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P76 - "Into the Sun" CD 12/31:48
Another in a long line of great Aussie power pop bands, this is their first full length (after several EPs), and is lives up to all the expectations. Great guitars and melodies, with the pop hooks in all the right places. With help from Aussie power pop god Dom Mariani on knob twisting, the songs are mainly all perky upbeat power poppers in melody (although there is one miss smack dab in the middle of the disc that brings up notions of marginal arena rock), and Danny McDonald's voice is strong, occasionally echoing Tom Petty, but without some of the whine. Song styles range from an edgy Beach Boys to the "Girl of My Dreams" soundalike "Headed Straight To The Sun" to the Phil Spector girl group beat of "Summah Jane". McDonald is now going it alone, dropping the P76 moniker to release ostensibly solo records. Hopefully he'll keep producing great pop songs that have this type of big pop guitar sound. Steve
@ www.ziprecords.com

Paik – “Satin Black” CD 5/57:20
The title is pretty apt, since the pieces contained within are composed of (quite enthralling) waves of squalling-but-still-luscious guitar-laden sound, with a darker, considerably more ominous edge to them instead of drifting away and dissipating like fluffy little clouds. The band hasn’t outgrown their shoegazing roots as much as built upon them, taking on more of a space-rock tinge as well. Gorgeously dark pieces that would definitely make an interesting soundtrack for those late-night rides. David
@ www.strange-attractors.com

Paik – “The Orson Fader” CD 12/62:45
When that movie “The English Patient” came out, I had a friend who loved it and she kept trying and trying to get me to see it, she couldn’t say enough about it. I broke down a couple of years later and rented the thing. As the credits rolled, I thought, what was all the fuss about? Paik seems to be the favorite of their record label, using words like “brilliant” and “reinventing” and “masterpiece” to describe the band and their current and previous albums. After all the hype, I couldn’t find anything quite that interesting in Paik’s sound. Yes, there are some lovely soundscapes, filled with noisy guitar and steady calm drumming. There are no vocals, yet the songs held my attention and interest, and it is pretty amazing that a three piece could produce this much sound. While I may not have been as blown away as their record label, I think that “The Orson Fader” is good, which is more than I can say for “The English Patient.” Pam
@ www.clairecords.com

Paisleys – “Cosmic Mind at Play” CD 13/66:24
This is definitely “hippy psychedelia,” no doubt about that. And I don’t mean the mind-blowing but rockin’ sort by the likes of original San Francisco hippy bands such as Moby Grape, Jefferson Airplane, and Big Brother, but rather that end-of-the-60’s swirly, jammin’, quasi-experimental type with pretentious “spiritual” lyrics. Inveterate rock’n’rollers associated with the hippy scene, such as myself, always winced when they heard this type of stuff, and nowadays it sounds totally time-bound and even more embarrassingly retro. Minnesota’s Paisleys do have some things going for them, though, including beautiful vocal harmonies, some nifty melodies, an eye-popping LP cover, and some fairly short songs, and as usual Sundazed has added bonus tracks. This is even kind of growing on me, if only for nostalgic reasons, so I may even end up keeping it, maaan. Or maybe not. Jeff
@ www.sundazed.com

Pale Sundays – “A Weekend With Jane” CD 4/13:34
This is a nice stalker tale from three Brazilian guys who sound like an experimentation-free Super Furry Animals. This is typical 80s-influenced Matinee jangle-pop, which means solid, lovelorn-themed songs, nasally vocals, and subtle hooks like Belle and Sebastian’s more accessible material. It’s not quite as charming as some of the label’s other bands – but will suffice for those in need of a pop fix. Scott
@ www.indiepages.com/matinee

Panic - "When Monsters Move" CD 6/18:00
A nice short effort from these Brit pop punkers, with a bit of a theme involving monsters; be it the Loch Ness monster, the monsters that are trendy emo bands in "Stupid Music Played by Idiots", or vampires. All the songs are fast paced, they've added some keyboards for one song and you're left with another fine pop punk effort, most similar to the Lillingtons in style and tone. Steve
@ www.crackle.freeuk.com

Pansy Division - "Total Entertainment!" CD 15/42:41
On what seems like their millionth release (but first for Alternative Tentacles), Pansy Division brings more of the same old stuff that you’re used to. For the most part, it’s pop music along the lines of Cheap Trick, with a little punk-pop edginess and gay themes. If you liked them before this doesn’t buck the system, and likewise, if you’ve never been into them before don’t look to this to change your mind. The highlight of the disc is the song ‘Alpine Skiing’, which doesn’t involve snow at all but rather having a guy on your left and your right and grabbing the ‘poles’ if you know what I mean...a pretty funny mental image if you really think about it. Jake
@ www.pansydivision.com

Papa November - "From the Start Line" CD 11/42:53
Stuart Tonge and Katy Acquaye-Tonge comprise Papa November, a mellow purveyor of sunglass-wearing neo trip hop. Cut-and-paste electronic fetishism is the norm on "From the Start Line`" Papa November's debut. Ethereal female vocals could easily be compared to Beth Gibbons' haunting wail, except the beats are more varied than Gibbons' influential (and potentially former) group. That and the fact that Acquaye-Tonge doesn't sound quite comfortable with her high-register throat manipulations. A fine album, heavy on mood but a bit light in innovation. John
@ www.bearos.treeserve.co.uk

Paper Airplane Pilots – “The History of Flying” CD 16/41:10
Modern Midwestern power pop, feeling old influences such as Big Star and Cheap Trick, and more recent artists such as Teenage Fanclub and GBV. Not the low-fi GBV, mind you, this band references the more recent, polished sounds of Pollard and Co. There’s some catchy material here, also some predictable sounds as well. Xtian
@ www.spadekitty.com

Paperbacks – “An Episode of Sparrows” CD 13/56:38
This Winnipeg, Canada quintet must have found The Promise Ring’s “30 Degrees Everywhere” to be an intriguing record, because it’s got that mid-90’s Jade Tree Records sound stamped all over it. The Paperbacks are doing solid work as far as this genre goes, and keep it slower and more emotionally controlled than their peers. Lots of quiet/loud transitioning, subtle distortion, typical (but warm) progressions, wussy-boy vocal harmonies, and the band even adds its own touches with piano and glockenspiel. Hey, you’ve got to leave your mark where you can. Xtian
@ www.pshawmusic.com

Paradise Island – “Get Up” CD 3/7:03
Minimalistic, affected music, that at times sounds like what a rough Emmy Lou Harris recorded transmitted through space might sound like and at other times is more equivalent to droning squalls of the Pere Ubu variety. This is, if anything, a very unique and different solo debut for the Erase Errata singer. Conan
@ www.dimmak.com/

Park Avenue Music – “Your Home or Office” CD 6/33:12
This limited-release mini-album from Sacramento’s husband-and-wife team is a testament to the power of melody to overcome mechanical interference. Glitchy and stuttering, the “Your Home or Office” EP balances sublime pop with malfunctioning electronics to create an uneasy yet sporadically soothing soundtrack to late-night dips in the pool and drinks by the ocean. Dread underlies Jeannette Faith’s sepia-toned vocals, sounding like Beth Gibbons, Coco Rosie and Grace Slick all at once. Fans of Aphex Twin or the soundtrack to “A Clockwork Orange” would be well-served to check out songs like “Cutter” and “The Modern Guide,” which imply classical structure with their airy environs and patient layering. The lyrics of “How’s Your 401K?” juxtapose mindless corporate-speak with gorgeous Chan Marshall-esque harmonies. Great stuff. John
@ www.clairecords.com (MP3s available)

Parkinsons – “A Long Way to Nowhere” CD 9/27:08
Debut album from these English-by-ways-of-Portugal lads, bashing out the kind of mayhem-filled punk (not hardcore) that makes me wanna spazz out on the floor while I’m listening to it, so that’s probably as good a recommendation as any. Be interesting to see them live, considering the chaos that would probably ensue in their wake. David
@ www.elevatormusic.com

Particle Zoo - "Go-Go" CD 4/8:44
First thing I noticed is that these guys do a cover of "Eleanor Rigby". A speedy cover with a buzzing guitar and staccato organ and fast paced punk style. Not half bad actually; I really had my fears about it. But that's actually far from the most interesting track on this EP; with two additional tracks that feature more heavy organ usage, garage psych influences ("Goose Egg" sounds new wave modern vocally with a faster "96 Tears" style garage music vibe), and one track that is another heavy organ grinding song, but is slower with a nifty lead guitar part that could be from an Elvis Costello tune. Man, I want more than four songs, because there isn't much out there that sounds like this; fun, energetic and playful, and incorporates a fun mix of styles. Steve
@ www.pzoo.com

