Brokeback – Brokeback And The Black Rock

Brokeback - Brokeback And The Black Rock

Originally conceived way back in 1995 as a stripped-down solo project for Doug McCombs - in-between duties for Tortoise and  Eleventh Dream Day - to explore the minimalistic and melodic possibilities of the 6-string bass guitar, Brokeback evolved into a far more sociable and eclectic enterprise over three studio albums between 1999 and … [Read more...]

Snow Palms – Intervals

Snow Palms - Intervals

It feels like it’s been just a little too long since we last had an album featuring the multi-talented David Sheppard leading or co-leading the way.  If this writer’s memory is correct then the last time Sheppard jointly-headed-up a long-player officially was back in 2008 as one third of Smile Down Upon Us (a pan-global collaboration between … [Read more...]

Can – The Lost Tapes (boxset)

Can - The Lost Tapes

With the influence of Can seemingly reaching its highest watermark right now, it’s somewhat inevitable that a long-awaited trawl of the band’s archives has finally come to fruition.  Although a reissue campaign in the early-to-mid-2000s for Can’s official album catalogue put the group’s legacy into good working order with strong yet sympathetic … [Read more...]

Can – Tago Mago (40th Anniversary Reissue)

Can - Tago Mago

Having been on a shamefully belated personal Can back catalogue trawl over the last year, it’s clearly apparent that not one album can truly represent and illustrate what made the band so special and so important.  Even the over-polished and disjointed albums from the band’s twilight years are at least, in parts, crucial in explaining their … [Read more...]

The Sea And Cake – The Moonlight Butterfly

The Sea And Cake - The Moonlight Butterfly

Although it’s perhaps too late into a 20 or so year existence to expect a radical sonic renaissance for The Sea And Cake, long-term followers have at least been holding out for a little more of the diversity and democracy that made the band a genuine art-pop 'supergroup' in the 1990s.  Whilst this new 6-song mini-album is still aesthetically sealed … [Read more...]

Rick Rizzo & Tara Key – Double Star / Eleventh Dream Day – Riot Now!

Rick Rizzo & Tara Key - Double Star

With its sheer volume of releases and increasingly vinyl-centric tilt, it’s arguable that the current workings of Chicago’s pioneering Thrill Jockey label are straining fans’ finances as well as running the risk of over-supply and quality-control lapses. No such concerns can, however, be raised when a less-prolific elder statesman on the books … [Read more...]

Iron & Wine – Kiss Each Other Clean

Iron & Wine - Kiss Each Other Clean

Although the pace has been piecemeal over nearly a decade, Sam Beam certainly can’t be faulted for the stylistic progression and artistic reach he has extended for Iron & Wine since 2002’s lovely The Creek Drank The Cradle debut.  It could have been all too easy for Beam to have continually mined that said first album’s lo-fi co-joining of Nick … [Read more...]

Chicago Underground Duo – Boca Negra

Chicago Underground Duo - Boca Negra

Although Thrill Jockey’s roster has been radically reshuffled and expanded of late to suck in and publish the wares of a newer promising generation of artistic adventurers - such as High Places, Mountains, The Fiery Furnaces and Thank You - it still falls to the remaining incumbent old-guard signees to sustain the freewheeling character of the … [Read more...]

Tarcutta – s/t

Tarcutta - s/t

The term “post-rock” has always contained something of a shape shifting quality; ever since the term worked its way into popular culture vocabulary back in the 1990’s, critics and fans alike have furiously debated as to whether or not the genre provides the means for rocking of any sort.  With a mission to utilize rock instrumentation in the most … [Read more...]

Flipsides & Otherwise: FAO #18

Jarvis Cocker - "Further Complications."

Sometimes it's a wonder the music world hasn't just collapsed back on itself, upon reaching a critical mass of self-regurgitation.  Miraculously though, the capacity of long-serving artists to periodically reinvent and regenerate has helped to shuffle around the rock/pop planet's furniture into seemingly infinite feng shui combinations to avoid a … [Read more...]