Hospitality – Trouble

Hospitality - Trouble

Although charming enough, Hospitality's eponymous debut LP from early-2012 lacked the distinctiveness that a hotly-tipped act should have presented, being too wedded to a Sundays-meets-The Feelies jangle-rock shtick.   However, the trio fronted by the honeyed-toned Amber Papini soon revealed more promise via a divine double-AA-side single - “The … [Read more...]

Telekinesis – Dormarion

Telekinesis-Dormarion

The press kit to this album nails it: Dormarion, it says, “is the sound of a man figuring out exactly who he is.” Give the guy who wrote this a raise, or maybe fire him, because the problem with this album is that it can’t figure out what it is. Michael Benjamin Lerner, the man and the band who is Telekinesis is wildly talented, but also wildly … [Read more...]

Sugar and Bob Mould – deluxe reissues

Sugar - Copper Blue (deluxe reissue)

Until someone can battle through the legal bondage of multiple records deals, to concertina together a definitive Mould Gold anthology from Bob Mould’s 30+ year music career, long-time observers and late-comers alike will have to make do with exploring his vast back catalogue in more en masse minefield fashion.  Whilst Mould’s Hüsker Dü catalogue … [Read more...]

M. Ward – A Wasteland Companion

M. Ward – A Wasteland Companion

By now, it’s well-known just how much music requires a steady balance to fully take hold of. For his well-being ways, M. Ward has always been a charming musician because of his magnetic voice, as well as his stellar songwriting skills. As a crooning, soulful voice that sounds just as all-encompassing as it sweeps you away, Ward’s been involved in a … [Read more...]

The Rosebuds – Loud Planes Fly Low

The Rosebuds - Loud Planes Fly Low

The marital fiascos and domestic entanglements of our society’s celebrities have always made ideal fodder for primetime news programs and weekly periodicals; in the well lit studios of 20/20 and on the glossy pages of People magazine, romantic failures tend to take on a surreal aura, where camp and melodrama keep us endlessly entertained but mask … [Read more...]

Destroyer – Kaputt

Destroyer - Kaputt

In the long, disjointed list of "themes alluded to or avoided" in the press release to Dan Bejar's 9th LP as Destroyer, Kaputt, a couple lines stick out as more serious-minded than others: "The hopelessness of the future of music" and "The pointlessness of writing songs for today." If perhaps a little sour and self-handicapping, they struck me as … [Read more...]

Our Noise: The Story of Merge Records, the Indie Label That Got Big and Stayed Small

Our Noise: The Story of Merge Records, the Indie Label That Got Big and Stayed Small - John Cook, Mac McCaughan, Laura Ballance

Merge Records is now a fairly well-oiled machine, but it wasn’t always so. It started off as a bedroom label working exclusively in the 7” format as a means for Mac McCaughan and Laura Balance to put out their and their Chapel Hill friends’ bands’ music because, as Mac put it, "it's not like there was anyone else asking to put them out." Slowly and … [Read more...]

Warp Records Showcase (Nice Nice and Pivot) with Special Guests (Let’s Wrestle and Titus Andronicus) @ The Black Market, El Paso, TX 03/21/10

Let's Wrestle

There will always be shows packed in where there will be so much overwhelmingly good music that you wont have any idea what to do. Such was the case with the great night of music at El Paso’s own The Black Market. For the past number of years, with an effort on trying to cash in on bands passing to and from Austin for South by Southwest, promoters … [Read more...]

Spoon – Transference

Spoon - Transference

What can you say about an album that before it’s released you know will end up on the year end best-of lists? Certain bands need only to mention they have something new coming out and before the first leaked track has been heard the album is given A+ status. After debuting at #4 on the Billboard charts Transference is in many hands, sharing space … [Read more...]

FAO#21: Spiral Stairs, Lou Barlow, Grant Hart & Jim O’Rourke

Spiral Stairs - The Real Feel

With some notable exceptions, few long-serving artists can keep going the distance without breaking free from established career patterns.  Whether it is leaving a formative band, moving far away from a milestone album or an influential sound, to sustain creativity for the long-haul musicians have to forge new paths, even if it alienates inherited … [Read more...]