While it might seem easy, crafting a solid power punk album requires a couple of important ingredients that are often forgotten – namely attitude, angst, crunching guitars and short songs. This formula is strictly adhered to by Occult Detective Club on CRIMES, which delivers a tight 12 song disc that clocks a little under 30 minutes. Guitars jangle forcefully on the lead-off track “In Another Life” and segue into one cool track after another with “Our Bitter End” being the strongest, while “Calling the Detectives” provides playful wordplay and toe-tapping fun – “she’s calling the detectives/you’re gonna need an alibi.” …Read On »
Things have certainly mellowed for the husband wife duo of Linford Detweiler and Karin Bergquist who write and perform as Over the Rhine. When they started off in the early ‘90s, they provided a perfect blend of alternative angst with Bergquist’s raspy vocals echoing a much smoother sounding Johnette Napolitano of Concrete Blonde. While the band had its followers, they never did fully receive the credit they deserved, but have continued to produce solid efforts over the last 20 years. With THE LONG SURRENDER, the group finds themselves in a much more somber groove with this smoky set of 13 …Read On »
Distributor: 429 Records Suggested Retail Price: $9.99 The indie music releases of 2011 has gotten off to an excellent start, with SoCal punkers Social Distortion releasing the great HARD TIMES AND NURSERY RHYMES and now Cracker and Camper Van Beethoven frontman David Lowery releasing a just as potent first solo album. Lowery makes it clear on his website, this is not an album following the break-up of either of his bands (which he tours with regularly). Instead, it’s simple a side project, which, not surprising, feels very much in synch with the work of both of his excellent groups. It’s …Read On »
Distributor: Hear Music Suggested Retail Price: $8.99 Elvis Costello has always been a prolific artist, and even as his career is going on his fifth decade in the business, he’s still cranking out amazing songs and albums at an accelerated pace (and that’s not counting all the reissues of his older albums with bonus tracks). Last year, he released his latest effort, the somewhat uneven NATIONAL RANSOM, a hodge podge of tracks that felt like cast-offs from MOMOFUKU and SECRET, PROFANE AND SUGARCANE. It doesn’t mean that it wasn’t any good, it was just stylistically and consistency-wise all over the …Read On »
It’s been some time since I’ve been excited by a new R.E.M. album. Both 2004’s AROUND THE SUN and 2008’s ACCELERATE promised greatness and a return to form, but were uneven, misshapen releases with few memorable moments. With their disc COLLAPSE INTO NOW due out March 8, the band has released its first single from that disc “Mine Smell Like Honey” which just hit iTunes and other online retail outlets. Damn, they’re back. While I’m all for a band exploring new sounds and textures, it felt like the jangly pop roots the band became famous for, gave way to more …Read On »
Distributor: Bigger Picture Group/Outlaw Saints Music Suggested Retail Price: $13.99 Although THE HOUSE RULES is his first major label release, Christian Kane has been around a good while now as a singer/songwriter. Those familiar with his music via live performance and/or independently-produced earlier records can testify that he is consistently passionate, entertaining and smooth on the ears. Good news: THE HOUSE RULES adds big-league production value to the tracks without in any way diluting Kane’s essential sound or sense of fun. Produced by Bob Ezrin and Jimmie Lee Sloas, both of whom do double-duty as musicians on the album, THE …Read On »
10 FAVORITE ALBUMS (in alphabetical order) Daft Punk – TRON: LEGACY soundtrack There were some great soundtracks this year, but damn, these techno boys created the best John Carpenter/Alan Howarth score that the never wrote. The movie may be polarizing, but this soundtrack will make you appreciate being a user. Frightened Rabbit – THE WINTER OF MIXED DRINKS A wonderful, alternative rock find. A group whose music seeps with angst and emotion, while not sounding mainstream. This is everything Arcade Fire’s THE SUBURBS album should have been. Gaslight Anthem – AMERICAN SLANG A Jersey band with a heavy Boss influence, …Read On »
It’s hard to grasp that the first two Tom Petty records – 1976’s self titled release (featuring “American Girl” and “Breakdown) and 1978’s YOU’RE GONNA GET IT! (featuring “I Need to Know” and “Listen to Her Heart”) – were not commercial successes in the states.
The U.K. loved the band, but despite those great songs, they struggled to find a stateside audience.