Albums

Band of Skulls: Sweet Sour

Band of Skull's new record, quite an improvement over their previous full-length album (2009's Baby Darling Doll Face Honey), showcases a more emotional and lyrically complex side of the band. Entitled Sweet Sour, the album lives up to its name. The group mixes hard-hitting, heavy rock and roll with intellectual, soft, at times psychedelic alternative rock songs.

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Heartless Bastards: Arrow | Review

Erika Wennerstrom, lead vocalist and guitarist for the smashing rock band Heartless Bastards, spoke to Billboard Magazine this past November to promote the February release of the group’s new album, Arrow. She said, “I feel like this is the strongest record I’ve ever done. I’m really, really happy with it.” She made a damn good point. The record rocks, plain and simple.

Islands | A Sleep & A Forgetting

Lacking both the alluring eccentricity of Arm’s Way and synth drenched electro pop driving Vapors, IslandsA Sleep & A Forgetting is unmistakably the least compelling album overextended singer/songwriter Nicholas Thorburn has ever hatched.

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Amy Ray: Lung of Love | New Album Review

Amy Ray’s newest solo release Lung of Love expresses the folk elements of Indigo Girls, while allowing Amy to stretch her rocker wings a bit more than she did on last year’s Beauty Queen Sister. She has been called the more edgy half of the duo, and her solo material has always displayed that. Ray is an adept songwriter, known to weave lyrics that stir heavy emotions about serious issues, both political and personal.

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Phish: Hampton/Winston-Salem '97 | Review

Every Phish fan has their favorite year of the band's long and storied career, and will argue to the death why they feel that specific year stands as the group's greatest.  For some it's the feisty year of 1993, or the energetic and explosive 1994 tour, and some will even argue that the tight yet loosely woven shows of 2011 rank as their all time high.  But for many, it was without a doubt the body of work heard during 1997.

Greensky Bluegrass: "Handguns" | Review

It’s hard to exactly pinpoint where the resurgence in popularity of bluegrass music in the last fifteen years has come from. Perhaps it has to do with American’s wanting to reconnect with roots music. It could be that it blends vocal elements of folk music with musical complexity of jazz and classical composition. Perhaps people are just plain sick of what has been coined now as “country”, which appears to have transitioned into electric big-band steel guitar nonsense with even shallower lyrics.

Mike Mizwinski: East Hope Avenue

Pop music since the 2000s has gone through interesting evolutions and continues as a topic of focus. So many styles and genres have been amalgamated and fused together. It seems as if modern pop seeks to embrace non-style or attaining something off-blues. The trend almost seems be a sound that denies roots and style, as if that would make it more interesting inherently through its disobedience of definition. In light of this goofy paradox, artists that reach out to roots seem to captivate my interest more so.

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Wilco: The Whole Love

Throughout Wilco’s two decades on the scene, the vacillating brain chemistry of frontman Jeff Tweedy has unfailingly fueled the band’s highflying creative trajectory.  Backed by the always vicious electric guitar chops of studio legend Nels Cline, the Chicago band’s 8th studio LP The Whole Love -self-released on Wilco’s nascent dBpm Records- presents Tweedy at a critical juncture. 

Del McCoury Band- Old Memories- The Music of Bill Monroe

It is such a gem that the large family of bluegrass music still has the likes of Del McCoury around. And simply declaring that Del is “still around” is a gross understatement. More accurately would be acknowledging his linage and persona as being at a career-high peak moment. Not only has classic bluegrass music had resurgence in popularity over the last twenty years, but also many of the oldies of the genre are still hashing out quality work.

James Elkington & Nathan Salsburg: Avos

The opening track on Avos, by James Elkington and Nathan Salsburg, “Hospitality”, has a sneaky, adventure feeling to it. One guitar holds down a somewhat dark undertone while the accompaniment dances happily, almost mischievously on top.

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