Reviews

They Might Be Giants | No! (Rounder/Idlewild)

Written by Alex Hodschayan Monday, 13 August 2012 17:24

cd tmbgWhen I do have kids one day, I don’t want them listening to some modern Barney singing about wanting ice cream and how we can all be friends if we just get along.

 

 

The Hives | Lex Hives (Disques Hives)

Written by Alex Hodschayan Monday, 13 August 2012 17:21

cd hivesThe problem isn’t that this isn’t a good album; it is, but it lacks something.

   

Usher | Looking 4 Myself (RCA)

Written by Ashley White Monday, 30 July 2012 21:25

usher-looking-4-myself-deluxeDo yourself a favor and get the deluxe version.

 

Hidden Lakes | Model Airplanes (s/r)

Written by Mary Beth Hascall Monday, 23 July 2012 16:09

hiddenlakes 2012Hidden Lakes have put together an unusual mixture of sounds and melodies with a lot of guts and heart.

   

Willie Nelson | Heroes (Legacy)

Written by Sarah Boslaugh Monday, 09 July 2012 22:02

willienelson heroesThere are hits and there are misses on this album.

 

Chris Brown | FORTUNE (RCA Records)

Written by Ashley White Monday, 09 July 2012 21:33

Chris-Brown-FortuneInstead of channeling that damning time into a work of art, he’s using it to self-destruct.

   

Elvis Presley | I Am An Elvis Fan (RCA Legacy)

Written by Sarah Boslaugh Thursday, 05 July 2012 16:58

elvis fanAll the tracks have been released before, so this is basically a greatest-hits album with an unusual selection process.

 

Dar Williams | In the Time of Gods (Razor & Tie)

Written by Jason Green Friday, 22 June 2012 15:22

It’s an idea that sounds almost fatally pretentious on its face, but the resulting album thankfully offers up tales of Greek gods and goddesses as subtle flavoring to spice up her trademark folk-pop rather than as the main course.

   

Best Coast | The Only Place (Mexican Summer)

Written by Mike Rengel Monday, 04 June 2012 21:22

best-coast-the-only-placeWhile a lot of these songs do sound like they could soundtrack ads for Cosentino’s newfound alliance with Urban Outfitters (and the record does sound fashionable), it’s certainly not product.

 

Adam Lambert | Trespassing (Sony)

Written by Laura Hamlett Thursday, 31 May 2012 17:59

lambert tresspassingThis goes far, far beyond guilty pleasure.

   

David Sylvian | A Victim of Stars: 1982-2012 (EMI)

Written by Laura Hamlett Thursday, 31 May 2012 17:55

cd david-sylvianThe eight-minute-long “The Banality of Evil” is a pristine example of David Sylvian’s laudable vocal and songwriting capabilities.

 

Ben Kweller | Go Fly a Kite (The Noise Company)

Written by Jason Green Tuesday, 29 May 2012 15:54

kweller goflyWhere Go Fly a Kite excels is in its craft: the way verses and choruses brush up against each other in just the right way, the way not a single note feels wasted or out of place, the way Kweller can repeat a refrain just often enough to drill it into your subconscious without tipping over into obnoxiousness.

   

Jason Mraz | Love Is a Four Letter Word (Atlantic)

Written by Ashley White Tuesday, 01 May 2012 21:24

 

jason mrazEach of us is entitled to that one person who is willing to let us explore the world and find ourselves.

 

Monica | New Life (RCA)

Written by Ashley White Thursday, 19 April 2012 20:49

220px-Monica New Life DeluxeShe effortlessly goes back to her R&B roots to pen a heartfelt, mature album about ending one thing to begin anew, fresh.

   

Margot & the Nuclear So and So’s | Rot Gut, Domestic (Mariel Recording Co.)

Written by Alex Schreiber Thursday, 29 March 2012 21:44

rotgut margotThe less cheeky and grittier sound hits right from the start, with a big wall of sound.

 

Now, Now | Threads (Trans-Records)

Written by Tyler Cigard Thursday, 29 March 2012 21:40

cd now-nowOn Threads, Now, Now have a much more refined sound and show their age well.

   

Bryan Scary | Daffy’s Elixir (Paper Garden)

Written by Dean Asher Wednesday, 07 March 2012 21:02

cd bryan-scarySome tracks feel like they float out from behind a saloon’s swinging doors into the dusty night.

 

 

The Mary Onettes | Love Forever EP (Labrador)

Written by Mike Rengel Tuesday, 28 February 2012 13:49

 

cd mary-onettes_love-foreveThis is a band that might cloak themselves in bedsit miserablism and Nordic chill and imagery, but mostly they just want to forge a deeper connection

   

V/A | Minnesota Beatles Project vol. 3 (Pretty Good Goods)

Written by Tony Van Zeyl Tuesday, 28 February 2012 13:45

cd minn-beatlesHalf of the album is packed with highly entertaining and original takes on Beatles tunes.

