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Macavity - "Falling Hard in the Key of E" CD 6/32:04
Guitar-driven Emo for people that can't buy beer. Not bad instrumentally, although the lyrics would get ripped to shreds by most high school English classes. Probably a good live band, with some kind of agreeable schtick, an arsenal of songs, and a loyal core of followers. Still, it sounds like too many others things out there, and makes me feel weary. John
@ www.macavity.tv

Mad Caddies - "Just One More" CD 15/37:43
Ghod, this is boring. It sounds like a guy fronting No Doubt. Maybe they're kidding. Holy crap, I hope they're kidding. Maybe they're trying to show versatility. From ska to film score music to punk to ragtime, look what we can do! And hey, this track sounds almost Spanish! Um, whatever. Mark
@ Fat Wreck Chords, PO Box 193690, San Francisco, CA 94119

Mad Parade – “Bombs and the Bible” CD 12/32:36
Melodic SoCal punk with loud guitars. That’s a description that could apply to a host of new-style generic pop punk bands, but Mad Parade are instead old-school troopers who have some actual chops and bite. Most of these songs are pretty catchy, so if you like your punk with hooks and medium tempos you’d do well to give this a listen. They don’t exactly reinvent the wheel, but they nonetheless roll merrily along. Jeff
@ www.drstrange.com

Mad Sin – “Teachin’ the Goodies” CD 7/18:25
Apparently a psychobilly “Pin-Ups”, as the German psychobilly group tackles tunes originally (re)done by the likes of the Tall Boys, Misfits, Torment, and the Dwarves, with the results ranging from pretty good to nice try. Not something to give up the Cramps records for, but not bad, and at least they’re not doing rote-psychobilly-by-numbers (a la the “straighter” rockabilly outfits) that some of their better-known contemporaries have drifted into. David
@ www.vinyljapan.com

Madcap - "East To West" CD 12/37:28
Their second full length and they've honed in on a sound that emulates old school street punk bands like Stiff Little Fingers and modern followers like Rancid. The songs have some great guitar work (the tone on the leads is great, you can really hear them no matter what else is going on in the song), the vocals are strong with solid singalong harmonies and lyrics that focus on working class themes. They've also added a new drummer since their last release and the rhythm section keeps the action going better than on their first release. They aren't doing anything innovative, but the vocal dynamics of the chorus work, the guitars and the solid drumming lead to a very professional sounding punk record that will have you thinking of the first Rancid release. Solid stuff. Steve
@ www.sideonedummy.com

Madcap - "Under Suspicion" - CD 11/33:00
Power punk with a little bit of a rockabilly twinge, this band is fun and energetic with typical college punk lyrics. "I just want to keep on dancing" is the theme of the very first song, and it does make you want to jump around. Which is good, cause it certainly doesn't have any intentions of making you think or feel anything deeper than a good time. Sharon
@ www.victoryrecords.com

Magic Magicians - s/t CD 11/29:00
The inside joke that spawned this band's name was pretty hilarious, but I don't want to go into. Just trust me. This duo (John Atkins from 764-Hero and Joe Plummer from Black Heart Procession) make intentionally jagged, irresistible fuzz-rock that plays like a grab bag of hipster influences. Garage, glam, and art rock are all present in some form or another, the mood defiantly indie, the staccato rhythms and vocals dripping with affected snarl. Guitars are appropriately detuned, but maybe that's just the Northwest influence. These guys are, after all, from that part of the country. The vocals sound a bit tired, but The Magic Magicians are undeniably the real deal. The first and last couple songs on this, their second album, are as good as any I've heard from either of these guys' other bands. John
@ www.suicidesqueeze.net

Magstatic – “Country VS. City” CD 12/42:31
Lilty bar alt rock by some aging brokers who decided that music is better than strapping on a tie and saying “yes sir...no sir” day after day. OK, I may be wrong about their day job dilemma, but by the look of them and the sounds they produce I concluded that myself. You come up with your won. It has the feeling of four friends who love(d) Mary’s Danish and Throwing Muses while at the same time worshipping 60s rock and the laid back prerogatives of y’alternative bands that are almost nowhere to be found these days it seems. Combine that with some decent production and the ability to tinkle with their gear you have Magstatic…whatever that means. Didn’t suck, didn’t rock my world. You know the drill…. Whittaker
@ www.popsweatshop.com MP3 Download

Mahjongg - "Machinegong" CD 7/21:57
These guys based out of Chicago, Columbia, and Portland have made a wholeheartedly diverse record. Some tracks could be described as funk punk, others as fucked up electronica, and still others as sped-up postpunk bliss (imagine a tougher Interpol). My only wish for this album is that they would put more vocals on the tracks, 'cos the instrumentals have a tendency to lose the listener after a minute and a half. But the vocalist has a sort of charming new wave quality about him, making his tracks best. Regardless, this album on Cold Crush Records is worth checking out. Mona
@ www.arc6ery.com/mahjongg

Maisonettes – “Heartache Avenue” CD 19/64:30
The Maisonettes have the feel and look of a 60’s pop band, but were an early 80’s creation. Taking the synths and drum beats of the 80’s and putting them in a backdrop of 60’s soul and Burt Bacharach style songs works pretty well if your into the cool neo-mod Vespa-riding scene. A couple of songs are real scorchers, including the title track (an aces Northern Soul-style song), with made it to the top ten in the UK charts. Yet some of the songs fall flat, the two female backing singers on “Heartache Avenue” were terrific girl group imitators, but they were replaced with women who were more stylish, and frankly, they weren’t as good. It prevented the band from playing live at their peak and held them back in the studio as well. Plus, the synths get mighty cheesy in that bad 80’s way, giving the band a bit of a split personality. But this comp of their one full length, singles and unreleased material has more than enough fun moments to make it worthwhile. Steve
@ www.cherryred.co.uk

Malachai – “These Sounds of the Spirit World” CD 16/57:20
Oh dear. What really stick out about this release are the embarrassingly juvenile lyrics, the kind of tripe most folks grow out of by the time they graduate college (literally on the level of “let’s have a sex party at your house tonight”). Too bad, because the music itself isn’t too bad (which can range from post-“indie” rock to one-man-dance-party), but even the “I-listen-to-the-music-not-the-lyrics” types would probably have problems with this (and since said argument is usually utilized more to defend/rationalize one’s possession of Skrewdriver rekkids anyway, said folks are unlikely to clutch this album to their sweaty chests). Avoid. David
@ www.4xbeaver.com

Mallory – “The First One Hundred Years” CD 7/39:32
I want to like this Cincy band. They have a thick presence and layers of guitar like a lot of the math rock-type bands I enjoy from time to time. Good feel for melody and control, but in the end the songs don’t really do anything. (“The Way After” pulses nicely and flows nowhere.) Recorded with minimal bullshit by Afghan Whigs bassist John Curley, but I just can’t bring myself to recommend it. Anthony
@ www.mallorysounds.com

Man - "Machine" CD 17/34:51
One-man punk band with a need to vent, Detroit's Matt McGuire is Man and he's pissed. He headed to Colorado and decided he'd had enough of hypocrisy and pseudo-hippie bullshit so he returned to Motor City. Armed with a bass, kick drum and tons of attitude designed to set things right he has emerged with songs like "Fuck the Team", "Crap" and "Hippie Down". "Blue Law Sunday" sums up the way I'm feeling right now, "What the fuck am I supposed to be if I'm not supposed to be what I am?" If you long for something minimal and dense at the same time this is the shit. The more I listen to it the more I embrace the pain. Music can either lift you up or drag you down. I'll take the latter and wallow in the mire for a while. Recommended if you're having a totally shitty day/week/month. Anthony
@ www.timesbeachrecords.com

Manganzoides – “Radio Komodo” CD 19/57:24
More (Grand)sons of Yma garage action for y’all. The latest from this Peruvian outfit is actually composed of unreleased tracks from ’02-’04 and remastered tracks from a ’98 tape-only release that probably didn’t find its way into your local record store/Walmarts at the time. Works best when they stick to the garagey sounds; when they start straying into rockier territory as on “Ella Me Quiere Matar” they become considerably less essential. David
@ www.nofunrecords.com

Manic Hispanic – “Mijo Goes To Jr. College” CD 16/38:01
I love Manic Hispanic. From the first time I heard “The Menudo Incident” I was hooked. If you don’t know the schtick by now, here it is: latino punk veterans put a Hispanic spin on anglo punk- i.e., most punk- with incredible results. Part of the secret is the band apes the original tones and styles almost exactly, while completely tweaking the lyrics. It’s kind of like a punk Weird Al filtered through the mythologized East Los Angeles latino culture of cholos, impalas, and the barrio. “Mijo Goes To Jr. College”- a rad spoof, down to the cover art, of The Descendents “Milo Goes To College”- starts out kind of weird with a 2nd rate Damned cover but then kicks into gear with a cover of the cover immortalized by the Clash “Brand New Impala.” There are a few clunkers, but in general 75% of this is up to the really really high standards of “The Menudo Incident” and “Decline of Mexican Civilization.” “The I.N.S. Took My Novia Away” and “I Want to Be a Cholo” (a.k.a. “Urban Struggle”) are classics!!! Jesse
@ BYO, PO Box 67609, Los Angeles, CA 90067

Manishevitz - “City Life” CD 9/35:44
The evidence presented by this disc indicates beyond doubt that somewhere in the Midwest, between Indiana and Illinois, there remains a fervent cell of musicians who guard their 70’s UK art-rock import LP’s with their lives and perhaps several rabid dogs, in opposition to the surrounding butt-rock environs. Previous murmurs of this cadre’s activity have come from, among others, legendary 70’s Indiana combo The Dancing Cigarettes. Now it’s this band’s turn at bat and they manage to knock one out of the park. Opening cut “Beretta” lays their approach right out: a whirl of a tune that could only have been inspired from mainlining melted-down copies of early Roxy and Eno vinyl, vocally articulated by the appealing Ferry/Ocasek yelp of one Adam Busch. The rest of the disc is equally cultured and listenable. One to watch closely indeed. MLH
@ www.jagjaguwar.com

Manta Ray - "Estratexa" CD 12/44:51
Considered Spain's premier-post punk band, MR aspire to Can and Slint-level regalia, but like all of us mortals they fall short. "Take a Look" and "Rosa Parks" derive from outer-spacey electronics, with filmic possibilities. "Another Man" contains shuffling Pearl Jam riffs. "Desmasidao Liquido" is a Spanish Sea & Cake. "Por que Esperara", throbs along in syncopation with a jazzy guitar line played at about 140 b.p.m. Not bad in context. It's kinda grown on me now. Anthony
@ www.filmguerrero.com

Mantissa - “Building a Working Model” CD 10/37.35
Two guys, guitar, vocals, and laptop, playing sleepy time, sort of maudlin music. This kind of reminds me of the band Carissa’s Wierd from Seattle, but perhaps targeted for a younger maybe high school crowd? Breathy vocals that have more depth then the more “emo” self indulgent papum that passes for music in the genre. Too bad the depth thing can’t be said for the mostly juvenile subject matter the songs cover. There’s all sort of added instrumentation and electronic stuff in here, some that is kind of neat. I will give a definite shout out to Mantissa for naming a song Modesto, which is the city that I grew up in. The album does evoke a lot of that small town imagery and melancholy, but in a very adolescent kind of way. I have no doubt that this album could be exceptionally important to many young people, especially young people whose biggest problems are pretty small, but if Mantissa is going to ever graduate from high school they definitely need to pull out all the stops and really let go. Conan
@ http://lazyline.com/