Parts & Labor/Tyondal Braxton - split CD 10/44:13
P&L is a NYC trio that commands attention with their backwards approach to spare noise rock. They deconstruct themselves into a tape played in reverse. Mostly instro sound that hints at three decades of progressive regress. "Don 't Just Fucking Stand There" and "Jurassic Technology" are almost sublime. Part cold-filtered, part hot-wired, part electronic, part orchestral. Braxton uses guitar pedals to manipulate various instruments into loose collages. "Disintegrating Reels" is layers of multiple voicings, sparsely strummed guitar, start-stop squeals and distorted electro-farts. Hailed by critics, Yale University has commissioned a multi-media show. Glenn Branca, No Man and Bowery Electric are points of reference if you mash 'em all together. I'm not blown away. Anthony
@ www.narnackrecords.com

Party Of Helicopters – “Please Believe It” CD 10/40:04
Alluring, abstract art rock that deserves more exposure. Refining the sound from the last record, Jamie Stillman’s sinewy guitar lines effortlessly snake around Joe Dennis’s complex minor-key(?) melodies. Precisely defined but loosely bound. “The Good Punk”, “Mic My Mind”, “Cover Me”, one wicked groove after another. At times it sounds like a melange of the 70s, 80s and 90s simultaneously. Funny what a little songwriting and imagination can do. (“I don’t care/let a-holes think I’m weird/I think I’ve been a good punk/If I only could I’d make ‘em eat the record cover/I think we should all feel cheap and gross/I’m so totally outta here you/I mean it.”) There are moments of revved-up new wave bliss and guitar pop prowess mixed in with intricate power rock. All over the map, and right on target. This is the best record I reviewed this issue and one of the best records of the past year. Anthony
@ www.velocetterecords.com

Pas/Cal - “The Handbag Memoirs” CD 6/20:13
When you see their new EP, you’re going to want to like Pas/Cal. All the ingredients seem to be in place: clever song titles, four dapper young gentlemen on the cover, replete with their Buddy Holly glasses as a sign of indie cool and a topless woman on the cover to give them just enough of an edge. Yes, you’re going to want to like Pas/Cal, but unfortunately the music just won’t let you. Watered down orchestral/psychodelic pop a la the Beachwood Sparks, but without an ounce of sincerity. Pas/Cal commit the most unpardonable sin in indie pop – they know how clever they are, and as a result the album comes off sounding like a cross between They Might Be Giants’ pop sensibilities and The Anniversary’s sense of rock. Oddly, enough, I like both of those bands, but this one falls flat. Nothing here to offend, but nothing that will have you breathlessly awaiting the full-length either. Ryan
@ no address

Pastels - "The Last Great Wilderness" CD 10/24:30
The Last Great Wilderness is a Scottish film and this CD is its soundtrack. The notes for this recording explain that the filmmaker for the Last Great Wilderness and the Pastels discussed how, in current movies, "music was often getting in the way of the narrative." Eerie and moody, most of the CD is instrumental tracks. While this is interesting, none of the other atmospheric tracks on the CD stand out as much more than the library music that is in most movies. A cover of "Everybody Is A Star" is a nice highlight. Music has the ability to tell a story, but what happens when music is made to accompany a story? In this case, the result is a CD that doesn't stand up on its own -- made as background music, I can't imagine it in any other way. Maybe I need to see the movie to understand. Pam
@ Geographic, P.O. Box 549, Glasgow G12 9HQ, Scotland, UK

Patti Smith – “Trampin’” CD 11/63:41
Something one must remember whenever a new PS album comes out is that it’s been a few decades since the days of Piss Factory and Gloria, and the passion of the old days has been channeled accordingly (hey, she’s done better than certain 60s groups that went a certain distance). Some tracks are more effective than others, but everything you went through before falls into place when you hit “Radio Baghdad”, followed by the relative easy-comedown of the title track. If some of this sounds safe enough to play on KFOG at least it’s nothing that your local Clear Channel owned adult-alternative station could swallow without choking on, especially “RB”. David
@ www.columbiarecords.com

Paul Duncan – “To an Ambient Hollywood” CD 12/39:08
Obvious reference points on this record can be traced directly to Jim O’ Rourke and the overarching style of Thrill Jockey ambient music student bands such as Sam Prekop and The Sea and Cake. “To An Ambient Hollywood” has solidly engaging moments in the more upbeat tracks such as “Letdownville” and creative instrumentals like “1 in 22” that pull together a variety of brass, organ, and steel arrangements that can almost reach a level of dance-ability. It loses the aura at times, though, when it just drifts a little too much with nothing real to grab onto. That is especially problematic in this case, given the mood on this CD isn’t exactly uplifting to begin with. But if this is a style you’re into, it’s well-done and distinctive. Xtian
@ www.home-tapes.com

Paula Kelley - "The Trouble with Success" CD 13/50:09
I knew I'd get one of these records. A record with great attributes, but glaring and fatal flaws. A record you wanna root for, but just can't bring yourself to. "The Trouble with Success (or How You Fit Into the World)" sounds like a million bucks but couldn't buy its way out of a Mexican prison. Paula Kelley's high-pitched, cutesy voice is jarring in a Sixpence None the Richer way, grating on the listener even as the intricate instrumentation soothes. "Could There Be Another World" sounds like a John Lennon cover, if John Lennon was obsessed with baroque string arrangements (which, I guess, he sometimes was). "My Finest Hour" crosses Burt Bacharach with mariachi horns, creating a monstrous but undeniably catchy creature. Really, the whole album is exquisitely recorded and produced, and Kelley's definitely got the chops, but her vocal style is too damned cutesy for my blood. I want to give this the thumbs up -- it's buoyant -- but high-register cheekiness sinks it. John
@ www.kimcheerecords.com (MP3s available)

Pavement - “Slanted & Enchanted: Luxe & Reduxe” 2XCD
Once in a while Pavement would rock out and make some noise, like the great “Summer Babe”, but most of their songs were just wimpy little singer/songwriter ditties. Some were good, while others required an element of idiosyncracy to avoid sounding lightweight. Pavement weren’t a great band, but they had a certain charm, and they didn’t really have great songs, but Malkmus is an appealing singer, and it all seemed interesting at the time, maInly because nature abhors a vacuum. If you want a whole lot of Pavement this double CD reissue of S&E ought to get the job done with 48 tracks including a live concert from ‘92, a couple Peel sessions and assorted outtakes. Mel
@ www.matadorrecords.com

Peachfuzz - "About A Bird" CD 11/35:49
Edgy, punchy powerpop snazz from this Indiana powertrio. Particularly impressed with the drive of most of the tunes herein, the thankless work of one Tom Hernandez on drums. Most of this does tend to blur, but then they upend expectations with a solo acoustic tune as prretty as 'Save Us Tammy Faye" and all is forgiven. MLH
@ www.dionysusrecords.com

Peelander-Z – “P-Bone Steak” CD 14/37:43
Judging by the name, promo material (which plugs an appearance on Comedy Central), and band pix you’d expect this Japanese outfit to be indulging in a vintage-Boredoms-style dadafest instead of the punk rock you’d find here, but since we’re talking about crazed no-holds-barred punk-fucking-rock I don’t think you’ll be disappointed. The best moment was their live radio appearance, complete with impromptu play-by-play from the DJ (“My God, he’s climbing the walls…”). Yeah they look like frigging Power Rangers, but they’ll rock your house but good. David
@ www.peelander-z.com

Penelope – “Face Un Silence du Monde” CD 12/33:29
Amusing and unencumbered French-Canadian post-punkers that sings exclusively in French. “Pawnshop” is a solid effort, but things get even better with the very catchy “Viens douc danser” and the excellent “Personnalite”. Although I can’t understand 90% of it I get the gist. They played of the Warped Tour and this record should get them even more deserved exposeure. Anthony
@ www.unionlabelgroup.com

Penelope Houston - "Snapshot" CD 5/15:46
Houston continues her solo work with longtime sideman Pat Johnson, the other players on this effort are Johnson's bandmates in the Maydays, Alec Palao (ex-Sneetches and legendary Ace Records and "Nuggets" compiler) on bass and John Kent on drums. Five covers here of lesser known, but good songs, and they're a mix of material, from the bubblegummy "Maybe We've Been Loving Too Long", Pentangle's "I've Got A Feeling", The Band's "It Makes No Difference", Shocking Blue's "Love Machine" (lyrically rewritten by Houston) and ex-Zombie Colin Blunstone's "Though You Are Far Away". The covers are all faithful renditions, but add Houston's unique folky pop take; with nice new musical takes that make the songs her own. Most all cover releases don't stick with me very long, but the songs are obscure enough to make them listenable as Houston songs without evoking memories of the originals, particularly "Maybe We've.." and the Blunstone song. A nice effort. Steve
@ www.flarerecords.com

