The Sounds of Silence

River City Rebels, Hate to Be Loved
I guess this band used to be political ska-punk. You’d never have thought so by listening to this record. Thankfully they realized that the genre sucks balls and decided to go in the G ‘n’ R/New York Dolls direction (Sylvain Sylvain even produced it), though this is only a slight step up. I’d give the band an A for its command of the sleaze-rock formula, but I don’t think they’re as sleazy or as rock ‘n’ roll as they’d like to think they are. I mean, c’mon, you used to be a ska band! Do you really think I buy it? -Tage Savage

Sex With Girls, Live On KPSU
This local band features James Squeaky of the defunct Alarmist. While I liked Alarmist, this CD is just too much hipster irony for me to take. It features more boring, unfunny audio skits than actual music, and the music just sounds like Beat Happening without the benefit of their earnest pop sensibilities. I demand an Alarmist reunion! -Tage Savage

Kaddisfly, Buy Our Intention; We’ll Buy You a Unicorn
Why does emo still exist? Do I need to go on any more about how this particular genre of music blows? The cover was pretty ambiguous, so I didn’t know what it was. Those bastards should’ve put a warning label on it. I suppose the lame-ass title should’ve tipped me off, but I wasn’t paying attention. I listened to about three or four songs, but when I got a half-puke, I knew I had to turn the record off. This band has reached a new level of weakness. To all the emoists, see a doctor. You have a testosterone deficiency. -Tage Savage

Jerra, Play Like A Girl
Maybe it is sexist of me, but Jerra is hot! Then of course, there’s her music. Yes, sexism does suck.

I am not a sexist, but I am a lame-ist, I hate things that are lame. Jerra’s like a really glossy Joan Jett with a lot of pseudo-feminist clich�s. Jerra is lame, and for that reason I hate her. -Tage Savage

El Pus, Hoodlum Rock
I cannot tell you how excited I was for this album. Since Mos Def is apparently never going to release his punk album, El Pus was my great hip-hop crossover hope. Umm … ska riffs, stupid lyrics and ’95-style skits. This is a piece of crap. Its lacks the swagger of N.E.R.D., the punch of real punk and the urgency of hip-hop. I hate this record for making me say this, but I wish I were listening to Sublime right now. Ugh, turn this off, please. -Choncy Jones

The Robot Ate Me, On Vacation
Ryland Bouchard might be a genius. Then again he might not. It really depends on which disc of this two-volume set you’re listening to. Vol. 1 is a brilliant mix of old-time newsreel radio fuzz and overt politics. It swings like standards, but preaches like hardcore kids. (Smart, funny hardcore kids, not that silly motherfucker with the Rudimentary Peni butt flap, never fear.) This album is so brilliantly composed I can easily overlook Bouchard’s trite "I’m too fragile to really sing" indie whine. Vol. 1 alone I would say is the best album I’ve heard all year.

Unfortunately, Vol. 2 comes in the same package. Indie to hilt, this half of the album reeks of $30 vintage cardigans. Suddenly Bouchard really is too fragile to really sing and drinks tea while thinking sexlessly about girls. Insert Shins-esque tambourine shakes and take a nap. You can’t win ’em all. -Choncy Jones

Regina Spektor, Soviet Kitsch
More like mid-’90s Lilith Fair kitsch. Take one part Tori Amos, one part Fiona Apple, and mix in a pouting Russian immigrant story and you’re listening to 1994. There isn’t enough room for another slightly damaged folkie playing piano in this world. Sorry. -Choncy Jones

Six Organs of Admittance, School of the Flower
Maybe it’s the cold medicine or maybe it’s the California Orange they’re smoking in the next room, but this album is blowing my tiny little mind. Floating seamlessly between John Fahey 12-string virtuoso, Ghost-style freak-outs and haunting introspection, School of the Flower is an album that has something to teach you. This is what real psych-folk is all about.

Unlike a lot of modern psychedelic music, which relies on metal-edged anxiety to carry you, School is a real heady album. It makes you forget the demands of your exterior husk, and allows you to contemplate your kinship with the ether tying us all together. School of the Flower reminds you that you were once fog, once snow, once a tree.

It might be the Thera-flu talking, but either way I’ll see you later, man. -Choncy Jones