B.R.M.C., Black Rebel Motorcycle Club (Virgin): This San Fran trio are the Jesus & Mary Chain reincarnated, right down to the black Velvets garb, fucked-up hair and stupid band name (you have to concentrate in order not to say "PMRC" instead). Somehow, though (because they're 2/3 American, 1/3 British?), they don't come across as poseurs — a neat trick when your forefathers struck the most shameless pose of the '80s. The more you listen to this dazzling debut, the less it seems their Cathedral of Feedback is concealing something — an ironic sneer, say, or a smarmy new-wave come-on. They're merely using Psychocandy as a workaday aesthetic strategy and, despite loads of melodrama, they never sound pretentious about it either. How did they pull off such a delicate balance? My guess is through their devotion to the guitar as supreme noisemaker. You can hear it gushing forth on every cut here, especially the brief psychotic reaction that happens 3:06 into "As Sure As the Sun." — Kevin John

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