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May 2008 Reviews by

The Animals At Night
Anthem In

A Tomato A Day

The Backsliders
Blind Melon
The Boy Bathing

Coin Opera

Cut Off

Lid Emba & Bob Crane
Goat Inventions

Veda Hille*
Jimmie's Chicken Shack
Joan of Arc
John's Arm: Armageddon

Jr. Juggernaut
Steuart Liebig/Tee-Tot Quartet
The Life Before Her Eyes
Little Old

The Lodger
Holly Long

Lousy Robot
Mass Solo Revolt*
Meho Plaza

Pete Mroz
The Myriad
Nerf Herder
Pia Fraus*
Josh Preston

Outer Limits / Jeff Christie*
The Priddle Concern
Racing Cars
Rachel Ries*

Sam Champion
The Solipsistics*

Tell Your Children

The Thin Man*
Amanda Thorpe
The Walkup
Ian Walsh

The Wedding Present
The Weepies*
When Dinosaurs Ruled the Earth
Wipe Your Ass

Young and Sexy*

*Top Picks

Additional Items Received


The Animals At Night - Rain Falls on Asphalt (CD, In Spades Music, Progressive)
The Animals At Night is the duo consisting of Seattle producer Graig Markel and drummer / multi-instrumentalist Joe Patterson and Rain Falls on Asphalt is their debut album. Markel and Patterson aren't the only ones appearing on this album, however. They also enlisted assistance and support from nine other key individuals, namely Nabil Ayers, Eric Corson, Dave Einmo, Jeremiah Green, Daniel G. Harmann, Zera Marvel, Jeffrey McCallum, Trent Moorman, and Chris Schiermann. All of the proceeds from this album are being donated to the PETA organization. Rain Falls on Asphalt is an intriguing album because it contains both commercial and non-commercial sounding tunes. These songs are smooth and dreamy and drenched in all kinds of interesting digital effects. Some of the tracks are instrumentals while others are progressive pop with vocals. Because of the variety involved here, it is difficult to pigeonhole this album...but the one identifying constant is the smooth, impeccable sound quality. Markel and Patterson have created some very intriguing music...and we can only hope this is the beginning of a long and rewarding collaboration between the two... (Rating: 5)

Antenne - #3 (CD, Helmet Room Recordings, Progressive)
Antenne is the duo of Kim G. Hansen and Marie-Louise Munck. Hansen was previously in the bands Institute for the Criminally Insane, Grind, and Armstrong (which also featured Munck as a vocalist). #3 is an interesting album that doesn't easily fit into specific genres. Some of the tunes sound like an odd take on subtle progressive modern folk...while others teeter into more experimental territory that sometimes recalls artists like Brian Eno. The lengthy esoteric compositions on this album are surely meant for that specific segment of the population that requires more out of their music than a few cute lyrics and hummable melodies. Sad, subdued, and occasionally slightly hypnotic...#3 is a most certainly an acquired taste for mature listeners. Intriguing and rather...cerebral... Beautiful. (Rating: 5++)

Anthem In - Anthem In (CD, Quiet Loud, Pop)
To be completely honest, we have heard dozens...actually hundreds...of bands over the years whose sound is very similar to Anthem In. The band plays the kind of smooth, polished, melodic guitar pop that most underground music fans are very familiar with. So if that's the case...then why is it that the music on this band's self-titled debut album is so much more genuine and satisfying than most? The answer is simple. In the world of music, the motivation behind the music is absolutely critical. When we listen to bands, in most cases we can immediately pick up on why the music was created. Were the recordings made for money? Or for fame? In this case, we most certainly get the impression that the guys in this band create music because this is what they love doing. And that is exactly what makes Anthem In such an exceptional band. Consisting of Allen Orr, Ashley Proffitt, and Tyler Soucy, this group creates cool and heady pop that is simultaneously hummable and danceable. Thirteen kickass tracks here including "Moving On," "Five Minutes," "Photograph," and "In My Life." (Rating: 5+)



An apple a day
Makes the doctor
Put on a big ol' frilly skirt
And twirl around in circles
Like a retarded goddamn

(Rating: 1)

Architects - Vice (CD, Anodyne, Rock)
Pure, solid, straightforward, rip-roaring rock and roll...played simply and without unnecessary ingredients getting in the way. Vice is the third full-length release from the Architects. At a point in time when most loud rock bands rely way too much on technology to hide the fact that their songs have no substance, these guys come across sounding genuine and real. This album is, appropriately, devoid of long guitar solos and cutesy overdubs (two things that can really destroy most hard rock albums). The band consists of Brandon Phillips (vocals, guitar), Adam Phillips (drums), Zach Phillips (bass, vocals), and Keenan Nichols (guitar). While Vice packs a big punch, the guys in this band never resort to using volume as White Out. This twelve track album is chock full of hard-hitting rock tunes that immediately stick in the brain. Cool, classy tracks include "Cold Hard Facts," "Daddy Wore Black," "Drop in the Bottle," and "Oklahoma." Great gutsy vocals. Well done. (Rating: 5)

A Tomato A Day - The Moon Is Green (CD EP, Public Eyesore, Progressive pop)
Comparisons to Daniel Johnston are inevitable here. A Tomato A Day is the recording project created by Brian Poloncic who has been in and out of mental hospitals over the years coping with his schizophrenia. But, strangely enough, Poloncic's music seems to have more in common with the songs of Syd Barrett than Johnston. The songs on The Moon Is Green are appropriately strange and blurry and they come across like odd stream-of-consciousness ramblings. Before writing this review we listened to this disc a half dozen times or more...and we're still somewhat puzzled. This odd little EP features seven tracks including "Moonshine," "Halo," and "Build a Town." Interesting. (Rating: 4+++)

The Backsliders - You're Welcome (Independently released CD, Pop)
Folks who loved the first couple of Blondie albums (before the band turned into a partially digested baloney dump) will likely get a trusty kick out of The Backsliders. Recorded in Spring and Summer of 2007, You're Welcome features pure, simple, catchy pop music played with integrity and style. The band consists of Chris Bonner, Kim Pendleton, Nolan Theis, and Taylor Young. The sounds on this album were created from a pure love of playing and unbridled enthusiasm. The band writes all of their own material...and almost every song they write sounds like a Top Ten hit. But don't expect to hear the kind of cheesy breast milk that gets pumped out by American Idol retards. The Backsliders play real pop for real people. Plenty of cool, chunky nuggets here including "You're Gonna Miss Me," "Typically I Don't Mind," "Now They Know," and "Someone Has Broken." Really nice sounding pure pop with top-notch vocals. (Rating: 5+)

Beehatch - Beehatch (CD, Lens, Progressive)
We knew we were going to dig this one before we even crammed it into our goddamn player. Why? Because Beehatch is the new band created by Phil Western and Mark Spybey who originally played together in the band Download. The two traded tracks from Los Angeles, California to England and back by way of file sharing on the internet. The result is the duo's first self-titled release. Folks who have followed either one of these fellows' careers will have some idea of what to expect here. Not surprisingly, there aren't a lot of commercially accessible tracks on this album. Western and Spybey create music seemingly out of an artistic desire to create...giving little or no thought about whether or not the music will sell. As such, Beehatch is a cool collection of creativity...each song flowing into the next with ease...and yet ultimately giving no indication as to what might come next. This might best be described as stream-of-consciousness experimentation. Some of the songs are more musical than others...yet as a whole these fourteen tracks hold together quite well. This is a totally cool musical experiment that works. We can only hope that these two guys will keep the Beehatch releases coming. This is a killer debut...recommended. (Rating: 5+++)

