60 Watt Kid, 60 Watt Kid (Absolutely Kosher). On their eponymous debut, San Francisco Kids Kevin Litrow, Derek Thomas and Garrett Pierce strike an appropriate balance between the twisted past and the unknowable future. On cuts such as "Every Day" and "Time of Mad Scientists," the three pit retro keys and throwback synths against modern electronics to create tracks that veer between beauty and anarchy. — Roberts
Care Bears on Fire, I Stole Your Animal (Daisy Explosion Records). With the oldest member of this band checking in at twelve years of age, you have to hope the players have work permits. Even though the pre-pubescent girl group likens itself to grown-up acts like the Ramones and the Donnas, a comparison to the sing-alongs on Sesame Street mixed with dull, dark humor is probably more accurate. — Brandon Daviet
Crunchy, Loserville (GasFist). Painter, accomplished songsmith and former Galactic Cowboy Monty Colvin continues to dish out heavy riffs, heavenly harmonies and memorable melodies with equal parts Hetfield and McCartney on this collection of decibel-drenched pop. A guitar-solo contribution from former Kansas guitarist Kerry Livgren only adds icing to an already decorated cake. — Chris Callaway
Polysics, Polysics Or Die!! Vista (MySpace Records). Devo and Shogun Warrior Mazinga yearned for a child, so they mixed their fluids and hired an Atari 2600 as the surrogate mother. Polysics is their offspring. Polysics or Die!! Vista, the Japanese group's second best-of compilation, reuses six songs from their first compilation but features a bonus DVD. — Matt Scheidler
The Thrills, Teenager (Virgin). The Thrills' latest release jingles and doo-dee-doos its way through wispily self-important songs reminiscing about being trapped between childhood and adulthood. Conor Deasy's fragile, gratingly maudlin voice only undermines the metaphor of youth's lost dreams: Imagine a sixteen-year-old lamenting the mistakes he made at fourteen. Seek out Uncle Tupelo's "That Year" instead. — Scheidler
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Various Artists, The Heavy Metal Box (Rhino). This four-CD collection features the best boxed-set packaging ever: Its exterior looks like an amplifier that can be turned up to 11. Unfortunately, not all the acts here deserve deluxe treatment. (Cinderella, anyone?) But for the most part, the juxtaposing of big names (Sabbath, Priest) with more extreme practitioners (Slayer, Sepultura) earns its weight in heaviness. — Roberts