DESOLE, A Story to Tell (Abacus)
Although more earnest, honest and generally sensitive than, say, the Crüe, their music isn’t as desolate as one may think. Vocalist Lance has the disconcerting ability to sound like Robert Smith (The Cure) fronting an emo-core troupe (“Opposites Attract”), making them suitable for mild moshing at the club, driving fast on dark highways and watching your black lava lamp. – L. Green

SHONGLE, Nothing Lasts… But Nothing Is Lost (Twisted) Are you shpongled? Well I guess not if you’ve never heard of Raja Ram or Simon Posford. Raja does the actual music part, playing a variety of different instruments, and Simon blends them together into a weird kind of world music/techno slamish. At times ambient, and at others fast paced, closest thing to it would probably be Aphex Twin. This is like the Bitches Brew of techno with African beats, eastern melodies, guitar tracks, flutes, slap bass, weird instruments that I don’t even know the names of, trip-hop, tribal rhythms, and pretty much everything rolled into one. Get Shpongled – you won’t be disappointed. – John Magee

DUB TRIO, New Heavy (ROIR)
Don’t be fooled by the three pasty white guys. They may look like British shoegazers, but they’re the backbone of everyone from the Fugees to G-Unit to Like Yesterday, and they’re doing dub…live. More hardware than an orthodontist’s waiting room is connected to instruments, samplers and effects chains, to create an atmospheric punk, hip-hop and rock-influenced instrumental experience… at least, until guest vocalist Mike Patton (Faith No More) arrives on the song, “Not Alone.” Then Dub Trio has more in common with the Clash and Bad Brains (“One Man Tag Crew”) than with Jamaica, mon. Dub be good to you, too. – L. Green

SYSTEM OF A DOWN, Hypnotize (Sony)
This not only makes up for Mesmerize, but makes it better because they flow with each other – after all they are a double disc set, and one without the other is like PB without the J. Although some hardcore SOAD fans may be disappointed because it strays away from the original formula, System is still with it. Guitarist Daron Malakian has more vocals, but they are still delivered in that maniacal monkish way that we all love. Even though he wrote most of the lyrics this time, they are still as thought provoking as ever, and laced with plenty of social commentary. Produced from the mastermind of Rick Rubin, System is still tearin’ it up with powerful metal riffs mixed with minor Armenian melodies. Half the people I know who dissed on this album changed their mind like two weeks later. – John Magee

MR. NOGATCO aka Kool Keith, Nogatco Rd. (Insomniac) Multiple personality disorder is Kool Keith’s calling card. We now make the acquaintance of Mr. Nogatco, (obviously, Octagon backwards and quite possibly the Hyde side) i.e., mad scientist, alien conspiracy theorist, Epcot visitor, eBay rock seller, insect collector. By “Alpha Omega” and to a plinky beat, we hear a manifesto: get off the computer and rejoin the human race. Both honest and critical, it puts the hos and dough into context. If his next manifestation isn’t a politician, our government may have more to answer for than just the Roswell aliens. – L. GreeN

BUZZCOCKS, Flat Pack Philosophy (Cooking Vinyl) Time has not taken its toll on the Buzzcocks. Thirty years after the beginning of their punk rock days, they’re as brilliant as ever. This album demonstrates that if a band truly has something special then they will never lose it. The Buzzcocks use innate talent to create something smart for the new generation, yet still keep it punk. – KATY HARTON

JOHN MCBAIN, The In-Flight Feature (Duna)
John McBain used to be the guitarist for Monster Magnet and he was in the Wellwater Conspiracy with the rhythm section of Soundgarden. Those credentials should give you some idea of McBain’s talent as well as where he is capable of taking his music. Comprised mostly of instrumentals, the album features long atmospheric passages with layer upon layer of instrumentation. The range of sounds covers as much ground as the depth of the layering, ranging from spacy, psychedelic improvisations to brooding crescendos and electronics, with even a little surf riffage. There’s a lot to be heard in this fantastic record. – DOUG BIGGERSTAFF