Blind Melon - For My Friends (CD, Wishbone, Pop)
We were never that impressed with Blind Melon in their heyday. Add to that the fact that we are almost never impressed with band reunions...and you may be wondering why in Hell we are covering this CD. Well mainly because...we just like the songs. Most folks probably already know the story of Blind Melon. The band was very successful in the 1990s...with their debut album receiving virtually unanimous praise. After the band's second album was released (which wasn't as positively received), vocalist Shannon Hoon died from a drug overdose while on tour. The band eventually released an album of outtakes (Nico) but pretty much remained dormant until now. The new Blind Melon is driven by the vocal talents of Travis Warren who seems to fit in comfortably with the original band members. What we like best about the new Blind Melon is the fact that the band's songs are much more direct and hummable. There are a lot of songs here that could easily become hits with the band's original fans as well as folks who may be newly turned. on. Nifty tight tracks include "For My Friends," "Wishing Well," "Last Laugh," and "Cheetum Street." (Rating: 4+++)

The Boy Bathing - A Fire To Make Preparations (Independently released CD, Pop)
The debut album from New York's The Boy Bathing. The folks in this band have a sound that is quite different from your average New York band. Instead of playing loud punk or harsh metallic rock, these folks play a slightly hazy progressive style of pop that is not unlike Sufjan Stevens. The tunes on A Fire To Make Preparations are a bit quirky and offbeat...definitely geared for younger listeners. This album is very long...lasting over 67 minutes. Accordingly, there's a lot to take in here...and probably much more than most folks are accustomed to hearing on a debut. This is one of those albums that probably takes a while to sink in. Because the tunes are not instantly hummable and familiar...out guess is that the real meat sets in over time. So, at least for the time being, we're leaving this one unrated. But it's definitely a keeper, that's for sure... (Not Rated)

Cavedoll - No Vertigo (CD, Pseudo Recordings, Pop/rock)
Interesting basic guitar pop/rock from Salt Lake City, Utah's Cavedoll. The folks in this band are obviously intent on producing as much as possible in the shortest amount of time. This year they are releasing 10 (yup, ten...you read that right) albums including remixed, remastered, and repackaged editions of their back catalog. No Vertigo features sixteen smart, melodic, danceable pop tunes. The vocals are sometimes reminiscent of Robert Smith...while some of the tunes sound almost as if they could have been penned by Ron Mael (of Sparks). The band's mainly moody progressive sound draws inspiration from the 1980s and yet the overall sound is decidedly twenty-first century. We are somewhat confused by the inclusion of the two cover tracks at the end of the album. The band's takes on The Rolling Stones' "Paint It Black" and David Bowie's "Heroes" seem very much like an afterthought and could have been omitted entirely. No Vertigo is a nice, upbeat experience with plenty of hummable catchy tracks. Our favorite cuts include "Decoder," "King of the Clouds," and "Even When I Hate You." (Rating: 4++++)

Chequerboard - Penny Black (CD, Lazybird, Instrumental/progressive)
Chequerboard is the one-man project created by Irish guitarist/producer/visual artist John Lambert. John released his debut album (Gothica) in 2002. Since that time he has kept very busy recording, playing live, and working on other various projects. Penny Black is a beautifully realized album featuring nine tracks of wonderful dreamy instrumental music. The album is subdued and laidback and is the perfect showcase for Lambert's precise and intricate guitar playing. As hard as we try to come up with comparisons and/or possible influences here...in the end we came to the conclusion that John's music stands purely on its own. His compositions have a cool organic sound that is warm and inviting. Interestingly, when he plays live Lambert uses only a guitar and pedals to create his provocative sound. This fully realized album features hypnotic tracks like "Penny Black," "Konichiwa," "Skating Couple," and "Toy Winds." Outstanding cerebral stuff... (Rating: 5+)

Cinderpop - A Lesson in Science (CD, Popganda, Pop)
Don't judge a CD by its cover. Based on the odd artwork, our first reaction to this album was that it was probably going to be a forgettable B-grade homemade project. But fortunately we gave it a chance...and boy were we surprised. A Lesson in Science is the third full-length release from Vancouver, Canada's Cinderpop...and it's a HIT. The band is mainly driven by the songwriting skills of Kevan Ellis...a young man whose smart melodic twists remind us very much of A.C. Newman (of the New Pornographers). If "Bumblebee" (the lead track) is not a major underground sensation around the world, there is most definitely something terribly wrong in the world of music. This swirling thick ultra-catchy track somehow (?) effectively captures the sound and idea of a bumblebee frantically buzzing around the yard. We can also hear melodic traces that are slightly reminiscent of Neil Finn in some of these songs. A Lesson in Science represents everything that is right and good about twenty-first century pop music. This resoundingly pleasant album includes the title track, "Blonder," "Speed of Light," "Mary, All Messed in the Head," and "Bounce Me." Highly recommended. (Rating: 5+++)

Coin Opera - What Went Wrong With The Right (CD, Umbrella Etiquette, Progressive pop)
Coin Opera is the band created by P. Blue Zusman who was previously in the 1990s Los Angeles band Okiread. What Went Wrong With The Right is a cool, understated album full of strangely pensive and personal tunes. Zusman's songs are, for the most part, rather subtle and subdued...and the vocals in many cases border on whispers. After spinning this CD several times, our impression is that this album was created out of pure inspiration. The songs are rather peculiar and abstract...in some cases recalling some of the softer tunes from Britain's The Television Personalities. Slightly loose and somewhat unrehearsed sounding, this album is an odd treat. The more familiar it becomes...the better it sounds. Ten cool underground non-hits for thinking listeners... (Rating: 5+)



Throw up into a cup.
Drink from the cup until
You are full.
Throw up into a cup.
Drink from the cup until
You are full.
Throw up into a cup.
Drink from the cup until
You are full.
Throw up into a cup.
Drink from the cup until
You are full.

(Rating: 1)



Cut off your arms.
Cut off your legs.
Cut off your head.
Cut 'em all off.

