new release Archive

Album Review: Johnathan Pushkar – Compositions

File Under: Too twee for me, but perhaps not for thee. This by-the-numbers powerpop album would seem to have all the requisite elements: catchy choruses, creamy vocal harmonies, and a sunny, upbeat disposition. But there’s something just too saccharine about the whole thing. When The SpongeTones made Beatle-y music, it was inspired. When the That

Dialogue Now! Consolidated Returns From a Self-Imposed Exile

An edited version of this feature appeared previously in SF Weekly. Socialism is back. Though it was widely popular in the United States in the first half of the 20th century, the political philosophy endured years in the wilderness thanks to its vilification during the McCarthy era, the “me decade” of the 1970s, the Reagan

Album Review: American Folk Blues Festival Live in Manchester 1962

Owing to a fascinating and complicated set of circumstances, for many years American musicians of color were recognized and celebrated more in the UK and Europe than they were at home. This was the case for quite a few jazz and blues artists; revered overseas, some made the transatlantic trek to appear in front of

Album Review: Chris Cain — Raisin’ Cain

Though he’s a West Coast musician based in San Jose, California, Chris Cain’s vocal and guitar styles owe a significant debt to Mississippi-born B.B. King. As showcased on Raisin’ Cain, his first album for Alligator Records, Cain’s approach to the blues is one steeped in the postwar electric tradition. Lyrically, Raisin’ Cain traffics in familiar

Album Review: David Rotundo Band – So Much Trouble

A protégé of Danish harmonica star Lee Oskar (of ‘70s funk-rock-soul group War), Canadian musician David Rotundo sings, plays harmonica and occasional guitar, and writes all of the music on So Much Trouble, his fifth album. Toronto-based Rotundo launched his first band in 1997, and was first heard on record when he released Blowin’ for

The Reds, Pinks and Purples’ Listener-friendly Depresso Pop

Glenn Donaldson is prolific. Maybe not quite Robert Pollard or R. Stevie Moore prolific, but the man records and releases a lot of music. The Skygreen Leopards, his psych-folk collaboration with fellow multi-instrumentalist Donovan Quinn, put out seven albums in eight years, plus another in 2014. Another duo, The Art Museums, featured Donaldson working with

Echodrone: All About Texture and Density

While Echodrone’s music fits into the mold commonly called shoegaze, there’s more going on in the arrangements. There’s a sense of the dramatic amid the shimmering, reverb-soaked guitars and icy yet expressive vocals. There’s a soaring, majestic, wide-screen feel to the eight songs on Resurgence, the group’s eighth full-length release. “Eugene [Suh, guitar] and I

Steep Canyon Rangers: Arm in Arm with Their Fans

This feature appeared previously in Bold Life Magazine. Steep Canyon Rangers have been on a roll of late. Over the last decade, the North Carolina group has released an album of new music on a nearly annual basis. March 2020 saw the release of Be Still Moses, which is – depending on how one counts

Album Review: Last Days of April – Even the Good Days Are Bad

If one were to combine hooky songwriting, a lush pop landscape and a bit of shoegaze, the result might approach Last Days of April’s Even the Good Days Are Bad. The downbeat message of its title notwithstanding, this is a lovely collection of emotion-laden tunes that feature indelible melodic lines. There’s a pleasing variety to

Album Review: The Armoires — Incognito

There’s a proud and creatively fertile tradition in rock’n’roll: playing dress-up, assuming an alter ego. The Beatles may have done it first with Sgt. Pepper, and six months later The Who’s The Who Sell Out found them (sort of) taking on the identity of a pirate radio station. Unmasked by no less a figure than