The Drop

School Boy Humor
School Boy Humor
Vagrant Records

New teenagers need new soundtracks and recent Vagrant Records addition School Boy Humor helps make sure that the demographic won’t be going music-hungry anytime soon. The Arkansas-based group’s first release is charged with the kind of pop-punk energy that best accompanies making out with your first girlfriend or lying to your parents about what you’re really going to do Friday night8212;but this doesn’t make the band (or the genre) any less legitimate. The lyrics to tracks like “Paint Me Envy” openly accept the uncertainty that goes along with being young, and these guys don’t claim to be experts. “Let’s Talk Trust” is a solid request for truth, and while clich├ęs pop in and out of most songs, the ever-present energy is enough to ensure that most people will clap along. -JC

The Appleseed Cast
Sagarmatha
Vagrant Records

Ambient music runs the risk of only sounding tired, as if the artists should clock out for a few hours and spend those hours brewing coffee or napping. This doesn’t apply to Sagarmatha, the latest from The Appleseed Cast. The nine tracks sound like a trip with intense ups and downs. Just as overtures often preclude epics (providing the audience with music to match the scope of the story that’s about to be told), the first song on the record, “So The Little Things Go,” does something similar. Built from the ground up, the largely instrumental tune travels along until it blasts into completion8212;an arrival of sorts. “The Summer Before” sounds downright sexy, with the kind of hooks that could sell a Jeep, but each track is part of the whole, and the record should be listened to from start to finish. I haven’t checked NASA’s launch schedule for a while, but this is a strongly recommended iPod addition for any astronaut on his way up. As for those of you who are mere civilians, I recommend buying this record before your next drive up one of the canyons. -JC

One Clean Life
Something New
Skinned Elbow Records

The Ogden hardcore scene has grown by leaps and bounds during the past few years and there are new bands springing up all over the place. It’s hard to keep track of them all, but one of the biggest standouts is One Clean Life. The band recently released its first EP (via local label Skinned Elbow Records) and it’s a view of things to come from the scene up north. With tracks such as “No One Likes a Tweeker” that takes the best parts of mid-’90s two-step style hardcore and “Everything He Had Better” that gets a bit more melodic but doesn’t skimp on the breakdowns or sing-a-longs, it’s a solid debut all around. The dual vocalists add a nice dynamic and the album does a great job of giving you a taste of what the band is capable of. One of the best parts about One Clean Life that’s not captured on the record is the live show. Once described as “a party in band form,” that’s exactly what they bring to the live performance. So do yourself a favor8212;pick up the album, learn the words and keep your eye out for a show. You don’t want to miss the party. -TH