By Greg D'Avis Arizona Daily Wildcat

fluf

The Classic Years

Headhunter Records

Since fluf's singles are usually more satisfying than their full-length releases, The Classic Years - a collection of said singles - is their most consistent LP to date.

This collects five or six of fluf's seven-inches from the past few years, and most of them are pretty satisfying. fluf's sound jumps all over the place, the only constant being vocalist O's Bob Mould-esque vocal stylings. Some of the songs like "Skyrocket" and "All the Fuckers Live In Newport Beach" are fun rockin' punk, and others - "Song In D" and "Entire" - go the mellow indie rock route.

The highlights here are "24-7 Years", a heavy, passionate tribute to Kurt Cobain, and a cover of P.J. Harvey's "Sheela Na Gig," which is worth it just to hear O's falsetto.

Fluf is one of the better bands to come out of the much-ballyhooed and much-maligned San Diego music scene. Pick up The Classic Years to sample them at their best.

Mind Over Matter

Automanipulation

Wreck-Age Records

I can't figure this one out. Mind Over Matter manages to successfully blend hardcore, metal and rap something that pretty much no one can do right but they still are lacking, and it's hard to pinpoint why.

Automanipulation is heavy, rhythmic and pulls off difficult and varied changes with flair. Musically, this is pretty damn good. Unfortunately, they stick with the repetitive shouted vocal style which is for some ungodly reason really popular with east coast hardcore bands these days. It gets old in 15 seconds.

The verdict? If Mind Over Matter had any sort of vocal variation at all, Automanipulation would be one to remember. But since the singer shows no initiative to try something new, the only thing to say is "good effort, but ."

A.F.I.

Answer That and Stay Fashionable

Wingnut Records

With the "punk explosion" of the past year, we can look forward to a whole lot more of this sort of thing goofy, speedy punk rock with silly lyrics. Hooray.

A.F.I. will fit right in with the California punk scene. They're fun, sound a lot like the stuff coming out on Epitaph and Fat Wreck, and have no lasting effect whatsoever. Five minutes after shutting this off, I couldn't remember a single detail.

A.F.I. really isn't bad, but there's quite enough of this stuff around. The baggy pants crowd has enough to listen to.

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