By Jessica Cassyle Carr
Early Man Closing In (Matador)
They must have hired a Sabbath fan over at Matador, because some of their recent releases have been pretty hard, including this one which is a strange reinterpretation of '70s metal. And the story here is soooo metal: Two kids raised in Pentecostal homes in Columbus, Ohio, separated from music until their late teens when they were kicked out by their families (presumably for embracing the sounds of the dark master). Leaving the Pentecost behind for New York City and some honest thrash, the kids are now writing songs with titles like "Thrill of the Kill," "Evil Is" and "Raped and Pillaged."
Queens of the Stone Age Over the Years and Through the Woods (Interscope)
As Queens of the Stone Age take a moment to reflect with this live-in-London disc and compilation DVD, I'd also like to reflect: No matter how I've tried to like them, this band, with their veiled machismo and testosterone-driven virtuosity, is for dudes.
Various Artists The Killer In You: A Tribute To Smashing Pumpkins (Reignition Recordings)
While some exceptions do exist, when covering songs, don't take something that's already good and try to imitate it: Covers only work if the song is altered drastically, or if you're working with a weak song. Here we have old-hat emo/screamo bands aping Smashing Pumpkins. Most of their personal touches are annoying—among them, homogeneous guitar tunings and amplifier tones along with vocals whinier than they already were.
Jill Cohn • indie, singer-