HELL IS FOR HEROES, Transmit Disrupt (Burning Heart) By the time we reach “Quiet Riot”, it’s clear someone’s been paying attention to radio of the past decades. Coming off like the Red Hot Chili Peppers with Seasonal Affective Disorder, Fall Out Boy from London, or Psychedelic Furs with mange in quieter moments, Hell is for Heroes (named for a Steve McQueen film) wants to remind us punk is about a feeling and not a tattoo. It’s about an ethic and pride, and twin guitar assaults don’t hurt. – L. Green

NEARLY, Reminder (La Cosa Nostra)
Nearly is Jerome Dillon’s (formerly of Nine Inch Nails) project. Like Nails, Dillon’s music is dark, sad and atmospheric, but here he relies heavily on beauty as opposed to the angst used by Reznor. The instrumentation is light and sparse for the most part, never venturing into the realm of heaviness. Acoustic guitars, pianos, reverberating drums, strings, and, on occasion, angelic female vocals allow the record to flow from beginning to end. Dillon’s talent is undeniable, and his record is worth a listen. – DOUG BIGGERSTAFF

UNTIED STATES, Retail Detail (self-released)
Atmospheric syncopation meets industrial prog rock from Atlanta. Several short pieces, like “1 Mile Aisle” and the title track could be like particularly negative experiences at the Piggly Wiggly: bright and, atonal, with the heightened expectation that something unseemly will emerge from the cereal aisle like a German Expressionist film villain. “My Cause is My Curse” is a more traditionally-organized rock song, but still with a sense of unease with its contents. – L. Green

SPITFIRE, Self-Help (Goodfellow Records)
In recent years, the hardcore/metal scene has grown exponentially. Spitfire was a perfect example of that genre, but disappeared just before this style of music broke out. They’re back, 7 years after their first full-length and they haven’t changed a bit. The music is fast, furious and chaotic. These guys stand out above the rest with big riffs and thought-provoking lyrics. The only tragic thing about this release is that everyone will be comparing the band to bands they influenced years ago. – DOUG BIGGERSTAFF

SHE WANTS REVENGE – s/t (Flawless/Geffen)
Former rapper/rocker (anyone remember the Justin Warfield Experience?) discovers his inner Ian Curtis and mashes it with Ladytron. Certain titles are a dead giveaway (“Out of Control”, “Tear You Apart”, “These Things”) as is the Killers/Interpol/Sisters of Mercy/Cure vibe, but if it’s seen as a party game (how many references to pasty ‘80s Anglophilia can you find? Half-points if it’s a Joy Division reference), it’s much more entertaining. Derivative of ‘80s Goth, yes. Blatantly recalling happier days when depressed people formed bands instead of taking drugs, yes. Embarrassing to admit it grows on you, yes. – Laurie Green

I LOVE YOU BUT I’VE CHOSEN DARKNESS, Fear Is On Our Side (Secretly Canadian Records)
These guys have one of the coolest names and their music is just as cool. The music is sort of a throwback to the ‘80s heyday of post-punk. Bands like the Cure or Joy Division are some of the first to come to mind. More obscure bands of that era might be more suited for accurately pinning down this sound, but the more recognizable artists will suffice. The music is sad and slow and very good. The guitars have that My Bloody Valentine vibe at times and everything else just falls into place from there. – DOUG BIGGERSTAFF

THE BEAUTIFUL GIRLS, We’re Already Gone (Cornerstone RAS) There’s no doubt that these rockers from Down Under wrote this album for all the lovely ladies. It’s like a shot of Sublime topped off with a hit of Jack Johnson. A summertime jam with bass you can bump all the way to the beach. Roll down your windows and let it rip. – Erin DeHart

LEIANA, (Page Records)
You know those really awesome female-fronted punk bands? This is totally one of them. In an industry over-saturated with male voices – especially in the world of punk – a nice female voice seems like a breath of fresh air. Everything is right with this release. There are some really tight bass lines with sultry singing and then fast, catchy, energetic three chord assaults with even more sultry singing. – DOUG BIGGERSTAFF

