A.18, Forever After Nothing (Victory) Here’s the band that could save Southern California’s musical reputation. A.18 takes some influences from serious ’80s hardcore. The album’s first impression reeks of Minor Threat, early Fugazi and the violently urgent delivery of Age of Quarrel-era Cro-Mags. This is promising music. – JJOBES

AFI, Sing the Sorrow (Nitro) These guys have come a long way from their freshman effort, “Very Proud of Ya”, which was pure pop punk. When I saw them play live a few years ago, vocalist Davey was just a hardcore kid like any other. A year or so later, he is a Goth hardcore god. Oh man, I felt so dorky saying that. As much as I wanted to give this a bad review, I couldn’t bring myself to do it. The album is good, these guys are talented and they sound good on headphones. On another note, no one sounds like these guys. Originality is rare in music, and these guys have it. – LENTINI

GG ALLIN AND ANTISEEN, Murder Junkies (BYO) Quite simply, this album is a vile, criminal catharsis from the king of on-stage defecation and degradation, GG Allin. Though he died of a heroin overdose more than 10 years ago, Allin’s punk spirit and violent tendencies reverberate through this re-issue. A must-have for any fan of early hardcore punk. Get bloody. – ALR

ALTERNATIVE ALL STARS, 110% Rock (Upstairs Studio) This disc is more fun than bullfights on acid. A big, brash, triumphant rock album, 110% Rock is the illegitimate love child of Queen (arena rock anthems, charismatic front man), Motley Crue (monster guitars, melodic metal), Local H (stomping stamina) and Foo Fighters (alternative-laced fun). This is possibly the year’s most perfect album, and reason enough to buy a convertible. Plus, it comes to us from none other than Claus Grabke, the 11-time German skate champion who rode for Powell Peralta in 1985 before joining long-time sponsor Santa Cruz and leaving an indelible mark on American culture. – ALR

AVENGED SEVENFOLD, Waking the Fallen (Hopeless) With a biblical band name, Slash-inspired guitarist and penchant for eye liner, Avenged Sevenfold appear primed to follow in the footsteps of punk and metal idols Iron Maiden, G ‘N’ R and the Misfits. Waking the Fallen, the band’s noticeably grown-up sophomore release, brings this five-piece outfit one step closer to OzzFest fame with vocalist M. Shadows’ remarkable range and penchant for both guttural, hardcore screeching and eerily melodic crooning. Hard to categorize and harder to dislike, Avenged Sevenfold prove that not all 20-something Orange County bands suck. – ALR

BARTENDERS BIBLE, Amen (Red Room Recordings) Why doesn’t more stuff like this come through the office? Right off the bat, I knew this record was going to be good. I mean, look at the name of the band. This record is country. Real country, not polished country pop like that evil thing called Faith Hill. This is badass country in the vein of Haggard, Cash and Coe. It is almost hard to review because it is so darn good. The first track, “Sau Paulo,” has a great little Mexican/Brazilian style to it, and the cover of Arabella Harrison’s “Two Left Boots” is no less than stellar. The only downside is that Amen has only five tracks. I hope they record a full-length soon, because I can listen to it all day — sharing a case of Pabst Blue Ribbon with myself. – LENTINI

BEAR VS SHARK, Right Now, You’re In the Best of Hands (Equal Vision) The bear thunders in and swipes at your head. The shark sneaks up and bites you in the ass. Bear Vs Shark do both well. With straightforward, hardcore growls and grunts, songs like “Campfire” and “Buses/No Buses” come on like a grizzly. While the rolling, restrained melodies on tracks like “The Employee Is Not Afraid” and “Second” slide in and stalk their victims like a Great White. Bear Vs Shark stands apart from the masses with its creative song constructions and indie-rock inspirations. An endangered species, indeed. – ALR

CULTURE, World Peace (Heartbeat) Roots reggae with a Sunday morning feel is what Culture dishes up on its 30th release since 1976. With calypso-style horns and the general irie feeling this band gives off, you get the feeling Culture operates on the brighter side of the Jamaican beat, even while staying in line with political reggae lyrics. – JJOBES

CURSE OF THE GOLDEN VAMPIRE, Mass Destruction (Ipecac Records) When I first put this on, I thought it sounded like Godflesh gone drum and bass. Well, I hit it right on the head. Justin Broadrick (Godflesh) and Kevin Martin started this band with underground faves Techno-Animal, the first incarnation of COGV. I actually like this a bit more than Techno-Animal cuz it’s dirtier. They add a lot of dubbed-out phazers and flangers to face melting guitars. I think Alec Empire might have his mitts in here somewhere, too. If you like Digital Hardcore, Photek and Godflesh, check it. It will kill you just right. – WINGS HAUSER

DAKAH HIP HOP ORCHESTRA, Unfinished Symphony
A 40-piece hip-hop orchestra is a tricky and ambitious undertaking. And Geoff Gallegos is just the man for the job. He’s worked in music since he was 15, mainly in the classical realm. But before you start thinking that “he’s just a geriatric trying to cash in on some slim shady shit,” know that he has worked with George Clinton of Parliment /Funkadelic. These guys hit it hard in every imaginable style. There’s straight up New Orleans-style jazz, homage to Ellington, Mingus, Coltrane, Getz, Mancini, Goldsmith, Schiffrin and too many others to mention. They work through a number of different styles as well: Middle Eastern, Cuban, Afro-beat and woo woo jams. Imagine The Roots as an army with unlimited instruments and vocals. This guy was homeless and lived in a tent so he could make this happen. That’s real, especially in LA. – WINGS HAUSER

