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 V.14 No.52 | December 29 - January 4, 2006 

Sonic Reducer

Various Artists Lagniappe (Saddle Creek)

For lovers of the Saddle Creek label and their bands (Bright Eyes, Cursive and Beep Beep, to name a few) this compilation is a must. Lagniappe was thrown together in one week, so that all proceeds would benefit the victims of Hurricane Katrina. It's chock-full of new songs, demos and B-sides, and is, really, the perfect way to donate to the cause and be introduced to some very talented and diverse musicians. Each song on this album holds its own weight. Criteria's "Booketa" would make any rocker wary of electroclash question their disdain and "She's a Ghost" by Cocoon (a project by Jake Bellows of Neva Dinova and Todd Fink of the Faint) is as haunting as the name implies.

Spiritu and Village of Dead Roads Human Failures (Meteor City)

Albuquerque's own Spiritu is continuing on its path to glory with the release of this duel artist album with Village of Dead Roads. Each band has four tracks on Human Failures, with a retro hard-rock sound that'll remind you of the Queens of the Stone Age. Sorry, it will. Still, both Spiritu and Village of Dead Roads offer up some diverse rock that keeps them from being filed under the "wannabe" category. Deep guitar riffs, high-hat symbol clashes and agonized vocals are aplenty in this album. Village of Dead Roads' tracks are more ambient, listen-in-your-garage-and-break-stuff than Spiritu's melodic, harmonized sound, but Spiritu really out- rocks Village on this album. Heck ya, Burque-boys!

The Caribbean Plastic Explosives (Hometapes)

Experimental rock is less and less experimental as more and more bands join in on the discovery: It's got to be something really hypothesis-inducing to earn a "unique" status. The Caribbean sits somewhere in between unique and semi-stagnant. The first song on this album, "I Thee Wed" sounds like an attempt to merge the sounds of Beck and Cake, but this experiment wasn't too successful. Now, "Tarmac Squad" is a good song—a much bolder assertion of what I see as talent in this band. It's just so easy to get lost in the experimental masses, and The Caribbean is trying to be the girl in the red dress. They've got the material and the red shoes, they just need a really killer design.

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