Pennywise - "From The Ashes" CD 14/41:08 + DVD
They're back with their seventh full length; it's been a couple of years since their last release, but they haven't changed the formula much. Full of frenetic melodies and the SoCal skate punk aesthetic, this is also a strong political statement, with some fairly hackneyed but timely lyrics such as "It's all a joke in the good old USA", and song titles like "God Save the USA" and "Judgment Day". Hey, I'll take it; anything to get the kids informed and involved about the excesses of our government is fine by me. This is also one of the stronger Pennywise effort musically in awhile, the songs are a little more stripped down to add to the fist pumping urgency of the message and as always, the songs are surprisingly catchy. Give it a listen, kids, you might learn something while you're moshing. The DVD shows the band recording the CD with interviews of the band members, tours the recording studio, has plenty of live footage, and shows the band on tour and doing some "Jackass" style stunts via vintage home movie style video. Steve
@ www.epitaph.com

Peppermints - "Sweet Tooth Abortion" CD 12/18:05
My ears hurt after listening to this. This three piece from San Diego sucks, but they suck in the best way possible. Every single one of these songs is abrasive as fuck. Song two, Octopus, is my favorite. It starts out with a pop punk, sing song chant of "hey you, the one with the mohawk" and soon turns into a scary polyrhythmic zombie chant of "give me, give me, what I want". Guitar, bass drums, and lots of oversaturated mics. The inside album art is a trio of candy canes made to look like a wire hanger. That's a pretty apt metaphor for this band's sound, except there is no candy, none at all. It's all pretty much sour, bitter and loud. But I couldn't stop listening to it. Thankfully, each song is only like a minute or so long, so the pain is quick, and the whole thing is over in 18 minutes. At the end you think to yourself, "why the FUCK did I just sit through that?" But then, you might want to do it all over again to make sure you heard what you actually did. Yep, it still sucks, but sooooo good. Sort of reminds me of Blatz, and really makes me want to see The Peppermints live sometime. I still don't believe I want to hear this again. Manny
@ Pandacide Records

Pere Ubu – “One Man Drives While the Other Man Screams: Live on Tour Vol. 2” CD 13/47:40
Originally released by Rough Trade way back in ’89, the second live release (taken from ’78, ’80, & ’81 shows) from PU makes its welcome return. The fact that one is treated to “Heaven” and “Ubu Dance Party” instead of “Heart of Darkness” or “30 Seconds Over Tokyo should tell you what they’re focusing on here: the lighter, more playful side (hehhehheh) of Ubu. If not as foreboding as said works though they still come across as refreshingly alien as ever, not approaching Devo or even the early B-52s (2 other bands that had the “quirky” tag thrown at them by the squares) in terms of musical conventionality. Slap this on and have a Ubu Dance Party tonight! David
@ www.morphius.com

Peter and the Test Tube Babies – “Alien Pubduction” CD 18/42:06
What is with Captain Oi? They’re determined to put out every record by all of those formerly great ‘81 UK bands, including Peter and the Test Tube Babies. Sure, there’s often surprisingly kick ass records among the dreck (Peter and the Test Tube Babies “Loud Blaring Punk Rock” is second only to “Pissed and Proud”), but usually these later records reveal best-be-forgotten records like the Adicts’ “Rise and Shine”. As a band member myself, I understand the urge to keep everything available and in print to avoid collector nerd crap, but at the same time there’s a couple of records I’ve done that I would erase the master tapes if I could go back in time! For Captain Oi’s sake I hope most of these re-releases are being done in small pressings, because I can’t see a huge demand for “Soberphobia” or “Supermodels.” That said, props to Captain Oi for including complete lyrics and updated liner notes with these re-issues- right on! This 1997 release, “Alien Pubduction,” from Peter and the Test Tube Babies is somewhere in between good and forgettable, leaning towards the forgettable side. No track really stands out as wonderful or awful. The 2 bonus tracks (from their 1999 single “Fuck the Millennium”) aren’t bad, even though Peter Test Tube disses “Fuck the Millennium” in the liner notes- if they think it didn’t measure up, why inflict it on us? Overall this is for hardcore fans only, the rest of us should stick with “Pissed and Proud” and “Loud Blaring Punk Rock.” Jesse
@ Captain Oi, PO Box 501, High Wycombe, Bucks, HP10 8QA England

Peter and the Test Tube Babies - "Schwein Lake Live" CD 18/57:53
While touring in support of the 1995 album "Supermodels", Peter and the Test Tube Babies recorded this amazing, powerful, energetic live set at Feierwerk in Munich, Germany. Several selections from "Supermodels" are included, as well as classics such as "The Jinx", "Blown Out Again", "Elvis is Dead", and "Run Like Hell". The live sound is magnificent and the boys are in top form. It may be a cliche, but face it, this disc is a must for any true Test Tube Babies fan. Mark
@ www.captainoi.com

Peter and the Test Tube Babies - "Soberphobia" CD 19/77:15
Their followup to "Mating Sounds..." came out in 1987, and the band added to their basic punk sound, adding a few more keyboards that gave them the occasional arena rock feel. A song like "All About Love", given the right (or should I say wrong!) treatment could have easily been a Bob Seeger schlock-fest, yet Peter and the rest of the band keep it sounding a tad goth and urgent. Don't get me wrong though, because most of the songs are tougher than that; rollicking guitars, fast tempo punk mixed with plenty of traditional rock rhythm. Some of the better tracks are reminiscent of X, like "Boozanza". It's this marriage of styles that make the Test Tube Babies a band I rarely tire of. This re-issue has nine bonus tracks, including single versions of three songs, and live tracks. Steve
@ www.captainoi.com

Petit Vodo – “A Little Big Pig With A Pink Lonely Heart” CD 12/4:09
Cranky, sort of unwieldy one man blues extravaganza by a goofy Frenchman (is there any other kind?). He plays guitar, drums, harp and sings all at once and adds xylophone and electraphone and uses samples as backing tracks. The uncooked blues of “Relaxxx”, “Rider And Mojo” and “Allright” (the best track here) are cool, but some of it, like “Big Star,” is too one-dimensional and “Sunset” is too processed, although the steel guitar is a nice touch. The whole thing falls somewhere in the same dimension as G. Love, with a dash of Beck, whom he cites as influences. He’s big in his native land and has toured with the trio of R.L. Burnside, T-Model Ford and Andre Williams and I’d bet my shoes that tour was a fucking blast. Anthony
@ www.chez.com/lollipoprecords

Petracovich – “Blue Cotton Skin” CD 9/30:06
Performing under the surname of her Russian great-grandfather, Jessica Peters has organically put together a seethingly dreamy electro-pop album that gently permeates the consciousness. It’s hard not to instantly be mesmerized by her voice and ambiance of the songs, and it’s made all the better when you find out it was done on DIY style on a 4-track and put out on her own label. Her style has the ambient diva qualities of Aimee Mann and Beth Gibbons’ solo work, sitting comfortably between piano/key-led coffeehouse electronica and lounging around the house music. You’ll sit comfortably while listening as well, fixated. Xtian
@ www.redbuttonsrecords.com

PFFR - "United We Doth" CD 16/34:53
16 shortish electro-rockish songs from these Brooklyn kids, The PR materials reference Ween, Boredoms and Add N to X, that all seems fairly appropriate to me. This cd makes me feel like I'm on bad drugs in a runaway taxi filled with jingle singing underage NY hipsters looking at pornography and attempting to reconstruct post modern theories as theme songs for Japanese cartoons. PFFR both makes me chuckle and hurts my mind. Conan
@ www.birdmanrecords.com

Phantom Tollbooth - "Beard of Lightning" CD 11/42:07
Robert Pollard's heart is in the right place on this ambitious experiment, but the results are mixed, to say the least. After erasing the vocals from Phantom Tollbooth's impossibly technical 1988 album "Power Toy`" the Guided by Voices leader added his own lyrics and vocal melodies. Typical of Pollard's own Fading Captain Series, the songs titles are often more interesting than the singing itself. The music is partly to blame for the rushed, awkward phrasings, as it presents a daunting challenge to even the most accomplished of songwriters; the furious changes quickly throw off any revisionist melody that dares attach itself. Consequently, Pollard sounds lost and confused. Does every song need to have an improvised spoken word passage? Do we have to wait two minutes at a time for a hook? The styles just don't match up. Only on "Mascara Snakes`" "Asleep Under Control" and "Work Like Bullies" does this seem like a good idea. Interesting, but not extremely listenable. John
@ www.offrecords.com (MP3s available)

