A.R.E. Weapons

Warning: A.R.E. Weapons have come to fuck up your children! The aural equivalent of Larry Clark's Kids (not surprisingly, the band is managed by actress Chloe Sevigny's brother Paul), the music of A.R.E. Weapons is the product of teenagers who grew up listening to both glam rock and hip-hop. Despite constant comparison to early synth avatars Suicide, songs like "A.R.E." (which stands for Apathy and Raw Energy) and 2003's anthem "Fuck You, Pay Me" owe more to Sweet than Alan Vega and, despite the presence of electronic drums, sound more like the Stooges than the White Stripes ever could.

What elevates A.R.E. Weapons from being just a modern Johnny Thunders cover band is the clever use of technology. The beats, supplied in part by veteran DJ Thomas "the Mammal" Bullock (from San Francisco's Wicked crew), attack with both the ferocity of punk rock and the metallic funk of Run-DMC. Lyrically they create a vibe as unsettling and addictive as the PCP they champion. At one point they proudly declare, "This is the end, I'm gonna die in this band," and you believe it.

A.R.E. Weapons' long-awaited debut is a classic New York junkie album, joining the ranks of Lou Reed's Transformer and the Heartbreakers' L.A.M.F. It's quite refreshing, after the onslaught of dry-cleaned 35-year-old punk rockers singing about how much high school sucked, to hear an album of such raw brutality and unabashed stinkin' thinkin'.

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Dafydd McKa