I have this theory - it's that most music critics and industry reps like really weenie music that generally appeals to someone who likes cute, catchy riffs and bands that have that certain image that isn't that far removed from a clothing ad. Generally they like music that doesn't threaten their pretentious sensibilities. How else can one explain the critical praise for a band like the Yeah Yeah Yeahs? Everyone from Rolling Stone to The Village Voice praises them as the greatest thing since Kurt Cobain farted on stage.
Well if a critic's job is often to offer his contrarian ramblings, then let me throw this suggestion out. Try listening to F-Minus instead. The reason for my suggestion is simple - take away the "art-punk" image crap, or the "Now I'm so cute, WAIT I'M REALLY ANGRY!" song delivery, and give me something that actually knocks you down. F-Minus does just that on "Sweating Blood" and "Not This Time." Sure it's 80s California hardcore revivalism - ala Circle Jerks and Black Flag - but what are the Yeah Yeah Yeahs except a bad Royal Trux or Siouxsie and the Banshees cover band. With a twin vocal/guitar attack provided by Brad Logan and Erica Daking that would make X shit themselves, you realize that sometimes just delivering the energy wins the day. Daking is seven hundred times more entertaining to listen to on "From Here" or "Wake Up" than Karen O or Donna A (and she gets points for actually using her full name instead of a dopey abbreviation). Plus the quartet delivers an explosive sound that reminds you why you listened to punk in the first place. Oh yeah, because it was so much more aggressive and raw than mainstream music. Listen to "The Iconoclast" and "Here Lies Jessica" and the feeling will all come back to you.
Also, what impresses me so much about F-minus is the explosiveness of their sound. "Mother of Suffering" benefits not only from the band's delivery, but from Steve Albini's production which keeps this from being another garage-rock pile of dung or even worse, a pop-punk disaster. In the day in age when punk has become about as universal as hip-hop, it's nice to hear a band that's not afraid to be actual punks. Plus lyrically F-minus is seven hundred times more interesting than their peers. I would rather hear someone belt out "Give us your guts, we'll give you relief, give us your minds, we'll give you belief" than "Mystery Girl keep on faking your mystery world Cos the mystery boys will be your toys yeah." It's like matching genuine, heartfelt political angst against nursery rhymes.
To boil it down, F-minus are a punk's punk. It's not for someone looking to praise an image or some shitty band's sense of irony, they actually deliver the goods.