In stores: CD Reviews

Artist: An Albatross
Album: We Are the Lazer Viking
Label: Ace Fu Records
Genre: Grindcore/metal/punk

Combining the frenetic energy of punk, synth-laden Frank Zappa-referencing abstraction and lead singer Edward Gieda’s shredded vocals (imagine Kurt Cobain screaming as if he’d shot himself in the voice box rather than the head), Philadelphia’s An Albatross defies any rational description, as all great bands should. With 11 songs in eight minutes, this EP will make your ears bleed, your brain split and your ass explode. But all the while, you will want to shake your hips as if the Armageddon were coming tomorrow. This is the best album I’ve heard since Sgt. Pepper’s.
-Jason Mogavero

Artist: The Living End
Album: Modern Artillery
Label: Reprise Records
Genre: Punk

There’s nothing worse than a disappointment. Following a three-year hiatus caused by lead singer Chris Cheney’s car accident, the band’s newest release nullifies the explosive anti-establishment ingenuity of its previous album, Roll On. Bland, circular melodies replace the hectic musical labyrinths that once marked each Living End song. What the band calls its new “mature” sound is nothing but diminished strength and creativity. Cheney’s voice is noticeably subdued, causing the band to blend in with a wash of tamed punk acts. Modern Artillery is not a terrible album, but it’s just not what fans are hoping for with the return of the Living End.
-Sacha Evans

Artist: Nelly McKay’s
Album: Get Away From Me
Label: Columbia
Genre: Experimental Jazz

Nelly McKay’s debut CD takes unabashed joy in delighting and then baffling the listener. At only 19 years old, McKay has a startlingly mature voice, one that’s prompted seemingly inevitable comparisons to fellow neo-soul crooner Norah Jones. But – based on the title of her album – this comparison clearly unnerves McKay. She goes out her way to work a barb into each of the album’s gorgeous melodies, using lines filled with black humor, sarcasm and thinly veiled rage. But it all sounds so pretty! It’s an interesting journey, but like any double album, it could have been pared down to a single disc, and at only a little over an hour long, you have to wonder why it’s on two CDs at all. Still, if decidedly eclectic piano-jazz-anger management is your thing, you could do a lot worse than this album.
-Jesse Stanchak

The Hatchet has disabled comments on our website. Learn more.