Bella Clava – Medicine for MelancholySelf-Released-out now3 / 5 Canadians do rock. These particular Canadians especially. And on Bella Clava’s second full-length hard rocker, the quartet fight melancholy with melancholic tracks: the self-explanatory “Broken Spirit” and the terribly sunshiney “Bitter Jaded and Dumb,” to name a couple. Toronto’s best kept secret here, however, do not present their best performances; they don’t strike that particular spark, don’t evince that faith in their songs that they certainly should. They come off perhaps a bit too melancholy, even, slogging at times. We’re going to single out lead singer Caitlin Dacey as the main culprit here, not singing toRead More →

My Brightest Diamond – This Is My HandAsthmatic Kitty Records -out tomorrow4 / 5 Shara Worden returns with a (drum roll please) drum roll. Marching band drum roll, to be more specific (care of the Detroit Party Band). Her fourth album as My Brightest Diamond has us reminiscing of St. Vincent’s Strange Mercy, in that both ladies take counter-intuitive routes to accessible poppiness. And that’s the way we like to get there: the road less traveled. The anchor to these songs is, of course, Worden’s vocals – strong, feminine – but to say that’s why we like this album is to deny the underlying impetusRead More →

Roadkill Ghost Choir – In TonguesGreatest Hiss Records-out today 2.5 / 5 We invariably find albums like Roadkill Ghost Choir’s debut the toughest to judge. In Tongues is not particularly weak (it’s got good drive and direction) nor all that strong (not especially compelling, not brilliant), and the Floridian rock quintet certainly have their moments. But we always have to consider this: that we’re getting the album gratis, for review consideration, and you, dear readers, will either head out to buy this album or spend it on something else. In this case, certainly, save that ten bucks and spend it on something like White LighterRead More →

Sleeper Agent – About Last NightRCA-out now4 / 5 Sleeper Agent (with The ‘Mericans)Aug 1, 7pmWaterplace Park, Providence, RI(Free – all ages) There are few things we appreciate more than a burning beat that soothes our hungry dance-heart. And Sleeper Agent’s (hailing from Bowler Green, KY) pop-centricity pulls us right in, gets us singing through their sophomore. It’s not bass-heavy electronica (think *ahem* Chain Gang of 1974) or pure saccharine pop (a la Sondre Lerche), or lightning-storm-cloud electro-buzz (St. Vincent, we look at you) but it strikes a pleasant, palatable medium: easy to get into, easy to get through, and somehow, pure blissful joy. WeRead More →