Sparklehorse: Bird Machine [Album Review]

SparklehorseBird MachineANTI- [2023] To state the obvious, the arrival of a post-humous release from an artist that died all too early by suicide will often be tinged with the both the bitter and the sweet. Bird Machine, arriving 13 years after the death of Sparklehorse’s Mark Linkous, has been lovingly curated by his brother Matt … Read more

King’s X: Three Sides Of One Tour [Concert Review]

King’s X – Three Sides of One 2023 Tour, With Sound & Shape and Dressed in Electric, The King of Clubs, Columbus, OH, September 9, 2023 Saturday night’s sold-out club show with King’s X, the Texas-based rock power trio now in their 43rd year, proved a shining example of the unique chemistry and versatility that … Read more

Margaret Glaspy: Echo The Diamond [Album Review]

Margaret GlaspyEcho The DiamondATO Records [2023] The first time I heard the lead single from Margaret Glaspy’s third album, Echo The Diamond, the kicking guitar hook of “Act Natural” knocked me down, but her spirited vocal and insightful lyrics left me on the ground, stunned. And, once we tracked down the album, I was both … Read more

Guided By Voices: 40th Anniversary Celebration [Concert Review]

Guided By Voices – 40th Anniversary Celebration; Dayton Masonic Center; Dayton, Ohio; September 1 & 2, 2023. With Special Guests: Dinosaur Jr., Built To Spill, Heartless Bastards, Wednesday, and Kiwi Jr. Night One It’s worth acknowledging right at the top, that the very existence of the band Guided By Voices – now 40 years into … Read more

Ratboys: The Window [Album Review]

RatboysThe WindowTopshelf Records [2023] If you’ve yet to come to the realization that band names don’t always offer a helpful or accurate sense of the artist’s music, Ratboys is a case in point. First of all they have a female singer, and the primary musical motifs on their fourth studio full-length of original material, The … Read more

Buck Meek: Haunted Mountain [Album Review]

Buck MeekHaunted Mountain4AD [2023] By now, it’s obvious that the individual members of Big Thief are just as creative and productive individually as they are working together as a band. After the band released two separate full-length albums in 2019, U.F.O.F. and Two Hands, both earning attention in the Grammy nominating process, singer/songwriter Adrianne Lenker … Read more

Palehound: Eye On The Bat [Album Review]

PalehoundEye On The BatPolyvinyl Records [2023] The fourth album from El Kemper’s Palehound is a break-up record to beat all break-up records, as their poetic distillation of the moments that led up to the relationship’s inevitable dissolution fuel the driving music of their rock trio. Kemper’s diary-like lyrics in “Independence Day” chronicle how a collision … Read more

Bethany Cosentino: Natural Disaster [Album Review]

Bethany CosentinoNatural DisasterConcord Records [2023] After over a decade and 4 full-length studio albums with Best Coast, her band with multi-instrumentalist Bobb Bruno, Bethany Cosentino has stepped away to create her solo debut, Natural Disaster. Given her previous ventures in power pop/alt rock with excursions into surf rock and country, her solo work here, supported … Read more

Ceili Rain: Crash This Gate [Album Review]

Ceili RainCrash This GateSelf-Released [2023] The Celtic pop/rock band Ceili Rain, centered around lead singer Bob Halligan Jr., got its start in 1995 in Nashville, as a more personal artistic expression for the songwriter whose credits include songs recorded by metal acts like Judas Priest (“[Take These] Chains” and “Some Heads Are Gonna Rolls”), KISS, … Read more

Bush Tetras: They Live In My Head [Album Review]

Bush TetrasThey Live In My HeadWharf Cat Records [2023] That this is only the third album from NYC band, Bush Tetras, belies the fact that the band’s remaining original members – guitarist Pat Place and vocalist Cynthia Sley – have been playing around the New York club scene since 1979; the label bio suggest the … Read more

Mull Historical Society: In My Mind There’s A Room [Album Review]

Mull Historical SocietyIn My Mind There’s A RoomXtra Mile Recordings [2023] In this rare and unique artistic venture, author and musician Colin MacIntyre, who records music under the moniker of the Mull Historical Society, seeks to bring together the two artistic worlds of his creative life. As an author, MacIntyre’s debut novel, “The Letters of … Read more

Nils Lofgren: Mountains [Album Review]

Nils LofgrenMountainsCattle Track Road Records [2023] Unless you’re one of those people that read the album credits, checking out who produced, who played bass, who guested on which guitar solo, there’s a chance you’ve missed Nils Lofgren’s storied career. While only 19 years old, Lofgren played guitar and piano on Neil Young’s After the Gold … Read more

Cut Worms: Cut Worms [Album Review]

Cut WormsCut WormsJagjaguwar [2023] Besides making the case that all the good band names have been taken, Max Clarke’s third, self-titled album as Cut Worms feels like an attempt to take singer/songwriter pop music back to the early days of rock & roll before the Beatles and Stones started speeding things up, with front-loaded loud … Read more