(Rating: 1)

Earlimart - Hymn and Her (Advance CD-R, Major Domo / Shout! Factory, Soft progressive pop)
Earlimart is the duo consisting of Aaron Espinoza and Ariana Murray. This, the duo's second full-length release, features some absolutely warm and wonderful moody progressive modern pop. Aaron and Ariana's vocals are subtle and perfectly suited for the style of songs they write (the harmonies are always dead on perfect). Hymn and Her is an extremely strong album from start to finish...and it sheds light on this duo's impressive and substantial songwriting skills. At times, some of these tracks sound like a very soft and subtle modern version of The Shoes (?!?). We sure hate the fact that we received an advance CD-R on this one...because otherwise it would have EASILY been a top pick for this month. We would have liked to have seen the actual complete release on this one rather than an advance CD-R. As such, this one definitely gets a thumbs up...but only a partial review because we received only part of the actual final product... (Not Rated)

Elika - Trying Got Us Nowhere (CD, Fiercely Indie, Pop)
Elika is the duo consisting of New York's Evagelia Maravelias and Brian Wenckebach. Trying Got Us Nowhere, the duo's debut release, was produced, recorded, and mixed by Jason Martin (of Starflyer 59). The album is short...lasting just under 30 minutes. Evagelia and Brian present seven melodic tracks here that are driven by electronic percussion and intricate arrangements. The vocals are top notch throughout. Interestingly, this disc is available through Great Britain's Fiercely Indie label. Top picks: "The Whip," "To The End," "Eliana." Interesting stuff. (Rating: 4+++)

Lid Emba & Bob Crane - We Substitute Radiance (CD, Stickfigure, Progressive/experimental/instrumental)
Interesting modern progressive instrumental music. Lid Emba and Bob Crane have created a slightly psychedelic album that is, in some ways, reminiscent of Great Britain's The Grassy Knoll. Interestingly, neither name is the actual name of the artist. Lid Emba is the project created by Sean Moore while Bob Crane is the project created by Ryan Huber. Even more interesting is the fact that these musicians have never (at least as of the recording of this album) actually met one another. The compositions on We Substitute Radiance were created over the internet. The two were drawn to one another based upon their recordings on their MySpace.com web pages. The six lengthy tracks that make up this album feature otherworldly sounds and plenty of effects...and were obviously created for all the right reasons. This album could very easily be the soundtrack to either an outer space film or a horror movie. Top picks: "Toxi Utopian," "Ryan's Bender," and "Flying Undead Overhead." (Rating: 5+)

Festival - Come, Arrow, Come! (CD, Language of Stone, Progressive pop/folk)
This band is driven by the voices and songwriting skills of Brooklyn-based sisters Alexis Powell and Lindsay Powell. Alexis is influenced by folk and gospel music while Lindsay is influenced by psychedelia and pop (and story-telling). Together (and with the assistance of friends and associates) these two young ladies managed to record a strangely peculiar album that effectively combines both sisters' musical interests. The songs on Come, Arrow, Come! are driven mainly by acoustic guitar...and the vocals are the obvious focal point. This album doesn't sound like other albums that float through our trendy office suite. The Powell sisters write and record music that is seemingly propelled by their innate desire to create. Their beautifully lilting voices are absolutely out-of-this-world...and have a strange haunting quality that is intoxicating. Ten nifty songs here including "Fair and True," "Hold Off the Earth," "Even in the Light," and "Come Outside!" (Rating: 5)



The road to
Happiness is paved with
Goat inventions.

(Rating: 1)

Hammock - Maybe They Will Sing For Us Tomorrow (CD, Darla, Progressive/ambient/instrumental)
Hammock is the duo consisting of Andrew Thompson and Marc Byrd. Maybe They Will Sing For Us Tomorrow is the duo's third full-length release. Interestingly, before August 2007 Thompson and Byrd had never played a live show. This CD presents the music that was played at their first concert. The cover artwork for this CD was provided by Reykjavik, Iceland's Riceboy Sleeps whose artwork was the centerpiece of that 2007 concert (prior to which Riceboy Sleeps art had never been displayed anywhere outside of Reykjavik). Hammock music is subtle, soft, serene, and transcendent. There are no drums and no percussion...no words nor lyrics...only the beautifully layered sounds that create their strange otherworldly musical universe. If you have ever enjoyed enjoyed laying in the grass watching the clouds drift by overhead on a perfect spring day, you may begin to have some idea of the sound of this album. Thompson and Byrd create music that is slow and methodical...slightly abstract and slightly melodic. The tracks on Maybe They Will Sing For Us Tomorrow can be listened to at very low volume to create an atmosphere...or turned way up to really create an atmosphere (!). Wonderful hypnotic stuff from a duo whose music is a uniquely different flavor... (Rating: 5+)



Carry a gun to

(Rating: 1)

Veda Hille - This Riot Life (CD, Ape House, Pop)
An intriguing and utterly cool album from young Canadian artist Veda Hille. The photo on the front of this CD is interesting to say the least. Whereas most young female singers want to appear as cool and beautiful as possible in photographs, Veda sits at the piano looking very much like your average middle class piano teacher from the suburbs. But when you pop This Riot Life into your CD player, it becomes immediately apparent that there is nothing average about this young lady's music. The lead track ("Lucklucky") is a cool and unusual track that sounds something like a cross between early Carly Simon and Laurie Anderson. Actually, many of the super melodic soaring melodies on this disc remind us of the best aspects of Simon's Anticipation album. In addition to recording and releasing solo stuff, Veda is also a member of the bands Duplex! and The Fits. This album has been (appropriately) released on the Ape House label (owned by Andy Partridge). In a world full of generic copycats, Veda Hille comes across sounding refreshingly different and real. Thirteen classy tracks here including "Book of Saints," "The Moon," "Cowper's Folly," and "The Trees." Recommended. (Rating: 5++)

Jimmie's Chicken Shack - Fail On Cue (CD, Fowl, Pop/rock)
More heavy commercial pop/rock from this unstoppable band. Although the guys in Jimmie's Chicken Shack have been through their share of changes and line-ups since 1995, the one constant in the band has always been Jimi Haha's unmistakable vocals. Fail On Cue finds the band in fine form, churning out catchy pop with many of the songs sporting some surprisingly intricate electric guitar playing. Unlike a lot of accessible bands, these guys don't just have one sound. Cue features a variety of sounds and styles...all seamlessly executed and played with clear precision. In addition to Haha, the band now features Matt Jones (guitar, vocals), Christian Valjente (bass, vocals), and Jerome Matteo (drums, vocals). Smart, melodic tracks include "17," "Friendly Fire," "The Quiet Ones," and "Radio Song." Nice, slick, memorable stuff... (Rating: 5)

Joan of Arc - Boo Human (CD, Polyvinyl Record Company, Progressive art pop)
A different sort of album...and it's uniquely subtle qualities only become apparent after several spins. Joan of Arc is the entity driven by the songwriting skills of Tim Kinsella. For this album, Kinsella wrote a batch of songs and booked a week of studio time...and then allowed participants (there are 14 of 'em here) to drop in whenever their schedules permitted. This may at least partially explain these widely varied and unorthodox compositions. Tim writes strangely absorbing tunes that don't really sound like anyone else...and the arrangements are appropriate yet almost always rather strange and obtuse. Boo Human is definitely one of those albums that is probably too depthy and complex for the casual listener. Most folks simply will not be able to pick up on all the intricate nuances in this music. But fans of modern artsy progressive music will find a lot to love here. Odd dreamy tracks include "Shown and Told," "Everywhere I Go," "Insects Don't Eat Bananas," and "The Surrender #2." (Rating: 5+)