 

 

iLLPHONiCS | Reality Check EP (s/r)

Written by Ashley White Tuesday, 28 February 2012 13:41

cd illphonics“Sound: Check” created the perfect balance for all of the instruments from the keyboard to the bass and guitar to the drums, so rightly appropriate for the closing of this EP.

   

Underworld | 1992-2012 (The Anthology); A Collection (COOFC)

Written by Laura Hamlett Friday, 17 February 2012 14:14

 

cd underworld_75The British house-trance-techno duo is gracing our speakers yet again with not one but two career retrospectives, released concurrently.

 

Michael Kiwanuka | Home Again (Cherrytree/Interscope)

Written by Ashley White Wednesday, 15 February 2012 15:22

 

cd Michael-KiwanukaI want more than soulful vocals over acoustic instruments.

   

Gary Numan | Dead Son Rising (RED Distribution)

Written by Laura Hamlett Friday, 10 February 2012 17:12

cd gary-numan“The Fall” could easily be a single on alternative radio today; drawing NIN comparisons, it’s a strong display of Numan’s still-apparent talents.

 

Mike Doughty | The Question Jar (Snack Bar/Megaforce)

Written by Jenn Metzler Friday, 10 February 2012 13:02

 

cd Mike-DoughtyWhile it may be easy to toss aside an album upon hearing that it’s “just some guy playing an acoustic guitar,” this is Mike Doughty.

   

The Dustbowl Revival | Holy Ghost Station (s/r)

Written by Sarah Boslaugh Friday, 10 February 2012 13:00

 

cd dustbowl-revivalThey make good use of a wide range of instruments so that each song has a distinctively different sound.

 

Foxy Shazam | The Church of Rock and Roll (I.R.S.)

Written by Kyle Green Wednesday, 01 February 2012 13:04

cd foxy-shazamInfluences aside, The Church of Rock and Roll is all Foxy Shazam, with big guitars, piano, trumpets, and the wailing tenor and falsetto Nally is known for.

   

Phil Spector Presents The Philles Album Collection (Legacy)

Written by Sarah Boslaugh Wednesday, 01 February 2012 12:20

cd phil-spector

Some of the songs in this collection are well-known—”Chapel of Love,” “Be My Baby,” “He’s a Rebel,” and “Da Doo Ron Ron” among them—but the real appeal is the more obscure selections

 

Johnny Cash | Bootleg III – LIVE Around the World (Columbia/Legacy)

Written by Sarah Boslaugh Wednesday, 01 February 2012 12:17

 

cd johnny-cash-bootleg-iiiThe variety provided by the different contexts (besides changes in the band lineup, the reactions of the audience can’t help but influence the performance) make this album worth having.

 

 

   

Mike Acerbo | The Search (self-released)

Written by Mike Koehler Friday, 13 January 2012 13:28

 

cd mike-acerboThere are a lot of very good things going on here; there are some clear misses, as well.

 

The Big Pink | Future This (4AD)

Written by Kyle Green Friday, 13 January 2012 13:26

 

cd big-pinkOffering music that is sonic, melodic, and ambient all at the same time, this duo is on the path to stardom.

 

   

Total Babes | Swimming Through Sunlight (Old Flame)

Written by Alex Schreiber Friday, 13 January 2012 13:21

cd total-babesThe final three songs are the highlights of the album; those prior are all good individual tracks, but they do sort of blend when put together.

 

MuteMath | Odd Soul (Warner Bros.)

Written by Laura Hamlett Thursday, 22 December 2011 12:19

 

cd mutemath_odd-soulA full 13 songs long (nothing new for the band; Armistice, by comparison, was 15), Odd Soul is a rather stark departure that works beautifully.

 

   

Kate Bush | 50 Words for Snow (Fish People)

Written by Jeffrey Ricker Wednesday, 21 December 2011 12:27

cd kate-bushA concept album consisting of seven songs swirling around the theme of winter, 50 Words for Snow was clearly not created with a concern for airplay in mind.

 

Tom Waits | Bad as Me (Anti-)

Written by Pete Timmermann Monday, 19 December 2011 11:26

cd Tom-WaitsYou already know more or less what to expect; Tom Waits records are always good.

   

The Vaccines | What Did You Expect from The Vaccines (Columbia)

Written by Mike Koehler Thursday, 15 December 2011 13:04

cd vaccinesThe Vaccines boil down the music to what’s essential, without the fat.

 

Black Lab | Unplugged (Black Lab World)

Written by Laura Hamlett Monday, 12 December 2011 13:25

 

cd black-lab-unplugged_75Some artists’ acoustic re-imaginings come off as flat or repetitious, lazy efforts to release CDs without going through the efforts of writing and recording new material. Black Lab’s Unplugged most certainly does not fall into that category.

   

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