Philadelphia Curse – s/t CD 6/9:00
This band used to be called “The Curse” but now properly represents their hometown of the City of Not-so-Brotherly Love. Now that I think about it, I’m shocked that no one came up with that name before- it’s pretty Philly! The Philadelphia Curse features current and ex-members of Paint It Black and Kill The Man Who Questions, and is a nice companion to that new “Philadelphia Sound” EP that came out on Chunksaah a couple of months back. Blazing, smart-ass, intelligent, flashy punk/hardcore/well-dressed core from the homeland- you know I like it! Jesse
@ Hell Bent, PO Box 1529, Point Pleasant Beach, NJ 08742

Phoenix Foundation - "These Days" CD 12/24:54
A tip for people putting together CD packaging: don't print your lyrics and liner notes in light green on a dark green background. It's extremely annoying and hard on the eyes. On the other hand, the MacGyver reference in the band's name is pretty keen. On a third hand, the music is melodic power pop with nothing special to say. Save yourself the pain of trying to read the CD booklet and just leave this one on the shelf. Mark
@ www.thenewestindustry.com

Phonocaptors – “Call It What You Want” CD 10/42:03
When the Hives came out, suddenly I became interested in the rock of the Nordic countries. After listening to the Phonocaptors from St. Louis, I think it may be time to reconsider what’s going on in the Midwest. Even a small dose of The Phonocaptors stylish rock n’ roll has side-effects of foot-tapping, shoulder shaking and head-nodding. Sometimes garage rock, sometimes power pop, sometimes glam, always noisy. This is infectious rock. This is not pretentious, look-at-how-cool-I-am-baby rock, this is balls-to-the-walls, no-sitting-in-the-back-of-the-bar rock. “Call It What You Want” - we need more of it. Pam
@ www.provelrecords.com

Phosphorescent – “The Weight of Flight” CD 6/27:15
I’ve been waiting ages for something in the neo-folk/alt-country genre to come along that wowed me as much as Iron & Wine when he broke on the scene a couple of years back. I think I’ve finally found it in Phosphorescent, an Athens, GA group put together and led by Matthew Houck. It somehow manages to sound like Will Oldham, Neutral Milk Hotel, Okkervil River, and even some of Chris Mill’s early work all at the same time, and still managing to sound quite original. Without a doubt, Houck’s voice is one of the most beautiful and engaging I’ve heard in quite some time – and trust me, I’ve hear a lot of damn voices, not even counting the ones in my head. This wins the award for “best record out of nowhere” from me, and I’ll be hunting down their debut “A Hundred Times or More” post-haste. Jake
@ www.thewarmsupercomputer.com

Piano Magic – “Writers Without Homes” CD 11/52:03
London-based Piano Magic is not so much like a band as it is a union of like-minded artists, all music major types into creating artsy post-rock ala Tortoise sans-efforts at electronica. There is a core of three artists, and over 30 other people have played with Piano Magic since it’s conception in 1996. So the results aren’t particularly consistent as far as sound goes. The style is, though: very sountrack/background-ish, sometimes a little too much so that it starts to remind one of being in an elevator. Listeners might want to bring a long attention span (or an artistic/occupational activity) along for a test drive of this disc. Xtian
@ 4AD, 17-19 Alma Road, London, SW18 1AA

Picture Center – “our true intent is all for your delight” CD 10/49:11
Ahhh ethereal female vocals! Ahhh sweet sounding depression! How I love you. We have a voice here strikingly reminiscent of Kaia (from Team Dresch, the Butchies, etc). Full of longing and sadness, but crystal clear and beautiful. Some songs have the blissed out jumpiness of the Sea and Cake and others have the stripped down pain of Cat Power. Sharon
@ www.picturecenter.co.uk

Pidgeon – “From Gutter w/ Love” CD 16/55:42
These angsty San Francisco noise punks aren’t afraid to scream bloody murder and blast it out with the volume cranked so loud that everything gets blurred in the mix. There are moments where Pidgeon tones it down considerably, sounding damn near pretty. You realize that the band is good enough that it can chart any territory that it wants, so of course that guy is going to scream like a banshee at any moment and the band is going to bring everything back to the top of the mix. Pidgeon’s music is aggressive and quite a clamour, reminiscent of those purely out-there moments from the Pixies, complete with teenaged disaffectedness. The slogan on their stickers says “WE’LL KILL YOU”. That’s nice. Xtian
@ www.pidgeonsf.com

Pieces - s/t CD 12/36:23
Reasonably pleasing pop from this three-piece, which I suppose would be plenty if the hype machine behind them didn’t make them sound like the second coming of the Beatles. With rotating male and female vocals, the action never gets overly tedious, although I cannot fathom any of these songs taking more than half an hour to write and compose. Pretty much every track features competent vocals and backing music, and the title of the song repeated through the chorus, which is the same melody as the verse, but slightly sped up. Nothing too great or too horrendous, although “That’s Why It Is” and “Gentlemen Make Mistakes” feel like they’ll never end. Ryan
@ www.thepieces.net

Pilot to Gunner – “Games at High Speeds” CD 11/35:59
Pilot to Gunner is from Brooklyn, but its band members sound as if they spent their formative musical years in the clubs of Washington D.C. digging on the sounds of early Dischord Records bands. This isn’t to say the band was cloned form the nation’s capital and exported to the Big Apple, however. It has its own touch: D.C. rock by way of a busted guitar crashing and burning somewhere in Southern California. Let’s hope there really is enough demand to reissue this disc. Xtian
@ www.arenarockrecordingco.com

Pinataland – “Songs for the Forgotten Future Vol 1”CD 10/49:16
Interesting Brooklyn-based band, which uses a historical context in which to play their songs as stories. The 5 members use orchestration and various styles to tell varied tales of, for example, the kid who flew his plane into Red Square in 1987 (“Flying Down to Moscow”), a eulogy for the Bronx neighborhood destroyed to make way for the Cross-Bronx Expressway in the ‘50s (“Good Days”), and my fave, “Ota Benga’s Name`” about a Congolese Pygmy who was forced to live in the Monkey House at the Bronx Zoo, among other places. The use of found tapes to introduce each song is nothing less than inspired. Amazing and varied work, reminiscent of Camper van Beethoven and They Might Be Giants. RBF
@ www.pinataland.com

Pine Marten - "Beautifulstakesandpowerpoles" CD 11/50:01
Good LORD but these guys sound like Modest Mouse. Jonesing for twangy, asymmetrical indie rock? Pine Marten is probably your cup of tea. To be fair, these guys have carved their own path. It's just that it runs parallel to (and a notch below) Isaac Brock's. Apparently they were the backing band for The Radar Bros. Fair enough. The guitar jams are awesome, and probably rock the fucking house live. Catchy and fuzzy, and very well performed, but about as groundbreaking as a plastic shovel on concrete. John
@ www.wildhotelsofthesea.com

Pineforest Crunch - "Panamarenko" CD 11/40:34
From Sweden (and yes, they apparently took their name in part from the Ben and Jerry's ice cream flavor), this is their first US release and it's going to remind people of bands like the Sundays and St. Etienne because of lead singer Asa Eklund's great vocal work. The songs are great breezy melodic indie pop tunes that fit right into the same niche as the Beautiful South; an occasional jangle fest ("College Radio Listeners" is a prime example of some Mary Lou Lord jingle jangle morning style pop) mixed with some more ethereal and atmospheric moments. The pop melodies here are great when the band kicks into a higher gear; but even the more introspective moments are solid and keep you hooked. A nice release and it's nice to see them get a release here in the US. Steve
@ www.ziprecords.com

Pines – “True Love Waits Volume Two” CD 5/19:32
Gentle textures, listlessly blissful male and female vocals, production, coyness: all highly derivative of Belle and Sebastian. In addition, the band is British too, though that cannot be faulted. The first track here is acapella. An interesting display of talent, but awfully pretentious. Then The Pines bring out the acoustic guitar and some light percussion – really light. We’re talking tambourines and hand drums. The problem is it never gets interesting, and doesn’t do anything to grab your attention until the final song on the disc. And that’s scarcely a grab. Xtian
@ www.indiepages.com/matinee

