Fire Drills Review: One of our favorite Minneapolis punk bands the Dillinger Four make a return with Civil War after a lengthy six years since their last release. This is their second album for Fat Wreck Chords and their punk is as strong as ever but being a more mature band the groups lyrics are now a bit more socially conscious. Everything from the government to the economy is covered on Civil War (catchy title) and the record finds the band at the top of their game and ready for a full come back to the scene, which we welcome with open arms!
Joan As Police Woman To Survive Cheap Lullaby Records 
Fire Drills Review: Joan Wasser has one of those voices that truly stands out in a crowd and on her new long player To Survive she once again will amaze you with her soft harmonies and raw emotion. Compared to her break through album Real Life , To Survive sounds more produced and smoother with its transitions while still retaining the personal qualities. In a music world where there are many female singer/songwriter types it is harder and harder to be unique but Joan As Police Woman just does and is worth every minute you give her!
Corey Crowder Gold And The Sand Tooth & Nail Records 
Fire Drills Review: You would be hard pressed to find another artist like Corey Crowder on the typically more punk label Tooth & Nail's roster because of his folk acoustic guitar that sometimes rides the thin line of being classified what we will just whisper as country. His southern roots have already made their way onto television as his music has been featured in One Tree Hill, The Real World and The Biggest Loser. His lyrical outlook is positive and songs on Gold And The Sand cover love, life hopes and simple reality making this record instantly identifiable and an enjoyable listen for all who partake. Oh yeah - he has a pretty good voice too!
Rivers Cuomo Alone II: The Home Recordings Of Rivers Cuomo Geffen Records 
Fire Drills Review: I believe the priceless album cover says it all for Weezer frontman Rivers Cuomo's second Alone release of home recordings. It is this free spirit that has kept Weezer going for all these years and this second offering of demo tracks written from 1992-2007 are completely entertaining no matter if they are 5o seconds or 4 minutes. Mostly this release will attract fans and notable songs on this album include a cover of the Beach Boys' song "Don't Worry Baby", and three more songs from the long lost unreleased album and supposed real follow up to The Blue Album  - Songs From The Black Hole [unreleased].
Various Artists Original Music Featured On Gossip Girl No. 1 Atlantic Records 
Fire Drills Review: Everyone knows how important music is to TV shows and sometimes the music propels the show and bands to an entire new level - just ask Death Cab. The OC was known for its music, just like Grey's Anatomy and now the new kid on the block is the CW's Gossip Girl. Every week the show is a who's who of indie rock and this release captures many of those bands like The Kills, The Kooks, Oppenhiemer and The Republic Tigers at the top of their game. Of course it is easy to connect the dots on all of these shows because of music producer Alexandra Patsavas running the show, which clearly we like her taste. The Gossip Girl soundtrack does not offer much in the department of collectible tracks from these artists because most of the songs can be found somewhere else or on the bands most recent album but as a collective it is a nice batch of indie music that like the show should turn anyone who listens into the featured bands best new fan.
Jennifer O'Connor Here With Me Matador Records 
Fire Drills Review: Jennifer O'Connor is pretty much what you see is what you get. She is not flashy, she is not that upbeat and her music is pretty straightforward. With all of those somewhat underwhelming statements what you should know is that Jennifer O'Connor has a superb voice with well penned songs that capture pure feelings and raw emotion, which simply stun the listener and helps Here With Me hit all of these highlights right on the head!
The Underlings Operational Excellence Daily Records 
Fire Drills Review: I am not sure what else comes from Eugene, Oregon but they have a solid indie rock band in their local bars called The Underlings. Their record Operational Excellence is a combination of by the books guitar, bass and drums, which has an energetic edge to it that never hits the punk strides of The Ramones but is more comparable to the early days of Cheap Trick. The Underlings have been building a reputation as one of the top live bands in their region and Operational Excellence will only boost that notion because the songs sound clean on disc but clearly are built to explode live!
The Soft Hands Hours Pass By Fidotrust Records 
Fire Drills Review: The Soft Hands play a sort of angular post punk indie rock that you would never guess would come out of Long Beach. Hours Pass By is an album that is based on a traditional underground punk that calls up memories of the Minutemen and Wire while containing a cutting edge style of Camper Van and Spoon. This classic meets modern mix pushes Hours Pass By into the next level and with repeat spins gets better and better while highlighting The Soft Hands as a band to watch into 2009!
