ago. Now though, to compete with the throngs of other such "extreme" outfits, new jazz incorporates a cacophony of blatting horns, time slip drumming, and various string arrangements that would make H. Gorecki pass out from aural abuse. Personally, I can live without it. Each time the local College Station brings on a 12 minute long "new jazz" piece, I have to hit mute or go grab a sandwich or something. I happen to be into rhythm and groove. Perhaps my musical training has lead me astray and I don't see the fractured scales as an important factor in the continuation of the whole tunesmithing spectrum. But then again, I don't like forks on chalkboards either. Or dentist drills. I fell down once and had a pretty good time. Kammerflimmer Kollktief is an alternative freakout that only the few survive. Good luck soldier of the truth! Temporary Residence Ltd. MW 1.18.2002

Khanate Self-Titled
This disc is almost a full hour of pure punishment from these four scary New Yorkers. What's even scarier is four of these five dirge metal songs surpass the ten minute mark ("Under Rotting Sky" is a mind-blowing 18 minutes), but insist on smashing out the same cesspool "riff" over and over again to the breaking point. The lullaby to hell is the property of Khanate, and this album is a torture chamber for sadomasochistic ears. Southern Lord JS 1.18.2002

Kid Kilowatt Hit Single 7"
Kid Kilowatt was made up of members of Cave In and Converge, which I'm sure may seem like an "all-star" lineup to some people, but doesn't mean much to me. Hit Single contains two spacey indie rock numbers that come off sounding pretty generic. The guitars are jangly like At the Drive In and their copycats and the vocalist whines about what I can best make out to be space or stars in both songs. Really, there's just nothing this band does that holds my interest. They sound like the countless other indie rock bands that have gotten big with college kids in recent years. I suppose this record demonstrates that the band members are more than competent musicians, but maybe that talent could be used to inject some innovation into this already stale genre. Second Nature Recordings BD

Kid With A Man Head Fond Memories of Halibut Rodeo …
Six new songs by happy-go-lucky pop punkers who have a pretty good name in the snowboard punk world, or so I'm told. They are also very clear that Greg Graffin (Bad Religion infamy) re-mixed the first four tracks -- not sure if that’s even a way to sell your music at this point. Anyway, Kid With Man Head play competent melodic punk that brings to mind No Use for a Name, Gameface, Dag Nasty, The Foo Fighters and all the other bands they name dropped as being influences. Well done, but completely redundant. Twentyfourseven Records JS

Kilara Southern Fried Metal
Southern fried metal, indeed. Kilara are like the two-headed mutant child of Assuck and Nashville Pussy. Yes, read that again. The gravel pit throat bellowing, and the musical insanity that accompanies
them -- this is the real deal, folks. Excellent lyrics, and songs that don't stop fucking you until they say it's finished and you're left dripping heap on the floor. An excellent band in their time, and one of the very few that deserve complete documentation, although the inclusion of their cover of "Dirty Deeds Done Dirt Cheap" was hardly necessary. Slave/CrimethInc JS

Kill Creek Colors of Home
While I was listening to this record, my friend Kristina said this about Kill Creek's sound: "It's like when your mom makes you eat oatmeal, and you're all excited but you see she put lots of raisins in it. And you keep trying to avoid the raisins, but after each bite you keep getting a mouthful of raisins." Hey, quit trying to take my job, woman.
Second Nature Recordings RG

King For A Day Before I Go
Isn't it ironic that King For A Day mixed an recorded this release with Chris King himself. I was disappointed he wasn't in the band. Anyway, this is definitely what I would expect out of Initial. The vocals are very good, but we don't hear anything original here music wise. Quicksand and Boy Sets Fire come to mind. Easy to listen to but if this were put in at a party we wouldn't know who it was. Initial Records MH/AH

