Feb. 26 2014 02:00 PM

You sent it in, and we reviewed—whether you like it or not

Cold Beer, Dirty Girls

Everything about Oddball's Cold Beer, Dirty Girls is punk: feverishly fast drums, repetitive guitar riffs and screeched vocals. I couldn't make out much of the lyrics, but with song titles like "Just the Tip," that's probably a good thing. Some solid guitar solos break up the relentless pace of the tunes, but the complete package—from the artwork to the off-key vocals—is enough to convince me I'm not a fan. reverbnation.com/oddballsandiego

—Jen Van Tieghem

Ojo Malo
El Perro

The names are misleading—Ojo Malo is not Latino. And despite the Spanish track titles, nothing in the music has any hint of Latin rhythm. Instead, itís a nine-track experimental-rock album that uses samples from radio broadcasts and movies, including Johnny Depp's classic bit from Once Upon a Time in Mexico: "Are you a Mexican or a Mexi-canít?" Quentin Tarantino and Robert Rodriguez would maybe dig this duo. Maybe. ojomalo.bandcamp.com

—Dita Quiñones

On Fifth
Three MP3s

This female duo plays fragile and fingerpicked acoustic songs that float into your headspace, hover around for a while and then blow away with the next significant breeze. The guitar work is solid, and their voices work nicely together and separately, but some of these melodies need more time to develop. They're too slight. Once On Fifth's songs are over, good luck humming them from memory. 

—Ben Salmon


I don't know, man. Copyright on Reflection's liner notes is 2009 and the listing on CD Baby claims 2012. Either way, it seems pointless to rehash this neutered collection of Richard Marx-meets Candlebox lite-rock. otoscopemusic.com

—Scott McDonald

Soul Edits

Packaged in an Atlantic Records catalog LP insert from the 1970s and burned on a CD-R designed to look like a record, Palos' Soul Edits pretty explicitly aims for a vintage aesthetic, which goes double for its music. Soul Edits isn't just a title; it's a description of the smooth, funky and all-around groovy sample-based tracks contained on this release. Each track is less than three minutes long, some even under two, but Palos packs in more than enough heady, immersive sounds to keep the good vibes flowing on a repeating loop. I'm a sucker for Rhodes piano and fat bass grooves, so consider me sold on Soul Edits. rudypalos.bandcamp.com 

—Jeff Terich

Paradox Playground
Three Song Demo

This co-ed duo describe their sound as "EuroPop," and I'll be damned if I can't think of a more apt description. Think ABBA if they had no songwriting skills whatsoever. Their bio says they'd love to get their music on TV ads, but after listening to the overly schmaltzy "I'm Still Here" a couple times, I reckon the only company that would be interested is one that hawks cheese-flavored products that aren't actual cheese. Even then, the song's so cheesy, Kraft would only use it ironically. paradoxplayground.com 

Seth Combs

Hector Penalosa
Can’t You See Me Running

Hector Penalosa packs his technically proficient pop-rock with skillful guitar solos. Unfortunately, his singing doesn't stand up to his musical skill, and the overall product could benefit from a dash of originality and a better backing band. Despite honing his chops as a member of local punks The Zeros, in this context, Penalosa merely feels like a solid session musician on a solo-project misadventure. facebook.com/hectorpenalosa

—Joshua Emerson Smith

Penis Hickey
Planet Free Jazz

Perhaps I need to take Peter Holslin's advice and see these guys live, but, to me, this noise duo just sounds like they're being weird for the sake of being weird. Other than the spastic improvisation and the cover of Sun Ra's "Nuclear War," I don't hear anything here even remotely resembling jazz—just cracked-out, guttural bellows, nonsensical spoken-word and music that sounds like it was made (and likely only enjoyed) while on several buttons of peyote. penishickey.bandcamp.com 

Seth Combs

Clint Perry & The Boo Hoo Crew
Time of our Lives

It turns out, this is a Parents Choice Award-winning band with songs like "Face Full of Spider Webs" and "Chug-A Chug-A Choo Choo." Plus, each CD comes with a ride ticket to Belmont Park and a Jersey Mike's kids meal. Thank goodness, because I first listened without context and thought it came with a creepy moustache and a van filled with candy. But Perry's songs are goofyand good-natured and should definitely appeal to younger children. boohoocrew.com

—Scott McDonald

The Phantoms
The Phantoms

The Phantoms sound like any ol' rock band you'd hear in a seedy bar that keeps Miller High Life and Fireball whiskey on special. Methinks that after a half-dozen of each, they'd still sound mediocre. The lyrics are simplified rhymes about everything from broken hearts to punching bosses—all sung out of tune and with little conviction. On "Ditch Digger," singer Victor Penalosa sings about his shitty day job, which I'm going to go ahead and say he shouldn't quit just yet. reverbnation.com/phantomsinfo

—Jen Van Tieghem

Aaron Poehler & Ryan Tully-Doyle 

Seeing the CD, I assumed this was a straightforward singer-songwriter duo. I was wrong, and surprised to find this is, in fact, a progressive-rock act that sounds awkwardly similar to mid-í00s indie duo She Wants Revenge: moody, uptempo dance songs with slightly distorted baritone vocals and angular electric guitars. aaronpoehler.com

—Jackson Milgaten

Adam Powell
Some Jerk at Work

The premise for this EP is that Powell is a new dad who can't find time to make music at home, so he does so at work before his colleagues get to the office. All these songs were recorded with a mic on Powell's phone; the vocals were done while he sat in traffic. It's a cute idea, and while his little quirk-folk songs won't change the world, hey, the point is that they're done. And if lo-fi banjo, guitar, melodica 'n' more equals a semblance of artistic fulfillment for Powell, more power to him. Parents everywhere can appreciate that.

—Ben Salmon

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