Pinhead Gunpowder - “Compulsive Disclosure” CD 9/14:17
The band is touted as being un-hyped and down-to-earth, and the same might be said of the music. These are all heady, confident, powerpoppunk compositions brought to us by an all-star cast including Billie Joe from Green Day. Oh yeah, those vocals are familiar, and the chord progressions are recognizably the same, but who cares? Pinhead Gunpowder is here to prove that you don’t need to do something new if you can already do something well. Pam
@ www.lookoutrecords.com

Pink Anvil - “Halloween Party” CD 11/46:02
Pink Anvil is Paul Barker and Max Brody from Ministry, but Pink Anvil sounds nothing at all like Ministry. It seems like Pink Anvil is more of a “live experimentation” band then anything else as this, their only release, is a live album recorded from a Halloween show in Austin TX, where the two live. Now I really used to like Ministry, but I don't like this very much. It's too aimless and meandering for my tastes. There aren't really any “songs” per se, as it's much more like a collection of soundscapes to some cheesy horror movie, but I think that is what these guys are going for so I guess more power to them. If you really like the “soundtrack” to Quake, or “found music”, or “sound collages” like maybe Negativeland's more experimental stuff, then you might like this. Otherwise, I think you'll find it to be somewhat of a waste of time. Manny
@ www.ipecac.com

Pink Grease – “All Over You” CD 6/20:28
A younger snottier Roxy Music growing up on the better servings of vintage post-punk/pre-crap new wave electro-rock and too many JD flicks and you’d have something like this. I found myself drowning in the danceable day-glo sleaze and loving it; THIS is what the soundtrack to “Grease” (or at least “Cruising”) would have sounded like in a better world. Very fun indeed and quite possibly my fave disc of the issue. David
@ www.horsegluerecords.com

Pink Grease – “This Time For Real” CD 12/41:00
Their previous release was one of my faves of the previous year, but this.... More than a bit of the fun and spark from last time seem to have been siphoned out of the band on their way to their debut full-lengther (a notably inferior re-recording of “The Nasty Show” only underscores this point), leaving a comparatively anemic and disappointingly ordinary record in their wake. Can’t abandon them just yet (a few moments gives one hope that not all is lost) but if they can’t get it together next time around then it’ll definitely be time to wave goodbye. David
@ www.mute.com

Pink Swords - "One Night High" CD 12/20:27
More folks (this time out of Austin) worshipping at (i.e. drunkenly pissing their beer on) the shrine of the Dead Boys, Dwarves, Motards, and all the other punk-rock fucks who came before. While I can't say this will make you stand up and go "Fuck Yeah!" like the aforementioned groups (and of course any thoughts about "musical innovation" basically go out the window), this is still a solid enough slab (it helps that they stay in at least in third gear) of punk-fucking-rock. David
@ www.mortvillerecords.com

Pipas – “A Cat Escaped” CD 20/20:02
Cooking is a complicated thing. There are some people who just can’t cook, some who can follow a recipe, and others that just instinctively know what goes together and what doesn’t. They can create something wonderful out of seemingly simple and ordinary ingredients. I’m a recipe-follower, amazed at the genuine cooks out there, which is why I’m a bit amazed that Pipas can take a ho-hum drum machine, a guitar, and simple breezy vocals that aren’t always in tune and create a pop album full of delightfully simple, light songs that just work. Pam
@ Matinee Records

Pipitone - “Music for Minivans” CD 10/33:36
Pipitone may or may not have meant the album title to be ironic, but unfortunately this is an album that any soccer mom could love - light, airy, and completely non-threatening. This kind of fluffy pop rock usually manages to find an audience, but you’d need a frontal lobotomy to use this for anything besides background music to a really lame party. Song titles like “Hissy Fit” and “2 Silly Girls” tell you all you need to know about the level of smarmy cuteness going on here. I’m on my fifth listen through, and I haven’t recognized a hook yet. Pass. Ryan
@ www.pipitone.org

Piranhas – “Erotic Grit Movies” CD 14/28:02
Unlike the On/Off release, this is all-new material that finds them moving away from their Electric Eels-loving roots, but settling into their own one-of-a-kind sound, still as vital and art-damaged (or just damaged period) as ever. They’re still unique in terms of their musical assault; the song title “Sound Mutilation” says it all. If someone asked me to choose between this release and the retrospective, I’d say fuck it, get them both! David
@ www.intheredrecords.com

Piranhas – s/t CD 9/37:45
Reissue of the long-gone “Garbage Can” 7 inch and “Attack” 12 inch, with a bonus track hidden in there somewhere. This Detroit outfit spews out some very cool garagey punk fucking rock, with keyboards that were probably “borrowed” from the Screamers’ old garage. Noisy enough that you gotta wonder if they’re the illegitimate children of the Electric Eels (albeit with a bit more pressure on the gas pedal). Definitely recommended. David
@ On/Off Switch, 280 Post St. #54, San Francisco, CA 94109

Plain White T’s – “Stop” CD 12/47:00
Pretty good alterno-pop punk with a sensibility to be big yet keeps it pretty low pro as to gain notoriety on their own. These guys could be primed for like MTV and such but...not yet. It’s weird, I know, but once you’ve given this disc a listen to you’ll understand. Good hooks and melodies, like all decent bands in this genre, which makes it feel more like a yummy glass of lemonade rather than a bitter pill. Pretty optimistic tunes too, which is always refreshing. I don’t know…it made me smile. Whittaker
@ www.fearlessrecords.com

Planes Mistaken For Stars – “Spearheading the Sin Movement” CD 3/10:16
Distorted over the top emotional screamo. Since this morning’s New York Times magazine introduced the mainstream to “Screamo” in a feature article, maybe I should coin a new term so those pesky punters don’t catch on to our little secret. How about “yell-mo”? There could be a “Torture me Yell-mo” doll and a Yell-Mo black eyeliner product line. No? Ah, you’re just being close-minded. As am I, when I listen to this. It’s alright, but it’s not dynamic enough to raise above the feedback and ultra-distorted vocals. Maybe if I took some shrooms I’d get this band, but who wants to do shrooms for a 3-song CD? Jesse
@ No Idea, PO Box 14636, Gainesville, FL 32604

Planet Smashers - "Mighty" CD 18/50:39
This is some honest and good timing ska stuff that should appease many a drunken frat party somewhere close to Cabo. The Planet Smashers take the best of The Mighty Mighty Bosstones, tones it down, strapped on a surfboard and went just plain nuts. The music itself is fun, the kind of white guy ska rock those into 311 hate but get into because of the "vibe you know, the vibe." "Mighty" is not a challenging or controversial album at all. Au contraire! It is meant to be had on some MTV beach party madness (ooh, Madness! Another honky ska rock outfit!) with dudes in loud shirts opened up all the way, dumb Bing Crosby hats and wrap around shades while the ladies pretend to be turned on by these shmoes but enjoy the tequila buzz nonetheless. These five guys could and should be popular sometime soon, mainly because of their accessibility and "hey man lets get zany!" attitude that prevails on every track. Plus I just love bands with the sax and trombone combo. You don't see that at ALL in metal and the emo kids are too sad to enjoy a full horn section. For that alone I admire bands like this. Go for it man. Have fun! Whittaker
@ www.stomprecords.com

Plasmatics – “Coup d’ Etat” CD 11/42:56
Wendy O. Williams killed herself in 1996. Some say it was like GG Allin type of performance thing, but who knows? In 1978 Rod Swenson (who as a MFA from Yale!) put the Plasmatics together which was a mix of metal and punk; kind of radical back then and has gone through a million changes since. Essentially, the Plasmatics play dirty rock yet had enough destructive elements to make the punk rockers take notice and the metalheads raise their Schlitz in the air. Wendy herself brought the huge fluffy Mohawk cut into the limelight, along with her going topless let for some well placed duct tape, and performed some naughty bits on stage which got her arrested a few times. Her voice is pretty gruff and goes well with the loud butt rock the band backs her up with. Basically I have this feeling we all know or at least heard of the Plasmatics. Right? I remember the first time I heard/saw them and was both frightened and delighted (like all 7 year old suburban boys would be) by Wendy’s almost nude-ness and the fact that they drove trucks through burning towers of TVs in one of their videos. “Coup d’ Etet” has never seen the light of digital remastering, but now it has and now you can own this parking lot warrior piece of punk/metal history. Play this really loud and piss your neighbors off. That’s what I did. Now I need bail money. Please help… Whittaker
@ www.plasmatics.com