Knievel The Name Rings A Bell That Drowns Out Your Voice
Evel Knievel is long retired from jumping gaps in the Earth and drinking himself silly. What's left is a legacy in daredevil antics that we now, a decade later, can only gawk at and appreciate with re-runs and his new autobiography. So you'd think that a band bearing his last name would be a sort of heavy fuzzed out almost Fu Manchu-style fun riff rock. You'd think. But here, these kids from Australia come at you with their heads hanging low and striving for slow end indie rock. I wanted action! Excitement! Deviancy! Rings of fire and hot mamas in spangly bikinis riding on the backs of souped up motorcycles! What I got was a basic nod to Teenage Fanclub and The Posies ... sort of. It has that emo approach and talks about the sky and fears and deep thoughts and all that jive, but it also has an edge up on the usual concoction of general guitar strums and lazy beats by actually making it work. Some outfits do not accomplish this. Knievel does. At times when my eyes were closing from the drone of the tunes, I would suddenly perk them back up saying "wait, this is pretty good." And I like Teenage Fanclub! So there. The best thing about music like this is the headtrip they tend to give you. With the headphones on, feet up on the cooler, head back and a cool breeze blowing through, I was lifted up to the sky that they actually talk about and loomed among the billoughy clouds. It was fun and I didn't want to come down. But then the CD came to an end. So I thought about Santa Claus instead. In Music We Trust MW

Knut Challenger
What does a band who lives near the Swiss Alps (Geneva, to be exact) have to be so angry about? Too much snow? Seriously though, the latest from Knut (pronounced Ka-Noot) is a punish-fest of epic proportions. It's unbelievable; the band is essentially a glorified three-piece (singer Didier, along with bass, drums and guitar), but these clean-cut dudes make the noise of ten hirsute mountain men. Like Isis without the foggy, quicksand feeling, or if the old Amphetamine Reptile bands took their label name more seriously and freebased a mixture of speed and snake venom, Knut are unstoppable and dangerous. Prepare for nine tracks in 51 minutes, with the instrumental breather "58.788" being the only time of relent. For anyone willing to endure the nearly 20-minute album closer, "March," it's definitely time to jump off the nearest high-rise. Hydra Head Records JS

Konceptual Dominance Savage Intelligence
This is part of the new Psyence Fiction hip-hop that I’m digging. KMT and Kirby Dominant do the knowledge with laid back grooves, spacey samples and nail-gun lyric skills. There is not one bad track on this release. It flows. For fans of The Automator, Dr. Octagon, and next wave rap and hip-hop, this is the album you have to get your greedy mitts on. Don’t be afraid of their appearance though. Seems the two East Coast boys like to don warthog and freaky-deaky man masks while dropping the bomb -- I suppose to highlight the savage intelligence moniker. Konceptual Dominance embraces innovation and does it with a cranium full of ideas and tic-toc mathematics. Check the physics yo! Dominant Records MW

Krakatoa Channel Static Blackout
This sounds like older Zao (before the black metal era) with an infusion of Metallica-esque guitar solos. The guitarist carries this band with nice harmonies and originality while the singer takes the boring screaming path and could be done without. Best part: an eight minute acoustic bit with no drums or vocals. For what it is though, it is heavy, versatile, and would be fun to see live (though that would probably never happen since they are strictly a studio band). Second Nature Recordings MH/AH

The Ladderback Introductions to Departure
This starts out sounding like a bad version of the Dismemberment Plan, then it gets really metal (good thing), but really repetitive (bad thing). This record is just really inconsistent. If you like lots of erratic changes and clean parts mixed with grind parts, this is for you. It definitely had its moments, but seemed to lack focus. Either that, or I just didn't get what they were going after, which seems likely as I listen to this record for a third time. Bifocal Media MM

The Ladderback Honest, I Swear it's the Turnstyles
A few years ago I would have shit my pants over a band like the Ladderback. They have elements of emo hardcore, indie rock, punk, and DC rock to their credit. What they don't have is a constant stream of consistency to bring them together, and what results can shift darn fast from exciting to messy and somewhat dull. Time passes and people change, if anything this band reminds me of the kind of music I used to be interested in, but it only proves how little of this kind of emo stands the test of time. This won't be locked in my personal emo vaults alongside Hoover, Shotmaker, or Sunny Day Real Estate. The emo time capsule has no vacancies for the Ladderback. Bifocal Media/Rayman Records JS

Langhorns Club Gabardino
Quinten Tarantino needs to hire these guys for his next movie. I swear this could have been the soundtrack for Despardo or Dusk til Dawn. That mexican, surf swagar, Spi versus Spi sound that just makes you think your some tough guy from the movies. What’s interesting is that this band is from Sweden land of metal and darkness. These guys certainly stick out. A lot of fun to listen two and played with a lot of feel and attitude… like it should be played.
Bad Taste Records AH

