Radiation City – “Animals in the Median”Tender Loving Empire-out today3 / 5 The Portland, Oregon’s pop unit has some mixed blessings on their sophomore. Their sound is deliberate, their decisions intentional; there isn’t much room for putzing about on the album. They know what they want and they go right for it. Unfortunately, some of these tracks are fairly sleepy, and that’s perhaps the best way to put it. Every now and then, they drift a bit dreamily, and come out the worse for it. And what they go for isn’t necessarily tight and focused, it doesn’t always produce a brilliant listening experience, but let’sRead More →

Paper Aeroplanes – “Little Letters”My First Records-out now 3 / 5 We think the main thing keeping us from falling in love with Welsh duo Paper Aeroplanes’ sophomore full-length is that it just doesn’t come off all that new to us. We love the vocals here, and lead singer Sarah Howells certainly knows how to endow emotion into lyrics, but we have issue with the somewhat placid songwriting here. The storytelling isn’t exceptional, and the melodies here are pretty, but also a bit ordinary. These are all the same songs you’d expect from a nicer Jenny Lewis or [insert girl band here]-styled album. “Little LettersRead More →

The Features – Self-TitledSerpents and Snakes/BMG-out tomorrow2 / 5 You’d think by their fourth album Nashville-based pop band The Features wouldn’t put you to sleep, But the foursome clearly has difficulty putting together dynamic-sounding songs, with verses and choruses that draw us in and should swim about deftly. Instead, these songs stay in the water and stagnate, they crust over and refuse to move from their opening riffs. We think there are a few culprits to the low rating; one, the writing, of course, and two, leadman Matthew Pelham’s vocals don’t ted to go beyond a dull recitation. Some vocalists can make reading a phoneRead More →

Patty Griffin – “American Kid”New West-out today!4 / 5 She has a beautiful voice. But you already knew that. What you may not have known is that, on her seventh studio album, Old Town, Maine native Patty Griffin isn’t slowing down a whit. Her latest collection of mostly new folkies is charming, powerful, and gorgeous, to say the least. Dedicated to her father, these songs come from a drifter’s heart (“Ohio”) or are directly pay homage to parents and their burdens (“Mom and Dad’s Waltz”), and overall you get three things: great songwriting, Patty Griffin’s beautiful vocals, and even Robert Plant (on occasion). There areRead More →