Rose Melberg – “Homemade Ship”K Records-due out Sept. 22 Melberg’s third solo record is a slight bit of gentle enchantment. It’s a modest little record, composed mostly of acoustic guitar, her vocals and harmonies, and rather simple songs. But these songs are pleasant, enjoyable, and quiet in a deep and somewhat meditative way; “Things that We Do” in someone else’s hands may come off too saccharine, but the simplicity and lack of embellishment is refreshing and enjoyable. “Old Days” is a more somber and fulfilling course in supporting guitar and gorgeous harmonies. At times, it is difficult to pin down exactly what makes this albumRead More →

Grand Archives – “Keep in Mind Frankenstein”Sub pop Records-Due out Sept. 15 With a bit of acoustic Band of Horses flavor (guitarist Mat Brooke was on their debut), the Seattle quartet offers a second album of calm, quietly rocking tracks. With the likes of the plaintive “Oslo Novelist” and crisp dance of “Left for all the Strays,” “Frankenstein” has strong tracks for fans of Mat Brooke and calmer, restrained pop. But the tradeoff here is that these tracks don’t immediately grip you; the best of them require room and time for them to grow, whereas the worst simply fade from memory. One of the weakerRead More →

So,This week has been a bit slow, mostly due to a contract dispute (“I get nothing?”) with an online mag (think “sliced ____ meats”), but I assure you, each and every one of you, that you’ll still receive the same quality reviews, health care, and general warmth/abuse you’ve come to expect. Or maybe you expect nothing. Anyway, here goes:1. I decree there will be an exciting new album by a Sub Pop band next week. And lo, we shall see if it rocks.2. No more of this “work for free” communist propaganda stuff. Simplify: everything belongs to me.3. I’m starting up palm reading. Scan yourRead More →

Yo La Tengo – “Popular Songs”Matador Records-due out Sept. 84.5 / 5 On their 16th album, Hoboken trio Yo La Tengo crack open with strings, layering as complex and listenable as Beck, and their own dreary/dreamy vocals in “Here to Fall,” the opener track. Download this track; it is as exciting and groovy as any you’re bound to find in the vein of Depeche Mode (and there’s strings, to boot). “Popular Songs” is chock-a-block with similarly poppy tracks, and for a moment, the album seems to have more focus and enjoyability than their typical spacious space jams. But even here they supply, as the lastRead More →