Last Days of April Angel Youth
Chalk up another one for mid-tempo, mid-interest emo rock. Sweden's Last Days of April are interchangeable with a lot of other band of this ilk, I'll spare you the names. We've all heard them before, just think of any band on the "Emo Diaries" compilation series from the same label that released this full length. Pleasant enough, Angel Youth is a strong album with interesting and nice sounding songs that blur by like passing clouds. Soft, pillowy, and billowy, white and fluffy. Deep Elm JS

Laymen Terms An Introduction EP
Don't be fooled. If someone ever says to you: "Let me put it in laymen terms..." they think you're an idiot. It's completely condescending. I suggest you grab them by the shirt collar or medical scrubs and growl this through your teeth: "I went to Harvard you jackal, and let me tell you plainly it's a pretty damn good school." That'll show 'em. And don't worry if you didn't go to Harvard. We can't ALL be smart. Soda Jerk Records RG 1.18.2002

Lazy American Workers Another Half-Assed Job Well Done
Fight, fart, and fuck punk rock. Self-defeatist packaging and presentation leads way to the kind of annoying, slip-shod sound that’s been done way too many times. Redundant, worthless, and hopeless; surely this will deliver pure joy to those operating on single digit brain cells, and/or anyone still interested in "stroke your beer belly" drunk punk. Biscuit Scrubbers Records JS

Lefty's Deceiver Process Junior
Ernest Hemingway wrote a lot about fishing. To those that are unfamiliar with the authors exploits with the pole and elusive trout (sometimes cod), he transcribed the meaning between man and water and the lurkers below with simplistic poetry while always remaining true to his tough guy stature on paper. Perhaps you've come across The Old Man And The Sea yes? It's short, and a lot of schools have to divvy that one out due to it's context of the aged, the young and the oh too resilient demise of coming home with an empty net and half empty bottle. As I pondered Lefty's Deceiver, a name derived from a particular lure I believe, the Hemingway mantra came into full hold as the half done mild/heavy rock clanged through the crackling speakers: It always was and always will be. Man, and sometimes wo-man, conquer the rivers and seas to deplore much of its gilled content only to be come either mounted on lacquered wood or a scrumptious dinner with pilaf and beer ... and music like this will always happen. You pull for it (much like a tugging line) but eventually it gets away from you and there it goes! But, there's always another bite yet to happen. Will this be the one, or will it just fade away, but to tease the steady hand of the fisher another early morning? Only time will tell. Not much to tell here though. It just faded away ... My Pal God Records MW 1.18.2002

Little Grizzly I'd be Lying If I Said I Wasn't Scared
The whole term of "alt-country" is really pretty great. I mean, all of these cool kids out there that love Willie Nelson and Loretta Lynn, along with the Pixies and Husker Du can finally get it together and combine the two and make a pretty decent record around it. Little Grizzly here have constructed a fine album with whips and jangles and good time lyrics, but unfortunately they want to label themselves "alt-country." Why is this I thought? It really has no inclination of alterno country except the fact that perhaps a folk element is introduced now and then. But that's really about it. Maybe they wear cowboy hats or something ... I don't know. Anyway, their sound is tight and light but with a flair for classic rock stylings. Dare I use the word "quirky?" Well, maybe. I just hate that word. Dumb middle-aged women on bad talk shows use that word a lot. To like describe the "bad boy" kid in one of those boy bands. Perhaps it's their Texas homeland inception that forces us to relate the whole "country" thing with them. But ZZ Top is far from country don't you think? I think Little Grizzly is too. They're basically in a genre all to themselves. A nifty little ditty genre with happy trails and bunnies. Perhaps the South and Midwest is something I should consider. Never really thought about it 'til Little Grizzly. They seem cool. Cool beyond a tag like alt-country. Quality Park Records MW

Love Daria Sixth Unknown
This is some decent alt-rock done totally DIY and really goes nowhere. It’s always great to listen to people’s rehearsal tapes and see all of their efforts by putting graphics and stuff on the cover as well. They even have a web site. These guys might be good to catch live, but on my stereo, I was never really hooked. Oh its cool and all, its got a bit of heaviness now and then, but it just is and there is nothing forward thinking or innovative about it. Perhaps they need to work on a good hook now and then. I don’t know. I bet they’re nice folks though. MW