STRAIGHT DOPE CHERRY, Bellbottom Baby (indie) This CD takes you back to the old days of bellbottoms, afros, and funky music… but this band puts their own twist on the genre by mixing in jazz. With emotion-fueled lyrics that everyone can relate to, this SDC creates a memorable listening experience. This CD offers thought worthy lines commendable for an afternoon of contemplating our experiences with life. – KATY HARTON

ACTION ACTION, An Army Of Shapes Between Wars (Victory) With “An Army Of Shapes Between Wars”, Action Action keeps with what they do best, but this time around, they add in a lot more synthesizer. This gives the record an electronic feel not unlike the Faint at times, and at other times not unlike something from the ‘80s. The desperate melodies here are even catchier than before and when backed with loud rock chords and pounding drums, this makes a pretty sweet combination. – DOUG BIGGERSTAFF

ASG, Feeling Good Is Good Enough (Volcom)
The title says it all about these guys. ASG is feeling good and it shows in their music. When I first heard this album, it stayed in my CD player for about a month. They write really good music and while you are listening, you catch yourself paying attention to the lyrics and then singing along note for note. They have also added a second guitar player to the line-up and it doubles the energy at their live shows. To top things off, this album was produced by the legendary Matt Hyde. The ASGnation will continue to rise. www.asgnation.com. – C-LO

MCRAD, Absence of Sanity (Uprising Communications) The best way to write about this record is to describe two songs off of it. The first track on the record is straight-up skate punk played at breakneck speed. The other track is a 13-minute opus that begins with reggae and trots along with echoing drums and distorted metal-like solos weaving in and out of the mix. The reggae turns into rock music and ends in a jam session. The rest of the record’s 19 tracks fall somewhere in between, although more to the fast punk side, with most songs clocking in at less than 3 minutes. – DOUG BIGGERSTAFF

PUBLIC PROPERTY, What’s Going Down (indie)
Public Property takes the reggae genre to a new level. The mellow beats of dub reggae infuse with a jazzy keyboard and saxophone player. Other songs get a funky treatment from deep, bass riffs while keeping that island feel. Lead vocalists can either harmonize words to go with their smooth melodies or lay down a rap about “What’s Going Down” in the world today. Though some lyrics are socially conscious, Public Property still has its share of energetic, fun songs. This CD has already found a special place on all my playlists. – KATY HARTON

HAWTHORNE HEIGHTS, If Only You Were Lonely (Victory) This record makes me want to sleep. But this isn’t to say that the music is quiet or relaxing, or that it’s boring. The album cover is a picture of a man (or woman, depending on which cover you get) sleeping in a bed. And on top of that, the guy sings about sleeping here and there throughout the record. That aside, this is another Hawthorne Heights record. It’s got the catchy melodies, the punk beats, the metal leads and the angry screams. Overall, it seems a bit more melodic than the debut record. Basically, it’s everything you would expect from one of Victory’s darlings. – DOUG BIGGERSTAFF

BRACKET, Requiem (Takeover)
Pop-punk that’s not gas, saliva, or vomit inducing. It sounds too good to be true, but as long as you can bear with the fact that most of the songs are either about being in love or being alone then you might dig on this. The first thing you notice is that the track names don’t match at all, every track title starts as Warren’s Pt. and some number, yet they’re all out of order. The fact that it took 6 years to make this album doesn’t bother me, because each song sounds totally different. It breaks the 4 chords + whiny voice = teenybopper fans formula. Ranging from the peppy to the depressed, slow to the fast paced and distorted, this album is melodic, and has a good flow to it. For example, track 6 ends the way the first track starts, and there are unexpected a cappella solos throughout the whole album. I would listen to this in the rare situation that I’m in a pop-punk mood, which is almost never, but for pop-punk it ain’t bad. – John Magee

