July 28, 2015
Imagine, if you will, the early 1990s. Back when alternative music was all the rage, indie wasn’t a sonic genre, and bidding wars were still a thing, a time before blogs grabbed the reins of underground music writing away from printed fanzines and Facebook was just a gleam in Mark Zuckerberg’s eye.
When I was nostalgic for the 1980s in the ’90s, I never thought I’d be nostalgic for the last decade of the old millennium. Yet, here we are in 2015 and Veruca Salt has reformed with the original members, released a new album called Ghost Notes, and is currently wrapping up a North American tour.
There’s an air of wanderlust to Heather Woods Broderick’s Glider. A gifted multi-instrumentalist and vocalist, Broderick has toured and recorded with Efterklang, Horse Feathers, and Sharon Van Etten’s band. On Glider, Broderick gently coaxes out her vision, one that is introspective with lovely layers of vocals.
By Tim Murr
Throughout its first season, The CW’s iZombie has managed to be more entertaining than the last three seasons of The Walking Dead, which devolved from a must-see gory character drama to boring misery porn that suffers from hideous pacing. (And yes, I haven’t missed an episode and yes, some episodes were very good.)
By Tyler Hodg
Soulful. Seductive. Satisfying. Sound appealing? If so, Ella Squirrell is the artist you’re looking for. In her first release, an EP titled Loop, Squirrell’s music embodies the aforementioned descriptions while feeling impressively progressive at the same time. There is a sense of folkiness in the tracks, most notably found in her lyrics, but the incorporated pop elements, like the polished production and vocal melodies, carry a heavier weight. When listening to it, Loop is over before you know it and does a successful job of convincing you that much more of it is exactly what you need.
Hailing from Alaska, Todd Grebe & Cold Country make good, old-fashioned country music. Their newest, Citizen, has the feeling of a classic, with witty lyrics, outstanding music, and Grebe’s unconventional voice. Produced by David Ferguson (known for working with Johnny Cash), Citizen has a crisp, brisk sound, in which every instrument sounds brilliant.
“You review music! That must be a dream job,” everyone says to me, and that is how I know the person talking does not review music for a living. While I agree that reviewing music for a living is a sweet gig, and I do get to hear a lot of cool tunes before the general public does, there are times when it provides just as much frustration as any other job.
The latest Doomsquad release is one of those frustrations. Their last album, Kalaboogie, was a Tantric trip back to the cradle of civilization and beyond (review). That’s a pretty heavy description, but it was a great record, filled with thunder and mystery, giving us only hints about where the trio was going next.
Jamie Lin Wilson’s (The Trishas) solo debut, Holidays & Wedding Rings, has the trappings of a classic country album: women looking for love and taking it where they can find it, heartbreak, cheating, death, all with a hearty dose of mandolin and lap steel to anchor the songs. Wilson has a wonderful twang in her vocals, and indeed, a dusty road of Texas runs through the songs. The thing that sets Holidays & Wedding Rings apart is Wilson’s songwriting. There are unvarnished truths in her lyrics, and she doesn’t shy away from them.
There’s something amazing about The Grahams’ newest album, Glory Bound. It feels absolutely timeless. Alyssa Graham has an unaffected, incredibly powerful voice and the songs feel as if they could have been pulled from country radio in the ‘70s (the last truly excellent country era). There’s an ease to these songs, borne of a couple who have known each other since they were children, and now that they’re married, make the kind of music that feels as if it has always existed: rooted in the earth, clicking along train tracks through the countryside, forever.
May 5, 2015
What a splendid idea for an evening! Whoever programmed this lineup did a fantastic job: the sonic palette of the musical offerings increased in intensity as the evening progressed.
When was the last time you heard a kick-ass kazoo solo (or even a bad one)? On the Banditos’ self-titled debut you’ll find one, and realize that you don’t hear enough kazoo in your daily life. And while that’s an interesting moment on Banditos, there is so much more to dig. The band is tight, taking disparate influences and deftly weaving them into a sound that is completely their own. It’s an incredibly assured, fully formed debut featuring smart songwriting and three vocalists who each add their own flavor to the songs.