By Simon McCormack
The Unseen State of Discontent (Hellcat Records)
State of Discontent is music for hardcore street-punkers and exactly no one else. This is precisely what occurs when "not selling out" becomes priority one and everything else—say, quality, tolerability, ingenuity, etc.—gets pushed off to the side somewhere. The lyrics are about, what else? Standing up for what you believe in, fighting America, corruption and (of course) conformity. Unfortunately, or perhaps advantageously, it's often hard to tell what the hell they're yammering about under the phlegm-coated screaming that saturates every track. In short, avoid at all costs, non-diehard hardcorians.
The Rogers Sisters The Invisible Deck (Too Pure)
"Hip as they want to be" dance-rockers The Rogers Sisters' at-best-aloof and at-worst-snobbish demeanor takes immediate hold with Invisible's opening track, "Why Won't You," which makes one think there can be new life breathed into their exceptionally played genre. This positive trend continues up through the fourth track, "Your Littlest World," a psychedelic Sonic Youthish 6-minute-and-change romp. The bad news? There are still six more songs that follow that don't capture any of the coolly enthusiastic charm of the first few tunes and instead cause the album to peter out on a sour note.
Love Equals Death Nightmerica (Fat Wreck Chords)
Like Bad Religion with black nail polish and a trench coat, Nor-Cal foursome Love Equals Death make stage-diving and singing-along cool for the faux chronically depressed. Jabs aside, Love Equals Death is just what the kids need to get them out of their basements and into all-ages venues across the country. There's really nothing new under the sun for this genre of punk but fans of No Use for a Name, Tiger Army and Tsunami Bomb should find nothing to dislike about Nightmerica (except, of course, its ridiculous name).
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