The cover of this record has a guy hooked up to a bunch of televisions with pictures of churches, money, women and mushroom clouds. This is political punk rock. It’s fast. It’s angry. And it has cool solos everywhere. The vocals are done in that angry punk scream. Oh, and the gang vocals? This record has those, too. This is punk. Go skate. – DOUG BIGGERSTAFF

THE STRAYS, Life Support/Bastards of Young single (TVT) Handily dispatching their influences with their B-side cover of the Replacements’ “Bastards of Young”, single “Life Support” starts with the admission that frontman Toby (son of legend Steve) Marriott is “a bastard on the verge of disaster” before descending into a chunky ‘guitar meets computerized sample’ brick that’s lobbed at the typical “anthemic” bands of the past decade. Rumor has it they even draw a cover from Lords of the New Church, which I’m hoping shows up on their forthcoming full-length. He may be a bastard, but it’s good nonetheless. – L. Green

GIL MANTERA’S PARTY DREAM, Bloodsongs (Fat Possum) Gil Mantera’s Party Dream consists of two brothers who divide up all the instruments between them. One brother, Gil Mantera, covers the electronic and synth parts, while Ultimate Donny does guitar and vocal duties. The music is fun-time 80s dance music, which compliments the ridiculous, nonsensical lyrics. It is hard to take this stuff seriously, but that doesn’t mean you can’t get up and dance to this stuff. In fact, if you plan on throwing a dance party in your living room and having people dress up as robots, this might just be the perfect record to throw in the stereo. – DOUG BIGGERSTAFF

PREFUSE 73, Security Screenings (Warp)
If you are tired of hearing rap songs about gold teeth and rims, this CD will give you a fresh breath of the genre. Prefuse 73 takes synthetic beats of hip-hop and turns then into something that sounds like electronica. The CD cannot be put into one category. It is a layering of random, artificial, playful beats that jumble together to create songs. The weird thing is, that it Security Screening is actually an innovative and impressive CD. – KATY HARTON

SWORN ENEMY, The Beginning of the End (Abacus) Sworn Enemy is hardcore with a capital HXC. They got their start on Jamey Jasta’s (Hatebreed) label and share many sonics with that band. Their new record is no different than any other Sworn Enemy release. It is straight-up, tough-guy hardcore. Breakdowns, fast circle pit riffs and lyrics directed towards overcoming adversity. – DOUG BIGGERSTAFF

V/A, THE KILLER IN YOU – A Tribute to the Smashing Pumpkins (Reignition/Suburban Home) The Smashing Pumpkins have no doubt helped to shape the world of rock, and apparently hardcore music, too. Of course, if you were listening to music at all during the mid-nineties, how could the Smashing Pumpkins not influence you? This here is a hardcore tribute to the Smashing Pumpkins. Poison the Well, Eighteen Visions, Hopesfall and a bunch of other hardcore bands show up on this thing to pay homage, and we get just that, hardcore bands playing Smashing Pumpkins songs. It’s a lot like that Guns n’ Roses tribute. And after listening to this, it makes sense that these bands were really influenced by the Pumpkins. After all, listen to that last track on Vanity; it’s total Smashing Pumpkins. All this record is missing is a Big Muff. – DOUG BIGGERSTAFF

JONAH MATRANGA, There’s A Lot In Here (Equal Vision) Nothing explains this CD like its title. The first part of the CD is an acoustic solo and the second part is with a band. Also included is a DVD that mimics the CD, by showing live performances of just Jonah Matranga and his guitar, but also with his band. Either way Jonah belts out his tunes with just as much fiery emotion and heart. Jonah sounds his best when doing his acoustic jam but takes himself to a new level by putting the band behind him. “There’s A Lot In Here” can be played whether you just broke up with a significant other or recently fell in love. It fits all occasions. – KATY HARTON

WATERDOWN, All Riot (Victory)
Waterdown is this killer German band that doesn’t sound like Rammstein or Kraftwek. But they are on Victory Record’s roster so they sound like a Victory band. On their third Victory release, the band keeps up with their classic scream/sing rock and roll sound, but this time the music is much more aggressive, leaning way toward the hardcore, and even some metal, too. There’s a Boy Sets Fire thing going on here at times. That aside, also like before, the songs here are so catchy, that after just one listen they never leave the head. It is everything you’ve come to expect from Victory. – DOUG BIGGERSTAFF

