Institute, Distort Yourself (Interscope). Don't hate the members of such lauded post-hardcore acts as Orange 9mm, Iceburn and Chamberlain for hiring themselves out to Bush's Gavin Rossdale. Thank them for clocking in, deliberately sabotaging his comeback bid with the blandest riffs imaginable, and then laughing at their boss's rock-star ass over beers every night after the whistle blew. -- Heller
Colossus, West Oaktown (Om). English DJ Charlie Tate, supplemented by a smattering of American emcees with impeccable underground credentials, offers originals and remixes made up of equal parts hip-hop, jazz and dance music. "The Tribute," which rhymes "new school sway" with "Cab Calloway," epitomizes the appeal of this ultra-cool three-way. -- Roberts
Local H, Local H Comes Alive (Cleopatra). Too Midwestern and too late for Seattle's gold rush, Zion, Illinois-bred grunge duo Local H eats, drinks and lives the road. So why not release a live album? Featuring radio-ready hits "Bound for the Floor" and "Fritz's Corner," guitarist/howler Scott Lucas and drummer Brian St. Clair almost transcend their niggling distinction as mere Nirvanabes. -- La Briola
Shaggy, Clothesdrop (Geffen). Although Orville "Shaggy" Burrelle wants to be considered a reggae artist in the tradition of Bob Marley, his latest includes collaborations with the likes of will.i.am and Pussycat Doll Nicole Scherzinger. The title cut and several others are moderately catchy, but, as usual, Shaggy washes down his toasting with pop. -- Roberts
The Double, Loose in the Air (Matador). With this release, Matador Records continues its slide into suckitude. The embodiment of everything the label used to eschew, the debut by Brooklyn's the Double is a wad of festering pretension that panders desperately to the dumber fans of Secret Machines and Interpol. The only thing loose in the air here is the stink of fraudulence. -- Heller
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Bobby Bare, The Moon Was Blue (Dualtone). Legendary countrypolitan/outlaw Bobby Bare might best be known for his subversive classic "Drop Kick Me, Jesus." An underrated songwriter who retired from recording in the '80s, the seventy-year-old Bare returns for an all-covers album that pays tribute to everyone from Percy Faith to Shel Silverstein. The disc is sentimental in spots, but it's still good to hear that worldly baritone stickin' it to the phonies on Music Row. -- La Briola