Archives for January 2009

Gerald Krampl – Timediver

I’ve always admired composers who record instrumental music by themselves (actually, I am one of them). The fact that it was written and performed entirely by one person gives it a very personal and intimate quality. It’s directly from their mind to your ears with no medium to alter or ruin it. Timediver, the new disc by renowned keyboardist Gerald … [Read more...]

Bearsuit – OH:IO

Bearsuit's songs are high-energy, spastic smash-ups where all the stop signs have been removed.  Male and female vocals easily morph from airy sweetness to raucous shouts to multi-tiered choir harmonies, while instruments run the gamut from guitars to keyboards to horns to flutes to zippy, zapping arcade game noises.  This sextet from Norwich, … [Read more...]

The Santiago Steps – Okay Okay Okay

Talk about misleading or false impressions. The first song off Okay Okay Okay, the third outing from California’s The Santiago Steps, starts the proceedings just the way you’d hope an album-opener would. The song— titled, simply, “Boardwalk”—begins with an emotive, if understated, progression on acoustic guitar, an almost hesitant repetition, … [Read more...]

A.C. Newman – Get Guilty

Although being the benevolent de facto dictator and primary songwriter of The New Pornographers, Carl Newman has been sage enough to share singing duties with Dan Bejar, Neko Case and - more latterly - Kathryn Calder, over the band's increasingly successful four studio records to date.  So when it comes to his solo side-project - which began with … [Read more...]

Dead Heart Bloom – In Chains

New York City-based Dead Heart Bloom’s latest release, In Chains, is the last installment of their EP trilogy which began with Fall In back in September 2008 and was followed by Oh Mercy in November. If we learned anything about Dead Heart Bloom from these first two EPs, it’s to expect the unexpected. And so it’s no surprise, given the voluminous … [Read more...]

Robert Henke – Atom/Document

Atom/Document is the companion album by Robert Henke (Monolake) for performance artist Christopher Bauder's Atom. The piece was designed around a matrix of 64 illuminated, LED patterned balloons that are triggered by Henke's music. According to Henke's website, the album is merely "a document of one possible scenario." Further explanations may … [Read more...]

Boo and Boo Too – No Tempo

Kansas 5 piece Boo and Boo Too orchestrate a squall of biting, beautiful rock music on their new album, No Tempo. The sound is a desperate cacophony, weaving three spiraling guitars through a solid rhythm section and urgent vocal. Boo and Boo Too sound good, whether they're building up or tearing down. No Tempo is a dense album, dreamy but … [Read more...]

Bruce Springsteen – Working on a Dream

Somewhere along the way, Bruce Springsteen realized that it was time to get back to his pop sensibilities. Those same feelings that allowed him to write many of the greatest songs of our time and frankly, of all time. And after his strong resurgence with 2002’s The Rising, the immense legend has since turned in gem after gem. He’s turning 60 years … [Read more...]

Ra Ra Riot on the Road

1/30 - Colgate University (Hamilton, NY) 1/31 - Smith Opera House (Geneva, NY) 2/11 - Barfly (Birmingham) 2/12 - King Tuts (Glasgow) 2/14 - Academy 2 (Newcastle) 2/15- Night and Day (Manchester) 2/16 - Bodega (Nottingham) 2/17 - King’s College (London) 2/18 - La Fleche D'or (Paris) 2/21 - Richard's on Richards (Vancouver, BC) !@ 2/22 - Lucky … [Read more...]

The Silence Kit – A Strange Labor

A few years ago I had the pleasure of reviewing an album by the Russian band Silence Kit. It was a phantasmagoria of sound wrought by a few like-minded experimental post-rock musicians. It's odd that there exists two bands with the same unusual name, but here we have another Silence Kit, this time from the Philly/New Jersey area. The US Silence Kit … [Read more...]