Playmaker – “Arizona” CD 3/11:37
Lately I’ve been a sucker for Brittish pop music, even some of the more recent stuff like Monster Movie, South, or Doves. Playmaker is not good British pop music. While the music has some decent qualities at times, the vocals make me want to Van Gogh my ears. It’s not that it’s a bad voice in a tone deaf sense, far from it; technically speaking, Paul Burns has a fine voice, he just chooses to sing in an overwrought, boringly emotional style. It ends up sounding like a higher pitched Creed backed by Oasis. On the upside, this is the bands first single so it can really only go uphill from here. Here’s to hoping the singer can take it down a notch or two before they decide to release anything else. Jake
@ www.playmaker-official.com

Pleasure Forever – “Alter” CD 12/46:14
Yeah, singer Andrew Rothbard’s vocals are overly affected, but that’s what it’s all about. The crosses and sculls, the gothic script on the booklet, numerous religions allusions (Shiva and Moses make appearances along with Neptune and Isis). Yes, Pleasure Forever took the “Alter” theme and ran with it, and it works. The music is, loud and rocking, with just, guitars, keyboards and pounding drums. It’s over the top and it’s all fun. Pam
@ www.subpop.com

Plot to Blow Up the Eiffel Tower – “Dissertation, Honey” CD 13/25:37
Superior jagged punk straight outta San Diego, effectively incorporating brass (without falling back on skapunkisms or coming off as yet another bad Naked City wannabe), some slower jazzier bits (along with some frigging manic jazzier bits), and a whole lotta passion and intensity, and bookending it all with some beat-style spoken word. If the Ex (in their younger incarnations) were starting out today this is probably what they would sound like. Definitely worth checking out! David
@ www.hcnl.com

Plot to Blow Up the Eiffel Tower – “If You Cut Us, We Bleed” CD 3/7:03
Three songs that continue in PTBUTE’s distinctive jazz-spazz-hardcore vein. Definitely solid indeed even if they don’t quite grab you like the album did (outtakes perhaps?). The real treat here is the three live vids showing what these folks are capable of in front of an audience. More of a between-album snack than a fully satisfying meal, though if you’re already a fan this is definitely worth picking up. David
@ www.hcnl.com

Plus/Minus – “You Are Here” CD 11/41:31
If I wasn’t familiar with +/- lead singer/songwriter Richard Baluyut from his “other” band, I’d be tempted to dismiss this disc as another load of sensitive, breathy indie pop. The kind that Death Cab for Cutie and the Weakerthans churn out like clockwork. The kind that’s appropriate for Gap commercials, WB soundtracks, and polite sex between white teenagers. But since I was a huge Versus fan I gave the disc a closer listen, and I’m glad I did. Baluyut’s songwriting is the star here, though the beautiful organic/electronic arrangements and refreshingly angular guitars aren’t far behind. The downcast melodies on “Trapped Under Icefloes” recall Versus, Sebadoh, and everything that used to be good about straightforward indie rock. The more you listen to this album the more amazing it reveals itself to be. I dare you to find a weak song. The first six, in fact, might be the strongest A-side of an album I’ve heard this year. Highly recommended. John
@ www.teenbeat.net (MP3s available)

Pocket Shelley – “I don’t want to terrorize the world to protect my luxuries” CD 3/17:58
Let’s get beyond the total rinky-dink electronica music that sounds like it was played on one of those $10 kids keyboards. Let’s get beyond the bland and usually sing-song vocals. Let’s get right to the sermonizing, especially of the spoken second cut, “Five Obvious Suggestions For Changing Yourself in the World.” Michael Mullen takes a Media Ecological view of the world: obviously, he’s read Neil Postman’s “Amusing Ourselves to Death”: TV is bad; why bother with DVD players; technology and modern culture is a hindrance. In some ways he’s right, but just saying “don’t watch TV at all...Madonna doesn’t” isn’t going to change western culture any more than Nancy Reagan’s “Just Say No” campaign. Having an opinion is fine, just don’t sermonize at me. The other two songs are also preachy. And cut the damn length of your tunes. Three songs over 18 minutes is, well, tedious, and I’m not normally this tenacious. Anyway, I’m going to go now, and see what’s on the tube. RBF
@ www.bitterstag.com

Point Break – “Volume 1” CD 18/72:19
Cool man. I like compilations like this. Heavy all around but the different use of the term “heavy” is defined by various new genres and bands. You’ve got the typical metal end of it with bands such as Skinlab, Living Sacrifice and In Flames; speed punk with Ensign, God Forbid and Stretch Arm Strong; nu metal poetics by Soilwork, Zao and Shadows Fall; and, of course, mega slug-baits from Meshuggah and Will Haven. Honestly this is a fine collection and anyone interested in what is happening right now with the face of heavy music I suggest you try this out and see for yourself. Whittaker
@ www.sidecho.com

Point Line Plane – s/t CD 13/33:52
One of the new breed of punk rock outfits that could be termed “tweakedcore”, utilizing an ill-treated synth (run through the occasional effect)`REAL drums, and such song titles as “Amp Has Killed Amp” for their intense sonic attack; let’s just say that, if they had joined Lightning Bolt, Locust, and Arab on Radar for “Oops! The Tour” the audience members would have been swaying along with their lighters in the air. Won’t quite make you lose your shit like the Locust or Melt Banana would, but still worth adding to your collection. David
@ www.xeroidrecords.com

Polyphonic Spree - "The Beginning Stages of..." CD 10/68:26
You've no doubt heard all the hype about this undeniably ambitious project fronted by Tim DeLaughter, ex of Tripping Daisy, whose music I know naught about save for an album cover that ranks as one of the ugliest to come along this side of the last Sum 41 disc. And yes, it's all present and correct; the multivoiced choral interjections, the overly formal orchestral pop shapes, DeLaughter's own Wayne Coyneish yowl - altogether capably creating an almost sacred ambience and atmosphere. Ultimately though, that's mostly all it is - an atmosphere, as wispy and ephemeral as cotton candy at a church social. It's sort of tied to why I don't really listen to bands like the High Llamas these days - all very well to construct Bri Wilson sandbox readymades, but even at his looniest BW's been able to throw in a bonafide pop hook or two to ground the experimentation. Not that DeLaughter's craft is totally bereft; a few cuts here - the concluding cut especially, which I believe is called "Follow The Day" (no titles provided in my copy, regrets) - do stick, but by then too little too late. Having said that, though, and given the fact the disc is almost two years old, I do await future attempts - plus I hear they do a mean version of Bowie's "Five Years". MLH
@ www.thepolyphonicspree.com

Polysics – “Neu” CD 14/45:13
The second album from this Japan batch of Devo worshippers (whose wardrobe includes the appropriate tribalwear) finally makes it to American shores after a 3-year wait. While they obviously still owe a great debt to the Arkonian ones (occasionally sounding almost exactly like one of the first two or three albums spun at 45), their own distinctive wiggled personalities still manage to shine through, which puts them ahead of certain similar would-be spuds. Fun and frenzied indeed; I can’t wait to see what they can do live. David
@ www.asianmanrecords.com

Ponys – “Laced With Romance” CD 12/45:54
More of dat old garage, with a welcome ‘wave’ tinge effectively incorporated into their sounds (without being self-consciously spot-the-influence ‘retro’) and music collections that actually seem to go back past ’97 or even ’77 (Not to dis anyone, but how many bands apparently think that music as we know it only started with, say, the Oblivians or Ripoffs?). Despite some folks throwing the term “lo-fi” at this – probably a knee-jerk response concerning the Chicago band’s home labelbase - this ain’t no Supercharger/Mummies scuzfest (Jim Diamond does it right) though it does get noisy with the fuzz at times. Also couldn’t help but notice that when the Second vocalist takes the mike it sound like that Violent Femmes guy. Enough of my rambling, check this puppy out. David
@ www.intheredrecords.com MP3 Download

Pop-o-Pies – “Pop-O-Anthology” CD 18/61:25
Reissue of the Second (with Faith No More backing Joey up) and Third albums from Joe PoP as well as a ’93 single and a pair of unreleased tracks from said time. Alas, the original version of “Truckin’” and the rest of the tracks from “The White EP” are missing (licensing difficulties with original label 415 perhaps) but you do get the “slow version”. Joe took the piss out of everything from hardcore clichés to musicbiz types to New York Shitty, injecting some Flipperish elements (said band also not known to embrace clichéd punk formula) into the music at times. The later tunes actually sound like a pop-punk 45 slowed down to 33. Not everything stands the test of time, and “Truckin’” MK I is missed indeed, but overall worthwhile. David
@ www.pop-o-pie.com

