1090 Club
Natural Selection
SideCho Records
Street: 03.24
1090 Club = (Cursive + Minus the Bear + Murder By Death) / 2
A glance at these guys’ press release and a quick scour of other reviews seems to indicate this album is apparently hot shit (?) for three reasons: 1) It’s produced by Steve Fisk, the same guy involved with bands such as Nirvana and Soundgarden; 2) They have a unique setup (keys and violin replacing the bass); and 3) They’re from Montana!!! While these may indeed be interesting facts about these guys, it does not make up for the general mood that emanates from this album. To be specific, the violinist is mediocre at best, the vocals are nothing special, and the album ends up being a snooze-fest halfway through the first listen. The high point of these guys might just be the percussion, which is still out-shined by similar artists such as Cursive and Minus the Bear. Next! Ross Solomon

Adam Franklin
Spent Bullets
Second Motion Records
Street: 04.01
Adam Franklin = Swervedriver’s Love Songs
There was a point in the mid 90s when Swervedriver was simply amazing; when Adam Franklin remembers he was the lead singer. Spent Bullets is his second release since the band called it quits in 1998. In 2008, they got back together and did one more tour and it was about as enthusiastic as this album: one good song to open up with, then 40 minutes of love songs. And not even sappy love songs—just boring, heartless, and pointless love songs. Please stop releasing albums, Adam, you broke my heart and now you’re just putting out cigarettes in the open wound. Cinnamon Brown

The Albert Square/Hard Girls
Silver Sprocket
Street: 12.05
The Albert Square = Jawbreaker + Colossal + Weezer
Holy shit, a split featuring two relatively unknown bands that doesn’t suck! Both of these bands play indie/punk in the Asian Man Records style, which is to say they’re big Blake Schwarznebach fans, but both manage to take their similar influences and channel them into unique sounds. The Albert Square is a bit more polished and versatile, equally capable of creating dreamy, intricate tunes (“Sadie Siren,” “Twenty Days”) and the syncopated, gypsy-punk stylings of “Raygun.” Hard Girls is comprised of members of Shinobu and Pteradon, so they’re a lot more raw and poorly recorded (but in a good way) and perfectly emulate the mixture of introspection and aggression mastered by Jawbreaker. If you’ve got five bucks lying around, there are a lot worse ways to spend it. –Ricky Vigil

Altar of Plagues
White Tomb
Profound Lore Records
Street: 04.17
Altar of Plagues = old ISIS + Fen + Khanate + Cormac McCarthy
When compared to their recent and humble beginnings, Ireland’s Altar of Plagues are a completely different band now. They started out writing solid but forgettable material, followed up by their incredible Sol EP release, and now to this, their first full-length with the mighty Profound Lore. This consists of four lengthy, bleak, emotive tracks, which range from black metal to plodding funeral dirges to even a hint of post-rock. The journey it sets the listener out on invokes a bleak mood of an apocalypse that has already come and gone, crumbled buildings and dilapidated structures, vast landscapes of brown and gray. Each track brings on a hypnotic feeling due to long measures of tastefully used repetition. I am absolutely thrilled about the direction they’ve taken, and fully expect them to be on my short list of active bands that help make black metal stay important and interesting. Listen to this band with mind and heart. –Conor Dow

Profound Lore Records
Release: 04.14
Amesoeurs = Joy Division + Peste Noire + early The Cure
Joy Division-inspired black metal is really the only way to describe this group of French musicians, who have gained quite a bit of notoriety after their 2006 EP, Ruines Humaines. However the EP was much more on the black metal side of things, whereas this album only has hints of it. I’m sure you can imagine how up in arms many “true metal” Neanderthals are about that. This album effectively instills heavy moods of metropolitan anxiety and claustrophobia, which begs for an experience of listening while traversing around admiring our own urban rot. I think my only complaint really is that Audrey Sylvain (bass, vocals) has way too much time on the microphone. This isn’t necessarily a terrible thing, as her performance on the aforementioned EP is a stunning performance, but she really couldn’t sound more bored here. Since the band announced their break-up before the album was even finished, I suppose I can understand. –Conor Dow

An Horse
Rearrange Beds
Mom & Pop
Street: 03.17
An Horse = Tegan & Sara
First of all, I must say I really like the album artwork by Celeste Potter. I used to buy albums with cool artwork in order to find new music, and Rearrange Beds would have been an OK find. I probably would trade it in after a few listens, but not a failure. Catchy guitar and drumbeats mix well and start out nicely in songs “Postcards” and “Company.” Even when lead singer Kate Cooper’s voice starts to get whiney, the countering of guitar and drum pull her through the rough spots along with the back-ups of drummer Damon Cox. Songs “Little Little Little,” and “Little Lungs” are too repetitive to be put in a row, and the album takes a step down as it finishes. Fans of Tegan & Sara are sure to enjoy this album. –Jessica Davis

The Light-Devouring Darkness
Street: 04.21
Archgoat = Revenge + Blasphemy + Beherit
“I want to kill everyone, Satan is good, Satan is our pal” is quite possibly the best part/line from the almost-cult Tom Hanks comedy flick, The Burbs. Well, listen to Archgoat enough and let its grime, grit and occult, Satanic-filled darkness fill your heart you’re going to feel the literal sense of that quote. Archgoat’s death/black metal, ravishingly heavy tunes purveyed on The Light-Devouring Darkness are perfectly paced for the album: they’re not hyper-speed or dirge-slow, just menacingly mean and raw tinges of doom pour out of some of the cuts. With this sardonic work, influences are bared with distinction; there is no possible way to listen to this record and not be reminded of the glorious Canadian act Blasphemy, though each song on this beast is its own branding of devious content. All of it contains a darkness that you’ll welcome into your mind, body and soul over and over again. –Bryer Wharton

The Reckoning
Regain Records
Street: 04.07
Arise = Carnal Forge + Dimension Zero + The Forsaken + At the Gates (Slaughter of the Soul)
It’s surprising the style of music Sweden’s Arise plays; they’re almost their own little metal subgenre. I’ve seen some reviewers call the style Gothenthrash because they play a thrashier version of Swedish melodic death metal. But it’s not good that there is a subgenre for this style at all because all the bands that play it sound the same; a piss-poor worship of At the Gates’ Slaughter of the Soul album. And just like the other bands that play this style, the main guitar tone is terrible in so many ways it reeks of Pro-Tools and computer tomfoolery. There are actually some decent guitar melodies and solos that rear their heads in the music from time to time, but nothing to propel it out of metal sub-mediocrity. I’d really like to know if, when the band recorded this album, they were truly happy and thinking, “This sounds sick, bro.” I know I’d be embarrassed to stand behind this album. –Bryer Wharton

The Power of Positive Drinking
Silver Sprocket
Street: 02.16
Ashtray = Blatz + U.S. Bombs + The Front
Oh Ashtray, I wanted to like you. When I heard your first few songs about drinking and upping the punx, it seemed like you were a bit silly, but you were just trying to have a good time. Also, you kinda sounded like the first Rancid album, so that was a plus. But by the time we got to the seventh song about drinking and upping the punx, it became clear that you guys are just kinda dumb, and the annoying female vocals didn’t earn you any pity points. Then when I found out you guys were all in your mid-30s, it just made me sad. Sticking to your guns is cool and all, but no one wants to end up as the creepy old guy still living at the punk house. Get some help, Ashtray. –Ricky Vigil

Infinity +1
Thrive Records
Street: 03.31
A-Trak = Space Invaders + America Apparel hoodies
While it may be obvious that A-Trak has a black belt in DJ-ing, he might just be another nerdy kid walking out of the dojo. The music he has selected for his latest mix is a conglomeration of every trendy sound that has been proliferated through the last four years in the way of house, electro and hip-hop. It is mixed to absolute perfection, with a continuous hour of music that moves effortlessly. There is nothing groundbreaking here and this release could be written off as just a technical masterpiece if it weren’t for the last track by James Yuill—a smooth, acoustic chill-down remix version of his song, “This Sweet Love,” by Prins Thomas Sneaky. Infinity +1 has the makings of something extraordinary with the trappings of indie peer pressure. –Andrew Glassett

Beware of Safety
The Mylene Sheath
Street: 01.13
Beware of Safety = Daturah + Explosions in the Sky
Like Mogwai and many other post-rock bands, Beware of Safety forgoes any sort of vocals and instead focuses on conveying their message through the use of heavy instrumentals. While Dogs does not necessarily revolutionize the genre, it is still a welcome addition. The tracks are orchestrated magnificently, creating a consistently grandiose feel. Songs such as “The Supposed Common” and “Hexa,” among others, have progressions in such a way as to weave a story as the song goes on. Even though I would recommend a quality set of speakers or headphones for any music, it is especially important with these guys. There are plenty of intricacies that make this a very pleasurable listen, many of which might be missed when heard through your usual white, fruit-branded earbuds. This album is very accessible and enjoyable for almost anyone who has a little taste for some good post-rock goodness. Ross Solomon

The Boy Will Drown
Street: 05.18
The Boy Will Drown
= Necrophagist + December + The Dillinger Escape Plan (Calculating Infinity era)
With the first few listens, the UK-based The Boy Will Drown’s debut, Fetish, seemed like a mishmash of tech guitar wankery and annoying metalcore-styled vocals. Then something clicked like a light bulb turning on in my head and I said to myself, “For what this is, it’s not that bad; actually, it’s pretty damn good.” With Fetish, what makes the album isn’t the jazzy-styled lead guitar-riffing and solos à la Necrophagist that caused the band to get their tech-metal tag; no, it’s the album’s manic pacing with outright speedy and controlled chaos moments intermingled well with strange pseudo-melodic breaks, dirge-filled and slow, grimacing passages and even an occasional bearable hardcore-styled breakdown. The fully audible bass guitar also provides another nicely balanced layer. The only thing I would really liked to have had different on the album is the standard death/metalcore vocals—without them, we’re missing the full angst of the music. –Bryer Wharton

