**** Glow Boy
*** Midnight Stalker
** Du-O-Delight
* Fingers of Passion


A Word is Also a Picture of a Word
(54' 40' or Fight!)

No matter how hard you look, you'll never find records by King Crimson, Yes, or Rush in my record collection. So the idea that I absolutely love a record made by three kids whose walls are more than likely covered with images of Geddy Lee is pretty disturbing. But, despite my previous bias against complicated rock music, there is no denying that A Word is Also a Picture of a Word is a near-perfect album, filled with stop/start staccato melodies and instrumental confidence that stretches far beyond the band's years. The layers of vocal tracks that suddenly appear after a dozen or so technical transitions on "E for Alpha" are reminiscent of Pinback's finest moments, while the blistering pace of the song brings back fond memories of A Minor Forest. In a scene where technical ability often pales in comparison to effort, this is a perfect example where a combination of both can be an incredible thing. CARMELO MARTINEZ


Old Blood
(Saddle Creek Records)

Instead of cutting ties with his former staple group, ex-Lullaby for the Working Class frontman Ted Stevens has utilized his creative resources in Mayday. The reuse of the guitar, vibraphone, strings, and banjo formula which helped form Lullaby's original sound, finds a new home with the welcome addition of piano, organ, and vocal layers. With a sleepy orchestration of alt-country and ambient soft rock, Mayday takes the ingredients for audio boredom and skillfully shifts them in the direction of a pleasant listening experience. The guest vocals of Conor Oberst (Bright Eyes) make the Spanish-tinged "Confession" a particularly strong spot on the album. Though the use of old instruments and members may commonly act as a recipe for a tired rehash, the aptly titled "Old Blood" makes for a fine example of doing what you know best. JOE FAUSTIN KELLY


Time's Up.
(Wäntage USA)

The forever-reigning kings and queen of Portland instrumental onslaught, Juanitas get sinister on their very badass third full-length. Newly featuring radically tuff-shit, punk vocals from bassist Lana Rebel and guitarist Maurice Bryan Giles (yeah!), the record features guitars that don't pummel you, so much as plow over you like a fucking tractor. Johnny Schier brings more insane, jaw-dropping, jazz-nerd drum knowledge to this incredible rock damage. Time's Up. is a theme record based around the idea of a stalker; songs like "There's a 'U' in Binoculars" throw danger in your face and thrash it 'til it's unrecognizable. If it didn't sound cheesy, I'd say Last of the Juanitas are Monsters of Rock; either way, I know this kind of head-bashing rock can't get any smarter, tougher, or better written, in Portland or anywhere else. Complete with surprise-free jazz track! JULIANNE SHEPHERD