Maogojiata - “Maogojiata” CD 5/28:58
I’m glad that Maogojiata’s press release included a pronunciation guide for their name, because I had no idea how to say that mouthful of vowels. The CD starts out nicely enough with “The Spark,” a whole lot of loud guitar and some nice hand claps. “City” carries on too long in that slow, jam style that gets associated with Phish, then picks up about midway through with some samples behind some nice horn playing. The overall sound on “Maogojiata” may have a bit too much funk for the indie-rock crowd. Then again, maybe it’s the name that’s too funky. Pam
@ www.maogojiata.com

Marizane - "Stage One" CD 5/18:20
An assortment of Wondermints and other L.A. smart-pop heads convene with Tony Visconti behind the board and concoct some headspinning, ancient-to-future, spaceagey, light catchy pop with even a few surprises, like the closing music hall styling of the closing tune. Not bad. MLH
@ info@vibro-phonic.com

Mark Eitzel - "The Ugly American" CD 10/43:16
I'm a huge fan of Mark Eitzel's work. I am firmly in the 'he's a genius' camp. He's almost, at times, touched by the hand of God (check the American Music Club record, Mercury, or the solo album, West, if you don't believe it.). As he buries himself deeper in the black hole in his heart it becomes increasingly difficult to throw myself in like I used to. Getting lost in those depressive swirls of anguish doesn't hold the same appeal anymore. This record was recorded in Greece with Greek musicians and he's re-configuring songs like "Western Sky", "Jenny", "Take Courage", and "Will You Find Me". The arrangements are simple, unadorned and surprisingly light-hearted on the first half of the record. The latter half is more somber, though there's a bit of an Irish lilt in "Last Harbor" and "Love's Humming". "What Good is Love" just hangs around in the emotional sewer and "Will You Find Me" feels too much like a moment lost, a chance wasted. The playing is subtle and sanguine and I wish I was more of a mood to absorb it. Mark Eitzel's music requires that you have a strong love in your life in order to be able to fall in completely. If not, it's just too fucking painful to sit through in the dark by yourself. Anthony
@ www.thirstyear.com

Marked Men – “On The Outside” CD 13/28:02
You have to give Dirtnap a ton of credit for putting out bands that keep the heart of late 70’s melodic Buzzcocks style punk alive. The Marked Men from Austin, TX fall right into that camp, and this follow-up to their first full length (on Rip Off) from what was 3³4 of the Reds (and one current Riverboat Gambler) is a great slab of energetic melodic punk. What makes this a good record is the energy of the songs, basically you can take the Exploding Hearts hooks and speed them up a notch and you’ve got the feel of these songs. Great leads, punchy melodic punk, and equal parts powerpop and raunch make for a great disc. Steve
@ www.dirtnaprecs.com

Marlboro Chorus – “Entangled” CD 6/15:49
With a name like the Marlboro Chorus, I think I was expecting some pretty ordinary alt-country or something along those lines. Instead, I get pop music; not over-the-top rehashed 60’s fare, not goofy Unicorns-style stuff, just straight-forward pop music. This CD, with six songs and only fifteen minutes in length, cuts right to the point and doesn’t mess around with a bunch of unnecessary crap. These are simple, straightforward, three-minute pop songs, reminding me of Beulah, Elf Power, Sea & Cake, and the like. A pleasantly surprising little gem in this sea of mediocrity I’ve been hearing lately. Jake
@ www.futureappletree.com

Marlboro Chorus – “Good Luck” CD 10/32:13
More like a Modernist Beatles Chorus. While not sounding like the Beatles, per se, this band comes across as so strongly influenced by the latter stages of the Brits, this could almost be interpreted as a “Rutles`” without the humor. For example, the opening chords of “Always One for Fun” smack of “Don’t Pass Me By.” But please don’t think I’m dismissing the MC. Their songs are not easily classified merely into “Beatles-like.” They have the dissonance of modern sound, and they write decent pop songs with an edge. It just feels a bit stronger than homage. RBF
@ www.futureappletree.com

Marshall Crenshaw - “What’s In the Bag” CD 11/47:47
Crenshaw’s been around since the early 80’s and ever since his classic debut he’s been capable of crafting a compelling song. After all these years his rock geek frames have kept him focused on men and women searching for love. With this album his characters are still chasing after love, only now they fall down a lot more. It’s a darker collection that works only some of the time. This one could more aptly be titled “What’s in the Mixed Bag”. Matthew
@ www.razorandtie.com

Martian Lamps – “Martian Lamps” CD 11/36:37
Mildly-psychedelic 60’s rock that gropes for a modern vibe, and accomplishes it in a middle-of-the-road college radio manner. Martian Lamps doesn’t overdo the effects processor or noise; it re-creates and updates the feeling with songwriting, simple effects, and straightforward production. Of course, in a way it suffers ailments from the same items that give it charms, not so much, however, that it derails the disc.
@ www.martianlamps.com

Martin Bisi & El Cochino – “Milkyway of Love” CD 10/46:18
Bisi owns a recording studio in Brooklyn that has produced artists such as Sonic Youth, Helmut and Live Skull. But in a case of “just because I can`” he has released this CD with his own material. Oh, man. Bisi cannot sing to save his life: he mumbles and his voice cracks so often it sounds like the CD is skipping. The backup is top-notch with a world jazz sound, but if Bisi were removed, it would be an interesting instrumental CD. Even his 9-year-old daughter sounds better than him. Only cut that’s truly save-able is “Sex With Friends`” thanks mainly to the singing support role of Jane Jensen. Please don’t hurt me, Martin! RBF
@ Stripminerecords@hotmail.com

Martin Denny – “The Exotic Sounds of…” CD 20/54:53
Yep it’s a “best-of”/retrospective of the early years of Denny’s career, back when he first unleashed that bird call upon the world. MD probably needs no introduction, but he was the godfather of the “exotica” genre, with a gift for composing and arranging (especially the more exotic instruments) that lifted the music above merely being novelty muzak with kooky instruments. Granted one could prefer a full-catalog re-release program, but with Scamp (the label that was handling Denny’s reissues in the U.S.) now sadly defunct, this gives one (hopefully not false) hope that his albums will see the light of day once again. Slap this one at your next tiki party, break out the Mai Tais, and watch the fun begin! David
@ www.revola.co.uk

Martin Rev – s/t CD 11/59:55
Reissue of the first solo album from Suicide instrumentalist Martin Revm with five bonus tracks. Dealing (mainly) in instrumentals, this showed Rev stretching his sound a bit, but not too straying to far from either the warmth or the intensity of his erstwhile outfit. Alternatively evocative and downright eerie; if Vega had put vocals on this and released it was released as a Suicide album it would have beat what was released as their second album hands down. Definitely Recommended! David
@ www.roir-usa.com

Martin Rev - "To Live" CD 13/55:20
Ok, Martin Rev is one half of Suicide. You either know what that means or you don't. Suicide was the kind of band that inspired those that inspired. A quick laundry list? How about Big Black, Sonic Youth, Spacemen 3, Ministry and Bruce Springsteen to start? But this isn't Suicide, this is Martin Rev. There is a great deal of repetition to the music, it's dark and austere and vaguely sexual sounding. The music is detached and ominous for the most part, not counting the tepid "80's cop movie soundtrack" sound-alike "gutter rock", unfortunately other then artifice and the velocity of the darkly danceable music, most of this album is artifice. A good dollar bin find and a possible secret weapon on the right dance floor, but definitely not a must have for anybody other then Suicide completists. Conan
@ www.file-13.com

Masonics – “Live in London” CD 13/35:44
Medway garage outfit (with a couple of x-Headcoats/Milkshakes in their ranks) caught, guess where, live in London. Sound’s a bit raw but that’s probably fitting given some of their connections. Sounds like both band and audience had a good evening, so if you want to check out what these guys can do live and can’t wait for them to hit your town, check this out. David
@ www.smartguyrecords.com

Master Plan – “Colossus of Destiny” CD 13/38:18
Yep it’s a supergroup of sorts, featuring Andy Shernoff (Dictators), Keith Streng and Bill Milhizer (Fleshtones). It’s no surprise that the tunes have that NY old-school feel that anyone who lived (vicariously or otherwise) through the 70s remembers with fondness. Some tracks really could have used some more fire and vigor injected to them, but it’s pretty solid for the most part, and more than same on “You’re Mine”. David
@ www.alive-totalenergy.com

Matchbook Romance - "West For Wishing" EP 5/33:50
This is a very poetic record. Let me rephrase that. This is a very pretentious record. The lyrics are full of flowery imagery and passages dripping with grand significance. Putting a sweet voice in the front of the mix and a screaming voice way in the back only serves to make this an even more precious offering. Geez, Epitaph puts out another shitty release. Who wouldah thought? Mark
@ Epitaph, 2798 Sunset Blvd., Los Angeles, CA 90026

Matches - “E. Von Dahl Killed the Locals” CD 11/31:29
Junior league pop-punk crap from Oaktown. They write cheeky tunes and inject hyper-active vox but it all falls flat on it’s face. Check the sophomoric lyrics on “Audio Blood”, (“Sweating in the dark we’re freed/As the weight of the week/Falls away with a thud/Sweating in the dark we feed/On the forms in the light/On the floor we’re the flood/We bleed…audio blood”). Those might be the stupidest lyrics ever written. Anthony
@ www.thematches.com

Matmos – “The Civil War” CD 9/45:54
Perhaps best known as the duo that provided production work on Bjork’s most recent “Vespertine,” Drew Daniels and M.C. Schmidt continue to impress by reinventing electronic music and its purpose. Creating a more organic sound than anything resembling their work on “Vespertine,” the samples on “Civil War” are designed to evoke something of historical nostalgia in its listeners. Think marching bands drums, fiddles, field recordings, and synthesizers all compiled into a sometimes frenetic collage. While melodies can be difficult to discern, this is a project of patience, where the disparate sounds become more pleasing to the ear after several listens. Add to this the cold depth they achieve by evoking the machinery of nationalism and war, this album is a keeper for all fans of abstract electronic music. Scott
@ www.matadorrecords.com

Matt Marka – “Repeat Pete Repeat” CD 11/47:49
Multi-tracked vocals and wandering songs, “Repeat Pete Repeat” probably isn’t going to put Matt Marka on anyone’s list of “favorite new artists,” but hey, this guy is still young, Still in his mid twenties, Marka isn’t that new, having already put out half a dozen albums. The lyrics for these rock songs contain too many cliché’s, and the songs son’t have enough variation in sound or tempo. Like Matchbox 20 or Blink 182, or any of the number bands, the music sound’s a little too much like something you have already heard and forgotten about. Pam
@ www.mattmarka.com