The Bulletmonks
Napalm Records
Street: 04.07
The Bulletmonks = Monster Magnet + Motorhead + Turbonegro + Clutch

Got a hankerin’ for some good old straightforward heavy rock n’ roll? Germany’s The Bulletmonks debut record, Weapons of Mass Destruction, is apt to please. However, I’m a bit confused that either the band or the label is calling their sound “Mosh n’ Roll.” There isn’t really anything here that I could see inspiring a lengthy pit session at a show; more like some fist-pumping, headbanging and beer-raising. The speed I thought I would encounter when first spinning the disc isn’t really a driving force behind the album’s songs. It’s a mixed bag of greasy grooving, some stoner-esqe melodies and plenty of Motörhead-inspired guitar soloing. But as far as great jamming music, which is hard to find these days, it more than qualifies. The diversity amongst the songs keep things popping and fresh and the spirit just ups the ante; the whole thing stirs up memories of great classic rock bands while still sounding entirely new. –Bryer Wharton

Casiotone for the Painfully Alone
Vs. Children
Street: 04.07
Casiotone for the Painfully Alone = Cars & Trains + Magnetic Fields
Elouise or Eleanor (whoever this possibly fictional bitch is) has finally disappeared from Owen Ashworth’s songwriting repertoire. She has been replaced by bank robbers and abortions, which I feel is much more exciting. The newest Casiotone album is full of stylistic changes, the biggest being the huge change in instrumentation. The most electronic-sounding instrument on this album is a melotron, and it is kind of refreshing. The Casiotone has been replaced with a baby grand, apparently. This change went really well, though; Ashworth managed to maintain his slightly depressing, boyish charm. And his droning monotone voice is complimented well by the addition of acoustic instruments. I feel as though the highlight, however, is the Plan B-inspired ballad “Killers,” but maybe that is just because it hits so close to home. –Cody Hudson

Hard Times Hanging at the End of the World
Street: 05.12
Children = The Sword + Early Man + (early) Metallica
Although I absolutely loved Children’s one-sided, one-song 12” release of Death Tribe this past year, Hard Times Hanging at the End of the World doesn’t do such a good job when it comes to grabbing me by the balls and not letting go. It’s definitely good; that isn’t the issue. The problem is that the band has become so enamored with Ride the Lightning and Master of Puppets-style riffing that the guitars seem to separate from the rhythm section far too often, and therefore allows the entire record to come across as more-than-a-bit pretentious and not-entirely-cohesive. It’s a fun listen, and the Metallica-cum-stoner rock sound will go over in many a bar across the U.S., but in the long run, I fear that the band will become forgotten due to their lack of being able to carve their own niche in a memorable way, instead relying on formulas that haven’t been proven to hold an audience. Gavin Hoffman

Crown the Lost
Blind Faith Loyalty
Cruz Del Sur
Street: 05.05
Crown the Lost = Metallica + Slough Feg + Trivium
Pittsburg’s Crown the Lost has made a curious entry into the realm of modern melodic thrash. Crown the Lost play a mid-paced, highly melodic form of thrash metal. The NWOBHM vibe seeps into the record, but so does the melodic style of more well-known so-called modern thrash-metal bands like Trivium. The vocals are definitely the most unique portion of the record—they’re sung in a higher-ranged voice, aside from some very fleeting metalcore-type screams. The guitarwork has some great melodies and includes some technical prowess, but I do find myself losing the rhythm portion of the songs after a few listens. Tempo transitions get a little bungled and at times, sound like they’re played sloppy. Such is the feeling of the album overall—after the initial feeling of Crown the Lost’s sound being different from the rest of the pack, the length of the songs and the album as a whole wears thin and becomes a listening chore rather than pleasure. –Bryer Wharton

Asthmatic Kitty
Street: 04.21
Cryptacize = Deerhoof + Shearwater + Mirah
Mythomania, Cryptacize’s second album, is a mess of catchy guitar pop and layered vocals. The band features Chris Cohen—formerly of Deerhoof—Michael Carreira on percussion and multi-instrumentalist Nedelle Torrisi. Mythomania is an album of pleasant songs, comforting and unique. The music takes a more simplistic approach, allowing the songs a little space to grow, sometimes growing into a 60s pop fantasia, at other times sounding mildly reminiscent of that one “indie hipster band” that all them kids like. I suggest taking a few Ambien and then starting this record. The first four songs or so will get you ready. Then give into sleep and let the rest of this record accompany your dreams. I prefer the song “Galvanize,” which would fits perfectly into my floating oceanic dream of peace. –Kenny Ainge

The Curious Mystery
Rotting Slowly
K Records
Street: 05.19
The Curious Mystery = Cat Power + Do Make Say Think
Listen to Rotting Slowly all the way through. Close your eyes and enjoy it. It begins with bold, sultry blues but it doesn’t plant itself there. Song by song, the album expands and contracts naturally, easily. It is as if the music is merely a landscape for the band to explore, and explore it they do. Long, psychedelic instrumental jams lead in and out of short bursts of lyrics that seem to jump in as soon as the jam starts to languish in redundancy. It’s an album of peaks and valleys that complement one another: You can take the songs by themselves, but together as an album, they comprise an insightful and deliberate journey. Like with any good trip, Rotting Slowly is best appreciated for the journey it facilitates. (The Woodshed, 06.01) Devon Hoffman

Ghostly International
Street: 06.02
Deastro = Sabrepulse + Aeroc + Caribou + so much more
No matter how hard I try, I just can’t adequately describe the magic that is Deastro in just one little equation. He somehow captures every little ounce of 8-bit goodness from any classic video game imaginable and mashes them all up with an expansive array of percussive intricacies. Those qualities tie in with organic instrumentals and a massive range of electronic samples to create an album that beats out even his last masterpiece, Keepers. Beyond having a clear talent for orchestrating such aural wonders, Deastro infuses a certain charm into every conceivable aspect of Moondagger. Everything from the cover art to the song titles and everything in between makes me fall in love with this album more and more with each additional listen. Ross Solomon

Del The Funky Homosapien
The Funkman (The Stimulus Package)
Del The Funky Homosapien = Russel from Gorillaz + Deltron
Del has always been on the front lines of the hip hop world in terms of experimentation and innovation (see his guest spot on cousin Ice Cube’s AmeriKKKa’s Most Wanted, and his collectives Souls of Mischief, Hieroglyphics, etc.). Now,Del has made another coup in the industry with an entirely free album for download (http://delthefunkyhomosapien.bandcamp.com), and it isn’t some throw away: he has been working on it for the last two years. It’s classic Del in terms of quality lyrical content and his signature production quirks. The intro track “Get it Right Now!” slams into your dome and makes for a great follow up to his last release, Eleventh Hour, picking the baton back up with some banger beats and a catchy chorus. “I’m taking this shit back to the essence/If anybody wanna talk shit I got a message/Keep it to yourself our your health will be lessened/Depleted like an energy bar ‘cause you’ll be stressing,” he flows with a warning. But don’t worry, you have done it again Del, and all I have is R-E-S-P-E-C-T.(with A-Plus at the Urban Lounge 5.18.09) –JP

Dengue Fever
Sleepwalking through The Mekong
Street: 04.14
Dengue Fever = Sun City Girls + The Velvet Underground + Mulatu Astatke + The Poppy Family
In this package of film and soundtrack is a greeting to a genre of music you don’t get to hear everyday. The film is like a history lesson accompanied by a soundtrack that I not only enjoy, but also am equally drawn to because of the motivation behind the music. This American LA-based band fronted by Cambodian native songbird Chhom Nimol, inspire to keep the Cambodian pop sound of the 60s and 70s alive. DF have mastered mixing the native sound with psychedelic elements of jazz exotica and pop that makes an essence of its own. Songs bounce from dreamy psychedelic folk to instrumental spacey grooves that seem timeless, to organic sounds that swallow you up. The film highlights current small groups of Cambodians that strive to keep their artistic culture alive after it was wiped out by the Pol Pot regime. In both forms, it’s a notable music documentary (with cool bonus material) down to the very last minute. –Nicole Dumas

Devils Whorehouse
Blood and Ashes
Street 04.13
Devils Whorehouse = later Danzig + White Zombie + Marduk
So it’s been a good couple of months for Nordic metal. Church burnings stopped years ago, and Varg Vikernes was even paroled recently after serving time for murdering Øystein Aarseth in ’93. But that was Norway, where no one seems to be able to do anything halfway. This band comes from Sweden, and Swedes aren’t nearly as extreme. As their name will suggest to some, Devils Whorehouse started as a Samhain/Misfits cover band (the name being taken from a song on the Misfits album Walk among Us). And even though this disc features a dozen original songs, the content is still very much mired in the 1980s horror-punk model. Most of the record sounds like Samhain songs that weren’t quite good enough to make it on a Samhain album. There’s a serious White Zombie vibe as well (but not in a good way), just in the sense that the drums often sound mechanical. I guess the sound they were going for was “inhuman.” Creepy, really. –James Bennett

