VARIOUS ARTISTS: Advanced Calculus: CD

First of all, the last time I saw packaging this gorgeous was when Independent Project Records was still around. If you remember any of the 10” releases that label did, you know exactly how this looks and, by proxy, how incredible it looks. Honestly, I can’t remember the bands that were on IPR—I just remember that the records all looked incredible. The music is what you might expect from a good free-form college radio station at the turn of the millennium—mathy, complex, noisy. For the most part, it’s challenging, like a good college station should be. There are, of course, low points—generic hardcore which sounds like someone who so worshipped Kevin Seconds that they stole his life outright. Generic ska-metal which managed to crib from both Voodoo Glow Skulls and Hot Water Music. Generic pop punk which borrows liberally (if you can use liberal borrowing to mean robbing at gunpoint) from All. You get the idea. Despite these shortcomings, there’s still a lot here to enjoy.

 –scott (These Bricks Are Mine)