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L.A. Tool and Die – “Fashion for the Evildoer” CD 10/33:24
It’s hard to make eye contact when all you do is wink, and L.A. Tool and Die spend most of their debut album winking. “Fashion for the Evildoer” is a caricature of indie rock, and L.A. Tool and Die can’t decide if that’s an entirely good thing. The poppy melodies, affected vocals (think Jello Biafra on his meds) and hilariously synthetic keyboards seem to be parodying the genre of which they’re part. Titles like “Jesus Saved Me at the Record Show” and “1983 (The Year Corey Haim Exploded in My Pants)” give you an idea of the self-indulgent silliness. The latter song, especially, tries to shoot for Ween-like sublimity but just hits its own foot. The weak production and left-field instrumentation (bassoons and harpsichords... what the fuck?) remind me of early Half Japanese without the heartfelt wit. The lyrics just sound stilted and clichéd. These guys are a little too clever for their own good. John
@ www.aajrecords.com

La Motta – “Love California” CD 5/13:24
Since the California governor starting shouting “girly man” to everyone who disagrees with him, and comparing serious political events to weightlifting, I feel like I need a reason to love California again. La Motta’s punk/pop is helping me warm up to California again, particularly “Love California” the first track. It has a Replacements sound to it with loud guitars and a good melody and some nice “oooh” in the background. It’s a love song that proves that love doesn’t have to be wussy. This mini-CD is short and fun. Stick around for the surf-rock instrumental track at the end.. Pam
@ www.lamottavshollywood.com

La Motta – s/t CD 10/32:14
Not too bad heavy rock from three guys who look like they run a local record shop. Maybe they do. Regardless, the music isn’t bad and it sounds almost like every other band out there right now. The vocals are kind of laid back with that cool swagger and the tunes themselves are done all right, but it isn’t the greatest thing I’ve come across but I guess it’s rare to actually do that these days. This should be fine for like a drive or something. Whittaker
@ www.lamottahollywood.com

Labb – “Driving Your Shadow” CD 6/21:54
Labb’s debut EP begins promisingly enough with “All Those Things,” featuring a killer guitar riff that could have been straight off the first Foo Fighter’s album. Before the song is over, however, it devolves into a generic chorus that erases the promise of the opening riff. The next song, Fourteen Hour Day,” has similarly solid guitar work but increasingly faceless lyrics and melodies. Instrumental arrangements begin to coagulate into hardened little patches of Top 40 scar tissue, and from there it’s all Goo Goo Dolls and Matchbox 20. I’ll say that these guys are really good at what they do. Unfortunately, what they do is make catchy, radio-friendly rock with no soul and little imagination. John
@ www.labbrocks.com

Ladytron – “Light & Magic” CD 15/59:34
Wish I could say that this second album was as drop dead essential as their debut was. Unfortunately Ladytron goes for a more robotic disco feel this time around, to the detriment of that special something (might it even have been…songwriting?) their earlier wave-influenced sound possessed. Some of the resulting tracks are too similar to the kind of faceless would-be dancefloor fillers/remixes that used to make me switch stations back in the 80s for comfort. Still, there are enough solid-to-good tunes (such as “Seventeen) not to lose hope yet. Expect the warning bells to go off if they continue in this direction next time around though. David
@ www.emperornorton.com

Laguardia – s/t CD 10/47:37
When this label decided on its name, they obviously meant it – I haven’t been able to find a web page or any information for either this label or this band. The CD’s packaging, which is quite nice actually, also offers no clues as to the back story of this band or their label. But I suppose that is all secondary to the music anyways, right? They remind me of a couple of bands, namely a blending of Sensefield and National Skyline with the addition of a lot of acoustic guitar. Something along the lines of mid 90’s emo crossed with mellow electro-pop stuff. I don’t like them near as much as either of those bands mentioned, but it’s not a bad disc and might sound good when lent to the right situations. Jake
@ no address

Lagwagon - "Blaze" CD 14/42:00
Has it really been five years since their last full length of new material? Members of the band have been busy with various side projects over the years, but the band continued to work together on a few projects and now they've released their sixth full length. They haven't changed much in the intervening years, still producing pop punk with that "Fat" guitar sound, mixing it now with a few more introspective moments via acoustic interludes. Lyrically, the band continues to grow and this release includes the political "Divider" (about our current president's single minded obsession with war), the funny "Falling Apart" (about punks growing old), and the constant emotional wrestling matches one has with themselves. These guys might have been doing plenty of other projects over the years, but if anything, it's made them even better as they take what they've learned and applied it to Lagwagon, making them better than ever. Steve
@ www.fatwreck.com

Laibach - "Wat" CD 12/58:03
When Laibach formed in Slovenia in 1980 the country was still part of communist Yugoslavia. Given the tendency of this band to challenge accepted elements of the status quo: government, organized religion, and civilization in general through visual art and music, it is surprising these guys didn't land in the gulag before the iron curtain fell in 1990. Somehow, this musical collective managed to survive numerous bans and controversies resulting from levying heavy post-modernism on their comrades such as declaring itself a "virtual state in time" and issuing its own passports. 23 years after creation Laibach forges ahead, with a sound that remains not quite as intriguing as the concept. Vaguely frightening mid-paced industrial techno, with a growling, grinding voice that sounds like subconscious commands coming over a loudspeaker. Chanting backing vocals and the clipping pace almost make it feel like an evil procession, and if you close your eyes you can imagine tweaker goth kids marching into battle. Xtian
@ www.mute.com

Laika & the Cosmonauts – “Local Warming” CD 14/40:06
They’re back after about an eight-year studio absence (not counting live albums and “stateside” issues of earlier material) and the answer to the question of whether this album was worth the wait the answer is an unqualified “Welllllllll…” Like not a few others before them they’re trying to expand their sound, incorporating bits from other instro-driven genres of yore especially R&B. While some tracks are pretty good (mainly the more trad/spy-music based tunes), for the most part this proves quite effectively that these guys aren’t exactly Booker T & the MG’s. David
@ www.yeproc.com

Laika – “Wherever I Am, I Am What Is Missing” CD 10/41:54
Subjectivity is at the heart of any satisfying listening experience. What sounds revelatory or innovative to one might come off as tired or simplistic to another. Laika’s well-intentioned but boring new album demonstrates this maxim to a fault. “Wherever I Am, I Am What Is Missing” (seriously, what’s with these high-school-poetry album titles lately?) weaves ambitious rhythms, electronic ambience and breathy female vocals into a respectable but lightweight tapestry of chilly background tunes. Mindless repetition is at the fore of these songs, which would be an asset if the melodies and rhythms were actually worth repeating. The clinical precision of the arrangements and performances bleeds the vitality from them faster than a hemophiliac at a dart tournament. Ostentatious vocal inflection recalls the worst practices of exhausted ‘90s electronica and the ill-fated drum ‘n bass movement (see “Barefoot Blues”). You can’t blame Laika for trying – they’ve definitely got their sound down – but you can (and should) blame them for the results. Limp, emotionless and overwrought, “Wherever I Am…” is a notch above comatose on the already faded scoreboard of atmospheric electronica. John
@ www.toopure.com

Land of Nod – “Reality Channel” CD 12/72:43
As the subtitle says, this is an introduction to the musical world of the Land of Nod, mostly taken from previous waxings but with three previously unreleased tracks thrown into the mix, giving new listeners a chance to let dem ol’ ethereal waves of sound to wash over them. While they don’t stray too far from the shoegazer/ambient “rock” handbook, they add enough distinctive touches (such as the surprisingly-good use of piano on “Quadrant Rock”) and set their quality control levels high enough for the listener not to mind. (It help that they thoughtfully place their most disposable track - an ill-advised foray into experimenting with beats - until the very end) Hopefully with the rise of the modern-day post-shoegazer movement (Landing, Windy & Carl, etc.) these folks will finally garner more attention. David
@ www.elephantstonerecords.com