EVOL, Experiment in Fear (Evolve)
Ever just want to slip into ’85 Suicidal/Excel/No Mercy energy, and break out with the “Possessed” state of mind? Well, here’s your chance. These guys have tapped that vein in their own, unique way, and it works. I was pleasantly brought back to some lost days, and the feelings were all there. The best part is, they are original, and do it on their own terms, while paying proper respect and tribute to the OG Venice world. Great joints for skating. – LEVY

F-MINUS, Wake Up Screaming (Hellcat) In a time of retro-punks and fake- ass hardcore kids, this bunch shows us the way it was and always should be. Far away from fashion punk rock, they blast music right in your face. Old-School hardcore to the max is the law. Pissed female vocals with angry male vocals. Also a great live band. Note: the sticker on the cover says, “Produced by Steve Albini (Nirvana, Pixies, etc.)” A great band doesn’t need sellout-slogans! Calm down, please. – FLORIAN BRAUN

DARKEST HOUR, Hidden Hands Of A Sadist Nation (Victory) It sounds like Sweden, it comes from D.C. . . . the best deathmetalcore. This CD picks up where2001’s So Sedated, So Secure left off. Except that, while many bands mellow as they age, Darkest Hour has instead become heavier and faster than ever. The whirlwind begins with the first cymbal crash on The Sadist Nation and continues through the first five tracks. The band slows to sub-breakneck speed for the last four tracks, choosing to go with the heaviest of melodic chaos. This has the potential to push the metal boundaries like Slayer’s Haunting the Chapel EP once did. – JJOBES

FLASHLIGHT BROWN,My Degeneration (Hollywood Records) I am going to let the words of these pop-punk boys speak for themselves: “Can I take you to the movies? I’ll buy you popcorn and candy. They will make you fat and ugly so no other boy will look your way. And you’ll be mine all mine every single day.” So funny I wish I wrote that song. – LENTINI

THE DEAD, True As Fuck(Demo CD)
Awesome uprising German band. Plays fast and powerful Old-School hardcore in the old Boston/Dischord vein like Negative Approach, Jerry’s Kids or SSD with a proper twist of piss punk attitude and some heavy breakdowns. Very self-contained with personal and pissed lyrics, always with some ironic or sarcastic undertone. Most songs clock in around 60 seconds, so you know the deal! Great raging singer. Also a great live band. – SLIM

DIVISION OF LAURA LEE, 97-99 (Burning Heart/Lovitt Records) Scandinavia is the new Detroit. Aside from its wealth of black metal bands, for which we’re all very grateful, it also seems to have a bunch of good punk bands. I’ve heard the Division compared to At the Drive-In and Fugazi. Lovitt Records and the Division seem to have some connections to the D.C. scene, so this makes some sense. The band had to shine Coachella due to a sore throat, which is a bummer for all concerned. This collection is culled from old singles and such. Division’s been getting play on MTV, so I’m sure you’ll be hearing more from them as long as they don’t sign to a major label and get screwed. This most definitely does rock; I give it a solid three thumbs up. – WINGS HAUSER

FREYA, As The Last Light Drains (Victory) You just knew you hadn’t heard the last from the Earth Crisis alumni, and true enough, Karl, Eric and Bulldog are back with two new members. And the lineup isn’t the only thing that has changed. While the intensity and heaviness remain, they are accompanied by a harmonious undertone, both in the vocals and through the use of melodic chords that Earth Crisis never put to use. Lyrically, the original straight-edge militants have toned it down and have started to contemplate the emotional side of things. And it works surprisingly well, with more intensity than most emo bands could ever muster. – JJOBES

HASTE, The Mercury Lift (Century Media) A rare breed of metal band, Haste oozes authenticity on both mind-stomping hardcore tracks like “Revenge Tastes Like Blood and Broken Teeth” and melodic rockers like “The Rescured.” Vacillating between blood-curdling screams and intoxicating croons, vocalists Kelly Reaves and Chris Mosley represent the harmonious Jeckyll and aggressive Hyde extremes of this infectious sextet from Birmingham, Alabama. At both ends of the spectrum, Haste unleashes masterful, mosh-worthy guitars, technically superb drums and one real thrasher (Brandon Thrasher) on bass. – ALR

THE HIGH STRUNG, These Are Good Tunes (Tee Pee Records) This record threw me off. At first, I thought it was a ska or reggae album because of the black and white photo, and the orange and yellow stripes on the cover. To my dismay, it was neither. The guy’s voice is annoying, and sometimes it oddly reminds me of an overstated Oasis – or an understated one, depending on how you look at it. – LENTINI

HOODS, Pray For Death (Victory) These guys are the hardest of West Coast hardcore and they hold their own against the best that the East Coast scene has ever offered. Combining the best of the Cro-Mags and Agnostic Front, as well as some impossibly heavy riffs, these guys are definitely doing their part to keep the scene going. – JJOBES

