Album Review: Agony Aunts – Big Cinnamon

Readers of a certain age will remember an early Saturday Night Live faux commercial for a product called Shimmer. It was, we were told, both a floor wax and a dessert topping. Silly and a bit bizarre, no? Well, I would posit that Agony Aunts‘ latest album Big Cinnamon offers up a dichotomy that is

Album Review: Agony Aunts – Greater Miranda

Some pop auteurs are almost too clever for their own good. There are those rare students of the pop form who seem to completely understand it on a molecular level. Some of them are music critics (ha!) and a smaller number actually practice the form. Even more rarely, a bunch of these pointy-headed lovers of

Album Reviews: Big Stir Singles — The Seventh and Eighth Waves

Time was, Jordan Oakes reigned as the tastemaker supreme in the powerpop world. His Yellow Pills compilation series shone a light on the very best that the genre had to offer. And the four volumes in the series – all quite expensive today if you can even find them (you can’t have mine) – hammered

Album Reviews: Various Artists — The Big Stir Singles Series

Back in the days when it still actually played music videos, MTV put together a promo clip featuring David Bowie. The Thin White Duke smiled rakishly at the camera and intoned, “Too much is never enough.” And to make sure viewers got the point, Billy Idol, Cyndi Lauper and The Police told them the same.

(My) Best of the Decade

Like many critics and serious followers of music, from time to time I compile my own “personal bests” lists. Almost exactly a decade ago today – this blog’s been around a long time – I wrote an entry called “Musoscribe’s Best of the Naughties.” Looking back at that list, I see albums that today I’d

Hundred-word Reviews: September 2017

Time for some more hundred-word reviews; new music from many different genres. Linsey Alexander – Two Cats (Delmark) A lot of modern-day blues has a sterility that makes it the sonic equivalent of a museum display: too perfect, too slick, soulless. Linsey Alexander is having none of that on Two Cats. The 75-year old blues

Album Mini-review: Various Artists — Friends and Frenemies

File next to: Sloan, Matthew Sweet Based in the redwoods of Northern California, Allen Clapp‘s Mystery Lawn Music has in recent years become a trademark of pop music quality. Originally formed as a vehicle to self-release 20/20 – perhaps the best album by his group the Orange Peels – Clapp’s label has become a collective

The Corner Laughers Let the Music Do the Selling

It’s a source of some mild amusement that when I Google “corner laughers,” the right-hand side of the resulting screen lists a number of the Bay Area group’s songs as dating from 1971. I’m pretty certain that at least two of the group’s number – bassist Khoi Huynh and his spouse, vocalist/ukulele player Karla Kane

Everything Comes Together: The Paul & John Interview, Part Three

Continued from Part Two… The album that would become Inner Sunset was announced in 2013, but the project’s gestation was a lengthy process, especially when compared to the quick, DIY measure employed by most other artists on the Mystery Lawn label. “Several factors contributed to the album taking so long to come out,” John Moremen

Album Review: The Corner Laughers – Poppy Seeds

With the impossibly winsome vocals of Karla Kane out front, The Corner Laughers‘ pop style is a tasty recipe indeed. Their 2012 release Poppy Seeds continues in their grand tradition. While the opening voice-and-ukulele of “Grasshopper Clock” suggests – if for a moment – a lighter-than-air confection, the clever melody unfolds gradually, revealing a quality