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I Am The World Trade Center – “The Cover Up” CD 12/36:48
The disintegration of the pair’s personal (if not musical) relationship is supposedly the main lyrical theme to be found here, framed with post-80s electrodancepop and given expression through Amy Dykes’s melting-ice queen vocals (I know it’s become a cliché to say this but it’s true: her singing really does evoke one Ms. Debbie Harry). Not every track manages to be, um, distinctive, but all in all a pretty good record. And when you get used to it their IATWTCed cover of the Jam’s “That’s Entertainment” is danceably delicious as well. David
@ www.gammonrecords.com

I Excuse – “Burn the Empty to the Ash” CD 12/30:25
Debut album (licensed from Snuffy Smile) from Japanese folks doing fast-paced melodic punk, picking up where their heroes of old (Husker Du, Leatherface, et al) left off, and throwing a credible cover of Articles of Faith’s “What We Want is Free” into the mix. Could do without the guitar squeals that pop up here and there, but overall this is a solid platter of powerful post-“Minx” tuneage that those inclined should enjoy. David
@ www.thenewestindustry.com

Ian McCulloch – “Slideling” CD 11/42:10
This record is so blandly professional that it’s almost depressing. Echo & the Bunnymen singer McCulloch might be happy with this solo record of his – a mix of predictably wimpy little love songs – but nobody but the most avid Bunnymen fan should get within 10 feet of this album. Kevin
@ www.spinartrecords.com MP3 Download

Icarus – “Six Soviet Misfits” 2XCD 11/74:09
A compiling of previous releases from one of the outfits exploring the more experimental side of electronica, coming up with darker atmospheric soundscapes than you’d find at your average bpm-oriented rave. Of course some justified grumbling will probably be heard over the fact that the whole thing could have fit on a single CD (Granted it’s only a dollar more than a single CD, at least if you order it from the label, but still..), but if you can overlook that faux pas, this is still pretty intriguing and more-than-worthwhile for someone looking to wade in the more experimental waters of e-music. David
@ www.temporaryresidence.com

Icewater Scandal – “No Handle” CD 6/46:56
Travis, Andrea and Sean are IS, but they get a fair amount of help from friends, including SY’s Lee Renaldo, who produced this in ‘01. Andrea sings in a slightly dissonant, non-linear way and “No Handle” is an appropriate title for the record because the post-rock aimlessness feels deliberate, almost to the point of contrivance. It’s hard to tell if the disjointed-ness is how they compose or if they just can’t focus, like on the nine-plus minutes of “Banana Ssplat” and the eighteen-plus minute long “See Saw.” It might appeal more to people who like rock in jagged pieces of varying sizes. Anthony
@ www.socialregistry.com

Iggy Pop – “Skull Ring” CD 16/61:46
The reason why there’s such a buzz around this particular release is that Iggy reunites with fellow former Stooges the Asheton Bros; it’s only for four tracks, but when you hear “Little Electric Chair” kick in you know the magic’s still there. Sad to say they don’t stick around for the entire album, so you also get him backed by his touring outfit the Trolls as well as Sum 41 and Green Day (as well as a guest appearance from Peaches), with varying results. Unfortunately there are a few “made-for-radio” tunes (though it doesn’t seem like radio took the bait) and (unintentional) self-parodying filler that turn what could have been a damn fine 40-minute album into an okay-but-mixed 60 minute one. Still, it’s a better disc than he’s unleashed in a while, and if he can keep the Stooges around for a while longer (and keep those Sum 41 fucks the hell away from the studio) so much the better. David
@ www.virginrecords.com

Ikara Colt – ”Chat and Business” CD 12/44:58
Debut full-lenghter from these Brits, serving up a slab of fairly tasty modern-day post-punk. While ghosts of indie heroes past (check yr 80s fanzines and UK music papers) pop up from time to time (the vox can be mistaken for Thurston Moore Jr. at times, especially on “Rudd” and “Pop Group”) they still manage to put their own stamp on the decidedly edgy results. Not a bad start; it’ll be worth keeping an eye on this bunch as they step into their own sound (and hopefully step up the intensity as well). David
@ www.fantasticplanet.co.uk

