Monthly Archive:: April 2011

To the Lifeboats with Thomas Dolby, Part Two

Continued from Part One… The economics of touring the USA are – as for any musician based in the UK — daunting for Dolby. “I would love to tour in the late summer or the fall,” he says. “I’d have to figure out how to do it economically; I haven’t got a full-time band. Because

To the Lifeboats with Thomas Dolby, Part One

To many music fans, Thomas Dolby is best known as the guy with the popular early-80s MTV hit “She Blinded Me With Science.” But Dolby’s career has taken many other interesting twists and turns since then, including an extended hiatus from the music scene; that break actually found him busier than ever. He’s now at

Coming Attractions: The New Mastersounds

I don’t ever want to miss an opportunity to encourage people to check out The New Mastersounds. Whatever you’re into — rock, jazz, instrumental, jam bands — this UK aggregation deserves a listen. Readers in or close to Asheville NC have an ideal opportunity to see the group live this coming Friday (April 29) at

Album Review: Ian Moore and the Lossy Coils – El Sonido Nuevo

When a song kicks off sounding very much like Eddie Cochran’s “Somethin’ Else,” it gets my attention. And then when I discover that the song is instead an original — but one with the word “Secondhand” in its title — I’m amused and intrigued. Ian Moore and the Lossy Coils don’t milk that particular melody

Album Review: The Bewitched Hands – Birds & Drums

The idea of a songwriters’ collective has always fascinated me. Band dynamics being what they are, most groups have only one songwriter; the alternative is prone to the “too many cooks” scenario. Aggregations that have great potential (on paper at least) often flame out due to clashes of egos, or a general imbalance of creativity.

Bootleg Bin: Teenage Fanclub – Live at the 13th Note w/Alex Chilton 04-08-93

Here’s a recipe for success. Take an American 70s cult icon, one notorious for erratic performances, and add a healthy dose of one Scottish revivalist pop band that mixes equal parts noise, distortion and ethereal harmonies. What do you get? Well, you could get a trainwreck. But in this case you get Alex Chilton, former

DVD Review: Derailroaded – Inside the Mind of Larry “Wild Man” Fischer

I approached this one with great trepidation. In today’s world where postmodern irony is bought and sold like any other commodity – witness the plethora of so-called “ironic” T-shirts and fedoras at many concerts – I had some concerns that Derailroaded: Inside the Mind of Larry “Wild Man” Fischer might be an exploito-fest of this

Camper Van Beethoven and Cracker Bring Classic Albums to “Santa Cruz with Banjos”

Celebrated yet decidedly underground, Camper Van Beethoven released five albums in the latter half of the 1980s. Quite unlike the prevailing styles of that era, Camper developed a wry, intelligent mélange of musical styles that drew from places both familiar and wholly unexpected. The group’s commercial height was 1988’s Our Beloved Revolutionary Sweetheart (the title

Album Review: Material Issue – International Pop Overthrow (20th Anniversary)

What do Valerie, Diane, Renee and Christine have in common? They’ve each got a song written about ‘em on Material Issue’s 1991 International Pop Overthrow. And those songs have something else in common: each is a near-perfect slice of that particular brand of Midwestern powerpop. The Chicago trio released several records, but this one is

Concert Review: April Smith and the Great Picture Show

If you’ve attended even a few live shows in your lifetime, you’re probably familiar with the particular plight of the opening act. Often added to the bill by the record company, this hapless aggregation suffers the ignominy of performing before a crowd who – let’s be honest — came to see somebody else. Back in