The Fucking Champs: VI (Drag City)
Break out the kegs and have your friends hold you by the ankles as you suck in the suds upside down. San Fran's The Fucking Champs' instru-metal goes through riffs and riffs of shifting sharps and flats in a time machine that's run out of gas in the vortex that runs from late '70s New Wave of British Heavy Metal all the way to the '80s Bay Area thrash movement and more contemporary doom metal. These are paladins with just a mist of hair metal gusto sprayed on like Aquanet. Cali heads should let their older brothers listen to this in order to be taken back days of skating on a Powell Peralta while sporting Airwalks and blaring Exodus from a boombox.
All Smiles: Ten Readings of a Warning (Dangerbird)
Yes, we all knew that parting was such sweet sorrow last year when doted on California band Grandaddy parted ways with a final album that was, well, uh, just okay. Band member Jim Fairchild has found his own path, recording under the alias of All Smiles. Ten Readings of a Warning was made almost entirely on an 8-track recorder in various living rooms with help from Joe Plummer of the Black Heart Procession, Danny Seim of Menomena and Janet Weiss of Sleater-Kinney, who doesn't shred the shit out of the skins here. Ten Readings is a rather scanty and feathery array of delicate folk pop that makes one warm inside with a melancholy that evokes Wilco's most somber moments as well as parts of George Harrison's All Things Must Pass.
Pissed Jeans: Hope for Men (Sub Pop)
Raining down a musky golden shower of post hardcore that labels like Dischord and, to some degree, Touch and Go were founded on, Pissed Jeans are pandemic with rigid, jagged riffs and tempos. Among the highlights is "Scrapbooking," where singer Matt Korvette is screaming, talking shit about someone while trying to pick himself up out of the gutter. Hope for Men will piss some people off, and that's a good thing when it comes to this Allentown foursome. The flow is oh-so-sloppy but still kicks ass. It's a like a binge fueled night of crashing into every party in sight with a shamelessly rabid punk fortitude that's grimy, greasy and intense enough to make the listener wet their pants.
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