HOT CROSS/LIGHT FUSE AND RUN, Split EP (Level Plane) Two bands, two songs each. Hot Cross has a Today Is The Day vibe to ’em. Hardcore attitude with metallic solos. They’re tight and don’t slip into any obvious category, which is reason enough to check ’em out. Light Fuse and Run have a bit of the D.C. sound, but they definitely get out on their turf. Their two tracks are polar opposites. The first is a blast about shout-outs to ghost towns. The second track is plaintive and meandering; it evokes a Mueller (June of 44, Rodan) atmosphere. The same label put out a Melt Banana 6″ single and should therefore be knighted. – WINGS HAUSER

HOT ROD CIRCUIT, Sorry About Tomorrow (Vagrant) Not to be mistaken for Hot Water Music or other three-named bands, Alabama-via-Connecticut quartet HRC releases their third full-length (and first for Vagrant) and it’s chock full of punk, indie, rock and hooks that defy a firm categorization. With the catchy melodies, they handily sum up the adult return to the small-town living of childhood (“Cool for One Night”) and mentally long-distance relationships (“Consumed by Laziness”) among other issues. – L. GREEN

IKARA COLT, Basic Instructions EP (Epitaph) Sometimes bands just nail it. The music, your headspace, public-transportation shelter lighting, your girlfriend. Ikara Colt does that. This has the same feeling as the 87 SST Records double LP meltdown from The Minutemen, Husker Du, and Sonic Youth. Aggro art-punk from London. It’s about time. Let me also drop some Joy Division and Berlin in for sound check reference. If these guys don’t wise up and quit soon, they too will become popular. Then I’m gonna have to pay seven bucks for a Heineken just to see ’em. Very, very nice indeed. Git it. – WINGS HAUSER

INTERPOL, Turn On the Bright Lights (Matador) Everybody and their baby’s mama has been talkin’ these guys up, which always makes me run for cover. Ya know what though? They’re really good. The bassist, Carlos D., is the secret weapon. His bass lines are a mix of David Wm, Sims (Jesus Lizard, Rapeman) and Peter Hook (Joy Division, New Order). The guitarists layer sharp skrankle with shimmering atmospherics, like a more focused Sonic Youth. Enough has been said about the vocalist’s likeness to a certain gloomy Englishman, but if you want it spelled out, check out the new “Girl” video. There’s even a killer breakdown in “Say Hello to the Angels” that’s a quick tribute to The Fall. One of many bonus points awarded. – WINGS HAUSER

LA SYMPHONY, Baloney SoCal hip-hop group LA Symphony has put together a chill EP of their latest tracks. After seeing them play at a skate club benefit (MC’s Cookbook and Flynn are both skaters), I can attest to the power of this group’s live show. Check out my favorite track, “You,” produced by Derek Paris, owner of local Venice skate shop Excel. The smooth beats, along with meaningful and pure subject matter resembles Tribe, De La Soul or Gangstarr. Support the LA Symphony family as they come up. – BILLY THE INTERN

KILLER MIKE, Monster (Aquameni/Columbia) The Dungeon Family lets another member out of the fold. You might remember him from Outkast’s, The Whole World. Andre 3000 gets some trademark mixin’ on and, like his Dirty South brethren, he really benefits from adding live instruments to his business. Some ATL homeboys help him out on some tracks, but he really doesn’t need them to hold it down. “Rap Is Dead,” tries to convince folks to stop name-checking fallen heroes (Tupac, Biggie, even Cobain) and git on with the next shit. Amen. Killer Mike challenges listeners and hip-hop in general to get over the same ol’ stale commercial cliche’s that keep kids thinkin’that goin’ to the pokey is like goin’ to college. Don’t forget that his name is Killer Mike, tho, cuz he still brings the dirt. One of the few out there who knows his history and is makin’ his own. Oh yeah, and he has a game on his website where you can cruise for hos in a ’65 Chevy and dodge cooties and the clap. – WINGS HAUSER

ME FIRST AND THE GIMME GIMMES, Take a Break (Fat Wreck Chords) This summer’s guilty little pleasure, Take a Break, infuses Lionel Richie, Boys 2 Men and the Jackson Five with a healthy dose of Joe Strummer and Green Day. A punk supergroup featuring one Foo Fighter, a Swingin’ Utter, a NOFXer and two Lagwagons, Me First and the Gimme Gimmes concoct foot-tapping satire with catchy hooks and melodic distortions that inspire smiles from even the most hard-core listeners. Punk-ified covers include “Isn’t She Lovely” by Stevie Wonder, “I Believe I Can Fly” by R. Kelly and the senior prom song that won’t die, “Save the Best for Last.” You gotta hear it to believe it. – ALR

MINUS, Halldor Laxness (Victory) Wow. No sophomore slump here. This Icelandic band’s first release, 2001’s Jesus Christ Bobby, was an insane blend of Swedish deathcore and general unconventionality. Since then, they’ve moved away from the deathcore theme slightly and toward a garage metal version of Flipper. Wonderfully odd and fun – probably the best truly original music so far this year. – JJOBES

