By Natalya Jones
By County Grind
By Liz Tracy
By Chris Joseph
By Liz Tracy
By Matt Preira
By Jesse Scheckner
By Michael E. Miller
nonpoint: That's right -- the name's not capitalized, which is quite telling, actually. While nonpoint has the blessing of a major-label contract, the hard-rockin' four-piece hasn't gotten too big for its local britches (read: not utterly self-important), remaining in Fort Lauderdale long after bands a fifth as popular would have fled the region. Musically, you could call nonpoint a Buzz band, but that neglects Elias Soriano's thoughtful, passionate lyrics, like in the song "The Truth" from Recoil: "With the people getting richer/Off the people getting poorer/It's due for being over/There's justice on the way." Not your typical I wanna-break-shit-cuz-I'm-pissed metal lyrics.
Lostprophets: With a tune entitled "Last Summer," Lostprophets should offer something sweet -- something that'd inspire you to run outside, hop in your woody, and head for the beach. But that song, while not bad, leaves the listener stuck in low tide with Green Day-inspired vocals over a generic alt-rock riff. Then on "The Fake Sounds of Progress," drummer-turned-vocalist Ian Watkins sounds like James Hetfield. Guess they're trying to mix it up. What's next, punk hip-hop?
Kottonmouth Kings: Oh shit, we jinxed ourselves. Kottonmouth Kings play punk mixed with hip-hop, which actually sounds better than you might think. That also means guest appearances by aging SoCal punkers, a novelty that's good for a few laughs. Yep, T.S.O.L.'s Jack Grisham and D.I.'s Casey Royer lend their voices while the Kings sample and rework songs written when they were in diapers. And you'd be correct to assume, as the name suggests, that these guys are major stoners. With albums like Rollin' Stonedand Hidden Stash, the band puts the bake in bake sale.
Skindred: OK, so the Kottonmouth Kings do the punk-hop thing. Ska-punk's been done more times than Jenna Jameson. Looks like the next logical combination is metal and reggae, and Skindred's all over it. You'd think more bands would've arrived at this interesting fusion, but except for thrash-reggae pioneers Bad Brains, no one has. Skindred stands out as a result, an inspired alternative to the nu-metal formula.
Presidents of the United States of America: Quirky, upbeat guitar riffs; clever lyrics; a vocalist with a personality... Oh shit, will the kids go for this? They will if there's any sense left in those fat, MTV-addled heads of theirs. After all, the Presidents were disbanded for the past seven years, so younger Buzzheads probably have no idea what these weird, angst-free geezers are about. Jeez, were the '90s that long ago?