Richard Thompson – Acoustic Classics

Despite the fact Richard Thompson has claimed that this new collection of fourteen acoustically-re-rendered old songs was cut primarily to cater for fresh-converts looking for a simple selection to pick up from his live show merch table - a point reinforced by the cheap tour-CD-like packaging - it’s hard to not suspect that there were other … [Read more...]

Mabel Joy – Wish I Was (reissue)

With hindsight it was perhaps inevitable that this one-off long-player from Mabel Joy got thoroughly lost at the time of its original 1993 release.  Amidst the amplified musical sects of the early-‘90s, a collection of acoustically-driven pop symphonies from a British band in thrall to stately late-‘60s/early-‘70s American singer-songwriters and … [Read more...]

The Head and the Heart – Let’s Be Still

Sub Pop, a label once known for pioneering the raucous Seattle sound, has found its footing in the new millennium as a purveyor of soft rock. This strange shift in orientation only makes sense on a regional level as a few of the major acts on their roster on from the Emerald City, namely Fleet Foxes and their cathartic spin off Father John … [Read more...]

The Children’s Hour – SOS JFK (reissue)

Having beguiled many new followers with last year’s slowly-intoxicating Blood Rushing, it’s inevitable that urges to explore Josephine Foster’s back catalogue are strong amongst some late-comers.  Yet it’s not an easy journey to navigate; with Foster’s past wares scattered between multiple labels (Locust Music, Bo’Weavil, Fire Records and others) … [Read more...]

Daniel Rossen – Silent Hour/Golden Mile EP

Throughout their career, Grizzly Bear has always ensured a sound that is both aesthetically ominous and darkly atmospheric. In many ways, their Yellow House album was as much about the spectrum of sound they explored, as it was about honest, sincere songwriting. Before and after that album it’s always been a superb spectral sound behind their … [Read more...]

Shearwater – Animal Joy

I spent an inordinate amount of my time in 2011 listening to music by – and reviewing records for – artists who found themselves tangled up in the media frenzy of lo-fi and chillwave.  Often a smeary but no less loveable pastiche of indecipherable vocals, willfully retro synthesizers, and staggering reverb, artists like Neon Indian and Washed Out … [Read more...]

Justin Vellucci – Life Span of the Moth

Pigeonholing an album like Life Span of the Moth doesn’t come easily.  Assembled from scraps of looped percussion samples, spoken word meditations, bedroom folk, and post-rock atmospheres, this tenth album from San Diego-by-way-of-Pittsburgh songwriter Justin Vellucci conspires to fuse the brittle introspections of Bill Callahan or Leonard Cohen … [Read more...]

Real Estate – Days

There’s always a little bit of desire in the way one feels after taking an album in for the first time. On their self-titled debut Real Estate ensured that music could be both melodically-strong while still maintaining an air of dreamy escape. The desire left behind was the calling for a refined, muscular sound and with Days, the band delivers. … [Read more...]

The Damngivers – The Damngivers EP

The swaying nature of music is profuse in being able to control your passions and intentions with a delicate hand. For Long Beach’s The Damngivers, music finds an interesting equilibrium where leadman’s Gerry Gomez’ songwriting is able to fully digress around his band-mates country swoon. With the release of their self-titled five-song EP, the band … [Read more...]

Jared Mees & the Grown Children – Only Good Thoughts Can Stay

So much of what music is about is the simple fact that one can testify their own trials and tribulations through the voice of their soaring music. As you hear Jared Mees & the Grown Children sing about how they wanna ‘shake shake shake all these blues away’ to the faint glimmer of tapping percussion and melting vocals in the background you can … [Read more...]