Tapes ‘n Tapes – “Outside”Ibid Records-out Jan. 114 / 5 There’s no “magic bullet” to what works in music, no specific tempo or chord changes or guitar hooks, but if there were one element we’d have to pin on the success of Minnesota, MN’s Tapes ‘n Tapes latest album it would have to be Josh Grier’s pushing his vocal boundaries. The punkish color to his vocals is in part what makes “Outside” more successful than “Walk it Off;” it charges these rock songs with an energy lacking in their previous release. The other part of it may well be the whimsical attitude of the instrumentalsRead More →

So here it is, finally: The Decemberists’ latest album. We’re prickling with anticipation, and figured, “Hey, since you can listen to the full thing, why muck this up with a review right now?” Decide for yourself whether The Decemberists’ “The King is Dead” deserves to be on our year-end list of 2011. And feel free to post comments galore here; just keep in mind it’s only going to be up until the release on Jan. 18, so be sure your listen in before you crack open that (warning: “Pulp Fiction” reference) “Bad Motherf*#!er” wallet. Here’s the link to the NPR stream:“The King is Dead” TellRead More →

Ethan Gold – “Songs from a Toxic Apartment”Gold Records-out Jan. 113.5 / 5 Nothing’s ever perfect, but at least with Ethan Gold’s “Songs from a Toxic Apartment,” you won’t have to put up unsanitary listening conditions. These off-kilter pop songs give you solid choruses, good beats, and strong song structure; and when the sound opens up, the album can be unabashedly satisfying, if in a strangely predictable way. Still, when you’re given a song like “Poison,” it’s hard not to appreciate funky guitars, the steady drive of the vocals, and the full sound Gold is capable of. The album presents a diverse sound within rock/pop,Read More →

It’s a tough time out there. That’s why Brooklyn’s Soft Collapse is offering their album “Little Songs” potentially for free on Bandcamp .com. We’ll give you the link in a little bit, but considering the following: “Easy” is a somber little track with National-styled vocals; “Black on Black on Black on Black” references Johnny Cash AND Batman; and though the best things in life are free, you probably wouldn’t mind supporting whoever gave them to you. So we suggest you try out those two tracks up there, and determine what you think is a fair price for this pleasant, patient, shy-from-the-light indie release. So helpRead More →