No Way Out of Here: The Unicorn Story (Part One)

Early demo tapes from Unicorn, a country-rock group and protégés of Pink Floyd’s David Gilmour, show that the underappreciated British group had an authentic yet radio-ready sound that should have caught on. Despite a number of lucky breaks, the well-deserving band never lit commercial fire. But now there’s a new archival release from Omnivore Recordings,

NewCity Music

For some years now, I’ve been writing essays for Chicago altweekly NewCity, previewing upcoming shows in and around the city. The essays are a kind of boiled-down biography and critical assessment (every once in awhile including interview quotes), and I’ve covered a wide variety of acts. A full list is here, but below are links

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

Graham Parker: Sticking to It (Part 1)

When Graham Parker came on the music scene in the mid 1970s, he was pegged as an angry young man of the new wave movement. And while that label always overstated the case, there was an acerbic and barbed quality to both Parker’s lyrics and his manner of delivery. Still, at his best Parker created

Album Review: The Lurkers — Fulham Fallout

It’s been pointed out by numerous chroniclers of rock history that British punk of the late 1970s grew in large part (though not exclusively) out of the so-called “pub rock” scene. With the benefit of hindsight it’s not difficult to hear the connections and draw a line between pub rockers Ducks Deluxe and Brinsley Schwarz

Hundred-word Reviews: New Releases

There’s quite a massive stack of new (or at least new-when-I got-’em) releases here at Musoscribe World HQ. Time to review them. 6-String Drag – Top of the World (Schoolkids Records) This Raleigh-based group was at the forefront of the Americana scene, back when it didn’t even have a name (some called it alt-country). After

Hundred-word Reviews: Reissues, Archival Releases, Compilations

My shelf full of albums to be reviewed has run out of space. So once again it’s time for a raft of hundred-word reviews. All sixteen titles in this roundup are reissues, compilations and/or archival releases. 6-String Drag – High Hat (Schoolkids Records) Before Americana was coined as a genre, there was alt-country. Combining rock

Matthew Sweet: Tomorrow is Here (Part 2)

Continued from Part One… Crowd funding an album is a new experience for Matthew Sweet, and so far it’s been a very positive experience. The campaign for Tomorrow Forever took in nearly twice its target amount of $32,000. But Sweet says that the raw numbers are a bit misleading. “I did really well in what

Quick Takes, Part Three

Today I take a quick look at ten archival releases of note. Tim Buckley — Wings: The Complete Singles 1966-1974 The music of Tim Buckley (yeah, late father of the late Jeff Buckley) has earned a reputation as difficult. And while I’m not here to flatly counter that impression, I must say that this collection

Hundred-word Reviews for Nov./Dec. 2016, Part 10 of 10

Two weeks of capsule reviews wrap up today with the final five. The Well Wishers – Comes and Goes Style: powerpop Jeff Shelton is the Well Wishers. And he’s quite prolific: I think I’ve seen at least four of his albums come across my desk. He’s part of that breed that writes and plays everything