The War and Treaty – Healing Tide Thirty Tigers -out now 4.5 / 5   Husband and wife duo Michael and Tanya Trotter wowed us at the Newport Folk Festival earlier this year. We mean, really really wowed us (they were the standout performance of the year, after all). The Albion, MI duo debut a soul/gospel LP here that, for being but a shadow of their live performance, is still beautiful in its earnest, soulful performances. We’re cutting to the chase: pick up this album, but moreover, catch them live while they’re still trying hard to fly under the radar. Why? “Healing Tide,” the single theyRead 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 →

Mark Erelli – Mixtape  Self-Released -out Jan. 26 4 / 5   MA-based folkie Mark Erelli first came to our attention with his 2008 album of political discontent Delivered. It is, in short, a brilliant and beautiful album, and we’ve been following Erelli since. Mixtape is his new covers album pulled from thirteen years of performances at Cambridge, MA’s Club Passim spanning songs from The Grateful Dead to Neko Case and Arcade Fire. While we don’t often review covers albums, Mixtape is a welcome reprieve from our usual modus operandi. It’s nice to mix(tape) things up once in a while. Despite going from pop (“The Boys of Summer“) to aRead More →