Guapo: Black Oni

Guapo - Black OniIt’s ironic that a lot of what was considered progressive in the 70s is still considered such today. I dare you to listen to, say, King Crimson’s Lark’s Tongues in Aspic and tell me that in 2005 we’re beyond that.

Dead Meadow: Feathers

Dead Meadow - FeathersPeople throw around terms like the “perfect” record, or describe music as being genius a little bit too often. I mean, is the new Green Day record really genius? Obviously though, there are times when these terms are right on the mark.

Comeback Kid: Wake the Dead

Comeback Kid - Wake the DeadWhen I get the rare urge to listen to some hardcore anthems, I’m attuned to hearing non-melodic guitars pounding against vocals that sound as if steroid use was prominent amongst straightedge culture. Luckily for me, Comeback Kid is straying from the formula and I don’t have to take preventative headache medication anymore before listening.

Kings of Leon: Aha Shake Heartbreak

Kings of Leon - Aha Shake Heartbreak At first glance, Kings of Leon appear to be just another one of countless rock revival bands, many of which seem to be cooked up by scheming major label A&R men. Then the vocals kick in and you realize that there is something that distinguishes this band from the countless others of their ilk.

The Plot To Blow Up The Eiffel Tower: Love in The Fascist Brothel

The Plot To Blow Up The Eiffel Tower - Love in The Fascist BrothelTry as I might, but I just cannot characterize this as “screamo,” or even generic screamo at that. And while I haven’t heard very much at all from this group previous to this CD, my interest was peaked by their supposed jazzy influence and implementation of a sax.

Bucket Full of Teeth: IV

Bucket Full of Teeth - IVDo you like your sludgy grindcore with intermittent synth interludes? Do you enjoy spastic noise followed by epic guitar wailing, complemented by noodling guitar riffs and a touch of electronic bloops? I thought you did.

Bear Claw: Find The Sun

Bear Claw - Find The SunChicago’s Bear Claw wear their hometown on their sleeves with their Steve Albini-produced LP Find The Sun, but some might not find that to be a necessarily good thing. With a dark, Shellac-influenced angularity, the two-bassed-trio often find themselves in well-chartered territory with the production further driving them into the niche that At Action Park helped to forge over ten years ago.

Willy Mason: Where the Humans Eat

Willy Mason - Where the Humans EatIn the tradition of croaking white-boy singer-songwriters from Dylan to Neil Young to Springsteen, this guy really can’t sing. His voice warbles and strains at higher notes and rests more comfortably at a flat drone down low.

The Arcade Fire: Funeral

The Arcade Fire - FuneralWhen I asked a friend of mine whom, to her credit, has been raving about this band longer than anyone I know; what it was about it she liked so much, she simply replied “it has everything I like about music right now all in one band.” I can see how she’d get that out of listening to their debut full length Funeral.

Julie Doiron: Goodnight Nobody

Julie Doiron - Goodnight NobodyYou would be hard-pressed to find a review of a Julie Doiron record that does not make mention of how dark and hauntingly beautiful sounding her records are. There’s good reason to mention this since Julie Doiron stands out as one of the best Singer/Songwriters in North America.

The Mendoza Line: Fortune

The Mendoza Line - FortuneThe Mendoza Line Fortune plays more like a three way split cd than an actual album. The tracks rotate in sets of three between Bob Dylan sounding male vocals set to folk-ish guitars, female vocals set to contemporary country and then a more traditional indie band sound with both male and female vocals, and a hint of alt. country in the song writing.

Tommy Stinson: Village Gorilla Head

Tommy Stinson - Village Gorilla HeadOkay Tommy Stinson, lets see what you got. After literally growing up in the greatest American band ever, the Replacements, Stinson has released albums under the names Bash and Pop, and Perfect, was (is) a member of Guns and Roses, and is finally putting out a solo album.