new release Archive

Quick Takes, Part Two

More quick-take reviews … Pop Co-op – Four State Solution Making an album via file sharing – instead of the old-fashioned method of gathering in a studio – is now a well-established practice. The title of this set refers to the approach used to make it. Steve Stoeckel’s name will be familiar to pop connoisseurs;

Quick Takes, Part One

As I’ve mentioned in previous posts, these days I spend the majority of my time writing for print publications. Altweeklies across the USA, music and entertainment magazines in the U.S. And abroad, and so on. But I continue to receive CDs for potential review, and while I’ve had to make the “gatekeeping” more stringent, I

Drive-By Truckers: The Personal is Political

The Drive-By Truckers have always paired incisive, thoughtful lyrics with their supercharged country-rock sound. From their 1998 debut, Gangstabilly to their latest album, 2016’s American Band, the Athens, Georgia based group has resolutely charted its own path. The group’s 11th album, American Band, is being enthusiastically reviewed in many quarters; it’s showing up on more

Sxip Shirey’s Avant Groove

Note: An edited version of this feature appeared previously in Brooklyn Paper. — bk Described as an “electro-acoustic” artist, Brooklyn-based Sxip Shirey is tough to pin down musically. Read about him most places and you’re likely to come away thinking his music is cerebral, experimental and more than a little avant-garde. Actually listen to the

Album Review: The Jigsaw Seen — For the Discriminating Completist

File next to: Baby Lemonade, The Who, Fountains of Wayne Laboring just below the radar for more than a quarter century, Los Angeles-based The Jigsaw Seen have been releasing consistently satisfying records since its 1990 debut, Shortcut Through Clown Alley. The group’s body of work shows its musical inventiveness and effective synthesis of a wide

Album Review: Dolcetti — Arriver

File next to: Frank Zappa, Steve Vai, Jimmy Herring Arriver is instrumental progressive/art rock of the most accessible variety. Dizzyingly fast guitar runs, turn-on-a-dime drums lines and thunderous yet agile bass guitar all come together to create music that is surprisingly hook-filled. And humor – a quality that’s all too often lacking in prog –

Album Review: Mushroom — Psychedelic Soul on Wax

File next to: Brian Auger’s Trinity, Can, David Byrne The four cuts on Psychedelic Soul on Wax are as different from another as can be, but then Mushroom has always confounded easy classification. “Flesh Failures (Let the Sun Shine In)” is a cover of the hit tune from the Hair soundtrack, served up here in

Album Review: Sxip Shirey — A Bottle of Whiskey and a Handful of Bees

File next to: Amanda Palmer, Yoko Ono, Bad Things A quick written description of the music made by Brooklyn-based Sxip Shirey might leave the reader with the wrong impression: he often makes music using found objects right alongside what one thinks of as traditional instruments. Moreover, the latter category is populated by a lot of

Album Review: The Rolling Stones — Blue & Lonesome

File next to: Eric Clapton, Howlin’ Wolf, Willie Dixon Few people expected the Rolling Stones to make a very good (and quite possibly great) album in 2016. The year of rock star and celebrity death spared Keith Richards; that itself was remarkable enough. But for Blue & Lonesome, their 23rd studio album – and their

Album Review: Field Trip — Horror Vacui

File next to: Flaming Lips, Beach House, Roxy Music Lush aural textures and inviting melodies are the hallmarks of the digital-only debut album from this NYC five-piece band. Gauzy production that occasionally recalls Psycho Candy-era Jesus and Mary Chain is applied to songs that have more than their fair share of hooks. The seven songs