Ryan Adams: Heatwave | Star Sign | 1985 | Sword & Stone [Album Review]

Ryan AdamsHeatwaveStar Sign1985Sword & StonePAX-AM [2024] Album Overview: There are a lot of opinions floating around about singer/songwriter Ryan Adams and his attempts to rebuild his career. But even a casual observer would agree, this guy is prolific. After releasing an album each in 2020 and ’21, Adams unleashed four of his own imagining in … Read more

Sarah Jarosz: Polaroid Lovers [Album Review]

Sarah JaroszPolaroid LoversRounder Records [2024] Album Overview: Sarah Jarosz’ seventh album is a real change of pace for the folk/Americana singer/songwriter who was viewed as a bluegrass prodigy on mandolin and banjo. Largely known as a folk artist, here Jarosz stretches out to work with a few other songwriters—Daniel Tashian, Natalie Hemby, Jon Randall, and … Read more

Green Day: Saviors [Album Review]

Green DaySaviorsWarner Music [2024] Album Overview: Thirty years after their breakout album Dookie its hard to remember that this SF Bay area trio that were inducted into the R&RHoF in 2015, were considered “punk revivalists,” taking their cues from bands of the 80’s. Here on their 14th album, Green Day continues to expand their sound, … Read more

The Fire Note Writer Edition Top Albums of 2023

At The Fire Note, our writers are the heart and soul of what we do. We want to give a big shout-out to these amazing folks (past and present) who pour their knowledge and love for music into every piece they write. The time and effort they put in consistently doesn’t go unnoticed by us … Read more

Ken Kase: Ken Kase (EP) [Album Review]

Ken KaseKen Kase (EP)Self-Released [2023] This fast, fun power-pop 5-song EP from Ken Kase is a quick display of the kind of musical alchemy that the singer/songwriter and multi-instrumentalist has been bringing to the St. Louis live music scene for 30 years. Kase has shown up in a variety of live music venues throughout his … Read more

Catbells: Partly Cloudy [Album Review]

CatbellsPartly CloudySQFT Records [2023] Partly Cloudy is the full-length debut from the enigmatic female dream pop/folk rock artist who is most comfortable sharing her deepest, most intimate thoughts from behind her somewhat mysterious cat face mask. Most of the 13 tracks here are rooted very closely to simple acoustic guitar folk rock, with producer Billy … Read more

Peter Gabriel: i/o [Album Review]

Peter Gabrieli/oReal World Records [2023] It’s been 21 years since English pop singer/songwriter Peter Gabriel released a new album of original material, as his 2010 release Scratch My Back was a cover album of songs by favored artists sung only with an orchestral backing, while 2011’s “New Blood” went back so his own material with … Read more

Blonde Redhead: Sit Down For Dinner [Album Review]

Blonde RedheadSit Down For Dinnersection1 [2023] Given Blonde Redhead’s early experiments in the no wave movement and early noisy angular indie rock recordings for Steve (Sonic Youth) Shelly’s label, Smells Like, along with engagements with the cosmopolitan art scene in New York City where the band formed 30 years ago, it might be surprising that … Read more

The Ascendents: The Fellowship Of The Broken [Album Review]

The AscendentsThe Fellowship Of The BrokenSelf-Released [2023] It’s a curious thing when musicians take a busman’s holiday and step away from their main gig to join up with players and singers from other bands to experiment with a previously untried collaboration. Golden Smog was a loose affiliation that included members of Wilco, Jayhawks, Soul Asylum, … Read more

Buddy & Julie Miller: In The Throes [Album Review]

Buddy & Julie MillerIn The ThroesNew West Records [2023] I’ve been wracking my mind trying to think of another married couple that have recorded together with the same sympatico and creativity that I hear when ace Americana guitarist and sideman Buddy Miller records with his songwriter wife Julie Miller. Of course, there was Richard and … Read more

Mike Adams At His Honest Weight: Guess For Thrills [Album Review]

Mike Adams At His Honest WeightGuess For ThrillsJoyful Noise Recordings [2023] Mike Adams at His Honest Weight found the titular Adams recording with help from some of his touring band on the 2019 release, There Is No Better Feeling, but for last year’s Graphic Blandishments, the multi-instrumentalist took advantage of his home studio’s multi-track utility … Read more

Slow Pulp: Yard [Album Review]

Slow PulpYardANTI- [2023] Slow Pulp—indie rock band formed in Madison, WI, but currently via Chicago—recorded their debut album in relative isolation during the pandemic and liked the results enough to repeat the process. Produced in house by guitarist Henry Stoehr, the band cut their instrumental parts together, while vocalist Emily Massey recorded her vocals with … Read more

Glen Hansard: All That Was East Is West Of Me Now [Album Review]