RHETT MILLER, The Believer (Verve Forecast)
On the cover of Rhett Miller’s record, he is wearing this purple velvet-looking suit; kind of like the ones those country singers wore in the 1970s. On the back of the record he is wearing a red one, holding an acoustic guitar. And as a member of the Old ‘97’s, it should come as no surprise that he would be making an alt-country record. The solo work though, is less country and more pop. At its worst, it sounds like something a guy would woo Meg Ryan to in some movie, but at it’s best, it’s catchy and poppy. Even if you don’t go for this kind of thing, you can use the record to get chicks like Meg Ryan. – DOUG BIGGERSTAFF

HAZARD COUNTY GIRLS, Divine Armor (Rev’d Up Records) If Rasputina trading the cello for a pick-up truck and moved to the Bayou to birth Lemmy’s babies, it might sound like this. Victorian sideshow gothic from a female trio that appear to be the flip-side of New Orleans’ Mardi Gras or New York’s Mermaid Parade. These are the bad girls who won’t raise their shirts for beads, but will strip off your drawers and leave you tied up behind the floats. Thankfully, there seems to be no relation to the Duke boys of Hazzard County. – Finchley

A GLOBAL THREAT, Where The Sun Never Sets (BYO) If you were looking for a punk band that dabbles in emo with a bright poppy sound, or maybe just some teenage angst with a video on MTV, then this is so the wrong band for you. A Global Threat is heavy, balls-to-the-wall punk with lyrics that satirize having blind faith in government, education, the media, the American dream, free will, and God. Most of their songs are pretty fast and kind of remind me of Black Flag. My favorite tracks are “Stuck in the Skull”, “One Way Street”, “Friendly Fire”, and “Channel 34”. Although I was intrigued after hearing the first song, and there are definitely some catchy tunes, there are some parts of this album that verge on redundancy. You might wanna think twice if you’re the kind of person that gets burnt out on the usual punk-type lyrics and/or sound, but if you’re into the likes of The Casualties and The Unseen, then this is probably your cup of tea. After listening to this you might feel cold and lonely, but the anarchist cookbook is always available for shoplifting at Barnes and Nobles. Just listen to the cd again and get busy on those Molotov cocktails. Three parts gas, one part oil…you get the idea. – JOHN MAGEE

THEY ARE THE ROBOCOP KRAUS, They Think They Are the Robocop Kraus (L’age d’or/Epitaph)
Oddly, it’s kind of obvious that they’re from Germany and produced by a Swede. Think David Byrne fronting Kraftwerk or Chumbawamba for a Volvo ad. Quietly shouting post-punk for the Kaiser Chiefs generation. Political and topical, the CD covers loss of self, loss of others, fighting spiritual battles and finding God, although not all personally or in that order. “All the Good Men” has the kind of driving chorus that is so catchy that we all will want to be the Robocop Kraus. – L. Green

ANTI-FLAG, For Blood and Empire (RCA)
This sounds pretty much the same as all their other albums to me. It’s got those anti-establishment lyrics, punk opera-ish vocals, the walking bass line, and lots of power chord verses that begin and end with suddenly scraping the pick all the way down the string. I don’t think it quite lives up to their old material, doesn’t have the raw power and at times lacks the comedic “fuck it all, who cares” attitude that Die For Your Government had. I hate using the term sell out, but for a band that based their career on anti-corporate ballads, and not selling out … well lets just say the fact that they signed to RCA is ironic. They may not have sold out per se, but they definitely have gotten a little more pop-ish, and I think the song One Trillion Dollars epitomizes this. I respect anyone who questions authority, but for some reason I was expecting something different from Anti-Flag, and I just got the same over-simplified message again. “But wait, you say. None of that bothers me, and I’ve always been a fan!!” Oh… well that’s cool. You’d probably think this shit is pretty dope then. Go out to the record store and buy this album now. – John Magee

