E – self-titled

Although being part-promoted as a ‘return-to-noise’ vehicle for Thalia Zedek, after her more rustically-inclined solo wares of the last 15 or so years, the search engine-unfriendly E actually operate much more as a three-headed democratic beast.  With Zedek sharing her vocal and six-string-slinging duties with Jason Sanford (Neptune) and marshalled … [Read more...]

Thalia Zedek Band – Eve

Since 2001’s still impressive Been Here And Gone began her solo journey, after preceding pioneering years in Dangerous Birds, Uzi, Live Skull and - of course - Come, Thalia Zedek hasn’t made records with ease of listening as the priority.  At the heart of them all has been her fusion of indefectible gutsiness and unbreakable yearning that is … [Read more...]

Tortoise – The Catastrophist

At this stage in their quarter-century or so long career, you could forgive Tortoise a little predictability. Having forged a string of the most enduring albums to have emanated from the Chicago post-rock scene in the early-‘90s, you could understand a little auto-piloting at this juncture. Certainly, if you just judged the record by its cover, … [Read more...]

Interview with Janet Beveridge Bean (Eleventh Dream Day)

Eleventh Dream Day have certainly been no strangers to these pages over the last twelve or so years - for which this writer makes no apologies.  As a quintessential gang of underground rock survivors, the Chicagoans should by rights always be mentioned in the same breath as Sonic Youth and Yo La Tengo when it comes to carving out a consistent, … [Read more...]

Eleventh Dream Day – Works For Tomorrow

Fact: there is no such thing as a bad Eleventh Dream Day record.  However, it’s also true to say that it’s been a fair while since the hiatus-prone Chicago-based outfit released a truly great one; in the shape of 2000’s superb Stalled Parade.  Whilst 2006’s Zeroes And Ones and 2011’s Riot Now! were up the band’s own very high standards, the former … [Read more...]

Record Store Day 2015: In Review

This year’s annualised record-buying binge event was preceded by a heated yet healthy debate on its ongoing help as well as hindrance to the independent quarters of the music industry.  Stoked initially by two kindred-spirit independent labels - Howling Owl and Sonic Cathedral - whose bold yet constructive criticism of the Record Store Day … [Read more...]

Colleen – Captain Of None

Having made such an assured step forward with 2013’s The Weighing Of The Heart on Second Language, it was perhaps inevitable that a larger and more globally-reaching label such as Thrill Jockey would sign up Cécile Schott (AKA Colleen) for this sequel set.  Paradoxically, despite such a leg-up, Captain Of None is a far more elusive affair.  Whereas … [Read more...]

Artists On Albums: AOA#38 (John Parish on Doc At The Radar Station)

John Parish on… Captain Beefheart And The Magic Band’s Doc At The Radar Station (Virgin Records, 1980) “Listen to this, it’s the worst thing you’ve ever heard” said the keyboard-player from my first band before sticking a cassette into the van’s sound system. It was an advance copy of Doc At The Radar Station that a friend working in Virgin … [Read more...]

Mountains – Centralia

With a firm hand for delicate layers and slow-burning compositions, the duo of Mountains creates a stellar relationship with the listener on their latest instrumental album, Centralia. Regarded as their ‘most fully-realized album,’ the duo worked closely together, crafting the album through repetitive work that involved the heavy use of acoustic … [Read more...]

Artists On Albums: AOA#33 (Thalia Zedek on Junkyard)

Thalia Zedek on… The Birthday Party’s Junkyard (Missing Link/4AD, 1982) I remember clearly the luckiest record shopping day of my life.  It was 1982 and I was at Newbury Comics, the only record shop in Boston that stocked underground records at that time.  I went to the new arrivals bin and starting flipping through the stack, and then I … [Read more...]