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The Scott Farkus Affair - Sorrows Learn to Swim (AmBiguous City! Records)

Loud, dark, heavy guitar emo-rock with lots of screaming, ragged vocals and moody minor chords, this disc makes the perfect stocking stuffer for the sensitive flannel-shirt-wearing man in your life. If you don't have a man in your life, or if you are a man, then I don't know what to tell you here.

This ain't a happy disc to sit and listen to, but it is extremely well executed depression. It evokes all sorts of images (well, for me, anyway) of sipping cheap beer in smoky bars in the middle of winter, not really wanting to walk home through the cold until it's absolutely necessary, and not really having anything to go home to in the first place. (See? I told you it ain't happy.)

The final "track" consists of nothing but looped dial tone, which is one of the coolest ways I've heard a band end an album since Eno had the endless loop of crickets chirping on that there vinyl thing he did.

by Holly Day