MS. DYNAMITE, A Little Deeper (Interscope Records) London has a deeper R and B scene and history than a lot of people realize. Ms. Dynamite’s got a fantastic voice. The production is top-shelf. Almost too much. They got some NYC hip-hop production from the P Diddlely and some from the Fugee production camp — and it shows. This has some definite woo woo goin, but it has its own mix with some dancehall, drum n bass and old-school hip-hop with bling on top of the stew. Could get unbearably cheesy or pretty interesting with the next one. Definitely worth checkin out if you’re into the Lauryn Hill “Miseducation” vibe, but look out cuz Ms. Dynamite has a potty mouth. Not that there’s anything wrong with that. – WINGS HAUSER

MOVING UNITS, Eponymous (Rx) Yet another band well on its way to superstardom… at least in England. They’ve been getting the Strokes/White Stripes treatment from NME and have been asked to do a Peel session. They have a critics’ list of fave influences: The Fall, Gang of Four and a fair amount of D. Boon on the geetar stylings. Overall, they mix up a pretty good racket. – WINGS HAUSER

MONDO GENERATOR, A Drug Problem That Never Existed (Ipecac Records) Fast cars. Loose women. Loud guitars. That was rock n roll 15 years ago on Sunset Strip, where Motley Crue and Guns n Roses inspired fear in the heart of every American mother. And that is rock n roll today according to Mondo Generator, the side-project band featuring Queens of the Stone Age heroes Nick Oliveri and Dave Catching, as well as former Kyuss drummer Brant Bjork and bassist Molly Maguire of Yellow #5. The lyrics are evil, the guitars are pounding and the profanity-fueled energy is undeniable. Metal up your… – ALR

NAGCHAUMPA, Spare Mutts Sixteen tracks in 35 minutes… That’s how skatepunk was meant to be played — fast, furious and fun. NagChaumpa nails the genre on this homegrown debut straight outta Maryland – the hardcore backyard to Fugazi, Shudder to Think and Minor Threat. On Spare Mutts, bandmates Steve, Suz and Jeff craft a spirited soundtrack to the trilogy of skate, surf and snow that features Adolescents-era punk fused with clanging guitars, echoing vocals. A personal favorite on this essential release is “Hamburgler,” an ode to the Big Mac Daddy. And his Fry Guys. – ALR

THE NECESSARY EFFECT, Screamers Songs Interpreted (Xeroid Records/ Extravertigo Recordings) Usually these tribute records are just an excuse to drink cheap wine and smoke rock outta those lil’ airplane booze bottles. Several things pull this album out of that turf. For starters, it’s a pretty obscure band. The Screamers started with some theater types from Seattle. Usually, theater mixed with music is pure unadulterated pain, but in the late 70s the Screamers rocked their adopted home of L.A. regularly, but couldn’t keep any single lineup together long enough to get into the studio. This CD comes from twenty-five groups who love this band and have done significant homework just to have heard them. It’s a significant and fitting tribute to a cultural movement as each contributor takes the music somewhere new. Check it. It’s history and it’s good for you. – WINGS HAUSER

THE VIRTUES, Ruminate (Zip Records) Swedish guys get so many ladies. Swedish guys in a band are ridiculous. It should be a crime to let guys like this into the States; They just screw up the playing fields. – LENTINI

DEVILDRIVER, DevilDriver (Roadrunner) While this is a new group, featuring ex-Coal Chamber vocalist Dez Fafara, throw out any preconceived notions you might have about their sound. Dez’ distinct growl and sporadic, rhythmic delivery are unmistakable, but DevilDriver unleashes the demons that Fafara’s previous band only hinted at. The sound? A mix of Coal Chamber, Acid Bath, Soilent Green, and Slipknot. – JJOBES

GOVT MULE – The Deepest End (ATO)
If you’re not familiar with the Mule, guitarist and vocalist Warren Haynes and bassist Allen Woody started the band as a side project in 1994 while they were touring members of the Allman Brother Band. Matt Abts on drums solidified the lineup. The electric blues-jazz combo quickly created a massive following, playing hundreds of shows in just a few years. Woody passed away in 2000. Instead of hiring a full-time replacement, they’ve used it as a chance to pay tribute to their friend, filling the spot with the best bass players in the world. This disc features thirteen different bass players, including everyone from Jason Newsted to Dave Schools to Les Claypool. Catch this band if you’re a fan of great live music. – JJOBES

NEVERMORE, Enemies of Reality (Century Media) Mangled metal corrosively presented with good talent, and refreshingly sung lyrics make this a good record. The instrumental work is all top notch, and the singer, Warrel Dane, actually sings instead of merely sticking a cat in a blender, and calling it vocals. The one problem with this release, and I am sad to say it kills it for me personally, is the dirty mix. If you have a decent to audiophile-level system, you will be teased with great music on a nasty mix that will leave you frustrated. I must temper those remarks with how much I do enjoy the hook-laden cuts that get stuck in my mind. Warrel’s vocals make for a fresh sound on the overburdened metal scene. Worthy of your dollars… just don’t expect Brian Eno production. – ALR

