review Archive

Album Review: Sluka – Colorful Radiation

I try not to be overly influenced by an album’s cover art: don’t judge a book, etc. But the gruesome artwork on this one nearly scared me off. The music deserves better. Multi-instrumentalist Christopher Sluka has a voice eerily reminiscent of David Bowie, and though he’s not an artist of the late Thin White Duke’s

Album Review: Alien Country – Like My Life Depends On It

A few years back, I recall there was a motion picture called Cowboys and Aliens or somesuch. Based only on the title – I didn’t care to investigate further – I found the film’s high-concept premise to be, well, stupid. So when I came across Like My Life Depends On It, the new album by

Album Review: Eric Anders and Mark O’Bitz – Of All These Things

If you’re one of the discerning fans who heard and appreciated the music Pete Yorn made in the first decade of this new century – musicforthemorningafter, Day I Forgot and especially Nightcrawler – then you owe it to yourself to seek out this new release. With breathy, close-miked vocals, swoonworthy vocal harmonies and keening, beautiful

EP Review: Sister Ivy – Plecia

Sister Ivy is an Asheville-based project, the nom de musique of Rachel Waterhouse. Sister Ivy has had a relatively lengthy gestation period: the group played its first gig some three years ago at the old Sherwood Music. But quality takes time, and the refined, sultry character of Waterhouse’s original music has surely benefited from the

Fifty-word Reviews for July 2018, Part 2

Here’s ten more quick reviews of new music worth your time. Beth McKee — Dreamwood Acres This lovely clutch of original songs features the sultry, soulful vocals of McKee, and the rich instrumentation is built around McKee’s classic electric piano (Wurlitzer, Rhodes), which she plays in a straightforward, non-fussy manner. Imagine Bonnie Raitt playing keys

Album Review: Diamonds and Whiskey — Dark Country Voodoo

The band name suggests an alt.country/Americana act, and while those labels aren’t too wide of the mark, there’s a harder, edgier and slightly more sinister feel to this music. The southern drawl that characterizes Jenny Webb’s voice places the album firmly in the country and Americana realm, but there’s a rocking and bluesy feel to

Fifty-word Reviews for July 2018, Part 1

For years now, I’ve engaged in an occasional series of reviews in which I limit myself to 100 words. The point isn’t at all to give short shrift to these fine releases; instead, it’s to cover albums that would otherwise go unmentioned only for lack of time. Speaking of time, all of these releases are

Album Review: Hearts Gone South — Little Things

In an era filled with twanged-up, Eagles-style lite rock passing as country, it’s bracingly refreshing to encounter an album of classic country such as Hearts Gone South’s latest, Little Things. Vocalist Trish Tripp knows how to deliver a slyly humorous line with style, and the band’s sound – highlighted by the keening and exciting pedal

Album Review: Gretchen’s Wheel — Black Box Theory

I’ve reviewed releases from Gretchen’s Wheel before. Gretchen’s Wheel is the professional name used by Lindsay Murray for her musical project. Largely a solo affair, Gretchen’s Wheel is Murray’s vehicle for her chiming, exquisitely melodic songwriting and wonderfully tuneful vocals. I’ve had no trouble categorizing previous Gretchen’s Wheel releases as power pop, and I use

Album Review: Tashi Dorji & Tyler Damon — Leave No Trace: Live in St. Louis

By its very nature, instrumental music is challenging for both musician and listener. The listener has to lend greater concentration to the music, since the absence of lyrics makes the conveyance of overt, direct messages all but impossible. And for the musician, she or he must rely completely on the instrumentation to put across whatever