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M ... is for Metal

Review Archive:
A B C D E F G H I J K L M N O P Q R S T U V WX YZ
Various Artists

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

Manda and the Marbles More Seduction
I used to date a girl that was in a band like this. She too sang and played bass and was hot and ... whew. Anyway, it was rad. I'd go and sit in on their rehearsals and look at the other guys in the band hate me for dating this hot lady when all they can do is play their instruments harder as they lust after her. But then it got all sticky and she got too involved and my writing career wasn't "hip" enough so she fled with this skinny jack sauce dude who runs a dull label and that was that. So going into this review for Manda and the Marbles brought up some crazy emotion, but I'll get through it if you can. And I think you can because the music here is like the Go-Gos gone No Doubt with a hint of Bratmoblie thrown in just because I like Bratmobile. It's goofy pop fun and I liked it a lot. Tight licks, hot chicks, and a whole lot of butter on that popcorn man. But the whole reference to '70s punk goes a bit over my head. I see the lineage but the whole "punk" thing has gotten so malformed that I really don't want to touch it now. I just don't. Ouch… Go Kart Records MW 4.15.2003

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 Mount Eerie
I'm not sure what to think of this. Over 40 minutes of drum beats, static and muffled acoustic folk in a punishing, pointless listen. Unlistenable. Okay, there, I do know what to think of it. K Records 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 1.2002

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

Minmae
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

Modern Machines/Fragments Split CD
This is a really fucking annoying split CD (is there any other kind?), mostly because New Disorder Records make it very difficult to figure out which songs are by which band. Couple that with the fact that both bands sound identical (speedy yet dull post-punk) and this is quite the headache, sonically and aesthetically. Totally in one ear and out the other. New Disorder Records JS 4.2003

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

Moreland Audio Turbogold
It becomes very apparent that the boys here in Moreland Audio are engineers or math whizzes or something. The clangy instrumentals they create and objectify come across in a singular motion, one that instills eras of chalkboard manipulations and tiered seats in dull-lit classrooms. Overall, the tunes themselves are not bad at all, and I highly suggest checking this out if you enjoy such other acts like Drive Like Jehu, Faraquet, and Spatula. It all has it's place and time and often than not I can enjoy a bit of this trickle effect and time signatured mugwump. Best part is -- and this is one that I always love about cool bands of three nerdy dudes that are probably sweet as cake and smart enough to make you feel all stupid holding that filled red cup at the party as they waver from reference point to reference
point -- the songs do rock in a sense and they are not short. No radio friendly hits or demises here dear reader! Take it all and take it on; Moreland Audio scrape the beaker and take us all on an aural exploration of sounds and disturbances. Kind of like the guys in Muppet Lab. Yeah...
54 40 or Fight MW

Motion City Soundtrack
I am the Movie
I guess it was only a matter of time before Epitaph signed a band that could make a run for mainstream emo rock glory. Motion City Soundtrack play tight, energy-laden emo rock that would easily squeeze onto MTV alongside Jimmy Eat World and whoever else is hip this week. This Minnesota five-piece play with sharper edges now and then, but it never really strays far from radio rock territory. Songs like "Shiver" and "My Favorite Accident" even dabble in the kind of Moog-infused '80s sounds that would be perfect for a brat-pack flick. As for staying power, well, this is mighty disposable, but, hey, they might be the new small town teenage girl crush band. Not exactly my seal of approval. Epitaph JS 7.2003

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

Ms. Led Afternoon In Central Park
Maybe it hasn't been long enough to see much of the influence of Sleater-Kinney in the music of other bands. But it always seems a little odd that there aren't more bands mining the post-Riot Grrl territory of politicized emotion, sullen and snotty delivery, and the forced complexity a bevy of fat, simple riffs utilized together in too tight a space. Whatever the case, Sleater-Kinney does what it does really well. Ms. Led does what Sleater-Kinney does (or, more accurately, what Sleater-Kinney has done en route to a more capable, sophisticated song-craft) but less well. What can begrudgingly be referred to as Classic Punk Rock has come and gone, and come again and gone again, and there are still only so many things you can do with a power chord, and we've heard all of them. A lot. There are attempts at ballads on this record, shifting paces, a bit of production, but it comes off as a little unfocused. Although this is not nearly unlistenable, the songs could ultimately stand to just be a little more interesting. Self-Released CO 4.15.2003

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

MU330
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



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