Fire Drills Review: One look at this cover and you think that Matt Duke could be your best friend, college roommate or even the guy bringing you pizza. It is this instant likability that translates to his simple singer/songwriter release Kingdom Underground. It has a balance of up tempo tracks and ballads that sound good to the ear. Is this album going to change your world - no - will it put you in a good mood - yes!
Fire Drills Review: The hype just keeps building for this trio's full length debut To Lose A Life due in January and the Death EP will continue to fuel the fire. The group not only offers up another solid dark edged and moody slice of their rock sound but it includes a b-side and several remixes of the single. It is the remixes that encourage the listener of what is to come because it shows off that the groups music is more than one dimension which should translate into a bright future!
Joel Plaskett Emergency Ashtray Rock Maple Records 
Fire Drills Review: This album is still only available as an import from Canada but it just recently reached our doorstep and thought it was worthy of a review even though it came out over a year ago. Joel Plaskett is the former lead singer of alt band Thrush Hermit and his solo efforts definitely sound more singer/songwriter but with a punch provided by his band the Emergency. Ashtray Rock is a small concept album about the wonders of growing up and following youths that experience the full circle of relationships from love, friendship and stabbing each other in the back. Plaskett's delivery is light hearted but catchy and the music is upbeat making repeat plays enjoyable.
Fire Drills Review: Autumn Boukadakis has one of those voices that is instantly appealing. On her sophomore record Velvet Sky she not only shows off her vocals but also her piano playing ability backing up her degree in classical piano from the University of Texas in Austin. Along with seven new originals Autumn offers up a killer version of Patty Griffin's "Nobody's Crying" which solidifies her mark on the Americana scene with a strong cross over pop attraction that should be heard.
Fire Drills Review: Bedroom Superstars is England's Scarlet BLONDE's debut mini-album before their full length Acerbic hits in early 09. The record is a mix of new wave, rock and electro fronted by the power vocals of Dawn Firth that really drives each song into a grinding frenzy. After taking Bedroom Superstars for a spin it is hard to believe that this is just a duo because each track has a full band vibe and fills space with multiple angles of sound that hit just as hard with two as they would with five members.
Bridge And Tunnel East / West No Idea Records 
Fire Drills Review: The post-punk sound lives on with Bridge And Tunnel's interplaying guitars and hard edged melodies. The New York group takes a little different approach because on several tracks the female vocals get the shining light which puts Bridge And Tunnel out on limb more by themselves compared to other bands in this genre. Overall East/West is a quality listen all the way through and gets better with each spin while reminding you that bands like these have slowly went underground so it's great to see Bridge And Tunnel breaking out with some deserved hype!
Switchfoot The Best Yet Columbia/Legacy Records 
Fire Drills Review: I can fully admit that I have never been into the whole christian based rock thing so it was easy for me to dismiss Switchfoot very early on in their career. The Best Yet came to my doorstep, which I gave a fair spin and fans and non-fans should actually take listen because it represents a nice collection of their songs from all six albums and includes the track "This Is Home" from The Chronicles Of Narnia: Prince Caspian . The Best Yet starts with a 1-2-3 of hits giving you "Dare You To Move", "Meant To Live", and "Stars" that tells you what Switchfoot are all about and keeps you around for the rest! This is what I get for judging a book by its cover.
Live Live At The Paradiso: Amsterdam Vanguard Records 
Fire Drills Review: Live is a band I have always enjoyed since their debut record Mental Jewelry . When Throwing Copper  propelled them into the mainstream it looked like always filling arenas would be their destiny but somewhat average releases over the years have stifled their growth. What a fan could always count on is their high energy live performance and At The Paradiso captures that along with some loud singing fans that know every word. There are also two new solid tracks added to this release but fans of the band will take pleasure in the concert recording and remember why they loved Live in the first place!