13 GHOSTS, Cicada (Skybucket)
In a dark parallel universe made up entirely of sound refracted from our world, this CD would represent the things that cast shadows over our everyday lives: love, loss, death and addiction. Made up of poignant lyrics, and high-quality music, it’s surreal and it rocks! For fans of Pearl Jam. – Erin DeHart

ALARM WILL SOUND, Acoustica (Cantaloupe)
This 22-piece orchestra takes on the seemingly impossible task of making a compilation of Aphex Twin songs acoustically. I was skeptical, but you really have to hear it to believe it, because lots of his songs translate surprisingly well. Using 4 drummers to get Aphex Twin’s intricate beats and a variety of homemade instruments such as garden hoses, and air pumps to simulate his twisted audio samples – they can perform this stuff live. My favorite compositions are actually the ones that are not high-speed and dance oriented such as Logon Rock Witch, 4, and Fingerbib. Although Omgyjya Switch 7 and a few other fast paced tracks are recreated accurately and work well at times, you don’t exactly get the “holy shit!” factor that makes you want to impulsively turn up the bass like with most of Aphex’s fast stuff. You’d probably appreciate this if you’re into Aphex or if you like modern/offbeat classical composers like György Ligeti. – John Magee

Hope and Suicide is a fucking badass rock band from Orlando FL. The reason why I say rock band and stress the word rock, is because these guys will kick your ass with some of the sickest rock-n-roll and southern rock riffs you ever heard and then straight up throw your sorry ass to the ground with their lyrics. I like to call these guys a rock-n-roll band but they are definitely one of the heaviest bands I have ever heard. H&S formed together a few years back and features members of ex-Victory Records band Bloodlet. H&S will be touring again in April in North Carolina and Virginia with North Carolina band Reason to Ignite. Checkout www.hopeandsuicide.com for more details of the tour and more information on the band. – C-LO

MORTIS, Soul in a Hole (Earache)
Mortiis has got to be the most dedicated metal dude out there. When he goes all out, he goes all out. I don’t care how many virgins all these black metal guys slaughter, but they’re pussies next to Mortiis. All they have is white face paint, while this guy has full on pointy ears and a big druid nose. The fact is his music rules too, and the only thing that could beat listening to Mortiis is looking at him. Thankfully, there is this killer DVD that lets us mortals get the best of both worlds. Thank you Mortiis for being an elf-type guy, and thank you for giving us your first of hopefully many DVDs so as to witness you in all your grandeur. – DOUG BIGGERSTAFF

BRIAN SETZER, Rockabilly Riot Vol. 1: A Tribute to Sun Records (Surfdog) Everyone loves Brian Setzer and everyone loves everything on Sun Records. I’m going to assume that of you anyway. And I’m going to assume you’re psyched about this CD because this is a bunch of music out of the Sun Records catalog and Brian Setzer is the guy playing and singing. It’s not Cash, Elvis or Lewis, but this cat rules. If you’re not psyched, go get some shitty magazine and read about some lame music. – DOUG BIGGERSTAFF

ARCTIC MONKEYS, Whatever People Say I Am, That’s What I’m Not (Domino) British noise that is either loved or reviled. If you get Kaiser Chiefs, the Streets or any other DIY UK band of the past 24 months, the language and guitar drive will sound familiar, sort of a Sunday afternoon at The Church in London: copious alcohol, music, sawdust, fast-talking boys on the pull. It’s heavily-caffeinated music with the Sheffield accent that’s likely indecipherable but the rhythm needs no translation. – Laurie Green

RAY DAVIES, Other People’s Lives (V2)
You may remember Ray Davies, but you should remember the Kinks; he was the front man for that band. Needless to say, he was a good songwriter with the Kinks and he is a good songwriter here. Enough said. If you like some rocking and rolling, pick this plastic up. – DOUG BIGGERSTAFF