Lansing-Dreiden – "The Incomplete Triangle" CD 12/55:28
A friend, who was hip to this record long before I was, laughed at me when I said this reminded me of Information Society. Especially the tenth song, “I.C.U.” (one could also argue a case for Depeche Mode as a major influence as well, and my only response is that my childhood was obviously fucked up as I really was into Information Society for a while). And I’m not even going to get into the fact that, strangely enough, the second song “The Eternal Lie” sounds like a Kiss cover. Essentially, this sounds like an 80s throwback album, as is popular today; but without a hint of irony, it genuinely feels like it was buried in a time capsule and only recently dug up. And most importantly, it’s really fucking good. Jake
@ www.lansing-dreiden.com

Last Poets – “The Last Poets/This is Madness” 2XCD 28/67:54
Look back far enough, even rap has its roots, and it’s planted deep in the two albums released in 1970 and 1971, reproduced here on this one CD. But a caveat belongs here: today’s rap is trapped in its own circle of rhythms and themes. There’s very little modern rap that has the power of the political poetry read over percussion that the Last Poets posited over 30 years ago. Well, perhaps Public Enemy. Even those of us who do not care for rap can feel the power of the Last Poets. With one hand, the Poets show by example the power denied them by others, and with the other, they show by example the power denied them by themselves. It’s hard (as a New York white Jew) to hear lyrics like “…tiny fat Jews are holding a fiery hoop/And waiting you burn your ass jumping through it,” comments about “Jew merchants,” and numerous negative statements about “faggots,” both of which are mirrored in lyrics by Public. It is spoken in anger, but the anger is also projected/reflected against their own culture. Powerful stuff. RBF
@ www.scamidny.com

Last Vegas – “Lick ‘Em And Leave ‘Em” CD 10 / 37:19
Some dirty and fast garage type tunes by four guys that want some of that sweet, sweet lovin’. The Last Vegas take control right off the crack of the bat and never let up. The singer, at times, twinges towards a sort of snotty gaze at the whole rock scene, with his “nyah nyah” inflections on the lyrics. Other than that, these guys rock hard and for any fan of Detroit type bar rock gone full blown stadium style, I’ll say get your grubby mitts on this and give ‘er a shot. Best thing about “Lick ‘Em And Leave ‘Em” is their relentless use of the genre, one of which I’m not too sure exists but I’ve heard it all before. Tough, fun, gritty and downright sweaty…. Garage is fine but I don’t know. This is a little above that. And when the band does take time to, um, “slow it down”, they do so in the still-faster-than-thou manner to which the ladies have little chance of coming out alive in the end. Because these are all mainly love songs. Well, love in the backseat of a Pinto. A Pinto with a revolving door. And that’s what they’re getting at here. It all comes together in the end. It always does. Whittaker
@ www.gethip.com

Latterman – “Turn Up the Punk, We’ll be Singing” CD 10/36:01
Wow. This is amazing hardcore from Long Island, which was recorded in a basement. There are going to be people who have problems with this, but I think it’s great. These guys play basic melody lines, and don’t necessarily work/sing in unison; instead they pound away with an idea. And rather than weakening the sound, in Latterman’s case, it increases the power. They manage to find and keep their melody despite themselves. The lyrics are incredibly strong in a powerful way, promoting positiveness, but do not pander to the Ed Flanders of the world. It’s a position of standing up for yourself, and not giving up your consciousness to the maddening crowd of video games, homophobia/sexism, negative thinking. Brilliant, pure and – literally – simple DIY. RBF
@ Traffic Violation, PO Box 772, East Setauket, NY 11733

Laura Nyro - "Spread Your Wings and Fly" CD 12/65:15
Nyro who died of cancer in 1997 was better known as a songwriter than performer, with her '60s hits for Three Dog Night, Blood Sweat & Tears, and most notably the Fifth Demension ("Stoned Soul Picnic"). Here she is captured performing at the Filmore East in her native New York in 1971. Just Laura and solo piano recorded on a home tape deck with three microphones. This is a fine performance, and her readings of a number of soul classics like "Ooh Child" and "Ain't Nothing Like the Real Thing" demonstrate her gifted phrasing. Her own "Save the Country" is another highlight. Mel
@ www.legacyrecordings.com

Lazy Cowgirls – “I’m Goin’ Out and Get Hurt Tonight” CD 13/49:52
I guess it had to happen: the first studio album from the Cowgirls in over three years finds them easing up on the pedal a tad, relatively speaking (methinks they’re trying to affect a “roots” feel to some of the tunes). The slower, more “reflective” tracks run from solid to “okay but…”; they’re not bad, but not exactly where the band shines the brightest. They can still manage to do some fine rockin’ when they’re in the mood (even if it’s not in 4th gear) but at this point I’m not sure I would pick up their next release without giving it a good listen first. David
@ www.rezrecs.com

Le Concorde - "EP" CD 6/22:34
Though this collaboration from John Ashton and Mars Williams of Psychedelic Furs and singer songwriter Stephen Becker seemed promising, I haven't heard an album so hit or miss in a long time. If the vocals are good on a track, most likely the music is crap, or vice versa. That's not to say there aren't moments of saving grace on this release. A track or two show this band is capable of not only well-crafted pop, but an uncanny knack for blending 90's shoegaze fuzz bliss with an 80's lovesick sentimentality. The album isn't horrifying, but I wouldn't pay more than a $1 for it. Mona
@ www.leconcorde.org

Le Pepes – “All Fun Things End” CD 13/35:25
A retrospective from this late outfit 1996-1998, all tracks originally released solely on cassettes. Based on this evidence they could sound anything like lo-fi indie pop to a less pretentious far-younger Sonic Youth bashing out tunes in a garage somewhere. If not the great Lost Indie Band they definitely demonstrate enough promise to make one wish they coulda stuck around longer. David
@ www.kittnet.com

Leatherface – “Dog Disco” CD 12/36:42
Has there been another band over the last 15 years that has produced as much consistently great melodic punk while managing to stick to its roots so faithfully? I can’t think of one, and this disc pretty much proves it. Frankie Stubbs’ gruff vocals are down just slightly in the mix on this, and the buzzsaw guitar work and Andrew Laing’s great drumming are a little more front and center. Stubbs includes some typical working class anthems, along with songs about the the stupid things in everyday life to create yet another great disc full of hardcore melody and ripping vocals. They’re an acquired taste because of Stubbs’ harsh vocals, but they’re well worth giving a try because rarely does a band’s mix of musical talent and vocal urgency work so well together. Steve
@ www.byorecords.com

Leaves - “Breathe” CD 13/57:34
Man, this new Coldplay album sure does suck. Oh wait...this isn’t those fresh-faced media darlings and wedders of Hollywood starlets, it’s merely a very bad lounge version thereof. Sounding more like Three Doors Down, Leaves deliver 13 tracks of swallowable goodness just in time for the holiday season. Eve the so-called hit - “Crazy” fails to get off the ground even for a moment of brilliance. Let the Coldplay/John Mayer revolution commence. Ryan
@ www.leavesmusic.com

Lee Perry & the Upsetters - "Return of the Super Ape" CD 10/35:02
File under experimenal. This 1978 release from one of the most prodlific producers and recording artists of all time has always been a high point of his career. The dubbed-out jungle ambience breaks all the rules, and combines a variety of musical approaches with impressive results. The cover of Rufus' "Tell Me Something Good" easily bests the original. The magnificent "Bird In Hand" sounds like something found in Africa by pop archaeologists, while "Crab Yars" is an instrumental flooded with weird noises probably not the product of conventional instruments. The opening track, "Dyon-Anaswa" is a catchy charmer with a female chorus. If you like music that's "out there" check this out this seminal effort from Jamaica's greatest producer. Mel
@ Goldenlane Records