PMD, The Awakening (Boombox/Solid) It’s always good to see the originators and innovators come back with bangers. PMD is EPMD without the E (Eric Sermon). Paris and Sermon helped set the table that jiggy, big-dollar ballers eat off today. Please check out any of the early EPMD and learn yourself right. Paris (not to be confused with the Bay Area political rapper Paris) has a thick roster of friends helpin out here. Fat Joe, Cypress Hill, K-solo and das-efx on mics and Pete Rock, Kutmasta Kurt, DJ Muggs and Alchemist on the boards. There’s a lot of West Coast talent helpin’ out. DJ Honda, a frequent Paris collaborator, puts some work in here, too. Fat bass, crisp snares and hats are all over this. The trademark grit gets mixed with the next shit bounce and glitch. Buy it and you will nod, guaranteed. – WINGS HAUSER

PRINCE PAUL, Politics of the Business (Razor and Tie) Prince Paul has been involved in so many projects that changed popular music from the underground up. Gravediggaz, De La Soul and Handsome Boy Modeling School are the ones most popularly known. His Paulness has always been one to say it like it is. He doesn’t pay attention to the hip-hop industry or the pop music business, and yet he has had a ton of hits and influenced both genres as much as anyone. So what? Is this album any good…? Yup. Special guests include Dave Chappelle, Guru, Chuck D. and the Beatnuts to name a few. “What I Need” with Kardinal Offishall and Sly Boogie launches with a tasty little guitar sample and then Kard and Sly tear it up. The cover has Paul hawkin’ his wares from a street blanket showroom, fookin’ classic, mate. – WINGS HAUSER

RUFIO, MCMLXXXV (1985) (Nitro) Modesty is no ailment suffered by Rufio, the Rancho Cucamonga punk foursome that set out to “pick up where Van Halen left off” with the homage-laden MCMLXXXV (1985). The irony is that this suburban garage band, still burping up strained peas when Eddie and the boys pounded out the defining rock album of the ‘80s, do a super job. MCMLXXXV harbors the same raw guitar energy – channeled here by Clark Domae toward churning and burning punk riffs – and the same unrelenting, powerhouse drumming as many ‘80s rock standards. Scott Sellers’ melodic vocals add a touch of sensitivity and radio-friendly angst to the album, produced by Nick Rasculinecz (Foo Fighters, Rancid). – ALR

KREATOR, Live Kreation (SPV)
Now here’s a breath of fresh air and long hair — a sweet, double live CD from these German thrash metal luminaries. This disc features 24 tracks covering every album from the band’s 20-plus year career. Break out your best denim with a back patch. – JJOBES

STREETLIGHT MANIFESTO, Everything Goes Numb (Victory) This is probably the best ska cd in recent years, coming from a band consisting of former Catch 22 members and former One Cool Guy members. Not ska-influenced, or pop-ska, or emo-ska. And you could add in ska-core to the list of things that it isn’t, with the horns outweighing the guitars on the majority of the tunes here. Not a bad track in the bunch. – JJOBES

SICK OF IT ALL, Life on the Ropes (Fat Wreck Chords) One word: hardcore. On the eve of September 11, New York natives Sick of It All release a venomous and virile follow-up to “Yours Truly” that assaults the senses and attacks corporate America with 16 hard-charging songs like “The Land Increases,” “The Innocent” and “Kept In Check,” which prove the greatest American right is the freedom to rail against an unjust government or an unscrupulous CEO. Here, Sick of It All do both with a heavy-handed punk style that chants and shrieks above metal guitar licks and a chugging bass line that takes no prisoners. You better sit down. This album will knock the wind outta ya. – ALR

V/A, SNOOISSES, The Skateboarder Sessions (Sessions Records) This timely compilation is one for the history books. Featuring all your favorite skaters, both old school and new, doing what they do, well, second best. Rockin’ the fuck out! And guess what: They actually sound pretty damn good. It seriously sounds like it was arranged for a skate video, too. Gutter growls from Peters, Salba’s surf rock, classics from The Faction and Clay Wheels, and concluding appropriately with some chill grooves by Ray Barbee. Also features some pretty crazy sounds from Mike V., Kristian Svitak, Lance Mountain and son, Darren Navarrette, Gish, Steve Olson, and many more. Put this in your boom box, get a case of PBR, and go skate! – THUMBS

SPITALFIELD, Remember Right Now (Victory) Is that a xylophone? Another exciting emo surprise. What’s best about this CD? The cover and insert photos that feature random photos of Chicago with pertinent date, time, location and temperature data. The cover shot features no fewer than five Chicago police cars, along with a few officers. One of my best old friends is a Chicago policeman. However, I’m not sure how entertained Officer Nick would be by this band. – JJOBES

THE SPOOKS, Live at the Soapbox These fellers got a classic punk sound that sounds genuine, like they live it. There’s definite twang in their thang. Good Cramped-out rockabilly and pretty straight-forward punk rock. Vocals remind me of Capitol Punishment. As the set goes on, they get drunker and tighter. The mix also improves and you can hear the guitar solos. Sounds like a damn fine show and a good time had by all. – WINGS HAUSER

