Kind of Like Spitting
Bridges Worth Burning

Love him or hate him, there is no denying that KOLS's very own Ben Barnett is the finest singer-songwriter to call PDX a home. With a level of proliferation that would give Bob Pollard a run for his money, Bridges is KOLS' seventh full-length, and hands-down his best work. True to form, Barnett still sings and yelps in frantic emotional outbursts, leaving the listener with a voyeuristic thrill and that awkward guilt that comes with finding out too much about someone's sordid life. Rounded out by a proper band--bassist Brian Grant and drummer Ben Gibbard, respectively--Bridges offers up a more cohesive sound than previous recordings. Nowhere is that more evident than on "We Are Both Writers," as Barnett fervently sings "Our lives are deer blocking the lane, we can just sit back and watch it all go up in flames, until every note, every chord, sounds the same...". Sure it's ill-fated, over-the-top music for damaged people, but that's why it's one of the best records to see the light of day this year. CARMELO MARTINEZ

Carmina Piranha Lucid

Poor Carmina Piranha, we knew you well. I come here today not to mourn, but to celebrate. Your second disc is to be your last, and though the wake is yet to come (the simultaneous release party/farewell at Dante's on Aug 3), it's my duty to prepare a eulogy. What bad timing, too. The CD is so aptly named--Lucid--since it's the sound of everything becoming clear. Nancy Hess' production is wondrous. Never have all the many parts been so distinct--Kirsten Swanson's inventive drumming, Lara Michell's acoustic picking, Hess' dangerous atmospherics, Lisa Stringfield's deep vocals. The title track has those distinctive, quiet explosions; "Rosemary" is dark, mournful, and haunting, like Mazzy Star waking up in the morning; "You Catch Me Off Guard" unveils layers of sound and moody peaks while obscuring destinations unknown. There is nothing else like this out there. Nothing this good. Baby, please, don't go. JAMIE S. RICH

Dillinger Four
Situationist Comedy
Fat Wreck Chords)

Dillinger Four is the type of band that skirts the line of everything that is cool about punk rock. They are loud, they are fast, they are political, and they are drunk as all hell. As you can imagine, the end result is a violent collision of social awareness, punk anger, and silly-ass drunken rants. Lyrics like "Smoke 'em if you got 'em, 'cuz we're never gonna learn, and dance upon the ashes of the world," pretty much sum up where Dillinger Four is coming from. While Situationist Comedy is not the band's finest work--consult their previous full-length Versus God for that--it's the kind of record that will forcefully pump life back into a punk scene that has never needed it more. CM