DJ Hell
International DeeJay Gigolo Records
Street Date: 04.27
DJ Hell = Kraftwerk + Tiesto
DJ Hell brings the world a double-disc of two separate genres of house music, Teufelswerk. The album runs with the themes of “Night” on disc one and “Day” on disc two. The first disk features darker-themed house music. At times, each track dilutes itself with sounds and electronic hits, causing the music to become more of a mind race. An interesting idea, nonetheless, but to me, it becomes more techno trash with someone trying to do too much to make music. Disc one presents no musical creativity and can be rightfully described as containing reoccurring and reused sounds that are spaced differently throughout each techno tune. The second disc is what grabbed my attention. The dark synths that are placed throughout the majority of the mellow electronica songs add a little mojo. Alas! A hint of creativity from Mr. Hell, but still nothing I would ever get caught red-handed throwing into my tape deck. Listen at your own risk! JRapp

Ultra-Selfish Revolution
Street: 05.05
Egoist =
Disillusion + Meshuggah + Mike Patton
Finally, an appropriate band name for a one-man project, Egoist is the sole creation of Stanislaw Wolonciej, who got started in creating progressive and metal music in his home of Poland with his brother in their prog-metal troop NewBreed. Though don’t let the “Ego” portion of the band’s name throw you off; this isn’t a prog-metal guitar-noodling & showboat fest. Ultra-Selfish Revolution has a unique and diverse sound that will easily hold any curious listener’s attention. We have some math-metal-styled groove-riffing coupled with many progressive elements more in the realm of avant-sounding metal. Strange rhythmic concoctions flow naturally within the album’s eight tracks. If dissecting layers of music is something you enjoy doing while listening to tunes, there are plenty of layers to dig through. Wolonciej did a great job with his songwriting, keeping everything fluid and fresh, creating the impression of songs within songs. –Bryer Wharton

What Doesn’t Kill Me
Street: 04.21
Ektomorf =
Sepultura (Roots era) + Soulfly – any original songwriting
I find it fairly interesting that Ektomorf sound basically like Roots-era Sepultura and Soulfly and that they’re from Hungary. I’ve never had the unpleasant duty of having to listen to an entire album from the band before and wow, was listening to this a pain in my ears. For groove metal, it’s halfway decent; the suck factor lies in the rehashing of the same riffs song after song with nary a guitar solo (a worthy one, that is) to be heard. The lyrics are typical, juvenile-sounding, anger-driven and highly laughable. I mean, what do you expect with a tried-and-true album title that’s been used so much it’s like a dirty condom that keeps getting passed around. The album reeks of nü-metal tendencies and has absolutely no power behind it. To make things even worse, the track “Sick of it All,” adds some terrible rap vocals. I think I’m going to puke. –Bryer Wharton

Electric Owls
Ain’t Too Bright
Street: 05.05
Electric Owls = Silversun Pickups + Gin Blossoms
OK, I think this should go without saying, but if your first album’s lyrics consist of gems like: “You’re turning me on/You’re turning me down/Your turning inside out and upside down,” your band should be permanently turned off. This band has some great musicians like Matt Gentling (Archers Loaf) and Jason Caperton (The Comas), but I can’t get past the clichéd, sugar-sweet, thoughtless lyrics. They have a little talent, but this album sounds like it was forced out an indie label’s rectum. –Cinnamon Brown

Elizabeth and the Catapult
Taller Children
Verve Forecast
Street: 06.09
Elizabeth and the Catapult= Rilo Kiley + Aimee Mann + Zero 7
The cynic inside of me was eager to dismiss Elizabeth and the Catapult as a copy-cat act as soon as I put Taller Children on and was bombarded with familiar sounds: The opener, “Momma’s Boy” starts off like Laura Viers, slips nicely into Ani DeFranco, and then a few moments later, switches to Aimee Mann. The next song has shades of Goldfrapp in its breakdown. Later it’s Brandi Carlisle, Rilo Kiley, Zero 7, Feist, and so on. It’s a whirlwind of female singers performed by a perfect impersonator. The cynic in me says no. But the sucker in me loves it. I really like all the above artists, and Elizabeth and the Catapult is exactly the music I want. And this is just their debut album. If they’ve mastered mimicry so early in the game, we can only hope that their future releases will take a stab at mastering individuality. –Devon Hoffman

Two Tragedy Poets
Street: 04.07
Elvenking = The Young Dubliners + Flogging Molly + Skyclad
Well, Two Tragedy Poets is a semi-acoustic album from folk-metal crew Elvenking, though the album’s songs aren’t really all that folk. There is a huge pop emphasis in everything; hell, they cover Belinda Carlisle’s “Heaven is a Place on Earth,” and it’s just as pop-oriented as the original. Hence, a big gripe: folk metal fans might see this album and think “cool acoustic-type folk,” when in fact, it’s more of a pop album with folk tendencies (though there are some standout, less pop-sounding cuts, especially in the more somber tune, “My Own Spider’s Web”). That notion said, the album is a hell of a lot more enjoyable than the only other release I’ve heard from them, which was 2007’s modern melodic metal stinker, The Scythe. All the tracks are massively catchy and filled with plentiful, pleasing, happy melodies. Singer Damnagoras displays a wealth of hearty range and just pleasing tones. There isn’t really a bad tune on the album—just keep in mind that it’s not a “pure” folk record. –Bryer Wharton

Rex Mundi X-Ile
Cruz Del Sur Music
Street: 02.17
Ensoph = The Kovenant + Shadowcast + Atrocity + Mortiis
I’m not sure what audience Enosph may have with their highly electronic-oriented gothic metal/rock—I guess The Kovenant’s last couple albums brought in some new fans, but as to why, I’m not sure. The Kovenant’s S.E.T.I. album was horribly worthless as any form of music, which is pretty much the case for this too, Ensoph’s fourth studio album. The entire CD is totally scattered and during the majority of the songs, it’s as if there are two songs playing at once. It seriously sounds like you were surfing the web while listening to a gothic metal/rock band and happened upon a myspace page for an electronica artist and had two separate tracks playing at once. I want the close to three hours I spent listening to this record three times back again because they could have been spent listening to something interesting or at least something that has an actual structure, flow and direction. –Bryer Wharton

The Flying Change
Pain is a Reliable Signal
Scarlet Shame Records
Street: 05.19
The Flying Change = The Beatles + Elliot Smith + shit
Nine times. It took me nine times to listen to this album without nodding off, or turning it off. Talk about a driving hazard. Once I made it through the full album, I was a little depressed. This was caused by the blues undertone of the music, and the sorrowful, melancholy lyrics. It made me feel bored, disconnected, and anxious to get away. It was very similar to those feelings I have in church during the hymns. The Flying Change seem like a couple brokenhearted cowboys with too much time on their hands. Maybe if the records don’t sell, they can make a deal with doctors and be used as a sleeping aid. –Alexandra Harris

Paper + Plastick
Street: 03.24
Foundation = Drag the River + Lucero + Limbeck
It happens all too often these days: a punk-rock frontman picks up an acoustic guitar/banjo/fiddle in an attempt to channel his inner bumpkin. However, Rob Huddleston (ex-Ann Beretta, Inquisition) has been in the punk-gone-folk game for the better part of the new millennium, and Chimborazo proves that Foundation isn’t in it to capitalize on a trend. If you’re looking for gritty man’s man’s tales about riding the rails and shooting men in Reno just to watch them die, you won’t find them here. However, if you’re looking for well-crafted songs and don’t mind a moderate to high amount of twang in your music, you should probably check this out. Most of these songs would work perfectly well without the harmonicas, fiddles and twangy guitar, but these flourishes never come across as gimmicky and they help to give the songs more personality. Foundation is the real deal, and hopefully they won’t get lost in the sea of copycats. –Ricky Vigil

The Fresh & Onlys
Castle Face Records
Street: 03.17
The Fresh & Onlys = Belles Will Ring + The Zombies
The Fresh & Onlys are full of vintage love. Their simple guitar riffs, eerie keyboards, and suave vocals pull in the air of a 70s street fair. “Peacock and Wing” is my favorite song on the album. It starts out slow and bursts into spinning guitar and tambourine fights. The vocals have a radio-distortion quality that pull together the smooth-then-shout of “Will You be My One and Only?” I would yell “yes” back, but that may come off as a little creepy when sitting alone. However, after awhile, the songs fade into chunky, happy, “groovy afternoon in the meadow” riffs. I lose track of each transition, and then it’s over like a night of laughs and drinks that mysteriously cause unconsciousness. –Jessica Davis

Giant Squid
The Ichthylologist
Street: 02.03
Giant Squid = Pelican + Blonde Redhead + Jacques Cousteau
Confused by the above equation? This is one reason why you need to listen to Giant Squid. I can honestly say that this album establishes the band as something that is no longer easily classified. Heavily laden with stoner riffs, the music is actually quite accessible and even catchy, utilizing everything from your standard guitar and drums to trumpet, banjo, mandolin, and complementary male and female vocals. The addition of Jackie Perez Gratz, (Grayceon, Neurosis) on vocals and electric cello really add an essential aspect the band needs to create “their sound” effectively. Considering this is a concept album, the songs don’t all run together like you may expect, but there is a great deal of consistency in the writing. There are currently only 1,000 copies of this in existence. This band absolutely needs to be signed and I think you’ll agree with me once you hear this. –Conor Dow