Lucinda Williams: Stories From A Rock N’ Roll Heart [Album Review]

Lucinda WilliamsStories From A Rock N’ Roll HeartHighway 20/Thirty Tigers [2023] Professionally, 2020 was set up to be a great year for the celebrated singer/songwriter Lucinda Williams. Over two decades after her breakthrough album, 1998’s Carwheels on a Gravel Road, her 15th album Good Souls Better Angels, with its anti-Trump anthem “Man Without a Soul,” … Read more

Ceramic Dog: Connection [Album Review]

Ceramic DogConnectionKnockwurst Records [2023] If you’re a fan of alternative Americana rock, there’s no chance you haven’t heard Marc Ribot’s play guitar, and I’d bet even without knowing who was playing you were blown away by how it was perfect for the moment, and yet completely outside of the box of your usual expectations. Ribot’s … Read more

Blur: The Ballad Of Darren [Album Review]

BlurThe Ballad Of DarrenParlophone/Warner Records [2023] It’s almost impossible to imagine the pressures—whether on the outside from fans and the press, or relationally between the band’s 4 musicians, each pursuing their diverse side-projects, or as artists living in the shadow of your previous triumphs—on Brit-pop band, Blur, as they reconvene to record their 9th studio … Read more

Chris Stamey: The Great Escape [Album Review]

Chris StameyThe Great EscapeCar/Schoolkids Records [2023] If your cultural antenna are tuned toward the rise of alternative music in the southeast late 70’s & early 80’s, from places like Athens, GA and Chapel Hill, NC, then no doubt the name Chris Stamey may register in your memory even if you can’t quite place the what … Read more

Grouplove: I Want It All Right Now [Album Review]

GrouploveI Want It All Right NowGlassnote Records [2023] Atlanta-based, power-pop meets 90’s indie rock band Grouplove may have come on the scene in 2011 declaring that we should “Never Trust a Happy Song,” but their strong suit has always been those big, high-energy sing-along choruses carried by husband-and-wife lead vocalists, Christian Zucconi and Hannah Hooper. … Read more

Albert Hammond Jr: Melodies On Hiatus [Album Review]

Albert Hammond JrMelodies On HiatusRed Bull Records [2023] While The Strokes continue to be an ongoing concern, with the band opening for parts of the recent Red Hot Chili Peppers tour and the word in late in 2022 that the band was back in the studio with producer Rick Rubin, guitarist Albert Hammond Jr has … Read more

PJ Harvey: I Inside The Old Year Dying [Album Review]

PJ HarveyI Inside The Old Year DyingPartisan Records [2023] To indie and alternative rock fans, PJ Harvey is well-known for early aggressive art-rock albums delivered with punk intensity, and her later works for her socio/political commentary and insights. Few are aware that she’s an artistic polymath, a sculptor, painter, and poet as well as a … Read more

M. Ward: Supernatural Thing [Album Review]

M. WardSupernatural ThingANTI- [2023] For singer/songwriter, instrumentalist and renowned producer, M. Ward the art and creativity at the heart of making music is a Supernatural Thing. In the album’s title song, he shares a message from Elvis, the original one from Memphis, that when it comes to direction, “you can go anywhere you please.” Drawing … Read more

Louise Post: Sleepwalker [Album Review]

Louise PostSleepwalkerEl Camino Media [2023] Nearly 30 years since Louise Post and her partner in crime Nina Gordon burst on the post-grunge alt/rock scene in the band Veruca Salt, Post has stepped away from her band to pursue a solo career and a broader musical palette rooted in more personal storytelling. Arriving on the scene … Read more

Noel Gallagher’s High Flying Birds: Council Skies [Album Review]

Noel Gallagher’s High Flying BirdsCouncil SkiesSour Mash Records [2023] Back when everyone was in lockdown due to the pandemic, Noel Gallagher recorded a bright, Britpop song with a bouncy chorus and full brass and string orchestration titled “We’re Going to Get There in the End,” a bold bit of optimism in the face of our … Read more

The Alarm: Forwards [Album Review]

The AlarmForwardsThe Twenty First Century Recording Company [2023] The first time anyone heard Welsh band The Alarm in No. America, they opened the last half or U2’s “War” tour in ‘83, with little more than their 5-song eponymous debut EP on IRS Records to promote. With their tall, spiked hair, and amped up acoustic guitars … Read more

Robert Vaughn And The Shadows: Love And War (35th Anniversary Expanded Edition) [Album Review]

Robert Vaughn And The ShadowsLove And War (35th Anniversary Expanded Edition)Alternative Records [2023] It’s a story as old as time. Likely all of us have at some point encountered a band, a song, an album that so impressed, so inspired and delighted us that we were convinced that they would soon be the Next Big … Read more