It's difficult to toss a headful of artfully mussed hair nowadays without hitting a band passing off generic broken-heart metaphors and sing-song shrieks as art. Thanks to visceral, controlled-chaos ragers that explored desire and regret, SoCal screamo stalwarts A Static Lullaby
became one of the first post-hardcore wavemakers to surpass their oh-so-tortured peers with the release of 2003's breakneck ....And Don't Forget to Breathe
. But even more difficult than breaking big is maintaining relevance after being dropped by your label (Columbia Records) and replacing three out of five original members. Now October's self-titled effort ups the angst ante, with the telling first single "Hang 'Em High" detailing a car-crash survivor's decision to give up everything he very nearly lost in order to continue on with "the Revolution." Seattle's The Classic Crime
, meanwhile, picks up where all those mold-breaking Pacific-Northwest bands left off in the late '90s: producing churning, progressive-leaning rock that aims to shake up both the music industry and the mind.