John's Arm: Armageddon (Independently released DVD, Animation)
Before we even begin, we have to admit there is no way for us to adequately rate this DVD because of our extremely limited knowledge of modern animation. Our general knowledge of cartoons begins around the time of Betty Boop and ends with the 1960s icons like Huckleberry Hound and Yogi Bear. Everyone and their cousin either records music or creates movies these days...but how many times to you come across someone who creates their own credible full-length animated movie...? John's Arm: Armageddon is unusual. The film features a really odd storyline that gets stranger as the plot unfolds. The story centers around John who gets his arm stuck in a vending machine...which causes his arm to transform into a superhero that amputates itself from his body and has a mind of its own. The animation is, for the most part, rather simple and basic, but it is a perfect fit for the dialogue...which is what impresses us most about this release. Atlanta's Mike The Pod animation studio is obviously doing something right..because there were lots and lots of lines in this movie that made us laugh out loud. The bits with the guy with the "stupid T-Rex arms" are totally hilarious. Certainly some of the ideas and concepts presented would be offensive and abrasive to many folks...but our guess is that there isn't much chance (unfortunately) that those folks will be viewing this underground oddity. As we stated earlier, we're not rating this one...but we can certainly say that (at least from our limited perspective) this is definitely worth your time. A great deal of time and energy went into this project...and it shows. Goofy, insane, and unpredictable. Hell, even the piracy warning is a scream (!). (Not Rated)

Jr. Juggernaut - Ghost Poison (CD, Suburban Home, Pop/rock)
Rootsy American pop/rock with guts. This is the first full-length release from this Los Angeles, California-based trio...and it cooks. Instead of dressing up like freaks and tossing out studio effects for their listeners to gobble up, these guys keep things simple and deliver their songs without unnecessary fanfare. Jr. Juggernaut is Mike Williamson (vocals, guitars), Kevin Keller (bass, vocals), and Waleed Rashidi (drums, vocals). The best way we could describe this band's sound is to say that they sound something like Bob Mould fronting an Americana band. It is interesting to note the extreme commercial potential here. Instead of churning out noisy rock that could only appeal to young fans, these guys write hit songs. All ten of the tracks on Ghost Poison sound very much like major hits. Songs are what make this album such a thoroughly pleasing experience. Killer cuts include "Lit By Winter," "Believe in Something" (a really great cut), "Wailing West," and "The Beehive." (Rating: 5)

Kingen - Ride With Me (CD, Black Cat Songs, Pop)
Kingen may be Swedish...but if you're thinking he sounds like the hoards of other modern pop bands from his home country, think again. Ride With Me is a blast from the past, featuring eleven tracks of roots rock that recalls artists from the past like Elvis Presley and The Faces. Kingen is obviously heavily influenced by bluesy rockabilly acts from the 1950s and early rock artists from the 1960s. Instead of sounding like a cheap carbon copy, however, he comes across sounding like the real thing. His genuinely inspired vocals are the focal centerpoint of his sound...and he surrounds himself with extraordinary musicians. Ride With Me is a pure feelgood album full of catchy toe-tappers including "Ride With Me," "Be-bop Street," "Why?", and "Someone New." (Rating: 5)

Steuart Liebig / Tee-Tot Quartet - Always Outnumbered (CD, pfMENTUM, Progressive jazz)
The press release probably sums this one up best...stating that this album combines "the influences of 1920s-30s jazz, blues and country, fused with avant garde jazz practice and a little bit of California "outsider music" aesthetic thrown in for good measure." The Tee-Tot Quartet consists of Joseph Beraldi (drums, percussion), Dan Clucas (cornet), Scot Ray (dobro), and Steuart Liebig (fretless contrabassguitar). Liebig wrote all thirteen of these instrumentals that showcase his own talents as well as those of his associates. Some of the tracks on Always Outnumbered remind us of some of the more adventurous jazz from the 1940s through the 1960s from artists who never achieved a great deal of commercial success. Strangely moody and subdued, this album was recorded for that tiny segment of the listening audience that demands credibility and substance in their music... (Rating: 5)

The Life Before Her Eyes - Original Motion Picture Soundtrack (CD, Lakeshore, Soundtrack)
Composer James Horner has created a truly impressive soundtrack recording for the film The Life Before Her Eyes. Horner has recorded music for a wide variety of top notch films over the years, most notably the incredible score to Titanic. The Life Before Her Eyes is based on the novel by author Laura Kasischke that tells the story of two high school girls held captive by a crazed gunman. This twelve track album features extremely subdued and thoughtful classical-influenced compositions that are pensive, fluid, and restrained. Horner's piano playing (which is at the center of many of these tracks) is dreamy and impeccable. The album also features the superior talents of Ian Underwood (synthesizer programming), Aaron Martin (synthesizer programming), and George Doering (guitar). This CD features music that is emotionally captivating and spiritually enlightening. Cool, flowing, intricate tracks include "An Ordinary day," "Becoming Close Friends," "Diana Gets Hit By A Car," and "Two Worlds: The Past and The Future." Beautiful and riveting. (Rating: 5+)



Little old ladies
Smell like little old

(Rating: 1)

The Lodger - Life Is Sweet (CD, Slumberland, Pop)
Cool, simple, hummable, uplifting soft pop. This British band has a sound and style very similar to some of the more melodic British pop bands from the late 1980s and early 1990s. Life Is Sweet spins like a non-stop string of hits from that era. The band's tunes are cleverly crafted and are centered around the band's super smooth vocals. True to the claim of the press release that accompanied this disc, the guys in The Lodger have a sound that is remarkably reminiscent of The Housemartins (the vocals are particularly similar). This may not be the most original sounding album you've ever heard...but it will probably hit the target dead center if you're in the mood for some simple, pure music that puts you in a good frame of mind. Nice bright pop tunes include "My Finest Hour," "The Good Old Days," "A Hero's Welcome," and "Famous Last Words." (Rating: 4++++)

Holly Long - Leaving Kansas (CD, Injoi Music, Soft bluesy pop)
The third full-length release from California's Holly Long. Leaving Kansas features thirteen mature, melodic soft pop tracks with a slight bluesy feel that are reminiscent of Sarah McLachlan in many ways. Holly has a smooth, deep voice with an overall sound that is often remarkably similar to Joan Baez. This album is a pure shot of commercial pop. Long makes no attempt to inject her music with clever artsy embellishments and she never strays from her path. So...what we have here is an album that is most definitely pleasant and soothing. Our only slight criticism...is that the sound is so smooth and polished that, at times, Ms. Long sometimes ends up sounding very similar to a host of other artists currently treading around earth. Still, when you hear a song as effective and moving as "Trust Me"...it is very easy to forgive this minor issue... (Rating: 4+++)

Lousy Robot - Smile Like You Are Somewhere Else (CD, Socyermom, Pop)
We were immediately drawn to the sound of this album before we even realized that Smile Like You Are Somewhere Else was recorded at Salim Nourallah's Pleasantry Lane recording studio. After spinning this CD several times we realized that the connection somehow seems appropriate. This is the second full-length release from Albuquerque, New Mexico's Lousy Robot. Although short in terms of time (just under 30 minutes), the album features some cool and meaty tracks that are simple, direct, and instantly memorable. Instead of overdoing everything in the recording studio and overdubbing their tracks to death, these guys keep their music simple and direct...and that just may be what makes this album so rewarding. Songs are the main focus here and songs are what the folks in Lousy Robot seem to be concerned with. The more we hear catchy tracks like "Welcome All to My Weird Awakening," "It's Getting To Me," and "Peppermint + Bitterness"...the more impressed we are. These guys are doing everything right. (Rating: 5+)

