It is official, well hopefully, that spring is finally here in Rochester. With this time of year comes spring cleaning and the Campus Times is no different. Cleaning out our CD bins, we chose a list of CDs we couldn’t previously review due to sheer volume, not to the quality of the material we receive.Paloalto, “Heroes and Villains”This Los Angeles based band fuses together a sound featuring highly personal lyrics with finely tuned arrangements and on point melodies. Songs like “Fade In/Out,” “Throwing Stones” and “What You Are” showcase the band’s sounds as a poppier, not meant to be pejorative, version of their major influences – Radiohead – who come from the band’s namesake town – and The Smashing Pumpkins. Fans of either band could easily find a spot for “Heroes and Villains” in their collection.Stellastarr*, “Stellastarr*” The asterisk in Stellastarr*’s namesake functions as little more than a design preference for this group of NYC art school graduates. Their name and background foreshadows their artsy sound. Many of the songs on “Stellastarr*” float in the genre of post punk or new wave, sounding like a younger version of The Talking Heads, while their female and male vocal song play evokes The Pixies. High points on this CD include “Jenny” and “No Weather” where lead singer Shawn Christensen crones like a deeper voiced David Byrne and the band shows their punk roots. This album is one of the strongest debuts to come out this year.Thrice, “The Artist in the Ambulance”Major label debut’s often turn fans against artists in fear of the hideous sellout. Thrice, on their third release and major label debut, shows that bands can go mainstream while maintaining their roots. Songs such as “Stare at the Sun” and “All That’s Left” lyrically follow the emo mold, but the band’s smart pop sound places it outside of the norms of bands of this type. Others, like “Paper Tigers” and “Hoods on Peregrine,” combine tightly tuned metallic rhythms with brainy lyrics, in a sound echoing a lighter System of a Down. Part of the record actually sounds as if two different bands contributed on it. Knowing that shows why this band has been tabbed for greatness.Dizzee Rascal, “Boy in Da Corner”To see where rap and hip-hop is, listen to the artists you are used to. To hear the future of rap and hip-hop, listen to Dizzee Rascal. Just as Enimem changed the game with his debut, Rascal is set with his fresh beats. Rascal’s beats are formed from everyday items such as his PlayStation 2, and define the “grimy” style of hip-hop featuring gritty, growling and bleak rhymes and beats. Like Public Enemy or Dr. Dre before him, Rascal captures the reality of his own street life in East London, on tracks like “2 Far” and “Jezebel.” On “Fix Up, Look Sharp” Rascal proves that even dance music can have a conscious. Rascal’s flow is sharp, unique and very British, leaving the listener with nothing they have heard before, but everything they have wanted to hear. By himself Rascal could bring about the second coming of the British Invasion. This time the assault is on rap and hip-hop.The Format, “Interventions and Lullabies”Some bands shy away from the dreaded pop label, but The Format embraces it. On their debut album, their music is best described as stirring, hook filled, melody-driven music with an emphasis on songwriting. With the songs fueled by the writings of the Tucson-based duo, Sam Means and Nate Ruess, saying The Format’s 12-song debut is promising would be an understatement. “The First Single,” appropriately the CD’s first song, features melodies comparable to the early works of The Beatles, while “Give It Up” offers the sing-a-long style chorus that will keep you humming it all day long – not in that annoying I hate that song and can’t get it out my head way. With songs going acoustic and electric and featuring everything from keyboards to banjos, this is not a CD of the same songs over again, but a CD that shows an immense and prodigious young talent that is here to stay.The Distillers, “Coral Fang” The Distillers pull no punches – their thrashing guitars, their scowling vocals and intense rhythms scream punk. This isn’t your filtered corporate punk of Offspring or Green Day, but more like these bands were in their pre-major-label fans. The Distillers’ lengthier choruses and frequent melodies echo bands like Hole, and the fact that Brody Dalle is a fierce forceful female vocalist strengthens the connection. However, Dalle is a more grunge, growling, punk rock princess than Courtney Love ever was or will be. Whether Dalle will try to become the next glam bad girl remains to be seen. Tracks like “Beat Your Heart Out” and “Drain Your Blood” follows the tried and true punk formula, while not completely adhering to the three chord wonder song.The Cooper Temple Clause, “Kick Up the Fire and Let the Flames Break Loose”Some bands try too hard in their second effort, trying to show more maturity or more musicianship. This seems to have occurred here. The Cooper Temple Clause should take their album’s name and put it to practice. This album is their first release in the United States, but it is a big contrast with their first United Kingdom release, “See Through this and Leave,” which had the sound of a bluesier, more electrified version of Coldplay.On “Kick up the Fire” CTC’s soul searching lyrics are great, but there is nothing to back them. There are a few glimpses of the old CTC on this album, in such tracks as “Promises, Promises,” “Blind Pilots” and “A.I.M” where the band’s electric invention and Ben Gautry’s raspy Oasis sounding vocals return from their first album. To hear the promise of this band, grab their first album to see its evolution – wait for their next effort, their second is a side step at best.Allard can be reached atdallard@campustimes.org.



UR Baseball beats Hamilton and RIT

Yellowjackets baseball beat Hamilton College on Tuesday and RIT on Friday to the scores of 11–4 and 7–4, respectively.

Banality in Search of Evil: The College Democrats and Republicans Debate

Far from a debate, it felt like I was witnessing a show trial.

Israeli-Palestinian conflict reporting disclosures

The Campus Times is a club student newspaper with a small reporting staff at a small, private University. We are…