Wintercoats – Cathedral EP

The guitar's dominance as the string instrument of choice for songwriters is unlikely to be overturned anytime soon, but violins have made their presence felt on the scene in recent years, most notably in the form of Andrew Bird, Patrick Wolf, and Owen Pallett. Wintercoats, the one-man recording project of Melbourne, Australia's James Wallace, … [Read more...]

Rites of Ash – Like Venom

Rites of Ash certainly has an interesting aesthetic. Labeling themselves as pop/rock/electronica, they add some unexpected elements to a standard alternative rock sound, which serves to simultaneously bring freshness to the music and, well, make it a bit annoying. Their new LP, Like Venom, carries unconventional production that, while certainly … [Read more...]

Little Beirut – Fear of Heaven

Little Beirut take their name from an insult former President George H.W. Bush made about their hometown, Portland, Oregon. Thinking the comment was both unjust and unprofessional they decided to express their affection for the city by forming an indie rock band. Fear of Heaven is their third LP and it’s full of catchy and moving songs, making it … [Read more...]

E-grand – s/t

One of my greatest pleasures as a music journalist is exposing modest, talented singer/songwriters (if only by a little bit). These are the underdogs of the music industry; they don’t try to wow us with musicianship and visual spectacle. Instead, they tell simple tales about the human condition with subtle melodies and appropriate production. … [Read more...]

Distant Lights – Simulacrum

As much as I adore virtuosity and complex arrangements, I also admire good, simple songwriting. Very often we’re given one or the other by bands, and while that’s fine, the most respectable acts fuse them. With Simulacrum, Distant Lights has done just that. Sometimes there is a clear separation between the two, but for the most part, the album is … [Read more...]