Oliver the Crow – Self-Titled Self-released -out June 22 3 / 5   We brimmed with excitement at the Civil Wars-inspired Nashville duo Oliver the Crow. Kaitlyn Raitz and Ben Plotnick trade cello and violin riffs respectively, and weave their vocals throughout their confident self-released folker of a debut, and we greatly enjoyed picking this album up. Their instrumentation is very barebones, their vocals simple, and their sound sparse; they make a lot with very little. But the proof of the pudding: while we enjoyed playing their self-titled a few times, we eventually found ourselves trailing off and listening to other new releases of thisRead More →

Chris Crofton – Hello It’s Me Arrowhawk Records -out June 22 2.5 / 5   Nashville’s macabre comedian Chris Crofton fights through alcoholism and the loss of a relationship in Hello It’s Me, a smattering of laid-back rock tracks centered around his newfound sobriety. Coming through the other side of a life change has given Crofton a soft, earnest sound and desire to share his insight, and a handful of mainstream musicians have come together to support him: Jim James’ guitar is here, as well as Matt Myers from Houndmouth, among several others. There is something here, certainly, but unfortunately, there isn’t enough to meet up toRead More →

Lake Street Dive – Free Yourself Up Nonesuch Records -out May 4 3.5 / 5   Lake Street Dive has come a long way from the dives they (and streetcorners) they’ve performed on. Former Bostonites and now current New Yorkers (no bitterness here!), the quartet digs into a groove similar to their 2014 Bad Self Portraits, a groove of jazzy quartet with pop tendencies and non-standard song choices. Their latest Free Yourself Up hits upon their more whimsical notes (lyrically) in common with 2016’s Side Pony, but it’s in Bad Self Portraits‘ sound where they find their more familiar ground. And that’s what this album is: familiar. It’s a second attempt atRead More →

Shakey Graves – Can’t Wake Up Dualtone Music -out May 4 4.5 / 5 We have some misplaced anger at Austin-ite Shakey Graves. You see, his albums (specifically his last one, 2014’s And the War Came) are incredibly difficult to review. We reluctantly gave this one a 3.5 (see the review here) when, really, it’s one of our favorites of the year. Shame on you, Alejandro Rose-Garcia, for flying under the radar! The “problem” with his music is that it’s difficult to categorize, and to compare to other musicians out there. It’s easy to get confused, to work at it to tune your ear to it; inRead More →