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Bob Dylan: “Beyond Here Lies Nothin'” Leave it to Bob Dylan to make dad-rock feel post-apocalyptic. There’s not that much to the song—just your typical blooze jam with a little bit of accordion dropped in for flavor—but Dylan’s gravelly and cryptic lyrics about emptiness, love, and “boulevards of broken cars” elevate the song beyond the level of Law & Order-outro music. This song’s totally good enough for a montage-scene on the Wire.
Marylin Manson: “We’re From America” Marilyn Manson has been trying to stir controversy with good old Wal-Mart-shopping heartland Americans for so long that even the most devoutly conservative God-mongering ideologues must be bored by his antics by now. “We’re From America” probably won’t do much to get them excited again, despite its aggro industrial-rock riffs and controversy-baiting lyrics. “We don’t like to kill our unborn/We need them to grow up and fight our wars,” wails Manson. Somewhere, Billy Graham is flipping his wrist and saying, “Shit, that guy again? Whatever.”
Mika Miko: “I Got a Lot” Give Mika Miko some credit for inverting the traditional rock-n-roll career trajectory. The Los Angeles-based punk quintet has just gotten sloppier and more chaotic in the two years that have passed since the band’s debut album, C.Y.S.L.A.B.F., came out. At least that’s the case on “I Got a Lot”, with its barely intelligible vocals and Misfits-via-Erase Errata guitars. Their full-length, We Be Xuxa, comes out in May.
Wolfmother: “Back ‘Round” Bassist Chris Ross and drummer Myles Heskett split from Australian power-trio Wolfmother sometime last year, leaving guitarist Andrew Stockdale the sole remaining original member of the band. But Stockdale wouldn’t let the departure of the entire rhythm section get him down—apparently he just grabbed the next batch of road-worthy longhairs and got back to business as usual. “Back ‘Round”, with its regal guitar-monies and Ozzy-style falsetto vocals, proves that Wolfmother, whatever or whoever that might be, still has some retro-rock mojo left. —Aaron Leitko