Popland – “Action!” CD 11/41:18
I wasn’t quite sure I cared for this Singapore-based pop band at first, but then “Whatever…” came on, and my attention was grabbed. Oh, I see, they do better on the ballads. And then, as I listened, the more I liked what I heard, even with upbeat songs like “Hold On,” which is great. All in all, In between some really great songs, there are some klunkers (“Meat From the Sky,” ‘The Future” for example). I’d love to take cuts 3-7, and 11, and have that be the CD. But it’s brilliant the way they fused the names of cuts 3, 6, and 11 (check it out). RBF
@ www.ziprecords.com

Popstar Assassins – s/t CD 11/39:29
These dudes are totally NOT popstar assassins. They are just popstars. The guitar, bass, drums with occasional keyboard lineup. The catchy hooks. The verse chorus verse format. The cheesy choruses: "My love is a northern light...it really didn't change a thing." Not that this isn't interesting or appealing. I love a good pop album. This is a good pop album. Not a great pop album, but a good one. I dig the heavy drums and layered guitars. I dig their voices. I dig it. Perfect college radio fare. Sharon
@ www.trianglebulletlines.com

Pork Dukes – “Kum Kleen” CD 15/47:34
What we have here is a collection of relative rarities from the delightfully vulgar, satirical, and scatological ’77-80 British punk band. It includes cuts from their “Live Pork” and “Pig Out of Hell” albums, unreleased songs, demos, and live tracks. There are some really fetching tracks on here, including “I’m a Guitar,” “Loser,” “Major Clive,” and especially “The City Sleeps,” but to really appreciate this band the best place to start is with the Japanese reissue comp “All the Filth,” which contains their early 7”, 12”, and LP. Jeff
@ www.damagedgoods.co.uk

Porter Harp - "Drinking Season" CD 11/53:30
They cover ‘Old Man’ by Neil Young, which is fitting since at their best they sound like a Neil Young/Built to Spill hybrid, and that’s a fair amount of the time. Unfortunately, they also have moments of Bob Segar and the Silver Bullet Band, which, despite what some of my friends think, is not a good thing to sound like. I suppose it’s particularly interesting, maybe only to me though, that the album was produced by Phil Ek after I had already decided it had a Built to Spill quality to it. Coincidence? I think not. It should also be noted that Porter Harp is actually a man and not a band, but he assembled an all-star band to back him, including members (either former or current) of Built to Spill, The Delusions, The Walkabouts, and more. Worth checking out for the non-Bob Segar influenced songs, unless you like Bob Segar...but then there may be no hope for you. Jake
@ www.porterharp.com

Post-Haste – “Untitled” CD 12/25:32
This is one of those records that take time to sink in, and right now I’m not sure what to think about it. There are hints of the MC5, Hot Hot Heat, Pansy Division, BTO, and The Sonics. A little lo-fi, a little garage-y, a little acoustic-y, a little punky Marshall-Stack-sounding, “Untitled” is complex. The weird thing is that it’s deceptively simple-sounding. At some points I think it’s going to go into a heavy part and the band turns around and does a low-key Smoking Popes part. Other times the weak-voiced lead singer warbles strongly through loud distorted choruses- definitely not by-the-numbers. I think I like it, in fact I can almost guarantee it’ll turn out to be one of this month’s faves. Too bad they didn’t include the lyrics, I’d love to know more. Trivia alert: the record label is in an apartment across the street from my grammar school. Well, since my first grade teacher, Mrs. Dugan, rocked, I’ll give ‘em the benefit of the doubt. You should too, and check this out! Jesse
@ Ionik, 130 S. 22nd St. 2F, Philadelphia, PA 19103

Postal Service – “Give Up” CD 10/44:57
The Postal Service’s story of creating “Give Up” may be more interesting than the release. “Give Up” arises as a collaboration between the programming of Jimmy Tamborello of Dntl and the vocal tracks of Ben Gibbard from Death Cab for Cutie, who charmed themselves into a larger project after the creation of “(this is) The Dream of Evan and Chan.” After Tamborello created the electronic tracks, they were sent (via USPS) to Gibbard, who added the vocals. The result is mellow tracks of electronica, at times Human League inspired and other times reminiscent of the Pet Shop Boys. Gibbard has just enough earnestness in his voice to lend each song emotion, but some tracks aren’t quite distinctive, and are lost in a heap of beats and bleeps. Pam
@ www.subpop.com

Pothole Skinny - “Time Shapes The Forest Lake” CD 9/38:41
Stephen Connolly possesses a likable vocal tone and his old-world-meets-new-millenium folk excursions, like “The Sussex Railroad Song”, are appropriate vehicles. Using manipulated field recordings, acoustic guitar, banjo, flute, harmonium, bodhran and other things they craft a Ghost-like ambience. They get jangly on “Scroll of Westport Quay” and noisy on “The Earnest Equinox” and I pricked up my ears. Frank Murphy, whom I believe was in abstract post-rockers Only A Mother, provides the perfect degree of sound density with his electric guitar playing melting into the mix, instead of jutting out from it. Impressive. Anthony
@ www.perhapstransparent.com/potholeskinny@hotmail.com

Preacher's Kids - "Wild Emotions" CD 13/41:44
These guys surely revel in the sonic hellfire stoked by Bo Diddley, Iggy, the Dolls, and the early Stones cuz the devil's music is all I hear on this, their second album. These raw, bluesy, drunken tunes stagger and stumble through smoky barrooms, slobber in your drink as they charm you into taking several whirls on the slippery dancefloor, and crawl among broken bottles and cigarette butts before taking the party back home. A very good time, indeed. Lily
@ www.gethip.com

Preachers – “Moanin” CD 8/19:29
The entire repertoire of this ‘60s LA garage outfit is now at your fingertips, yep all eight songs worth (two done as John English and the Lemondrops). Some tracks make for some pretty fine listening (especially the freak out of “The Zeke” and their take on “Who Do You Love”), others are more run-of-the-mill period pieces (especially those dating after the name change). Decent enough, if pretty much a half-and-half proposition. David
@ www.dionysusrecords.com

Pressure Cooker – “Burning Fence” CD 17/48:08
This is quite the interesting and esoteric collection of instrumentals here. PC manages to take the foundation elements of slow gyrating reggae, quick-stepping ska and some keyboard-based jazz, and then render them through what might be thought of as a Henry Mancini filter, with a “Peter Gunn” feel. Sounds like a strange thing, but these guys are talented enough to make it work, and it sounds better than one would imagine. Good work, guys. RBF
@ www.jumpuprecords.com

Preston School of Industry – “Monsoon” CD 10/37:06
Led by Scott Kannberg (ex-Pavement), this band has produced their second full length, and it’s a decent catchy indie rock, much like their previous effort. Kannberg has stuck to some pretty simple guitar rock on the two Preston discs, and this retains some decent roots rock influences and jangle, in many ways, they sound like the Byrds, with a heavier accent on production and slightly twangy vocals. There are a couple of changeups thrown at you as you listen, especially the second to last track “Get Your Crayons Out!”, where the song takes on a strange twist with other instruments and melodies, and the last song, appropriately entitled “Tone It Down”, does just that by slowing the pace down and bringing in acoustic guitars to the mix. I like the disc, but the first 3³4 of it does sound rather repetitive and it might turn others off. But for me, it’s fine indie rock that never goes out of style. Steve
@ www.matadorrecords.com MP3 Download

Pretty Girls - CD 12/38:33
Primitive, glam-influenced punk from Cali’s state capital. The tempos are rockin’, the twin guitars are dirty, the lyrics are smart-alecky, and the Dolls-ish choruses are cool. So there’s no reason at all why every self-styled punk’n’roller shouldn’t get hip to the Pretty Girls. Here’s my only concern: sunny Sacto gives ‘em plenty of opportunities to wear shades, but isn’t it generally too hot up there to wear leather jackets? Jeff
@ Trap Door, 3428 H Street #5, Sacramento, CA 95816

Pretty Girls Make Graves – s/t CD 4/12:12
From the time the opening of “3 away” blasts in you know this is going to be a good one. The reissue (repressing?) of the debut 4-songer featuring ex-members of Murder City Devils, Kill Sadie, with their own homemade brand of fiery punk rising like a phoenix from the ashes of their former groups. (The following album was good, but this is definitely better). If they’re able to build on this they could become a very important band indeed. As it is, they’re already miles away from whence they individually came. David
@ www.dimmak.com

