Rogue Wave
Asleep At Heaven’s Gate
Brushfire Records
I just can’t talk about Rogue Wave without mentioning my beloved British electro pop. Echo & The Bunnymen. The Stone Roses. The Jesus And Mary Chain. Sigh. So great! Anyone who’s ever found something in those bands (and if you haven’t, then you obviously didn’t grow up all skinny, awkward, and brace-faced in 80s) will immediately be drawn to Rogue Wave. The band takes that awesome drifting space pop-a little melancholy, yet not without hope-and mixes it up with something more organic and undeniably garage rock. These folks are from San Francisco, not Manchester, after all, and that American rock legacy comes through. But front man Zach Rogue’s voice is dark and luscious, not unlike a modern-day Peter Hook (New Order) or Ian McCulloch (Bunnymen). Yep, Asleep At Heaven’s Gate-it’s rich and dreamy, with glittering bits of verse and melody that breathe life into some of the more mundane moments.-J.S.

Scout Niblett
This Fool Can Die Now
Too Pure Records
Scout Niblett is one of those weird and wonderful leading ladies like PJ Harvey or Cat Power’s Chan Marshall. Subtle isn’t their strong suit, and you don’t always like them-but you forgive them their indulgences because they’re totally fabulous. This Fool Can Die Now is Niblett’s fourth full-length, and damnit if it ain’t a doozy. The vocals are, of course, an instrument unto themselves, with Niblett’s disarming cry often supported by the bluesy backup vocals of Will Oldham (a.k.a. Bonnie Prince Billy). The songs drift through a dusky, minimalist world, pushed along by bare-bones drums and a wayward string section or blast of feedback. There are soaring moments and crashingly savage ones. Prepare your little heart for the journey and press “play.”-J.S.

Death Rap
Koch Records
“Violent music for a violent world.” According to Brooklyn-born rapper Necro, this statement sums up his lyrical content. Diamonds, rims, hoes, drugs, and drive-bys are the usual when it comes to contemporary rap music-but this is not that. It’s more like a mash-up of Slick Rick’s storytelling and Dr. Octagon’s nastiness, all jacked up after watching slasher movies like Saw and Hostel repeatedly.
With an aggressive flow and his disturbing lisp, Necro starts off the album with a descriptive re-creation of the Manson family murders in graphic detail-and that’s only the beginning. Tracks like “Evil Rules” and “Keeping It Real” are painfully infused with bad nà…-metal riffs and cheesy chorus lines like, “Blast you with the Metallica/ Rip ya head to shreds like Gallagher’s sledge hammer/ You’re dead like space shuttle Challenger.” But there are definitely a few hits on here-“Creepy Crawl,” “As Deadly As Can Be,” and “Portrait Of A Death Rapper.” Also, if you like this, look up Necro’s previous (and arguably better) work-Gory Days or The Sexorcist.-Dustin Koop

The Collection
Chad Otterstrom’s “Music ya listen to while driving from the beach back to Colorado. By yourself. Hurting.” Playlist
1. Pink Floyd, “Time”
2. Eric Burdon And The Animals, “Good Times”
3. Ghostface Killah, “Save Me Dear”
4. The Allman Brothers, “Midnight Rider”
5. Mason Jennings, “Crown”
6. The Faces, “Ooh La La”
7. Wu-Tang Clan, “C.R.E.A.M.”
8. The Beatles, “I’m A Loser”
9. Blue ôyster Cult, “Burnin’ For You”
10. The Doobie Brothers