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Rundown guide for March 14

Fredric Hall

Rise Against

Pharoahe Monch, Seerching Weasel, NY Dolls, Rise Against and Travis Barker

I have to say, this week is shaping up to be pretty good as far as releases are concerned. Seriously, there is not one disappointing selection in the list. I have to pat myself on the back for this one. These are the releases for this week.

Rise Against – “Endgame” [Geffen Records]

Since their last album “Appeal To Reason” Rise Against sound has developed a more – shall we say – epic feel? I don’t mean epic as “OMG! This is so frickin’ EPIC!” but a more grandiose sound, like they’re going all out with this release. This is appropriate considering the title is an indication of the cessation of one cycle and the beginning of another. Songs like “Help Is On the Way” and “Make It Stop (September’s Children)” have themes of finality and optimism that give hope.

New York Dolls – “Dancing Backward In High Heels” [429 Records]

Showing the youngsters that they’re going nowhere, protopunkers New York Dolls are invading the ears and heads of folk with this latest gem. Since 2006’s “Cause I Sez So,” the band has been on the radar and a new generation of fans are clamoring for their past albums, including their iconic self-titled debut in 1973. But what about this album? Well, tempo-wise, it’s more chilled, but there’s still umph in there as evident in songs like “Talk To Me Baby” and “I’m So Fabulous.” 

Screeching Weasel – “First World Manifesto” [Fat Wreck Chords]

Ah yes, Screeching Weasel. Chicago’s pop-punk mainstays have returned with another brand of in-your-face excitement. After eleven years, the band is back with “First World Manifesto”. The band still has the force and skills that are mimicked by countless other bands and with good reason: it’s fun, catchy as hell and it gets people riled up. “Beginningless Vacation,” “Follow Your Leaders” and “Frankengirl” showcased their traditional sound to a tee.

Travis Barker – “Give the Drummer Some” [Interscope]

Speaking of icons, we now have Travis Barker. This is his solo album, featuring a who-is-who in the music world, like Lil Wayne, Rick Ross and Tom Morello. As you can see, Barker didn’t skip on guest appearances. Also, he produced every track, and played the drums of course.  So anyone who wants to see Travis Barker throw down on the skins should pick this one up.

Pharoahe Monch – “W.A.R. (We Are Renegades)” [Duck Down Records]

Most cats remember Pharoahe Monch from his hit “Simon Says”. But there is more to him than a Godzilla sample. Monch is rivaled by Slick Rick as being an awesome storyteller, like his contribution to the “Soundbombing II” compilation “Mayor” where he tells a tale of a cop that kills the mayor of the city. While “W.A.R.” isn’t a concept album in the traditional sense, it is, as the intro states, a warning. It’s a war against police brutality (“Clap”), war and exploitation. This is an album that can’t be ignored.

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