Deaf Judges All Rise

Deaf Judges are a four-piece, hyperactive rap outfit hailing from the home of original emo kings R.E.M.: Athens, GA. Consisting of three MCs (Rorshak, Produceman and Louie Larceny) and one DJ (Cubenza), this self-described "punk" band tear through 15 tracks on their debut effort, All Rise. The group wear their influences on their sleeves on album opener "Space Cadet Setlist," where the three rhymers trade verses over a beat that's heavily indebted to the mighty Wu's street anthem "C.R.E.A.M." On "Nuevo," Cubenza provides his boys with a soundscape that might have fit on Doom's latest, with its off-kilter keys, mellow groove and obscure vocal snippets. The sound of the crew's collective flow and voices, which can be confused with Atmosphere's Slug after a few too many Marlboros and gin and tonics, combined with the "haven't I heard this before?" beats both work for and against Deaf Judges. What they lack in originality they make up for in effort. Regardless, here's hoping the Judges' debut doesn't fall on deaf ears. (Emerald City Ruins)