God Dethroned
Metal Blade
Street: 04.28
God Dethroned = Behemoth + Dark Tranquillity (pre-The Mind’s I)
+ Blood Red Throne
So what can one expect from Netherlands-based and Metal Blade Records-iconic death-metal crew God Dethroned on their eighth full-length studio album? Since their debut, the band has been progressing from raw death metal with hints of black-metal bitterness to a tightened, less raw, melodic-styled death metal and realms of pristine production. The band’s last album, The Toxic Touch, has razor-sharp production and unfortunately, they weren’t able to capture said clean-yet-pummeling heavy sound on Passiondale, though it’s still well produced. My only complaint concerns the album’s over-triggered, sterile drum sound. The guitars actually have a more raw, albeit old-school edge to them on this offering. Fans of modern death metal should take heed and crank the shit out of this epic, well-performed and well-written album from God Dethroned. The old-school fiends may find discomfort in the newer progressions, but as always, it’s up to personal taste. Mine made friends with Passiondale upon first listen. –Bryer Wharton

To the Nines
Napalm Records
Street: 04.07
Hatesphere = The Haunted + The Crown + Dew-Scented
It’s a good thing To the Nines is only a little over a half an hour long or I’d be really peeved. How this Denmark-based melodic death/trash metal band has released six albums and kept on trucking is beyond me. Every record I’ve heard that they’ve released has been rehashed, one thrash-type riff after another. To the Nines is nothing new or all that exciting; this album was decent when The Haunted released it as The Haunted Made Me Do It. Maybe because Tue Madsen, producer of said album, produced this album, is why this album sounds like a rip-off of said Haunted album, though you can’t really blame an album producer for lame and redundant songs. For what it is, the album isn’t terrible; the band has to have a fanbase or audience to keep it going, right? It really wouldn’t be that insufferable if the album had any real power behind it, but Hatesphere are just going through the motions on this album, offering nothing in the realm of excitement or raw energy. –Bryer Wharton

Heavyweight Dub Champion
Rise of the Champion Nation
Champion Nation Recordings
Street: 05.05
Buju Banton + Kotton Mouth Kings
Heavyweight Dub Champion, a trio of fellas from Colorado, lay some serious beats with their third release. An infused version of dubtronica by way of live instrumentation and MPCs, HDC’s signature sound is on point once again. Not that I enjoy this, though. KRS-One and several other MCs add some hip-hop and reggae flair, but unfortunately bring nothing but mediocre lyricism to the table. With about a pound of that tweed and maybe nine additional substances, I could see this being awesome, especially in a live setting with about 1,000+ other fools just as geeked out as me, but for now, I will put this in my blue bin and try to recycle all the paper wasted for this damn album cover. –JRapp

Napalm Records
Street: 04.09
Hellsaw = (Vulcano-era) Satyricon + Corpus Christii
Let’s set aside the immediate and obvious joke about fetching the “Hellsaw” from the same “hell-toolbox” as the “Hellhammer,” and begin the review of this Austrian black metal horde’s third release. Intricately instrumented and surprisingly sensitive in its acoustic and instrumental interludes, when Hellsaw’s songs take the reins, they rarely move past a mid-paced gallop. Likely too controlled and audible for most black-metal trolls (myself included), and not quite melodic enough to satisfy the Dimmu Borgir/power-metal fandom crowd, Hellsaw find themselves performing adequate and interesting black metal in a no-man’s land. Hellsaw should be enthusiastically received by fans of Khold, later Satyricon, Dodheimsgard and other Nordic acts that have proven “rock” is not incompatible with black metal. –Ben West

Hermas Zopoula
Espoir/Live In Ouagadougou
Asthmatic Kitty
Street: 05.19
Hermas Zopoula = Bob Marley + Seu Jorge + King Sunny Ade
Ah, the soothing sounds of a consistently upbeat island jam. There’s no sound that puts me at ease better than a passionate mix of steel drum samples, sweet-sounding female backup vocals, a strumming guitar, and a soft voice on Autotune. Alright, not really. These things do, unfortunately, make me torn on my overall opinion of Hermas Zopoula’s two-disc release, the first of his to go international. The first disc includes songs that were recorded in a government studio in Burkina Faso, West Africa. It certainly shows potential, but the barrage of effects and samples just make it too complicated and borderline irritating. The second disc, on the other hand, consists purely of Hermas Zopoula, his guitar, and the ambient sounds of his backyard. It provided a much more intimate listen than the other disc, and is significantly more enjoyable and accessible. Check it out if you dig at least two of the guys mentioned in the equation. Ross Solomon

The Hold Steady
A Positive Rage
Street 04.09
The Hold Steady = the Replacements + Soul Asylum + Cheap Trick
So much of the Hold Steady’s existence is tied to their live show. As such, this live CD/DVD combo makes a lot of sense. This disc was recorded over three years ago, just as the 5-piece New York-via-Minneapolis-via-Ybor City band was about to release their seminal album, Boys and Girls in America. That album’s release would bring real success to the band. Now, just a short time later, they are favorites of both music fans and critics alike. These 16 songs are culled mostly from that album, with a handful of earlier (and future) tunes working their way into the set list as well. Overall, it is a fantastic album. Grown-up songs written and performed by men who are miles away from the glitter and insincerity that taints most indie rock. Music as it was meant to be heard—loud, succinct, and accompanied by the roar of happy fans. –James Bennett

In Memorium
Lost to Antiquity
Moribund Records
Release: 04.21
In Memorium = Marduk + Endstille
To be honest, had I not already known the band members of In Memorium are from various northwestern spots on our continent. I would have guessed Germany, based purely on how hateful this band manages to sound. Although In Memorium is a five-piece, Lost to Antiquity comes off as sounding much fuller than that without overwhelming the listener with unnecessary noodling or symphonic additions that could easily steer things into boring land. The production might be a little clean for its own good, but this doesn’t take too much of a toll on the overall experience. There’s even a double-take moment on the track “The Awakening,” which has a heavy groove riff, like something straight from a Pantera album … but in black metal form, of course. I have a feeling this band is much better live, but this isn’t a bad disc at all. –Conor Dow

Wavering Radiant
Ipecac Recordings
Street: 05.05
Isis = Neurosis + Jesu + Cult of Luna + Envy + Red Sparowes
Throughout Isis’s career, the band has relied on taking musical themes and exploring and expanding upon them with unmatched passion. With Wavering Radiant, the band’s fifth full-length record, the audience is given another progression in the realm of all that is Isis, a culmination of each studio offering, be it the sludge-heavy riffing from Celestial to the beautiful instrumental and melody-challenging improvisations from Oceanic to In The Absence of Truth. The entire musical package that is Wavering Radiant is one of those musical endeavors that grabs your throat straight out of the gates and still clings on to your jugular long after the album has ended. There is beauty and darkness with Wavering Radiant; each theme demands attention, with layers of notes and atmosphere, leaving you in peaceful bliss at times and at others dragging you down through the abyss with angry possession. Once again, Isis has failed to disappoint. –Bryer Wharton

Motion in Mind
Bocumast Records
Street: 04.21
Iuengliss = O.Lamm + lithium + Autechre
Iuengliss fits the self-produced artist to exacting standards. The compositions are compelling and well thought-out, but his heavy use of VST soft-synths cheapen the overall sound. It is obvious that the sounds are computer generated and the production places the listener within the computer rather than expanding sounds to reference other places such as nature or the inner city. It gets confusing when he tries to artificially inject warmth into such a cold place. It is a very peaceful-sounding album, and sent me into digital dreams every time I listened to it. This is music for the half-man, half-machine variety. –Andrew Glassett

Justin Townes Earle
Midnight at the Movies
Blood Shot
Street: 04.04
Justin Townes Earle = Devil Makes 3 + The Carter Family + (early) George Jones
I always feel so lucky when a roots record so honest and true crosses my path, because they are so few and far between. My first impression of Justin Townes Earle was that it was too slick, too clean … but upon further inspection, I discovered that it was Earle’s smooth style and his band’s high level of talent that was coming through to me. Midnight at the Movies bounces from pre-war folk and acoustic blues to ragtime and bluegrass, every song so genuine-sounding you’d swear their origins would have come straight from the Depression era. “They Killed John Henry,” a riveting bluegrass track, is just so spot-on it would give any roots music-lover chills. Throughout Midnight at the Movies is a haunting element that so many fail to capture when attempting this kind of music; it’s a true testament to the sincerity Justin Townes Earls and his band have put into their music. –James Orme

Static Tensions
Prosthetic Records
Street: 03.17
Kylesa= High On Fire + Big Business + Mastodon + Motorhead

Kylesa come from a state of other loved metal bands and after being around since 2001, I think they’ll get the recognition they’ve been destined for. There’s an insurgence of perfection between recording and soul-grabbing sound, I don’t see it possible for this recording to not be an epic step forward in their future. Amongst the heavy metal that dominates is a punk core that is conducive to their sound. There’s more catchy timing and the added gentle vocals of Laura Pleasants than ever before. Static Tension’s 10 songs ride so smooth that I listened to it on repeat. The album opens with “Scapegoat,” a thick speed-ridden introduction for what you already know as Kylesa. “Running Red” kicks your ass with its Slayer-ish power rock, while “Unknown Awareness” and “Almost Lost” are heavy, but more melodic. With such a stylistic upgrade, Kylesa have reached a pinnacle and it’s obvious from the sound of this album that they are here to stay. –Nicole Dumas

Left Alone
Left Alone
Hellcat Records
Street: 04.07
Left Alone = Rancid + The Explosion
I would have loved this band if I had heard them about 10 years ago. That isn’t to say that this isn’t good, just that I have trouble identifying with the sob story-esque subject matter of the songs on this one. I heard a long time ago that this band sounds like Rancid. Believe it, it really does. “Sad Story” sounds like it’s straight off of And Out Come the Wolves. Then there’s the bass, which you’ll swear Matt Freeman must have moonlighted in this band to contribute. It’s all pretty straightforward, ska-ish punk rock, which isn’t a bad thing. But sadly, the best song on the album is the laid back, 47-second-long ska-only instrumental “Intermission.” I hope there are more songs in the same vein in the future for this band. As a straight-up ska group, these guys would shine. –Aaron Day

