Sometimes Up is the Only Direction
(Jealous Butcher)
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There's an easily identifiable sound of regret I'm picking up on the new record from locals Captain vs. Crew. Their guitars have a cute lo-fi pop sound, but their singer Tim Ervin has a sort of goth boldness about him, like maybe Robert Smith on the sniff. Their rock is extremely full--they've got tons of shit going on, speak-screaming, guitar battling feedback, and quick drums--so they come somewhere near chaotic. But of course, there is always a method to the indierock madness; unless of course it's complete crap. Anyway, the disc is good, fun, vehement, and pretty. Fans will be happy. KATIE SHIMER

The Kingdom of Heaven Must Be Taken by Storm
(Tiger Style)
Damn you, Bright Eyes. Sure, your deranged, decongested Dylan act has produced some tenuously tuneful tantrums, but that doesn't compensate for convincing countless whimpering wet noodles that they need to set their emotional breakdowns to music. Just look at Entrance, who has copped your act right down to the abstract stage name and too-long album title. This 21-year-old product of New York's "anti-folk" scene plays a mean guitar, but unfortunately, this isn't an instrumental album. Instead, Entrance punishes listeners with his three-octave caterwaul. Evidently part of an "anti-blues" contingent as well, he gores "I'm So Glad," replacing Skip James' subtle shades with there's-a-fork-in-my-eye vocal hysteria. Even when he establishes melodies, he abandons them between each line, strumming with a manic fury as if he were grating carrots on his strings. At best, he's a mockingbird, echoing compellingly tortured tones in his own shrill voice. At worst, he's a diseased pigeon, squawking at an ungodly volume, encountering a window with a sickening splat and dragging his talons against a chalkboard wall. ANDREW MILLER

I'm Like a Stepping Razor... (Dim Mak)
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Some days, I worry I'm jaded after hearing 7328 records in a row which fail to inspire me. Am I dying inside? I think. Then I'll happen upon an album like this Dim Mak Records sampler and remember the key element missing in most shitty music is LIFE! LIFE! EXCITEMENT! PASSION! Goddammit! It doesn't matter if the recordings sound like ass, like the crackling tracks on this comp by The Gossip and Phantom Pregnancies, because hot blood and fire and sex bleeds and gurgles from their guitars. It reaffirms the existence of every pulsing, desire-filled cell in human bodies, both yours and mine. The electrified, stabbing skronk on songs by Die Monitr Batss, and Miracle Chosuke (R.I.P.) makes me feel like I have won a friggin' prize. Even the slower bluesy numbers by Pearlene, Mr. David Viner, and The Kills, with their whiskeyed swagger, whisper, "Yo, hot stuff, YOU HAVE A RIGHT TO BE ALIVE." Believe it, dudes. JULIANNE SHEPHERD

* * * * Riding the Cotton Pony
* * * A Visit from Aunt Flo
* * Leaking Unborn Babies
* Getting the Bloody Hatchet Wound