Various Artists Metalliska (Too Hep Records) Many critics feel that ska and heavy metal are two dying breads of music. So obviously the dumbest thing anyone could possibly do is put the two together and

Various Artists
(Too Hep Records)

Many critics feel that ska and heavy metal are two dying breads of music. So obviously the dumbest thing anyone could possibly do is put the two together and make an ablum devoted entirely to ’80s metal and ’90s ska. But Mettaliska proves the critics don’t know a damned thing.

Metalliska puts the greatest punk and ska bands all on one album. Less Than Jake, The Mighty Mighty Bosstones, and Reel Big Fish all contribute their versions of ’80s metal. Not one song on the album can be considered a downer because every song is already a classic.

Less Than Jake’s version of Twisted Sister’s We’re Not Gonna Take It is just as good as the original. Nicotine’s cover of Warrant’s Cherry Pie may be better than the original. And one thing is for sure, these bands definitely look better than the original bands that played the songs they’re covering. Other high points of the album are MU330’s cover of Metallica’s Motorbreath and The Slackers’ rendition of Bon Jovi’s Wanted Dead or Alive.

The best thing about all the covers is that the bands add their own flavor of punk or ska to each song, unlike that untalented wanna-be Puff Daddy who just steals everyone’s music and tries to make it his own, which makes this album so great. For any fans of punk, ska and metal music, this album is a must have. Many compilation albums are lacking in some points, but Metalliska keeps up the intensity throughout the entire album.

Grade: A
-Matt Searer

Death Cab for Cutie
We Have the Facts and We’re Voting Yes

Death Cab for Cutie started as Ben Gibbard’s solo project. After his first tape caught the attention of many Northwest indie-rockers, Gibbard got some friends, namely bassist Nick Harmer and guitarist-engineer Chris Walla, to form a live incarnation. Their debut album, Something about Airplanes, won them accolades in emo-pop circles.

Like a less-rock Built to Spill or less-psychotic Modest Mouse, Death Cab for Cutie has an instantly recognizable off-kilter sensibility. The guitar harmonies of Gibbard and Harmer come from the Slint school of post-punk, while Gibbard’s voice recalls Qausi’s Sam Coomes. Why all the comparisons? Death Cab for Cutie isn’t the most original band in the world. But they certainly aren’t the worst.

When asked what songs would be played at their funerals, the three band members answered: Guided by Voices’ “Don’t Stop Now,” Posies’ “How She Lied by Living” and Low’s “Violence.” These guys are all drama.

Grade: B
-Neal Ramirez

Dilated Peoples
The Platform

Dilated Peoples drop their first major-label full-length album, The Platform, following almost a decade of activity in the West Coast hip-hop scene. Featuring Rakaa (Iriscience), Evidence and DJ Babu (of the World Famous Beat Junkies), Dilated Peoples have an accomplished sound that recalls classics like EPMD and Run-DMC. Babu’s turntable skills are particularly strong.

Tracks like “The Platform,” “Right On” and “Work the Angles” are instant classics. The album proudly boasts all West Coast guest appearances, including B Real (Cypress Hill), The Alkaholics and Everlast. With passion for graffiti and 12-inch wax, Dilated Peoples recall all that is authentic and natural about hip-hop.

Catch Dilated Peoples live with Kweli at the TLA’s Method Monday on May 15.

Grade: A-
-Neal Ramirez

This is…

pOp*stAr*kiDs aren’t pop stars and they aren’t kids. They’re two greasy guys from New York City. I’m convinced one of them, Andee, is actually Jesse from MTV. The other guy, Anthony (or Tony Biboni, as his friends call him) is an ex-mod rocker. Together they are pOp*stAr*kiDs, a completely dispensable goth-pop duo.

This is… alternates between extremely mediocre electro-pop songs and absolutely horrific second-rate Nine Inch Nails. “Oceans of It” (recalling Imperial Teen) and “Grey Skies, Blue Skies, in your eyes its all the same” (think silly New Order) actually seem decent next to the shame that is the majority of this album.

Grade: D+
-Neal Ramirez

Tin Huey
(Future Fossil/P.O.S)

Disinformation is the 20-years-in-the-making sophomore album from a band that recalls classic skewed pop like Talking Heads and power-pop legends like the Shoes. Tin Huey’s claim to fame is that they boast the author of the world’s longest song. Chris Butler’s “The Devil Glitch” is a 69-minute pop song with more than 500 verses!

While some songs on this album will seep into your brain and earn your undying affection, there are also moments where Disinformation fails to stay interesting. The good moments make it all worth it. “Cheap Moments,” with a vocalist even more delicate than Lou Barlow, is a definitive five-minute pop song.

If you like Nixon’s Head and The Trolleyvox, you’ll probably dig Tin Huey.

Grade: B-
-Neal Ramirez


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