The Beautician
(Gold Standard Laboratories)

Spotting the beauty in Dead and Gone's The Beautician is something like admitting blood from a head wound is actually a nice shade of red. Or the flames from a theater fire cast a pleasant light. Some of the songs share the slow, spooky of the Laughing Hyenas--the massive low end lumbering forth, guitar buzzing like a fly around a carcass, while the singer lets you know just what desperate is all about. The quicker songs (which would work nicely on a mix tape next to Unwound, or The VSS) are a death race bashed out with abandon as if the first player to the end is spared a swift kick in the nuts. Don't think this doesn't amount to something aesthetically pleasing; it's just not an aesthetic a lot of people are comfortable with. I wish more music was so beautiful. JOSH HOOTEN


Da Album
(Ace Fu)

After listening to this album, I felt as though I had stepped in a time machine to the year 1987. The name Sucka MCs was fitting for this group, being that they establish themselves as just that: some Sucka MCs. It was hard to even consider this project a serious attempt at recording a hiphop album, after listening to the first track, "My Cell Phone." The straw that breaks the camel's back is the use of the word "Nigga" on a track titled "Jump Up And Down On My Nuts"--especially when none of them seem to be Black. I love comedic albums, but this is far from funny or creative. Sometimes comedy goes beyond being funny, and becomes offensive. I love hip-hop, and I enjoy quality music, but all this can be considered is a bad attempt at producing a Weird Al Yankovich album. TERRANCE SCOTT

(Drag City)

I'm not bragging, but I got the new Trans Am album before it was released, and I love it. No, it's not their best album, but they're doing something totally '80s and wacky and different, which is a good portion of the reason I have such a boner for Trans Am. Anyway, their buddies the Champs do not do anything different on their new album, which is an extreme let down. When I saw them last, they were adding vocals and synth sounds and moving forward into the computer era. This album forgets all that and plays the straight up tight, mathy instrumetal that I love, but yet sadly, have heard before. Of course we all remember when Metallica changed their style, first on the black album, and second and more horribly on Load. That sucked. But there was really no reason to do that considering their previous albums were all different, yet still all metal. The Champs, in metaphor, are just remaking And Justice For All again and again and it is time to innovate. Sorry Champs, you can't keep a woman happy doing it missionary everytime. KATIE SHIMER