Madison Bloodbath: The dominant vocalist is a dead ringer for Bob Mould’s primal howl, including his penchant for bursts of full-bodied aggression interlaced with heart-sinking hooks. In fact, the entire production conjures Zen Arcade in that it’s raw yet incredibly listenable. The guitar leads are never overtly upbeat or overplayed, but tastefully textured. My only ding is that they sometimes verge on cheeseball because of the gruff Muppet-y vocalist that chimes in too often. Constipated gang vocals in pop punk must be destroyed. Worthwhile Way: Ditch the Prozac and get a prescription of Worthwhile Way from Japan. Their brand of unabashed positivity filtered through country twang and open chord folkiness will greatly increase your serotonin levels. Lyrics like “Children are singing merrily” and “Life is enjoying what you have” will have you shedding your cynicism faster than a horny teenager’s slacks at senior prom. Their four-song contribution isn’t sappy or cloying but genuinely endearing and maturely written pop balladry. I’m smitten.
–Sean Arenas (ADD / Eager Beaver)