Ten Mini Local-Album Reviews

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We receive dozens and dozens of local CDs a year at the RFT. Although we review many in our weekly Homespun column, there just isn't space to touch on all of them. To remedy that, here are brief reviews of ten more releases that crossed our desks this fall.

The ChalkBoyz Chalk Dirty to Me Besides having the cheekiest local-album title as of late, rap/hip-hop group the ChalkBoyz also recruited some of the city's best talent for this release. Prince Ea and Bryant Stewart contribute rhythm- and note-perfect accents to the well-constructed pop highlight "Out Here On My Own," while Ruka Puff adds brashness to the midnight-inky underground lope "They Know." Dirty veers between ominous sounds and lighter fare; the title track samples AC/DC's "Thunderstruck" and the group raps new lyrics over the melody and piano line of Mariah Carey's "Always Be My Baby." (Props as well for the line, "Wasted like rollover minutes.") The album falters when the ChalkBoyz go for ballads -- the mellower "Day Dreamer" and "Get It How I Live" don't quite work - and Dirty's clipped beats and dark synths can sound tired and monotonous. But on songs such as "Back to the Traphouse" - a cartoonish, bouncy hip-hop number with swirly synths and lively rhymes - the ChalkBoyz hit the creative jackpot. -- Annie Zaleski

Flaming Death Trap Swamp Monster Rowdy, raucous and unflinching, Flaming Death Trap is ready to party. The quartet crafts essential rock & roll that makes you wonder why indie music has strayed so far from the holy trinity of guitar, bass and drums. On Swamp Monster, the band doesn't front about its affinity for alcohol, cigarettes and Kerouac, and it waxes poetic about the millennial condition (see: "Depression Makes Me Sad") in swift, distortion-heavy blasts. If you're sad, Monster will cheer you up. If you're happy, the album will make you dance -- making it the perfect soundtrack for your next party or night alone drinking whiskey in the bathtub. -- Diana Benanti

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