Home Alive Compilation II: Flying Side Kick
(Broken Rekids)

Compilation records for good causes are tough to tame. Big-name acts throw in half-assed covers or B-side studio takes, and often listeners end up with few collectible tracks and tons of gratuitous wanking. Thankfully, Flying Side Kick is fresh, and comprises mostly indie artists. Post-punk darling the Gossip jets out of the starting gate with "I Want It (To Write)," a trashy, blues-core melody, thick with Beth Ditto's spirited vocals. The Pinkos, lesliwood, and Amy Ray and the Butchies take care of the political, hook-oriented rock anthems, while the Black Halos, Sub Pop's promising answer to the Clash, boost the intensity with "Worry Doll." The Need rates best in show with a stunning version of Metallica's "Frayed Ends of Sanity." Ingenious lo-fi outfit Carissa's Wierd hushes the pace with "Where Are You Now?" and by mid-disc Carrie Akre shifts the current with pop ballad "Wishing You Well." Flying Side Kick has something for every pop music fan. And although there are no clunkers in the remainder of the album's 17 tracks, Sanford Arms gets a bit too mopey with "Orange," an acoustic guitar track weighted by vocal processing. TESS. LOTTA

It's the Black-Snakes
(Chair-Kickers' Music)

I like my blues raw, sloppy, and injected with lots of punk/garage noise. The White Stripes fry up the blues just fine, and the Immortal Lee County Killers are faster and more fucked-up about it, while Minnesota's the Black-Eyed Snakes land somewhere in between. The Snakes take Alan Sparhawk--of slow, moody, post-rock act Low--and drop him in a vat of hot rock oil, causing the man to scream, shout, and holler while strumming blood out of his guitar. A second guitarist and a drummer round out the trio, which pummels covers of Moby and the Fall into ruckus-stompers that blend in well with a loud racket of originals. This is damn good stuff: Even when the Black-Snakes slow it down, dragging the music like drunken bodies across the record, the trio makes the blues sound wild as all hell. JENNIFER MAERZ

Troubleman Mix-Tape

(Troubleman Unlimited)

The only reason it sucks that tapes are outdated (besides the fact that I now lug a couple hundred of them around in my car) is that no one makes mix tapes anymore. Mix tapes used to be a great way to learn about--or, in the case of a relationship prospective, judge--someone you've just met. I've never met this guy Mike from Troubleman Unlimited, but his taste in punk rock definitely runs hot. The guy spent five years tracking down his favorite bands, and then released exclusive tracks by them on Troubleman Mix-Tape. There's no real theme here. It's just the stuff that Mike likes. With bands like the Locust, Love Life, Men's Recovery Project, Erase Errata, and Pink & Brown represented, the disc is a brilliant collision of noise, emo, indie, industrial, and dookey: a two-disc sonic wreckage with pieces flying off in every direction. Are you looking for some good, insane punk rock? Troubleman's got 52 of the best examples. JENNIFER MAERZ

The Delusions

The third offering from this Seattle four-piece is brimming with shimmering, candy-coated schizophrenia that begs repeated listening before they begin to give up their secrets. Although I certainly enjoyed it the first couple of times, it is definitely one of those rare records that gets better every time you play it. It's not surprising, then, that the Delusions open up for venerable elders Built to Spill all the time. Their dreamy intelligence certainly fits nicely into the World According to Doug Martsch. But songwriters and guitar players Dave Keppel and Jim Roth are far from fawning acolytes. Instead they've crafted simultaneously slippery and gritty pop songs that burrow under your skin with their own distinctive hooks. Trust me, you want to be a host-body. TAMARA PARIS

Cadillac To Mexico


This is the first LP of BRAND NEW Wailers material in... uh, how LONG!?!? Damn! It's almost the same Wailers of 40 years ago, too... that is, it's nearly the entire second lineup: Rich Dangle (guitar), Kent Morrill (vocals/organ), and Buck Ormsby (bass).... And Morrill's vocals ain't softened one bit! So, I was excited to hear this... however, I won't shocked, as it's almost exactly what I imagined their "comeback" would be. C2M is a bar-band record... you know, R&B-based roots ROCK. That, while smartly peppered with a couple "WAILERS patented" instro dancers. Now, this maybe ain't the Wailers YOU think you know... this is the "lotsa things have changed in the past 40 years, and we WILL play the hits when we play live, BUT... please DO NOT expect us to simply rewrite 'em for our new LP!" And that's not a bad thing. That said... I KNOW, there's a select FEW "record collectors" or stinky purists (I AM one of the two) who may hear this and NOT understand why the Wailers didn't pretend it's '63 (again)... duh, 'cause it AIN'T! Shit... even if they DID pretend it was '63, y'all whiners'd still be complaining about SOMETHING. The Wailers made a new record for themselves right NOW... just like most ANY band, at most any time. Which is the same damn reason they've always made records! Cool? MIKE NIPPER