Mass Solo Revolt - Easy Mark (Independently released CD, Pop)
This is one of those albums that is difficult to review because there are no easy reference points. The first song on this album ("Easy Mark") instantly reminded us of The Wedding Present in many ways. But all of the songs that followed...didn't. Mass Solo Revolt is the mostly solo project created by Martin Brummeier. Martin writes super smart songs that that involve a wild variety of influences from several different decades. But his overall sound is very much twenty-first century pop. The unique sound of this album is probably due in large part to the mindset of the artist and his associates. Rather than trying to sound like any one particular artist, we get the impression that Brummeier is simply channeling his ideas into music without any attempt to have a particular style or sound. It's interesting...even though the overall sound of Mass Solo Revolt is similar to thousands of other bands...for some reason, they just sound better. Cool guitar driven pop tracks include "The Site...", "Au Gres," "Bedmaker," and "Hostage Taker." Recommended. (Rating: 5++)

Meho Plaza - Meho Plaza (CD, Better Looking Records / Grey Rock, Art pop/rock)
Talk about an acquired taste. In all honesty, on the first spin the debut full-length from California trio Meho Plaza didn't make much of an impression on us. But there was something about the music that kept us coming back to it over and over again. Several days later, whatever it is about this band that makes them unique finally hit us. Although it took a while to catch, we finally came to the conclusion that we really, really dig this album. Meho Plaza is the trio consisting of Mike T, James C, and Jennifer H. These folks write and play music that sounds something like British new wave artists from the early 1980s...and the vocals often remind us of Pete Shelley. The songs are basic minimalist rock/pop with herky jerky rhythms and odd instrumental interplay. The songs on this album are definitely not in line with what we normally hear from the average twenty-first century band. These folks' songs have substance and they present their tunes with uniquely focused style. Cool slightly obtuse tunes include "I Sold My Organs," "Your Future Looks Bright," "George Washington," and "Visionary Bug." Really cool stuff...! (Rating: 5+)

Pete Mroz - Detachment (Independently released CD, Soft pop)
The second full-length independent release from Pete Mroz. Many folks will, no doubt, be surprised at the inherent commercial appeal of Pete's music...particularly when you consider the fact that he is, at this time, an underground musician trying to find an audience. Pop fans will be interested to know that the lead track ("Heartache and Lace") was co-written with Steve Allen (from the power pop band 20/20). But don't expect power chords and hard drumming as the track is extremely soft and subdued...and sets the pace for this cool and refreshing soft pop album. Mr. Mroz's vocals are absolutely effective...and he comes across sounding totally genuine and sincere on all ten tracks. Cool and reflective, Detachment could easily lay the foundation for some major commercial successes in the very near future... (Rating: 5)

The Myriad - With Arrows, With Poise (CD, Koch, Pop/rock)
A nice, smooth album from an up-and-coming band with so many connections it hurts. Seattle's The Myriad consists of Jeremy Edwardson, John Roger Schofield, Randy Miller, Jonathan Young, and Steven Tracy. These five guys seem to be on a mission to become as successful as possible in the shortest time possible. With Arrows, With Poise is super slick and super polished. The guys in this band write some really nice pop melodies...but they are occasionally buried underneath so many overdubs and so many effects that the listener is blinded. On some tracks this approach works in the band's favor...but in other cases it detracts from what otherwise might be an incredible song. An impressive album...that could have been even more impressive if the band had a simpler more focused sound. Cool heady cuts include "You Waste Time Like a Grandfather Clock," "Holiest of Thieves," "Polar Bears and Shark Fins," and "Stuck in a Glass Elevator." (Rating: 4++++)

Nerf Herder - IV (Advance CD, Oglio, Pop/rock)
Over time, most successful bands sell out and/or alter their sound to suit a larger audience. The guys in Nerf Herder seem to be taking the exact opposite approach. IV sounds very much like the band's first couple of albums in terms of overall sound and approach. These days, the band's music sounds something like a cross between The Young Fresh Fellows and The Queers. Whereas most bands want to be on a major label, the guys in Nerf Herder requested to be released from their contract...opting instead to go with a smaller label. IV finds the band in fine form...delivering their fast, fuzzy, catchy pop tunes with style and pizzazz. We would have liked to have seen the actual complete release on this one rather than an advance CD. As such, this one definitely gets a thumbs up...but only a partial review because we received only part of the actual final product... (Not Rated)

Ness - You Can't Afford to Feel (Independently released CD, Pop/rock)
We can always appreciate a band whose music seems strangely out-of-place in the twenty-first century. And that is most certainly the case with Ness. The guys in this band play an interesting brand of progressive guitar pop that sounds something like a modern updated take on Philadelphia's legendary Nazz (which could have, perhaps, influenced the choice of a band name?). Ness consists of Rick Ness (guitar, piano, vocals), John San Juan (bass, guitar, keyboards, vocals), Bill Swartz (drums, vocals), and Phil Young (keyboards, bass, vocals). The band's pop tunes occasionally incorporate brief stylistic elements from jazz music...and this album really showcases how proficient these guys are on their respective instruments. Unlike your average underground pop band that merely flails away aimlessly, these fellows obviously spend a good bit of time working on their arrangements. The vocals are excellent throughout. A couple of the keyboard solos bear an uncanny resemblance to Great Britain's 1970 progressive dinosaur band Greenslade. Ness is a class act...and You Can't Afford to Feel is yet another solid addition to their impressive catalog... (Rating: 5)

Pia Fraus - After Summer (CD, Clairecords / Seksound, Pop)
This album is, appropriately, a dual release from the Clairecords and Seksound labels. Appropriate because the folks in Estonia's Pia Fraus effectively combine elemental sounds from the catalogs of both labels. After Summer is somewhat of a surprise as it is this up-and-coming band's most accessible album yet, probably due (at least in part) to the involvement of co-producer Norman Blake who did a splendid job adding polish to the Pia Fraus sound without making the band sound samey and generic. Summer could just be a breakout album for this band...which would allow them to expand their fan base even farther. Ten cool dreamy hummable tracks here...including "Springsister," "Yenissey," "Late Again," and "Far Fade Whisper." We've been impressed by everything we have heard thus far from this wonderfully inventive band. Highly recommended.. (Rating: 5+++)

Josh Preston - Exit Sounds (CD, Me and the Machine, Pop)
The third full-length release from Nashville's Josh Preston. This fellow used to be a rocker before abandoning electric guitar for a softer sound that involves elements of folk and soft progressive pop. Exit Sounds is an intriguing spin and sheds light on Preston's skills as a songwriter. Instead of aping the latest successful pop acts, Josh instead seems to be following his own unique muse. His songs are personal, subtle, and very well thought out. In some ways, Mr. Preston's songs sound like an odd cross between a more accessible Sufjan Stevens and a soft folkie version of Bob Pollard (Guided By Voices). Although pinning down possible influences may be somewhat challenging, it isn't difficult in the least to appreciate what this man is doing. Some of Preston's vocals remind us of John Cale on his Paris 1919 album. These thirteen tracks present a man who is confident with himself and knows where he is in the world. Smart, inquisitive tracks include "If I Had a Light In You," "Song For Kate," "Speed of Sound," and "Lullaby." (Rating: 5)