The Lot Six The Code Mode
Why God why? This EP was so rocking out at first. It was a great mix between Garrison and Archers of Loaf. I was really grooving, then they had to show "how deep" they were musically by throwing in out of place trumpets and piano parts. The Code Mode has some promise (Check out their song "Swimming with Sharks"). The first and third tracks of this four song EP are so cool. Unfortunately, the other two (especially the track "We're Breaking Up") made me want to rename this "THE CHOAD MODE." Espo  Records MM

Lunachicks Babysitters on Acid
Lunachicks are a real "ove ‘em or hate ‘em band. Sloppy, haphazard garage punk with cheesy lyrics. Never a dull moment here on their re-released "classic" debut album. Well, maybe a few dull moments --the endless drone of their "Theme Song" rushes to mind -- but, for the most part, this will tease and please garage punk/hardcore diehards. Personally, I can’t stand this shit. Go-Kart Records JS

Mad Melancholy Monkey Mind Drive
"Singer and composer Mark Rich formed Mad Melancholy Monkey Mind with partner and fellow guitarist Martha Borchardt in 2001 following the breakup of their performing band Djang. Drive is their first CD." This is how their press kit begins and I thought it would help the situation, as I really don't know what to say about this sound. It's a bit like digital chest hair mixed with stadium rock gone retarded. Somewhere in-between there is some goth kid crying over a rose and jockey shorts gone much too far. We've got headaches and heartbreaks here kids, so lock up your liquor and daughters! And what is a mad melancholy monkey mind? (M4) as they like to call it. Just like MI:2 or MVP2 (Most Vertical Primate), one of the most amazing and stupidly unwatchable films to come out of the dingy basement of lousy kid film sequels. The perfect anecdote for this band here. When the Psychedelic Furs decide to wipe, the monkey mind kicks in. Bing bong, doom, and gloom. Ho hum. But art is cool. Like a 100kz Pop Tart shopping at the used sock emporium, the MMMM come atcha with mad flava and a cheap bottle of port to soothe the toothache. Word. Iguanodon Smile MW

Malefaction Crush the Dream
My dream has come true. Since the departure of Rorschach and Born Against, there haven't been many extreme hardcore/metal bands worth getting excited about. Fewer still had a political bent that was convincing within their message. Of those that did, no one had an outlook worth bothering to care about. Thanks to G7 Welcoming Committee Records for releasing this! The 23 raging tracks on this disc have added some relevance to the world of brutal metallic-hardcore. The first line of the first song "No Positive Impact" reads: "Billions in profit with no positive impact on society/ The homeless go unnoticed while your wallet is bloated." From there, they really go nuts and attack everything wrong with this selfish, greedy society. This is a MUST for all fans of Born Against, and highly recommended for the entire human race. Needless to say, I am keeping this one forever. G7 Welcoming Committee MM

Manhunt Revenge Volume One
For once, a band uses a vocalist to their advantage, instead of letting some goof ruin otherwise decent songs with a cheesy voice. Manhunt’s lead vocalist Ali uses her powerful vocal chords and high-pitched wail to bring otherwise mediocre songs up to a higher level of quality. Also of interest is the positive, ass-kicking influence a woman’s vocals and point of view (most songs focus on women’s rights and sexism) can have on the testosterone-based metalcore style. The downside of Manhunt is a band with a stunted ability to write engaging songs, based on what sounds like a lack of musical ingenuity. Or maybe it’s just the awkward, local recording studio with producer/Grateful Dead fan at the helm. Either way, the skill level and sound quality isn’t nearly up to the level of the genre’s heavyweights -- Coalesce, the Dillinger Escape Plan, Converge, etc. Hook Ali up with a band of this caliber, or one of the uncountable higher-end metalcore bands that reek of bad vocals, and we’d have a winner. JS

Man Will Destroy Himself Consume ... Be Silent ... Die
This is my pick of the month! Completely amazing music! This shit makes you want to kick over computers and other stupid technology! It is fucking raw skate thrash. Crashing drums, screaming guitars, whoa oh parts and shouted and screamed vocals with raw emotion, no this is not screamo you trend-o cry babies these dudes could kick your ass and probably should, idiot! I was about to give up on modern thrash/hardcore until I heard this! This band has a music collection similar to mine including: Minor Threat, Metallica, the Misfits, Slayer, Suicidal Tendencies, and Black Flag. Seriously the best thrash I have heard in years! With lyrics that shit on redneckkks, revenge -- "What you despise is what you've become". And my personal favorite: "I like to see bodies washed up on the beach dead, dying no sign of life!" No lame songs about girls, ex-girlfriends, or new haircuts. All four members contribute vocals, and I hear the drummer used to be in COC! This makes me want to bust out headbands, wristbands, a boombox and a cut off shirt and hit a pool circa 1981! Skate and destroy! Extremely Baked Records CR

