Human Waste Project - E:Lux (Polydor)

A drop of the hard stuff from Californian hit squad HWP, who have equipped themselves with the brutal rhythms and squealing metal melodies favoured by the likes of Rage Against The Machine and Machine Head. The vulnerable but vampish vocalist Aimee Echo is tops with her brink-of-hysteria hollerings of above-average lyrics, so it's only a matter of months before they cease to be the exclusive property of noise-obsessed 14-year-olds and begin scaring the

population at large. HHH

Carter The Unstoppable Sex Machine - I Blame The Government (Cooking Vinyl)

It has titles like "The Undertaker and the Happy Protest Singer". But before we run for cover in anticipation of an avalanche of Carter cliches, their swansong long-player has softer edges than their giddy pop stuff of the early Nineties. This clutch of bittersweet tales isn't going to make any inroads into this post-Oasis world, but is the wistful sound of a band disappearing with as much dignity as they can muster. HH

Mase - Harlem World (Arista, below)

Jeez, the man widely tipped to fill the gap left by the Notorious BIG is slick, but he's also irresistible. He's part of Puff Daddy's family of artists on the east coast of America, so inevitably he's here along with Lil Kim on this heavy duty hip-hop funker. Quite painstakingly, it steers clear of the rawer aspects of rap's usual preoccupations. One of the freshest debuts in yonks. HHHH

Idlewild - Captain (Deceptive)

Those in the know love the bedraggled Scots, Idlewild, but beware. Their post-adolescent songs half-inch The Undertones' punky naivety and Pavement's off-kilter sensibility, but still sound threadbare. Captain soundtracks bedsit-hovel-dwelling, university-dropout, cheap-alcohol-addicted chaps who want to inflict their woes on the rest of us. Sadly, you will hear a lot more of them yet. H