Matt Pond PA - "The Nature of Maps" CD 12/38:21
There's something about the Pond's voice, singing at the high end of his range that makes him seem fragile and intense and that shakey voice seems somehow powerful in its own earnest manner. Lovely little melodies with organ and strings in the back, "the Nature of Maps" is full of makes you long for something to yearn for. Some where between pop, folk and rock, Pond's songs come together in a way that makes them seem simple. These are well-composed pieces that make you wonder why all songs don't sound this good. Pam
@ www.polyvinylrecords.com

Maya Angelou – “Miss Calypso” CD 14/31:45
Before she became a world-renown poet, author, and speaker, Maya actually cut a calypso record, originally released in 1957 back when the calypso craze was still in full effect. It’s not like Angelou doesn’t have a feel for the genre and her voice is nothing to sneeze at (despite the promo calling this a “kitsch masterpiece” we’re not talking an early candidate for Golden Throats here), but the record suffers from a surprisingly sparse sound; the band behind her doesn’t conjure up the joyous lilt of Robert Mitchum’s crack at the genre, never mind that Belafonte guy. Not bad, though it’s probably for the best that she changed careers. David
@ www.revola.co.uk

Maybellines - "Chatfield Holiday" CD 11/26:39
I have a friend who at one point had decorated his apartment partially in "big eyed" prints. You know, the ones with a doe-eyed dog or cat or young child looking forlorn and lost. Must have had 30 or so up on the walls. For some reason, this disc reminded me of that, not so much for musical content, but for that wide eyed look of innocence. Out of Colorado, this band has a simple keyboard and guitar indie pop sound on most songs; but also selects a couple of songs to add an additional layer of fuzzed out guitars to rock out their sound a bit more. Talullah Gosh comes to mind on these songs; while on the more simple tunes, you can take your pick of bands to choose from as an influence; everything from the Marine Girls to Dressy Bessy to Confetti. The high pitched female vocals are augmented by male backing vocals, giving a nice mix of sounds. Definitely a fun disc for fans of twee pop. Steve
@ www.bestfriendsrecords.com

Me First and the Gimme Gimmes - "Take a Break" CD 13/32:30
Okay, granted, it's a gimmick: a California punk rock-supergroup gets together and commences covering mainstream pop songs thematically on each record. Plenty of punk bands have done a funny cover or two in the past, usually just to delight the live crowds with a moment of pure absurdity. These guys have simply decided to forego writing original material period and run with this idea, and every NOFX rip-off punk band across the land is scratching its head wondering why it didn't think of this first. The band picks the right songs to cover, too songs that were well-written in the first place that became hits for a reason and simply transfers them over to modern punk progressions that are accurate representations of the respective bands that have contributed members to this shenanigan (Lagwagon, NOFX, Swingin' Utters, R.K.L.). This record features covers of R&B tunes, and really, who hasn't wanted to hear a punk cover of "Oh Girl" and "Natural Woman"? Xtian
@ www.fatwreck.com

Mea Culpa - "They Put You in a Mask" CD 13/43:57
Ah, what a pleasure it is to hear vintage rock n roll sounds driving a punk band again. "Waiting for America" could be played on any beach in America in 1956--as long as no one listened to the pointed lyrics about the war crimes of the U.S. government. "George Orwell Must Be Laughing His Ass Off" recalls the beat club sound of the mid-60s, while examing the Big Brother aspects of our current culture. "Massacre High" takes a clever look at school shootings, using B-movie imagery to reveal the truth about our predatory culture. This is great rock n roll, smart punk and damn fine social commentary. Mark
@ www.emptyrecords.com

Mean Red Spiders – “Still Life Fast Moving” CD 10/46:28
Even chocolate chip cookies have salt in them. That’s because salt, though it seems contrary, actually brings out the other sweet flavors. There is a danger in being too sweet, in being too flat. I’ve always though that the band Ivy lacked something because those syrupy sweet pop melodies and light innocent vocals lacked character. Mean Red Spiders runs the risk of being too sweet, with the jangly guitars and airy vocals, but those vocals also have something a bit blasé about them, and the rushed guitars on songs like “Turn Walk Away” suggest something a bit raw or angry to the simple rhythms. “Still Life Fast Moving” ends up where it should be, with more complex-sounding compositions. It’s a treat. Pam
@ www.clairerecords.com

Means - "Community Horse" CD 12/26:32
The Means sound like the type of band whose collective members’ record collection is made up primarily of bands on Amp Rep or Touch and Go. It would be easy to imagine the Means opening up for the Laughing Hyenas or the Jesus Lizard if the Means were actually a band from the early 90's. Now a days you might expect to see them playing with someone like the Hot Snakes or the Dwarves or maybe the Supersuckers. The Means are good at what they do, pouring caustic whiskey soaked RAWK down your ears. It stings a little, but somehow you still like it. Community Horse is the 2nd album from this Columbus Ohio 4-some, and it's a pretty good one for those of you who like to wear a lot of old worn out black clothing and drink cheap beer in dive bars. It's the kind of music you would expect to come out of an old primer colored muscle car with punk stickers on it. MannyP
@ www.reptilianrecords.com

Media Whores - 'Master of Pop Hits" CD 15/56:47
A compilation of previously unreleased material, 7 inch tracks and compilation tunes by Columbus, OH best purveyors of Cheap Trick influenced power pop. What separates these guys from the pack aren't the hooks; although they're plentiful, nor is it the vocals, which are strong and urgent. And it's not the mix of influences from Badfinger to the Replacements to the Ramones. What makes these guys special is that you can hear that each and every song is seen as an opportunity to put the "rock" back in rock n roll. They take the attitude that every hook needs to be played like it's the best one ever written, and it's their last chance to play it before someone rips their guitars out of their hands. A couple of good covers are mixed in with Whores originals, including Badfinger's "No Matter What" and the Replacements "Can't Hardly Wait" which was recorded live and shows off maybe more than any studio track could just how great this band is. Steve
@ www.screaming-apple-records.de

Meeting Places - “Find Yourself Along the Way” CD 10/41:08
The Meeting Places is an LA quartet equipped with a lot of guitars and not a lot of talent. This is reminiscent of early nineties dreamy pop fluff that used to put me to sleep even back then. With a lazy voice washing over pseudo jazz, this is nothing but smug and pretentious. This one failed to light a spark with me. Call it wet charcoal. Matthew S
@ www.words-on-music.com

MegaBabe - s/t CD 5/17:24
If Shonen Knife were way into the nu metal stuff while still maintaining an air of punk sensibility, then you may have a grasp of Megababe here. The three girls from Tokyo, who are indeed quite megababe-like, sing fun yet mildly aggressive music in total power chord glory. There is really nothing complex or regularly innovative about their sound but I couldn’t deny that I was tapping my toes and nodding along to their three tunes with 2 bonus live tracks. Decent and rocking with a metal flair I admired. If this is a sneak preview for their full-length album then I’m in. Why not? Whittaker
@ www.megababerocks.com

Melt-Banana – “Cell-Scape” CD 10/37:10
The sonic whirlwind that is Melt-Banana returns with another batch of frenzied inventive genre-snapping spazzcore that’ll make the unsuspecting punter’s head spin like a video of the Exorcist in “Fast-Forward-Play” mode, bringing folks in for a landing with the almost-ambient electronic tweakness of “Outro”. One of my top ten of the past year for those who keep track of such things. David
@ www.midheaven.com

Melvins - “26 Songs” CD 26/70:57
The Melvins can’t be stopped and I don’t think we want or need them to. I/you/we should be submitted to this kind of allegory torture in a way on a yearly basis. Recently they put out three records at once, then one last year and now this. Mind you, “26 Songs” is a recourse of past cuts and tracks so it wasn’t like King Buzzo and the boys were in the studio churning out yet another heavy dose of mudflaps and panzer tracks. This new disc reeks of older Melvins straight from the smelly Pacific Northwest basement and has qualities of “punk” rather than the slugbait waffle mix of noise, metal and pure humor gone late night sit ‘n spin. In fact, the first ten tracks come from the appropriately titled “10 Songs” released way back when. Then they found some alternate takes and a few recorded conversations between them and intoxicated friends to end out the disc. As a longtime fan of The Melvins I got into it, but some of the recent ones may be disappointed because the tunes are recorded kind of crudely and don’t waver between a hammer pull to the head and a Easter picnic gone horribly wrong. They just are. Whittaker
@ www.ipecac.com

Melys - “Casting Pearls” CD 11/43:42
This Welsh outfit sounds like a cross between Kate Bush and the Sundays. Yeah, no one is going to tell me lead singer Andrea Parker doesn’t have some vocal mannerisms in common with Kate. Melys (pronounced mellis) produce polished pop fueled by enough creativity and imagination to make every track distinct. On “So Good” the girl/boy vocal tradeoffs and harmonies are terrific, and then they toss in a clever homage to the Beatles. “Take Me Out” is my favorite here, but Melys’ songwriting is consistently good here as it has been on their two previous studio albums. Combine that with imaginative production and you’ve got a band that stands out from the crowd. Mel
@ www.melys.com

Mendoza Line – “If They Knew This Was the End” CD 18/52:33
This is the type of college radio rock that results when the intensity of the guitars gets turned down in Athens, GA. The sound of this re-release/plus bonus tracks is scratchy pop, sometimes sleepy and wistful even when the band decides to rock out a little. Plenty of guest appearances from more famous Athens acolytes (members of Elf Power, Drive By Truckers, etc.). Also contains some of the most self-indulgently copious liner notes I’ve ever seen for a band that has little relevance outside its hometown. Xtian
@ www.bar-none.com

Mensen – “Oslo City” CD 14/33:14
Oh those crazy Swedes! I mean…Norwegians. They do so love to rock and the roll. I mean, bands like Turbonegro and Glucifer are totally taking over and why not? Those guys rule. Guys I say. Not here my friend. Well, the bass player is a guy, but the other four members are tough looking yet comely ladies who rock out harder than you. Think of The Donnas with Viking hearts and a drinking problem. Mensen deliver a powerdriver mélange of bopping rhythms and chunky gits in the soul essence of punk yet infused with a love of pop, garage surf and bar rock. This kind of music is great live and even better played loud as you drive really fast to that pool party bar-be-que your buddies in that metal band are throwing. Now that summer is here we need more tunage such as the ones offered on “Oslo City” and I hope you take heed and clip that coupon for that $5 12-er of PBR because you’re gonna need it man. These girls and guy will smile and coy you into thinking you have a chance then jump on stage and make you cringe with defeat. Such sweet bliss. Such a sweet deal on PBR… Whittaker
@ www.gearheadrecords.com

Mentally Ill – “Gacy’s Place: The Undiscovered Corpses” CD 20/41:11
Collection of rare and unreleased from the same sic fucs that gave us the anti-classic “Gacy’s Place” (both sides of said 7 inch included here). Not so much “retardo-punk”, more like that diseased leper that makes you jump back when he reaches out towards you…and smiles when he see your reaction. Those allergic to early-Half-Japanese-style punk will probably find this as grating as nails on chalkboard, but those of us soiled souls drawn towards what the more tweaked faction of punk has to offer will gulp this down with gusto. David
@ www.alternativetentacles.com

