Matthew Sweet: Sweet ’16

Matthew Sweet’s personal journey has taken him from his boyhood home in Nebraska to the nascent, early 1980s music scene of Athens, Georgia to New York City, Los Angeles, and finally back home again. Not surprisingly, his musical journey followed the same path. He began recording at home, eventually went the big studio route, and

Album Mini-review: The Twilight Hours — Black Beauty

File next to: Todd Rundgren, Ben Folds, Matthew Sweet Minneapolis’ Trip Shakespeare was always a band apart; they never fit into most people’s idea of that city’s sound. Scintillating vocal harmonies (featuring brothers Matt and Dan Wilson) and shimmering melodies were their stock-in-trade. When they folded, Dan and bassist John Munson formed the less-quirky, more

Album Mini-review: Anderson-Stolt — Invention of Knowledge

File next to: Yes, Flower Kings, Spock’s Beard Swedish multi-instrumentalist Reine Stolt made a name for himself with Flower Kings, a successful attempt at bringing the 1970s classic progressive rock aesthetic into modern times. The inimitable Jon Anderson was the voice of prog heroes Yes from their 1969 beginning until his departure in 2004. While

The Record Company: Just Call it Rock ‘n’ Roll

On the group’s 2016 debut album Give It Back to You, The Record Company displays its modern-day take on musical forebears like Jimmy Reed, Muddy Waters and Howlin’ Wolf. But guitarist-vocalist Chris Vos isn’t comfortable with being labeled a blues band. “Take the Rolling Stones and Yardbirds; they were influenced by blues. But they’re rock

Album Mini-review: Waiting for Henry — Town Called Patience

File next to: Jayhawks, Wilco, Gin Blossoms Inside the college rock movement of the 1980s, there was a kind of proto-alt-country vibe that informed later groups like Wilco and Old 97s. There are echoes of that scene in the warm and friendly country-rock of Town Called Patience. Sharp hooks and memorable lead guitar lines provide

Album Mini-review: Allen Ginsberg — The Last Word on First Blues

File next to: William Burroughs, The Fugs, Lenny Bruce Beat poet Allen Ginsberg is a towering figure in America’s cultural history. Most of his recorded material is spoken word, but in 1983 he cut an album of music called First Blues. With a ramshackle folk backing from pals including Bob Dylan, First Blues is a

Brian Wilson: Critics’ Pet

I recently had the opportunity to interview Brian Wilson. I also had the opportunity to write not one but two features based on that conversation (and also based on a lively chat with Domenic Priore). There’s very little overlap between the two features. so if you enjoy one, you’ll likely find the other interesting, too.

North Carolina Musicians Standing Against HB2

Taking full advantage of their first majority in North Carolina government in decades, the state Republican party has pushed through their conservative legislative agenda. Among the most high-profile – and contentious – of their initiatives has been the passage of House Bill #2, officially known as the Public Facilities Privacy and Security Act, widely known

The Cowsills on Tour: Pop, American Style

As a band, the Cowsills formed in 1965. But they can make a credible claim to having been together much earlier. A self-contained group made up completely of family members – five brothers, a sister and their mom – the real-life Cowsills were the inspiration for the popular TV series The Partridge Family. All 5

Album Review: David Brookings and the Average Lookings – s/t

Power pop is a musical genre for true believers, artists and listeners alike. Relentlessly upbeat – even when the subject matter is melancholy – power pop charges ahead, determinedly uninterested in bowing in the direction of the latest current and transitory musical fashions. Sales figures aside, a lot of great music has come out of