Lee Scratch Perry - "The Millenium Collection" CD 12/46:01
Best known as a producer, Lee Perry is one of reggae's most talented and prolific artists. He produced the 12 tracks here, and performs four tracks, including one with his band The Upsetters. Perry has more than 100 albums to his credit, and most of them are good. If you want to check him out as a producer this collection is a good starting point, with such timeless reggae classics as, "Party Time" by the Heptones, "War In A Babylon" by Max Romeo, and "Police and Thieves" by Junior Murvin. If you're more interested in Perry as performer, you might want to start with "Return Of the Super Ape" which we reviewed in SP #16. Mel
@ www.universalchronicles.com

Left Front Tire - "42 Ways to Lose a Friend" CD 9/30:32
This does not start out well with a Hendrix style guitar solo of a Mozart minuet. Then the vocals kick in and suddenly I'm listening to a poor man's version of Blink 182. The occasional country licks and lovey-dovey vocals does nothing to change this. And what do you know? Apparently they appeared smack dab between Blink and Green Day on the American Pie 2 soundtrack. I think that says it all. If that's your thing, you'll totally love these guys. Sharon
@ www.redeyeusa.com

Leftover Crack – “Fuck Free Trade” CD 13/52:57
The Band Formerly Known As Choking Victim return on AT. Probably not the place you’d expect to see a ska-punk/hardcore outfit, but they do push the envelope more than your average Warped wannabe. Pissed-off political lyrics, intense core, and vocals that seem tailor-made for AT (if you’ve been missing Doc Dart chances are good you’ll take a shine to this outfit) make this worth checking out. Recorded by Steve Albini for folks keeping track. David
@ www.alternativetentacles.com

Lefty’s Deceiver - “Cheats” CD 10/42:56
Refreshingly unpretentious and devoid of the faux-snarl of many of 2003’s flash-in-pans`Philadelphia’s Lefty’s Deceiver breathe fresh life into the stale “power trio” equation. Blending the melodic complexity and synth-laden choruses of The Dismemberment Plan with the pop hooks of Guided by Voices (and their attendant myriad influences), Lefty’s Deceiver are almost too catchy for their own good. The simple but effective rhythm section, in particular, does an outstanding job of sticking with you. Sensitive rainy day lyrics wear a little thin at times, but the sentiments are authentic and well-articulated. The clean production only strengthens this already solid release, standout tracks of which include “Cincinnati on Replay`” “East Coast Traffic`” “Ex-Patriots” and “Let’s Not Pretend.” John
@ www.mypalgodrecords.com

Leg Hounds - “Date Your Daughters” CD 23/50:30
Well, let’s see. Here we’ve got the second LP by a trashy punk outfit that would fit nicely in with the Ripoff Records catalog. It has an intro by Rev. Norb, lots of short fast songs (in both stereo and mono!), and both Ramones and 60’s influences. So there’s really nothing not to like. Why, then, do I find myself feeling strangely blasé about everything other than fabulous medium tempo rockers like “I Hope Tomorrow Comes”, “Only So Much Time”, “Come Back”, and “Backseat Love”? Probably because I’m too old. Jeff
@ Bulge, PO Box 1173, Green Bay, WI 54305

Leg Hounds - "Ready To Go!" CD 22/73:54
OK, here's a gimmick I've never seen before. This CD has eleven different songs, but 22 tracks. The first 11 tracks are the songs recorded in stereo, the last 11 are recorded in mono. Leave it to Rev. Norb, label head at Bulge Records, to allow this kind of degeneration of societal norms to occur! Then again, they recorded three records in the space of three days (this is one of them), which is complete nonsense too. The one thing that isn't nonsense is this CD, which absolutely rocks with some of the best lead guitar work I've heard in ages. The most comparable band is the Devil Dogs; this has a ton of speed and raw garage punk energy, with growling vocals and some completely over the top lead guitar work. Did I mention the lead guitars? There's nothing better than hearing someone play guitar in a way that is unique and from someone that has such obvious talent; and having songs that fit the style so perfectly. Lyrically, the songs fit the style, with titles like "Drowning In Whiskey" and "Get in the Backseat"; in other words, songs about getting drunk and fucking. Can't ever complain about that! Totally rockingly great. Steve
@ Bulge, PO Box 1173, Green Bay, WI 54305

Lemon Jelly - "Lost Horizons" CD 8/59:58
Excellent sample-crazy dance pop with a twisted sense of humor. Undercurrents of melody are buoyed by electronic loops, organic instrumentation and turn-on-a-dime mood changes. "Elements" plays like Aphex Twin on Prozac, while "Space Walk" is a harmless circle of notes that bleeds into brilliant, scratch-influenced electro-pop. Some of the arrangements are too bouncy and synthetic for their own good, but the taut melodies are mercifully omnipresent. If a transvestite Nashville travel agent wrote a song, it would definitely be "Ramblin' Man," a DJ Shadow refugee as performed by Sly and the Family Stone. This album is fucked, and it's fucking with my head. Like gypsies stealing my laundry and leaving me drugs. I love it. John
@ www.lemonjelly.ky

Lender – “Mind Games” CD 3/16:17
What can you say about three songs? A lot I guess if the songs themselves are mind-blowing. Here though Lender takes us on a route of heavy rawk but give us lilty drumming to offset the pretty good headbanging tunes. I mean, they can play and it isn’t horrible like Linkin Park or anything…it’s just that they need to find an engineer to crank up their sound and fill our ears and rooms with their “could be” big sound. Next time. I have faith. Whittaker
@ www.tubeclubrecordings.co.uk

Les Baton Rouge – “Chloe Yurtz” CD 6/18:58
The artwork for this CD hurts my feelings, the pink-ish colors aren’t doing it for me. The music inside makes up for it though, Les Baton Rouge somehow manage to evoke the same feeling and sounds of both Huggy Bear and The Need, which is very cool as both are very iconoclastic and awesome in their own way. Elements remind me of X-Ray Spex, or the Wipers as well, which is also a great thing. This band is actually from Portugal, and brings a lot of pro-feminist politics into their music and band. To the extant that they have a corporation called Jeanette Plat designed to help women take a more active role in an artistic environment. That in and of itself is to be applauded as, to the best of my knowledge, Portugal is not exactly a hot bed of independent music, let alone a bastion of feminist activism. It’s pretty refreshing considering the current trend towards 80s style hedonism, self absorption and excess. Bottom line: this is good and worth checking out. Conan
@ www.elevatormusic.com

Les Baton Rouge - "My Body - The Pistol" CD 11/36:19
Finally! A chick singer that doesn't suck ass! Lead vocalist Suspiria Franklyn belts out lyrics with enough passion and energy to make the likes of Eve Libertine, Nina Hagen, and Siouxsie Sioux proud. Based out of Berlin, Germany, Les Baton Rouge deliver fantastic post punk anthems with a sinister edge. Fans of old UK punk and new wave must own this album!! Mona
@ www.elevatormusic.com

Lesser Birds of Paradise - "String of Bees" CD 11/37:06
Is it unfair to have high expectations of Chicago bands? Don't answer that. This is dreamcore. Big men making small noises that wrap around you and fill the air with prettiness. I always thought I'd like the Decemberists with a different vocalist. This is that. It doesn't have as much emotional reaction as it could, but I appreciate the use of various stringed instruments and the country licks. Sharon
@ www.contraphonic.com/c/