Menthol – “Danger: Rock Science” CD 10/37:07
After careful examination of “Flashback Cafes” and the better parts of “Valley Girl” soundtracks, the group known as Menthol unleashes their musical assault upon the world. Not to say they’re trying to work a more mersh groove, but the “new wave” they take their cues from is closer to what was getting played on the early days of MTV (Cars, Devo circa “Oh No”, even ”Goodbye to You”-era Scandal) than the pre-80s version when the lines between punk and new wave were still blurred (though they do manage to throw in more guitar). Empty calories to be sure, but that never stopped anyone from giving up twinkies, did it? Not as infectiously singalong as the Epoxies, and a couple of tracks (especially the slower numbers) sound like the lesser moments on dem ubiquitous 80s, but overall pretty fun, especially on the title track. David
@ www.parasol.com

Mercury Program – “A Date Learn the Language” CD 8/47:11
Another day, another post rock record. Mogwai amaze me, Tortoise bewilder me, and Sea and Cake move me – but these guys, who combine elements of each, don’t quite pull any of these off. The elements from song to song, including thick guitar lines, keyboards, and driving rhythms, retread the same reverbed sound over the course of the record. And there is such a thing as too much vibraphone. Perhaps I’m missing the point, but the “prog” in prog-rock stands for progressive, a concept that should apply from song to song. So while it’s hard to criticize a band like The Mercury Program for making hypnotic, complex soundscapes, I know that I’m unlikely to give it many more listens, save as background noise. Scott
@ www.tigerstylerecords.com

Mermaid - "Red Led or Death" CD 10/47:29
Staunch rock with some necessary quirks that won't deviate from the standard heavy pound of riff rock gone clever indie kid. I'm pretty sure that's where Mermaid is coming from, because that's what I totally got out of this record. "Red Led Or Death" deems itself worthy of several aspects of turning it up and for that we all need to agree that bands like this should be praised amidst the faculty of radio crap and dull college alterno charts. Mermaids takes hints from the ever present garage rock but stiffens it up with fuzz and even tosses in a wah-wah pedal to ode more towards the 70s arena core in which shaggy headed stoners of today need to take precedence of. The tunes are very tight and jamming and not one rotten tuna fish sandwich in the bunch. Great flow and balance from this trio who decided long ago to worship at the altar of back alley rock and will hopefully pave the way for more like-minded outfits. For now, get loose and get down. I did. I still can't find my pants Whittaker
@ www.munster-records.com

Methadones - "Career Objective" CD 11/34:52
Dan Schafer has always produced my favorite releases from former members of Screeching Weasel, and this one, the second full length by the Methadones, is solid melodic punk, with a decided emphasis on punk. Other band members include Mike Byrne from the Vindictives and Matt Drastic from the Teen Idols, they definitely put the "rock" in punk rock on this effort. The songs get an urgent feel from Schafer's vocals, the singalong harmonies, and the pulsating rhythm sometimes reminds me of early Bad Religion. The songs have plenty of punk attitude, great lead guitars, and some decent lyrics that focus on relationships, laziness, and mid-life crises. One of the better pure punk pop records I've heard this year. Steve
@ www.stardumbrecords.com

Mexican Blackbirds – “Just to Spite You” CD 11/24:41
New outfit featuring Jill Trueblood from the late Valentine Killers; as solid as that outfit was, this new grouping leaves them in the dirt. Ass-kicking garagey PUNK rock, guaranteed to wipe the floor with any and all pretenders. In other words, the perfect gift for your honey this Valentine’s Day season, namely so you can keeping borrowing it for your own devious listening purposes. David
@ www.dirtnaprecs.com

MF McAdam – “Boy Wonder” CD 13/49:14
Picture the melodious sounds of mainstream popsters like David Pomeranz or Burt Bacharach – except more guitar-based – and you have some idea about the style of the CD. Add a pleasant voice with a mild, gravel tone. Okay, you’re getting closer. Now add intelligence and deep thought, the likes of Harry Chapin (without the stories), and you’re pretty close. Actually, one of the songs, “Magnets & Batteries” sounds a lot like a specific Chapin song (well, Steve Chapin, Harry’s brother). In his band before going solo, McAdam came close to breaking in the band Sumac. With that bitter taste, he recorded this whole album in friend’s houses (“Studios are overrated,” he’s been known to say), but it all came out well, to say the least. Occasionally the vocals will be skittish due to recording methods, but it still holds. Good instrumental at the end, “Absinthe Makes the Heart Grow Fonder,” reminiscent of Mason Williams’ “Sunflower,” but with a very cool ending. RBF
@ www.markmcadam.com

Michael Carpenter & King’s Rd. - “KingsRdWorks” CD 11/44:29
Although this was my first exposure to him, apparently Michael Carpenter has a fairly significant following as a subdued solo artist, compared to the raucousness of “KingsRdWorks.” Hopefully, his slower stuff works on a greater level than this effort, which at best sounds like NRBQ toss-offs and at worst like the house band at your local Bennigan’s. Carpenter does off course get points for calling a song “Kings Road,” the first occurrence of an act naming a song after the band since the glory days of Iron Maiden. But hey, novelty without song craft only gets you so far. Ryan
@ www.notlame.com

Michael Yonkers Band - "Microminiature Love" CD 13/48:24
Originally intended for release in 1968, this record never saw the light of day until last year, when a vinyl only pressing was made for collectors. Now, Sub Pop releases the full record and six bonus tracks, capturing the Minnesota psych-rock cult figure in all his glory. Known for stretching the sounds of a guitar through odd modifications, the sounds of "Microminiature Love" are being ripped off by garage bands making bank on indie labels today. With a voice reminiscent of Jim Morrison and an approach not unlike Iggy Pop, this is an enlightening and intense collection offering a peek into experimental rock 30 plus years ago. Scott
@ www.subpop.com MP3 Download

Mico – “Outside the Unbearable Grows” CD 10/35:37
They’ve been called the best band in Calgary (via Winnipeg, where they came from the ashes of Red Fisher). I love Calgary, but the best band? This seems a bit hyperbolic, but I haven’t been there in a while. Mico is definitely a finely tuned unit of college radio alt rock, with sharp corners. It’s a little pop, a little dissonant, and a little steely and kicking. Strongest song is “Lina Tres.” RBF
@ www.g7welcomingcommittee.com

Midlake - "Bamnam and Slivercork" CD 12/45:44
Atmospheric, ingenously arranged, winsomely sung post-Millennial folky digital goodness. For some reason or other, both Cocteau Twins associate Simon Raymonde and our Bay Area's own John Vanderslice get namechecks in the notes herein, which suits and fails to disgrace neither them nor their respective CV's. Makes me want to dive into the nearest pile of newly fallen, autumn leaves and hope there's no hidden anvil. MLH
@ www.bellaunion.com

Midnight Creeps – “Doomed From the Get Go” CD 11/32:01
Fuckin A! The female vocalist sounds like the pissed off bastard daughter of Theo/Lunachicks and Wendy O. Williams! Lay her ugly, pissed off, punk-as-fuck vocals over well-written yet nasty, chunky punk rock tunes like ”Menstrual Institution” “I’m A Cunt” “Ballad of G.G.” and “Toiletbowl Suicide”. Full-blast punk to get trashed to- kick ass!Jesse
@ Rodent Popsicle, PO Box 1143, Allston, MA 02134

Midnight Movies – s/t CD 6/26:57
Drummer/singer Gena Oliver is the beating heart of Midnight Movies. Her ethereal, darkly seductive voice saves these moody numbers from sounding too much like your average indie three-piece. There’s nothing groundbreaking here in terms of songwriting or performance, but I’ll be damned in Ms. Oliver isn’t the perfect stand-in for Nico in a VU tribute band. Her voice is crisp and pitch-perfect and her melodies gorgeous. “Human Mind Trap,” despite the similarities to “Daydream Nation”-era Sonic Youth, is one of those songs that gets stuck in your craw all day long. California-style instrumental breaks and walls of feedback nod towards the shoegazer set but never stray too far from rawk. Excellent stuff that restores my faith in the L.A. music scene. John
@ www.leftwingrecordings.com

Midnite Snake – s/t CD 8/46:08
Like recorded in a bathroom or something. Midnite Snake offer up a jumble swing of hot molten slop rock that comes over and eats your leftovers and leaves your daughter shaking in her Mary Janes. Even though they don’t sing on this record (yeah…call it an instrumental, go nuts!) the message comes across nice ‘n sleazy. Imagine those weird tape loops you find in the back of old video rental places, the kind of dark brooding houses of filth that carry flicks like “Urinal Honeys” and “Born To Be A Whipping Post For Deviant Midgets”, that feature odd dancing of out of focus strippers in a graveyard and I’ll bet you ten bucks that the music playing on that would be Midnite Snake. Three guys that look like the night manager for Tim’s Sex World & Knife Depot, play discordant dirt noise for the stoned out their mind and drunk to the funk masses that cram into the dive bar next to the old video hut to witness an actual burning of virgins in a escapade of flurried amplification behind mirrored sunglasses. As if Russ Meyer came up to them and said “write me something spooky…but make it sexy. And snappy!” The guys then huddled in an opium den for a month and came out with this stuff. Hoo wee! Good times. Whittaker
@ www.birdmanrecords.com

Midstates - "Shadowing Ghosts" CD 15/52:19
I have an ongoing argument with a friend of mine. I say that an artist, even if he borrows from a genre, has to bring something new or unique to that genre in order for it to be good. He maintains that it doesn't have to be new, as long as it's good. I think that Midstates is changing my opinion. There's nothing new on "shadowing ghosts" styleisticly that My Bloody Valentine or Slowdive haven't covered, but the rehashing is good. The guitars alone made me want to put the disc on repeat. Then I thought of the sad-voiced duet on "Hit the blues" ad I started to crave all those airy-dreamy, cathedral-guitar songs. In this case, who needs new? Pam
@ www.mentalmonkeyrecords.com

Mighty Stars - "The Mighty Stars Are Go!" CD 5/14:30
This British quartet produces five pretty bouncy songs here, all with a touch of garage guitar and perky melodies. "Suzanne" is as fine a power pop song as I've heard in a long time that wasn't recorded sometime in the early 80's, great lead guitars, nice pacing along the lines of "Teenage Kicks" era Undertones, the last song, "Kiss! Kiss! Kiss!" follows in the same tradition. The other three songs on this are also good pop rockers, with roots in the teen garage sounds of the 60's but updated with a bit of punk and mod heart. The guitar riffs make the songs explode out of your speakers and this is a real winner for fans of the mod punk style. Steve
@ www.aveburyrecords.com

Mike Watt – “The Secondman’s Middle Stand” CD 9/53:12
Apparently this particular release was inspired by Watt’s near-fatal “piss bag” ailment a few years back, with mid-paced post-“Mersh” rock (the most notable part of which is the dense swirling organ that brings back distorted memories of what 70s rock should have been) that’s more interested in catharsis than a grab at the golden ring. Wish I could be more enthusiastic about the record given the circumstances but, while it’s “okay” and all, it’s a record that’s easier to respect than play over and over again. Nevertheless, it’s good to see you’re still with us Mike. David
@ www.columbiarecords.com

