Black Eyes Black Eyes

Produced by DC superstar Ian MacKaye, this debut full-length will grab you right from the start. A sense of urgency dominates the record — a sound that is constantly reaching and more often than not, getting there, after a build-up that comes together in relieving melody. Percussion, the solid hold-down for the group, is handled with determined dance-punk drumbeats and two bass guitars that chug along with consistent and commanding lines, frequently trading off and always allowing for the chaotic white noise of guitar feedback and desperate shouting. Vocals travel as far as possible through a range of high-pitched, bratty barking in a voice that threatens to break and collides head on with alternately lower-frequency screaming. Somehow, this combination manages to achieve near-harmonic heights that play with rhythm as much as the lyrics experiment with syllabic patterns. This is post-punk art-rock for today, with a clear geographic influence and so much energy, you'll have to excuse yourself to get up and shake it. (Dischord)