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VOLCANO, I’M STILL EXCITED Volcano, I’m Still Excited ****

Despite having one of the worst band names ever, Volcano, I’m Still Excited really know how to make a swell record. This is what an emo-ish indie-rock band formed by Juilliard students might sound like—studious, with great attention to sonic detail, a plethora of instruments, somewhat formal, elegant, full of unexpected musical currents pulling this way and that, and with plenty of confused-yet-sharply-bright pre-adult angst. In fact, the Orchestra of the City College of New York played on most of the album. Slow-builder “Trunk of My Car” is fantastic. (Polyvinyl)

JOLIE HOLLAND Escondida ****

Introspective folksy trad blues and jazzy vocals dressed up in cotton dresses and horn-rimmed glasses never tasted quite so good. Jolie shapes her mouth around her words tenderly, deliberately, like each one is a child she is guiding out into the large, frightening world. Trumpet, banjo, musical saw and ukulele evoke the smoky, desperate air of a 1920 Biloxi blues bar, fireflies flickering in the swamp outside. (Anti)

SNOW PATROL Final Straw **.5

Snow Patrol is like, everywhere, lately, and like most bands that are everywhere, they’re overrated. Their name is only slightly less stupid than Volcano, I’m Still Excited, and gets much lower marks for creativity. Snow Patrol is a second-rate conglomeration of other bands. They have the blasé pseudo-disillusionment of the Dandy Warhols, and the commoner pop of Coldplay. Their riffs are average, melodies mediocre, they fail to distinguish themselves. They’ll go platinum. (A& )

SARAH CONNOR Sarah Connor *

Sarah Connor, who has all the uniqueness of a Cheerio at a General Mills factory, looks like she just stepped off a Baywatch lifeguard chair about five minutes ago so she could slap together a pop-R& -whatever crapcake for consumption by all the poverty-stricken L.A. wigga gangster-wannabes. She comes off equal parts trip-hoppy Dido copycat and all-out narcissistic, cheesy diva. Lyrics that don’t quite top the eighth-grade level complete the travesty. (Epic)

DROWNING POOL Desensitized *

Some say Drowning Pool’s “Step Up” video is a parody on hip-hop videos, complete with bikini-clad supermodels, hot-tub orgies and fat gold chains. Actually, Drowning Pool seem deadly serious in said video. They probably realized afterward they were the laughingstock of Metalville, then decided to play it all off. This album is diseased. Causes: Rehashed nü-metal riffs and Staind vocals lacquered over with Mr. Clean production. Side effects: Sleepiness, boredom, nausea, polyps. (Wind-Up)

& bsp;


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Rebecca Vernon

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