review Archive

Album Review: Bargain Music — American Born

To a rock and roller’s ears, it’s often difficult to discern the difference between an earnest effort from a singer/songwriter and parody or mockery. In perhaps the same way that fans of pap-pop might have screened This is Spinal Tap and come away nonplussed, saying, “I don’t know. They aren’t a very good band,” this

Album Review: Phil Ayoub — Schoolbus Window Paper Heart

At a lot of self-released CDs cross my reviews desk. That’s fine; with the new paradigm, plenty of worthy artists are bypassing the traditional channels, be they majors or indies, and putting the stuff out there themselves. Self-released albums have one advantage: the promo push can go on long enough to gain traction. Which

EP Review: Nicole Atkins — Bleeding Diamonds

Some albums are suited for playing in the background while doing dishes, enjoying a meal or — as attempted in this case — writing a review. Bleeding Diamonds, the EP from Nicole Atkins, is not one of those albums. The disc demands the listener’s attention. That doesn’t mean the listener will especially dig the six

EP Review: Automatic Music Explosion — This Is…

“We wanna play your high school,” announces their MySpace page. This one gave me a real chuckle (and not the condescending kind, either). From the leadoff drum beat of “Take Me Home” (ripped from the Bay City Rollers’ “Saturday Night” and any number of sports cheers) to the faux-snotty vocals that recall Redd Kross, the

Album Review: Apostle of Hustle — National Anthem of Nowhere

What to make of this disc? The first track, “‘My Sword Hand’s Anger,'” bears similarities to the work of the late Malinese guitarist Ali Farka Touré. Yet when the melody kicks in, it sounds more like an Unplugged-style take on indie rock, with sampled female laughs. It’s catchy yet odd. The title track takes a

Echo Project 2007: The Little Festival That Could

Let’s face it: the festival calendar is pretty crowded. Coachella, Bonnaroo, 10k Lakes, Langerando; the list goes on and on, and it grows longer every year. This is good news for the barefoot nomadic types who crisscross the continent selling hemp-flavored chewing gum and blown glass smoking accessories, but what about the live music consumer?

Bonnaroo 2007: It’s Not Just for Hippies Any More

A sell-out crowd of 80,000 descended on a barren 70-acre tract in middle Tennessee (halfway between Nashville and Chattanooga) for the Bonnaroo Music & Arts Festival, one of the world’s largest and most successful festival enterprises. This year’s lineup of bands for the four-day event (June 14-17) was more varied than in previous years, with

Legendary Pink Dots: Connecting With the Dots in Chapel Hill

Unpredictable and experimental as always, The Legendary Pink Dots make a concerted and successful bid to connect with their audiences. Cutting a swath through the USA’s eastern seaboard — mostly by way of tiny clubs — the Legendary Pink Dots appeared in the dark, humid confines of Chapel Hill’s Local 506 this night to a

Product Review: Rock Band – The Game

This is Your Brain on Video Review by Bill Kopp and Daniel Kopp Being of a certain age, I didn’t hear about Rock Band, the newest video game from Harmonix, when it first came out in November 2007. But the buzz grew and grew to the point at which everybody knew about it. A bigger

Product Review: Plus Deck Cassette Converter

What a cool concept: now you can take all of your old cassettes and dub them in-line to CD, using your PC. Those tapes — full of great mixes, a musical snapshot of where you were at a given point in time — can now come off the shelf, get dusted off, and can find