Hear Me Now (Glassnote Records)
Sweeping, weepy, wimpy emo that makes the Plain White T's sound like Motorhead. It also makes me feel like I should shut my door--it would be very embarrassing if any of my co-workers caught me listening to this.
Street Sweeper Social Club
Ghetto Blaster (Cooking Vinyl)
The second release from the rap/rock group led by ex-Rage Against the Machine guitarist Tom Morello and MC Boots Riley from Bay Area hip-hop duo the Coup. I actually think Morello's a great guitar player, but I've never had much room in my life for RATM. This is not good. Covers of L.L. Cool J's "Mama Said Knock You Out" and M.I.A.'s "Paper Planes" (which is actually a sort of half-cover of the Clash's "Straight to Hell") are not good. I think it's entirely possible that some fusion of rap and rock could work; there's really no good reason that it can't. But it hasn't happened so far.
Memphis (True Panther)
These guys are playing at Disc Exchange on Aug. 25, the day after their debut Memphis is released, as part of their national record-store tour. Bright, shiny not-quite-power pop, it's cute and almost charming, but ultimately the Beatles/Beach Boys harmonies and jangly guitars make me feel like I'm in preschool.