Glen HansardAll That Was East Is West Of Me NowANTI- [2023] Irish singer-songwriter Glen Hansard may have gotten started in music busking on the streets of Dublin, but his career has had some very unusual twists and turns. Early on he was tapped to play the role of the guitarist in the movie about a … Read more

The Mountain Goats: Jenny From Thebes [Album Review]

The Mountain GoatsJenny From ThebesMerge Records [2023] The Mountain Goats’ singer/songwriter John Darnielle must wake up from his dreams every day with a story line and a song lyric or two. A published novelist who released his latest, Devil House last year, the artist and his band have released a new full-length album every year … Read more

The Rolling Stones: Hackney Diamonds [Album Review]

The Rolling StonesHackney DiamondsGeffen Records [2023] Okay, friends, let’s be honest. There’s no way in hell that this late-in-life album from the Rolling Stones has any right to sound and feel as good as it does. In a few months, it will be the 60th anniversary of the release of their self-titled debut. The band’s … Read more

Lydia Loveless: Nothing’s Gonna Stand In My Way Again [Album Review]

Lydia LovelessNothing’s Gonna Stand In My Way AgainBloodshot Records [2023] In the summer of 2022, when we were all trying to figure out how to feel comfortable being together in close proximity at indoor concerts, Lydia Loveless played an opening set for the Drive-By Truckers at the Masonic Hall in downtown Dayton. I don’t know … Read more

The Feelies: Some Kinda Love: Performing The Music Of The Velvet Underground [Album Review]

The FeeliesSome Kinda Love: Performing The Music Of The Velvet UndergroundBar/None Records [2023] The general rule regarding influential artists is that popular success dictates the lasting impact of one’s work, although rare exceptions exist. While two of the most influential and innovative pop & rock bands of the 60s, The Beatles and The Rolling Stones, … Read more

Teenage Fanclub: Nothing Lasts Forever [Album Review]

Teenage FanclubNothing Lasts ForeverMerge Records [2023] One has to wonder if anyone thought about the possibility that they might be wearing the band name Teenage Fanclub still, over thirty years later, while the principle members were getting close to 60? Whether they were expecting to be a flash in the pan, or were in it … Read more

Sufjan Stevens: Javelin [Album Review]

Sufjan StevensJavelinAsthmatic Kitty Records [2023] Rare is the artist who does their best work when they are on top of the world, when all is going well, and they are happy and fulfilled. Sufjan Stevens has explored a wide and disparate subject matter, from the folky Psalm-like spirituality of Seven Swans, the unique geographic and … Read more

Darrell Scott String Band: Old Cane Back Rocker [Album Review]

Darrell Scott String BandOld Cane Back RockerSoundly Music [2023] Before I get in over my head, I should probably acknowledge that bluegrass/country music is not my usual jam. If you read my stuff here before, that’s likely obvious to you. There’s a family story my Mom tells about my Indiana Gramps playing slide Hawaiian guitar … Read more

Graham Parker & The Goldtops: Last Chance To Learn The Twist [Album Review]

Graham Parker & The GoldtopsLast Chance to Learn the TwistBig Stir Records [2023] There was a time, the late 70’s to be exact, when Graham Parker’s name was often mentioned alongside Elvis Costello and Joe Jackson as the “angry young men” of British new wave or punk/pop, with regular debates about which artist was the … Read more

Nick Cave & Warren Ellis: Australian Carnage – Live At The Sydney Opera House [Album Review]

Nick Cave & Warren EllisAustralian Carnage: Live at the Sydney Opera HouseGoliath Records [2023] “This is a joyful song,” says Nick Cave by way of introduction to “Breathless,” a song from the 2004 double album release with his full band, The Bad Seed, Abattoir Blues/The Lyre of Orpheus. But then in jest he adds, “So … Read more

Deeper: Careful! [Album Review]

DeeperCareful!Sub Pop Records [2023] Already with two albums behind them, Chicago-based Deeper is ready for their close-up on this Sub Pop debut. There’s little doubt as you take in the lush landscapes of the thirteen tracks here that this guitar driven quartet has absorbed some of the major punk/pop influences of the late-70’s and 80’s, … Read more

Will Butler + Sister Squares: Will Butler + Sister Squares [Album Review]

Will Butler + Sister SquaresWill Butler + Sister SquaresMerge Records [2023] There should be little surprise that after spending 18 years playing in Arcade Fire, Will Butler carries some of that band’s sound and temperament with him into his debut with Sister Squares, or that his voice at times recalls that of his brother Win. … Read more

Allison Russell: The Returner [Album Review]

Allison RussellThe ReturnerFantasy Records [2023] In an unusual turn of events, the first two times I saw Allison Russell perform live I was a complete blank slate, I’d not heard any of her recordings or the work of her numerous musical collaborations beforehand. The first time was over Memorial Day weekend in 2017 at the … Read more