This week’s Rock-a-Ramas were written by Fred Pessaro, Zachary Lipez, Grace Scott, Maria Sherman, and Joe Sicilio. Read last week’s reviews here.

Aaliyah, One In A Million (Vinyl Reissue)
There is absolutely, without a doubt, not a single swingin’ reason why Aailyah’s second album, One In A Million, needs to be reissued as a double LP. You do not need to own this on vinyl, especially with all the pressing plant issues. (You do need to own this in some format, however—especially if you’re only into 2001’s self-titled, but that’s neither here nor there. This is CREEM, so I’ll give you points for just knowing Aaliyah existed.) One In A Million is funky as hell, Aaliyah at her coolest, and the producer roster is A-list: Timbaland, Missy Elliott, Carl-So-Lowe, J. Dibbs, Jermaine Dupri, Kay Gee, Vincent Herbert, Rodney Jenkins, Craig King, Darren Lighty, and Darryl Simmons, to name a few. “Your love is one in a million, it goes on, and on, and on…” Fuck it. Buy this.—M.S.

Triumvir Foul, Onslaught to Seraphim
I blame the Carharrt crowd. Right around the time that real-tree became a staple of death metal regalia, the bros took over the genre and we got a bunch of neutered, sub-Integrity style hardcore-as-death-metal bands that listened to Wolverine Blues from 1993 and decided that their sound was “fresh and exciting.” But that shit isn’t scary. It’s metal. Death metal is supposed to scare you to death. Triumvir Foul does—and with all the blasts, divebombs, and snarling vocals you could ever want. Onslaught might be their ugliest one yet. New jacks, get out your Moleskinsit’s time to take some goddamn notes.—F.P.

The Flatliners, New Ruin
Look, except for the heavy lifting, genuinely killer first track, this kind of arena-chorus, world-weary, dead-homied pop-punk isn’t my bag. The guitars chug. The kick drum has its own area code. When the band might zag, the percussion prefers to just keep zig-ing. There’s so much phlegm rattling around the vocals on this record that I developed a phantom nasal drip just listening to it. If you share my tastes, you probably won’t go too bananas over this record.

But, also, am I really going to shit on some band who, over 20 years, have made constantly able and sincere, sweet and rough rock ’n’ roll? When I was fifteen, listening to Pegboy’s Strong Reaction for the 1,000th time, did I say to myself, “Gosh, Zack, I hope someday you can be really condescending online about a perfectly cool pack of Canadian punk lifers.” No, I did not say that to myself even once. (Mainly because my dreams at fifteen were largely about being Mark Lanegan and/or having sex with one of the characters from the Dragonlance books. But that’s neither here nor there!) So, yeah, this ain’t for me. But if you like the Menzingers, Lucero, and late-era Against Me!, then this is most assuredly your jam. It’s good! Don’t listen to me, who wants every band to sound like Crimpshrine. Support the workers of the world. Don’t forget to tip your bartender.—Z.L.

Lee Bains + The Glory Fires, Old Time Folks
I’m worried that it’ll come off as the faintest of praise if I say that this album would be one of the best albums of 1975. So let’s just say that Lee Bains is working within a tradition, and he’s doing it as well as his (non-gendered) daddy and his (non-gendered) daddy’s (non-gendered) daddies. And if Bains eventually ends up having a short lived marriage/mediocre vanity project with today’s equivalent of Cher (Soccer Mommy? Turnstile?) that’ll be inhabiting the same proud tradition as well.

Basically, Old Time Folks is like if Randy Newman hadn’t gone saccharine when he went sincere. As I’m writing this, I’m getting yelled at on Twitter, by people who normally/correctly adore me, for arguing that dumb earnest lyrics aren’t necessarily redeemed by their good intentions. Regardless what Idles might have you believe. I fully expect an apology from everyone calling me a cynical idiot as soon as this album drops. I will revel in my vindication. But, even outside of helping me win arguments on social media, Old Time Folks is freakin’ gorgeous. Boisterous, catchy as hell, and erudite. Makes me feel like the first 20 times I read John Sayles’ The Anarchist Convention. In its reframing of oppositional forces as being valid and true Americana (while avoiding the trite “dissent is patriotic/thank you for your service” pablum favored by Clintonistas who want to play it both ways) the album is the sound of another world, old fashioned but without totally sucking.—Z.L.

The Infamous Gehenna, Negative Hardcore
At A389 Fest in Baltimore in 2011, Gehenna was on stage but missing their frontman, Mike Cheese. As the feedback tones rang out, a tall man walked on stage with wide eyes and a thousand-yard stare, looking angrier than I have ever seen any man look in my entire life. He started to briskly pace back and forth, like he was trying to walk off all the rage, and then suddenly he started screaming, “Where’s my coke!?! Where’s my FUCKING COKE?!?” The pacing got more and more frantic, and the furious look suddenly became utterly terrifying, with Cheese screaming louder, “WHERE THE FUCK IS MY COKE?!? I WANT MY FUCKING COKE?!?!”

Met him backstage after the gig. Nice guy!—F.P.

Amos Pitsch, Acid Rain
The first time I saw the double LP of Tenement’s Predatory Headlights, I thought to myself, “Did these guys not learn anything from Guns ‘n’ Roses, or Smashing Pumpkins, or virtually anyone with the arrogance to put out a double album in the ’90s?” Then I listened. And listened. And listened. The album bloomed into nothing short of one of the most unsung records of the 2010s—exploding with great songs and better riffs that were somewhere between power pop, Americana, punk, and hard rock while dabbling in all sorts of instrumentation and making it work.

All along, Amos Pitsch (vocals and guitar in Tenement) has been putting out records with his other band, Dusk, and on his own. Acid Rain is his latest solo LP that sits on the softer side of the Predatory Headlights sound while still staying in the world of power pop and Americana. Hell, he even sits in on Fender Rhodes and does a bit of a yacht rock thing that still kills. It all sews up nicely, and clearly shows that Pitsch may have gone softer for his later records, but he sure as hell didn’t go soft.—F.P.

Sean Meehan, Magazine
This is an entire album played on the cowbell. I’m not lying. I think there may be four cowbell hits in the first two-and-a-half minutes. I’m still not lying. Sometimes he goes nuts and hits the cowbell a few times in a few seconds! True story! This album is 58 minutes long with a lot of cowbell hits, but also a whole lot more of not-cowbell instrumentation. This is a real record.—J.S.

Holiday Ghosts, Credit Note EP
This is a really fun one from Holiday Ghosts, a guitar-tone-loving outfit from the south coast of the U.K. There’s an upbeat, C86-y sound, with warm guitars and simple melodies. You know, the good parts of the “jangle” genre without being too on the nose. Apparently this was the first time Holiday Ghosts brought in an outside producer/engineer—Phil Booth of JT Soar. It was a good decision, because this record sounds really fucking good. (And that’s without listening to the tracks "Sardines," and "Cowboy Builders,” since they’re reserved for owners of the physical EP.) I’ll have to order one.—G.S.

Marci, Marci

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