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Artist: Limp Bizkit
Album: Results May Vary
Label: Interscope/Geffen

Dear Mr. Fred Durst,

Thank you for providing listeners with this 68-minute crash course on how not to make a record. You left no base untouched, alternating between laughable holier-than-thou rants and painfully bad ballads with your trademark seventh-grade poetic talents (“I’d love to sniff on them panties now”). Now that you’ve cemented your own and your band’s irrelevance, I’m happy to let you know that you’ll always have a special place in my heart – the laughing-stock part.

-Jason Mogavero

Artist: The Distillers
Title: Coral Fang
Genre: Punk/Rock
Label: Sire Records

Singer Brody Dalle sounds like she’s kept alive on a steady diet of cigarettes and asbestos. Interestingly enough, this is a good thing. She shreds through this album like a woman scorned, leaving beautifully dissonant songs in her wake. Many of the tracks, most notably the first single, “Coral Fang,” feature stark imagery of blood and death. But her pain is not physical; it’s emotional, as Dalle chronicles the seeming impossibility of human interaction. Even if the lead singer does shriek like the former Mrs. Kurt Cobain, The Distillers are too often pigeonholed into the Courtney Love-led Hole category. Coral Fang might not make punk purists happy, but it certainly warrants a listen.

Artist: The Strokes
Album:Room on Fire
Genre: Rock
Label: RCA Records

With their debut, The Strokes were hailed as saviors of rock, messiahs in Converse. I admit it – I like The Strokes. They’re not going to deliver us to some higher musical plain, but they make great music, and that’s enough. Hipsters be damned, Room On Fire is an incredible record. “12:51” is the most accessible song on the record. Julian Casablancas wails with subdued urgency while Nick Valensi performs acoustic acrobatics to the manic precision of bass and drums. During “Under Control,” Casablancas morphs into a bohemian Otis Redding while guitarists play a genuine soul riff, showing evolution beyond the proto-punk that inspired the band. On most tracks, diminished vocals are part of the appeal of Casblancas’ voice, as if he’s mumbling something from the back of the room. But in “The End Has No End,” vocals are too low in the mix. What usually translates to beautiful apathy, in this instance, sounds like a production mistake.

-Jeffrey Parker

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