SUBTHUNK, Just a Few Notes Before You Go (Ureneely) Drum n bass is hard enough to program, but these folks pull it off live and do it well. They’ve got their shit together. The CD is professionally put together and printed on recycled paper with soy inks (After the apocalypse, there will be only soy and cockroaches.) “Six Feet Under” used ’em on a show. None other than Mark Mothersbaugh (Devo) gives his approval as well. No one else is doing anything quite like this. I’m sure Subthunk is headed for bigger and better things. See them live if you get a chance. They do a different theme for every show. – WINGS HAUSER

TOMAHAWK, Mit Gas (Ipecac) Tomahawk is a bunch of fellas who know what they’re doin’ cuz they’ve been doin’ it for years with other bands. Breakdown: Mike Patton – Vocals – Mike’s glandular disorder has revealed itself… in his hyperactive attention to Faith No More, Mr. Bungle, Fantomas, Lovage and 578 guest appearances on other people’s work. Duane Denison – Guitar- Jesus Lizard, Denison Kimball Trio. Kevin Rutmanis – Bass – The Cows, Melvins. John Stanier – Drums – Helmet. You can definitely hear their individual signature sounds. Everyone seems to be stretchin’ out more than they’re able to in their respective home camps. Tomahawk is definitely its own world. They are capable of nailing any genre they want, but prefer to mix and mutate. Many have compared this album to Faith No More. Aside from being highly produced, I don’t hear it. By the way, the heavy processing works for this material. Tomahawk utilize a lot of old-school breakbeat sounds and Dub reverb slaps for the rhythm section. I think my favorite track is the last one, which features Patton signing through what sounds like a robot voice box. – WINGS HAUSER

T.S.O.L., Divided We Stand (Nitro Records) Long before The Offspring and Sublime, the first “Orange County Invasion” began with a bugle call from T.S.O.L.- the premiere California hardcore band that defined political punk and British-influenced goth for a generation of late-70s and early-80s skaters. Since then, the schizophrenic T.S.O.L. has wavered between pogo punk, melodramatic arena rock, L.A. goth and crotch rock (a la` Poison or Skid Row). Today, the once-wayward idols return from prison, rehab and oblivion to deliver a bombastically brilliant, guitar-crunching album that is equal parts Bowie, Misfits and the Sex Pistols – with a blinding political sheen on tracks like “American,” “Serious” and “Sex Not Violence.” Divided We Stand is the album T.S.O.L. should have released 20 years ago. – ALR

V/A, A Blow To The State (Coup d’Etat) This comp’s got some MCs that have been blowin’ up on the underground for a while now — Akrobatik, J Live, Rasco, Fakts One, Soul Purpose and MC Paul Barman. All of ’em bring some goods – they have flow and rap intelligently. That don’t mean that it’s preachy tho’. It just means they’re more original than your average bling and ice bullshit. Only Barman doesn’t really fit the mold. That’s mainly because he is his own mold. Prince Paul produced his track and I have to say he’s pretty funny and quick. Rasco is always on point. “One for the Griot” has j-live kickin’ a build-your-own-adventure-rap. The other MCs bring some hot shit, too. There really ain’t a boner on the whole thing. – WINGS HAUSER

V/A, Punk Rock Is Your Friend (Volume 4) (Kung Fu Records) As American as studded leather bracelets and pierced nipples, this Kung Fu compilation hits its stride with volume four — continuing the tradition of razor-sharp punk riffs and irreverent anthems from artists like Tsunami Bomb, The Ataris and The Vandals, which contribute a previously unreleased track called “Count To Ten.” The breakneck pace is wonderfully exhausting and totally, garage-band authentic. Party punk never sounded so good. — ALR

VERBAL ASSAULT, Volume One – The Masses and Learn (Mendit Inc. Records) Two of Verbal Assualt’s albums on one CD, this compilation has already made a huge impact. These two albums came out 20 years ago, and the bad is long gone. Anyway, this is a great record with good liner notes and photos. What’s interesting: Ian Mackaye produced Learn after just one listen, and you can tell. At points, they sound like Minor Threat. So if you’re a punk-rock enthusiast, you need this in your collection. – LENTINI

VOIVOD, Voivod (Chophouse) Voivod are metal pioneers. Their first album was a masterpiece of dark, dirty apocalyptic madness. Back in the days when this kinda stuff was still traded through the underground on cassettes, they were right up there with Slayer and Metallica. They did Venom covers that were better than the originals. They never sold out. They just kept getting farther into their own world. Now Jason Newsted has bailed Metallica for more creative realms and straight up grindin’. Dennis D’Amour still brings the shreddin’ guitar and drummer Away (one of the best rock monikers ever) has only gotten more twisted with the skins. These are musicians that still play for themselves — and the fans — first. Thirteenth album and still going strong. – WINGS HAUSER

MICHAEL YONKERS BAND, Microminiature Love (Sub Pop) Mr. Yonkers has been kickin’ around the Minneapolis scene for a long time and has resurfaced recently, playing with bands like Low. One look at the back of this CD and it’s obvious that we’re dealing with a scientist. He’s playing a double neck Fender that looks like it might be connected to a fibulator. All the tracks feature stripped-down drums, guitars and Yonkers’ home-modified effects. There are elements of Link Wray, Cap’n Beefheart, MC5 and early Sonic Youth. – WINGS HAUSER

