Field Music – “Plumb”Memphis Industries– out today!4 / 5 We liked their previous double-album Measure, and really, we like Plumb even more. Field Music has drawn comparisons to Electric Light Orchestra, and on this latest release, they certainly show ELO’s ambitious sense of suite. As fifteen tracks (roughly 2-3 min each), you get a sense of incredible journey, of a brilliant, coherent travel through so many different shades of their innermost creativity. As a thorough (and rather gorgeous) suite, it’s difficult to pick out a single or two that describes this album, and that’s our main reason for loving this album. Yet, if you absolutelyRead More →

Shearwater – “Animal Joy”Sub Pop-out tomorrow 4 / 5 We’re glad we caught wind of Shearwater’s latest installment of powerful, emotive songwriting. As a follow-up to The Golden Archipelago, Animal Joy is a bit rockier, a bit more straightforward (check out the drums on 2-and-4 on several tracks), and makes us a bit more wistful for the sheer gorgeousness of that last one. This feel is culminated in “Immaculate,” a song that drives too directly, is raised too much to be a ‘radio-friendly’ track. That is not the Shearwater we know. “Dread Sovereign,” “Believing Makes it Easy,” and “Insolence,” those are what Shearwater is allRead More →

Brian Lynch – “Unsung Heroes” (3 Vols)Hollistic Musicworks-out now4 / 5 Brian Lynch is a master of over-achieving: on his Grammy-winning latin jazz album Simpatico (with Eddie Palmieri), we were blown away by the astounding quality – and quantity – of music provided. Jumping far beyond a measly 1.5 hrs here, the brilliant concept behind this three-volume set is worthy of recognition in and of itself; on Unsung Heroes, the Urbana, IL native compiles several relatively unknown jazz trumpeters and their compositions to cover. The amount of aural scholarship and knowledge is valuable enough, in our estimation, but Lynch also provides a tight ensemble here,Read More →

Bella Clava – “Holy Crow”Self-Released-out now4 / 5 Paralyzing lyrics, heavy, foot-stomping guitar and blasting melodies make this album one of those rare gems that you can’t wait to tell your friends about. Based in Toronto, the classic-rock inspired quartet pounds out high-wire riffs like they’d gone out of style, and here on their debut LP, there’s more than enough slash-and-burn going on to make you nauseous from rocking out. It’s difficult for us to pick out only a handful of tracks when the album on the whole is incredibly strong, but suffice it to say that if the opener “Ding Dong Ditch” somehow doesn’tRead More →