Andrew Medwed – Free ManSelf-Released-out now3.5 / 5 The cover may not look like much, but inside Ukranian Medwed debuts a rocking, stomping sense of musicianship. We appreciate the diversity of his songs, even if we don’t appreciate all of them, and the fact that he can go from garage-y swamp music to pop/rock in a track or two impresses us. We also appreciate the crafting of his songs: they’re full, they’re completely realized and written well. We’re going to admit, there isn’t anything here that surprises or astonishes us, other than the fact that this is a 100% self-release, but when we smell talent,Read More →

Admirers – Involuntary MemoryArdent Music-out now2.5 / 5 Electro-pop Memphisians Admirers debut their dreamy near-dozen. Now, you know we love ourselves some SVIIB and dance music, but dance music that doesn’t make you… well… dance? That we cannot tolerate. And yet Involuntary Memory is chock-a-block with tepid tempos, deflated beats, and just general averageness. These songs here all seem to borrow the same two-and-four beat, never changing, as reliable as the trains – moreso, jab at the MBTA. Which makes for exciting dancing, of course. The tragedy of it all is that “Return,” the opener-slash-single off the album, is really a great four-star bright popRead More →

Body Parts – Fire DreamFather/Daughter Records-out today3.5 / 5 Every now and then, we get completely sucked into a good dance/pop album. Fire Dream holds that kind of promise as an 80s inspired, uptempo pop album infused with catchy hooks, great choruses, and a pounding dance beat. We like it. Does it blast us out of our seat? Not quite; but the Los Angeles duo’s debut does impress us with their singable songs, sexy synth, and darned groovy vocals. Fire Dream is the kind of fun you want to have when you go to the beach: no bugs or kids, cool drinks, all sun andRead More →

Diane Coffee – My Friend FishWestern Vinyl– out Oct. 292.5 / 5 We love “Tale of a Dead Dog.” It’s absolutely gorgeous: with angelic vocals sings former Disney voice actor Shaun Fleming over melodic acoustic guitars. It’s a truly precious song. But now-Foxygen-drummer Fleming has a whole album to fill out, and our verdict on it is less than glowing. It’s not poorly executed, or dull in the writing; rather, it is simply unengaging. We have yet to find another song of the ten that gets us thinking (“Tale”), or dancing (“WWWoman”), or whatever one should be doing when you put on a song inRead More →

Alex Chilton – Electricity by CandelightBar None Records-out now4 / 5 It’s a cold February night in NYC. Across from you is a legendary Memphis musician, reformed drug addict, and born-again folk singer. The lights go out – there is no electricity – and now it’s you and him, back and forth, the both of you trying to discover “that perfect folk song” to round out the night. This is not perfect, this is not mastered beautifully, and it’s not always the easiest to listen to. The audience and various noises overtake Chilton much of the time. What this is is one of those rareRead More →

World’s End Press – Self-TitledLiberation-out now3 / 5 The Melbourne, Australian dance/pop quartet may funkify their beats on their full-length debut, but we are very picky with our funk bass. The chaps go all out, with a setlist a little over an hour, and while some of the tracks here are good, we don’t find them especially brilliant. And when it comes to dance, it needs to be brilliant. The baker’s dozen of tracks does show some life, and they groove right, but we don’t find them to have quite enough energy or strong enough writing to truly captivate us. Of the tracks we recommend,Read More →

Patty Griffin – Silver BellA&M Records-out now4 / 5 Our first listen to the much-delayed Silver Bell was one of relative disappointment. Compared to American Kid, the Maine-born folk singer’s latest release seemed less immediate, less pleasurable than the absolutely fantastic Kid. (Which we reviewed here.) Initially, we were thinking there was a reason it took thirteen years to get this album out there (you know, a negative reason), but again, that was our first listen. The reality of it is this: it’s different. Instead of going country on Kid, Griffin splays a laid-back, down-tempo rock groove throughout. And the fact of the matter isRead More →

Static Jacks – In BlueFearless Records-out now2 / 5 This just in: the sophomore LP from Westfield, NJ rock quintet Static Jacks is more entertaining on their album cover than in their actual album. Why must we be so cruel? Let’s face it: you’re money is worth time, and when you spend forty minutes and fifteen bucks on a bland album like In Blue, now you know you’ve gotten hit twice. It’s not awful and the end of the world, it’s just the kind of album that leaves no impression upon us. It is not blue, or red, or even green; it is simply monochromatic,Read More →

Deer Tick – NegativityPartisan Records–out tomorrow3 / 5 The famed Providence-based rock quintet has come back. They’ve hit up Rolling Stone on several occasions, and make frequent pit stops on our regional radio over here, and here’s the reason why: songs like “Christ Jesus,” “Smith Hill,” and “Ashamed.” And now, on their fifth studio full-length in as many years, “The Rock.” Leadman and writer John Joseph McCauley III is quickly gaining a reputation for quality (and quantity) rock – the man’s been in side projects galore, including the absolutely brilliant collaboration of Middle Brother. And he’s back, at least initially, but we can’t lie hereRead More →

London Grammar – If You WaitColumbia Records-out now4 / 5 It’s simple, really: just have one gorgeous, haunting voice and support it with piano and light (light!) guitar, drums, and set it to simple but powerful melodies… well, now you’ve got the UK trio known as London Grammar. We’re not usually one to nod along to such straightforward, well, bliss, but lead vocalist Hannah Reid just pulls, pulls us in, all without belting, all within a comfortable range. You can barely hear her stretching, which is all the more remarkable, considering that she makes us, the listeners, stretch. It’s emotive, minimalist, direct and just unmitigatedRead More →