Lewis and Clarke – s/t CD 3/14:17
Nice stuff, sort of subdued, but smart and introspective – and a bit spooky, too. Lou Rogai has an easy, comfortable way with the mic, and he’s a pretty interesting songwriter. “I can see your breath write apologies across the glass`” he sings in “Bright Light.” A definite mood record. Kevin
@ www.lewisandclarkemusic.com

Leyton Buzzards – “The Punk Collection” CD 15/43:47
Remember back in ’77 and ’78, when you breathlessly rushed to your local hipster record store to snatch the latest crop of British import punk 7 inchers before they were gone. Well, I do. And among the best of those 7”ers was the first Leyton Buzzards EP featuring the classic “19 and Mad`” with its powerful guitar attack, terrific hook, and a chorus that ended “I won’t reach 20 and I don’t want to.” (Nowadays the lads are no doubt well on their way to becoming “boring old farts`” but that’s beside the point.) One might have expected that the band could never again equal that phenomenal blast, but they managed to follow it up with other astounding tracks like “Through With You” – my personal fave – and the anthemic “We Make a Noise.” Some of their later material was bit more popish or neo-Modish, not to mention satirical, but most of it was nonetheless really good. So we’re once again indebted to Captain Oi for making all of it available again. Jeff
@ www.captainoi.com

Liam Lynch – “Fake Songs” CD 20/36:56
Liam Lynch hangs out with/writes songs with Jack Black and Ringo Starr, which sounds serious. However, serious is definitely not the case here. Lynch has a high school sense of humor and the immaturity necessary to write songs aping every style of music he can get his ears on (for reference on this style, see Ween and Tenacious D.). He even goes so far as to write tribute songs for some of his favorite bands, sounding like funny versions done in as identical of a style as he can manage playing all of the instruments himself in his living room. Lynch is often funny, sometimes hilarious, but also sometimes plain annoying. “United States of Whatever” may be a cult-radio hit, but let’s be thankful it’s only 1:29 long. This is going to make you smile, but will probably have the staying power of the average “Weird” Al Yankovic disc. Xtian
@ S-Curve, 598 Broadway, NYC, NY 10012

Liars Academy – “Trading My Life” CD 4/13:57
The title song is a dead ringer for the Goo Goo Dolls, even Ryan Shelkelt’s vox sound like Johnny whats-his-name? On “Chainsmoke the Night Away” and the other two songs, they go for the broadly accessible big rock sound. Just standing in line to get the UPC tattooed on their foreheads. Anthony
@ www.equalvision.com

Liars – “They Were Wrong, So We Drowned” CD 10/40:41
Those who caught their split with Onieda with probably be more used to the change in direction on display here. Some “post-punk” elements are still detectable (incorporation of mutant dub and avant-riddims at times) but instead of falling back on the Gang of Four 101 textbook (or, alternatively, cutting their roots off altogether), they build upon them to take their sound to the next level just as Wire used to do (Trust me, you’ll wish that THIS is what Wire would have crafted during their first reunion). There’s definitely an overall darker feel to this album, and fits the subject matter (I won’t give it away, but the title should provide a clue). Highly recommended. David
@ www.mute.com

Liars/Oneida – “Atheists Reconsider” CD 6/25:53
Ah dissonance, sweet dissonance. Not content to rest on their musical laurels, Liars and Oneida unleash a record filled with righteous racket, bands covering one another, lumbering psych(e) rock, sounds tweaked and freaked, drones, clanking, and a cacophony like the local clock shop (from those old Sounds Effects records) gone insane. Sweet. David
@ www.arenarockrecordingco.com

Liberty Ship -“Northern Angel” CD 4/13:18
Far too many wussy, skinny-wristed bands fall into the category of groups with a “layered sound”. This detached formula hides the fact that most of these bands usually aren’t capable of playing their instruments well or with any heart. Fortunately The Liberty Ship doesn’t fall into that tired place. Their shimmering sound effectively overlaps multiple guitars with great vocal harmonies. The group also knows its way around a great chorus. This four song EP leaves you wanting more. Matthew
@ libertyshipuk@yahoo.co.uk

Liberty Ship - "Tide" CD 12/38:12
I was expecting more folk rock from these 3 guys and a gal from Nottingham, England. Yeah, there is a touch of Fairport Convention in the excellent "Final Kick", but the band has expanded it's range. "Chords Drag You Down" with it's whirling electronics background is an obvious radio hit you may have heard on Shredding Radio. Both male and female vox, on fuzzed out singer-songwriter brit-poip. Mel
@ www.indiepages.com/matinee

Lights Out Asia – “Garmonia” CD 12/76:58
This Milwaukee duo – composed of former Aurora Rien members – has its finger on the pulse of some strange, extremely laid-back animal. The layered, twinkling instrumentals on “Garmonia” reek of incense, expensive weed and curry. It would be simple to compare this to Mogwai, since that name appears about five times on the press sheet, and Lights Out Asia has toured with them, but I’ll resist. Sure, it’s post-rock. But what the fuck does that mean? Critics, methinks, are to blame for everyone slapping that label on anything that doesn’t sound like either Sonic Youth or Aphex Twin. Lights Out Asia mines a more ambient tunnel, where water drips in slow-motion onto drugged-out ravers and city streets swallow you whole. At once electronic and organic, dated and forward-looking, “Garmonia” is a melodic, satisfyingly dense soundtrack for your next group cat burglary. John
@ www.sunseasky.com

Lightweight Holiday - s/t CD 12/41:13
The debut release from this Cincinnati quartet has all the required components for a good rocknroll record; strong guitars all over the place, songs that are fairly catchy, clean production from Greg Hetson, who has done lots of work with Bad Religion, and vocals with some good punch. But it's one of those records that you listen to and feel there is something missing...maybe it's the sameness of the songs, which all have a similar tempo, maybe it's that the production is too clean and sucks some of the thrash out of the band. There are a couple of songs that stand out from the crowd a bit, "Can't Wait to See You" has a catchy hook that is tough not to dig your heels into and "Fighting For You" has a certain toughness that the rest of the songs could use more of. Something tells me they're a great live band, because you can hear something more trying to come out of these songs, so keep an eye out for future releases because the have some good material here, it just needs more kick. Steve
@ www.porterhouserecords.com

Like Young – “Looked Up Plus Four” CD 5/10:31
Five-song disc by the duo of Amanda and Joe Ziemba, who happen to be husband and wife, as well as the band Wolfie. This stuff is pure POP! and with more zing than Wolfie. Punchy and twangy at the same time. “You Can’t Get It Back” is aces, and an appropriate sentiment for the state I’m in. Anthony
@ www.kittnet.com

Lil’ Pocketknife – “Pants Control” CD 5/12:53
Electro the way it was never meant to be played, with bad attitude and wicked beats, by b-girls who could give a shit. If you don’t find yourself body-popping to “Disco Dancer”, “5’2”” and “A.D.D.” chances are good you don’t have a pulse to begin with. Get this and get down with the funky bad selves of Lil’ Pocketknife and co. David
@ www.narnackrecords.com

Lilys - “Precollection” CD 10/37:51
Kurt Heasley (who is the Lilys the same way Trent Reznor was basically Nine Inch Nails) offer their own special version of britpop that wouldn’t fit anywhere near the genre if Heasley didn’t occasionally affect the accent. The Lilys latest fits more into the harmless indie-pop that permeated record stores after major labels started sniffing around the Yo La Tengo’s and Sebadoh’s of the world years ago. There’s really nothing new here, which is more than a little disappointing when you consider how close this band came to making it big in the late 90's. “Catherine” has a cool little jangle behind it, but as a whole this effort doesn’t do much well besides run together. Ryan
@ www.manifesto.com