DEICIDE, When London Burns (Earache)
I was going to go see Deicide, but my friend saw them and a fiery bat sucked his soul out, so I’m staying away from that crowd of sickos. Instead I opt to stay home and watch them on DVD from the comfort of my home. – DOUG BIGGERSTAFF

THE DEATH SET, To (Rabbit Foot)
The Death Set have a cool name and I picked this CD solely on that. I figured these guys would be crazy. I think they are. The Death set sound like little kids from the 1980s, who loaded up on sugar and made some really fast pop music with funny Casio keyboard lines, electronic drums and vocals that sound like children jumping on a bed and screaming nonsensical things. This may be the most genius record I have ever heard. The cover art even looks like something little kids drew, albeit demented kids, but kids nonetheless. – DOUG BIGGERSTAFF

FROM FIRST TO LAST, Heroine (Epitaph)
Previous album “Dear Diary, My Teen Angst Has a Bodycount” (possibly my favorite CD title of the past several years) was called “screamo with wit”, and with “Heroine”, FFTL has expanded their range to include post-hardcore, metal and industrial. Still-too-young-to-imbibe singer Sonny Moore and his not-much-older bandmates collected sometime-Limp Bizkit guitarist Wes Borland for bass duties, but managed to come out with a fast and furious album that should have more established bands wondering if they’re going to fall victim to the bodycount. – Laurie Green

THE OCEAN, Aeolian (Metal Blade)
The Ocean is this band on Metal Blade and judging from their name and record cover I honestly expected some latter-day Neurosis rip-off but this is some brutaaaal deafening blastin’ ass metal muzzzzik. For real. Instead of long droning slow train-like rhythms, this music is fast and well, metal. Don’t get me wrong though, there are some nice atmospheric passages, I just kind of figured it would all be like that, so the brutalness is a nice surprise. – DOUG BIGGERSTAFF

V/A, BLACK ON BLACK – A Tribute to Black Flag (Reignition) Anodyne, Burnt by the Sun, Coalesce, Dillinger, the Hope Conspiracy, Planes Mistaken for Stars, Playing Enemy, Zao, Bleeding Through, Drowningman, Remembering Never, Most Precious Blood, Black Dahlia Murder and Give Up The Ghost, all playing Black Flag tunes. If I made this compilation, I would pick a lot of these bands, too. For the most part these bands are all right, some totally rule, some not, but for the most part they do outstanding jobs covering the classics. But just as long as Henry Rollins is happy with it, it’s all good. – DOUG BIGGERSTAFF

THE FEVER, In the City of Sleep (Kemado)
This is like some good ole’ weird rock music, as in it’s like older rock, almost like something you would hear on the radio these days from really non-talented hacks, but better, and it’s probably not fair to even use that as a comparison. There are just weird moments and quirks throughout, which keep it interesting. – DOUG BIGGERSTAFF

B. FLEISCHMANN, The Humbucking Coil (MorrMusic) B. Fleischmann is this electronic dude, meaning that he makes electronic music. With a title like The Humbucking Coil you would think this is a guitar record, but it’s deceiving. It’s actually just nice, electronic music. At times it reminds me of the music from the Sega Master System games. But mostly the tracks are just soft, sad and beautiful, and the singing reminds me of that guy from the ‘80s. If you hear it, you’ll see what I’m talking about, it’s a real blast. – DOUG BIGGERSTAFF

AKERCOCKE, Words That Go Unspoken, Deeds That Go Undone (Earache) Akercocke makes some sick progressive death metal, complete with belching vocals and some wicked sick fretwork. I expect nothing less from an Earache band. And in an age overrun with mediocre metal bands that made me cut my hair and get rid of my leather jacket with the 8-inch spikes on the shoulders, I proudly blast these guys who are not mediocre and whom I hope never cut their hair. – DOUG BIGGERSTAFF

