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About a song, I think, but it's unclear. Tim Armstrong describes their 2002 debut album by saying, "It has a summertime vibe, but he's talking about killing himself." A quote from member Rob Aston, who looks fresh-sprung from the penitentiary where he won the homey dog of the month award, recounts a recent event in Hollywood: "Me and my partner got in a fight with some fools. Cops came and all that good shit -- they're questioning motherfuckers and this and that." Tim Armstrong: "Rob is super fucking honest. He don't give a fuck about pleasing anybody." Travis Barker, Transplant and also member of the Barker family of MTV's Meet the Barkers, usually doesn't go out with a bodyguard, writer Michael Muller tells us. Barker says, "I think it brings more attention. I'd rather take an ass-whupping than walk around with some big fucking ogre." It is true that I finished Muller's article without awareness of what hit me. Not only that, but I've heard the Transplants, and not only was I oblivious to the nature and essence of what hit me, but for the life of me can't remember what the thing, that might have hit me, if it did, was.

Bands that have been together for at least a decade have escaped my doddering radar, bands featured in AP like Melt-Banana and Darkest Hour. Among band names, 99 percent of which slid off my scar-slick memory cells, only two adhered to a sticky and encrusted synapse in the toxic effluvia of my mind. Those were Dashboard Confessional, whom I applaud for their existential and theological pith, and Black Dahlia Murder, being a fan of that slaying. More on that combo of scamps after these words.

AP, wisely, does not narrow their demographic appeal. Here, for example, is a short piece on the band Eisely, which states: "They would actually prefer it that you call them 'wholesome.'"

"Who would take that as an insult?" asks 21-year-old singer/guitarist Sheri DuPree. 'We go on tour with these bands and they party.That's what all bands do. We drink lots of coffee.'"

One can deduce something from the advertisers in this 192-page publication: mostly indie record companies. But also Vans, and here is a full-page t-shirtsthatsuck.com ad: "Offensive apparel for the whole family!" Torso-wear includes such logos as "Everytime you masturbate, God kills a kitten," "Helen, you really ought to douche," and "Ask me about my explosive diarrhea!"

"The lowest form of literature is rock journalism." -- Hunter S. Thompson. And whether or not it is the job of the rock-write community to tell you whether something is good to listen to is a question rock-write pioneer Richard Meltzer addressed repeatedly, mostly by manipulating form and content into something as irrelevant as the material at hand. An example of this was when he had his cat write an "ambient review" of a piece of "ambient music" by John Cage, which consisted of

silence. In AP's "Wiretapping" column, someone who had written a bylineless review of Black Dahlia Murder might have thought about Meltzer's approach, but didn't think it through.

"With Miasma, forget everything you know about the Black Dahlia Murder. The album is made up of 84 different 30-second songs, all of which are acoustic odes to singer Trevor Strnad's pet gecko, Miasma. Each track is quiet and pensive, creeping through your headphones at a snail's pace in an effort to lull you into slumber. Or we could be could be [sic] completely bullshitting you about what is surely one of the heaviest (and best) metal releases of 2005. You figure it out."

The writer (maybe editor) has the passive-aggressive killer instinct of a shy but cunning dictator. Aged rock-write advice might be to read any of Meltzer's pieces such as "A Whore Just Like The Rest," and read them to the end. I don't think you will find the word heavy or heaviest, but I can't swear to it. I can't imagine him ever typing the phrase "You figure it out."

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