The Mean Reds
Together at Last, and This Is Our Wedding
Record Collection (limited release)
Just before their breakup earlier this month, the five babyfaced teens of The Mean Reds delivered 14 inventive tracks guaranteed to induce a dance frenzy. Together at Last switches moods and tempo with amazing quickness. Tracks like "Till Death Do Us Party" have plenty of full-frontal assaults, while the unnamed song that follows is a relatively slow moving underwater experiment. "Gardens and Lifestyles" is a snotty punk anthem that precedes a clever version of Mozart's "Piano Sonata in C." Funny lyrics like "Small dicks on the horizon / you can tell by the cars that they're driving" round it out. Keep an eye on recordcollectionmusic.com for a limited release of this out-for-blood swan song. -- Kara Luger
Late Night With King Britt
The man who once twisted the wheels of steel for Digable Planets now slings "future soul," a pastel-toned blend of electronica, R&B, worldbeat and low-key disco funk -- fashion music, basically. On Late Night, Britt showcases a roster of artists from his Philadelphia-based production company, fivesixmedia. Although 12 bands are featured, they all sound similar. The tempo doesn't change between Latin funk numbers such as "Latin High" by DJ Dozia and ethereal numbers like "Love is the Answer" by Britt. For some, this album will seem sublime, but most won't want to take it far beyond their downtown caf. -- Dan Wilcock
The Ouch. The Touch.
The Grates have a lot to get across and only four tracks to get it done on this The Ouch. The Touch. EP. So listen closely. Singer Patience sounds like a wayward Yeah Yeah Yeahs' Karen O on tracks like the punk-rock freakout "Message" and the lo- fi '60s bopper "Wash Me." John (guitar) and Alana (drums) serve as very efficient backup to Patience's antics and generally keep the Aussie ship in shape, especially the charming love rocker "Sukkafish." The Grates currently are taking a break from recording a full- length album to tour with The Go! Team, so here's hoping their future endeavors are as tasty as this bite- sized nugget. -- Kara Luger