In Memory of Tommy Keene

Every so often – and not really that often at all – I hear a song that figuratively grabs me by the lapels and shakes me. It happened with World Party’s “Put the Message in the Box.” It happened with Todd Rundgren’s “Love of the Common Man.” And if most definitely happened one day during

Teaming Up: Tommy Keene and Ivan Julian

Tommy Keene and Ivan Julian recently completed a dual solo tour; just ahead of that run, I spoke with Keene. It was the third time I had interviewed him since 2006. — bk Though he got his musical start in the Washington DC area, guitarist Tommy Keene has a real connection to the music scene

Album Mini-review: Tommy Keene — Laugh in the Dark

File Next to: Marshall Crenshaw, Smithereens, Matthew Sweet A dedicated soldier in power pop’s ongoing struggle for critical and commercial success, Keene is at the top of the genre in terms of both quality and consistency. His preternatural abilities – crafting a sharp hook; wrapping it in a memorable, powerful melody; and applying heartfelt, often

Album Review: Tommy Keene – Excitement At Your Feet

There’s a fascinating thread that has run through my interviews with recording artists over the last several years. Not surprisingly, many of my favorite musicians are also world-class fans. And in the more in-depth conversations, talk has often turned to our shared admiration of the work of some other artist. Many of these people –

Tommy Keene: A Parade of Timeless Albums

Consistency is often thought of as being anathema to creativity. Ralph Waldo Emerson famously asserted that “a foolish consistency is the hobgoblin of little minds.” Yet there are a special few in the arts, those who can both remain consistent and create enduring works of value. All that may sound a bit lofty when the

Tommy Keene in the Naughties (full interview)

In September 2006 I talked with Tommy Keene about his early brush with success, his new record Crashing the Ether, his disdain of genre labels, and much more. While it started out as an interview, it quickly became a conversation. In our lively and wide-ranging talk, we covered a great deal of material. He gave

Tommy Keene in the Naughties (short version)

NOTE: The full text of my 2006 conversation with Tommy Keene is here. It’s like he never left. In fact he didn’t.Tommy Keene’s first major release, 1986’s Songs From the Film was a minor hit on college radio; many saw him then as pop/rock’s Next Big Thing. While his critical stature has never been in

In Memoriam

The inevitable nature of focusing upon the rock era means that I find myself interviewing artists who eventually leave us. Here’s a list – and of course it will grow going forward – of music figures who have passed away in the days, months and years since I spoke with them. Keith Allison Bill Bartolin

Even More Hundred-worders for May 2019

I’m determined to keep my backlog of music-for-review to a manageable size. Making that happen means that once again it’s time for ten of my quickie reviews. So off we go. These are all new or very recent titles of new music. Girls on Grass – Dirty Power I really like this record. Right off

Hundred-word Reviews for September 2018

Time once again for some 100-word reviews. Please note that I receive many albums each day for review consideration; even when allowing for the fact that 80-90% of them don’t make the cut for coverage/review, there are still far too many to cover. What that means in practical terms is twofold: (1) the only way