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Bethseda and Wally Boy Wonder

Bethesda

Love in a Time of Tra La La

(self-released)

myspace.com/bethesdaband

Meticulously recorded by Six Parts Seven's Tim Gerak at his Mammoth Cave Studios, this pensive Kent-based band's debut takes its musical cues from Rilo Kiley. That's not a bad thing. With its trickling acoustic guitars and soft horns, "The Boat Waltz" is a quiet number that sounds like a short fairy tale. So do tender tunes like "Apocalypse" and "My Body." The brisk "The Prime Directive" features intricate call-and-response vocals, highlighting the band's true strength: The group has several good singers.

Jeff Niesel

Wally Boy Wonder

Day of the Rising Tide

(Intolerance)

intolerancerecords.com

On the follow-up to last year's Where's Wally?, Akron rapper Wally Boy Wonder ditches the live band that featured former members of Filter, Warrant and the Twist-Offs. The canned beats on Day of the Rising Tide don't have the same impact. Still, the album opens strong with the incendiary "Due Time," where Wally righteously raps "World is yours/World is mine." But the album's best songs are the playfully innocent ones. In "Simple Life," Wally references Freddy Krueger and the Death Star while espousing the virtues of being a family man. In "Zodiac," he makes fun of our obsession with astrology. The album might not be on the same level as A-list rappers, but its countless references to pop culture give it character. — Niesel

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