Sam Moss – Neighbors EP

When I reviewed guitarist Sam Moss’s Eight Constructions for Delusions of Adequacy a little more than a year ago, I made a point to address his keen application of restraint to what could have otherwise been a piece of gratuitous showmanship.  When virtuosity becomes a heedless exercise, what was once a spellbinding demonstration of unthinkable … [Read more...]

Andrew Bird – Break It Yourself

The first time Andrew Bird’s music graced my ears, I had the good fortune to be outside.  On a balmy summer evening in August of 2008, I was in attendance at Tanglewood – the western Massachusetts summer residence of the Boston Symphony Orchestra – meandering around the manicured lawns in preparation for a show being headlined by Wilco.  Jeff … [Read more...]

Jackson Emmer – The Jackson Emmer Songbook

Pensive guys with acoustic guitars and a flair for mystery have faired well in popular music over the years – just look at the singer/songwriter legacies left behind by luminaries like Nick Drake, Elliott Smith, and Ray LaMontagne.  Jackson Emmer may at first present like one of these tortured souls, churning out deeply wounded biographical stories … [Read more...]

The Twilight Sad – Acoustic EP

The Twilight Sad released a stripped-down acoustic EP as a free download in the spring of this year and it showcases the strength of the band’s bleak, stark, vivid lyrics and James Graham’s richly disaffected, emotive vocals.  The songs on this acoustic EP originate from Forget the Night Ahead and The Wrong Car and are less overtly dramatic than … [Read more...]

Interview with Princess Chelsea

Hello Princess Chelsea – Your debut album Lil’ Golden Book in on the New Zealand label Lil Chief Records and is out in the U.S. on September 6th. Has it been released already in other countries or online? At the moment those are the two official release dates. However, fans from other countries can purchase the album online direct from Lil' … [Read more...]

Blitzen Trapper – American Goldwing

You know how the music of classical composer Aaron Copland is indelibly linked to panoramic imagery of American life in the 20th century? I can’t help but sense a similar sort of jingoist pride when I listen to Portland’s Blitzen Trapper. Please don’t misunderstand me – I’m not setting out to argue that songs like “Wild Mountain Nation” or … [Read more...]

Morning River Band – Between the Ocean and the Blues

The last time we heard from the Morning River Band in the spring of 2010, they were assiduously plugging their debut EP of golden-hued Americana.  Fronted by multi-instrumentalist Jeffrey Fields and buoyed by the ace performance of pedal steel guitarist Dennis Bonfiglio, the New Jersey quartet was long on charisma but lacking in development, with … [Read more...]

Louder My Dear – What’s the Matter with You, Rock?

I had high hopes for Louder My Dear. It was the right mixture between digging the album cover and my coming back to DoA after my school-induced hiatus. I listened with eager ears. The debut from the Bostonians, however, had me wincing more than applauding. Musically, I think these guys are on the right track. Nothing groundbreaking, but they set … [Read more...]

Kingsley Flood – “I Don’t Wanna Go Home”

Ever since the spring 2010 release of their superb debut album (Dust Windows), Boston-based Kingsley Flood has been reaping the benefits of a rekindled nationwide interest in Americana music.  Bands like the Low Anthem and the Felice Brothers have been stoutheartedly composing roots-flavored songs for a few years now, but thanks in large part to … [Read more...]

Wino – Adrift

After years of churning out some of the heaviest, doom-laden, riff-heavy rock with St. Vitus, The Obsessed, Spirit Caravan, et al., Scott "Wino" Weinrich has finally unleashed his first truly solo effort, Adrift. No drums, no bass. Just Wino, his voice, and often multi-tracked acoustic guitar; with some of Wino's trademark lead work on an electric … [Read more...]