Miki Dalton – “That’s Alright” CD
Miki Dalton was a veteran British musician who began his career playing piano-oriented r’n’r songs in the late ‘50s. Like many others, by the mid-‘60s he had made the transition to beat music, and this CD chronicles that phase of his career. Unfortunately, many of his original compositions are loaded with instruments that I don’t like, beginning with his own piano and ending with saxes and awful orchestral horns. In short, this is not a record for people who prefer loud primitive guitars (as I always have), and most of his lightweight songs also happen to be fairly pedestrian. There are a few good tracks, most of which were recorded in better versions by other bands (e.g., “Take a Heart” and “You Got What I Want”), and the production and liner notes are fine, but overall this is a dud. Jeff
@ www.rpmrecords.co.uk

Milloy/The Leif Ericsson - split CD 8/25:58
Often times bands on split releases such as this don't compliment each other very well; one will either be a lot better than the other, the styles won't mesh well and you'll have a disc where you can easily listen to half of it, but no more than that, or they'll be so similar that it just sounds like one band all the way through That's not the case with this though, these are two bands that share a love for great melodic punk but are different enough to feed both your Leatherface cravings (Milloy) or your melodic handclapping punk pop (say...Skimmer as a good comp band for The Leif Ericsson)) fix. Both bands have a great sense of melody, with the main difference being pacing of the songs (Milloy holds a more steady punk beat) and use of lead guitar parts to accentuate the melody, where the Leif Ericsson makes more use of different lead parts. But both are lots of fun to listen to, and this is a great example of British pop punk. Steve
@ www.crackle.freeuk.com

Milwaukees – “This is a Stickup” CD 11/44:13
In the booklet, the band ponders if the bridge of one song is more Van Halen or Rush. But I still listened to the CD, anyway. Yeah, this is interesting in what the band is trying to do, to build the songs into complementing each other, or linking them in some way. That’s admirable and thoughtful, and I respect that. And yes, there’s a “but`” in that this is very college radio. Crashing instruments, somewhat cryptic lyrics, cracking (though well sung) and soaring vocals to express emotion, and an art pop rock feel mixed with an alternative angst sensibility. I get the feeling they’ll be rawer live, and that addition could have great possibilities. In their credit, though, I have read some pretty positive reviews of this, so make your own judgment. RBF
@ www.doeseveryonestare.com

Minders – “The Future’s Always Perfect” CD 8/26:16
The Minders is led by Robert Schneider, of the band Apples in Stereo. Co-founder Martyn Leaper has left, but the band continues producing electronic pop, with a strong analog keyboard leaning. The space-age effects detract more than anything from what would be some strong “effervescent” power pop. A simple farfisa, perhaps? Also, what’s with the distortion of the vocals on most of the cuts? Schneider has a good pop voice, which is turned tinny through technology. While the best cuts are those where the effects are at a minimum (like “Here Goes Nothing”), I want to emphasize strongly I would like this whole CD, unquestionably, without all the extraneous electronica: The musicianship is superb, the vocal fine, the songs themselves are catchy with good hooks. Why bog it down? RBF
@ www.futurefarmer.com

Minikon – s/t CD 10/33:06
More electronic music, but with a bit of a twist. The cartoon artwork and a mention of Japanese popular culture having made an impact on Mr. M might give one pause that we’re about to endure sounds too cutesy-wutesy for human ears, but not to worry; the Japanese musical exports that seem to have corrupted his mind at an earlier age seem to have been the sounds emanating from the game systems of yore and our good friends Yellow Magic Orchestra rather than the infamous j-pop. While this wouldn’t mix well with the “darker” discs of your collection, Minikon manages (if sometimes barely) to avoid the “novelty” tag, fun tunes with the feared sugar overdose. David
@ www.kirakiradisc.com

Ministry – “Animositisomina” CD 10/53:55
But for a bit of ingenuity and skillful PR, Al Jourgensen could have been Rob Zombie – a dread-headed skulldugging monolith hung up on hard riffs, old synths, and leather cowboy hats. Even now, a good ten years removed from the heyday of WaxTrax, it’s hard for anyone with a measure of affection for his past work to put Jourgensen in any kind of perspective. Even through the woefully misguided “Filth Pig” and “Dark Side of the Spoon”, Jourgensen still had the air of a man with some sort of roadmap – even if he seemed to be having an incredible amount trouble deciphering it. These twin blunders, coupled with the grand-scale indifference toward industrial as a genre, made Ministry start to seem like little more than a product of its particular time. A good number of people started recanting on all their “Genius Jourgensen” proclamations and started suspecting that maybe Ministry was, actually, kind of lousy. If that is the case, then “Animositisomina” is the best bad record you’re going to hear all year. A harrowing (and surprisingly tuneful) descent into hate - both global and personal - “Animositisomina” could have been subtitled “Psalm 70” and met little resistance. The record runs the gamut, from the thundering, exhilarating opener to the desolate “Shove” (which shamelessly cops the vocal melody from Joy Division’s “Dead Souls”). Jourgensen is varying his palette a bit more – though “Impossible” roars and grunts like “Jesus Built My Hot Rod”, the chorus is positively melodic, Jourgenen’s voice finally floating above the familiar guttural growl. It’s not all gravy, though. Taking the whole record in one sitting is a challenge, and there’s still the creeping feeling that the many moments of euphoria the record conjures are little more than absurd subjective nostalgia. Nevertheless, “Animositisomina” has in spades all the things anyone ever went to Ministry for in the first place. Whether or not such solace is justifiable is subject to debate. J Edward
@ www.sanctuaryrecordingsgroup.com

Ministry – “Houses of the Mole” CD 58:52
Al’s back, and he’s even more pissed off than ever, with the goon in office incurring most of his wraith. Folks have been either calling this a return to form or further evidence of their decline; as usual, the truth lays somewhere in the middle. While some of this flirts with generic post-speedmetal/hardcore industrial rock, there are still some undeniably powerful moments here (the best of which remind one of Killing Joke on some really nasty crank). There are also two bonus hidden tracks for those willing to wade through the usual dead space to get to them. David
@ BMG/Sanctuary

Mink Lungs - "I'll Take It" CD 17/44:41
Much talked about Brooklyn band's latest, but I have top wonder what the fuss is all about. A little bit glam, a whole lot grungey, with some decidedly Pixies-ish vocal tradeoffs, but altogether undistinguished and dime-a-dozenish. Veteran rockrit Fred Mills blurbs them on the sleeve as 'the future of rock and roll'. Now where oh where have I heard that before? MLH
@ www.arenarockrecordingcompany.com

Minmae - "Microcassette Quatrains" CD 17/68:24
Minmae is a one man band from Portland via San Diego. This CD is a re-release of his debut four track full length from 1998 as well as a couple of "bonus tracks" from his debut seven inch recorded about the same time. Its like Lou Barlow's solo stuff, only with everything playing through blownout speakers. Its like Spaceman 3 with slightly more song structure, and a lot more "conciseness". Its like Guided By Voices with less technical skills and even more drugs. Its like The Jesus and Mary Chain with really shitty equipment. Its a very personal look into one person's bedroom recording sessions. Its mellow and listenable and harsh and hard on the ears all at the same time. Its way too much pot after being up for 4 days straight on an alternating speed and LSD binge. It's beautiful in weirdly disturbing way. The same way blood dripping out of a headwound can be strangely hypnotic and you can't stop touching the blood. Or that feeling of peace and calm right before you black out from the loss of blood. Minmae is no longer a one man band. He has friends who play music with him now, friends who understand what its like to stay up till 4am with your four track because you have no other choice. Manny
@ www.minmae.com

Minmae – “Ya Te Vas?” CD 11/37:52
Minmae, a musical group out of Portland, OR, are that odd brand of band that produces music that is both instantly likeable and recognizable, but you can never place exactly who or what they sound like. Alt folk, ambient drone, straight up rock…all sorts of styles run through the music. Fans of Sebadoh, Codeine, Seam, and similar mellow-but-noisy stuff should give a listen. I like this quite a bit, it sounds like a rainy Pacific Northwest day – a little morose but still beautiful. Jake
@ http://mywebpages.comcast.net/joshkempa/

Minus - “Halldor Laxness” CD 12/43:34
If you’ll excuse me for a moment, I’ve got to run the restroom to throw away this bloody Q-tip. You see Minus believe is loud music, loud like Slipknot but replacing some real melody where the screaming bloody murder would go. Minus migth bring the pain sonically, but they also mix it up lyrically. The same album that opens with “You are my work of art/An awesome thing in my heart” also features the gem, “I am way too late/Fuck the night away.” The whole thing works surprisingly well, and hardcore fans who branch out and find this little nugget will be well-rewarded for looking past the Cold Bizkit Taproot’s of the world. Ryan
@ www.minus.tv

Minus Story – “The Captain Is Dead, Let The Drum Corpse Dance” CD 8/36:45
This is what some call experimental pop, or anti-pop. It mixes bits of twee artiness with denser moments of clutter and clang within something the band has coined the “wall of crap” sound. They want to be considered in the same breath as Neutral Milk Hotel, but that’s a tall order. “The Happy Activist” and “Gravity Pulls” are pleasingly off-kilter and find room to call their own, but they are not nearly as refined as NMH. Too often they wander off and lose sight of the target as on “Joyless Joyless.” Jordan Geiger’s vocals sometimes get trapped in the mix and are a bit too mopey. It’s not a bad record, just not nearly as sharp as it should be. Anthony
@ www.jagjaguwar.com

Miracle Chosuke – “The 7/8 Wonders of the World” CD 9/13:35
Sometime back in the early 90s the British music papers tried to hype a pseudo-movement called the New Wave of New Wave, featuring S*M*A*S*H (check your local dollar bin) and other long-forgotten folks who allegedly took their cues from the bands of the late 70s/early 80s (sound familiar?). Said “movement” turned out to be stillborn and many of the bands involved faded (or divebombed) into obscurity. The modern postpunknewwavenowavesurfthatwave revival is starting to reach similar levels of hype (and where there’s hype, there’ll eventually be backlash) but unlike their UK predeccossers this new breed has (for the most part) more substance to back them up; just check out this disc if you need proof. Nine short but sweet blasts of synth-skree from spastic lads who grew up on obscure Devo-influenced seven inch waxings with the Commodore 64 blaring in the background. Synth-punk’s not dead, mate! David
@ www.dimmak.com

Mirrors – “Hands in My Pockets” CD 19/58:29
A retrospective of this proto-you-name-the-genre Cleveland outfit, with 15 unreleased or exclusive-version tracks and future luminaries like Jamie Klimek, Jim Jones, Paul Marotta, and Psychotronic Video editor Michael Weldon among their ranks. Definitely Velvets damaged (though said band was admittedly were one of the very few bands fellow mutants could gather around in the dark days of the early 70s) these folks came up with some effective “avant-rock” (hehheh) that managed to build upon said initial influence. This demonstrates their ranking somewhere between Pere Ubu and Styrenes in the ClePunk sphere; while not every track has stood the test of time, quite a bit of this is huggable enough indeed. Check it out. David
@ www.overgroundrecords.co.uk