Outer Limits / Jeff Christie - Outer Limits and Floored Masters - Past Imperfect (Double CD, Angel Air, Pop)
Over the years Jeff Christie has become known almost exclusively for the song "Yellow River" that was recorded by his band Christie in the 1960s. And that is indeed a shame because, as this double CD set makes perfectly clear, there is so much more to his career than that one (admittedly great) single. Rather than include the tune that everyone is already familiar with, these CDs shed light on Jeff's many other creative efforts. The set is divided into two parts. The first CD features the complete (!) recordings of Jeff's first band Outer Limits that released a number of singles on the Deram and Immediate labels in the 1960s. This disc is a must for anyone who ever loved great vintage AM radio pop. Twenty-tracks of classic unshakable pop that should satisfy even the most demanding pop fan. The fact that these tracks had previously been forgotten seems absolutely criminal. There are so many quality songs on this disc that we can't name them all here. The second CD features a never-before-released solo album by Jeff called Floored Master plus other solo recordings. This disc should leave many people confused, asking themselves "Why on earth didn't this guy's solo career take off?" Some of Christie's solo recordings bear an uncanny resemblance to some of Pete Ham's material (from Badfinger). If you think Jeff was just a one hit wonder, think again. Outer Limits and Floored Masters - Past Imperfect is proof that this man was responsible a hell of a lot more than most folks will probably ever realize. Recommended. (Rating: 5++)

The Priddle Concern - The Priddle Concern (CD, Sparks Music, Pop)
This band is the new project created by Bill Priddle who many may remember as a key member/songwriter in the 1990s Canadian band Treble Charger. That band achieved a great deal of success in their own country but this unfortunately never properly translated to the United States (although this was not because of a lack of top notch material...the band put out some amazing music). Bill is now concentrating his efforts on The Priddle Concern...a solo project that allows him the freedom to choose who he wants to play with and release material when the mood strikes him. This self-titled album features some mighty satisfying soft compositions that would easily fit in the category of classic pop. These days Priddle's voice sounds slightly like Al Stewart...while in many ways his songs remind us of a softer and more accessible version of Mitch Easter. Guest artists include Howie Beck, Andy Magoffin, John Critchley, Dave Neufeld, Brendan Canning, Evan Cranley, Justin Peroff, and Amy Millan. Priddle's Canadian fans are probably already greedily gobbling this one up. In a perfect world, this would be the diving board to extend Bill's success to other countries around the globe. Killer tracks like "Union of Concerned Scientists," "Back Around," and "Make It Go Away" make this album a super satisfying collection of tasty treats... (Rating: 5+)

Racing Cars - Bolt From the Blue (CD + DVD, Angel Air, Pop/rock/blues)
They began in 1976...and they're still going strong. The guys in Wales' Racing Cars have real staying power. This is not the band's latest album but rather a reissue of their Wales-only release from 2000. This is one of those neat "could've been totally overlooked" gems that the folks at Britain's Angel Air have become famous for unearthing. Bolt From the Blue is melodic, accessible, and particularly energetic when you consider the fact that these guys have been at it for three decades. The band plays basic, bluesy pop music that is driven by the extremely focused vocal talents of Morty...who sometimes sounds something like a more refined young Rod Stewart. In addition, the band consists of Graham Williams (guitars, vocals), Simon Davies (keyboards, vocals), Chris Thomas (bass, vocals), and Colin Griffin (drums). This is not a simple reissue, of course. As is almost always the case with Angel Air releases, the fan is treated to much, much more. In addition to the original album, the CD also contains two bonus tracks. "They Shoot Horses Don't They?" is an amazing song that deserves to be a worldwide hit. The second bonus track is a live version of "Downtown Tonight" (which originally appeared on the band's debut album). It doesn't stop there...also included is a bonus DVD of the band playing their 30th anniversary concert. Here's hoping these guys are around for another 30 years...at least... (Rating: 5)

Rachel Ries - Without a Bird (CD, SoDak, Progressive pop)
An exceptional album from a unique new voice. Without a Bird makes it immediately obvious that young Rachel Ries is playing the game by her own set of rules. Rather than churn out songs that sound like thousands of other artists, Ries writes music that comes straight from her soul...and delivers it with a purely defined focus and conviction. Her voice is particularly intriguing. She has an odd warble that recalls female vocalist from the early twentieth century. She is supported by some real heavyweights on this album. Players include Ariel Bolles, Kevin O'Donnell, Joel Paterson, Alison Chesley, and Mariah McCullough. Ries herself describes her music as "prairie swing and city folk"...which is a rather accurate summation of the overall sound. These songs have real substance. You may be impressed on the first spin. But several spins later you will likely have the same reaction we did to this music. Without a Bird is, without a doubt, a modern classic. Exceptional tunes include "Learning Too Slow," "When Will You Be Mine?", "Fine, I'm Fine," and "Here We Lie in Wait." Thoroughly engaging music from an individual who is doing everything right. Highly recommended. (Rating: 5+++)



Religion causes

(Rating: 1)

Sam Champion - Heavenly Blender (Advance CD-R, North Street, Pop)
The second full-length release from Sam Champion. The guys in this band obviously have a lot of things going for them. They have a sound that could just as easily be appreciated by underground fans as those who are into commercial stuff. The playing on Heavenly Blender is bright and spirited...and the lead vocalist has a great voice that comes across sounding genuine and friendly. Add in some intriguing guitar riffs...and you have a band that is bound to astound young music fans. We would have liked to have seen the actual complete release on this one rather than an advance CD-R. As such, this one definitely gets a thumbs up...but only a partial review because we received only part of the actual final product... (Not Rated)

Schaeffer - Something Worth Fighting For (Independently released CD, Pop)
Schaeffer is the trio consisting of brothers Bryon Rossi, Nolan Rossi, and Daniel Rossi and Something Worth Fighting For is their second full-length studio album. Compared to other up-and-coming underground bands, these guys have a surprisingly slick and commercial sound. Schaeffer songs may very well be too polished and sleek for the average underground music fan...but our guess is that this isn't the specific market these guys are targeting anyway. Something spins like an album of hits all tied together into one well-conceived album. After spinning this CD several times, we predict that it's only a matter of time before these guys experience a major wave of success. Their songs are smart and articulate...and executed to perfection. The vocals are always right on target. Infectious hummable tracks include "Promise Me," "Iloveyouwithacrash" (our favorite), "Make Us See," and "Something Worth Fighting For." (Rating: 5)

The Solipsistics - Selected and Uncollected Recordings (CD, Frigidisk, Pop)
What a nice surprise it was to receive this disc in the mail as we have not heard anything from this distinctive obscure band in quite some time. If you've never heard The Solipsistics, do yourself a favor and seek our their material. Jesus of the Apes is probably the best starting point. Selected and Uncollected Recordings is exactly what the title suggests...a collection of nineteen cool unearthed cuts. The first song ("Cheer Up Jeff") was initially confusing...what happened? Actually and in fact, the song is by the band Bitchin' Wheels and doesn't have that Solipsistic sound that we have come to know and love. But by the time the second track hits, things snap back to familiar territory. Jeff McGregor (the man who is The Solipsistics) is one of the greatest songwriters in the United States...and yet so few people seem to even be aware of his existence. Why, even the supposedly comprehensive AllMusic.com web site hardly gives any information at all on this band. Working with underground hero/icon Earle Mankey, McGregor has managed to record some wonderfully obscure yet completely substantial songs that will stand the test of time while others fade into the darkness. This album contains a wealth of superb pop tunes that are reminiscent of the softer side of John Cale and the more pensive side of Britain's Stackridge. While he may never become a household name, in the words of many underground writers across the globe...McGregor has already been proclaimed as somewhat of a pop genius. Highly recommended. (Rating: 5+++)



All the millions upon millions
Of lost souls in the world.
Fuck 'em.