Imitation Electric Piano – “Trinity Neon” CD 11/51:35
After a five-song teaser, the new project from Stereolab alumni Simon Johns coughs up a full-lengther. Imagine post-Stereolab-lounge-pop cum-post-rock-with-nontoxic-elements-of-fusion-sprinkled-in as aural bubble-bath and you’ll have an idea as to what to find here. The only thing about bubble baths though is that if you stay in one too long you’ll come up all wrinkled. Not to say that listening to this will make you a raisin, but Johns does seem to work better when required to tailor his efforts for shorter servings (such as the preceding five-song CD). Still, it’s quite listenable indeed, and if the first one made you a fan you should be able to get into this. David
@ www.dragcity.com

Immortal Lee County Killers – “II” CD 35:29
Down-home (and hidden in the basement) gritty country-blues with a punk bite to it, the kind that ain’t getting written up in Americana rags anytime soon. Surprisingly enough the duo doesn’t go full throttle as many times as you’d expect, preferring to use a slow-to-medium pace to work their spell (though it does work better when they pick up the pace, such as on “Robert Johnson”). Still, be interesting to see the audience reaction if they ever decide to open up for a real-life Blueshammer at the local House of Blues. David
@ www.estrus.com (MP3s available)

Impossible Shapes - "We Like It Wild" 14/41:36
Moody, contemplative, at times attractively melodic roots-rock from this Midwest outfit. Chris Bart’s unprepossessing, shaky tenor serves songs like the Crazy Horse shamble of “What About The Other Side” and the spooky (must be the musical saw) “Breathing In The Burning Room” very well indeed. Not wild per se, but not without a certain pastoral discomfiture; kind of like a musical version of WISCONSIN DEATH TRIP or similar. MLH
@ www.secretlycanadian.com MP3 Download

Incredible Moses Leroy - “Become The Soft Lightes” CD 12/38:59
This is a most cheering batch of trippy, soul-flecked West Coast pop courtesy one Ron Fountenberry, assisted most ably by the likes of Joey Waronker (and sisters), Miho Hatori and ex-Jellyfisher Roger Manning. Fountenberry’s delicate, expressive tenor voice calls to mind Art Garfunkel, Bruce Johnston, even Shuggie Otis - the latter most in evidence on the impossibly bright, relaxed R&B groove of “Everybody’s Getting Down” - and Waronker and cohorts match him step for sun-baked step. Playful, positive tuneage throughout makes this a disc difficult not to like. MLH
@ www.ultimatummusic.com

Indicators – “Kill the Messenger” CD 14/44:42
Their press release says, “Explores the territory where the roots-rock stops and the power pop starts.” It’s rare they get it right, like this. The Indicators sound is pop played with the occasional and lightest touch of a country influence (e.g., “Open Road”) but their stuff is definitely along the pop rock root…er…route. With a really fine cover of “I Got a Line on You`” along with 13 originals, they definitely have a shine on ‘em. I particularly liked “Ordinary Blues.” Would be great seeing them sharing a bill with Mike and the Sneakies. RBF
@ www.lynnpoint.com

Indikation – “In Terms of…” CD 12/31:46
The debut album by a Norwegian neo-60’s beat group, complete with faux 60’s-style liner notes. As bands that “live in the past” go, these guys are pretty damn good. They write some fine original songs which evoke that era and have an authentically retro production, and they’re also musically tight. Most importantly, they seem to be inspired by the best of motives – a real love of early- to mid-60s’s r’n’r. Live, they’d probably be a gas. You can usually trust Misty Lane to have good taste. Jeff
@ www.mistylane@iol.it

Infinite August - “A Loss So Dear” CD 6/19:49
This is a decent short player of folky-pop from this duo of lads out of Ohio. If you think along the lines of the Shins, the Kinks, the Beach Boys, the Moore Bros., or Papas Fritas (one of the vocalists particularly sounds like Miles from Beulah), you’ll get a general idea of what this band sounds like. Very catchy, enjoyable songs, especially the opener ‘Loved Ones’ and ‘Sarah’s Got a Headache Again’, and the addition violin and female vocals on ‘Secret Service’ is a nice touch as well. Certainly worth picking up if you happen across it, but may be hard to find outside of their hometown area. Check the website for any further info on acquiring this release. Jake
@ www.minorleagesmusic.com

Influents - "Some of the Young" CD 12/37:55
This is their second full length, coming out a good three years after their debut. Led by lead singer Jason White's (Pinhead Gunpowder and touring guitarist with Green Day) vocals, which marry some of the tone of both Billy Joe Armstrong of Green Day with Paul Westerberg. The songs have plenty of Replacements influences but this band expands their horizons a bit on this effort, adding in the occasional horn section and keyboards. But the thing that stands out for me with this band is the simplicity of the songs; they've got a breezy style that fits neatly between pop punk and working class bar band; you could easily see these guys playing Gilman or your local pub. They're poppy, punchy and a real anecdote to punk bands that feel they have to fit into some neatly prepared package. Excellent. Steve
@ www.adelinerecords.com