Liquid Cheese - "Lost in the Music" CD 12/48:45
Nine ska dudes from NM who compare themselves to Sublime. Funny, I thought that fad ended two years ago. Shiny production balances solid horn work with fairly quiet guitars. Sam Sullivan has a decent voice and the harmonies aren't half bad, but the songs don't have much bite, though the smooth "Racecar" is worthy of a comp. tape. They've played with the Skatalites, Slackers and Neville Staples and I'm sure they crank it up a notch or two live. This is just passable, and that name has got to go. Anthony
@ www.liquidcheese.com

Lispector – “Lispector” CD 14/41:46
Lispector is Julie and her four-track recorder” is what the liner notes say, but Lispector is Julie, her four-track, her guitar and her Casio keyboard. These are simple, quiet repetitive songs with lots of scrapes and buzz on the guitar that remind me of the intense fragility of Cat Power. Ultimately, even the best tracks wear out their welcome, as we need something besides a one clever line repeated for two and a half minutes. Though there is a certain charm in songs like “I Love My Recorder” and “Coffee Machine”. Pam
@ www.lispector.com

Little Killers – CD 12/27:40
High quality punk’n’roll, apparently from somewhere in New Yawk. They’re on Crypt, so you know that they will rock and not get overly complex on you. Since the Little Killers are a two-girl, one-guy three-piece, the sound seems a bit sparser than it might be if they added a second guitarist. Even so, they rip out riff-heavy stuff with short but sweet harmonica breaks and nice dirty leads, so if you still like your r’n’r primitive and with hooks, this CD will be just the tonic you need. Several people have already raved to me about their live shows, so I wouldn’t advise missing them if they happen to come to your burg. Jeff
@ www.cryptrecords.com

Littlejeans – s/t CD 5/15:14
Who took the fun out of indie rock? Certainly not Littlejeans, who open this promising debut EP with the lines “Kiss me with your nose, like those Eskimos/’cause all I want is your heart/not your brains, not your private parts.” Pure genius in three lines, that harkens back to those days when every line Pavement uttered sounded like a revolutionary new worldview. Littlejeans aspire to be the new Pavement, but they aren’t quite that self assured yet – many of the lyrics are buried under a few layers too many of distortion. However, that doesn’t mean they’re just another set of poseurs – on the contrary, Littlejeans create its own new kind of indie rock – a Pavement without the smirk, Beach Boys without a professional recording studio, Jesus and Mary Chain with a love for Weezer. Call it “fuzz-pop,” or whatever you like, just make sure you call me sold. You’re going to hear more from these four lads – bet on it. Ryan
@ www.littlejeans.com

Liz Phair – s/t CD 14/50:05
There aren’t enough synonyms for “terrible” to adequately review the fourth release from one-time indie darling Liz Phair. A glistening, sickening pile of radio-ready time-wasters, “Liz Phair” is as condescending and cynical as it is tuneless and vapid. Phair has traded in all of her genuine insights into romantic relationships for idiotic bon mots like “I wanna play Xbox on your floor” and “Somewhere’s a place in your heart”. The music is an awkward pastiche of humdrum Adult Alternative (“Red Light Fever”) and bad teenpop ballads (“Why Can’t I?”), the latter of which are helmed by The Matrix, the same production team responsible for Avril Lavigne. Phair has defended the record as an attempt for her to reach a mass audience – but the fact that she has dumbed-down her lyrics so drastically displays a contempt for that same audience she tries to desperately to woo. It’s not just that Phair’s songs have slick production – it’s that the banality of sentiment and the plodding predictability of the music betrays everything she has built her career on to this point. Dull from start to finish. J Edward
@ www.capitolrecords.com

LKN - "In the Leap Year" CD 15:62.39
This is Lauren K. Newman's second solo release. The album is almost entirely hers, with occasional help from ex-bandmate Sarah Hinote and the occasional other. And the girl knows how to rock. This album growls and screams and whispers and bleeds. She channels PJ Harvey and even Patti Smith. This is the intelligent, jilted woman at her best. I want to be her best friend. Sharon
@ www.greydayproductions.com/bands/lkn.html

Lo-Lite – “Sidekicks” CD 14/35:51
This album kicks off with the angular, spitting “Sideshow,” which unfortunately turns out to be Lo-Lite’s highlight. The duo’s music quickly denigrates into generic rock(abilly, at times), with the standard fuzzy vocals and complete lack of direction. This is what the Strokes and the White Stripes, for all their greatness, now must account for: every band with a fuzzbox, some sloppy songs and an attitude is getting a record deal. Hey fellas, there’s a difference between making it look easy and not even trying. Ryan
@ www.lo-lite.com

Loch Lomond - "When we Were Mountains" CD 10/45:07
This Portland side project of the band The Standard along with two Portland residents. From the first note it's slow, dark, and wonderful. The whole album does not maintain that exact same feel, but it stays true and good and deep and worth listening to. The consistency between songs stems from the electronic backbeat that holds the album together. But this is not electronica in its typical form. It's much darker and much more indie. Sharon
@ www.inmusicwetrust.com

Locomotions - s/t CD 14/35:57
Originally released by the estimable Alien Snatch label as an album-only release, the debut LP from Swedish garage mainstay Martin Savage latest outfit has finally made its way onto shiny metal disc with a long-gone 7 inch tacked on for good measure. Unpretentious rocknroll played just for the fun for it without regard for fashion (i.e. no white belts here). Anyone who missed out the first time around shouldn't make the same mistake again. David
@ www.dead-beat-records.com MP3 Download

Loch Ness Mouse - "Key West" CD 10/34:28
The Loch Ness monster is a legendary beast that supposedly inhabits the aptly named Loch Ness in Scotland. Its actual existence has been debated and speculated upon for centuries, and even with photographic evidence we are no close to…say what? It’s the Loch Ness Mouse? And they ‘re from Norway? Two brothers and some helpers, including members of Of Montreal and the wonderful Olivia Tremor Control, having a lightweight yet dulcet go at sculpting low-tech, high-concept nautical pop goodies, similar to those mentioned bands but also Mr. O’Hagan’s most High Llamas? Never mind, then. MLH
@ www.hhbtm.com MP3 Download

Locust – s/t CD 11/7:31
The long-awaited reissue of the debut 7 inch from ’97 with two apparently rare compilation tracks on a cute little 3” CD, suitable for playing or use in accessorizing. Effectively proves that even back then they were already capable of cranking out some spazztastic synth-tweaked’ core that was already taking the conventions of the genre and throwing them out the window so smash like overripe grapefruits on the street below. David
@ www.goldstandardlabs.com

Logh - "The Contractor and the Assassin" CD 5/18:05
A Swedish band. Why are there so many Swedish bands? Those Swedes really get around! This is pretty minimalistic album. The boys harmonize over an acoustic guitar and it sounds like the quieter moments on "Dark Side of the Moon". Whether or not this is a good thing is a matter of opinion, I suppose. Short, sweet, sad, and sorta boring. Sharon
@ www.deepelm.com/bands/index_logh.html

Logh – “The Raging Sun” CD 10/44:49
A wall of minimalist sound. An oxymoron? Perhaps, but this arty Swedish band (pronounced “log”) takes the bare bones and makes it sound at nearly Phil Spector levels of fullness. Even with the nominal keyboards of the ballad “End Cycle`” there is lushness without gloss (the dreaded “g” word). While not prog, per se, there is a prog leaning of scope and themes (life to death). While the jangley (sometimes Velvet Underground level) guitars are strong, the drums are surprisingly up to front in the sound, which works for them, seemingly meandering and yet keeping rhythm at the same time. Okay, I think I have the language now: exceedingly well orchestrated without sounding overwhelming or pretentious. The themes are a bit heavy; I just close my eyes and listen to the overall sound, and find it enjoyable. RBF
@ www.badtasterecords.se

