pop Archive

Album Review: Big Star — In Space

To those who followed Alex Chilton’s musical activities in the 1980s and beyond, the thought that he would ever revisit his Big Star-era music – much less put the band back together – seemed extraordinarily unlikely. So when it finally happened, with original drummer Jody Stephens plus the Posies (Jon Auer and Ken Stringfellow), it

Album Review: Young Mister — ‘Sudden Swoon’

Young Mister is the performing name of Steven Fiore, a Tryon-based singer songwriter. His background includes membership in the jazz band led by actor-musician Jeff Goldblum, co-writing experience with Art Garfunkel and eight years as a writer for Universal Music’s publishing arm. Young Mister’s self-titled debut was released in 2016, and 2017 saw the release

Single Review: The Embryos — Singles Club Volume 2

I was already predisposed toward liking this 45 before I heard it; The Embryos’ Open the Kimono (reviewed a few months back) is an instantly likable collection of chiming, catchy pop-rock. “Popular Character” has shades of Raspberries, Pilot and Matthew Sweet. So yeah, it falls loosely into the popwerpop subcategory. But if that’s not your

Hundred-word Reviews for September 2019, Part 1

Once again, it’s time for a passel of quick reviews. Twenty in all – ten today, as many tomorrow. All deserve a listen. Titles on vinyl are noted as such (LP). Waiting for Henry – The Gospel of Moby Grape As a serious fan of the star-crossed band name-checked in the title, I had to

Book Review: A Voice of the Warm

Every so often, some of my Facebook friends and I engage in a little game. You might call it Dreadful Earworms: we try to outdo each other by rattling off the titles of some of the most annoying, saccharine, maudlin and just downright awful songs. If you’re a boomer (or perhaps even the child of

Michael Franti: National Tour, Local Focus

Michael Franti is well known for many things: The Oakland-born musician is a guitarist, rapper, songwriter and poet. He’s also renowned for his activism and commitment to social change, world peace and environmental issues; his activism and musical pursuits have long been intertwined. The artist combined music and activism yet again when he came to

Album Review: Stereospread — Beautiful Noise

Jumping ahead of critics who might apply their own subjective labels to the band’s music, Asheville-based Stereospread has taken on the task itself, calling the sounds it makes “indietronica.” Launched in 2012 by James Hopkins and Sara Snyder Hopkins, Stereospread is a pop-leaning duo. The pair’s debut recording was a 2015 EP, Come Back Home.

Hundred-word Reviews for August 2019, Part Three (Archival)

Time for a look at ten new albums featuring reissued, compilation and/or archival material. Rock, jazz and beyond. Collect ’em all, kids! Soul Asylum – While You Were Out / Clam Dip & Other Delights Minneapolis’ Soul Asylum labored in relative obscurity for quite awhile before their national breakout. They became a household name with

Hundred-word Reviews for August 2019, Part One

It’s that time again: reviews of new music that passes the rigorous “smash or trash” competition happening periodically at my CD changer. Diplomats of Solid Sound — A Higher Place First off, let’s give credit where it’s due and acknowledge that Sharon Jones and the Dap-Kings are owed a debt for reintroducing soul to today’s

Can’t Stop Running: Todd Rundgren’s ‘Nearly Human’ at 30

Being a serious fan of Todd Rundgren isn’t always an easy path, but it’s a rewarding one. The wunderkind from Upper Darby, Pennsylvania started his musical career out in relatively conventional fashion – as guitarist for late ’60s proto-powerpop band Nazz – but even before he left that group, the depth and wide-encompassing nature of