new release Archive

Album Review: The Legal Matters – Chapter Three

This record is the third release from the Michigan trio. And this my third time writing a review of their material. Guess why? Because Andy Reed, Chris Richards and Keith Klingensmith have a demonstrated ability to write, play and sing highly melodic rockin’ tunes. The cheery “Light Up the Sky” hints that Chapter Three is

Album Review: Three-Layer Cake – Stove Top

Bassist Mike Watt is one busy guy. He lends his talents and skills ot myriad creative collaborative projects, and here’s another one. Three-Layer Cake is a trio featuring Watt plus guitarist/banjoist Brandon Seabrook and drummer/keyboardist Mike Pride. Is this avant garde? Americana? Electronica of a sort? Jazz? I honestly can’t tell you; Seabrook’s banjo doesn’t

Album Review: Humanbeing – Humanbeing

Rossano Baldini has a background in soundtrack work and scoring as well as jazz. This new release takes his music somewhere that’s both consistent with those pursuits and pushing the boundaries of his styles. Wholly instrumental, Humanbeing is an album of gentle soundscapes, often realized using electronic instruments yet wonderfully organic in its realization. The

Book Review: The White Label Promo Preservation Society

It’s happened to me, and I’d imagine it has happened to you. You’re out in public somewhere – a bar, a food court, a record store, outside a music venue waiting for the doors to open – somewhere you’d encounter strangers. And being a not-unfriendly sort, you find yourself drawn into conversation with one of

Home is Where the Synths Are: Sunset Lines Reinvents, Again

From arena-hopping festival headliners to the local garage band, COVID-19 forced musicians of all stripes to rethink, reorganize, and regroup. Fortunately for Liz Brooks and Paul McCorkle, the core duo behind Bay Area synth-pop project Sunset Lines, by the time the pandemic shuttered venues across the country they were already accustomed to starting over. The

Album Review: Johnathan Pushkar – Compositions

File Under: Too twee for me, but perhaps not for thee. This by-the-numbers powerpop album would seem to have all the requisite elements: catchy choruses, creamy vocal harmonies, and a sunny, upbeat disposition. But there’s something just too saccharine about the whole thing. When The SpongeTones made Beatle-y music, it was inspired. When the That

Dialogue Now! Consolidated Returns From a Self-Imposed Exile

An edited version of this feature appeared previously in SF Weekly. Socialism is back. Though it was widely popular in the United States in the first half of the 20th century, the political philosophy endured years in the wilderness thanks to its vilification during the McCarthy era, the “me decade” of the 1970s, the Reagan

Album Review: American Folk Blues Festival Live in Manchester 1962

Owing to a fascinating and complicated set of circumstances, for many years American musicians of color were recognized and celebrated more in the UK and Europe than they were at home. This was the case for quite a few jazz and blues artists; revered overseas, some made the transatlantic trek to appear in front of

Album Review: Chris Cain — Raisin’ Cain

Though he’s a West Coast musician based in San Jose, California, Chris Cain’s vocal and guitar styles owe a significant debt to Mississippi-born B.B. King. As showcased on Raisin’ Cain, his first album for Alligator Records, Cain’s approach to the blues is one steeped in the postwar electric tradition. Lyrically, Raisin’ Cain traffics in familiar

Album Review: David Rotundo Band – So Much Trouble

A protégé of Danish harmonica star Lee Oskar (of ‘70s funk-rock-soul group War), Canadian musician David Rotundo sings, plays harmonica and occasional guitar, and writes all of the music on So Much Trouble, his fifth album. Toronto-based Rotundo launched his first band in 1997, and was first heard on record when he released Blowin’ for