Lolas - "Ballerina Breakout" CD 16/48:48
Released originally in 1999 by Jam Records here in the US, this is the Japanese licensed version that adds a couple of songs, a cover of the Kinks' "Till The End of the Day" and the holiday ditty "Little Drummer Boy". For those unfamiliar with the Lolas, the band includes former Shame Idols front man Tim Boykin and picks up right where the Idols left off; with Romantics "What I Like About You" style power pop, full of big guitars, echoes of bands like Sweet (they cover "Fox on the Run" as well) and the Kinks and full of great harmonies. The masterpiece of the CD is the lead track, "The Best Part", but the quality stays strong throughout and you can't help but tap your toe to just about everything here. Steve
@ www.wizzard-in-vinyl.com

Lone Pigeon – "Schoozzzmmii" CD 16/40:16
Gordon Anderson might still go down in the history books as the former member of the Beta Band and author of their biggest hit “Dry the Rain”, but it’s not for lack of trying. This release, his second US release under the moniker Lone Pigeon, gives a whole new meaning to eclectic. Stylistically, he is all over the map, even totally off the map and perhaps on the back of it from time to time. It’s not a bad record, but it is definitely acquired listening. Lone Pigeon is constantly being compared to Syd Barrett, and while it’s not totally accurate it’s about as close a comparison as I can come up with for this weird, fractured folk music. Jake
@ www.lonepigeon.com

Long Tall Shorty - “Completely Perfect” 2XCD/LP
The title here could be the review. LTS were part of the 1979 British mod revival. They may not have gotten the recognition of Secret Affair, the Chords or The Jolt at the time, but this 31 song double disc retrospective puts them way past those bands. What the band calls “Rhythm and Punk” is halfway between The Jam, and ‘60s bands like Small Faces and Spencer Davis Group. It’s soulful British invasion influenced mod-punk with great songs and powerful production. This is everything the group recorded a quarter century ago. LTS has reunited, and I hope to have their new album by next issue. To say a revival was warranted would be an understatement. Mel
@ www.detourrecords.co.uk

Long Tall Texans - "The Long Tall Texans Story" CD 40/120:53
I never really got into this psychobilly trio out of Brighton, England, because everything I heard by them was more -billy than psycho-, if you know what I mean (and if you listen to psychobilly at all, I'm sure you do). But then this two-disc retrospective came along and showed me what I'd been missing out on. It sounds like the tracks appear in chronological order, starting with ("Ballroom Blitz" cover aside) psychobilly-tinged rockabilly, moving into darker territory, then melding psychobilly with ska, and finally ending with upbeat skabilly pop. There's a slew of stompin' slap(bass)happy tracks, for sure, but I found myself most intrigued by some of the more skankin' tunes ("Cairo," "Bloody") and the carnivalesque "Alabama Song." People who can't stand ska in any shape or form may wanna stay away, but this is a fine introduction to the band in particular and to the many coifs of psychobilly in general. Lily
@ www.cherryred.co.uk

Long Winters - “When I Pretend to Fall” CD 12/47:54
Wow, file this one under “where the hell do I file this?!” The Long Winters deliver straight-faced indie rock, but you can’t help but feel like they’re more clever than they’d have you believe, with lyrics about “chickens that are fish in a barrel” and “making a gang sign to frame your face” but amusingly simple choruses such as “I’m just saying.” The melodies are true, the lyrics make me smile and the hooks are obvious, so why can’t shake the feeling that these guys are still holding back? Probably because of knockout pieces of indie-pop heaven like “Shapes” and “New Girl”. When the day comes that The Long Winters drop their masterpiece, we’ll look back at this album and it’ll all make sense. Ryan
@ www.thelongwinters.com

Longwave - “Day Sleeper” CD 4/13:12
Longwave are one of the endless “new rock” (whatever that means) acts that have come crawling out of the woodwork in the wake of the success of the Hives and the Strokes, and if this is EP is any indication, we can expect to suffer through pretenders like this just like we did with grunge in the early nineties after Pearl Jam and Nirvana. To get a sense of how truly uninspiring this is, understand that it’s only four songs and yet still feels the need to open with a throwaway instrumental track. The vocal tracks don’t offer much more - “Pool Song” is the only track with any sort of hook, and even that track will spur you to cut out the middleman and pull out your records of bands that can do this kind of rock far, far better. Ryan
@ www.longwavetheband.com

Lookwell – “Unhurried” CD 5/17:29
From Greensboro, NC, this trio has a sound that’s much more lush than you’d imagine three people to produce. With an REM and “British-flavored American indie pop” influence, they come across as textured, layered, and with a hint of electronica. They have a solid, if ethereal, sound, with harmonies. The keyboard is occasionally off-putting (that hollow “wah wah wah” sound), but in the most part, skillfully done. RBF
@ www.eskimokissrecords.com

Loose Change - "God Save the Scene" CD 7/16:56
This disc is a little too tough to be pop punk, and yet it has that poppy, sweet tone. The vocals are saliva soaked but melodic. The guitars buzz madly while chiming out beautifully. The lyrics are poetic and dark. "At War (with Myself)" is the defining song, setting the stage for a record that speaks of self-doubt and frustration. The contradictions evident in the musical style echo the conflict going on within each track. This is a singular release, carving its own niche. Mark.
@ Out of Step, P.O. Box Five O'Nine, Vineburg, CA 95487

Lord Sterling – “Weapon of Truth” CD 11/62:52
The cover of MC5’s “Black to Comm” (as opposed to, say, “High School”) gives you some idea of where these folks are coming from: power rock with some modern-heavy-psych touches, but focused enough to stay intense instead of sprawling into wankery. Vocals can be compared to Rollins though there’s some gruffer Ian McKaye circa Embrace in there as well (hey, they DID both came out of the same scene…). Pretty good, though they could have cut down on the spiels on “B2C” (even the MC5 knew when to just let the music do the talking). David
@ www.rubricrecords.com

Lorelei – “Our Minds Have Been Electrified” CD 10/39:21
As if Godheadsilo’s “The Scientific Supercake” never happened in 1994, Pittsburgh’s Lorelei steps up to offer it’s vision of a brave (relatively new) guitar-free world. To be honest (in it’s short-lived and limited history) bass distorted audio-assault has never sounded so un-burly and speaker friendly as Lorelei has made it on this disc. So fear not cheap boombox speakers! Lorelei wears black, has an attitude, and probably crushes eardrums handily in the live setting. The vocals are pretty much the only downfall of the disc. They are a bit atonal and unexciting. But one gets the feeling that this band is only getting started. Xtian
@ www.ice-made.com

Lori McKenna – “Bittertown” – CD 13/51:58
Despite being from eastern Massachusetts, Lori sounds more like she could have stepped off a bus from Texas. In fact, you can even hear bits of Nanci Griffith here and here (for example, “One Man” occasionally reflects “Light Beyond This Woods”, though sans vibrato). Some times, it appears that some of the best country sounds comes from the Northeast (like Mary Chapin Carpenter and Eddie Rabbit), and this release easily falls into the “some of the best” category. Thirteen songs of rural small town life show a portrait of our country, with its hopes and promises, and broken dreams. Lori can break your heart or raise your spirits, with a voice like roughened silk. Yeah, this is a powerful release. No stereotypical country, just reflections of lives. Think Springsteen’s “Darkness on the Edge of Town.” Okay, I’m not a Brooooose fan, but Lori’s another story. RBF
@ www.signaturesounds.com