Marion Delgado Three Songs
I bet you can’t guess why the album is titled "3 Songs" huh? I’ll give you a hint: it has to do with the NUMBER of songs on this ambitiously dull release. Yep, you guessed it. There are THREE songs total, and I really wasn’t impressed with any of them. Oh well. I thought I might once the CD came. Man, I haven’t laid eyes on packaging like this for some completely unknown band in quite some time. I mean, you’ve got cut outs, photos and the whole simple disc itself is packaged like an elaborate DVD in the long box with art and contacts and graphics and everything. Man oh man. Then you throw it on. Nothing short of standard indie rock with a power crunch now and then. Then it’s over. But ... man, what ... what packaging! Bug Records MW

Matt Pond PA The Nature Of Maps
Matt Pond must have some ego to name this band after himself -- there are somewhere between six and ten musicians featured on The Nature Of Maps. However, there is no evidence of cockiness on the record. Pond is a sensitive, unassuming songwriter of exceptional quality. Since their debut record was released in 2000, Matt Pond PA has quickly moved to the forefront of the indie pop circuit, and for good reason. There are only a handful of bands out there that can produce such high-quality songs without resorting to cheap gimmicks, such as an overbearing dependence on synths or "twee" vocal stylings. There are a variety of emotions on display on these 12 tracks, which include two short instrumental pieces. Pond's vocal style at times recalls a less excitable Robert Smith. The instrumentation is quite varied, yet for such a large band they manage to restrain their sound. These are small pop songs, and all of the parts fit comfortably within their constraints, and rest alongside each other. There will likely not be another record released this year that does what Matt Pond PA does with as much craftsmanship. Polyvinyl Records JH

The Mercury Program
Good background music. This indie/basement release has a freeform style, no lyrics, and is very repetitive. It doesn't make you think too much so it would be good for studying, making out, or getting high. Boxcar Records MH/AH

Merrick Album for Raymond
The press release sheets that came with the disc said that they sounded like Samiam. This reviewer mirrors that sentiment to the point where it should be criminal. Being from the same geographical area as Samiam, it seemed only natural for some similarities. This goes beyond sounding like anyone and basically rehashes stuff that is nearly 10 years old. Normally, I would say that if you liked bands that they sounded like (Samiam, jimmy eat world, knapsack), than pick these guys up. However, if you really liked those bands, this will be a disappointment, as it kinda falls short of the real thing. This ten-song disc is 34 minutes of stuff you have heard before.
Definite Records MM

The Maroons
You're Gonna Ruin Everything
If you look up the word maroon in Webster's Dictionary, one of the definitions given is "an escaped slave from a slave ship." Interestingly, some of The Maroons are also members of the Jicks, who now back Ex-Pavement lead singer Stephen Malkmus. Could the Maroons, therefore, be a cry out against Malkmus' pretentious nature? Probably not (after all, his recent release sold a hell of a lot of records, and no indie musician will turn away ready money). Nonetheless, The Maroons new album You're Gonna Ruin Everything is a better effort anyway. Released on In Music We Trust Records, The Maroons provide hook laden, adaptive indie tracks. They flow easily from slow, soulful, beautiful tracks to bouncy guitar and piano juke songs. My one large concern with the album is that the up-tempo piano juke songs definitely win out, and after a strong start, the album gets a bit repetitive. Nonetheless, front man John Moen's vocals are well done, everything comes together nicely. Very danceable, up-tempo and melodic, the Maroons sophomore release is a success. In Music We Trust CS

The Messyheads I'm No One
Sometimes slow and reflective like INXS and Mignight Oil and sometimes fast like the Lemmonheads. Something nice to pop in to brood by and then be cheered up. Great beach volleyball music. I wish there were more than three songs. MH/AH