(Rating: 1)

South - You Are Here (CD, Blu Hammock / Yam Recordings, Pop)
South is the trio consisting of Joel Cadbury, Jamie McDonald, and Brett Shaw. Other than this information, we know very little about this band. When we went to their web site we found nothing except a photo of the cover of this CD and a note saying the web page was being updated. Never mind the facts. The only thing you really need to remember...is that You Are Here is a truly cool and exceptional album full of super melodic and totally credible songs. We listened to this album over and over and over and over and yet we still can't quite come up with any obvious comparisons (although we are occasionally reminded of the criminally overlooked Hang Ups). But those repeated spins did make us realize that there is a great deal of substance happening here. Instead of creating shallow temporary pop for the moment, Cadbury, McDonald, and Shaw create music that will most certainly stand the test of time. Their tunes are smart, involved, creative, and ultimately memorable. The CD is packaged in a beautifully designed tri-fold digipak sleeve. Smooth eclectic cuts include "Wasted," "Better Things," "There Goes Your Life," "The Creeping," and "Zither Song" (this last track is absolutely mesmerizing). Highly recommended. (Rating: 5++++)



Throw the ball.
Catch the ball.
Run after the ball.
Drop the ball and

(Rating: 1)



Beat on your supervisor
Until it is

(Rating: 1)



Tell your children that there is no Santa Clause.
Tell your children that there is no God.
Tell your children that you do not love them.
Tell your children that there is no reason to live.
Tell your children that the world is a terrible place.
Tell your children that you wish they had never been born.
Tell your children that you won't be there when they need you.
Tell your children that there is no life after death.
Tell your children
The truth.

(Rating: 1)

The Thin Man - Spectres (Independently released CD, Artsy slightly bluesy pop)
The fourth album from Chicago, Illinois' The Thin Man is a cool and inviting spin. These four guys have a sound that doesn't easily fit into any specific genre. Their unique brand of slightly bluesy modern pop is certainly loose at times...yet mentally focused and different. The band has been together for five years now and consists of Jason Labrosse (bass), Mike McGrath (drums), Kennedy Greenrod (accordion, guitar, vocals), and Saleem Dhamee (guitar). The playing is inspired and interesting...and Greenrod's slightly distant fluid vocals are totally mesmerizing. Songs are what make Spectres such a cool and rewarding experience. Clever, articulate tunes include "The Last Dance," "Sirens," "Astronauts," and "Cool In Ze Pool." This unique album keeps drawing us back for repeated spins. Substantial and rewarding stuff. Recommended. (Rating: 5++)



All things is just plain

(Rating: 1)

Amanda Thorpe - Union Square (Independently released CD, Pop)
Amanda Thorpe is a purely independent artist creating music for all the right reasons. After spinning her Union Square album (her second full-length release), we can't help but wonder why this lady is not already a huge commercial success. After all, she isn't writing and recording obtuse artsy alternative underground pop music that only appeals to a tiny segment of the population. Thorpe's mature, polished tunes could very easily be appreciated by anyone who ever loved the music of iconic artists like KD Lang and Patty Larkin. Amanda was previously in the bands Bedsit Poets and The Wirebirds...but our guess is that she is going to have her greatest success with her solo career. She has a super smooth and totally absorbing voice that immediately places her in the upper echelons of pop music. Like her debut album, Union Square features thoughtful and introspective compositions with impeccable arrangements. If you like knowing about cool artists before everyone else does, do yourself a favor and pick up either of Ms. Thorpe's albums. You will not be disappointed. Amanda has once again proven herself to be a substantial and totally credible modern pop artist with staying power. Smooth classy cuts include "Life is Great," "Next To Me," "Over the Sea," and "Union Square." (Rating: 5+)

The Walkup - Down on Pacific (CD, Reynolds Recording Co., Pop)
The Walkup is the trio consisting of Alex Koch (guitar, vocals), Michael Petrucelly (drums), Sean Finnigan (guitar), and Christopher Ayoub (bass). The members got together in 2005 in New York City and formed the band, eventually releasing their EP These Walls Have Ears. Rather than jump into things, the band took their time preparing for their debut album...honing their skills and writing material. The result is the first full-length from The Walkup...Down on Pacific. More than any other band, the tunes on this album remind us very much of The Strokes (particularly some of the nifty dual guitar interplay). These guys write simple, catchy pop tunes that are just slightly quirky. Hummable tunes include "My Youth," "Looks Like We Haven't Learned a Thing," "In The Park," and "Logic Goes." Good stuff. (Rating: 4++++)

Ian Walsh - Please Remember (CD, Plus 5, Pop)
The debut album from Ian Walsh is a mixed bag. This young artist definitely has talent...but at this point his overall sound doesn't quite hit the target. The main problems with Please Remember are twofold. First, the album is overproduced...so much so that in most cases Walsh sounds almost exactly like hundreds of other artists. Secondly, he tends to oversing...sounding very much like he is simply trying too hard to make an impression. Actually and in fact, it wasn't until the final song ("Apology") that we realized that this guy actually has a lot to offer. But because of the amount of unnecessary studio polish, in most cases it simply gets buried underneath the layers of excess. So what we have here...is a decent album that could have been excellent. Walsh has the talent. If he can simplify things and relax, he could very well produce some incredible music in the future... (Rating: 4)

The Wedding Present - El Rey (CD, Manifesto, Pop/rock)
Over time, most successful musical artists seem to gravitate toward more and more complex and polished music. Long time critical favorite David Gedge seems to be taking the opposite approach in the twenty-first century. After his initial stint with The Wedding Present, David created Cinerama which was a more polished and commercial pop outfit. But over time Cinerama's sound shifted more and more toward the sound of...The Wedding Present. Perhaps as a result, Gedge recreated The Wedding Present...and ever since his music seems to be taking him further back to the roots of his band's 1990s sound. El Rey is the first Gedge project to be produced by Steve Albini since the 1991 album Seamonsters. Not surprisingly, guitars are the central focus of this album's sound. The songs are also a bit rougher and rock a bit harder. In all the years we have been following this man's music, we have yet to hear him create a bad album. Consistency is probably why Gedge's fans continue to stick with him over time. El Rey is another excellent addition to this man's continually expanding catalog. Cool modern rockers include "Santa Ana Winds," "Soup," "Model, Actress, Whatever," and "Swingers." (Rating: 5+)