Tall Poppy Syndrome
Sensory Records
Street: 05.05
Leprous = Opeth + King Crimson + Ihsahn + Winds
Norway’s Leprous are one of those mold-defying bands taking themes and styles from multitudes of progressive, metal, and rock bands to create magnificent soundscapes with emphasis lying in intricate melodies. Tall Poppy Syndrome contains unique and songs that will have you returning to over and over again, each building towards powerful crescendos and dwindling down into soothing melodic and at times, atmospheric bliss. A better way to describe influences for Leprous other than listing off bands would be comparing it to pieces of classical music—some of the mellower acoustic and piano-driven songs take you on a trip, such as Chopin’s “Nocturne,” then epic, thundering guitars playing melodies leave you hanging on each note. Add a wide-ranged vocalist doing everything from a soft, humming serenade to high falsetto screams to death growls and black metal scowls, and you have a masterpiece of an album. –Bryer Wharton

Living with Lions
Dude Manor
Adeline Records
Street: 04.08
Living with Lions = No Use for A Name + Screw 32 + Lifetime + Hot Water Music + Taking Back Sunday
Living With Lions’ good-time and carefree brand of melodic punk rock is catchy enough to turn a few heads and their debut EP, Dude Manor, is even ear-pleasing enough to let it run through a few times on repeat without noticing. But that’s just the problem: you wouldn’t notice that it was starting over again. The six tracks (one of which is an intro) are good-good enough to throw up a few clenched fists, even. But when all is said and done, Dude Manor doesn’t quite have the juice to keep that fist in the air long enough to rock as hard as you’d like to. Turns out that Living with Lions might be more aptly named, “Living With Kitty Cats That Are Pretty Cool, But Not As Awesome As Big Tuff Lions.” –Jeremy C. Wilkins

I Am The West
Able Heart
Street: 04.28
Lovers = Laura Veirs + The Jesus and Mary Chain + The Radio Dept.
I really love about half the songs on this album, but the rest of it leaves me cold. Lovers make shoegazey indie pop about love, yearning and all those Big Human Emotions, and when they succeed, my heart strings are absolutely tugged. But their songwriting isn’t quite up to par with the scope of what they want to do, and when they don’t hit that perfect, heartclenchy, bittersweet spot, they fall painfully flat. On the few upbeat songs that they attempt, the acoustic guitar work is trite and unoriginal and Carolyn Berk’s voice just sounds thin. For most bands I wouldn’t say this, but I think Lovers would be much better off if they just stuck with Epic Angst all the time. –Cléa Major

Tomorrow’s Fossils
Little Mafia/Texas Heat
Street: 05.26
Loxsly = Cursive + The Unicorns
I keep thinking, maybe today, I’ll like Loxsly. Nope. I’ve listened to Tomorrow’s Fossils over 10 times now, and still nothing. It is troubling. Loxsly’s songwriting is good. Their songs are thoughtful and restless. Their consistently funky bass riffs buoy light, jazzy piano melodies. But their lead singer, Cody Ground, is weak. His voice is nervous and it fails to inspire any confidence. He sings with falsetto indifference. His vocals aren’t the root of the problem, but they are indicative of the band’s fundamental flaw: for a band with such a dynamic style, their music has no strength. That’s why I can listen to them over 10 times and still not know what I think about them: For all the times I’ve heard this album, I can’t for the life of me remember a single bit of it. –Devon Hoffman

Wolves & Witches
Street: 04.07
Magica = Nightwish + Lunatica +
After Forever
Melodic, female-fronted power metal has basically become its own genre. There are many bands attempting the style that one could say Nightwish made fairly large in the metal world. While Nightwish has drifted further from the realm in which they began and become more pop-oriented, artists like Magica are apt to take the throne left empty. If you aren’t a fan of the genre, this isn’t one of those albums that will make you reevaluate your position. It lies mostly in the realm of “it’s good for what it is,” but Magica do stand out amongst the female-fronted power-metal pack with Wolves & Witches. The more I listen to the record, the catchier and more unique it sounds. With a hearty, thick and at times, raw-sounding guitar tone, a classically trained singer, Ana Mladinovici, and a subtle use of keyboards, Magica offer up a nice package of original-sounding music. – Bryer Wharton

Meat Puppets
Sewn Together
Street: 05.12
Meat Puppets = Dinosaur Jr. + 1984 Meat Puppets + the Oakridge Boys
If there’s any justice in this world, the Meat Puppets will never want for anything. Talent this rich should be rewarded at every turn. After years of churning out quality music, including several albums on the SST label, the guys continue to soldier on. This new disc once again features both of the Kirkwood brothers. Substance abuse had kept the pair from recording together until recently. Joined by drummer Ted Marcus, the trio managed to really hit the nail on the head this time around. Sewn Together sounds like a much older Meat Puppets album. Gone is the snarl and polish that tainted their sound in the mid-’90s as they moved toward a more grunge sound. Back is everything that made people like them in the first place—spontaneity, sincerity and ass-kicking grooves. Let this record serve as a reminder that, when you hit on a good sound in your youth, it is always a good idea to work back toward capturing that sound. –James Bennett

Mia Doi Todd
Morning Music
City Zen Records
Street: 04.14
Mia Doi Todd = Ravi Shankar + Los Angeles
At first glance, Mia Doi Todd stinks like any another bedroom acoustic singer-songwriter would. Dig a little deeper, and you will find out that six years ago, she was on Columbia Records. She also toured with Swedish psychedelic rock hooligans Dungen. She has lived in Japan, studied at Yale and collaborated with Folk Implosion and Flying Lotus. While recording her previous album, Gea, she would take breaks from trying to write lyrics and improvise on whatever instruments were laying around—piano, harmonium, tin whistle or tamboura. Morning Music is the result, and sounds exactly as you would think it would. The album is meditative, organic and soothing without being pretentious or too hippie-sounding. It is possible that Mia Doi Todd may not be like any another singer-songwriter. –Andrew Glassett

Fist Of God
Dim Mak
Street: 03.17
MSTRKRFT = Justice + Boys Noize + some shitty club hip hop

If you’re like me, and I very much hope you are, you have a very diverse group of friends. You probably have at least one E-tard friend, a bunch of pretentious hipster friends, maybe you even know a metal kid. And again, if you are like me, you go to parties. MSTRKRFT has always been the compromise everyone was willing to make. Whether it is a DFA1979 remix or something off of their first actual album, The Looks, nobody was pissed about it coming on the iPod. This album is no exception. However, be prepared for a bunch of shitty club hip hop with guests like (not-so-shitty) Ghostface Killa and E-40. Either way, MSTRKRFT’s second actual album is still a decent compromise. –Cody Hudson

Mt. St. Helens Vietnam Band
Dead Oceans
Street: 03.10
Mt. St. Helens Vietnam Band = Handsome Furs + The Islands
With a name like Mt. St. Helens Vietnam Band, loud, full, and chaotic are a given. The album swings through dance beats that cut just before a nice groove sets in, and sends it sailing around a carousel, and back again. The instrument levels overpower the vocals, creating a drowning distortion similar to Cursive. Songs “Going on a Hunt” and “A Year or Two” are decent songs that pull away from the chaos of (what I will call) the indie-pop attempt to incorporate DragonForce speed skills, but just like every other song, they are repetitive, and I lose interest. The last song, “On the Collar,” drags through seven minutes as a rake to my brain. The album as a whole has a few good bits, but nothing to be excited about. –Jessica Davis

Mulatu Astatke/The Heliocentrics
Inspiration Information
Strut Records
Street: 04.14
Mulatu Astatke/The Heliocentrics = Miles Davis (Bitches Brew) + Banyan + Masada + Us 3
This collaboration between UK’s Heliocentrics and Ethiopian mastermind Mulatu Astatke is a rejuvenating and inspiring album. Mulatu’s Dr. Frankenstein creation of Ethio-eccentric jazz mixed with The Heliocentrics’ progressively equal funky jazz, weld old and new sounds together that will undoubtedly set higher standards. The artists take turns dominating tracks with their defined style, where some songs are an equal blend of both. There are generous hints of funk and hip-hop that is heavily beat-driven, folk inspirations from Mulatu’s native country and a definite Eastern flair that dances on the line of exotica. There is a stray from vocals and obscure instruments used like the begena, washint and the Krar. Songs like “Blue Nile” and “Chinese New Year” are velvety and hypnotic, while others, like “Addis Black Widow” and “Live From Tigre Lounge” are very breakbeat-driven and hip-swayin’. Although similar, no two songs repeat. All I can say is, impress yourself and your friends and make this album your own. –Nicole Dumas

Invisible Cities
Street: 05.05
Nomo = Fela Kuti + Eric Dolphy + Ornette Coleman
Nomo’s fifth studio effort, Invisible Cities, is war through the speakers. Precise horns scream like missiles through clouds of head-twisting drums. The bass pimp struts down a midnight sidewalk. Unique guitar lingers with layers of marimbas, kalimbas and wood blocks. Every song is simultaneously neatly structured and excitedly free. “Crescent,” the bluest of the album’s songs, is highlighted with fluttering flute and an afro-Fela Kuti-like rhythm. “Elijah” is highly emotional and will haunt you in your sleep. A blend of intriguing and catchy, this record was hard to put down. Whether you’re a Nomo fan, jazz aficionado or indie nerd, give this one a listen. You’ll feel smarter if you do. –Kenny Ainge