The Ettes Look At Life Again Soon Take Root Records 
Fire Drills Review: Heavy driving bass and sassy female vocals lead The Ettes through their sophomore record of 11 tracks in twenty-seven minutes. The trio have definitely grown a bit since their debut Shake The Dust while dropping the surf vibe for an all out lo-fi and gritty garage rock that fits them well and has lead vocalist Lindsay “Coco” Hames standing tall as a front woman. If you are looking for something new, short, and solid The Ettes Look At Life Again Soon will keep you entertained again and again.
Audrye Sessions Audrye Sessions [EP] Black Seal Records 
Fire Drills Review: This self-titled EP is just a taste of what San Fran/Oakland area band Audrye Sessions has to offer on their full length debut set for release early next year. The band has a very big UK sound with sprawling guitars and vocal anthems that get the feet tapping and ears listening. UK bands like the Muse, Travis and even Oasis struggle to sell to the masses over here in the US so how we react to one of our own with this sound will be an interesting test because if Audrye Sessions's debut builds on the quality of this four song EP they should make some real noise on the scene next year.
Fire Drills Review: In the day of reunions I believe that the Police getting back together for a tour was one of the highlights in this trend. Certifiable is a full two CD and two DVD set capturing this giant tour and the show in Buenos Aires, Argentina. It comes with all the standard hits and sounds great so even the most casual fan can appreciate the chemistry that never lost one step over the bands hiatus period. The DVDs of course make this package solid for everyone that could not attend a show plus the second DVD contains the 50-minute bonus feature, "Better Than Therapy, " directed by Jordan Copeland detailing The Police's historic reunion with exclusive behind-the-scenes interviews from the band and road crew. Basically it is Certifiable that if you like the Police you will like this release!
Secret Dakota Ring Cantarell No Office/Serious Business Records 
Fire Drills Review: Secret Dakota Ring is really guitarist Andy Ross from OK Go (you may know them better as the group in the treadmill video). Cantarell is Ross's second record under the moniker and it shows off his knack for writing and performing multi-layered indie pop that is catchy and softly engaging. Cantarell may never get the exposure of an OK Go but it won't be because of quality as it is a perfect slice of indie rock that includes horns, feverish string arrangements and enough handclap moments to keep you coming back for more!
Zoos Of Berlin Zoos Of Berlin [EP] Self-Released 
Fire Drills Review: You can't really go wrong checking out this 3 song EP from Detroit's Zoos Of Berlin because it really is a unique listen with their combination of baroque-pop and prog. The band features Trevor Naud from PAS/CAL and in a quick ten minutes the groups EP builds large overflowing soundscapes that bring you right into the music. The EP takes on a very David Bowie/Brian Eno vibe all the way down to vocals and pacing which gives Zoos Of Berlin a cool eclectic presence that certainly will keep people buzzing until they release a full length debut.
Dar Williams Promised Land Razor & Tie Records 
Fire Drills Review: So far Dar Williams has had an excellent career and Promised Land is the singer/songwriter's seventh studio record and first in three years. Her light-hearted and clean vocals always make any recording she releases worthy of checking out but she also grabbed some help this go around from friends Suzanne Vega and Marshall Crenshaw making this record even more appealing. Williams also includes a unique cover version of Fountains Of Wayne "Troubled Times" which just adds to her indie cred and lets her folk pop sensibilities shine through which happens again and again on Promised Land.
Holy Hail Independent Pleasure Club Kanine Records 
Fire Drills Review: Independent Pleasure Club is the debut record from the energetic indie group Holy Hail out of New York. The album mixes quick and anthem like vocals with distorted guitars, strobing synthesizers and a heavy drum beat which together make for a very upbeat launching on each track. At the end of the day the pace is fast, the tracks are in your face, and the lyrics are to the point making Independent Pleasure Club an exciting ride!
The Asteroids Galaxy Tour Around The Bend [EP] Small Giants Records 
Fire Drills Review: You may recognize "Around The Bend" from those catchy Apple commercials for the new iPod Touches with its fun pop ambiance that simply jumps out of the TV with enthusiasm. That is the way The Asteroids Galaxy Tour sound throughout their EP, which defies repetitiveness and never gets to the sunny side of annoying. The single "The Sun Ain't Shining No More" is also on this EP making the complete disc an easy twenty minutes to fit into your listening schedule and give the proper introduction to TAGT before they hit big next year.