Foo Fighters

There is Nothing Left to Lose


You’ve got to feel bad for Dave Grohl. He’s never going to achieve the classically-disjointed, revolution-starting rumblings of the era that spawned him. It’s not his fault; he just writes songs that are too damn catchy. With a voice that’s more ’70s-smooth Dan England than post-punk Seattle, Grohl sings over a sound that hasn’t been heard since the salad days of the Outfield—yes, the “Josie’s on a vacation far away” Outfield. He goes Frampton with a talk box on “Generator.” The sleepy, sugar-throated ballad “Ain’t It the Life” could’ve come right off of a Starlight Vocal Band B-side. The album can be summed up in the single “Learn to Fly”—a catchy chorus, not-too-loud guitars and a steady beat, all walking a tightrope between cool alternative and bad-hair metal. There’s nothing dangerous about the Foo Fighters. It’s kind of hard to clench your teeth or drift off into dreamland with your foot tapping so much. —Bill Jensen


Fallen Star Collection

Deep Elm

With releases like the multi-volume Emo Diaries series, New York’s Deep Elm records has established itself as a specialist in passion-soaked, melodic post-punk. A large part of that recognition can be credited to the growing success of Cleveland’s Brandtson, four young men with songs of self-pity, doubt and anxious longing. As with so many other emo groups, the key to Brandtson’s sound lies in its yearning, soaring vocals, provided by drummer Jared Jolley and guitarist Myk Porter. All the whining and pining is understandable—hell, I’d be complaining if I had to live in Cleveland. But such intense emotions require riveting music and, regrettably, Brandtson falls short of the mark. Too often its songs dull the senses with tired minor chord progressions, blunt rhythms and unimaginative arrangements. Occasionally the group tries to jumpstart things with some up-tempo Blink-182-styled pop-punk, but it mostly leaves you tired and bored.—Theo Cateforis

Arto Lindsay


Righteous Babe Records

As guitarist for downtown NYC noise-rock bands DNA and Ambitious Lovers during the No Wave movement of the late ’70s, Brazilian-born Arto Lindsay amassed quite the hip creds for himself. On Prize, Lindsay continues the evolution from the white noise of his early work while returning to the music of his youth. His deadpan monotone is the perfect crossbreeding of Lou Reed with Joao Gilberto. Lindsay sings, alternating between English and Brazilian Portuguese with the natural insouciance of the cool bossa nova rhythms. The English lyrics are as oblique as those in Portuguese, serving as chants against the mass of tribal drums. He lulls with “Ondina” and “The Prize,” then revisits his noise days on “Prefeelings” before returning to light-as-a-feather vocals. The man has returned to his roots. Blame it on Rio.—Ron M. Beigel

Matthew Sweet

In Reverse

Volcano Records

Although most of his ’90s work bubbles over with a number of “B” influences—Beatles, Big Star, Beach Boys—Matthew Sweet’s latest acknowledges the influence of paranoid producer Phil Spector. Instead of just immersing his material in an orchestral, Spectorian presentation, Sweet chooses to emulate him by using upwards of five musicians on the same instrument loaded with plenty of reverb and echo. Despite his sunny exterior, Sweet has occasionally allowed his darker side to show through, and this album is no different. His bittersweet take on love manifests itself on the twangy “I Should Have Never Let You Know” and the theremin-drenched “Beware My Love.” Elsewhere, the native Nebraskan balances his trademark guitar-driven numbers like “Split Personality” with more intricate tunes like “If Time Permits.” The nearly 10-minute “Thunderstorm” perfectly melds Sweet’s affinity for Crazy-Horse-influenced guitar playing with psychedelic baroque pop and Ronettes-flavored harmonizing. —Dave Gil de Rubio

LI Sounds



Ripe & Ready Records

East Meadow’s Spring has finally returned to her home turf after tearing up the club scene in lower Manhattan for the past year. Being an accomplished Broadway thespian, she’s performed with everyone from Tommy Tune and Ann Reinking to Jon Secada. And while none of these names scream “rock-star” or even “cutting edge performer,” it seems to be Spring’s destiny. Her voice is as powerful as it is delicate, and having surrounded herself with stunning musicians like five-string bass master Eric Massimino, Spring’s commercial viability is undeniable. Her debut features odes to cannabis (“Smoke”), peeks into masochistic love affairs (“What For?”) and self-deception complemented by ultimate realization (“Lost”)—all of which shimmer with Spring’s contagious panache. Despite the disappointing closer “Fall,” a poorly recorded live cut replete with noisy crowd, from a recent performance at NYC’s Lion’s Den, the album stands as a sterling debut from one of the area’s hottest new bands and star-in-training singers.—Ian D’Giff