The Drop: Chronicle’s guide for the music store

RingwormThe Venomous Grand DesignVictory RecordsFour out of five stars

Still bummed Metallica reloaded with blanks? Sick of Orange County-bred pretty boys passing off pop garbage as heavy metal? Miss real thrash? Ringworm feels your pain. The Venomous Grand Design is the thrash record these Cleveland hardcore veterans have been shooting for since their 1993 debut, The Promise. Light-speed riffing (“Hangman”), shredding solos (“The Ninth Circle”) and a healthy dose of old-school power chords place Ringworm at the forefront of real metal’s resurrection.

RadioheadIn RainbowsSelf-releasedFour out of five stars

Now that the free download hype has died down, we can all admit that In Rainbows hits and misses. Thing is, Radiohead’s misses still f***ing shine. Never one to fear experimentation, Thom Yorke pushes his frail vocal chords even further on this outing, hurling atmospheric, operatic falsettos on rocker “Reckoner” and moaning his way through archetypal Radiohead track “Jigsaw Falling into Place.” Even in its least memorable moments (electro-pop ditty “House of Cards” or alternative throwback “Bodysnatchers”), Radiohead refuses to conform to the pop standards that yield legitimately bad albums.

Jamie TPanic PreventionVirgin RecordsThree out of five stars

With only a quick description, I’d have run as far away from this record as possible: white British kid drops hip-hop-ish vocals over reggae-ish beats. But stop! Don’t go. There’s more here than meets the eye. Jamie T spins the street level storytelling of The Clash with the humble flow of The Streets but manages to create something all his own. The backbeats journey from garage rock grooves to hip-hop boom baps as Jamie’s Brit-punk flow channels muses from Johnny Rotten to M.I.A. Catch Bob Hoskins (y’know, Smee from “Hook”) mouthing Jamie’s tales of rough, London street life in the video for “Sheila” and the only place you’ll be running is the nearest record store.

[email protected]