Los Olvidados – “Listen to This!” CD 13/39:11
At long last, it’s the reissue of vintage material from this underrated early 80s San Jose hardcore outfit. Best known to folks outside the Bay Area for their inclusion on MRR’s classic “Not So Quiet on the Western Front” compilation, this outfit proves that they weren’t just one-song wonders. Definitely one of the highlights of AT’s skate rock series. David
@ www.alternativetentacles.com

Los Perros - "Live at the Star Club" CD 10/20:53
In keeping with time-honored tradition, this self-proclaimed "live" album was actually recorded at the famed Toe-Rag Studios, complete with authentic "fake" audience noises inserted at the beginning and end of the CD. This record practically commands "PLAY ME LOUD FUCKER!!!" which well you should; these Spanish lads crank out some fiery frigging rocknroll without drifting into the dreaded rawk that's claimed too many of their (musical) compatriots. The Motown-via-Motorhead cover "Leaving Here" is a stone-cold-killer as well. Also available as a vinyl ten-inch, so there's no excuse for not picking this up. David
@ www.munster-records.com

Los Straitjackets - "Supersonic Guitars in 3-D" CD 13/32:50
"3-D glasses included!" promised the sticker on the CD, but someone apparently snagged them before the CD got to me. Nevertheless, the "U-pick cover" was still outtasight in mundane 2-D, and I even got a slight case of the spins from staring at it too long. Well-executed, slightly lo-fi "surf" instrumentals perfect for lolling on the moon, cruising through the Milky Way, dodging asteroids and meteorites, experiencing technical difficulties, and crash-landing on Mars. Among the guest cosmonauts: Billy Zoom, DJ Bonebrake, and Jon Spencer. Lily
@ www.yeproc.com

Lot Six – “Animals” CD 12/42:33
Beautifully jagged and gleaming like shards of colored glass, “Animals” entices you to closer examination only to slice your skin with its sharp edges. Still, you can’t help but return for more. On “Animals,” The Lot Six take a slightly more subdued route than their recent “Gwylo” EP. There are hints of Fugazi and Brainiac here and there, but the elaborately layered guitars and white noise accents are increasingly difficult to find reference points for. Nothing like a pop song really emerges until “Deviltown,” where a psychotically catchy intro riff snares the listener into the Archers of Loaf-ish vocals and idiosyncratic rhythms. Never losing sight of the melodic theme, the band bashes their way through an epic amount of time signature and chord changes, somehow ending up in better shape than when they left. “My Son” showcases the diversity of The Lot Six’s instrumental prowess, hitting upon a variety of toothless, Appalachian folk tenets while weaving punk-rock vocals and bristling energy throughout the chorus. “I Get High” is an atmospheric rocker whose chorus can’t live up to its amazing verse, but the album quickly recovers with the loose, acoustic change-of-pace song “Save Yourself.” The bass in “Magnetic Eyes” carries the song from galloping to soaring, working in divine union with the ragged twin guitars. “The Tiniest Tin” plays like “Pyramid Song, Pt. II,” while album closer “Took My Place” nods towards Nirvana without taking their eyes off their Queens of the Stone age chord sheets. “Animals” leaves me wondering if there’s anything at which this band can’t succeed. John
@ www.esporecords.com

Love Generation - "Let The Good Times In: The Best of The Love Generation" CD 16/54:18
As cool as the pop revisionists out there want to make them seem in retrospect, there's a reason why what are now called 'soft-pop' singing groups ca. the late 60's/early 70's were thought of as, shall we say, eunuch-like by your average youthful music fan of the day. Yes, the Millenium and Emitt Rhodes and Nillson and the Turtles and such did create some priceless and lasting music, but when it comes to unmitigated tripe like the Love Generation, one must surely draw the line. These chaps were the ones who provided the singing voices not belonging to David Cassidy on 'The Partridge Family', which gives you an indication of where they were coming from. 'Saccharine' does not begin to describe most of what is collected on this disc; its sole redemptive moment comes with a typically ambitious Jim Webb composition, 'Montage', which if nothing else proves that no matter how weak the mouthpiece, the man was capable of creating some truly off-the-wall stuff within the confines of pre-AOR radio pop. MLH
@ www.cherryred.co.uk

Love Letter Band – “Even the Pretty Girls Take Medicine” CD 13/29:32
Their name implies high kitsch, but The Love Letter Band fall, thankfully, much closer to the blown-speaker folk of Neutral Milk Hotel and the cosmic vibrations of the Microphones. It takes no small amount of panache to pull off this kind of odd outsider rock, but The Love Letter Band manages it nicely. The songs are pulled along by brisk acoustic strums and conversational vocals – “I Heard a Song” floats a lonesome keyboard line in the background, “Ghost Song” offers burping and sputtering electronics, “Popgun Summer” is propelled by thundering drums. None of these accoutrements rob the songs of their simple, sad beauty. The Love Letter Band is curious and compelling, and “Pretty Girls Take Medicine” is a promising debut. J Edward
@ www.rawbw.com/aelison/555/ MP3 Download

Love of Everything – “Total Eclipse of the Heart” CD 14/36:35
Minimalism is alive. Focused around the duo of Bobby Burg and Matt Clark, they produce a sound that literally lowers the bar to lo-rez music. The barest of melody and instrumentation swirl around vocals that barely are on key. Reminds me a bit of cult minimalist Jandek out in Texas, why actually is even more mysterious than this. Go figure. LoE champion a DIY sound scraped to it’s barest, and lets the music be itself. And I bet as minimal as it is, a lot of thought went into each cut. RBF
@ www.brilliante.tv.com

Lovejoy – “Who Wants To Be A Millionaire?” CD 9/35:32
The title of Lovejoy’s second record is a nod to the band’s politics; according to the liner notes, the band has found “it increasingly hard to cope with the money-grabbing materialism and dubious politics” of his homeland, England. Fair enough. But that’s the sort of sentiment that works best in a balls-out punk album, not a soft-guitar and harmony-driven pop record. Make no mistake, though: this is a strong effort. A remixed “Snow Falling Softly” is gorgeous and atmospheric, and “Millionaire…Maybe” is danceable electro-pop. Kevin
@ www.indiepages.com/lovejoy

Lovethugs - “Playground Instructors” CD 11/45:45
See, this is album is a fine example that you cannot judge a book by its cover. I have to say that the name ‘The Lovethugs’ is one of the worst that I’ve heard in a long, long time, and the CD design is pretty terrible as well; but since their music is decent I’m going to chalk it up to the fact that they’re Norwegian and maybe their name sounds cooler in their native tongue or something. These lads are trying their damnedest to out-Kinks the Lilys, and although their not quite to that level yet it’s a valiant effort with a number of catchy tracks. The record is a little long winded at times, but the quality songs pretty much make up for it. Hopefully this is just the beginning for more good things for these lads. Jake
@ www.rainbowquartz.com

Low Flying Owls – “Elixir Vitae” CD 10/43:42
On its first national release, Sacramento’s Low Flying Owls give an example of how a band can thrust originality into the common convention of guitar-driven rock. Sure, Elixir Vitae has a few moments of ho-hum California psychedelia, but there are moments on this CD when it sounds like the band is running roughshod-power trip over songs Pink Floyd never got around to recording before Syd lost his shit. This band is at its best when the lyrics and songs are shadowy excursions. Xtian
@ www.stinkyrecords.com

Lower Class Brats – “A Class of Our Own” CD 12/35:43
A tad disappointing, mainly by comparison with their earlier material. I loved the first couple of Brats albums, as well as their killer singles collection, but this new long-player lacks the consistency of those earlier efforts. Although there are several guitar-heavy Oi anthems to be found herein, such as “No Doves Fly Here,” “Our Dignity,” “Standard Issue,” and “Shot Up, Shot Down,” it’s very tough to keep this increasingly stale musical subgenre sounding fresh, and on this record even the Brats aren’t up to the task. Jeff
@ www.punkcore.com

