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Off By One
self-titled (LMC Records)
            Pet peeve: ‘punk rock’ bands that dress like they think they’re the Sex Pistols but sound like Blink 182.  Off By One falls smack in the middle of this category; mediocre pop-punk with far too many lyrics about girls.  Lame, lame, and lame again, this band offers absolutely nothing remotely new or edgy, therefore why should they consider themselves ‘punk’?  Answer: they shouldn’t—they’re just pop, and not even good pop.  At least Blink has above-average drumming and a juvenile sense of humor to recommend them to fourteen-year olds: Off By One exhausts the one or two tricks in their bag by the third song, and it’s all downhill from there—production tricks are called into service almost immediately to attempt to make the tunes sound even slightly different from each other, but it’s not enough; you’d have to like this style a whole heck of a lot to sit through this whole album.  Then again, if you really liked the pop-punk style that much, you’ve probably already got two or three dozen albums that sound exactly like this CD, except, y’know—better.  File under: tiresome and redundant. 

Orchid/Pig Destroyer - split 7" (Amendment Records)
Orchid creates a thunderous hardcore roar with their three tracks on this split 7" with Pig Destroyer; if nothing else, it's certainly impressive, almost death-metal-like, in its intensity. The songs are a notch above average. If the singer could just stop using that gargling screaming voice all the time there might actually be tunes under all that. Pig Destroyer falls more into the "fast loud noise for fast loud noise's sake" category, somewhat akin to the Boredoms but without the humor. It's a barrage that pauses only to shift to a more punishing rhythm. Recommended to those who like to hang out near the border between hardcore and metal. ­-Aaron J. Poehler

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