On an On – And the Wave Has Two SidesRoll Call Records– out now3 / 5 Minneapolis trio On an On comes back to our blog with their sophomore release, and we’re going to say they’re getting better. A pastiche of pop and electronica, the Minnesotans have refined their sound, honed it to where it hits directly, no frou-frou, just click on the dance switch and let it jam. But while we appreciate the effort, and there are certainly highs to the album, we’re going to say that And the Wave Has Two Sides isn’t as deep as it seems: despite a few singles, andRead More →

Talk in Tongues – Alone with a FriendFairfax Recordings-out tomorrow3 / 5 We’re going to have to admit something: we’re a bit stumped when it comes to reviewing the L.A. quartet’s debut LP. Alone with a Friend is one of those psych-rock albums that is put together well, that is overall pretty good, that definitely has some singles in it, that… Still merits only 3 stars from us. Here’s why. We’ve had this album on our listening shelf for almost a month. Ultimately, we spun it up only about four or five times in that length of time, and we’re still feeling a bit onRead More →

Ivan and Alyosha – It’s All Just PretendDualtone Records-out now3.5 / 5 Five-some Seattle-ites Ivan and Alyosha come with a strong sophomore album centered on singable melodies, earnestness, and rockin’ simplicity. It’s All Just Pretend is easy to get into, straightforward, and perhaps not as deep as we’d truly like. But what’s here is pleasant and good, filling, and satisfying. Our favorites come at opposite ends of the spectrum. First, “Modern Man.” It’s a 70s rocker laden with a bit of reverb, the kind of guitar hook way from left field out of an acoustic ensemble. It’s gritty and good. The closer, “Don’t Lose YourRead More →

My Morning Jacket – The WaterfallATO Records-out tomorrow3.5 / 5 It’s an improvement, is what we’re going to say. Disappointed with 2011’s Circuital, which was an album-long slow build (into what?) The Waterfall feels something like a concept, using natural imagery (Spring, the tropics, …and of course a waterfall) that we can’t quite piece together. The title track immediately reminds us of CCR, and that band’s repeated use of rain: “Have You Ever Seen the Rain,” et al. But while Creedence very ably used (and re-used) water in terms of political change, “In Its Infancy (The Waterfall)” seems to be a strange conglomeration of someRead More →