Mirrors UK - “Mirror Whore” CD 3/10:31
A hat trick of corrosively clamoring, mid-tempo pounders from this young British quartet. Dig the alternatively twisting and tremulous guitar stylings of “White House”; same goes for the winsome vocals and bashing barre chords (with just a subliminal hint of Joe Meek) of the title cut. Fans of Teenage Fanclub and Velvet Crush will find much to enjoy herein. Wonder if Blake and Menck have in fact heard this lot? MLH
@ www.electricrecords.co.uk

Mishaps - "Get Away Volume" CD 6/19:59
Very standard three chord stuff, with a couple of decent Ramonesy songs and a couple of others where they're trying to sound more like a Kiss clone. The production really undermines the songs on the couple that are decent, and if the song doesn't have much going for it anyway, it just makes it all the worse. The guitars are just way too buried, and the vocals don't have much range. Seems like one of those bands that should have either spent a little more money in order to sound decent or just plain old worked on the songs more before hitting the studio. Steve
@ www.scissorpress.com

Mission of Burma – “OnOffOn” CD 16/53:26
You’ve probably read all the rave reviews by now, and trust me they’re all warranted. Still as exhilarating, creative, and vital as ever, even after all this years; unlike so many other reformed outfits they still sound like they have things they need to say as an unit instead of simply cashing in on a brand name ($45 Pixies tickets anyone?). Manages to beat out Wire, Descendents, and even Rocket From the Tombs for the title of best reunion of the year. David
@ www.matadorrecords.com

Mixtwitch - “Smile for the Money Shot” CD 14/38:43
Several years ago, when the fourth and fifth wave ska bands were nearing their apex, my biggest peeve was that so many of them were just flat-out lousy songwriters. To be fair, many of the American bands were so bent on sounding trad, I suppose, that they forgot about the songs. This Irish outfit is more or less nodding toward old skool Brit-punk and pub rock as much as anything. They write short, energetic songs that held my interest better than most of their compatriots. Could be worse. Now, what’s up with the name? Anthony
@ www.moonskaeurope.com

Model Rockets - "Tell the Kids (the Cops Are Here)" CD 14/47:27
The third release by these Seattle area vets, the songs evoke memories of a bunch of power pop bands, but the songs are far from the derivative efforts of many others in the genre. Produced by Kurt Bloch and Scott McCaughey of the Young Fresh Fellows (among their multitude of bands), they produce tuneful melodies that range from solid rockers to jangle pop. They create some very catchy hooks that are as reminiscent of Big Star or the db's, and the vocals often have a lot in common with Chris Stamey, with just a hint of twang accentuating some of the hooks of the melody. I can't say there is any one song that explicitly nails you in the head, but the whole disc is of such high quality that any one song will bounce around your brain for a long time. What I love about this as much as anything is the guitar work, there are constant leads jangling around in the background, almost sounding like a different song in itself at times, and they give the songs a depth that is missing from a lot of other bands that simply ape the big influences of the genre. A great release on a great label. Steve
@ www.notlame.com

Modey Lemon - "Thunder & Lightning" CD11/34:11
Originally a duo, this Pittsburgh three-piece has garnered high praise from NME for its "vicious spiny guitar thrash and blood-curdling drums". Drummer Paul Quattrone remarks, "I hate bass players. I have a bass drum which I kick really hard. That's enough low end for me." Needless to say I was curious to hear this second record. They explode with a noisy, metallic edge on "Crows" and don't let up, hammering out skewed scratchy power rock on "Predator", "Electronic Sorcerer", and "Tongues". There are momentary nods to different sub-noise/thrash/garage/stoner milieus but they carve out a tight little niche for themselves, and every song simultaneously stands alone and fits into the total package. Believe the hype. This is the future. Dirt and decay all the way. Anthony
@ www.birdmanrecords.com

Modifiers – “Secret Frequencies” CD 13/49:10
Dutiful rock outfit The Modifiers offer the sort of guitar-powered crunch-rock that used to fuel the toothier indie groups of the early 90s. This isn’t a bad thing, exactly; for all their bluster, those bands knew their way around a good melody. The Modifiers do, too – Chris Perry has the sort of throaty Paul Westerberg voice that makes every verse sound like it’s his last, and when it’s racing along side big brawny guitars, the sense of urgency is palpable. He howls out the chorus to the barnburner “Wrong Way Home”, and the gang of backing vocals on “I Like Her (Band)” is straight from the ‘Mats “Never Mind”. The Modifiers still haven’t nailed subtlety, so thirteen tracks of ragin’ full-on rock gets to be a bit much. The group’s two breathers, “Anonymous” and “Rootless” feel wan and forced. “Secret Frequncies” is a winning debut, but the group has yet to perfect their amped-up angst. J Edward
@ Intelligent Records

Mogwai - "Happy Songs for Happy People" CD 9/41:51
At this point, most people that would like Mogwai have probably heard them by now, but you never know. In the process of listening to this eagerly anticipated album for the first time on a drive, I had a passenger who had not been privy to the brilliance of this fine band of Scots. The soundtrack like album played through in its entirety, unfolding with restraint and textures abound as I drove through over pastoral city landscapes full of grit and beauty. Ambivalent vocodored vocals added a new element and excitement that was missing on the good, but not thrilling earlier Rock Action. Not every song immediately grabbed me, but the whole of it was extremely pleasant and promised further rewards. "Perfect music for working on computers" I actually thought to myself inexplicably as the album closed, before looking over at my friend and noticing that she had fallen soundly asleep. So definitely not the best introduction to these fine lads, but if it's more Mogwai you are looking for, by gum you have found it. I'm glad they are still trying new things and not resting on their laurels, in fact I'm glad they are around at all. Conan
@ www.matadorrecords.com

Mojave 3 – “Spoon and Rafter” CD 10/51:03
Despite blowing people away (including myself) with their last record, “Excuses for Travelers” the anticipation for this, their fourth, record wasn’t exactly overwhelming. Even with the bands’ popularity on both sides of the Atlantic, Neil Halstead and company ran a serious risk of becoming redundant. This was true especially after Halstead’s first solo project released last year seemed to be a mere expansion of his songs on “Excuses”. It was good stuff, but becoming tedious. Thankfully, “Spoon and Rafter” mixes it up enough to become one of their best albums, and certainly one of my surprises of the year. The foundation is the same: sad, melodic, country-influenced British folk. This time the band utilizes cleaner production, diverse instrumentation, and a slightly stronger inclination towards hooks – they’ve created a record that’s actually enjoyable to listen to, rather than an instrument to purge your inner melancholy. Without straying away from the key elements – Halstead’s lovely croon, a flair for wistfulness, and the occasional slide guitar – they create a more inviting atmosphere that you’ll want to come back to, something the drone of their earlier records didn’t quite pull off. You get the feeling they’ve abandoned any pretense about what their band is and decided to make the simplest, most affecting music they can make, and they’ve succeeded. Scott
@ www.mojave3online.com

Mojo Men – “There Goes My Mind” CD 16/41:16
In recent months more and more labels have been reissuing overproduced “sunshine pop” from the mid- to late 1960s, a genre which is altogether too slick, sappy, soft, and just plain happy-go-lucky for my tastes. Hence it should come as no surprise to find that I’m not bowled over by by this third (unreleased) Mojo Men LP, which is described as “one of the last great paisley pop albums” from that era. Some of the songs herein are actually pretty darn good, such as the title song, “When You’re Down,” and especially the beautiful “Watch You Walk Away” with its harpsichord accompaniment, but what spoils most of it for me are the intrusive tinkling piano and the utter lack of guitar power. But if you like soaring harmonies and soft, introspective pop, this may be your cup of tea. Jeff
@ www.sundazed.com

Mommy and Daddy – s/t CD 4/12:07
I cringe at the term electroclash, honestly I can’t think of a more vacuous, pointless, self indulgent waste of time then that so called “genre”. That’s why I sort of put off reviewing Mommy and Daddy, because I had heard from somebody that’s what they were, and even though what I heard was positive, well peoples opinions differ. Surprise, surprise, this is pretty damn good, They have a Le Tigre vibe on some of the songs, which I’m sure they get a lot, they don’t have the element of 80’s kitsch necrophilia that plagues most bands doing similar things. The fuzzed out bass adds a lot to the already energetic music, and I would imagine they probably put on a heck of a show. Two attractive married people, playing catchy gleefully disaffected music, if such a thing exists. And it’s good. Conan
@ www.mommyanddaddy.com

Monade - “Socialisme Ou Barbarie” CD 12/35:19
Side project by Laetitia Sadier from Stereolab sounds exactly as you might expect - lots of simmering organs and jazz club percussion burbling beneath Sadier’s sad alto. None of this is a bad thing. If anything, Monade manages to be more linear that Stereolab. Where the latter is inclined to get all knotted up in loops, Sadier keeps her arrangements more spare and, consequently, more direct. There’s an elegance to these songs where Stereolab offers only icy distance. Sadier has tapped into the same kind of majesty of austerity once championed by el Records, and while there is nothing overwhelmingly memorable on ‘Socialilsme’, Sadier’s refreshing willingness to play it straight maximizes luxury while eliminating pretense. A pleasant surprise. J Edward
@ www.dragcity.com

Mondo Topless - "Go Fast!" CD 15/60:13
Mondo Topless has been tearing a swath through the Philadelphia scene for over a decade. Their honest, slamming garage rock n roll has an intensity that makes the garage pretenders of today seem so, so lame. When lead vocalist Sam Steinig growls out a chorus while clawing at his Vox organ, the effect is positively electrifying. Witnessed live, with the band in full swing, the scene is straight out of a '60s dance show. The sound is tough but sweet, catchy as hell, and often downright evil. This disc may not hit the heights of a live set, but it gets damn close. The approach is pure rave-up. Every track is a party song, a hip swinging number of truly cool proportions. If your toes aren't tapping, then someone must have cut off your feet. Mark
@ Get Hip, PO Box 666, Canonsburg, PA 15317

Monsters – “I See Dead People” CD 14/34:10
Their motto is “Primitive Rock’n’Roll” and based on this evidence (their 6th album) they sure ain’t breaking any Truth In Advertising laws here. Trashy fuzz-laden garage with post-rockabilly/surf elements (some of this I’d almost call this “psychobilly” if that particular term hadn’t already been tracked through the mud). While not every track will leave you spazzing on the floor (they work better bringing in the trash then going for the slow ominous feel), I dare say this is worth picking up. David
@ www.voodoorhythm.com

Monsters – “Youth Against Nature” CD 13/39:02
Voodoo Rhythm had the good sense to reissue this sinister platter of trashy, Swiss-made psycho-garage from 1995. What can I say except halle-fucking-lujah – there’s nothing quite like a blast of the Monsters’ back-alley electroshock therapy. Law-abiding boys and girls may wanna stay away cuz a single dose of these fuzzed-out guitars, Beat-Man’s menacing rasp, and hypnotic rhythm section will incite you to do very bad things – and you’ll like it. Lily
@ www.voodoorhythm.com

