Maxí¯mo Park may be the poor hipster’s Franz Ferdinand, but don’t be surprised if you find yourself pogoing to this postpunk stormer sometime when you least expect it.
The Oak Ridge Boys
Seven Nation Army(Springhill Music Group)
On paper, the thought of these Nashville greybeards covering the White Stripes seems absurd, but if the result doesn’t have you bom-bom-bomming along, you probably didn’t like Johnny Cash’s version of “Rusty Cage”, either.
Garfunkel and Oates
Worst Song Medley (Independent)
Inexplicably, all the songs that make you want to strangle budgies and go on shopping-mall shooting sprees seem funny when presented as twee-girl folk. It also works when you do them as polkas, but that’s “Weird Al” territory.
Rock Plaza Central
Holy Rider (Paper Bag)
Proving you can’t always judge a band by its name, Rock Plaza Central doesn’t rock, but instead plants its sepia-toned flag in the American South, coming up with a gospel-country hybrid that brings to mind Beirut hitched to 16 Horsepower.
Do You Remember (XL Recordings)
Thanks in no small part to the guitar heroics of Joshua Third, the Horrors reverb-soaked, beyond-the-darklands spin on classic British postpunk will make you wonder what you ever saw in Interpol.
Set ’Em Free (Dead Oceans)
Abandoning their usual indie-prog wankery, the boys of Akron/Family ride off into a burnt-orange, peyote-country sunset. Somewhere in heaven, a whiskey-loaded Gram Parsons is smiling, content he didn’t die in vain.
Fuck Eat Skull (In the Red)
Art-damaged skronk-pop that’s never going to get played at your local Starbucks, but makes awesome—if monumentally skittish—background music for your next home-demolition project.
Night Court (Independent)
Replete with wet and wild wah-wah action and sleazy bass runs, this K Records–styled white-funk tune (think a female-fronted Make-Up) sounds like the backdrop to one of Dan Fielding’s sex-crazed late shifts on Night Court.
A Lion and a Zebra Walk Into a Bar (RSMC)
No, it’s not the setup to the kind of joke that hasn’t been funny since Henny Youngman was a hot-list comic, but instead a rollicking shot of piano-powered alt-boogie. Sons of Whodom?
Can’t wait for the new Rancid record, or need something to get the blood pumping until it’s leaked on the Net? Don’t worry: judging by the double-time punker “Brindle”, you aren’t alone.
Tough-as-nails local legend Bif Naked has always had more than trace elements of metal in her veins, but she’s never brought the distortion-blitzed thunder as ferociously as she does on this welcome comeback.