**** Fudgsicle

*** Flintstones Push-Up Pop

** Choco Taco

* That One Shaped Like Mickey Mouse's Face


Three-Song 7"

(Post Present Medium)


The Intima has a spastic way about them. Their drums, guitar, violin, and vocals spiral out desperately, like they're playing to keep warm. Their rock-heavy buzz of bass is sinewy along the structure of their artful punk songs, and keeps it from all falling to pieces. The political Portland/Olympia quartet is riddled with the energy of insurgence--the confines of society are fuel for their music, and you can hear it in them, like they're banging on bars to get free. As an aside, this album was made possible because one of the Backstreet Boys crashed into their label guy. (Apparently, he cut him a check right on the spot.) On these songs, The Intima sings passionately about people who live like automatons--burdened by cars and pre-packaged personalities--and the logging industry: "Where's the forest?/ There's the forest/ Look down by the docks/ Stacked up in rows." So technically, the Backstreet Boys paid for the ink the Intima used to print the words "Free Cascadia: Bioregions over Borders" on their record. That's what I call real beauty. JULIANNE SHEPHERD


"All for Show," "Lonely Shrine" b/w "Light Brigade"

(Pamlico Sound)

The Vespertines are a local, fun, poppy group, who don't have anything remarkably progressive to say, but still do a good job at what they're doing. Which is mostly dynamic indierock, vocals crashing around with measured recklessness, jagged guitar to match, and drums that tie it all together. They're not so poppy that you get all saccharined-out, however; they tie in a steady, grounding element of sophistication to offset all that charm. The Vespertines seem to really pour their heart into what they're doing (hence the backhanded diss earlier when I said said I like them even though I don't like them). Plus, lots of people around town seem to be in love with them--I've never met them, but I swear that four people this weekend said to me "are you going to see the Vespertines? My best friend is in that band," so, if nothing else, they're really nice--or at least social--people. KATIA DUNN


"Bambi" b/w "Dirty Mind"

(Wäntage USA)


Drunk Horse is balls-out rock--a little cheesy, with ironic vocals, but it works, like it works with Fu Manchu. Drunk Horse waves to '70s and early '80s classic rock with their chorus-centric style, but their screaming guitar riffs and '80s New Wave effects (including Galaga-style, fighter assassination blips) give them a dynamic beyond being just another crappy rock band. They are the music that awesome parties are made of. They say that this 7" pays homage to Prince, so maybe that's the reason for the funky effects--if so, they ought to pay homage more often. KATIE SHIMER