… And You Will Know Us By The Trail Of DeadSelf-Titled
Interscope Records
Trail Of Dead has the amps swelling and weezing at all times, building a wall of noise that experienced live not too long ago has had permanent effects on my hearing. The band’s name barely fit on the marquee of the bar where I went to see it play, and once the music started, the sound barely fit in the room. This new record and the recent four-song EP are just as noisy. No two songs sound the same, leading a destructive path through the power angst of Fugazi, the stilted explosions of June Of ’44, and the low-fi buzz of Guided By Voices. The boys from Austin, Texas have something good going on here. Get over the long name and buy the record-or if you’re not ready for that kind of commitment, just go for the new four-song EP pictured here.-J.S.

Defcon 4
Blue Collar Distribution/Bukkake Records
Defcon 4 kicks the rotting, flyblown corpse of the so-called American dream off the back of the maggot wagon. This is sheer hardcore-short, spastic songs that punch their way out of the speakers with a feverish, reverberating squeal. Hailing from Boston, Defcon 4 defies its city’s current trends-these are not urban rednecks. Rather, they’re skaters and punks, and their sound and strength sets them apart. This is the music your older brother listened to-bands such as Wasted Youth, M.D.C., The Stains, and The Dils come to mind. It’s coming back around again-if you’re tired of 70s nostalgia and macho metal cock-rock, get Defcon 4 and get in a fight.-J.M.

Masta Ace
Disposable Arts
JCOR Records
The new Masta Ace album pops off with silky tracks and smooth lyrics, but as the songs progress, the beat and rhymes progress to a harder vibe. Extended interludes mix things up on the album-they’re like an advertisement for classes in “playa pimpology and bling’ blingism.” You’ll be busting up on the floor with some of these skits, mostly spitting about wack characters and wannabes. Blending reggae with jazz and old school flavors, Disposable Arts has a little something for everyone. Underground all-star MCs Greg Nice, Punch And Words, and J-Ro of Tha Liks all drop knowledge with Ace. While it may not be the greatest rap masterpiece of all time, it’s well worth the change it costs to own it.-Jack Orin Spilberg

Post Mortem Anthem
Dischord Records
Dischord doesn’t put out records for just anybody, so you’ve got to figure that a release from the label is worth a listen merely on those grounds. In most cases, you also know what kind of sound you’re getting into with Dischord bands-Bluetip definitely has the D.C. sound and pulls it off with style. Slow-burning rock jaunts, loud guitar work, and rough vocals make Post Mortem Anthem good stuff. The album was recorded by J. Robbins from Jawbox, so it naturally kind of sounds like the late cult fave. Bluetip holds its own as some of the best rock coming out of our nation’s capital and, hell, anywhere east of the Mississippi, too.-J.S.

Northern Failures
Hydra Head Records
Aggressive, messy rock-just what the kids deserve. Get the high-voltage fury, with no “it band” transgressions, no pop songs, and no B.S. Cable dumps out the anger and the filth. Songs like “Black Leather Mustache” and “The Big Rock” skip the side effects and deliver the lethal dose directly, winding up with greasy guitars and screeching vocals. There’s masochism here like in The Melvins or early Kyuss-but more matter of fact. It’s as if the band is disgusted with itself, which is good if you crave concussive, ragged sludge. Cable is dirty and loud, something ugly and pure in a quagmire of rock rubbish-and it rips whether you like it or not.-J.M.

Shredrock Reviews With Nathan Yant
Two free CDs in the mail-bitchen! Oh, what’s this? Both are put out by snowboard/skateboard companies that later formulated record labels. Like they couldn’t have sent me aany Johnny Cash or Scritti Politti. Whatevs … I’m sure this is just the type of music I would listen to on any normal day. To tell you the truth, I really know nothing about either of these two bands except this one time in So Cal I saw The Line play at a Volcom party and got served in the pit by some jarhead from San Clemente, bro.

The Line
Monsters We Breed
Volcom Entertainment
The Line’s newest album Monsters We Breed doesn’t sound anything like what I remembered. The sound is super clean, but still has some heavy guitar riffs and hard-hitting drums. The vocals sounded a bit whiny during choruses-but it was cool ’cause just when I got bummed, the band would come right back screaming. Monsters We Breed is pretty well-rounded. I heard Janna Meyen really likes these guys, too, so you might want to check ’em out.

Defeat Songs
Sessions Records
Downway sounds a lot like every other upbeat punk-rock band to the untrained professional. However, to someone who can tell the difference between Lagwagon, No Use For A Name, and No Means No, I’m sure they sound absolutely marvelous. I tolerated Defeat Songs for nine tracks, but as soon as Downway’s rendition of Cheap Trick’s “Surrender” came crackling through my truck speakers, the stereo mysteriously ejected the CD straight out my window-bummer.

Repeat Offender: Slayer-in a van, down by the river.

South Of HeavenAmerican/Def Jam Records
When I was fifteen years old, I was a dirt rocker trapped in a skateboarder’s body. I mean, I was a skater, but I hung out with the rocker kids at my school and thought I knew what metal was. That all changed in the back of the local … um, let’s say “street pharmacist’s” van. He had a sick ride with shag carpet, captain’s chairs-the whole nine yards. The reason I remember this so well is because the back of that van is the first place South Of Heaven came into my life. Between Kerry King’s frantic guitar work and Dave Lombardo’s 200-mph drumming, my life would never be the same. For those of you who are not familiar with Slayer, South Of Heaven is probably the most popular speed/death/metal record EVER. The band members make their music sound like it’s coming straight from the depths of hell, and they’re true badasses. Go out and buy this album and you’ll understand why I sold all my comics to see them in concert.-Chris Coyle

The Bobby Meeks Collection

Favorite Albums Of All Time:
1. Neutral Milk Hotel: In The Aeroplane Over The Sea
2. Violent Femmes: Violent Femmes
3. Tim Burton’s The Nightmare Before Christmas soundtrack
4. Bright Eyes: Doesn’t matter which album-every one is “all time.”
5. Modest Mouse: Building Nothing Out Of Something

In His Stereo Now:
1. Bright Eyes: Letting Off The Happiness
2. The Strokes: This Is It
3. Pinback: Blue Screen Life
4. Death Cab For Cutie: The Photo Album
5. Her Space Holiday: Manic Expressive