review Archive

Album Review: The Limits – Songs About Girls

Reunions are a common occurrence in rock music. 1960s garage rock band The Limits never achieved any notability outside their hometown, but a new group bearing that name came out in ‘79. With a sound that drew from garage rock, pub rock, new wave and hard rock, the new band wouldn’t really have much musical

Album Review: The Limits – Garage Nuggets ‘65-’68

It’s nice when an important figure in music says nice things about your music. Even if that person is something of a cult figure like Alex Chilton, it counts. And apparently Chilton (Box Tops, Big Star) thought highly of the music made by an Allentown, Pennsylvania garage rock band called The Limits. Like so many

Album Review: Jimmy Sweeney — Without You

Another in the (happily and) seemingly endless stream of unearthed gems, Jimmy Sweeney’s Without You is a collection of songs by a singer who was all but unknown. His claim to fame lies in a story – possibly apocryphal but leaning toward being true – about a demo he sent to Sam Phillips. That disc

Album Review: Holy Hive — Float Back to You

Combine crystalline, upper register vocals with a musical aesthetic that’s part Philly Soul, parts indie rock and relentlessly melodic, and the result – if it’s lucky – might sound a bit like Holy Hive. This Brooklyn-based trio has its roots in the music of folk singer Paul Spring, but the indelible, shimmering pop values of

Album Review: Holsapple & Stamey — Our Back Pages

As wonderful as the dBs were during their original run (featuring Peter Holsapple with and then without Chris Stamey), the more acoustic-flavored efforts by Holsapple and Stamey – 1991’s Mavericks and 2009’s hERE aND nOW – were truly special as well. Decidedly different in tone and energy, but simply superb they were, even for a

Album Review: Juniper Shelley — Juniper

I should admit right up front that I look with skepticism upon an album featuring a 15-year-old girl. It’s simply that I don’t expect the music to be aimed at (nor of any great appeal to) the particular demographic to which I belong. “Yeah, well, buddy, that’d be your loss,” the universe seems to tell

Boxed Set Review: Mojo Nixon — The Mojo Manifesto

Years ago while watching some or other “madcap” comedy film, I came to a realization: drama is comparatively easy, but comedy is difficult. It’s a fairly straightforward affair to tug at a viewer’s heartstrings; it’s quite another matter entirely to make them laugh. The same is true in music; writing a weepy ballad –not to

Album Review: Sonar with David Torn — Tranceportation (Volume 2)

In my April 2018 review of Vortex, the first collaboration between Sonar and guitar master David Torn, I likened the music to ‘80s-period King Crimson at its most accessible, citing Crim’s “The Sheltering Sky” instrumental as a useful reference point. Between then and now I seem to have missed an album by this aggregation, because

Album Review: Iron City Houserockers – Have a Good Time … But Get Out Alive!

There’s a gritty, heartland strain of rock ‘n’ roll that has persisted through the decades. Bruce Springsteen’s best material is an exemplar of the style; shorn of artifice and filigree, it’s about visceral emotions and musical muscle. Southside Johnny and the Asbury Jukes did the same kind of thing, as did the Smithereens, though in

Album Review: Be-Bop Deluxe – Modern Music

Be-Bop Deluxe was one of those bands that didn’t fit neatly into a genre classification. Variously classified as progressive rock, glam rock and art rock, in truth none of those labels sits comfortably upon their body of work. Led by highly regarded guitarist Bill Nelson, the band – which lasted a relatively short six or