Courage to Grow

Independently released; June 2007

Santa Barbara music lovers cheer: Rebelution’s first full-length album has arrived. This month, the Santa Barbara-based band hands over the reggae/hip-hop/rock sound that has captured the upbeat energy fans have long been jamming to at live shows. And with the band’s compass pointed to the bold independence of the soul, now the group’s energy is organized. Rebelution’s new release embraces the love jam, “Ordinary Girl,” and preserves the fan favorite sing-a-longs, “Safe and Sound” and “Attention Span.” With loyal groupies at their back, Rebelution’s sound is confident. The result is the delivery of a lion-hearted package tied with a rebellious reggae-rock bow. -Bianca Calhoun

The Used

Lies for the Liars

Reprise Records; May 2007

When Bert McCracken, lead singer of The Used, hands in his well-known, ground-breaking scream for a more subdued growl, we have to admit the truth: Angst just ain’t what it used to be. Though some songs such as “Hospital” or “Wake the Dead” exert the lyrical and musical enthusiasm of that old, passion-driven sound, Lies for the Liars pushes the hazy border between melodic rock and pop on more than one occasion. Between “Pretty Handsome Awkward”a song whose intro less than subtly reminds the listener of Rage Against the Machineand the overly melodramatic sing-song tune “Smother Me,” The Used exerts clear symptoms of a band in the midst of an identity crisis -Stephanie Flint


Blackfield II

We Put Out Records; March 2007

Blackfield’s debut album was composed of 13 tracks of whining from the freshly dumped. The band’s sophomore release, Blackfield II, rounds the grief cycle with the anger and bittersweet acceptance of a detached ex. The album marks a wonderful step up from the sappy feel-baddery of its predecessor through a smattering of catchier melodies and relatable lyrics. The band’s artistic improvement is showcased courtesy of a working collaboration between Steve Wilson and Israeli pop phenom, Aviv Geffen. Still, its ethereal arrangements and stubborn adherence to depression, featured in tracks like “Epidemic” and “Where Is My Love?”, make the album a hard listen; shameful, considering the musical feast it, like most prog rock, promises to be. -Jessica Hilo

Various Artists

Spider-Man 3: Music from and Inspired By

Record Collection; May 2007

Movie soundtracks usually mean one thing: big-time artists using big-time movies to subliminally insert their music into our minds. My expectations of the Spider-Man 3 soundtrack were no different. To my surprise, I barely recognized the album’s artists and was flabbergasted to find the tracks on the album are actually coherent and eclectic. From the brash percussion explosion that is The Killers’ “Move Away” to the flawless piano at the beginning of Snow Patrol’s “Signal Fire” and the sweet, melodic chorus of “A Letter from St. Jude” by the Wasted Youth Orchestra, the album delivers in a way the movie failed to. -Arabella Watters


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