Old Wainds
Death Nord Kult
Moribund Records
Street: 04.07
Old Wainds = Nav’ + Immortal
Hailing from the northern Russian town of Murmansk, Old Wainds has had a respectable track record for the last 10 years. Considering they’re from a place where the record low temperature in July was 1.7 degrees, I’m sure you can imagine how a band like this found inspiration to write some frosty, hateful black metal. Killing just over half an hour of your time, the album definitely doesn’t overstay its welcome. Unfortunately, this is another one of those “you know what to expect” moments. Though this album isn’t exactly something to race out and purchase, the band still keeps it legit without trying to be more than they already are. –Conor Dow

One Win Choice
Jump Start Records
Street: 02.16
One Win Choice = Strike Anywhere + Dead Hearts + Refused + Rise Against
“Good Intentions” is what Gorilla Biscuits sung about all those years ago in their fit of melodic-hardcore pride. And while One Win Choice has the best of intentions on Define/Redefine, good intentions unfortunately don’t necessarily mean you’ve succeeded in your endeavors. If you’re not familiar with OWC’s Refused meets Strike Anywhere’s formulation of hardcore, you definitely wouldn’t know what you were getting yourself into by glancing at the cover of the EP, which is adorned by a fanciful drawing of a little girl standing on a hill, by a tree, with a kite above her in the air. I thought I was about to hear an indie record by the looks of the cover art. Boy, was I wrong. Cover art aside, these five songs bolster the energy of punk and aesthetics of early hardcore, but fall short due to the fact that they offer nothing new to give them lasting power. –Jeremy C. Wilkins

Outrageous Cherry
Universal Malcontents
Alive Naturalsound Records
Street: 02.17
Outrageous Cherry = Irving + The Flamin’ Groovies + The Church
Seventies era meets new wave drizzled out to the beat of the pre-lame B-52s. There’s a touch of everyone in this album: Echo and the Bunnymen, David Bowie, The Cars, even Mott the Hoople. The album’s decent and I could see myself giving it a few more spins. I was pretty shocked that this is their ninth album, having never heard of these guys, but hey, I don’t listen to bands with “Cherry” in the name. –Cinnamon Brown

Resurrection Macabre
Mascot Records
Street: 04.09
Pestilence = Death + Obituary + Atheist
Pestilence, or mainly Patrick Mameli, who reformed the acclaimed late 80s/early 90s Holland-based death-metal crew last year, took a lot of grief from old-school fans and the metal scene in general. In recent years we’ve seen many bands reforming and releasing new albums. I’ve basically come to an understanding that the new material is another chapter in the band’s history, be it good or bad, and you can’t really compare the new albums with albums that were written and recorded decades ago. With that point said, the highly appropriately titled Resurrection Macabre album should easily stun audiences new to the band and appease fans of both the progressive and death/thrash eras of Pestilence. There is a wealth of guitar mastery within the record’s thrashy rhythms and some knock-your-socks-off jazzy tech-stop & go-groove jamming. Everything fits on this well-paced and highly sinister death-metal listen. I welcome this return of Pestilence; it kicks the living crap out of some other reformed death-metal bands’ efforts. –Bryer Wharton

Philippe Petit & Friends
(Reciprocess: +/VS.)
Street: 03.01
Philippe Petit = Stars of the Lid + Throbbing Gristle + Autechre
Philippe Petit became connected to the music world through journalism. In the 80s and 90s, he wrote for Maximumrocknroll, among others, interviewing bands like Fugazi, Buzzcocks, Melvins and Nirvana. He eventually started his own record label in France, releasing dozens of noise-related rock and electronic albums. After 10 years of his label BiP_HOp, Petit wrote a 70-minute soundtrack and invited an eclectic mix of musicians from around the world to inject their own personalities as part of the celebration. Artists such as Eugene S. Robinson, Lydia Lunch and Severin 24 produce a bizarre, unending assault of strange sounds and ideas—some soothing, some frightening, but always fascinating. This is a must-listen for anyone interested in modern electronic experimental music. –Andrew Glassett

The Poles
Twelve Winds
Double Plus Good
Street: 04.28
The Poles = Transfer + Tom Waits + Grails + QOTSA
The tones and timbres of The Poles’ debut full-length are the thing that jump out at you the most; every sound seems like it was meticulously molded to be rugged and dirty. It has an early post-hardcore vibe to it. These guys are the coolest-sounding band that has come out in the last year. They are all about developing atmosphere and mood. Imagine if the band Juno took beans, slammed booze constantly and smoked camel studs. If you are looking for a band to break up the monotony of everyday sounds, these dudes got it nailed down. It was definitely a wise move for bassist Matt Gentling to leave Band of Horses and hook up with The Poles. If this band ever comes into town, I am totally going to get drunk and go home with them and pray that they take advantage of me. I’m in love. –Jon Robertson

Polecat Boogie Revival
Zodiac Killer Records
Street: 05.08
Polecat Boogie Revival = Anti-Seen + The Allman Brothers
What is it about the South? Well, the blues, rockabilly, and vintage country were all originally from the South—music so amazing it’ll make you cry. Then along came the 60s and 70s to ruin all of that and now when you think of the South, it’s a three-toothed, mullet-wearing idiot sitting down to watch NASCAR that comes to mind. The PBR have some good qualities, like their aggressive approach and tremendous energy, but as far as substance, it’s just not there. The vocals sound like every drunk at a bar that thinks he can sing better than the guy on stage. The band sounds fine—boring, but fine. These Southern rock post-hardcore bands tend to rest on the fact that what they do is rather unique, but if you listen to the Anti-Seen or Nashville Pussy, it’s oh-so-easy to hear that this is the decaf version of something already done with a lot of balls and talent. –James Orme

Metal Blade Records
Street: 03.31
Primordial = early Agalloch + Enslaved + Wyrd
Unfortunately for everyone, when the topic of “bands from Ireland” comes up, U2 is always the first one mentioned. Primordial have been writing Celtic folk and black metal since Ronald Reagan held office. This album is a re-release of their first album, and is the first of four reissues of older material. Imrama has a very strange atmosphere to it, and much of the music isn’t necessarily black metal, so much so that bands who some consider to be post-black metal now actually could draw a lot of influence from early Primordial. Much of the vocals are either cleanly sung or even spoken in a lot of cases, which really adds to the gloomy feel of the album, rather than just another fast and aggressive batch of songs. Considering this was originally released in 1995, it was actually quite original and groundbreaking for its time. –Conor Dow

Power of the Damn MiXXXer
13th Planet
Street: 05.12
Prong = Acumen Nation + Fear Factory (the Remanufacture album) – any artistic merit
Prong had an interesting career creating some classic post-thrash and even an OK industrial metal album before calling it quits, with such musical luminaries in its line-up as Paul Raven, John Tempesta and Ted Parsons. Well, much to the late Paul Raven’s dissatisfaction, Tommy Victor reformed the band roughly seven or eight years ago and it’s been all downhill since then. I sincerely feel sorry for any poor sap that spends money on these remixed tracks from Prong’s last full-length, Power of the Damager, that was boring and unpleasant to begin with. Why artists would remix songs that stunk to begin with is beyond me. Victor seems as though since he reformed Prong, he did it for his own glory and a paycheck. The remixes showcased here are full of redundant and awful-sounding beats, and who wants to listen to something that sounds like a CD skipping? Anyone reading this, please do me a favor: If you ever run into Tommy Victor, punch him straight in the nuts for being a douche. –Bryer Wharton

The Camel’s Back
Street: 10.26
Psapp = Röyksopp + The Bird and the Bee + Stars
’s music sometimes gets nicknamed “toytronica” because of their tendency to make electronica using toys and toy instruments. This genre sounds twee and sugary enough to make your teeth hurt, right? Charming plinks and plunks and toylike sounds are sprinkled liberally throughout The Camel’s Back, and overall, the album has a light-hearted and poppy feel that seemed pretty childish to me upon first listen. But Galia Durant’s vocals are down-to-earth and mellow, and the lyrics she sings are surprisingly straightforward and sober at points. It makes for a good balance anytime the instrumentation gets too airy-fairy, and the end result is sweet without being saccharine. –Cléa Major

Rock Ridge Music
Street: 05.05
Pyschostick = Gwar + Sevendust + System of a Down + Dethklok – humor & intelligence
If this album is a sandwich, it’s a shit sandwich complete with extra stank. Pshychostick’s attempt at heavy metal/hardcore humor reminds me of the boatloads of stupid parody movies that are being released like the plague, i.e., Disaster, Scary, Date, Superhero & Epic Movie. The band pummels jokes in song form one after another in hopes that maybe a few will generate a chuckle or even a laugh out loud; admittedly, a couple songs gave me a chuckle, then it just got highly annoying really damn quick. If you enjoy recycled heavy chugga-chugga riffs, an annoying vocalist, lame talking in between songs that is supposed to be funny, and jokes inspired by 12-year olds, then Psychostick is right up your alley. I’ll stick with the glorious humor-infused artists such as Zimmer’s Hole or The Bloodhound Gang and of course, Gwar. If you actually have the patience to listen to this start to finish you’ll feel like taking a shower to wash its worthlessness off of yourself (05.16, Club Vegas). –Bryer Wharton

