The Black Keys: Dropout Boogie [Album Review]

The Black KeysDropout BoogieNonesuch Records [2022] For the last 20 years, the former Akron, Ohio duo that make up The Black Keys have been refining their own take on the blues and R&B influences that are the underpinning of early rock icons like Led Zeppelin and Eric Clapton’s Cream. Guitarist and vocalist Dan Auerbach and … Read more

Hurray For The Riff Raff: Life On Earth [Album Review]

Hurray For The Riff RaffLife On EarthNonesuch Records [2022] While this is Hurray for the Riff Raff’s is its debut on the Nonesuch label, it’s the 7th studio album from singer/songwriter Alynda Segarra, who currently dwells in New Orleans and also fronted the “hobo band” Dead Man Street Orchestra. My first encounter Hurray was an … Read more

Ben LaMar Gay – “Aunt Lola And the Quail” [Video]

Chicago-based composer, singer and improviser Ben LaMar Gay shares a new single and music video for “Aunt Lola and the Quail,” a song off his upcoming album Open Arms to Open Us, out November 19, 2021 on International Anthem / Nonesuch. It’s also been announced that on Tuesday, January 18, 2022t Ben LaMar Gay will … Read more

Ben LaMar Gay – “Sometimes I Forget How Summer Looks on You (feat. Ohmme)” [Video]

Composer, singer and instrumental polymath Ben LaMar Gay has announced the release of his new album Open Arms to Open Us, out November 19th on International Anthem / Nonesuch Records. The first offering from the Southside Chicago native’s newest project is a pulsing melodic bellow featuring OHMME singers Sima Cunningham and Macie Stewart, titled “Sometimes … Read more

The Black Keys: Delta Kream [Album Review]

The Black Keys Delta KreamEasy Eye Sound/Nonesuch Records [2021] Ten studio albums and two decades into their career, any fans of The Black Keys who’ve dug in past their string of rock hits, like “Lonely Boy,” “Fever,” and “Lo/Hi,” is well aware of the band’s interest in the Mississippi delta blues music of artists like … Read more

Lake Street Dive: Obviously [Album Review]

Lake Street Dive ObviouslyNonesuch Records [2021] Lake Street Dive have carved out a unique place on the current musical landscape rooted in time honored pop music songcraft informed by classic R&B, with just the right dash of dance floor funk, delivered in jazzy arrangements that push the soulful lead vocals of Rachel Price to the … Read more

The Black Keys: Let’s Rock [Album Review]

The Black Keys Let’s Rock Easy Eye Sound/Nonesuch Records [2019] Fire Note Says: The Black Keys return with a fun album that lives up to its title: Let’s Rock. Album Review: Too often, when we think of rock music – that guitar driven folk music of the common people that grew out of geographically unique … Read more

David Byrne: American Utopia [Album Review]

David Byrne American Utopia Nonesuch Records [2018] Fire Note Says: David Byrne brings his years of musical experimentation, as a primary creative force in Talking Heads, and through his ten studio albums, collaborations with Brian Eno and others, as well as his work on various film scores into conversation with American pop culture, and has … Read more

Offa Rex: The Queen Of Hearts [Album Review]

Offa Rex The Queen Of Hearts Nonesuch Records [2017] Fire Note Says: Vocalist and multi-instrumentalist Olivia Chaney is a true gem on this new collaboration with The Decemberists. Album Review: Anyone who’s followed Portland, Oregon’s The Decemberists over the last decade or more has likely suspected that an album like this collaboration with British folk … Read more

Fleet Foxes: Crack-Up [Album Review]

Fleet Foxes Crack-Up Nonesuch Records [2017] Fire Note Says: Fleet Foxes go through artistic growth on Crack-Up. Album Review: Remember back to hazy, crazy days of the summer of 2008, when people were listening to folk music again, and we all fell in love with an indie act from Seattle that was leading the pack … Read more

Rhiannon Giddens: Freedom Highway [Album Review]

Rhiannon Giddens Freedom Highway Nonesuch Records [2017] Fire Note Says: Freedom Highway is a monumental achievement from Rhiannon Giddens. Album Review: One of the most powerful things that art can do is hold up a mirror to popular culture and society at large to reveal the ugly underbelly, the dark history that would otherwise be … Read more

Conor Oberst: Ruminations [Album Review]

Conor Oberst Ruminations Nonesuch [2016] Fire Note Says: Oberst makes an intimate recording of his deeper, darker thoughts. Album Review: In 2004/5 Conor Oberst had his 15 minutes as the Next Big Thing, drawing comparisons to Bob Dylan, when his band Bright Eyes drew national attention with two very different releases, and ended up touring … Read more

The Arcs premiere music video for “Put a Flower in Your Pocket”

Here is the new music video from Dan Auerbach’s The Arcs for “Put a Flower in Your Pocket.” The video was directed by El Oms, who also created the album’s artwork and described the characters below in the video which are Rosie, the boxer, and the gangster. “Rosie and the boxer are in their 20s … Read more

Wilco: Alpha Mike Foxtrot – Rare Tracks 1994-2014 [Album Review]

Wilco Alpha Mike Foxtrot: Rare Tracks 1994-2014 Nonesuch Records [2014] Fire Note Says: Rarities compilation aimed at the sweet spot of many of Wilco’s hard-core fans. Album Review: Twenty years is a long time. And if you’re industrious or plagued by insomnia you can make a lot of music in twenty years. That seems to … Read more

Conor Oberst: Upside Down Mountain [Album Review]

Conor Oberst Upside Down Mountain Nonesuch Records [2014] Fire Note Says: Conor Oberst is showing his age – and that is not a bad thing. Album Review: Does it sound weird that Conor Oberst (Bright Eyes) is 34 years old? Not that 34 is over the hill by any means but when you consider that … Read more

The Black Keys: Turn Blue [Album Review]

The Black Keys Turn Blue Nonesuch Records [2014] Fire Note Says: The Black Keys don’t quite meet high expectations with Turn Blue. Album Review: True story: When I first heard “Fever,” I didn’t know that it was the first single from The Black Keys’ new album Turn Blue. I was trying to figure out the … Read more

Iron & Wine: Ghost On Ghost [Album Review]

Iron & Wine Ghost On Ghost Nonesuch Records [2013] Fire Note Says: Iron & Wine’s fifth LP is an alternative/folk/rock/jazz/pop masterpiece. Album Review: Sam Beam has gone through quite a musical evolution in the eleven years he’s been making music under the Iron & Wine moniker. While his first two albums (2002’s The Creek Drank … Read more

Devendra Banhart: Mala [Album Review]

Devendra Banhart Mala Nonesuch Records [2013] Fire Note Says: Devendra Banhart’s debut on Nonesuch Mala is muy buena. Album Review: Devendra Banhart’s Mala is his latest release, his first since 2009’s What Will We Be. I came to this album with a recognition of Banhart’s name but not much previous exposure to his actual music. … Read more