M.I.A. Lost Boys
Lost Boys is a 37-song discography of Las Vegas, Nevada's politica-punkers M.I.A. Liner notes by guitarist Nick Adams and label prez Jello Biafra try to explain the anomaly that was an outspoken hardcore band in the grossest, most commercialized city in America. In the same vein as Minor Threat and fellow Nevada positive punks 7 Seconds, M.I.A. play direct, no frills hardcore. Loud, angry and smart, early '80s hardcore CD collectors will be swooning over this one; especially those who sold their rare M.I.A. vinyl ten years ago to make rent.
Alternative Tentacles JS

The Microphones I Can't Believe You Actually Died
Apparently, the Microphones consist of a guy named Phil Elvrum (who also hand-screened the covers for this record) playing acoustic guitar and singing with a bunch of friends -- there are 14 listed on the sleeve. "I Can't Believe You Actually Died" is a bit more of a traditional folk song while "Pearl Diver" is more experimental, using a heavy amount of distortion. The fuzzy, distorted quality is helped along by the fact that these two songs were clearly recorded live in a studio, thereby giving the record a rough, unpolished, yet warm feel overall. This is one of those records that you either love or hate. It's probably a dream come true for people who enjoy experimental folk music or locals who know and have seen The Microphones live. This recording does a good job of capturing the ambiance of a Microphones live set. At the same time, the discordant quality of the recording and music could also throw some people who are used to more polished sounds.
Coming In Second! BD

MiLkBabY Strange Jukebox: Live at Mother Fool's
Once, as a little kid, perhaps around 7 or 8, I went to visit some family over in Delaware for the Christmas holiday. My mom's side resides there, which includes two cousins, an aunt, step uncle, grandmother, and father and, of course, my own mom. Being a California kid my whole life, I always kind of dreaded going back to the east coast homestead, not because it was boring and way cold, but mainly because I believed my grandparents house to be totally haunted. They (used to) reside in this three level, Colonial deal that has seen several wars and many occupants die within the walls before grandmother and father took over in the late '50s. It's a nice place, sure, but there is always this aura of cold and some persistent feeling of dread somewhere close to the basement and the attic space. Could this be the over active imagination of an only child who grew up watching cheap Roger Corman flicks on late night TV when my dad was off doing a show, or was the house really infested with some unknown force that made me stay up at night listening to the various creaks and warbles of the restless dead? I'm not too sure, but I was always stuck in this tiny ex-sewing room upstairs, right in earshot of the attic entrance; the same formidable location of ghosts and ghouls I KNEW existed, just waiting to grab me late at night and eat me back to life, eventually to become one of them. Most of the holiday, that one year, went by fine, but one night on my way to the bathroom (a brave deed, I know) I saw someone at the base of the stairs that still, to this day, gives me the creepy shits. Some shadow of a human stood waiting for me at the bottom stair, not moving and looking as if it were peering up at me, waiting for me to make a move. I did. I ran back to my tiny room and shivered until the sun came up. What was that thing at the bottom of the stairwell? And what kind of music is this? Uvulittle Records MW 1.18.2002

The Milwakees The Bland Comfort of Life With Lloyd Justin
The Milwaukee Brewers are going to be a very good team in about two to three years depending on how well the gel as a team... The same can be said for this band. Give them a few years of progression and experience and they may have the formula to win everyone over. Whats funny is this band is not even close to Milwaukee they are from New Jersey which I would have never guessed because they definetly have that mid-west indie sound. Simliar to Farside and Seven Story Mountain but lacking the intensisty and genuine sound those bands have. The highlight is the vocals and lowpoint is the lack of flow after the first song. The first song ("Planes Above Us") is a great song but after that I become less interested and disapointed. Twentyfourseven Records AH

Minmae Lucy in the Sky with DNA Helixes EP
Within five songs, the fabulous outfit Minmae takes us all by the hand and gently leads us to a cozy room in the back, candles lit, bottle of wine at the ready, and coos us all into stilled slumber with an eking tone of twinges through ecstasy. With the medium of semi-rock, Minmae tend to sway the codger with a flit and lilty edge which sends cloudforms overhead and makes due with the minimal spance that is all too broad for such a simplistic melody emanating from each tune. Five mind you. But, essentially, that's all you need. You'll be begging for more, but that's why god invented LPs to coincide with the teasing EPs. And, believe me, they have a few out there that you will need to check out. See this mini-disc as an invitation to their quiet shindig that I mentioned before. I mean, the first tune is slow and incidental, while the second is a quelled alt-head embrace for a mere minute or two. Tracks three and four didn't impress me as the rest; they were tight, light and sometimes sludgy, but the last one was almost too slow, which made me admire it all the more. Perhaps they need to eat a nice hot bowl of alphabet soup and perk up a bit. Was it the lost sock incident that got them so low or is it that one love that is just out of reach much like the brass ring at the broken down carousel? It doesn't matter. The clouds still move above. Dogprint Records MW 1.18.2002

