Dr. von Shuntenstein cooks up a formula for the perfect press kit

Or how about: "As unique as the name implies"? Don't use this unless your band's name is something akin to the Brylcreem Donut Peterbilt Rototiller Experience.

To avoid being laughed at, don't overestimate the level of public anticipation regarding the release of your record. "Long-awaited follow-up" is acceptable in the case of Radiohead's Kid A. It likely doesn't apply to you. "Released to fanfare" may be accurate -- if your sister tooted a trumpet while you burned a few copies.

Watch those adjectives! Soulful, intoxicating, and potent are fine. Intense and dynamic are trite. If you describe your music as "assuaging," it's time we revoked your thesaurus privileges and booked you a room in the Shunt Stack Hotel.

Keep an eye on those mixed metaphors! A suggestion to "Forget your clichés at home" is likely to confuse and baffle even the most intrepid rock critic -- who will probably condemn your disc to languish in the breakdown lane of a little street I like to call Shunt Boulevard.

Sometimes a little background is helpful and relevant. Other times it's laughable. Give us some history, sure, but "My friend's mother worked in the [school cafeteria], and I asked her if I could sing for kids at lunchtime" is too much useless information. Are you sure you don't want to take us all the way back to your first rendition of "Rubber Ducky"?

Specifics count. "Five deliciously sinful and wicked tracks that pay homage to all things that eat your flesh" packs a weightier wallop than "There is not a track on this CD you would want to miss!"

In conclusion, by following these simple guidelines and exercising a bit of humor and intelligence, you can avoid the land of the circular silver castaways. Because life's too short to listen to something that claims to "represent a modern-day, cutting-edge rock sound with Thick Rhythms and Pounding Grooves... with Explosive Live Energy and Rhythms to match!"

Oh, and while you're at it, keep an eye out for Capital Letter Syndrome.

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