Local heroes, ’09 edition

By CHRIS CONTI  |  December 22, 2009

LIGHTNING BOLT | EARTHLY DELIGHTS | LOAD
"Sound Guardians," "Nation of Boar," and the manic guitar riff on "Funny Farm" are vicious, metal-spiked jams, but experimental/noise/freakout fans will get their fill on "The Sublime Freak" and "Flooded Chamber," where drummer Brian Chippendale goes absolutely apeshit (myspace.com/lightningboltbrians).

BROWN BIRD | THE DEVIL DANCING | PEAPOD
Another gorgeous entry in the folk/roots genre, The Devil Dancing is the fourth full-length and best yet by David Lamb and friends. From the mellow groove of "Muck and Mire" to the square dance violins on "Bottom of the Bottle" to the unnerving "Wrong Black Mare," this album is stunning (myspace.com/brownbird).

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CHINESE STARS | HEAVEN ON SPEED DIAL | ANCHOR BRAIN
If Satan hosted a sock hop, Heaven on Speed Dial would be the soundtrack. Dubbed by their new label as a "no-bullshit freak rock journey," Heaven plays like an acid trip gone awry, with Eric Paul's vox sailing higher than the squealing mice-on-crack guitar riffs (myspace.com/thechinesestars).

SIX STAR GENERAL | TAKE YOUR TEETH OUT | 75ORLESS
Rock album of the year right here. Sounds as if singer Mark MacDougall has been slamming shots of battery acid for this sludgefeast, with guitarist Kyle Jackson scribbling all over his fretboard a la J Mascis on "Paint Throw" and "Bad Jokes for White Folks." The thunderous opening track "Half Flat," "One Way Walkie Talkie," and their stoned rendition of Cat Power's "Metal Heart" are among the many highlights (75orlessrecords.com).

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