Injections – “Prison Walls” LP 11/22:15
A reissue of this San Diego band’s 1980 seven inch (the title track having gained collector’s notice by its appearance on the “Bloodstains Across California” compilation) as well as some previously unreleased material (a.k.a. the Lost Album). This isn’t your usual punk thrash-n-bash; not as frenzied as your usual KBD punk, nor quite as singalong as their track on Bloodstains Across California, but closer to the rawer sounds being cranked out by many a band in the wake of punk. Let’s just say that if this had been comped by the folks at H2D instead of Bloodstains, this probably would have ended up somewhere on the more DIY-oriented “Homework” series instead of one of the “Hyped to Death” volumes. Of course if you’re only looking for the single you’d be better off with the aforementioned Bloodstains (it’s the best track on here), but as long as you’re not expecting the kind of punk that surrounded their track on the Bloodstains compilation, not bad. David
@ http://web.tiscali.it/no-redirect-tiscali/raveup/

Instruments – “Billions of Phonographs” CD10/42:07
Heather McIntosh’s Instruments – a quiet little rock band that employs instruments like the flute, the bassoon and the accordion – combine beautiful melodies with nice vocal harmonies. The music is understated and idiosyncratic, and McIntosh’s vocals are hypnotic. “Sea Chantey” melds the whine of an old-time “singing saw” with march-like drums and plenty of melancholy. It’s a very nice track on a smart and eclectic record. Kevin
@ www.orangetwin.com

Intensive Care – “North London’s Finest” CD 12/30:27
Generic if funny British punk. Honestly, this reminds me of dozens of local opening bands who are the jobbers of the scene. They practice 2 times a week, write mediocre songs, put out one or two drink coasters- er, CDs- and break up 3 years too late. They’re a reminder that not all bands are good. Intensive Care strikes me the same way- if I lived in Britain I’d definitely show up late to a show they were opening, but if they toured the states I’d show up out of respect for the distance they traveled. I want to be kinder, but there’s nothing here that grabs me- the music is by the numbers, the lyrics are humorous but not laugh out loud funny. This band is probably good live, but I’d have to be hammered to start to actually appreciate them for more than the length of their set. The supportive reviewer in me says that they should take their time and write more dynamic tunes for their next record, while the shit-talker in me says that won’t help. Jesse
@ Dislocate, PO Box 321, DH7 0YG, UK

International Noise Conspiracy – “Bigger Cages, Longer Chains” CD 6/22:55
More of INC’s patented music-to-incite-revolution-by, paired with their four videos and a clip of Noah Chomsky. While the songs aren’t quite among their best, this is still better than your usual between-albums-filler, not to mention that the videos feature some of their better songs as well. Newbies should head straight for the albums, but if you’re already acquainted you should definitely pick this up. David
@ www.epitaph.com

Ipanema - "Je Suis Un Baseball Bat vs. Skull" CD 2/6:20
I hope there is more coming from this band; these two songs leave me wanting a lot more from a band that features the vocals of Wiz, formerly of Mega City 4 and Serpico, and two strong guitar tunes written by the other members of the band. The first song features some chugga chugga guitar that could almost fit a metal song if it weren't for the ringing melodies behind it and the second track sounds like vintage Mega City Four, leaving the chorus of "She's In My Skull" ringing in your head for hours afterwards. In a quick visit to the Ipanema website, I saw that the bass player had recently left the band to pursue a degree; I just hope it doesn't kill off a great guitar band in the making. Steve
@ www.bosstuneage.com

Iron On - “The Understudy” CD 5/21:28
The gentrification of alternative rock continues. It’s hard to believe there was a time when that tag meant acts as varied as the Jesus Lizard to Stereolab. Now it largely means a few songs with middle of the road vocals, the same melodies and chords and the same pre-approved packaging. Unless you’re still so behind the times that you consider a dual male/female vocalist a novelty, Iron On has nothing to offer you or anyone else. Ryan
@ www.ironon.live.com.au

