Pioneer 10 / Deluxe (Independent)

The careerists in Pioneer 10 aren't leaving anything up to misinterpretation. To clear up any doubts about how they've branded themselves, they reveal in their bio that their primary genre is rock, and their second genre is alternative. Yes, that's right, Deluxe is rock-alternative, and songs like "False Alarm" and "Second Chance" are every bit as generic-sounding as that tag implies. Understanding full well that taking chances means you'll never land an opening slot for Theory of Nickelfault, the four-piece cranks out the kind of paint-by-numbers, post-grunge vanilla that-no matter how much fun people make of Chad Kroeger's hair-continues to dominate the mainstream charts. It would be easy enough to shit on Pioneer 10 for the fact that it's not pioneering anything, but instead let's let the band hang itself with its ever-helpful press kit. After proudly announcing that Jim Vallance is a booster, the group notes "This legendary hit songwriter (Bryan Adams, Aerosmith, Ozzy Osbourne) will stake his reputation on the rock radio friendliness of 'False Alarm'-'To my ear, it just sounds like it belongs on the radio.'?" That pretty much says all you need to know.