Pretty Girls Make Graves – “The New Romance” CD 12/39:46
Another band who, whether from conscious decision or natural evolution, decide to fine-tune their sound, going for what some would accuse of being a “mature” approach. Still, despite some tweaks they’ve lost neither their edge nor their passion; at least at this point the results are considerably more successful than certain other bands’ (old ones and new) attempts to similarly “stretch out”. David
@ www.matadorrecords.com MP3 Download

Prime Time Heroes - s/t CD 15/33:49
Sloppy punk pop from Kansas that features some fast paced three chord guitars and fairly typical teen punk lyrics about being alone, girls and a little politics. The songs are full of spunk and energy that are often missing in other bands in the genre these days; with an emphasis on the speedy hooks that bands like Queers have at their best, without sacrificing the melody. The songs eventually get a little tedious since they all sound so similar, but for a first full length, this is a good start. Steve
@ www.noisome.com

Prix - "Historix" CD 11/29:48
The only two stable (if you can even say that!) members of this band were Jon Tiven and Tommy Hoehn, the rest of the musicians who helped on these recordings could have been the Memphis supergroup of pop; included musicians, songwriters or helping with production were Alex Chilton, Chris Bell, Teenage Head Dave Rave, Lauren Agnelli, and others. The band only released a couple of singles after a couple of record deal possibilities fell apart and Hoehn headed back to Memphis, but the songs presented here survived various recording sessions and were restored by Tiven. It's great that these songs finally made it out; Hoehn's voice has all the finer qualities of Eric Carmen's best Raspberries singing, and the songs also have the same qualities as the Raspberries, Big Star, and others of the early 70's. The only problem with that was that by 1975 and 1976, when Prix would have just started to hit the scene, the songs sounded dated and although Tiven was already starting to see the beginning stages of the punk scene in New York and wanted to add, as he says, bollocks to their sound and hit the clubs, Hoehn decided that New York and the club scene wasn't for him and headed back to Memphis. It's too bad, because you can hear all the elements of a great new wave band pop along the lines of the Romantics or the Records on this. A must for fans of Hoehn's later work or the Memphis pop sound. Steve
@ www.airmailrecordings.com

Pro-Pain - "Run for Cover" CD 14/40:00
Long-running metalcore heroes Pro-Pain release an all-covers CD. Coming out of the ashes of the Crumbsuckers, Pro-Pain has been one of those bands which I've been able to ignore for the past decade or so, and even after hearing them take on bands as diverse as Operation Ivy, Negative Approach, Motorhead, and Slayer on this CD, I can safely continue to ignore them. The covers are fine, but - at least of the songs I know here - they are pretty much note-for-note versions. The Op Ivy one even features one of the vocalists following Jesse Michael's vocal inflections pretty faithfully. If a band's gonna do a cover they should generally make it their own; see the Toy Dolls' version of "Blue Suede Shoes" or Joan Jett's "Crimson and Clover" for examples of this. Bands covered also include Discharge, Celtic Frost, Sepultura, Spudmonsters, Bohse Onkelz, Life of Agony, Crumbsuckers, Black Flag, Agnostic Front, and GBH. Jesse
@ www.spitfirerecords.com

Production Club – “Follow Your Bliss” CD 12/35:50
This is a vanity project by Wally Gagel, producer/engineer of Old 97’s, Folk Implosion, Juliana Hatfield and others. He uses studio sound bytes and numerous structural influences to deliver a bland, mundane and, ironically, poorly produced collection of forgettable electro-masturbations. Guest vocals by Lou Barlow and John Doe almost rescues this from the super-high-tech-space-age-plastic-trash-can, but not quite. Anthony
@ www.lunchrecords.com

Proof – s/t CD 9/35:20
Proof features a couple of dudes from one of my all-time favorite bands that no one ever really listened to outside of central North Carolina: Cole. Now Cole has been gone for a while now I suppose, so I’ll have to make do with Proof; and while I don’t instantly love it as much, it still makes for a pretty good substitute. The group sounds like a mix of their former band with a bit of June of 44/Shipping News “mathiness”, and a little Appleseed Cast thrown in as well (especially on the vocals). I fine debut from a band I hope sticks around longer than its predecessor, or at least plays out more often. Jake
@ www.pidgeonenglish.com

Propeller – “Argento” CD 13/59:57
Originally recorded in 1999, it’s hard to see what it was sat on for so long (maybe it got lost in the shuffle after mainman Mark Spybey retired). This is what scribes would refer to as “experimental ambient” soundscapes, with expertly placed chimes, whirls, and other noises occasionally working their way into the foreground without overwhelming everything else. Formerly of Zoviet France and the guiding force behind Dead Voices On Air, Spybey still maintains those outfits’ experimentalism with the same (higher) rate of success. David
@ www.scratchrecords.com

Puffball – “Solid State (Eight Track)” 8 song 10 inch
You should know what to expect from these Swedes by now: High-Octane high-intensity NWBHM (complete with Girlschool cover)-meets-punk-fucking-rock!!! Yeah it’s getting to be a cliché to associate such terms with these guys, but any other description seems to pale in comparison. They don’t let up on this go-around and with luck they never will. So when the fuck are they getting their asses over here to tour? David
@ Dead Beat, PO Box 283, Los Angeles, CA 90078

Pulses – s/t CD 15/27:41
The Dirtnap name usually means quality, and this debut full-lengther from this Seattle threesome proves to be no exception. Fifteen short-but-sweet blasts of art-garage-punk that make for a superior listening experience (assuming you can stay still while listening to this, a nigh-impossible task I know). Methinks I know where I’ll be when these lads come to town. David
@ www.dirtnaprecs.com

Punchline – “The Rewind EP” CD 4/23:05
I’ve seen reviews of this record in other fanzines, and there’s as much written about the CD politick as the contents of the songs. Not surprising ‘cause the names of the songs are symbols (for play, rewind, stop, and power off), and they range between 4 and over 8-1/2 minutes. Guess I’m guilty of that now, as well. They remind me a lot of many ‘80s bands, like Tommy Tutone and Mike & The Mechanics, that period’s hard pop, but with a sharper edge: close to emo. Definitely foot-tapping worth. The saving grace is Paul Menotiades and Steve Soboslai’s verbal and guitar latticework. And that’s meant without dismissing Chris Fafalio’s bass and PJ Caruso’s drum. RBF
@ www.fueledbyramen.com

Purple Hearts – “Head-On Collision Time/Pop-ish Frenzy” 2XCD
This is a remastered reissue of the second and third LPs by the Purple Hearts, one of the better neo-Mod groups of the late ‘70s and early ‘80s. “Head-On…” is a live album. Although it was performed before an adoring crowd whose members knew most of the lyrics and chanted/sang along with the band’s hits, live records almost always leave me cold, since you really have to have been there to appreciate them fully. “Pop-ish Frenzy” is a well-produced studio album that reflects a musical shift away from their guitar-heavy, anthemic Mod attack to a poppier, brighter, and arguably more commercial sound. There are some really fine tracks with nifty guitar work on it, such as “Friends Again`” “Call of the Wild`” “I Can’t Dream`” and “Gun of Life`” which grow on you with repeated listenings. Still, I’m looking forward to the reissue of their first LP, with its monster studio versions of “Millions Like Us” and “Frustration.” Jeff
@ www.rhythmvicar.com

Pushing Red Buttons – s/t CD 12/43:57
Pop with an edge, this release reminds me of the Darts, but definitely not as retro. The sound has a feel of British dance hall, but with a much later sensibility that brings it into the 21 century. Formerly known as Norman Fell (gee, I wonder why they had to change their name…), Pushing Red Buttons takes a dangerous yet rewarding road by their sound evoking images that far past, and yet have a remainder of a cutting edge, all within the same confines. They definitely work their sound to the fullest, and it is a positive outcome. RBF
@ www.pushingredbuttons.com

Quails – “Atmosphere” CD 13/40:21
Local (SF) folks who have been gaining more and more followers, with good reason. This second release is filled with jagged driving poptones with male and female vocals (the latter of which seem to be a direct descended from Poly Styrene), listening to which usually results in spontaneous movement (sometimes known as dancing). Proves you don’t have to wear spikes-n-leather to be Punk as Fuck. David
@ inconvenientpress@hotmail.com

Quintron – “Are You Ready For an Organ Solo?” CD 9/36:30
Aided by the ever capable Miss Pussycat, Q lays down the funk once again; the organ and the personality remain unchanged, but nowadays he goes for a fuller sound that would make Jimmy Smith go “What the fuck is this?” If you ever want to transform your next social gathering into a dance party, this is the platter to slip on. David
@ www.threeoneg.com

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