ALL OUT WAR, Condemned To Suffer (Victory) As much as Hatebreed is about prevailing against circumstances, and Agnostic Front is about unity and standing hard, All Out War is preaching on the impending demise of the world, without any hope. Which of course makes for great metal-tinged East Coast hardcore. Never a band to be overly positive, this time All Out War leads you on a brutal journey through the flames of the apocalypse. – JJOBES

BETWEEN THE BURIED AND ME, The Silent Circus (Victory)
This band is to the metalcore genre as Primus was to metal or Flipper was to punk. Yes, they fit well alongside noise-mongers Dillinger Escape Plan, Darkest Hour, and Converge, but their irregular and often abstract song structures set this band apart. The most uncommon aspect of The Silent Circus is the ease of which the band can move between absolute metal chaos and acoustic jazz solace. Bewildering at the very least. – JJOBES

STRYCHNINE, Die Oakland Stadtmusikanten: Live in Bremen, Germany (TKO) This is metalcore punk at its finest — live and ugly. These Cali punks follow in the tradition of G.B.H., Discharge and Broken Bones, mixing equal parts speed-metal guitar and punk attitude. – JJOBES

THE BLOOD BROTHERS, Burn Piano Island, Burn (ARTISTdirect) Avant hardcore, noise rock all hyped up on junk food and adrenaline, out to remind everyone that punk is not something bought at Hot Topic or tattooed or pierced on a boring afternoon on St. Marks. A double-barreled vocal tag team and surreally disturbing lyrics raises visions of wealthy blue-hairs watching their dinner party implode, a posh lady rolling on broken monocle glass, handlebar mustaches speckled with blood) and the occasional xylophone and Wurlitzer organ. The Blood Brothers’ third full-length is a food fight of sound and image. – FINCHLEY

SNAPCASE, Bright Flashes (Victory) Think of this as “End Transmission” Part II featuring a total of twelve tracks, made up of three remixes of “End Transmission” songs, four covers, and five tracks that were recorded during the “End Transmission” sessions and which feature former drummer Tim Redmond. This cd is worth checking out for the tracks “Dress Rehearsal”, “Skeptic”, “New Academy”, and “Makeshift Tourniquet”. The remixes, along with the Janes Addiction, Devo and Helmet covers, are the frosting on the cake. – JJOBES

CACTI WIDDERS, Take a Ride With (Fallen Angel Records) What a difference a year makes! The Widders have brought the full energy of their live show to disc, and the results are exhilarating. Strong production, with a healthy, even mix give this album true “crankablility” in party situations. Taking roots elements in their style, combined with whiskey-soaked odes to questionable living standards make this a great backdrop for performing your favorite acts of debauchery. Anthems of white-trash love and cranked-out, meth-fueled sounding tunes for motoring down the lost highway are served in the finest, greasy-spoon, truck-stop fashion. Don’t bother to fasten your seatbelts, it’s a death ride you won’t want to miss. – SLIM

MIKE V AND THE RATS, (Indecision) One of the best records around these days. Mike V. and the Rats play Black Flag-influenced hardcore punk. Bulky, angry, very diversified and straight forward in your face. Definitely the soundtrack to destroy your kitchen. None other than Mike Vallely on vocals. These veterans kick ass! – FLORIAN BRAUN

THE CONSTANTINES, Shine A Light (Sub Pop Records) With a snarl and a surly guitar hook, the Constantines charge onto the American punk scene with an album that pays homage to Fugazi, The Clash and the DIY spirit of post-hardcore heroes. Taking cues from Joe Strummer, Bob Dylan and Tom Waits, singer Bryan Webb growls seductively, preaching the good book of punk. Meanwhile the Constantines romp through explosive licks (“Poison”) and unceasing rampages (“National Hum”) that carry equal parts passion and brute force. Canada rocks! – ALR

THROW RAG, Desert Shores (BYO) Batten the hatches and hide the women — Desert Shores just blew in with the ferocious, punk attitude of the Sex Pistols and the performance energy of early-era Mick Jagger. A cathartic live band with a loyal following, Throw Rag successfully channels its grimy, low-brow dynamism and gritty 70s punk sensibilities into songs like “Space Hump Me,” and “Reno.” If you know what’s good for you, join the Throw Rag movement. — ALR

MT. EGYPT, Battening the Hatches (Record Collection) Skate Mental rider and songwriter Travis Graves finds his sensitive side on “Battening the Hatches”, an acoustic and bucolic album of ballads and slow, haunting stories of love lost. Part Nick Drake, part Neil Young on sedatives, the sound is raw, the pianos eerie, the guitar without pretense and the emotion authentic – a rare find in an industry painted thick with MTV glitz. A subdued sonic diary written by one of our own. – ALR

LAMB OF GOD, As The Palaces Burn (Prosthetic) This Devin Townsend-produced album is being hailed as the next best thing since ice cream on a stick. These Richmond, Virginia, Satan-slingers are very good at what they do, and they are even better at what they don’t do. They borrow heavily from Slayer’s song structure and steal the mid-throat vocal delivery of Meshuggah. Best of all, they never push the tempo to blast-beat proportions, instead keeping each song just under the sonic speed limit. Listening to this CD makes me think of hearing the first Sepultura record. Sepultura had out-Slayered every band around, and Lamb Of God does the same. – JJOBES