Mood Elevator - "Married Alive" CD 12/41:26
Although critical darling Brendan Benson is in the band, and the others backed Benson (as the Wellfed Boys) on his tour for his "Laplaco" release, this is not a vehicle for Benson to further his work, rather it's a group effort with songwriting duties shared with Chris Plum, with Plum handling the vocals as well. These are smart power pop songs, with odes to glam, Todd Rundgren, the Who, and big guitar riffs ala Cheap Trick, complete with rough edges. The pop comes from nice harmonies, more than a few handclaps and a ton of melody. Plum is involved in writing all of the songs, with some help from Benson, and the focus is definitely on relationships gone south, with a few clever lyrical twists. Detroit has seen it's share of great power pop bands come and go lately (The Sights, Moods For Moderns, Fletcher Pratt), as they've gotten lost in the garage revival rage of the White Stripes; hopefully these guys will break through and bring pop back to fore in both Detroit and for the rest of us. Steve
@ www.dopplerrecords.com

Moondogs - "The John Peel Sessions" CD 8/26:54
The Moondogs are legendary among powerpop fans largely because of their first two singles, "She's 19", on Good Vibrations, and the amazing double A side "Who's Gonna Tell Mary/Overcaring Parents" on Real. The Irish trio played Peel sessions in both '80 and '81 which are documented here. The first session included versions of the singles "...Mary" and "Talking In the Canteen". By the second session the band seemed to have fallen back to the pack, but fans of the genre will enjoy this. Mel
@ www.detour-records.co.uk

Moore Brothers – “On & Out” CD 14/36:29
Let me say this right out front in case you get the wrong impression: I like this record, but I’m pretty disappointed by it at the same time. They start the album off with a glorious 30-second long intro track that sounds like the reincarnation of Big Star and I get real excited. And then the rest of the album sounds like Crosby, Stills, Nash and Young for the 21st century, only much less hippy and much more poppy and funny. That first listen was pretty disappointing, because that intro was so unbelievably good. But after I played the record a few more times the rest of their tracks grew on me as well and I found myself enjoying the whole album (but still wishing for more like that intro, dammit). Hopefully they will expand on that opening song in the future, but until then I’ll just have to enjoy the rest of the album. Jake
@ Amazing Grease`1501 Plymouth Ave, San Francisco, CA 94112

Moral Crux - "Pop Culture Assassins" CD 13/28:57
One of the most underrated pop punk bands of the last 15 years, and I think the primary reason is that the songs are so perky musically that they undercut some incredibly biting lyrics about society at large. This effort hits hardest at two targets; pop culture as seen through the mass media, and the political tyranny we are living under these days, against the will of a majority of voters. The songs are full of hard hitting guitar hooks and urgent vocals that stray from a formulaic 3 chord sound just enough to give them a relatively unique pop punk sound, along the lines of the Ramones "Commando". They've been putting out great records for a long time and not getting nearly enough recognition; maybe this one will turn the tide. Steve
@ www.panicbuttonrecords.com

Morphine – “The Best of Morphine 1992-1995” CD 16/59:30
Lord knows Boston has produced some mighty interesting bands. Morphine is not one of ‘em. Their stuff is well, just pabulum in the same way of many of the bands of British post-“psychedelic” period of the 1980s. You know the drill, competent musicians, but the music is about as exciting as watching dirt get, well, dirty. Dissonant notes, ‘specially horns, do not make personality. Mark Sandman’s vocals feel smarmy and like he’s trying to channel Jim Morrison. The only song here that really works well is the slow, jazzy “You Look Like Rain,” which I actually really liked. Go figure! Oh, and there’s one song here, “Shame,” which is video enhanced. Cool. RBF
@ www.rykodisc.com

Morrissey - "Irish Blood, English Heart" CD 4/11:44
The single along with it's excellent B side "It's Hard To Walk Tall When You're Small". I think the other two tunes here, "Munich Air Disaster 1958" and "The Never-played Symphonies", appeared on the Japanese album, but were left off the American version of ...Quarry. Three excellent B sides, so grab it. Mel
@ Sanctuary Records

Morrissey – “Malmo” CD 18/72:15
Ever since the Smiths fizzled in the late 80s there has been a running debate about whether or not the solo work of Stephen Patrick Morrissey ever eclipsed his work with Britain’s other Fab Four. No matter where you stand on that issue, it’s difficult to argue the fact that the Mozzer commands a follwing more loyal than most religious figures. So dedicated are his followers that they allow him the luxury of touring without a new record to showcase or a label to support him. This live recording of a recent date in Malmo, Sweden, finds Morrissey both in good voice and spirits as he offers a spirited run through his catalog, peppering the set with songs written for the perennially delayed “Irish Blood, English Heart”. Morrissey’s distinctive voice is unblemished by age – he turns in a soulful “Every Day is Like Sunday” and a spirited “Hairdresser on Fire”. The biggest problem is his band, who plays every song dutifully but without any spirit or spark. There is a workmanlike quality to the performances that doesn’t become fully apparent until they revive chestnuts from The Smiths back catalog. “There is a Light that Never Goes Out” – one of the group’s finest singles – is wan and plodding, and “Meat is Murder” lacks the horror of the original. The new songs are adequate (particularly “I Like You”), if not especially stirring. “Don’t forget me!” Morrissey pleads to his audience near the end of the concert. It’s as preposterous a request as asking God to make a rock he cannot lift. The impassioned screams that he gets in response have more life and gusto than his band had mustered all evening. J Edward
@ no address

Motards - "Stardom" CD 22/34:23
The 'tards may be long-gone (gone off to the Putdowns and other like-minded outfits) but they've left this fine platter of single/unreleased/compilation/etc. tracks to remember them by. It would have been nice if they included more info on each track (i.e. let us know what track was originally off which release by which label, etc.) but there's no arguing with the quality of fiery fukked-up punk rock tuneage on display here. If this puppy doesn't make you miss them then nothing will. David
@ www.mortvillerecords.com

Motion City Soundtrack - “I am the Movie” CD 14/43:10
Boy, did I want to like Motion City Soundtrack - catchy moniker, and these lads sure know how to package a CD. However, the album is nothing more than retread pop-punk, occasionally sung a little faster than normal. Maybe some Simple Plan fans will eat this up, but there’s absolutely nothing new to be found here, and the lyrics offer the same high-school poetry retreads that acts like Dashboard Confessional have turned into big bucks. If Motion City Soundtrack are a movie, it should be called “Different Packaging, Same Old Retread Shit.” Ryan
@ www.motioncitysoundtrack.com

Mott The Hoople - "Greatest Hits" CD 12/46:10
Mott started out playing progressive hard rock, and were one of the best bands in the world, then broke up after two superb albums. Next, they reformed as a glam band, and that's where the greatest hits begin. "Foxy Foxy", "Honaloochie Boogie", "Roll Away the Stone", "Golden Age of Rock and Roll" and "All the Young Dudes, are all songs I couldn't live without. One of my fave bands ever. Mel
@ www.legacyrecordings.com

Mount Analog – “New Skin” CD 11/39:20
Defying categorization at every turn, Mount Analog’s “New Skin” is an interesting but only sporadically listenable experiment. Instrumental washes begin each song. Exotic field recordings interrupt ambient keyboards. Sound bites and samples undermine the organic illusion. Sublime acoustic melodies and wavering drums materialize and shrink back. Think of The Books, if their song structures were drone-happy walls of blue concrete. “Gospel Melodica” is the most conventional track, with twinkling piano loops and insistently chopped rhythms. But for the most part, "New Skin" is an admirably conceived experiment better suited for performance art than your stereo. John
@ www.filmguerrero.com

Mountain Goats – “Tallahassee” CD 14/44:34
Indiana-born, California-raised, and currently livin’ la vida-Iowa, somehow John Darnielle has transformed his life’s experience into a decade-long solid stranglehold on acoustic folkisms that do not qualify as “Emo” but more accurately “Damn emotional”. Not as John Darnielle, mind you, but as The Mountain Goats, a lineup that has rotated, multiplied, and subtracted more times than should really be referenced in a review. Darnielle is the constant here, delivering the goods in a big studio, on a four-track, or even solo on a boombox recording as early 2002’s “All Hail West Texas” did. Later 2002’s “Tallahassee” is back in the “Real” studio, resulting in the same great music, same great thoughts and words, and better production. His voice can be deep, or geeky sounding, depending generally on what he’s saying and how fast he’s playing. Regardless, he’s spouting off in mild to major tirades such as, “I hope you die/I hope we both die/I hope I cut myself shaving and I bleed all day”. To simply read this makes one think he’s reading bipolar or mildly alcoholic breakup scribble, but most of the time he is highly insightful into the human condition, and unlike some other angsters, you really believe him. Xtian
@ 4AD, 17-19 Alma Road, London, SW18 1AA

 Mountain Goats – “We Shall Be Healed” CD 13/43:45
This album continues along the same path that John Darnielle started down last year with his first major label release on 4AD titled “Tallahassee”. That is to say, for the most part he’s stepped away from the Mountain Goats of the past, which was just him, his guitar, and an old boom box to record on, in favor of a richer and fuller sound involving collaborations with other musicians; in the case of this album, those musicians include Peter Hughes (DiskothiQ), Franklin Bruno (Nothing Painted Blue), Christopher McGuire (12 Rods), and engineered by John Vanderslice. Honestly, to me it still sounds like the same ol’ Mountain Goats, only with a little backing music and recorded on proper equipment, but no doubt there are those purists out there who hate it. For everyone else, this album is yet another argument for the fact that Darnielle is one of the best songwriters happening today, and a riveting live performer as well. Particularly stand-out tracks include “Palmcorder Yanja”, “The Young Thousands”, and “All Up the Seething Coast”. Jake
@ www.4ad.com/artists/themountaingoats/

Mountaineers – “Messy Century” CD 13/47:28
I thought Oasis had broken up? Oh wait, this is just another mildly annoying disc of electro-rockin’ Brit-pop. “Messy Century” is so overloaded with trendy production techniques (a la David Friddman), grating vocals, and predictable songs that I’m not sure where the music ends and the gimmicks beings. This Liverpool band’s sonic variety is impressive but ultimately wearying. Music made for TV commercials and magazine samplers. John
@ www.mute.com (MP3s available)

Mountaineers – “Mountaineers” CD 6/22:49
The boredom of small town life in Wales produced Mountaineers, a band that is finding creative ways to mix its computer know-how with good ol’ fashioned songwriting and acoustic guitar. It sounds like Air moving up to the hills, taking back in the tools of yesterday, and not being so damn aloof. This band isn’t trying to impress us with how technical, ambient, or deep it can be with computers – it’s actually using them as an aid for writing modern pop songs. Xtian
@ www.mute.com

Mouse Rocket – s/t CD 14/40:44
Eclectic indie rock that veers all over. From distortion soaked mid-tempo Pixies/BTO rockers to sweet low-key laments, Mouse Rocket combines fine female vocals with more traditional male classic rock vox. Out of Tennessee, Mouse Rocket are clearly waving the freak flag loud and proud. The weird cover/insert art and diverse music make this an oddball addition to any music collection. Jesse
@ Empty, PO Box 12301, Portland, OR 97212