Pulling Teeth
Paradise Illusions Paranoid Delusions
Deathwish Inc.
Street: 03.31
Pulling Teeth = Slayer + Isis + Trash Talk
Pulling Teeth’s latest release is as close to a brooding, epic, multi-movement recording that a hardcore band can get. Simultaneously mixing aspects of doom, ambient and straightforward hardcore, Paradise Illusions Paranoid Delusions can be a challenging listen, if only for the fact that taken in its parts, no one song stands out. However, taken in its full 23 minutes over 5-song span, it is revealed to be an epic release that shows a dedication to nuance in textured guitars and slow pacing, and at times, maintains the scathing commentary and tempos of traditional hardcore. The lyrical content delves into everything from caution about putting faith into a messianic politician, to the scam of modern warfare: “Just wanted education/ It cost your free will,” to self-reflection. Although the five minute intro to Paradise Illusions gets long in the tooth, this recording taken as a whole is a well-crafted piece of forward-thinking hardcore. –Peter Fryer

 Richard Swift
The Atlantic Ocean
Secretly Canadian
Street: 05.07
Richard Swift = Spoon + M.Ward
The most appealing thing about Richard Swift is that he knows his parameters. He is what he is: A folk musician who sounds an awful lot like bands that are out there already, from The Decemberists to Wilco, etc. The title track opens the album with the recognition that yes, he is “part of the scene,” and yes, he’s “got the right LPs” and “the drum machine.” Yes, he gets it: he’s nothing new. Now let’s move on. He spends the rest of the album diving into his chosen genre and exploring its limits, and the deeper he dives, the better the album gets. Drawing from America’s history of music, from ragtime to soul, Swift makes an album that is timeless and comforting and consistently exploratory. –Devon Hoffman

The Rocketz
We Are … The Rocketz
Street: 04.28
The Rocketz = Reverend Horton Heat + Social Distortion + GBH
It’s amazing to me when a band comes into its own and just throws off all shackles of what they’ve been told they need to sound like. The Rocketz’s first record, Rise of the Undead, was a great psychobilly record, and definitely made every psycho that heard it stand up and take notice, but it was obvious that the vision of this band was much larger than any one subgenre could contain. Four years later, the Rocketz are back with a record that shows, simultaneously, more maturity and more aggression. From the harsh punk rock stylings of “Loser” to the entrancingly melodic, almost honky-tonk of “East LA,” the Rocketz take this record wherever they want, and any band with balls enough to cover the Dead Kennedy’s “Holiday in Cambodia” and immediately follow that with a cover of the classic 50s Sun Records tune, “Slow Down,” has got my respect. I know it’s early to call, but expect to see this record on my Top 5 list at the end of the year. –James Orme

The Human Condition
Inside Out
Street: 05.19
Saga = Asia + Dream Theater (extra light) + added cheese
Taking into account there is an audience for this style of what I like to call easy-listening prog-rock, I should set personal taste and bias aside when listening to this new album from Canadian progger’s Saga; they’ve had an illustrious career that began in the late 70s. Well, unfortunately for Saga, I’m not going to set my personal tastes aside for reviewing this record … why? Because even just judging the album on talent, songwriting and overall sound, it’s still a godawful piece of music that, while playing, makes you literally want to pull your hair out and run away. The Human Condition is filled with happy-sappy, syrupy sweet melodies purposely meant to sound pleasing to an idiot music-listener’s ears. I’m not an idiot, this album is torture and I’m stuck in an elevator in hell playing this as muzak. –Bryer Wharton

Get Wild
Ultra Records
Street Date: 04.07
Sharam = Tiesto + P.Diddy (Post Biggie)
Sharam, part of dance music super-group Deep Dish, has released his first full-length solo album, Get Wild. The album opens interestingly enough, with a country and hip-hop-influenced song featuring up-and-coming MC Kid Cudi. I did not see that coming, but enjoyed Cudi’s verses quite a bit. This track is the only song of its style on the album, so be warned of the abrupt transition from this George Strait-influenced hip-hop to deep techno beats. The album soon begins along the path of standard housey, trance and techno beats until the dark, rave-inspired track “Duck, You Sucker.” Following this is “Patt With Diddy” featuring P.Diddy. Diddy displays his perverse and detrimental lyrical abilities on this soon-to-be Vegas club hit, due to its graphic nature, club bass and “Party All The Time” sample. The album comes to a close with a sublime and rather impressive down-tempo techno tune, a highlight indeed. With not much else to say about Sharam besides using this album for some filler tracks during your next DJ set being an option, let’s steer clear and let the DJs remix some of these songs to make them better … –JRapp

Sleepy Sun
Street: 05.26
Sleepy Sun = Brian Jonestown Massacre + The Mars Volta + Dead Meadow + Luna
The first two tracks of Embrace are so fucking Volta-pretentious that I almost don’t want to hear the rest of it. Track three, though, damn, track three: It tripped me out. First few times of listening to this album, the first tracks really pissed me off, but then I’d forget about who I was listening to. I’d hear something awesome and have to run to the other room and track back to the beginning to hear it again. The rest of the album is really damn cool, plenty of trippy San Fran psycedelia, but skip those first tracks. –Cinnamon Brown

Badman Recording Co.
Street: 05.05
Starfucker = Unicorn Dream Attack + Cornelius
Starfucker is everything I love about nuevo-pop with a little dancey-dance thrown in for some flavor. This isn’t a thinking man’s style of music; admittedly, Mr. Fucker is plenty happy to just meander about on the keys with some drumbeats keeping some of that ass-shaking time. Not rocket science, but it doesn’t have to be: It isn’t music to write a novel to or wax poetic about. It is music meant for going out and having a good time with your girls, because (fortunately for the broads) Mr. Fucker has included a “Girls Just Wanna Have Fun” cover. That is Cyndi Lauper’s “Girls …” by the way. He doesn’t actually switch it up that much, but when dealing with such an iconic classic, too much jiving can fuck with the flow. The fact that a male’s lead vocals dominate the track keep it new and exciting all at the same time. Which is the point of this style of 80s/90s dance music that Starfucker has made: to look interesting and fun, and—most importantly for his younger fans—new again. –JP

Strung Out
Prototypes and Painkillers
Fat Wreck Chords
Street: 03.31
Strung Out = Good Riddance + No Use for a Name + Bad Religion
Back in the late 90s, you could pretty easily accuse nearly every Fat Wreck band of being a NOFX clone, but not Strung Out. While the other Fat bands were writing songs about farts and vaginas, Strung Out were polishing their brand of metal-influenced punk. Ten years later, the old Fat sound is pretty much dead, and the once-welcome alternative provided by Strung Out just isn’t as appealing. This collection of rarities and outtakes isn’t bad, but 26 Strung Out songs in a row is far more than anyone should be exposed to. It also doesn’t help that the two most interesting songs are a cover (“Bark at the Moon”) and a song that doesn’t even last 30 seconds (“Klawsterfobia”). Prototypes and Painkillers isn’t horrible, but it’s only for the hardest of the hardcore Strung Out fans. –Ricky Vigil

Success Will Write Apocalypse across the Sky
The Grand Partition and the Abrogation of Idolatry
Nuclear Blast
Street: 04.03
Success Will Write Apocalypse Across the Sky = Gorerotted + Extreme Noise Terror + Psycroptic
I have to say right out of the get-go here that I absolutely despise terribly long band names for a few reasons: One is it sounds kind of emo, and two, the big reason, is that it gives a sense of a lack of ideas. Let’s face it—the longer your band’s name is, the easier it is to forget. Though the band does go by SWWAATS, it is just as confusing in any right. However, the Tampa-based death/grind crew did bring their mettle to the table with a grindingly good album worth listening to more than once. With nice and crisp production, the groove-styled riffing gets a podium turning things into a giant, speedy, gut-wrenching affair. The lead guitar/technical guitar work is subtly pleasing instead of being the over-the-top annoying, syrupy goo that some bands are passing off as talent these days. The just-over-a-half-hour’s worth of tunes presented here seem to play out longer, and yeah, there is some redundancy with repeated listens, but what death/grind record isn’t redundant in some way? –Bryer Wharton

Street: 05.19
Tankard = Slayer + Death Angel + Vio-lence + Sodom
Germany’s Tankard have been thrashing it up since ’82 and interestingly enough, they play opposite what German trash metal is most known for. Tankard are tried-and-true beer-fueled party thrashers, although they do maintain some of the raw German thrash elements at times as well. The tunes are mostly speed driven, well played and well written, with fantastic mixing of clean and raw guitars & vocals. Lyrically, Tankard is driven by drinking beer or whatever alcoholic beverage serves you best, though there are some serious song lyrics and wise and somber-type melodies that do chime in a few times. Thirst is another solid album for a band with a long history of thrash-metal glory. I’ll listen to any Tankard record over any new-school thrash-metal band attempting to play music that sounds exactly like the stuff these guys built their career upon. –Bryer Wharton

The Thermals
Now We Can See
Kill Rock Stars
Street: 04.07
The Thermals = The Ramones + Ted Leo and the Pharmacists + Built to Spill
The Body, The Blood, The Machine was such a tremendous document of pop-punk, indie-pop, whatever you want to call it, it sort of begged the question, “Well, shit, what are they going to do next?” Fortunately, Hutch Harris and company have returned with a great addition to their unique catalogue in a not-s-unique genre. Now We Can See picks up pretty much where The Body …  left off musically. This release has some more forgettable tracks than The Body …, but it’s still full of scathing, insightful lyrics masked by a pop-punk backdrop. Now We Can See satisfies that part in all of us that wants to sing along and be rebellious simultaneously. Although most of the album finds the band playing up-tempo pop-punk melodies, “At the Bottom of the Sea” reins in the Thermals energy and shows that their songwriting isn’t chained to the upbeat. It serves as a good break before pushing forward into “When We Were Alive,” which finds them harkening back to their Fuckin’ A days. Many people will talk of The Thermals taking on a post-Bush Obama era. Although this may be a valid point of reference, the most important aspect is that the Thermals are more interested in framing the present in a more artistic way than with bumper-sticker politics. That’s why they are the best at what they do. –Peter Fryer

