review Archive

Album Review: The Krayolas – Savage Young Krayolas

In the shady corners of rock’s history, there have been more than a few retro purveyors who managed to breathe new life into well-trodden styles. Occasionally, they’ve done more than bubbled under commercially: Sha Na Na and the Stray Cats are among the comparatively few who broke out in a big way. More common –

Album Reviews: Redd Kross — Phaseshifter and Show World

Over the span of a decade-plus, Hawthorne, California band Redd Kross navigated the tricky path from punky indie band to one that sounded like the epitome of arena rock. And they managed the metamorphosis in a way that kept their bratty, pop culture perspective intact. In fact the change to a more radio-friendly sound served

Book Review: Chris Hillman — Time Between

Musician memoirs/autobiographies are a decidedly mixed bag. Even when an artist is known for his or her songwriting wordsmith skills, that’s not a truly reliable indicator that said artist can write a compelling, worthwhile long-form narrative. Many enlist co- or ghost-writers, and – when they’re chosen carefully – that approach can compensate for any shortcomings.

Hundred(plus)-word Reviews for November 2020, Part Four

Here’s a quick look at five new releases. Four are reissues; the other is a compilation of previously-unreleased material. All are simply superb; essential, even. For the first time in a decade-plus, I’ve allowed myself to exceed my 100-word limit. Flamin’ Groovies – Now Originally released in 1978, this album was – intentionally or not

Hundred-word Reviews for November 2020, Part Three

And here’s the last of this current run of hundred-word reviews covering new releases. Soul, powerpop and blues; something for most tastes. All worth your time. Sonny Green – Found! One Soul Singer Don’t let the cheesy, lurid, chartreuse album art dissuade you from the contents: this is the real deal. Sonny Green is one

Hundred-word Reviews for November 2020, Part Two

Here’s five more quick reviews. Powerpop, ambient, jazz and more. Nick Frater – Fast & Loose The title might lead the uninitiated to suspect that Nick Frater’s album is something along the lines of the Stooges. Well, it’s not. Instead, it’s melodic, tuneful and highly appealing rock that has the best elements of subgenres (classic-,

Hundred-word Reviews for November 2020, Part One

Today marks the triumphant return of my hundred-word reviews. My last roundup of new releases in the form of brief critical summaries came way back in February, before the world changed. For awhile there, the steady stream of new releases seemed to slow to a trickle; many planned releases were – quite understandably – put

Album Review: The Rocky Horror Picture Show (soundtrack)

Even though today I’m (cough, cough) middle-aged, when The Rocky Horror Picture Show first came out, I was too young to appreciate it. In fact, as an 11-year-old, I was too young to have appreciated it, even if my parents had allowed me exposure to the film (and they would not have done). But its

Album Review: Anton Barbeau — Manbird

If Todd Rundgren were a bit younger and a dash more underground/indie-inclined, he might resemble Anton Barbeau. Among other similarities, Ant shares with Todd a predilection for going his own way – bouncing effortlessly between styles, resolutely defying easy pigeonholing – and for making music that is at once accessible and requiring of active participation

Album Review: Dungeon Weed — Mind Palace of the Mushroom God

With their debut album Mind Palace of the Mushroom God, Oakland sludge rockers Dungeon Weed have carved out a niche of their own. Many stoner rock outfits lean toward a perspective that travels well-trodden territory like dungeons, dragons and other doomy topics. And while Dungeon Weed trades in some of the same subject matter, they