Matthew Logan Vasquez – Solicitor ReturnsNo label-out now4 / 5 Let’s cut to the chase for y’all: it’s a good album. Now Austin-based rocker/writer Matthew Logan Vasquez, from Delta Spirit / Middle Brother fame has his solo album. And it’s good. It took us a few listens to get into his slower pace on here, but it’s grimy, it’s deliberate swagger, it’s confident and assertive. Some time back, Vasquez mentioned that he envisioned his Delta Spirit not as “Americana,” but as a rock outfit. We think this is the album he envisioned when he said that (not their decent, but lyrically flawed 2012 Delta Spirit).Read More →

Beware of Darkness – Are You Real?Bright Antenna– out Sept. 162.5 / 5 The LA emo rock trio Beware of Darkness has come out with a sophomore album we’ve been anticipating since 2013’s debut LP, Orthodox. A few words about that one: it’s a fantastic rocker. And now, onto Are You Real?: it’s not. The dozen songs here do rock, yes. Stylistically, musically, the guitars growl, the hooks groove, the beats pound and sway. But what holds us back from declaring their sophomore a satisfying rocker is the, erm, sophomoric lyrics and content. Are You Real? feels conceited, a bit self-indulgent, and more than a bit misogynistic. ItRead More →

Unknown Mortal Orchestra – photo (c) Neil Krug Fete Music Hall, Providence, RI. Thurs. 7-28-16, 7pm. $17, $20 door.(Also at Sinclair in Boston , 7-27-16 – SOLD OUT) This month as been CRAZY with music, just absolutely rotten with it, and we’d been wondering how we’re going to catch up on Unknown Mortal Orchestra now that they’ve made their presences known in lil’ Rhody (and now that they’re officially on our radar, finally). But wonder no more: we’re going. This quartet of electronic musicians balance the eclectic with the outright poppy, driving their choruses straight into your ear, all while taking the most circuitous routesRead More →

Nigel Thomas – Travelling ManKeo Records– out now3.5 / 5 Nigel Thomas has come by our blog a few times, previously in the form of The Foxes. And while he’s haunted about in the background, we’ve finally gotten unlazy and decided to review this Londoner’s solo album Travelling Man. How best to describe? Perhaps this way: a Ben Folds-ish vocal range and color minus Folds-ian cheekyness. Slant it a little more pop, a dash more supporting guitar. The sum result? A good (not quite great) album that you’ll enjoy sitting down with in the car. Giving Travelling Man a current listen while writing this up,Read More →

The Low Anthem – EyelandRazor and Tie– out now1.5 / 5 We generally try to listen to each album we review here five to ten times as a minimum before we review it. Sometimes there’s something we miss; but here, on the Providence, RI band’s fourth studio album, we’re pretty sure they missed something. We could only manage three obligatory listens of Eyeland before declaring the project overly ambitious, trite, arrogant; and defunct. What’s up with the band that made the glorious 2009 Oh My God, Charlie Darwin? We can’t answer that, but if we had to take a guess, it could be that theirRead More →

The Suffers – Self-TitledRhyme and Reason-out now 3.5 / 5 Let’s cut to the chase, not run around and make you suffer with our writing: we like The Suffers. We want to love them, yes, but we think we just like them. That this Houston, TX ten-some is so young is something of an anomaly, as they produce fine, original classic soul a la Sharon Jones and the Dap-Kings (seemingly embodied in the form of Suffers lead singer, Kam Franklin). And to cut past the chase – is that an expression, even? – we’re going to say this: The Suffers is going to be aRead More →

Andy Shauf – The PartyAnti Records– out May 204 / 5 We have a strange relationship with Saskatchewan-ian Andy Shauf. We’re going to be honest: we caught a bit of his set at the Newport Folk Fest a year or two back, and we were entirely not blown away. Kind of underwhelmed. And so his fourth album, The Party, almost feels the same. But hear us out, because we believe the studio is his element. The Party is a concept album, a large cast of characters thrown together, each given a slice of the life of a house party. What seems underwhelming is here actuallyRead More →

Andrew Bird has a new album out today. This Andrew Bird: Hey you *wink*. Photo (c) Reuben Cox. Not this bird: Tweet tweet *wink*. Photo c.o. Wikipedia. Both are given to flights of fancy, whistling, and yes, and occasional silliness and absurdity. But only one of these above is touring for his new album. Guess which. ****************** Citi Wang Theatre, Boston, MA. Sat. 4-9-16, 7pm. $40 and up. Mr. Bird, formerly of Squirrel Nuts Zippers fame, has one spot in New England to hit, that spot being Boston, and we – as your musical legal counsel – strongly advise you catch this extraordinary lyricist andRead More →

Lake Street Dive – Side PonyNonesuch Records-out Feb 193.5 / 5 The jazzy, poppy, indescribably fun quartet hailing originally from Boston (now NYC) comes out with their fifth studio full-length. (We’ll note: their first two are exceptionally hard to find in physical copies.) Coming off their 2014 Bad Self Portraits, which we marked as one of two Top Albums of 2014, we can only admit our HUGE admiration for these young and fresh guys and gals. We have caught them live on multiple occasions, and yes, that 3.5/5 you see up there, it’s a mark of love and, really, respect toward the band. Let usRead More →