review Archive

Album Review: The Scientists — A Place Called Bad

For American music consumers in the late 1970s and early ’80s, Australia may as well have been in another galaxy as on the other side of the globe; in those pre-Internet days, getting information about the existence of – much less the actual music by – bands from down under was no easy task. Even

Album Mini-review: Velvet Crush — Pre-teen Symphonies

File next to: The Smithereens, Matthew Sweet, Teenage Fanclub If they didn’t scale the heights of commercial success that some of their contemporaries reached, it was no fault of Velvet Crush. All of the ingredients for success were there: muscular playing and arrangements, razor-sharp hooks, great lead and harmony vocals, and solid songwriting. They persevered

Album Mini-review: The Amazing — Ambulance

File next to: The Cure, The Smiths, My Bloody Valentine In a way, The Amazing can be thought of as a side-project: guitarist Reine Fiske is the lead guitarist in Dungen. But this Swedish group has staked out a sound and aesthetic of its own. Unlike Dungen, they sing in English. And theirs is a

A Band to Check Out: The Struts

The Struts are one of those groups that seem as if they’ve been around forever. Expertly channeling the glammy musical excess of Queen, the Derby, England quartet burst onto the pop music landscape with 2014’s Everybody Wants. That album charted modestly in the UK and Canada, faring better (#15) on the US rock charts. Ahead

Reviews: Five Limited-edition Vinyl Releases

Some recent vinyl releases are more than noteworthy. Herewith are looks at five of ’em. I’m pretty certain all are limited-edition pressings, so get them while they’re hot. Kenny Clarke et. al. – Bohemia After Dark Nominally a session led by drummer Kenny Clarke, this 1955 album is of great historical import as the recorded

Album Review: The Long Distance Relationship

I sometimes joke (or as Senator Al Franken says, “kid on the square”) that I avoid reviewing music made by artists local to Asheville NC “because I gotta live in this town.” I do in fact write often (for our local altweekly, Mountain Xpress) about local recording artists/performers, but those are customarily interviews/news stories. But

Album Mini-review: Steve Gunn — Eyes on the Lines

File next to: Kurt Vile & the Violators, Hiss Golden Messenger, Grateful Dead Though his stated influences variously suggest that his own music might be experimental, avant-garde or folk-leaning, Steve Gunn instead makes guitar hero music that puts the emphasis on songcraft. With a lean, snaky guitar approach that’s equal parts Tom Verlaine‘s work in

Album Mini-review: Dhani Harrison & Paul Hicks — Seattle Road

File next to: Vangelis, Tangerine Dream, thenewno2 When George Harrison first stepped out of the shadow of the Beatles, he did so with a pair of albums that few heard. Electronic Sounds was a synthesizer record, and Wonderwall was the soundtrack for a film. Though he’s his own man, Harrison’s son Dhani‘s musical career has

Album Mini-review: Melvins — Basses Loaded

File next to: The Sword, Black Sabbath, Sunn O))) Loosely – and really only geographically – associated with the Pacific Northwest grunge scene, The Melvins long have stood apart from Nirvana, Pearl Jam and the like. For awhile now they’ve played live gigs with two drummers, but in reality that has been all about locking

Album Mini-review: Band of Skulls — By Default

File next to: Led Zeppelin, Stone Roses, Siena Root Rock substyles come and go, but there’s always a place for catchy riff-centric rock of the kind made by this Southampton, England trio. They start from a position of building a song around a signature riff, and put solid emphasis on crafting a memorable tune to