Moviees – “Become One of Them” CD 14/39:10
One of the handful of contemporary neo-‘60s bands released on the Sundazed label, as opposed to their usual ‘60’s reissues, albeit with a little help from Living Eye. And it’s easy to understand why, because this particular group from parts unknown specializes in cranking out original compositions in a variety of ‘60’s styles, including mod, folk rock, and diverse US garage rock subgenres. All this might conceivably be a cause for retro boredom, if it weren’t for the fact that the Moviees’ songs are generally of a very high caliber. Add an appropriately authentic yet modern production courtesy of two Chesterfield Kings, longstanding aficionados of obscure ‘60’s musical genres, and it’s practically impossible to go wrong. With any luck, they’ll come and play out on the West Coast with the C-Kings someday. Jeff
@ www.sundazed.com

Movin' Jelly - "Girls Trouble" CD 12/37:57
Eight of the eleven songs have "girl" in the title, so that should tell you something right there. From Japan, there are the plenty of early Beatles beats running through the songs, accented by extensive use of a moog and occasional traditional Japanese melody. There are some great jangle pop moments in this, with rich harmonies and plenty of Japanese lyrics and accents that make figuring out what they're singing about a bitch, but you can always sing along to the word "girl", which is the one thing that's clear as a bell. There are also plenty of full on assault guitars in the songs mixing in with the new wavey pop hooks and they do a rousing cover of NRBQ's "Magnet" towards the end of the CD. Great hook filled handclapping fun. Steve
@ www.wizzard-in-vinyl.com

Moviola - “East of Eager” CD 11/42:40
It’s not often that I feel bad when I give a negative review of something, but I do here. I don’t know what it is, but something about this music makes me think the guys behind it are probably decent folks; just enjoying putting out music for their friends and colleagues and hoping maybe a few stragglers get picked up along the way. Unfortunately for me, I don’t care for the music at all – pretty typical alt-country; sounds like they’ve probably listened to a lot of the classics like The Byrds, Jackson Browne, Flying Burrito Brothers, as well as more contemporary acts like Uncle Tupelo, but somehow it didn’t turn out the way they hoped. Or maybe it just didn’t turn out the way I hoped, which I guess is what ultimately matters since I’m doing the reviewing here. In other words, all the pieces are there for what should be music I would love, but somehow things just don’t fit together right and it does nothing for me. Not terrible music at all, just boring. Jake
@ www.anyway-records.com MP3 Download

Mr. Airplane Man – “C’mon DJ” CD 13/40:49
Third full-length from these (Howlin’) Wolf-lovin’ lasses. While they’re not shy about cranking out dem garagey numbers, they also like to work a slower, more seductive groove, creeping under your skin. Either way they manage to avoid falling into the blues-punk-by-numbers rut that seem to be claiming an increasing number of outfits. Besides, John Peel seems to like them, so what more do you need? David
@ www.sympathyrecords.com

Mr. Airplane Man – “Moanin’” CD 12/40:27
Two women bashing out dem delta blues. They don’t go full throttle a la the Black Stripes or White Keyes or whoever, but they manage to work a deceptively seductive groove instead of simply rehashing their record collection or, worse, pull a Blueshammer on us. Well worth adding to your own collection. David
@ www.sympathyrecords.com

Mr T Experience - "Yesterday Rules" CD 13/40:30
Hard to believe this is the first full length from the full band since 1999's "Alcatraz"; Frank's put out a solo thing since then, and there have been a couple of reissues, but four plus years? There's a different lineup this time; with Jym sticking around on drums, and a new bass player and second guitarist. The raucous punk tunes of "Love is Dead" and before are mostly missing from this release, but you know what, I'm older now, and don't need to hear a ripping guitar lead on every song these days. No, I can be satisfied with well written pop songs, Frank's always smart, wry lyrics (he's been called "the Cole Porter of punk" on more than one occasion, and in one song namechecks Chomsky, Woody Allen, and Foucault), and this release has all of those familiar elements and more. Some songs, like "Big, Strange Beautiful Hammer" are acoustic numbers, others like "London" start of in a similar vein, yet move into a lush arrangement (with sweetly sad lryics) that is worthy of any great pop rock band. But there are still some solid rockin' numbers here too, and it makes for a great mix of styles and tone. Frank has steered the band from pop punk to a more straight up pop band over the years, and this is the culmination of several years of changes in both the band and Frank's life. This release shows it's been worth the wait. Steve
@ www.lookoutrecords.com

Ms Led – “Afternoon in Central Park” CD 9/
Oh yeah, feminist rock is definitely in the house. One look at the lyric sheet puts that beyond question. But this band doesn’t shortchange the musical experience in favor of delivering discourse. Ms. Led does a fine job of balancing out the ideas that put the punch in its message and writing catchy rock hooks that seemingly piggyback intensity from the words. Ms. led practices a style of aggressive resistance with intelligent and somewhat abstract lyrics in the Ani DiFranco range, along with “grinding” (so as not to use a different blacklisted Seattle G-word) rock with a glassy-clean finish. Some of the riffage is a bit tired, and the rock could use to be roughened a bit, but still a good intro to this genre. Xtian
@ Fish the Cat, PO Box 4377, Philadelphia, PA 19118

Much The Same - “Quitters Never Win” CD 12/33:16
I have two words for this band: Dag Nasty. Remember them? How about the Descendents or Uniform Choice, do they ring a bell? There are literally thousands of bands from Maine to Cali playing semi-hardcore pop-punk of one kind or another that, for better or worse, is basically rooted in the d-i-y ethos and style of those bands and a few others. And most of them suck or are completely unoriginal. Much The Same are very much the same as countless others who do mopey, heartfelt pseudo-straightedge and never stray from standard form and structure. The tempos don’t vary, the guitars always sound the same and the lyrics are total adolescent shite or bad romantic poetry or both. Find a copy of “Wig Out At Denko’s” or “Staring Into The Sun” and hear it done properly. Anthony
@ www.a-frecords.com

Muddy Waters - "Muddy Mississippi Waters Live" 2XCD
When Muddy Waters died in 1983 he departed as the last of the true commercial giants of the blues who made the leap from the Delta in the 30s to the streets of Chicago in the 40s and 50s. He was the giant who plugged the ghost of Son House into a Fender guitar amp. We all know he invented rock-n-roll, but more importantly, he never lost the sharecroppin' country boy from Stovall. His best work - whether it is the raw acoustic blues of the 40s or the numerous sessions he did in the 60s and 70s with the parade of rock legends - was his rustic country slide guitar playing and his soulful singing, hallmarks of the Delta come alive in the city. And there's some screamin' slide guitar throughout this set with Muddy, Johnny Winter and Steady Rollin' Bob Margolin. Part of the recent Legacy re-issue series that also includes the Byrds, this is a live record released in 1978, during Muddy's association with Blue Sky Records, plus a bonus disc of eleven unreleased live tracks recorded the same weekend. It's the bonus disc that makes this a worthwhile endeavor. On "Champagne & Reefer" Muddy lets his hair down, extols the virtues of herb, and encourages the crowd to light up. He rolls out a version of "Corrina, Corrina" as if he's merely scratching himself. The band pull off hizzouse-rockin' takes on "Hoochie Coochie Man" and "She Moves Me" that should've made the original LP. And there's a version of "Kansas City" unlike anyone else's. Packaged handsomely in a slick double gatefold with plastic over-sleeve I'm sure it lists high so look for it at your local used record store. Anthony
@ www.legacyrecordings.com

Mummies – “Death By Unga Bunga” CD 21/44:04
A collection of that ol’ Budget Rock (originally released on long-out-of-print seven inches) by the wrapped ones. Every garage band active today should be kneeling down and kissing their bandaged feet, since they were one of the very few who shook off the “fashion-over-substance” ethos of the earlier garage revival (yes I know there were a dozen or so exceptions, so shut up already) that painted the movement into the corner and revived the raw punk snarl and bile of the pimple-plagued groups of yore. In other words, drop what you’re doing and get this NOW. David.
@ www.estrus.com

Mummy the Peepshow – “School Girl Pop” CD 12/33:38
CD number four from these Japanese lasses delivering what the title promises, solid garagey school girl punkish-pop-rock. Not quite up there with what they can do live, but it’s growing on me, so I daresay it’s a keeper. Don’t miss them if they ever come to your neighborhood. David
@ www2.odn.ne.jp/mummy/

My Dad Is Dead – “The Engine of Commerce” CD 16/68:53
Mark Edwards makes a lot of noise for one guy. On this record he plays every instrument – guitar, percussion, etc. – and does all the singing, too. The Engine… is an eclectic group of 16 songs recorded over four years. Edwards sings about getting old, getting tired, getting up in the morning and, on a weirdly funny track called “Physical Fitness,” trying not to get fat: “It’s time to hide the scales again/I’m running out of room on the dial lately.” A good and often very catchy group of songs. Kevin
@ www.mydadisdead.com

My Morning Jacket - "It Still Moves" CD 12/71:48
This Louisville band takes the alt-country genre and expands the boundaries on their first major label release. They've got a strong Americana feel to the songs, with guitars and vocals that hearken to early 70's West Coast melodic rock material. But they add their own flourishes, with horns on some songs, more of a country folk flair leading certain songs, and an echo of sadness that prevails over the sunny harmonies. It makes for a unique blend of material that will take you wandering through different places in your head as you listen; the opening cut "Mahgeetah" is pure jangle pop, and then the next song, "Dancefloors" makes you want to find a little sawdust and sprinkle it on the floor to do the country two step. Others feel downright soulful in a longing wistful ("Just One Thing") manner that shows off the emotional punch some of these songs have. Like Lambchop before them, My Morning Jacket takes hometown southern blues and R&B influences and mixes them effortlessly, making for a good indie rock album that defies convention and current styles to push boundaries of pop music. Steve
@ www.atorecrods.com

Myracle Brah - "Treblemaker" CD 11/32:33
Andy Bopp of Myracle Brah has been a fixture on the Baltimore area music scene for a number of years, first with Love Nut and now with Myracle Brah. The band's first couple of efforts took pages straight out of the Badfinger/Beatles crib notes on writing great power pop songs, full of harmony and breezy guitars. Thing is, they wore their influences on their sleeves so much that the songs sounded like material that any number of bands could have done. As the band has gotten their chops down though, they've branched out. The opening track, "This Is Where We Belong", takes familiar chords and blends them into a fuzzed out garagy production, others explore the harder edge of power pop like Cheap Trick (and Bopp's Love Nut) while retaining a strong sense of melody. Bopp also sounds like he's found his own voice on the vocals. Often accused of copying some of John Lennon's vocal inflections, on this release he's strong and powerful, with the lyrics coming straight from the gut. Don't get me wrong, there's still plenty of pop/bubblegum influence, with "When She Comes Around" taking cues from Edison Lighthouse's "Love Grows (Where My Rosemary Grows) as an example, but this is a band that has found it's own voice, and this is sure to be on my top 10 list this year. Steve
@ www.rainbowquartz.com

Mystery Girls – "Something in the Water" CD 13/31:38
This is pretty straight-forward, un-offensive run-of-the-mill modern garage music; not bad, not good, just there. They probably put on an enjoyable show, and I’m sure plenty of ladies come out when they play because they seem like handsome fellas from their photos on the front of the CD. So that’s something, I guess: go to their shows cause there might be some hot chicks there. Otherwise I can’t really recommend. Jake
@ www.intheredrecords.com

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