The Milk-Crate Bandit – Underground Roundup

Aesop Rock ? None Shall Pass

Constantly defying hip hop convention has worked for Aesop in the past, with underground hits like Fast Cars, Danger, Fire and Knives, and this album doesn’t see him settling down.

Between brilliant wordplay, totally original samples and beats, a gorgeous digipack illustrated by Jeremy Fish, and an array of guests like El-P, Cage, and John Darnielle from The Mountain Goats, this definitely isn’t your average rap record.

Magik Markers ? Boss

This is the laziest music I have ever heard. Nobody is this inept. Boss sounds like Sonic Youth playing in a $13 motel room high on horse tranquilizers after getting molasses blood transfusions. (Actually, that description sounds awesome and I’m starting a band like that.) This is way worse. This is like the soundtrack to three sloths getting into a traffic jam, and each slowly falling asleep while waiting for the other two to move first. Here’s a website with tips on how to be in a band. None of them include ?play like you are undead.?

65daysofstatic ? The Fall of Math

Those readers familiar with the Toronto music scene will undoubtedly have heard of Holy Fuck, a pop-electro quintet featuring lengthy Korg solos over funk-driven indie pop and spastic ambient soundscapes.

The sonic assault that Holy Fuck brings forth is pretty hard to compare to anything without running out of breath, but 65daysofstatic comes pretty close. If powerful, driving riffs reminiscent of Mogwai aren’t enough for you, there are the breaky tech beats that playfully avoid any real genre and blur seamlessly with the live drums, pianos, and a synthetic orchestra, giving this album an entirely reverent tone. This is very exciting music.

Dave Dee, Dozy, Beaky, Mick and Tich ? Self-Titled

Pop is a belief system that is constantly shifting, and that makes it difficult to have faith in. I mean, It’s impossible to know where and when something is going to be a big hit; that is, unless You’re one of the only three major corporations that distribute 90 percent of the audiovisual media in North America. Or possibly Quentin Tarantino.

This band was the best part of the film Death Proof, and that movie had a decapitation. Hey, we haven’t seen you at the church of pop in a while. You know, Minister Dave Dee is preaching this Sunday and you really ought to hear what he has to say.

Electric Six ? I Shall Exterminate Everything Around Me That Restricts Me From Being the Master

Electric Six needs money desperately. I can’t think of any other reason for a wildly irreverent and energetic song-making machine to sink to this level. The first couple of tracks are pretty upbeat (?Down at McDonnellzzzzz? is a fire-starting retro dance anthem) but the rest of the album is just garbage.

The music videos for ?I Want to Take You to a Gay Bar? and ?Danger! High Voltage!? (available on YouTube) are strong testament that these guys are lightly insane and heavily awesome, and to hear an album so boring and dunderheaded as I Shall Exterminate makes me shake my head in disappointment and wonder which pit trap my personal heroes keep falling into.

Mono + Pelican ? Split EP

Though stemming from very different places musically, a lot of similarities exist between the ponderous weight of stoner metal like Middian and the smooth, heavy post-rock of Godspeed You! Black Emperor. Mono and Pelican are two bands that understand where these styles meet. If you’ve ever wondered why classical composers are a dying breed, It’s because You’re looking in the wrong place, and this is a good place to start.

Acid Bath ? Paegan Terrorism Tactics

I remember a time when I was the only kid in town with spiky hair and a chain around my neck, and now It’s all this Wolfmother crap and you can’t go to the mall without seeing a horde of pubescent snots dressed up like serial killers all covered in slogans and logos that don’t stand for anything, and the damn ring tones going off in the restaurant and the elevator, and of course these people can’t even be civil about the ring tones. They can’t be normal; they have to be blaring some Lil? Jon or Timber-someone featuring Nelly-someone, and concerts are always full of the most incredibly useless people that have to bump into you a hundred times no matter how much beer you spill on their backs, and quite frankly I say hang it all.

Acid Bath broke up over a decade ago, and this, their last record, takes me back to a time when Tool was still a half-decent band and nobody had heard of the Taliban or torrents or Michael Moore. Maybe I’m dating myself a little, but this album makes me feel young again.

Squirrelpad ? Live in the Big City

There is a myth that lives in this world today that anyone can be in a band. Even I fell prey to it at age 13 with a stolen drum set in my parents? garage and visions of incredibly menacing album covers snaring me gazillion-dollar record contracts.

The formula is simple: make awful, wretched noises, upload them to Myspace, and pretend to be tortured. Presto! You’re in a band. As for this crap, if you ever actually find it at Cash Converters and remember that I wrote something about it, congratulations, You’re a garbage-picking memory robot, and be warned?stay away.

On the album cover this guy actually goes to the trouble of typing the band name out (in CorelDraw) as ?sQuirReLpAd? and, despite the claims of the title, it is not recorded live. I guess picking on a guy named Squirrelpad is pretty low, but when you appear on your CD jacket wearing Madeline’s beret and giving the Coppertone girl over-the-shoulder look, It’s amazing Ben Stiller hasn’t already snapped you up for ?Zoolander 2: sQuirReLpAd vs. Blue Steel.?

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