Mar 2022

Quitters (CD)

LA’s Christian Lee Hutson returns with an excellent new album, Quitters. Produced by Phoebe Bridgers and Conor Oberst, the album blends folk, country, and indie in ways that feel surprising and fresh. The lyrics paint realistic, relatable worlds filled with heartbreak and connection, Moms Against Drunk Drivers ads and SST Records fandom. Maybe that’s why, even in the music’s most gentle moments, the songs have deep, lasting impact—Quitters feels like you’re getting an intimate glimpse into the experience of being Christian Lee Hutson, an experience many listeners might find, in some ways, familiar.

Read more
Unlimited Love (CD)

Red Hot Chili Peppers fans will find Unlimited Love to be an appropriate title for the band’s latest. After all, it’s easy to love this rockin’ new album—it’s one of their best in years, building on many of the elements that have brought them such acclaim. For starters, John Frusciante’s back, as is producer Rick Rubin. It’s probably no surprise, then, that this is one of the band’s most dynamic, energetic, and urgent-feeling releases in recent memory, with enough thoughtful ballads and punk-funk to make any longtime devotee of the band feel like they’ve got all their emotional bases covered. Turn it up loud, roll down the windows, and crank this one.

Read more
The Unraveling Of Puptheband (CD)

PUP will make you believe in rock ’n’ roll again. On The Unraveling Of Puptheband, the Toronto four-piece brings all the ferocity, attitude, and heaviness fans have come to love. Whether they’re experimenting with power-pop (“Robot Writes a Love Song”) or reveling in riotous punk rock (“Totally Fine”), the band injects their rough-and-tumble riffs with the droll sense of humor that makes their releases such an unpredictable delight. With harsh melodies, anthemic choruses, and enough smarts and sneer to make the OG punks blush, PUP knocks it out of the park.

Read more
The Tipping Point (CD)

Tears for Fears have broken their eighteen-year hiatus with The Tipping Point. The band is in exploratory mode here, at times calling up their ‘80s heyday sound, at other times venturing into previously uncharted terrain as they draw influences from classic folk, electronic, and art-rock. At times the album feels haunted, at others it brings to mind the band’s more pop-oriented moments. Taken together, it feels just right. It’s stark yet lovely, infectious yet intelligent, all in the finest Tears for Fears tradition.

Read more
Before After (CD)

Daryl Hall’s illustrious solo career gets the retrospective treatment on his latest, Before After. Hall himself assembled the collection from thirty-five years of recordings, with selections from his five studio albums as well as from his long-running online performance series, Live From Daryl’s House. The album covers a lot of ground, showcasing both Hall’s legendary ability to write a radio hit, as well as his more esoteric musical leanings. Featuring guest appearances from Dave Stewart and Todd Rundgren, Before After shows off Hall as one of the most interesting songwriters and performers working today.

Read more
Who Cares? (CD)

Rex Orange County’s latest is called Who Cares? The answer should be pretty simple: anyone with a penchant for feels-good indie-style pop. The album’s orchestration is full of delightful, surprising moments, from the pastoral strings that appear throughout the album to the languid soft rock melodies bouncing along over grooved out percussion. As an added bonus, Tyler, the Creator does a guest turn on “Open a Window.” It’s an innovative, easy-to-love album that draws on many different genres to create Rex Orange County’s distinctive sound.

Read more
Once Twice Melody (CD)

If you’re the type of person who hears the phrase "Beach House double album" and swoons in delight, then Once Twice Melody is for you. It’s a dream of a collection (sometimes a fever dream, in fact) as the band showcases their impressive songwriting skills with tracks ranging from the ethereal and otherworldly to the moody, slightly funereal. Although they form a lovely, cohesive whole, each track on the album can be taken as its own little world, populated with enough haunting melodies, intriguing lyrics, and quicksilver emotions to warrant repeated listens as new and surprising elements reveal themselves. Beautiful, brilliant, and compelling, this is Beach House at their best.

Read more
Monsters (CD)

Sophia Kennedy's new album Monsters features her intriguingly skewered take on pop music, led by her alto voice that occasionally sounds like Annie Lennox. The single "Orange Tic Tac" is a bit like a Dirty Projectors track with its hip hop-influenced arrangement, but the vocals alternate between muttered lines and a show tune-like melodies. The excellent "I Can See You" is quirky '80s synth pop with an unexpectedly uplifting chorus, while "I'm Looking Up" is moody chamber pop that bursts into frenetic drums. This is a strong art/pop set in Kennedy's own distinctive style.

Read more
Aboogi (CD)

Imarhan’s new album, Aboogi, is a showstopper. This group of Tuareg musicians continues in the tradition of great desert blues bands like Tinariwen, even featuring members Mohamed At Itlale (aka Japonais) and Abdallah Ag Alhousseyni on the album. The voice of Sudanese singer Sulafa Elyas brings moments of otherworldly beauty to the grooved out tracks. And then there’s Gruff Rhys of the Super Furry Animals behind the recording desk. One of the most intriguing albums of the year with one of the most talented groups of musicians working today.

Read more
A Tear In The Fabric Of Life EP (CD)

Knocked Loose keep ‘em wanting more on the tantalizing A Tear in the Fabric of Life EP. Brutal, heavy, and brooding, the EP’s over before you know it, but what an enjoyable, unpredictable ride it has been. Knocked Loose doesn’t shy away from infusing real emotion into a genre that sometimes can seem like a caricature of darkness; the band tells real stories of emotional upheaval and loss, and their oeuvre is all the more powerful because of it. Cathartic, cataclysmic, and brilliant, A Tear in the Fabric of Life is one of the most exciting releases of the year.

Read more