By Adam Lovinus
By Lilledeshan Bose
By Gabriel San Roman
By Rachel Mattice
By Stephanie Zacharek
By Daniel Kohn
By Nate Jackson
By Mike Seeley
Photos by Jeanne Rice
Digital Image by Daniel Bremmer> Überzone, Tomorrowland (forthcoming release). "After several years, OC's electronic golden boy, Überzone, has nearly completed his sonic manifesto, Tomorrowland. He's taking a thicker, more musical direction with his new material. It's as intensely programmed as Autechre, his bass lines are as funky as the Commodores', and his beats are as robotic as Kraftwerk's."
> V/A, Little Darla Has a Treat for You V.13 (Darla Records). "A $6 quarterly sampler, home to the Bliss Out series, the Drum 'n' Bliss series, and bands like Sweet Trip and Junior Varsity Km. This stuff doesn't get played anywhere outside of KUCI's weak signal (88.9 FM), so this is a great way to check out a bunch of great underground artists."
> Soft Cell, Twelve-Inch Singles Collection (Polygram). "With songs about sadomasochistic midgets, sex with strangers in porno theaters, and dramatic ends to tragic romances, no '80s gay synth-pop band could top Soft Cell."
> Peachfuzz.net. "This is where my friends and I put our shit on the Internet. Sites include Shamballa, Socal-IDM, Lexaunculpt, Nightnoise, Dervish and Peach. It's a handy resource—when it's up."
> Lexaunculpt, Double Density (Orange). "Lexaunculpt's second release, this EP marked the debut for the OC-based Orange label. To celebrate the occasion, the first 500 copies included one of three different tracks encoded in MP3 format on a floppy disk. His subatomic attention to detail in sound design and rhythmic programming are complemented by his extraordinary melodic sensibilities."
> The Sisters of Mercy, live at the Sun Theatre in Anaheim, Nov. 9. "None of my friends would go, so I went by myself. I guess paying almost 40 bucks to see an '80s Goth band that hasn't released an album in 10 years doesn't appeal to a lot of people, but I loved it. The smoke machine was so over-the-top that it triggered the fire alarm and turned on the house lights, illuminating the room. The look of fright and confusion in the eyes of hundreds of aging Goths was unforgettable."
> Halou, We Only Love You (Bedazzled). "Along with Sweet Trip, they played a great set at Sterile0003. Too bad nobody showed up to see it. Imagine the ethereal vocal stylings of the Cocteau Twins set to drum 'n' bass and trip-hop instrumentals."
> Low, The Low Christmas EP (Kranky). "Everyone's favorite minimalist Mormon drone-rock band has put together a Christmas album. Their versions of 'The Little Drummer Boy' and 'Silent Night' bear about as much resemblance to the traditional versions as their cover of Joy Division's 'Transmission.' If you have to listen to Christmas music, let it be good."