The Fletch Fetch

The ExiesHead For The DoorVirgin Records

One out of five stars

Ten years after grunge was swept under the pop culture rug, its successor, nu-metal, is facing the broom. In a desperate attempt to avoid the cleansing, The Exies have camouflaged its nu-metal sheen with a layer of grunge-soiled flannel. The product, Head For The Door, lays the carcass of would-be grunge revivalists Puddle of Mudd and Nickelback atop the equally rotting remains of nu-metal has-beens Papa Roach, yielding nothing more than a pile of dead, decaying corpses. Twelve corpses to be exact, each running the gamut from frat-metal machismo to grunge grit, but never managing to mask the undeniable stench of death.

Simple Plan Still Not Getting Any…Lava

One and a half out of five stars

Simple Plan’s debut, No Pads, No Helmet, Just Balls, rotted countless teeth with its candy-coated, mall-punk sweetness. Its sophomore effort, Still Not Getting Any…, adopts a classic rock cadence, thanks to production extraordinaire Bob Rock (Aerosmith, Motley Crue), but still can’t seem to escape those cavity-inducing pop cravings. If one’s idea of a good time consists of racking up tooth decay, eat up.

Stereotyperider Prolonging the InevitableSuburban Home

Three out of five stars

Stereotyperider consists of four Arizona punks who share a smelly, old van that journeys the long, lonely roads dividing Quicksand post-hardcore and Descendants pop-punk. Forged in a kiln of do-it-yourself ethics, Stereotyperider’s second full-length, Prolonging the Inevitable, is everything that radio-friendly rock ‘n’ roll isn’t: experimental, dissonant, noisy and risk-taking. Odds are, if they make it to Salt Lake City, said smelly old, band-van will break down (and hard, at that), so fans of honest, independent, non-radio rock, leave your night-light on.

New Blood Revival Nice GirlsAtlantic

Half a star out of five stars

New Blood Revival’s debut, Nice Girls, drives rusty post-grunge nails a-la Everclear into a ska punk coffin that could house the entire Mighty Mighty Bosstones clan, alongside that musically injected weirdo who dances onstage with them. Atlantic Records dug the hole and lead singer Dan Wacker’s phony folk delivery sang the eulogy. Rest in peace, New Blood Revival. Nice Girls was DOA.

The ExplosionBlack TapeVirgin Records

Four and a half out of five stars

Boston hardcore refugees The Explosion are breathing life back into punk rock and shoving a pissed off middle finger in the face of today’s pop punk parodies. Black Tape harnesses the political angst of The Clash’s London Calling with the nihilism of The Dead Boys and honesty of Social Distortion-which, for those who didn’t know, could conjure up one hell of a punk rock riot. The Explosion pulled it off, too. Circle pits, sing-a-longs and social contempt: Black Tape is what punk rock should sound like pre-major-label soul-sucking. The fact that they’re actually with Virgin Records?Dynamite. Dan Fletcher