Irving – “Good Morning Beautiful” CD 11/41:53
Irving should have no problem finding fans of quirky new rock like Clinic or the Elephant Six collective, but boy, do they make the listener earn it – the album opens with the plodding and generally nondescript “Crumbling Mountain Tops,” but then picks up speed and never looks back. In fact, considering the inauspicious beginning, “Good Morning Beautiful” puts other quirk-rockers to shame with such instantly hummable tunes like “L-O-V-E” and the masterfully titled “Did I Ever Tell you I’m in Love with Your Girlfriend.” On the former, Irving successfully take 20 years of post-punk, post-rock and distill it to the fuzzy, shout-a-long chorus: “It’s so easy 1-2-3-4 L-O-V-E I love you.” It’s not really that easy – Irving just make it seem like it on this instantly timeless debut. Ryan
@ www.thebandirving.com

Irving - "I Hope You're Feeling Better Now" CD 5/20:41
This California-based five piece takes a bite from the psychedelic pop of Elephant 6-label bands and mixes it with a little bit of Pavement, creating a jaunty and optimistic indie pop record with very little of the pretense found in the above-mentioned bands. The keyboards and guitars shine on "The Guns >From Here," a radio single in any sane society, with a gleeful instrumental swoon for a chorus and rhythm section that will stick in your head for days. A short, sweet, and simple collection of fun indie songs. Scott
@ www.thebandirving.com

Isley Brothers (Featuring Ronald Isely aka Mr. Biggs) – “Body Kiss” CD 12/47:20
These affairs, these third-generation full-glitter collaborative comeback record, they don’t often go well. Usually, they end up lumpen and bloated, serving no purpose other than to underscore the artist in question’s staggering, painful irrelevance. The Isley Brothers Mach 4 bear little resemblance to the steamy funk ensemble who delivered “It’s Your Thing” in 1969. The new Isely’s are white-tux wearing Casanovas, fully acquainted with the high-gloss histrionics passing itself off as “R&B” on modern radio. With tracks written and produced by probable pederast R. Kelly, The Isely Brothers snuggle up all friendly-like to thumping club beats and sinewy slow jams. They keep the cameo quotient refreshingly low (Lil Kim and Snoop Dogg are the only big heads poking in the Isley’s door), and to his incredible credit, Ronald Isely manages to avoid the over-singing and merciless melismas that plague so many overblown R&B ballads. His delivery is smooth and restrained, and there are times he recalls a gruffer Curtis Mayfield (particularly on the melancholy “Showdown Vol. I”). Isely knows the trick to getting a point across is not volume, it’s cadence, and he lingers on the notes like he’s taking a long sip of wine. It’s the arrangements that are dodgy. While a few are not to far afield of “Midnight Love” era Marvin Gaye (see “Keep it Flowin’”), just as many sound like castoffs from a late-night all-request syndicated love-jams program. While “Body Kiss” is not a full-on embarrassment, there are still too many cringe worthy moments to consider it a success. J Edward
@ www.dreamworks.com

Isobel Campbell - "Amorino" CD 13/44:01
So, I knew going in that this was the solo record of Isobel Campbell, known mostly for her work with Belle & Sebastian. As a B&S fan, I was already going into this with certain expectations, which is usually a bad idea, but understandable. Upon my first couple of listens, I couldn’t believe what I was hearing – along with a few tracks that sounded as I expected (pretty similar to the songs Isobel sung for B&S), there were elements of brazilian pop, Dixieland jazz (?!?), and Burt Bacharach-style 60’s pop tunes with horns and strings. Honestly, it was so different that I didn’t even listen to it again for quite a while. But then when I came back to it, it sounded great to me - an inventive breath of fresh air, an artist willing to take chances in their music. Seriously, how many indie-pop artists could pull off a Dixieland song? I wonder if people do the Charleston at her shows when she plays that song... Jake
@ www.instinctrecords.com

Izzys – S/T CD 11/31:09
The first song just floated by, but the wickedly catchy, rootsy guitar riff on “Turning Round” reeled me in. It would appear this redneck/cowboy trio by way of NYC has spent years steeped in country, bluegrass and the blues and yet they still wanna rock, sometimes. About half the songs are notable within that rock first framework, the other half lean to the country side. “Strange” sports wiry guitar and has some nice dirt in the amps. “Morning Bells” is tough and tight, as the kids say. “Velocity” speeds up and falls off the track, and gets weird (with the blues) by cranking up and elongating the notes. “Dreaming”, the climactic closer, is indicative of deep-fried indie rock that has never really gone away in places like Louisville, Athens and southern California. I can name a barnyard full of bands that can play this music passably. I can name a fistful that do it justice. The Izzys could join up with a few of the latter and form a more than formidable posse. Anthony
@ www.kaninerecords.com

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