New Music

Various Artists

Australia is the Texas of the world—a vast wasteland teeming with the descendants of polite society's outcasts, stewing in isolation and wretched homegrown beer—and, like Texas, it's home to some of the most uniquely gone-awry creative endeavors ever put to tape. Chapter Music has captured some of the most gone-awry of all on this compilation, a snapshot of an anything-goes aesthetic that was weird enough when it swept through Britain and only got weirder when it filtered Down Under. The big stars of the post-punk era find plenty of counterparts here, with Aussie takes on the Mekons, the Fall, the Slits and God-fucking-forbid Morrissey that veer from decent to impressive, but there are also more than a few tracks on here that are nothing but cheeseball new-wave staggering around in more respectable "artistic" clothing. Who'd ever figure that the same continent that belched forth Crocodile Hunter could sustain so much drum-machine-and-keyboard wanking? The best moments are the bizarre ones: Ash Wednesday's novelty synth-pop pisstake "Love By Numbers" will win you over no matter how stupid you think it is; the Primitive Calculators beat their drum machine into submission on the sneering trash ramble "Pumping Ugly Muscle," probably the punkest track on here; the Take drop an ice-cold downer that should set with-it labels like Kill Rock Stars fighting for re-press rights; and the Moodists make nice-nice with "Gone Dead," a tape-loopy swatch of arty punk pop that'll make you feel all fuzzy-sloppy drunk. Be ready for a little love-hate because there's no middle ground with music like this. But don't let that scare you, either. Can't Stop It! punctuates the painful stretches with the kind of unjustly forgotten gems hipsters live for. (Chris Ziegler)

Various Artists

Few producers would be crazy enough to put together an entire CD full of songs that were recorded in just one take from start to finish—no re-edits, overdubs or second chances. But that's exactly what John Avila, the ex-Oingo Boingo bassist, has done with his brand-new rock en español compilation CD, Organika, which hits shelves this month. Organika is also a much-anticipated project of the Santa Ana-based Rocketeria, an online Spanish-language music website ( Like all dot-com companies that haven't already folded, Rocketeria has struggled to stay afloat since its inception. But as Organika proves, those efforts haven't been wasted. The disc features 10 ethereal tracks by Quetzal, Pastilla, Satélite, Enjambre and six other bands. The sound ranges from alternative rock to folk to Cuban jazz to Afro-Brazilian, and thanks to Avila's in-the-studio-style sound engineering, each song sparkles like a live performance. Some of the best material on Organika includes "Sobrevivida," a Sara Gonzalez-style folk anthem by Argentine-born singer Claudia Brant (who lives in LA), and "Dolores," a "Born On the Bayou"-esque psychedelic blues ballad from Avila's new band, Act of Faith. Just as infectious is "Capoeira," an uptempo soukous-style groove by LA-based Afro-Brazilian hip-hop band Bayú. From start to finish, Organika rocks, a disc that's not just a breakthrough for Rocketeria but also a giant jump forward for rock en español.(Nick Schou)


Concert Calendar

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