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
> Smile, Girl Crushes Boy. "My favorite recent release from a local rock band. Full of catchy hooks, fat and punchy guitars, and references to life in the suburbs. It reminds me of where I'm from, and I'm proud to be just that!"
> Joe Jackson, Greatest Hits. "If you can't purchase Night Music and every other Jackson gem right now, this will cover 1979 through 1989. One of the most gifted songwriters of our time. Whenever I lament the fact that my band hasn't made it big, I listen to this and it puts me in my place. Humbling!"
> XTC, Upsy Daisy Assortment. "Andy Partridge is a towering pop icon. Sing-alongs that everyone over 25 must know—'Generals and Majors,' 'Senses Working Overtime,' etc."
> The Jon Spencer Blues Explosion, Orange. "If you can't be Chris Fahey and actually be on the road with the Blues Explosion, at least you can listen to them while you're driving. Noisy guitars, screaming and over-the-top harmonicas are perfect for keeping awake at the wheel in the middle of the night. Guaranteed to convert defensive drivers into offensive ones. Not recommended for congested commutes on the 405."
> Fluf, Waikiki. "Came out in 1997, back when OC had a 'major label' of its own. Maybe we're better off without one—who knows? Fluf deliver gigantic-sounding guitars and drums. Although they hail from San Diego, O and company used to play OC a bit more frequently. Better catch 'em next time, Jackie. They rule."
> Frank Black, Teenager of the Year. "His second solo album, released in 1994. Black's lyrics are the product of a university education with combined majors in Spanish and astronomy. The former Pixies auteur delivered unto us 22 blissful tunes about space, white noise, Los Angeles, 'freedom rock' and Pong. Thank god for literate songwriters. He is an LA resident—could we move him to OC to conduct some workshops, please?"
> Korn. "Just kidding!"