Sounds like: Lots and lots of angst (sans any depth)
Short take: A skeleton in a young emo band's closet
Among the dozens of forgettable, nondescript emo bands wasting our time, a few acts are breaking the mold and positioning themselves for greatness. One band seemingly on the cusp of something big is Alkaline Trio, which showed glimpses of greatness on 2005's Crimson. As we wait for the Chicago band's next studio effort, the recently released 22-song rarities compilation Remains is supposed to suffice. There are a few interesting moments including a killer cover of Berlin's "Metro" and the rousing "Hell Yes" but the reality is the tunes are all raw at heart and mascara- friendly, recapping the band's earnest beginnings. Ultimately for Alkaline Trio and Remains, the look back isn't as enticing as the anticipation for what the future holds. John Benson
Learn to Sing Like a Star font>
Sounds like: An indie rocker mellowing out ...
Short take: Hersh matures as a singer- songwriter
Just when you think you may have post-punk artist Kristin Hersh figured out, the indie rock champion zigs while you're looking for a zag. After spending the past few years exploring the frenetic punk sounds of 50 Foot Wave, the former Throwing Muses visionary has dropped her ninth solo effort, Learn to Sing Like a Star, with surprising results. This album, filled with melancholy and introspection, seems like such a digression that it's hard to wrap your mind grapes around the delicately textured adult alternative fare. The alt-sounding "Sugarbaby" and "Under the Gun" need to get radio airplay now, but others languish in perpetual dullness. Hersh seems more at home when the beats are fast, the lyrics urgent and the mood tense. John Benson