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Impossibles Brick Bomb EP
"your shit talking ain't shit it ain't worth talking about
2 3 4 get your ass out on the floor
gotta get up if you wanna get down
1 2 3 4 get out on the fucking floor"


A band I'd heard about, but not heard before. This EP kicks off with "Disintegration (is the best album, ever)", a Superdrag/Weezer-esque pop/rock song with a pleasant little slow part in the middle, I presume their tribute to The Cure. The second song, "get it + got it + good," deserves to be blaring from more stereos everywhere. It's decidedly tougher than the other songs on the album, but has one of the catchiest choruses I've heard in a while and some really melodic backing vocals behind the choruses to counteract the cock rock-y verses. The third song reminds me of a battle between Shift and The Get Up Kids. The last song is really wonderful, a softer tune driven by an arpeggiated guitar line that is a letter from a son to father. If this EP is any indication, expect big things from this band. (www.theimpossibles.net; Fueled by Ramen PO Box 12563 Gainesville, FL 32604 www.fueledbyramen.com)

(International) Noise Conspiracy Survival Sickness
Unfortunately, I got into Refused after they broke up. What a brilliant band they were! Fortunately, singer Dennis Lyxzen soldiered on (Refused's other members formed the band TEXT, who recently released an album on Buddyhead) and together with his new band mates recorded a strong record, full of energy, hooks, and zeal to change the political and social constructs we find ourselves tied to at present. The booklet inside is fascinating, a series of short essays explaining the basis for each song and a good read all by itself. The band addresses communication, culture, capitalism, and art with an equal desire for change. Moreover, it doesn't come off as preach-y, a crime that some bands that choose to focus more on macro-relationships rather than micro-relationships are often accused of. And you don't have to wear a beret to listen to and enjoy this record. (Black Mask Collective, Vallmovagen 45, 903 52 Umea, Sweden the_spectacle@hotmail.com www.burningheart.com/tinc; Burning Heart/Epitaph Records 2798 Sunset Blvd. Los Angeles, CA 90026)

(International) Noise Conspiracy Plays Smash It Up and More EP
Not a bad introduction to the band if you need one. This EP includes my favorite tune from the Survival Sickness album (see above) with its terrific Go Go's-ish bassline and two other choice cuts, as well as the video for the single. (Black Mask Collective, Vallmovagen 45, 903 52 Umea, Sweden the_spectacle@hotmail.com; Big Wheel Recreation 325 Huntiington Ave. #24 Boston, MA 02115 www.bigwheelrec.com)

J Church One Mississippi
The incredibly prolific J Church return with their fifth full-length (their first since 1996). A fair amount of pop punk goodness, mixed with some clever pop songs. And with 26 songs, you can bet on finding something that you like. This time singer/guitarist/ punk rock soldier Lance Hahn ropes in Adam Phaler (ex Jawbreaker) and Jeff Bursley (Nothing Cool) for the ride. (C/O Honey Bear Records 1071 Clayton Lane #506 Austin, TX 78723 Honeybearrecords@hotmail.com; Honest Don's PO Box 192027 San Francisco, CA 94119-2027)

The Jazz June the Medicine
The more I listen to this record, the more it sounds like Braid to me. It seemed like the Jazz June used to be a little more aggressive when they had a third guitar player. Now theyre all about the mid tempo melancholy tunes with the plaintive vocals. Definitely some highlights, such as "Viva La Speed metal" but it can be done better (PO Box 60 Kutztown, PA19530 thejazzjune01@hotmail.com; Initial Records PO Box 17131 Louisville, KY 40217 www.initialrecords.com)
The Jealous Sound s/t EP
When Knapsack broke up in January 1999, Blair Shehan told me not to count him out, that he was already working on some new songs. That those songs would be some of the most heartfelt and compelling work released in 2000 was no surprise to me. Shehan's songwriting by the end of Knapsack had reached such a level of maturity and depth in his attempt to get at the core of human relationships that he deserved more to be ranked among the likes of Elvis Costello, Elliot Smith, and Mark Kozelek than Knapsack's contemporaries of Jimmy Eat World or the mighty Archers of Loaf.

Kudos to Shehan for not packing it in, but instead heading back into the studio and finding some crackerjack people to play with (Pedro Benito, guitarist for Sunday's Best; drummer Tony Palermo, formerly of Ten Foot Pole, Good Riddance, and Pulley; and John McGinnis, formerly of Neither Trumpets Nor Drums on bass). Tom Ackerman (ex-Skiploader and currently playing drums in Sunday's Best) recorded the record with McGinnis and they did a fine job of making the instruments ring clear.

This is a record that can give the desperate hope, the despondent clarity, and the jaded revelations. This EP is both strong and tender and deserves every kid's attention. (jealoussound@yahoo.com; Better Looking Records 11041 Santa Monica Blvd., PMB 302 Los Angeles, CA 90025-3523)

Jimmy Eat World Bleed American
Will Jimmy Eat World ever live up to the incredible expectations put on them from the moment they signed to Capitol while still in their teens? Granted, said expectations have come with the comfort of an incredible fan base and the aid of two major labels. But can they rise to the hope that they showed on their 1995 debut, Static Prevails (they disavow their first real album) and to some extent, the Lucky Denver Mint EP?

The answer: they try. And the refreshing thing to note about Bleed American is that, unlike their last full-length, Clarity, they are developing a keen sense of writing memorable pop songs. Clarity, which seemed like a good enough, though not stellar, album upon its release in 1999, now sounds like a band struggling to write a decent riff. The experiments with drum loops and keyboards was an outright failure.

Bleed American shines a bit brighter because, at least on the front half of the record, the songs are interesting and sound big without seeming over the top. "Your House" (which sounds like Simon & Garfunkel and not in a good way) and he latter half of the record sound like a band trying a bit too hard to write "pop songs," which is unfortunate because by this point, the band should have earned the right not to have to write hits and should be comfortable with the idea of being Jimmy Eat World.

That said, the title track, "A Praise Chorus" (which features the backing vocals of Davey von Bohlen from The Promise Ring), "The Middle," and "Sweetness" rank among the best songs they've written. And "The Authority Song" is an incredibly fun song, with power-pop riffs and lyrical references to John Mellencamp and Jesus and Mary Chain. And yes, once again, the presence of Mark Trombino (Knapsack, No Knife) has helped the record SOUND great, even if they seem to be stretching a bit a points. Which all adds up to the simple math that those five songs plus the first half of Static Prevails would make the best J.E.W. world record to date. (www.jimmyeatworld.net; www.dreamworksrecords.com)

Juno A Future Lived in Past Tense
For starters, this is an incredibly long and dense album. The thing about it is: there's no filler. It just takes repeated listens to let their sound seep into your brain. The repetition of guitar sounds frequently bleed into melodies that build and then cascade again. Much like their debut, This is the Way it Goes and Goes and Goes, they've succeeded in creating a complete and thorough album, not just a collection of songs. While its length may prevent the listener from digesting it all at once, it comes off as a strikingly fluid work, something that seems very rare these days. While not quite at that transcendent level, I will place this on the shelf next to Radiohead's OK Computer. Both record can be digested in parts, but the effect of the albums are so much greater when taken as a whole. (www.bosski.com/juno; DeSoto Records PO Box 60932 Washington, D.C. 20039 www.desotorecords.com)
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