Reviews

Weatherbox | Follow the Rattle of the Afghan Guitar (s/r)

Written by Laura Hamlett Friday, 02 December 2011 16:24

 

cd weatherboxBrian Warren’s clever lyrics and carefully constructed songs should be enough to pull you in and admire what’s filling your ears.

 

 

 

Hurricane Bells | Tides and Tales (Invisible Brigades)

Written by Laura Hamlett Friday, 02 December 2011 16:20

 

cd hurricane bellsSteve Schiltz returns with Hurricane Bells, a new band—and a new direction.

   

The Dear Hunter | The Color Spectrum (Triple Crown)

Written by Alex Schreiber Friday, 02 December 2011 14:29

cd dear hunterWhat comes next is a mystery, so be good, be weird, have fun, and hope for the best, just like Casey Crescenzo.

 

Billy Joel | Piano Man (Sony Legacy)

Written by Jim Dunn Friday, 02 December 2011 14:25

 

CD pianomanIt is very easy to look at Billy Joel now and forget that he was once young and angry, and the world was literally his oyster.

 

   

Acrylics | Lives and Treasure (Friendly Fire/Hot Sand)

Written by Mike Rengel Friday, 02 December 2011 14:22

Itcd acrylics’s wholly modern, but doesn’t sound compressed beyond recognition for the earbud age.

 

 

 

Tegan and Sara | Get Along (Warner Bros.)

Written by Nicole Madden Friday, 02 December 2011 14:18

cd tegan and saraThe subtle interpretation of these songs is clearly a winner.

   

Bonnie “Prince” Billy | Quail and Dumplings (Drag City)

Written by Glen Elkins Thursday, 17 November 2011 12:42

bpb

It is dark yet bright, American yet international, calm yet excited, much like the man himself.

 

Rich Aucoin | We’re All Dying to Live (Sonic)

Written by Michael Morlaine Thursday, 03 November 2011 21:31

We’re All Dying to Live is a sunburst tapestry of light and color that serves as both an excellent dance record and the perfect salve for a broken heart.

   

The Kooks | Junk of the Heart (Astralwerks)

Written by Laura Hamlett Monday, 31 October 2011 10:54

After more than a few listens, the album's title begins to seem eerily descriptive of what awaits.

 

Joss Stone | LP1 (Stone’d/Surfdog)

Written by Ashley White Monday, 31 October 2011 09:59

There is no one in the industry who can top her vocal skills and talent.

   

Owen | Ghost Town (Polyvinyl)

Written by Laura Hamlett Wednesday, 26 October 2011 13:20

These may be quiet songs, but they’re anything but simple.

 

Stephen Malkmus and the Jicks | Mirror Traffic (Matador)

Written by Justin Curia Friday, 14 October 2011 11:20

It’s now obvious that Stephen Malkmus is well over the years of running around naked in bohemian footwear. “I saw you streaking in your Birkenstocks, a scary thought in the 2Ks” are the words that cordially open “Tigers,” the first song of Mirror Traffic, Malkmus and the Jicks’ latest effort.

   

Ptarmigan | The Forest Darling (s/r)

Written by Glen Elkins Tuesday, 11 October 2011 18:10

The group breaks the mold of what you’d expect from a three-minute pop song by twisting and turning through hip-bending hooks and heart-warming verses.

 

Arctic Monkeys | Suck It and See (Domino Records)

Written by Jennifer Manjarez Wednesday, 05 October 2011 12:05

I drool at the thought of what this album could have been had it been filled with harder rock tracks like these.

   

Frank Turner | England Keep My Bones (Epitaph)

Written by Mike Koehler Monday, 26 September 2011 20:45

 The music itself is grand and fitting, an excellent blend of folksy acoustic guitar-driven tracks to harder-rocking, punk-like tracks.

 

Yuck | s/t (Fat Possum)

Written by Justin Curia Friday, 16 September 2011 17:43

Follow the album all the way through, and it ends up as a ’90s nostalgia ride with a confident, effortless songwriting ability.

   

Colin Stetson | Those Who Didn’t Run (Constellation)

Written by Glen Elkins Friday, 16 September 2011 17:31

This EP is a slow burn, with a huge payoff.

 

Glasvegas | Euphoric Heartbreak (Columbia)

Written by Mike Rengel Thursday, 08 September 2011 08:16

Admirably, Allan wants to reach every single person in the world, but in attempting to do so he loses sight of the small stories that connect single lives into a greater web.

