Early Man, Closing In (Matador). The new face of Paleolithic rock is milder than the Cro-Mags and more respectable than Iced Earth and Mastodon. After an early flirtation with Iron Maiden, Early Man remembers to keep Black Sabbath unholy. Speed-chugging and intermittent twin guitar lines replace flashy Iommisms. Closing In is refreshing in a time when TV dad Ozzy can suitably change his surname to Nelson. -- Rick Skidmore
Goblin Cock, Bagged and Boarded (Absolutely Kosher). Rob Crow of Pinback goes metal, and -- as with most of his endeavors -- he succeeds fairly well. Even though his voice isn't really suited to the form, the songs lie somewhere between a good parody and the actual item. This is all pretty much academic, however: Getting past the band name and the cover art is a task in and of itself. -- Andrew Kremer
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Mick Harvey, One Man's Treasure (Mute). Mick Harvey loves covers. Both solo and as a Nick Cave sideman, the multi-instrumentalist has paid homage to everyone from Serge Gainsbourg to Elvis. This disc is no different: Harvey's spectral, string-enshrouded renditions of songs by Lee Hazlewood, Tim Buckley, Guy Clark and Denver's own Bambi Lee Savage quiver with a lush yet chilling eeriness. -- Heller
Chris Liebing/Speedy J, Collabs 3000: Metalism (Novamute). Liebing and Jochem "Speedy J" Paap are certainly capable of cramming lots of beats into minutes -- yet it's their fondness for bizarre tangents that lifts Collabs 3000 above standard techno fare. "Lego" plays with industrial blocks, while "Triflon" is split between pumping rhythms and mechanistic anarchy. When the tracks fall apart, they do so beautifully. -- Roberts
Lightning Bolt, Hypermagic Mountain (Load). "Take George Bush to Afghanistan/He's gonna bathe in a river of blood/He wants to party till the wheels fall off." Mix lyrics like these with the noise-core amino acids of speed, primal screams, laser guns, Van Halen, decapitation, Saturday-morning cartoons and mutated effects pedals. Now swallow, cough, puke and smile. -- Heller
Various Artists, All-Time Top 100 TV Themes (TVT Records). Juxtapositions from this brain-melting two-CD compendium prove definitively that the golden age of idiotic theme songs is long past. The Banana Splits trash Beverly Hills 90210, Batman roughs up Will & Grace, and The Jeffersons snap Ally McBeal like a twig. As is typical in television, stupidity rules, as well it should. -- Roberts