rawk Archive

Radio Birdman: Bird is the Word

Some 32 years after bursting on the scene with the seminal Radios Appear, Radio Birdman has returned with Zeno Beach. Yet they deftly manage the trick of sounding fresh and new. Intentionally or not, Radio Birdman made their name as one of Australia’s original punk outfits. Vocalist Rob Younger puts this into context: “Well, we

The Polyphonic Spree: Fragile Army, Reinforcements of Hope

There are so, so many things out there that remind you: this is all good. –Tim DeLaughter Tim DeLaughter, leader and lyricist of Dallas-based The Polyphonic Spree, reflects on the underlying philosophy of his music: “I want to facilitate a little beacon of hope…” he pauses and gestures toward the stage, where the 21-person group

Circus Devils: The Devil’s in the Details

“Circus Devils is fun.” That’s how Bob Pollard, former leader of indie-underground heroes Guided by Voices sums up (one of) his (many) current project(s). An exercise in what he calls “punk prog,” on the fifth full length Sgt. Disco, Circus Devils displays the twisted musical worldview of Pollard plus Todd Tobias. Todd adds that “there

Mon Frere: Let the Music Do the Talking, I Guess

“Basically, I guess that’s a bit more, um, farther than we wanted to go.” Such was the response to a question about the cover art on Mon Frere’s releases, 2005’s Real Vampires EP and the trio’s newest release, the full length Blood Sweat and Swords. The artwork on both makes liberal use of goth imagery,

Lake Trout: Weird, Catchy and Everything in Between

Take equal parts pre-Dark Side of the Moon Pink Floyd, Kid A era Radiohead and Soft Bulletin period Flaming Lips, and what do you get? I’d love to report the answer is Baltimore-based Lake Trout, but it’s not that simple. Those influences are certainly there, and in the best way possible, but Lake Trout isn’t

King Khan & BBQ: Exactly the Same, Only Completely Different

The King Khan and BBQ Show is the same as other rock and roll acts, only different. They’re a duo, and the only instruments — both onstage and on record — are guitar, percussion and vocals. Sound familiar? Maybe you’re thinking of The Flat Duo Jets, Dexter Romweber’s band from the 80s. Or maybe 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

Robyn Hitchcock: Vinyl is Forever

The droll (even by English standards) singer-songwriter Robyn Hitchcock came on the scene in the late 1970s with The Soft Boys, a Cambridge psych-rock group that — depending on one’s viewpoint — appeared too late or too soon. After a string of spotty-or-brilliant (you decide; I’d argue the latter) albums, the band folded, and Hitchcock

Flaming Lips: The Sound of Success

With the charismatic Wayne Coyne fronting the Flaming Lips, it’s easy to overlook the articulate creative expression of Steven Drozd. Steven joined in 1992, ostensibly as their drummer — but quickly assumed the role as a prime mover of all things musical. The relentless contributions of this multi-instrumentalist are a major influence within the ever-expanding