MOFOS, Supercharged on Alcohol (Hell Beach Records) Wow. This disc is a real sleeper; it creeps up on you and catches your ear in so many different ways. Methanol-fueled surf mayhem crossed with sun-drenched drag strip mayhem make it a car-stereo-hogging title. Slipped under the radar, its effectiveness lies in its total appearance of surf rock… Don’t be fooled. This is an ass-rocking romp through your head-bobbing catalogue of cool rocker poses. Testostorone booster shots, no extra charge. – SLIM

NIHILIST, Demo Metal is back, bless its blackened soul. Fans of Diamondhead, Metal Church and Jag Panzer rejoice. The production on this is great for a demo. Crunchy guitars from the days when Metallica was still on the teet. The guitarist rules. He’s got all the metal moves down pat and throws in a few new ones. The drummer has the double-bass mayhem cranked. They even work the Exodus riffs a bit. The vocals are buried, but otherwise this is ready to be pressed into vinyl. Metal up your friggin’ urethra. — WINGS HAUSER

ILL NINO, Confession (Roadrunner)
This Latino six-piece melodic metal act is at their best when they’re hitting the heavy tropical percussion made popular by Sepultura and Soulfly. The delivery is amazing – served up in a grueling P.O.D.-style. – JJOBES

U.D.O., Nailed To Metal (The Missing Tracks) Udo Dirkschneider was the voice of Accept and that voice is second only to Rob Halford’s when it comes to metal distinction. The mere inclusion of the metal anthem “Balls To The Wall” done live is enough to make this a must-have. Get those horns up. – JJOBES

LIL JON and THE EAST SIDE BOYZ, Kings of Crunk (TVT) I’ll keep this one in heavy rotation for a while. It’s good to see the Southern rap scene getting some well-deserved recognition. These tracks feature heavy, in-your-face-grooves and rhymes that you’ll be lucky to hear on the radio. Southern fried beats – finger lickin’ good.– JJOBES

YOSHIMI AND YUKA, Flower With No Color (Ipecac)
Ipecac just keeps bringin the weird — and good — shit. Here’s the deal: Yoshimi is from the Boredoms (if you don’t know ’em, git ta learnin’) and Yuka is half of Ciba Matto. They’ve been pals for a while and decided to take a trip to Mt. Ikoma in a pick-up truck. They recorded the trip and then got busy in the studio. Flower With No Color has a lot of traditional Japanese-sounding keyboard lines and a bunch of sheer freakery. It also has some Sun Ra-like moments. This isn’t gonna be killin’ it on the dance floor anytime soon, but if you have an open mind to avant/experimental stuff, you just might like it. I did. — WINGS HAUSER

THE DEAD KENNEDYS, In God We Trust, Inc. – The Lost Tapes DVD/VHS (MVD/Decay) Once upon a time, corporate music and their television counterparts wanted nothing to do with punk music, and the music maintained its integrity on the lowest of budgets. The Dead Kennedys had recorded a handful of singles and their first album, “Fresh Fruit For Rotting Vegetables”, when they began the recording sessions for the “In God We Trust” ep. This is the video documentary of that first session which was never used due to a defective master tape. The tracks were rerecorded for the ep two months later. Studio takes and live performances of each of the eight songs to remind us all about our roots. – JJOBES

V/A, Last of the Mississippi Jukes (Sanctuary) This is the soundtrack for the documentary film that covers the history of the small Delta Blues venues. The 14 tracks on this CD were recorded at actor Morgan Freeman’s Ground Zero Blues Club and at Jackson, Mississippi’s Subway Lounge. You owe this one to yourself. Know your roots. – JJOBES

V/A, Swami Sound System, Vol. 1 2003 Sales Conference (Swami) Lo-Fi guitars and killer drumming propel this chunk o’ rock with Beehive,. The Husbands,. The Hot Snakes, Rocket from the Crypt, White Apes and the Testors. Well worth it. – WINGS HAUSER


“Rocket Redux” (Smog Veil)
“Gravity Gets Things Done” (SideCho Records)
“Calendar Days” (Miltia Group)
“self-titled” (Rodent Popsicle Records)
“Rope Tied to The Trigger” (Victory)
“Under Suspicion” (Victory)
“Digital Warfare” (Bridge Nine)
“On The Front Line” (Side One Dummy)
“Usurpers of the Tradition” (indie)
“Scorpio Rising” (Locomotive Music)
“Anthems of Rebellion” (Century Media)
“All The Wrong Moves” (Whoa Oh Records)
“Short Wave” (Gaki Records)
(Radical Records)
“1039/Smoothed Out Slappy Hours (Lookout)
“Bologna Sandwich”(Binko)
“Scars of the Crucifix” (Earache)
“The Gut Wringing Machine (Rodent Popsicle Rec)
“Only Tools and Corpses” (Metal Blade)
“Radioactivist” (Roadrunner)
CANNIBAL CORPSE, “The Wretched Spawn” (Metal Blade)
“Shoot People Not Dope” (Rodent Popsicle Records)

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