Normal/Independent

I love it when a band rocks out in a style all its own with seemingly no outside influence. In making noise for noise's sake, sometimes something beautiful emerges.

Run Dan Run's new CD is like that.

By calling the local band's music "noise," I don't mean to be insulting; quite the opposite, in fact.

Other indie bands such as Ween and Pavement have made a good living playing their respective forms of melodic noise.

By the way, Run Dan Run doesn't sound like either of those acts, in case you were wondering.

What's that? You want something to which you can compare the band?

Picture the pop melodies of Slow Runner coupled with the almost understated vocals of Jay Clifford and wrap the whole thing up in a rock sound that is aloof without being exclusionary, and you begin to get the idea.

Songs such as "Box-Type Love" and "Anonymous Girl" seem to float in the ether, creating a wonderfully dreamy feeling while listening to them.

Dan McCurry, Ash Hopkins and Nick Jenkins deserve high praise for following their own hearts and ears when deciding the sound of their band.

Key Tracks: "Box-Type Love," "Anonymous Girl," "Fresh Faces"

Glee: The Music, Volume 7/ Columbia

I have a significant love/hate relationship with the show "Glee."

On the one hand, the show has made being in your school's chorus or glee club far cooler that anyone could ever imagine.

I expect that next someone will come up with a show that glorifies us geeks who were in the AV club in high school, and all those hours delivering VCRs to classrooms won't have been in vain.

Anyhow, while it does glorify choraleers, "Glee" also is way too self-aware. Much like "Ally McBeal" did in the '90s, it knows it's clever and runs with it.

On Volume 7 of the popular "Glee: The Music" series, the covers naturally come fast and furious. We get tributes to everything from Tom Jones ("It's Not Unusual") to Katy Perry ("Last Friday Night") and Van Halen ("Hot For Teacher").

While I'm sure these songs added to the story flow on the actual episodes in which they were performed, when compiled on a single CD, the effect is simply lost.

Much like when Pat Boone covered the R&B hits of the day in the '50s and '60s, the "Glee" albums simply take the original hits and dilute them to varying degrees. Not exactly something to be gleeful about.

Key Tracks: "You Can't Stop the Beat," "Last Friday Night," "Girls Just Want to Have Fun"

The EP/Independent

There have been many attempts by bands to write a song that properly conveys the feeling we Southern rock fans have about our music.

Perhaps the best example would be Drive-By Truckers' "Let There Be Rock," which is brilliant in its simplicity.

Well, there's a local band that also can claim to have captured lightning in a bottle.

Southwood, which consists of Mitch Wetherington, Henri Gates, Austin Campbell and Craig South, knock it out of the park with "Nashville," which name checks the likes of Lynyrd Skynyrd, Tom Petty and Johnny Cash in a single verse. It's ridiculously catchy and reminiscent of artists such as Kid Rock.

Elsewhere on Southwood's aptly titled four-song "The EP," the songs are just as catchy, including the slower "Heart Don't Lie," the high-powered "Hey!" and a "stripped" version of "Long Way Down."

Listening to this CD, I'll admit that Southwood caught my attention with "Nashville," but kept it with the other three tunes. I eagerly await the band's full-length album.

Key Tracks: "Nashville," "Heart Don't Lie," "Long Way Down"