The Chuck Hestons, "Glitch" (self-released): Not only does this Colchester band have a great name, its mailing came accompanied by a cover letter scrawled in blue crayon, reading, "Here is our new CD and professional press kit." The music is clever lo-fi basement noodling of the highest order, featuring chugging guitars and rhythmic tappings augmented by ad-hoc effects, such as a telephone run through a distortion pedal. There's electronic squalling on "Ants and Cardboard Robots," a trashy disco-funk synth sound on "Damn Baby" and a Neil Young-style folk-rock send-up on "Fake Hand." Some of the material teeters on the edge of precious -- especially toward the end of the record -- but "Glitch" is a self-assured effort from a band that bears watching.
Heap, "On the Cheap" (Rave On): This band is actually from New York, but Rave On Records is run by New London post-punk veterans the Reducers. "On the Cheap" is loaded with bar-rock guitar riffs and shout-along choruses. Reviewers have invoked the Replacements by way of comparison, but Heap's sound owes more to '60s garage rock than '80s college rock. Either way, the churning rhythm of "Stabbing Pain" and rootsy mandolin trading off with dirty guitar on "Backsliding" sound just fine.