Lower Class Brats - "Real Punk is an Endangered Species- the Clockwork Singles Collection" CD 24/68:39
Street punk - you know, Oi music with a dash of bullet belts and Mohawks - that's enjoyable and completely generic. Sing-a-long '81 UK-style tunes about the standard subjects - "Skins and punks, a runnin' riot on the streets" and being "addicted to Oi". Sigh. This is a compilation of various vinyl releases from the band over the past few years. The singer is close to Blitz or a hoarse Stiff Little Fingers. LCB is catchier than the usual contemporary oi/punk band, but there's no departure from the formula. Jesse
@ www.punkcore.com

Lubricated Goat – “The Great Old Ones” CD 11/34:13
This is a collection of previously released songs re-recorded in ’03 by Goat head Stu Spasm and a new line-up including Natz of Cop Shoot Cop. Ever since Stu’s divorce from Kat of Babes In Toyland he’s been largely absent from the indie rock scene, and I suppose after losing Kat anyone would require several years to recover. Among the songs re-assembled: “Bad Times” from Dope, Guns and Fucking In The Streets comp, “Snap Out Of It”, from the Crunt record, and the best song of the bunch, (which featured Kat as well as Russell from JSBX), “Play Dead”, Sub Pop single, several songs from the three Am Rep albums. This is the height of simple dirt rock, but with a comic sensibility that often makes it hard to take seriously. “Spoil The Atmosphere” is so-so Aussie rock, while “You Remain Anonymous” shows off his Snappy Tom guitar work. If you’ve evolved musically beyond your teenage years you can probably distinguish between designer noise and the Wal-Mart version of the stuff, and this is really nothing more than the latter. Stu could’ve re-invented these songs, and himself in the process. Instead he slapped some Turtle Wax on the rusty old jalopy and called it new. We know better now. Anthony
@ www.reptilianrecords.com

Lucksmiths - "A Little Distraction" CD 6/18:09
Probably the best C86 influenced indie pop band to come out of Australia, the Lucksmiths have at their best produced some gorgeous melodies and jangly guitars with wry lyrics, all over Tali White's deadpan vocal style. Uh, "at their best"? Has there been an "at their worst"? Hell no, and these six songs continue their tradition of simple pop songs; some get the jangle guitar and slight distortion treatment, and others are simple folkish songs that have some smooth vocal harmonies. They're all done with witty lyrics about love, the love of friends, and with a hopeful feeling that things will always work out OK in the end. Great material as always, and here's hoping for another full length soon. Steve
@ www.indiepages.com/matinee

Lucksmiths – “Midweek Morning” CD 3/11:36
Unsurprising news: the latest single from The Lucksmiths doesn’t sound a whole lot different from any previous single from The Lucksmiths. If The Lucksmiths were, say, Wolfie, this might be cause for worldwide eye-rolling. However, given the fact that The Lucksmiths are instead a premier pop outfit, the arrival of “Midweek Morning” is something to be heralded. Combining that familiar warm guitar jangle, snare & cymbal percussion with Tali White’s wry Aussie vocals, “Midweek Morning” is a coy plea to a lover to come out and enjoy warm weather. If the group wasn’t as mature or self-possessed, they could be written off as useless twee tinder, but White’s earnest delivery and the band’s taut delivery instead come off as positively Romantic. Compact, catchy pop with smart lyrics and huge hooks. J Edward
@ www.indiepages.com/matinee

Lucksmiths – “Naturaliste” – CD 11/44:23
Victoria, Australia is the home base of this trio. The style rings of singer/songwriter, or soft folk pop/rock. Drummer Tali White’s vocals are deep and smooth, like a well-oiled engine. The accent doesn’t hurt, either. After numerous releases over the past decade, he seems to be hitting his stride, which works out, since the songwriting is maturing, as well. Song topics cover the usual, but also focus on daily life, with a poetic outlook. Definitely an upward trajectory continues for this band. Now, can they make it here? RBF
@ www.thelucksmiths.com.au

Luna – “Close Cover Before Striking” CD 7/33:05
The new batch of Luna songs doesn’t stray too far from the band’s time-tested formula. Dean Wareham still sings like a Midwest Lou Reed, all lazy drawl and nasal intonation. The guitars sparkle and the songs unspool slowly. The melodies have grown sturider over the years, but there’s no rushing these seven simple pop songs. “Drunken Whistler” works in a synthetic samba rhythm behind the constellations of guitar, “New Haven Comet” is a somber western campfire ballad. The uninitiated should opt for one of the group’s full lengths for starters, but longtime fans will find more of what they love: languid vocals, loping melodies, and bell-clear lonesome guitars. – J. Edward
@ www.jetsetrecords.com

Lurkers – “26 Years” CD 15/39:22
My first reaction to the appearance of a brand new “Lurkers” album featuring only one of the old band members – Arturo Bassick – was perhaps unfairly negative. After all, nothing seems more like BOF “rock star” B.S. than has-been punks reforming 25 years later to try to “cash in” – hah! – at the expense of their once glorious reputations. Even so, there are some really good punk songs with fine melodies, a nice chunky guitar sound, and amusing lyrics to be found here, like “Waste of Space” and “In Richmond.” Plus, you can’t really blame old rock’n’rollers for keeping on keeping on, especially given the unsatisfying if not awful alternatives that are part and parcel of “growing up.” The point is that if this was a new band and a new release, it would sound pretty damn good, so just try to forget that it’s the “Lurkers,” OK? Jeff
@ www.captainoi.com

Lushy - s/t CD 14/51:41
So Francoise Hardy and Serge Gainsbourg take their Deux Cheveux out for a spin round the Bois de Bolougne, before stopping off at their favorite Tiki lounge. While there, they toast Singapore Slings with Tim and Letitia Stereolab, while in the background Martin Denny conducts the Nairobi Trio in a scintillating selection of his greatest exotica hits and misses. Yeah, Lushy's kind of like that - tart, tipsy, humoresque and thoroughly entertaining post-space age jazz. MLH
@ www.dionysusrecords.com

Lycia - "Empty Space" CD 9/42:27
It sounds like these kids listened to a lot of Clan of Xymox and decided to start a band of their very own. Unfortunately, this band sucks, and Xymox rules! This album is full of sweeping darkwave tendencies and "spooky" off-key male and female vocals about corpses and being misunderstood. It's the sort of thing I would have been into when my friends and I would get super gothed out and have our parents drop us off at the mall where we would complain about the cruel world we live in while sipping Orange Julius. Not it all (including this album) just seems painfully naive. At least I was 13, what's Lycia's excuse? Mona
@ www.silbermedia.com

Lyndsay Diaries - "The Tops of Trees Are on Fire" CD 10/39:39
When did it become okay for emo brats to piss their breathy vocals and melodramatic chords all over the crackling campfire of other respectable genres? I'd really like to know, because it seems like it's happening more and more. Example: The Lyndsay Diaries, a skilled but annoying group of Next-Big-Thing wannabes, holding the misguided notion that their song "Cowboy" is influenced by Johnny Cash in some way or another. What the song actually brings to mind is a white-boy simplification of the complex, bitter emotions that inspire real country music. And it's indistinguishable in tone from every other song on "The Tops of Trees Are on Fire," which is essentially a masturbatory collection of high school poems and hackneyed, late-night pinings. What's next, Emo cabaret? Emo rap? This must be stopped. If you like generic collegiate crap, The Lyndsay Diaries are your band, but for the enlightened listener their schtick gets old after about 15 seconds. John
@ www.themilitiagroup.com

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