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+ Camera Obscura - Let's Get Out of This Country
+ Coachwhips - Double Death
+ Various Artists - Tibetan And Bhutanese Instrumental And Folk Music, Volume 2
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+ Function - The Secret Miracle Fountain
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+ Calexico - Garden Ruin (Review #2)
+ Calexico - Garden Ruin (Review #1)
+ The Flaming Lips - At War With The Mystics
+ The Glass Family - Sleep Inside This Wheel
+ Various Artists - Songs For Sixty Five Roses
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Schoolyard Heroes
Fantastic Wounds
The Control Group

The Schoolyard Heroes make me want to be young again, make me wish I still had the guts to jump in the pit and come out covered in blood and sweat like I used to. Yeah, believe it or not, I used to be fearless. Time has taught me to consider the consequences of my actions; these days I keep my distance from the pit. But there's still time left for you, young one. And with bands like Schoolyard Heroes around, good reason to tear it up too.

If it weren't for the seriously frightening metal guitar-playing slashing through this album (and my chest), their new, aptly-titled album, Fantastic Wounds, would have easily been tossed to the wayside. But the Metallica/Iron Maiden riffage blasts with the single-minded determination of a machine gun, and that, essentially, saves this album. What does not are claims that lead singer Ryann Donnelly sounds like the Yeah Yeah Yeahs' Karen O, because, with the exception of a few instances, she does not. Rather, Donnelly's sassy, snotty vocals recall a grittier Gwen Stefani or spunkier Siouxsie Sioux, and her angsty vocals are mediocre at best.

But you don't care about that kind of thing when you're young, so this can be overlooked. While the album begins tough and scary — with the brief, thrashing "Body Shots," hardcore-influenced "Panic in the Year Zero" and spastic, penetrating "Serial Killers Know How to Party" — the CD becomes increasingly soft and accessible, melodic and even sweet in places; check out such tracks as the brooding, emotionally charged "Centaur: Half-Man Half-Motorcycle" and the impassioned, mid-tempo "Nothing Cleanses Quite Like Fire."

Schoolyard Heroes are just what their name implies: heroes for those still playing in the schoolyard. Anyone over the age of 22 will find saluting this album with devil horns mighty difficult.

by Jenny Tatone

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