Eastpak put out a DVD of a bunch of hardcore bands playing live. I’m not sure, but aren’t these guys a backpack company? Even if it doesn’t make sense, or even if they aren’t a backpack company and I’m thinking of something else, this is a cool DVD. Madball and Ignite are on here, along with some other likeminded hardcore bands, providing some face punching footage. I just mention Madball and Ignite because these cats are super hardcore and overshadow these other bands, but the rest of the acts are still cool too. I’m just being biased. – DOUG BIGGERSTAFF


1. LIFE AND TIMES – (Real Skateboards)
2. FORECAST (Paul Rodriguez)
3. BAG OF SUCK (Enjoi)
6. DRIVE, My Life in Skateboarding (Mike Vallely)
8. GOOD AND EVIL (Toy Machine)
9. FUN ZONE (Fourstar)
10. NEVER BEEN DONE (The Jon Comer Story)


1. BEOWULF, The Re-Releases (I Scream Records)
2. CANNIBAL CORPSE, Kill (Metal Blade)
3. NAGCHAUMPA, Back in the Basement (Indie)
4. ACID BATH, Demos: 1993-1996 (Rotten Records)
5. THE SLACKERS, Peculiar (Hellcat Records)
6. SHOOK ONES, Slaughter of the Insole (Revelation)
7. EVER WE FALL, We are But Human(Hopeless)
8. ANGEL BLADE, s/t (Metal Blade)
9. TRANSITION, Get There (East West)
10. DROP GUN, Devil Music (Indie)
11. 46 SHORT, Truth Denied (TKO)
13. THE SCARRED, No Solution (Punkcore)
14. HAYSEED DIXIE, A Hot Piece of Grass (Cooking Vinyl)
15. KILL CHEERLEADER, All Hail (SpineRazor Records)
16. BOYSETSFIRE, Misery Index (Equal Vision)
17. HEADBANGER’S BALL, The Revenge (Roadrunner)
18. RAISED FIST, Sound of the Republic (Epitaph)
19. BENT FABRIC, Jukebox (Hidden Beach Intl.)
20. THE LASHES, Get It (Columbia)
21.IF HOPE DIES, Life in Ruin (MetalBlade)
22. KILLING JOKE, Hosannas… (Cooking Vinyl)
23. WELCOME TO VENICE, comp (Built on an Ounce Records)
24. BULLETS AND OCTANE, In the Mouth of the Young (RCA)
25. LINEA 77, Available for Propoganda (Earache)
26. BUSTA RHYMES, Touch It Remixes (Interscope)
27. PATENT PENDING, Save the Children… (We Put Out)
28. NEW MEXICAN DISASTER SQUAD, Don’t Believe (Jade Tree)
29. COWBOY MOUTH, Voodoo Shoppe (Eleven-Thirty Records)
30. TARANTELLA, Esqueletos, (Alternative Tentacles)
31. STOLEY P.T., Lesson #1 (In Music We Trust)
32. DEMOLITION DOLL RODS,There is a Difference (Swami)
33. THE DANGER O’S, Little Machines (Creep Records)
34. ATREYU, Death Grip on Yesterday (Victory)
35. FROM FIRST TO LAST, Heroine (Epitaph)
36. JICK 89643, Skaters Gear 6 (Jimco Records)
37. MOBB DEEP, Blood Money (Interscope)
38. THE BANGKOK FIVE, Who’s Gonna Take Us Alive (Execution Style)
39. DEAD TO FALL, The Phoenix Throne (Victory)
40. PHEL DUATH, Pain Necessary To Know (Earache)
41. THE DESTROYED, Russian Roulette (Indie)
42. JUNKIE XL, Today (Ultra Records)
43. MACHINEMADE GOD, The Infinity Complex (Metal Blade)
44. STILL GOING STRONG, comp (I Scream)
45. HELL PROMISE, Aim For Hell (RocketStar Music)
47. US VERSUS THEM, Gat-Rot (Rotten)
48. THE AUTUMN OFFERING, Revelations of the Unsung (Victory)
49. CHERUBS, Uncovered by Heartbeat (Cargo Records)
50. THE CHURCH, Unvited… (Cooking Vinyl)


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