Vonsachiang or How I stopped hating pretty girls and television and start appreciating being a dolt
Officially you're supposed to spell Minmae [minmae]. You know, like all cool/good alterno rock outfits that continue to amaze and secrete albums that squelch and fold with each unabashed "hit" that will never make it past your local groovy college station or that one guy down at the record bin who knows it all and will give an exasperated huff when you say, "Gosh, I've never heard of Minmae." He might do you a favor and hand you this record. Well, I'm not going to repeat the whole darn thing (thank you) but I will say that sometimes epic titles live up to their surprise. Like, how can a band live up to such a nomenclature as to provide a decent following of hints and ideas through chords and beats? Don't know. Folks, trust me, listen up here ‘cause this is both dull and noisy stuff that all makes sense when the needle leaves the grooves. Turn up the volume on your headset though because the engineer forgot to hit the 11 knob to make it so accessible for the aging ears of fans of metal. Oh, sorry ... Right, anyway, Minmae only amaze in the cerebral sense, seeing as a certain percentage of us all can endure the slow poke rotting of the fogbank tunage here. I dig it, I even "like" it, but only after I let it sink in and take care of this certain Schlitz hangover did I full on fully appreciate the efforts made by the enamored alt-rock specters. 18 songs. Did you hear me? That's right, eighteen. Now, that's not a WHOLE lot in the grand scheme of things (heck, DRI did good by including 25 songs on albums, each just over a minute) but when you are this moody and art school drug headed, you have quite a lifting to do when the clock is ticking and deadlines loom. "Vonsachiang ..." is interesting as a horseshoe crab pelted upside-down on your sandy walk toward the ocean. Just don't forget the ether. Or tin foil. Airborne Virus Records MW 1.18.2002

Minus the Bear This Is What I Know About Being Gigantic
A six-song EP from members of Seattle’s Botch, Killsadie, and Sharks Keep Moving had me thinking the worst, and who can blame me? With bands like The Blood Brothers skulking around the Northwest, spewing out that pathetic no-wave keyboard, goofy art rock, temper tantrum bullshit, it’s no wonder I turtled at the sight of this. One glance at song titles like "Hey, Wanna Throw Up?", "Get Me Naked" and "Lemurs, Man, Lemurs" heightened my suspicions. So, ya, I work up the courage to spin this puppy (on headphones, no less) and it ain't half bad. Featuring absolutely no sass, something for which I cannot express how thankful I am, Minus the Bear play a melodic poppy sound that uses sound effects, electronica (whatever the fuck that means), and computer sequencing to boost their five emo-pop songs. This has the fragrance of a solo project that snowballed into a full-fledged band, giving it the luxury of simple songs played by skilled musicians. If it wasn't for some downright repugnant lyrics about rolling smokes and drinking wine with the girls who break their hearts, this might have gotten a few more rotations around the old homestead. Suicide Squeeze JS

Misconduct A New Direction
1988 style hardcore. Similar to Judge and Bold. Not much to say. Yea for Sweden. Bad Taste Records MH/AH

Mission To Mars Rockandrollspidermanbasketball
"Mission to Mars" was this B-movie from the early '60s with a no-star cast about this fake rocket tied to a string that dangles in front of a black background pin-holed so light could shine through them to give the illusion of stars. Once on Mars, the crew (the dashing captain, the first-to-always-die tough guy co-pilot, the dorkus comic relief with a funny hat, the bearded professor and his lovely/easily screamable daughter) were met with hostile humanoids in green rubber suits who come on strong and try to take them all prisoner and steal their ship. Well, the evil Martian varmints meet their fate (somehow) and everyone is safe and the captain and the professor's lovely daughter fall in love while the comic relief tells one last punchline. Well, this album has NOTHING to do with that film! In fact, it is the side project of Buddhakowski's guitarist Philip Golden who basically does every bit of production and instrumentality on this nuttily-titled CD. It is heavy folk on the indie rock tip done with intelligence and candor and should appease the small club goers and coffeehouse heads alike. This is decent stuff, thoughtful and speaks of the trials beyond the wall of childhood. MW

