new release Archive

Album Review: The Milk and Honey Band – Songs From Truleigh Hill

The Milk & Honey Band first came to my attention well more than a decade ago when Andy Partridge (formerly of XTC) released their album Dog Eared Moonlight on his Ape label. I was immediately won over by the group’s sound, which as I mentioned at the time – Partridge described as “a bit like

Album Reviews: Two featuring Fernando Perdomo

In this post-major-label era when many of the so-called barriers to entry have been swept away, the fact that a recording artist is prolific doesn’t provide a reliable indicator as to the quality of that output. When you get right down to it, anybody can “release” anything they want, whenever they like. So it’s important

Album Review: The Boys With the Perpetual Nervousness — Songs From Another Life

Something about this outfits name immediately brings to mind the gentle approach of bands like Belle and Sebastian. And as it turns out, that snap judgment isn’t too wide of the mark. Imagine if Teenage Fanclub dialed back the shaggy roar of their guitars, opting instead for Rickenbacker jangle. A tasty proposition, that, and one

Book Review: Rock and Roll Explorer Guide to San Francisco and the Bay Area

San Francisco has a rich and varied cultural history. The city by the Bay has been home to a long succession of cultural scenes, from the Beat poets to the psychedelic explosion to the punk and new wave phenomenon of the late ‘70s and early 1980s. Relevant to my own interests, I’m writing a book

Album Review: Richard Barbieri — Under a Spell

For several years, Richard Barbieri was the keyboardist in art rock band Japan; his atmospheric work was a key component of that band’s sound. And once Steven Wilson transformed his DIY project Porcupine Tree into an actual band, Barbieri performed a similar role in that group. (No-man was a sort of bridge between those projects,

Book Review: Paul Collins — I Don’t Fit In

One of the finest among the so-called new wave bands of the late-late-late ‘70s and very early 80s (the subgenre’s peak period) was The Beat. Renamed Paul Collins Beat to differentiate itself from the similarly-named UK ska-rock band (renamed to the English Beat, the group led by guitarist Paul Collins made some compelling music that

Album Review: Peggy Lee — Something Wonderful

A casual listener might only be able to name “Fever” – and possibly “Is That All There Is” – but Peggy Lee scored a lengthy run of hit singles. The primary arc of her career ran from the early ‘40s (when she was the singer in Benny Goodman’s big band) through 1974, when she hit

Pop music’s Terrestrial Paradise: Joel Selvin’s ‘Hollywood Eden’

Many authors have sought to chronicle the cultural ferment that gave rise to the Southern California pop music explosion of the 1960s. And while some efforts have yielded worthwhile books, Hollywood Eden: Electric Guitars, Fast Cars, and the Myth of the California Paradise stands apart. The newest book from Joel Selvin – author of nearly

WWNBB: An Italian-American Confederation to Combat Boring Music

The global pandemic hasn’t stunted the creativity and output of indie musicians. Far from it: especially when it comes to DIY-leaning artists who create and record their original music at hone instead of in recording studios, this period of confinement has often yielded a bumper crop of new material. And one locus of musical activity

Album Review: Badfinger — No Matter What: Revisiting the Hits

The appearance of this CD in my mailbox elicited a cringe: would it be terrible? A crass attempt to capitalize on the reputation of a band that made some of the best music of its era? An undistinguished, middling effort? Something else? The cover art and packaging did not allay my fears. A Union Jack?