Marston from NYC isn't struggling so much to define her positions here as she's reveling in the indefiniteness young artistry permits, even encourages. The jabberwocky—"Articulation, I'm on probation/Leave me alone," et al.—is there so the scurrying guitar hook and the cleared-throat oh-oh-ohs aren't running around all nekkid. I kinda hope she never susses out what she really wants to tell us.

Sword Heaven

"Driving Through Old Town"

Somehow this Columbus, Ohio, duo have—perhaps inadvertently—come up with the post-modern, post-apocalyptic successor to Ennio Morricone's The Good, the Bad, and the Ugly theme: a twitchy, menacing score perfect for scenes where Jonah Hex types and radioactive mutants face off in blighted, scorched-earth downtowns. URBAN DIS-CI-PLINE!

The Dead C


At this point, Robbie Yeats has earned the right to flagrantly neck with his cymbals as a sputtering blast furnace-cum-chaperone looks on with disapproval and twilight falls in his native New Zealand.


"Tape Worship at the No-Fi Nest 2"

That it's possible to distinguish the commercial noise pollution from the knuckle-dragging, anti-music scrawl and heat-lamped samples here is beside the point, which is that in the right quantities, at the proper frequencies, in a compelling sequence, one listener's abject trash is another's abstract tone-prose Spanish Fly. Recommended for Teeth Mountain fans.


"World of My Own"

Where some might hear an unconcentrated, fusion-y freak-scene splooge, I hear a generously bearded anti-music overture, preposterous harmonics, sped-up Super Mario Brothers bass lines, the stuff of John Cage-influenced marching bands. Portland, Oregon, represent!