   

Black Lips | Arabia Mountain (Vice)

Written by Brett Berliner Wednesday, 24 August 2011 12:28

Mark Ronson’s influence has pushed the band even further into the realm of retro for this album; most of the best tracks sound like something straight out of the 1960s.

 

Matt Nathanson | Modern Love (Vanguard)

Written by Laura Hamlett Tuesday, 16 August 2011 20:36

 

“Room @ the End of the World” introduces us to Nathanson’s lovely falsetto, a delectable sound we’ll hear more of before the album’s through.
   

Blue October | Any Man in America (Up/Down)

Written by Laura Hamlett Tuesday, 16 August 2011 11:36

 Justin Furstenfeld’s got one of those voices that works across a range of genres, conveying strength, anger, pleading, pain, and acceptance.

 

Marissa Nadler | Marissa Nadler (Box of Cedars)

Written by Mike Rengel Saturday, 06 August 2011 09:58

I’m not one to badmouth sincerity, but there’s a fair bit of too-precious warbling going on here.

   

Sarandon | Sarandon’s Age of Reason (Slumberland)

Written by Jim Dunn Saturday, 06 August 2011 09:39

Short, sharp songs alternate with and illuminate the ruminations of Big Trev, a man thoroughly disillusioned with the world yet harboring a secret wish to be accepted by it.

 

Fleet Foxes | Helplessness Blues (Subpop)

Written by Tony Van Zeyl Wednesday, 03 August 2011 15:11

This struggle could come off as cliché in different hands, but the self-effacing, conversational tone of the lyrics and the varied musical ideas keep things fresh.

   

Ben Harper | Give Till It’s Gone (Virgin)

Written by Brett Berliner Thursday, 21 July 2011 06:10

By now, you should have a pretty good idea what you’re going to get with each Ben Harper release—his style is his style.

 

Incubus | If Not Now, When?

Written by Bruce Matlock Thursday, 14 July 2011 11:01

Standouts like “Switchblade”, “In the Company of Wolves”, and “Thieves” more than save this album from what quickly could have been the Brandon Boyd show.

 

   

Dawes | Nothing is Wrong (Ato Records/Red)

Written by Jenn Metzler Monday, 11 July 2011 14:21

Taylor Goldsmith and the gang perfect and fine-tune their sound, not to mention the art of analog recording.

 

Manchester Orchestra | Simple Math (Columbia Records)

Written by Tony Van Zeyl Monday, 11 July 2011 13:57

My notes from initial listens were generally favorable; however, when I listened to it again I found it generally annoying.

   

Duran Duran | All You Need Is Now (Tapemodern)

Written by Laura Hamlett Thursday, 07 July 2011 19:58

Such a clever, classic approach; I appreciate it anew with every listen.

 

Man Man | Life Fantastic (Anti-)

Written by Jenn Metzler Wednesday, 22 June 2011 17:53

Regrettably, pristine production is one of a (very) few highlights to glean from Life Fantastic.

   

Architecture in Helsinki | Moment Bends (V2 Records)

Written by Alex Schreiber Monday, 20 June 2011 16:03

Moment Bends combines all the strengths of previous efforts and molds them into an incredibly delightful whole.

 

Okkervil River | I Am Very Far (Jagjaguwar)

Written by Alex Schreiber Monday, 20 June 2011 15:55

Mid-song a filing cabinet can be heard being thrown across the room while Sheff sings about the world shaking and breaking.

   

Matthew Morrison | Matthew Morrison (Mercury)

Written by Sarah Boslaugh Monday, 20 June 2011 15:47

Morrison's Broadway credentials attest that he has the goods, but you won't find evidence on this album of anything that would set him apart from any number of other sweet-voiced pop performers.

 

Tyler, The Creator | Goblin (XL)

Written by Brett Berliner Friday, 17 June 2011 13:58

I believe Tyler intentionally made Goblin hard to listen to all the way through, as if it would be a badge of honor to succeed.

   

The Pains of Being Pure at Heart | Belong (Slumberland Records)

Written by Christopher Sewell Tuesday, 14 June 2011 14:46

There are plenty of catchy melodies to be found here, a wealth of warm analog-sounding synths, and solid production courtesy of Flood and Alan Moulder.

 

The New York Dolls | Dancing Backwards in High Heels (429 Records)

Written by Jim Ousley Thursday, 09 June 2011 11:32

It’s clear that Johansen and the gang are thrilling us with the same music that thrilled them so many years before.

   

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