review Archive

Album Mini-review: The Legal Matters — Conrad

File next to: Wings, Lannie Flowers Power pop is the Rodney Dangerfield of the rock world: it gets no respect. Detractors call it shamelessly derivative and lightweight. Those who have a soft spot for the subgenre, on the other hand, appreciate the chiming, sticky-sweet melodies and sharp hooks. Michigan’s the Legal Matters – a trio

Album Mini-review: Sshh — Issues

File next to: The Pretenders, Transvision Vamp Zak Starkey has already had a fascinating career. The son of Ringo Starr, Zak was given drum lessons by “uncle” Keith Moon, made a great, hard-to-find album with powerpop hero Will Owsley, drummed with Oasis, and eventually took Moon’s seat as drummer for the Who. But none of

Album Mini-review: Various Artists — Friends and Frenemies

File next to: Sloan, Matthew Sweet Based in the redwoods of Northern California, Allen Clapp‘s Mystery Lawn Music has in recent years become a trademark of pop music quality. Originally formed as a vehicle to self-release 20/20 – perhaps the best album by his group the Orange Peels – Clapp’s label has become a collective

Best of 2016: Books

2016 has been a busy year for me. Though I have been working part-time as a music journalist for more than a decade, early this year I made the transition to writing full time. What that has meant in practical terms is that I’ve transitioned – for the most part – from strictly writing about

Best Music of 2016: Reissue/archival Releases

I love new music, but I’m also attuned to keeping up with the latest in reissues and archival releases. Sometimes those feature some of my favorite artists; other times they turn me on to music of the past that I’ve never even heard. In 2016 I’ve been able to select my Top Ten reissue and/or

Album Mini-review: Game Theory – The Big Shot Chronicles

File next to: The Three O’Clock, Guided by Voices Scott Miller‘s quirky Game Theory was one of 1980s college rock’s (the precursor to alternative/indie rock) most criminally overlooked groups. But Miller and his changing lineups didn’t exactly make things easy for fans: while Game Theory’s jangle quotient was consistently high, Miller’s songs often displayed a

Album Mini-review: The Mavericks — All Night Live: Volume 1

File next to: Los Lobos, Neil Young Fans who heard “All Night Long,” the standout track from the Mavericks’ latest studio album (2015’s Mono) could be forgiven for wondering if the group could pull the song off live onstage. Full of bracing horn section fills and Latin-flavored percussion, the tune is a production extravaganza. The

Album Mini-review: Mike Mills and Robert McDuffie – Concerto for Violin, Rock Band and String Orchestra

File next to: R.E.M., E.L.O. Hybridizing rock ‘n’ roll and classical is nothing new: arguably, the Beatles did it in 1965 with “Yesterday.” And many others have attempted since, including E.L.O. Yet there’s something fresh and new about this, the latest project from R.E.M. Bassist Mike Mills. Working with lifelong friend, Juilliard-trained violinist Robert McDuffie

Album Review: Big Star — Complete Third

The third album from Big Star is the most difficult in the Memphis group’s slim catalog of 1970s releases, and quite unlike its predecessors. The band’s debut – 1972’s #1 Record – is full of gems in an off-kilter power pop vein. Thanks in no small part to distribution problems at Ardent Records’ parent label

A Holiday Treat for Musoscribe Readers

‘Tis the season for … a bonus weekend post. I almost never post features or reviews on a Saturday, but these two titles warrant the exception. Plus, if I wait until I have an open weekday, you won’t read about this until late February 2017. Some people simply detest holiday music. I grew up in