Rise Against, Rancid, Billy Talent
Now that George W. Bush has been ousted from office, what's left for punk bands to gripe about? Well, there's still the war in Iraq, the failing economy and the world's increasingly negative view of the United States—all of which happen to be topics that Chicago's Rise Against tackles on 2008's so-so Appeal to Reason. Although Reason might not be the band's best album, the melodic hardcore quartet still puts on one hell of a live show and generally throws in a Jawbreaker or Minor Threat cover for the die-hards in the crowd.
Assisting Rise Against in its unending mission to start a circle pit is Rancid. The 18-year vets of the punk scene are supporting their first album in six years (and their first good album in more than a decade), Let the Dominoes Fall. The LP proves that the Bay Area quartet still has some spark left—and if you're lucky, it'll play "Disconnected" or "Up to No Good," Dominoes' best cuts.
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