David Bazan: Just Like the Record, Almost

“We wanted to make a record.” That may sound like the most obvious of statements for a recording artist to make, but David Bazan is trying to convey a deeper meaning when he says it. For him, a record is more than simply a collection of the last dozen or so songs he’s written; it’s

The English Beat: Life is Difficult, but Life is Good

The English Beat (known in the UK simply as The Beat, and in Australia as The British Beat) were at the forefront of the late 1970s and early ’80s musical movement known as “2 tone,” a hybrid of ska (itself a dance variant of reggae) and punk rock. The English Beat charted with all three

Album Mini-review: Melvins — Basses Loaded

File next to: The Sword, Black Sabbath, Sunn O))) Loosely – and really only geographically – associated with the Pacific Northwest grunge scene, The Melvins long have stood apart from Nirvana, Pearl Jam and the like. For awhile now they’ve played live gigs with two drummers, but in reality that has been all about locking

Album Mini-review: Claypool Lennon Delirium — Monolith of Phobos

File next to: A Saucerful of Secrets-era Pink Floyd, Primus, Plastic Ono Band Les Claypool‘s detractors point to his tendency toward being too clever by half, for making self-consciously “weird” music with wacky sounds, a kind of less creative, poor man’s Frank Zappa. Sean Lennon has moved in some odd musical directions, but has avoided

Album Mini-review: Band of Skulls — By Default

File next to: Led Zeppelin, Stone Roses, Siena Root Rock substyles come and go, but there’s always a place for catchy riff-centric rock of the kind made by this Southampton, England trio. They start from a position of building a song around a signature riff, and put solid emphasis on crafting a memorable tune to

Album Mini-review: Jimbo Mathus — Band of Storms

File next to: JD McPherson, Dr. John the Night Tripper, The Replacements Every so often, an artist comes along who displays a true understanding of what rock ‘n’ roll is really about. It’s a mongrel with clear ancestry in blues, country, gospel, and even hokum of the 19th century. Only the rarest of artists can

#TunesForTarrah: A Benefit for Tarrah Segal

It’s a rare day on which I write more than a single blog post for the Musoscribe blog. But this issue is important enough that I’m happy to make an exception. I wish I could say that the circumstances were happy. A mere three months ago, Tarrah Segal – wife of renowned music journalist Mark

Black Mountain: Canadian Krautrock?

Conventional wisdom holds that Vancouver-based Black Mountain is somehow retro in its approach to making music. A more careful listen, however, suggests that the band’s music features new sounds that are informed by (but not copies of) the heavy sounds of 1970s rock. But on their latest album (and first in nearly six years), IV,

Guided by Voices: A Study in Well-prepared Spontaneity

“When we go to sound check, he goes to record stores.” That’s how guitarist Bobby Bare Jr. begins his description of the preparations Guided by Voices leader Bob Pollard makes ahead of each show. Since their 1983 start in Dayton, Ohio, through myriad lineup changes, across more than 20 albums and countless live shows, Guided

Award-winning Guitarist Bryan Sutton Comes Home Again

“There’s a place on Interstate 40 eastbound, just on the east side of Knoxville, where you come around this curve,” says guitarist/singer/songwriter Bryan Sutton. “Suddenly the whole horizon is an expanse: the leading edge of the Blue Ridge shows up. And it’s always been a thing that I look forward to on the trip.” Sutton’s