Trigger the Bloodshed
The Great Depression
Metal Blade
Street: 04.14
Trigger the Bloodshed = Hate Eternal + Grave + Dim Mak + Deicide
It’s funny how time flies; it seems like just last week I was listening to and reviewing Trigger the Bloodshed’s debut album, Purgation, when in fact it was June of last year. And interestingly enough in said review, I stated “There is great promise in this simplistic yet brutal band”; well, thankfully they did that statement justice. The Great Depression delivers more scathing, hate-tinged modern- and old-school-sounding death metal, pummeling listeners with speed and slow, grimy dirges all retaining the crusty, gritty tones the debut offered. Trigger the Bloodshed could be labeled as a tech-death metal band, but they aren’t overachievers either; guitar skills and songwriting go hand in hand, making for an album that doesn’t sound like the band is trying to impress the world, just making a nice, brutal slab of blood-gushing metal. –Bryer Wharton

In the Light of Darkness
Regain Records
Street: 03.09Unanimated = Dissection + (early) At the Gates
Apparently, 14 years have passed since Swedes Unanimated last gathered to bend strings, pound skins, and abrade lungs. While the world might not have known what it was missing, the popularity of Opeth, Bloodbath, and all things melodic and heavy again kindled the fires of these heshers. Featuring lesser-known members of Desultory, Dismember and Entombed, Unanimated tears pages from the choir books of Dissection, Unleashed and all things 1990s Euro-death. The result is absolutely a retread, and won’t require a post-script for the Swedish death-metal canon. But this retread is certainly well and convincingly played, which isn’t a big surprise, as the members helped write the book to begin with. –Ben West

Various Artists
K7/Rapster Records
Street: 06.09
= salsa dance + shit – track No. 1, 5 and 11
K7 and Rapster Records brings us an influentially inspired Cuban music compilation with a twist, from modern recording artists Fatboy Slim, Lateef the Truth Speaker and UNKLE. The Castro-less Cuban rhythms that are flipped with modern hip-hop, dance, world and reggae rhythms offer a wide range of tracks for you to sip your favorite beachside drinks to, but you might need about five to enjoy some of these tracks. The album opens with an outstanding horn-laden, down-tempo hip-hop track from Fatboy Slim and Lateef. The next four tracks are an attempt at mixing Cuban rhythms with modern dance music; sounds like a mix between Tiesto and Santana. FAIL! A bright spot begins to emerge with another Fatboy Slim masterpiece, which is simply a modern reworking of ol’-time sounding Cuban rhythms with an excellent piano breakdown. The album then begins its downward spiral once again, ending with mild disappointment and no plantains. Standout tracks are “Shelter,” “Siente Mi Ritmo” and “Black Dollar,” and these should definitely be added to your iTunes library. –JRapp

Victorian Halls
Victorian Halls
Street: 02.09
Victorian Halls = Blood Brothers + Foxy Shazam + Arsonists Get All The Girls
Pop is obnoxious. Miley Cyrus grates on every sane person’s nerves because she’s so fake and overly handled (get your mind out of the gutter, pervs) with saccharine-sweet bubble-gum music that would make any real music fan puke. However, Victorian Halls is obnoxious pop from the other side of the spectrum—instead of being unlistenable because of their sweetness, they’re unlistenable because of their overt high-beams they call vocals. There’s something infectious to their music, though. Synths, drum machines and fuzzy bass lines push their self-titled EP beyond pop and into ADD-inspired dance tracks that rock one minute and seizure the next. These Chicago natives will never be the next huge pop sensation, but they’re not trying to be. It seems like they’re much more comfortable being blasted in the car of teen ravers on their way to score a gallon of Red Bull than blaring at a pick-up club. –Nick Parker 

Wayne Hancock
Viper of Melody
Street: 04.21
Wayne Hancock = Hank Williams + Bob Wills + Woody Guthrie
Somewhere in the 60s, country music lost its way, and today’s mainstream country, with its sappy hits and stupid hooks, is only a shadow of the great genre of music it once was. To any fan of real, and I mean the real country music, there are so few bright lights in a sea of mediocre darkness. Wayne Hancock may just be the brightest torchbearer playing out on the road today. This king of juke-joint swing is like no other. Rockabillies, hillbillies, and appreciators of good down-home music can all agree that Wayne “the Train” is the real deal. His latest release is another triumph. Recent records have seen Hancock bring aboard horn players and many other accompaniments to enhance his swinging style, but for Viper of Melody, Wayne has limited things to just his highly talented road band. Steel guitarist Tony Locke fills each song with wanderlust while Wayne croons along and the rest of the band pleasantly pumps out each raw country tune. Songs about love and death, good times and hard, all seem to reflect a life that is just not hard to sympathize with no matter what your situation. –James Orme

White Rabbits
It’s Frightening
TBD Records
Street: 05.19
White Rabbits= Vampire Weekend+ Ted Leo & the Pharmacists
I asked my buddy Aaron what he thought of these guys and this is what he had to say: “Eh.” A thrilling assessment. But how does their sophomore album stack up? Let me put it this way: listening to their two albums together on shuffle, I can hardly tell the difference between them. They’ve still got their dark piano, their drums, and their slurred vocals. It’s still got that upbeat-but-dark, ironic sound. The greatest difference between the albums is that It’s Frightening is no longer quite as catchy. I agree with my friend Aaron: “Eh.” Their debut, Fort Nightly, was upbeat and fun, but it never drew me in. Unfortunately, It’s Frightening isn’t even that fun. White Rabbits is an OK band, but they didn’t improve with their sophomore release, so their already familiar sound is getting old fast. (Urban Lounge 06.25) –Devon Hoffman

The Wonder Years/All Or Nothing
Distances 7”
No Sleep
Street: 03.10
The Wonder Years = Fireworks + Motion City Soundtrack
All Or Nothing = Daggermouth + Title Fight
I have sort of a love/hate relationship with this whole pop-punkcore sub-genre. Mixing cheesy lyrics about being young, dumb and awkward with hardcore tempos and breakdowns seems like it shouldn’t work at all, but every once in a while, it’s just plain perfect. This split isn’t flawless, but it is a whole lot of fun. The Wonder Years lean more towards the pop-punk side of things, providing two songs that are catchy as hell, and their use of a synthesizer makes them stand out from other bands in this increasingly stale genre. All Or Nothing has little bit of a harder edge, with crunchy guitars and gang vocals reminiscent of Set Your Goals, but their pair of songs is a little lacking in the catchiness department. Even so, this is a really fun split, even if it isn’t groundbreaking. – Ricky Vigil

XTC as The Dukes of Stratosphere
25 O’clock & Psonic Psunspot (Re-release)
Ape House Ltd
Street: 04.20
Dukes of Stratosphere = XTC + 70s era Beatles + Syd Barrett + Yardbirds
In 1985, British band XTC formed alter-egos The Dukes of Stratosphere, a band meant as a tribute and parody to 60s psychedelic rock. The Dukes’ two albums are now being re-released with bonus demos and a video on each. Some of the band’s best and highest-selling work, it brings to mind The Beatle‘s Sgt. Peppers or Pink Floyd‘s Piper at the Gates of Dawn. The songs are well crafted, but all sound vaguely familiar. Almost like you’ve heard them before, but it’s all a little foggy now, isn’t it? 25 O’clock is more erratic with several Syd Barrett freak-outs while Psunspots complements it well with a more pop friendly approach. What started out as a joke turned into some decent music. But, it is a parody, and at some points very comical. If your into psychedelic rock you’d be better off sticking with the bands that influenced this project. –Kenny Ainge

Zion I
The Takeover
Gold Dust
Street Date: 01.27
Zion I = Afrika Bambaataa + Juice Crew + Tribe
Zumbi and AmpLive have been around 12 years now. Although they have molded with the hyphy movement going down in the Bay, they have kept their underground swagger at top-notch caliber. The Takeover opens strong with typical Zion flavor featuring some crazy African drum beats, dropping to a bouncy 808 breakbeat. The album moves great with the same flavor in the beginning (“Geek to the Beat” and “DJ DJ”), and my mind became clouded listening to it, picturing myself circa ’88 rocking a ridiculous gold chain and some Kangol for good measure. Then, BAM!! The single of the album, “Antenna” pops on. At first listen, I was disgusted, almost like the morning after a Tortilla Gold binge that ends with Beto’s. “Antenna” is highlighted by Zumbi’s verses, but this is overshadowed by a lacking chorus, AmpLive’s subpar beats and a horrendous breakdown. But picking me up like a pancake breakfast on Sunday is “Caged Bird” featuring Brother Ali. Zumbi and Brother Ali’s flow is laced with an amazing, soulful female chorus. Unfortunately, this song leads to the disappointing end of The Takeover. The final nine tracks are rather dull and do not display typical Zion I talent. It almost feels as if AmpLive took a dirt nap with the MPC for the final nine. Starting strong, fluttering like a Yugo, then picking you back up only to let you down is the best way to describe this album. Sounds like my last relationship … –JRapp