Mock Orange Nines & Sixes
The distinct feeling from Mock Orange is they sowed their wild oats playing pop punk, and now they are a "serious" band. So, the singer/songwriter spews out some cheesy poetry into a spiral notebook and they write some new tunes. A bit more variation, a little more melody, heck, even some cello on "Goodnight Reddick," and you have a whole new band. Mock Orange is now of the "melodic emo" variety. Sort of like how their pop punk label, Lobster Records, started another label called Boiled Music for their "emo" bands. Obvious and silly, this production is not as genuine as it should be for maximum listening enjoyment. The band ain't bad though, competent and interesting, if not transparent. The name Brandon Chappel, in the band credits, haunts me. Is this the same Brandon Chappel who used to be in those old H-Street skateboard videos in the early '90s? Somebody help me here? Boiled Music JS

Mock Orange The Record Play
First thing I noticed was the nicely designed package, but my only beef is why almost every indie/emo record has the same Swiss design concept? Its time for a change in designing these cliche CDs. The rant aside this is a solid release with good vocals and song variety. The highlight is "She Runs the Ride" -- it shows the band has great potential. Good backup vocals and catchy guitar riffs. Similar to bands like the Casket Lottery and Joshua which may be a challenge for this band to stick out in a scene that has a million bands that sound like this. The next album will definitely make or break this band. Lobster Records AH

The Moonbabies We're Layabouts EP
moon ba·bies -- ex. future terminology used for the boom in children once the moon is populated. lay a·bout -- ex. unemployed and watching Rollerball with James Caan on a Wednesday afternoon while the snow falls outside. Duckweed Records RG

Motorplant American Postcard
What does it say about the state of the punk/hardcore scene when radio alternarock is a pleasant surprise in the review pile? Shit, it’s just a relief not to hear yet another metalcore, Promise Ring emo-pop, or sassy new-wave keyboard band. Instead, we have radio friendly "modern" rock, every bit as ... ahem ... good as Collective Soul, Everclear, or the Goo Goo Dolls. Okay, maybe the Goo Goo Dolls comparison is a stretch, and just a little too "punk rock" for the slick boys in Motorplant. Get the drift? Jesus, it’s pretty scary when this kind of palatable rock pop is a better listen than the majority of the today’s "punk" bands. What happened? Who am I? What planet am I on? Shiretown Records JS

The Multiple Cat The Golden Apple Falls
Is this good emo rock or bad retro? Maybe it's bad emo and good retro. Maybe it's neither. I can't tell if they are trying to be like a piano laden Sebadoh or a low-fi Steely Dan. This means they are unique enough to challenge a listener (or reviewer) to really pay attention because they can't be dismissed as cliché. The arrangements and compositions are fresh, but sometimes fall flat and get repetitive at times. If you are one of the sweater wearing emo kids who live for thrift shops, pick this up. If you don't like it, your mom probably will. Plow City Records MM

So I guess there is a revival somewhere out there of that long forgotten, long transformed style once known as Funk Rock. In the late '80s and early '90s, bands such as Fungo Mungo, Psychofunkapus, and even Primus helped push the Red Hot Chili Peppers to obscene fame and helped form the death of modern metal now known as "nu metal" -- which are all but gone or located in the used rack of your local independent record store. But some bands want to keep that tradition alive. Sure, the aforementioned bands all have one tight link -- worshipping the now stagnant and disengaged Fishbone. Get the almost metal guitars in gear, slap that bass and throw in some trombones and you might have an idea of what you are in store for with this release. It’s well put together, each of the five members knows how to play their instrument, and they do a good job of switching from punk, to ska, and to rock. It seems though that this would be a great CD to play at a drunken frat party, where boys in open Hawaiian shirts and dumb hats dance around in pre-beer gut glory to shake off parental supervision and career to follow graduation. In this age of various styles mixing and marring the essence of each genre they are interpreting, it’s good to know that some haven’t even moved on from their sophomore antics way back when. MU330 is one of them. Asian Man Records MW

A-G, H-M, N-Z

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