Rival Schools United By Fate

Sometimes it really sucks being Canadian. Nine months after the international release of this debut from former Quicksand front-man Walter Schreifel's new band, we deprived hosers finally get the official release of this amazing record. Featuring former members of pop-core heroes CIV and free-form jazz trio Iceburn, Rival Schools sounds like Quicksand without the seething hardcore rage. The quartet combines that band's chug and groove bounciness juxtaposed with an incredibly melodic edge, most evident on tracks like "Travel by Telephone,” "Undercovers On” and "Used for Glue.” There are also a few straight-up rockers, like "The Switch” and "High Acetate,” that highlight the band's roots in the New York Hardcore scene of the 1980s. And even an otherwise simple pop song like "My Echo” takes on a dynamic twist in the hands of Rival Schools. (Island)