The Weepies - Hideaway (CD, Nettwerk, Soft pop)
The second full-length release from The Weepies. Although the band name may not be familiar to most people, Deb Talan and Steve Tannen have already achieved some major successes very early in their career. Say I Am You, the duo's debut album, was immensely popular on the download circuit...and topped the folk charts in eight countries. In addition, their tunes have appeared in various television programs and motion pictures. Hideaway is, amazingly, another home produced effort. But don't expect low fidelity cheapness or grating art noise...Talan and Tannen create super smooth pop music that is superbly polished and highly melodic. Their songs exist in that rare and peculiar musical universe where commercial accessibility meets artistic credibility. In other words, despite the fact that their music sounds very commercial...it still sounds great. These songs are slightly reminiscent of soft FM radio pop from the mid to late 1970s...although the overall sound is filled with ideas and sounds that easily catapult the tunes into the twenty-first century. Great songs and absolutely killer vocals abound on this album...making Hideaway an easy Top Pick this month. Wonderfully sincere tracks include "Can't Go Back," "Wish I Could Forget" (a particularly lovely cut), "Not Dead Yet," and "All This Beauty." Highly recommended. (Rating: 5+++)

When Dinosaurs Ruled the Earth - Not Noiice (CD, Chalk Circle, Progressive rock)
Odd, noisy, and adventurous. You won't see the young farts on American Idol covering songs by When Dinosaurs Ruled the Earth anytime soon. The band hails from Austin, Texas...which seems appropriate since some of their strange, crazed tunes recall some of the more adventurous Austin bands from the 1990s. This, the band's debut full-length album, follows the release of their first EP (Snacks). Our guess is that many older listeners may be turned off by the noise and roughness here...but just as many adventurous listeners will definitely be turned on. The folks in this band play an intriguing mixture of noise and hard rock that can be simultaneously grating and confusing. Eleven compulsive cuts including "Toeing the Line," "It's Casual," "Church Chocolate," and "Finally Grunge." Oh and we should mention...we didn't make a typo with the title...the album actually is called Not Noiice...(!)... (Rating: 4+++++)



Wipe your ass with your hand.
Wipe your ass with your driver's license.
Wipe your ass with your money.
Wipe your ass with your birth certificate.
Wipe your ass with your family photographs.
Wipe your ass with your social security card.
Wipe your ass with your computer.
Wipe your ass with your cell phone.
Wipe your ass with your children.
Wipe your ass with your mailbox.
Wipe your ass with your furniture.
Wipe your ass with your pets.
Wipe your ass with your occupation.
Wipe your ass with your insects.
Wipe your ass with your veins.
Wipe your ass with your liver.
Wipe your ass with your nostrils.

(Rating: 1)



All men are turned
Off by their

(Rating: 1)

Young and Sexy - The Arc (CD, Mint, Progressive pop)
Canada's Young and Sexy is a different sort of band with a different sort of sound. Not only do they sound unlike American bands on the horizon...but they also don't have very much in common with other Canadian bands that we have heard over the past few years. Ten years into their career the band releases their fourth full-length album...and it is a direct hit. Not a hit in terms of commercial appeal and potential to sell...but a hit in terms of artistic success. The Arc is a beautiful and unique album that spotlights this group's multifaceted approach to music. Don't be surprised if you don't "get it" when you first spin this CD. This music takes some time to settle in your subsconciousness and make an impression. Our initial response to The Arc was positive...but ten spins later we realized that we loved it. The band consists of Paul Pittman (vocals, guitar), Lucy Brain (vocals), Andre Legace (guitar), Alex Brain (drums), and Brent McDonald (bass). These folks write songs that seamlessly combine twenty-first century pop with ideas and sounds from progressive and psychedelic bands from the 1970s. Imagine a world where subtle psychedelia meets smart progressive pop...and you may begin to have some idea of where these folks are coming from. This album is an absolute delight from start to finish. Cool unpredictable tracks include "Saucerful of Fire," "Young & Sexy vs. The Arc" (a particularly intriguing cut), "The Shadow," and "Up in the Rafters." Recommended. (Rating: 5++)


Additional Items Received:

A 75ml Affair - A 75ml Affair
A Dream of Reality - It's nothing personal
Daniel Ahearn - Pray for me by name
Priscilla Ahn - Selections from a good day
Andor - Mixed states
Antherius - 2008-03
Astrophagus - For boating
Atomic Atoms - Electrophile
Miles Benjamin - Anthony Robinson
Birthday Massacre - Looking glass
Bloodbath - Unblessing the purity
Breetles - Model 2 - sound recordings
Broken Letters - Sing the burning alphabet
Brother Lou - As good as you want
Buckra - Camouflage playboys international
Buddahead - Ashes
Ryan Cabrera - The moon under water
Child Bite - Exquisite luxury
Condors - Wait for it
Anla Courtis, Seiichi Yamamoto, Yoshimi - Live at Kanadian
Christa Couture - The wedding singer and the undertaker
Daysleepers - Drowned in a sea of sound
Dead Leaf Echo - Pale fire
Doe Deere - Supernatural
Double Muslims - Errors of menade/stupor creek b/w twice, but once
Dub Pistols - Speakers and tweeters
Duke Spirit - Neptune
Josh Eagle - Truthful beginnings
Steve Ellis - The love affair is over
Entertainment - Gender
Femme Fatalitiy - One's not enough
Ghost Buffalo - The magician
Ashbrook Haynes - One long chase
Here Comes Everybody - The veronica project
Holy Ghostriders - Fast track heartattack
Hotchacha - Rifle, i knew you when you were just a pistol
The Instruments - Dark Smaland
Ladytron - Velocifero
Laz the Vukkno - Bleffer ming ladde
Justin Lanning - Behind these eyes
Charles Laster II & Silvia Pratesi - Journey of life
Lay All Over It - Newver too fat to fly
Lights - Lights
Christina Linhardt - Voodoo princess
Logs in the Mainstream - The ridiculous and the sublime
Lydia Lunch - When i'm loaded/crawl 'n cry/god's other son
Mass - Planet string
Men Without Pants - Naturally
Mess Anger - Black house mess
Missfortune500 - Before this winter ends
Mountains of Moss - New madrid
Mourdella - This kill is mine
Mugison - Mugiboogie
Munk - Modest among the living
National Rifle - Wage life
Robin O'Brien - Eye and storm
Rebecca Owen - Rebecca Owen
Pale Moon Gang - Pale Moon Gang
Pathology - Original motion picture score
Porter Block - Off our shoulders
Princeton - Bloomsbury
Pro Audio - Make the happiness stop
Ramblin' Ambassadors - Vista cruiser country squire
Redcast - EP
Red Van Go - The world at your feet
Rosey - Luckiest girl
Satoru - Balancing in the twilight
Satoru - Ash returns to ash
Say No More - What you thought you knew
Shelf Life - (Concerning the absence of floors)
Sleepwalking - Original motion picture soundtrack
Socratic - Spread the rumors
Jefferson Thomas - Western front
Thunderwood - Turn it up
Transvalue Book III - The '58 retractable hardtop
Vampire Hands - Me and you cherry red
Various Artists - Trust us: a long beach comp
Vera Violets - Dirty rainbow
Voyager One - Afterhours in the afterlife
Warm Climate - Mangler redbeard
Wars and Tornadoes - Drakkar sauna
We Versus The Shark - Dirty versions
Victoria White - The upside
David Andrew Wiene - Shipwrecked
Brian Wingrove - Dreaming i'm awake
Win Win Winter - A brief history of

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