What’s the skinny?



Release date May 20 (out now)

What the label says: “Anthem doesn’t stint on the furious energy and fiery originality that have long made Less Than Jake standard bearers for the spirit of pure punk, the anarchic fun of rock and the enduring values of pop craftsmanship.”

What this reviewer says: Ummm, yeah it does. No surprises here from the hardest working band in ska, although, perhaps due to my jadedness, the cover of “Surrender” by Cheap Trick seems so five years ago. Please, pop-punk/ska bands everywhere: enough with the ’80s covers already. We get it.

Similar artists: Mad Caddies, Reel Big Fish

Sample lyrics: “They’re just looking for something to take/ To break up the day to day and all its/ Loneliness, vacant space/ The tragedy of minimum wage”- “The Upwards War and the Down Turned Cycle”

Best song: “The Science of Selling Yourself Short”

Worst song: “Surrender”

Rating: 7/10


Laughing City

Record Collection/ Warner Brothers

Release date: May 20 (out now)

What the label says: “A quintet of four siblings plus a family friend, Eisley have nurtured their own unique songs of innocence and experience across a lifetime, with the kind of creativity, charisma, and camaraderie that is as special as it is surprising.”

What this reviewer says: I haven’t seen this much unnecessary hype since David Arquette. The buzz band of the moment, Eisley will lull you into submission with their non-eventful Coldplay knockoffs. “Okay, I’m in C, let’s go at 40 beats per minute and I’ll sing about trees. Hit it Chauntelle!” The female Hanson of the pretty boy bore-rock scene.

Similar artists: Coldplay, Eaves

Sample lyrics: “With light bulbs in our pockets/ We light the darkened forest/ On the mossy turf we’ll dance/ ’til our feet shatter, our toes will splinter”- “Over the Mountains”

Best song: “I Wasn’t Prepared”

Worst song: “Laughing City”

Rating: 5/10

Year of the Spider


Release date: May 13 (out now)

What the label says: “If you’re one of the millions who look to music for meaning, that person might be someone like Scooter Ward, whose performances with Cold have created a bond that’s unusual even in the turbulent world of star and fan.”

What this reviewer says: I find a song called “Kill the Fucking Music Industry” on a CD released by Geffen Records that is being heavily promoted on MTV and mainstream rock radio to be a little ironic. These guys are like a third-rate Godsmack rip-off. Kill the music industry indeed.

Similar artists: Staind, Godsmack

Sample lyrics: “You closed the door/ You sat in your angry chair/ And just tried to be you/ The needle became your queen/ The drug had become your enemy/ And music was just a way for you to bleed”- “The Day Seattle Died”

Best song: “Change the World”

Worst song: “Cure My Tragedy (A Letter to God)”

Rating: 1/10




Release date: May 20 (out now)

What the label says: “What makes them timeless is simple: their songs. … Rooney’s songs are like term papers on the song structure, lyric writing, and sounds of all the ’60s English stuff that followed the Beatles.”

What this reviewer says: Just what the entertainment world needs, another Coppola. That’s right, Rooney frontman, 20-year-old Robert Carmine, is the son of Talia Shire and little brother of fellow rockin’ Coppola, Jason Schwartzman of Phantom Planet. They look like the Strokes and sound like the Kinks, ladies and gentleman, Rooney!

Similar artists: Ok Go, Black Rebel Motorcycle Club

Sample lyrics: “I read her diary/ I’m not to be trusted/ I told all of her secrets/ To all the guys in town/ They all laugh and slap me five” – “I’m a Terrible Person”

Best song: “Sorry Sorry”

Worst song: “Daisy Duke”

Rating: 5/10