Gerard Way: Hesitant Alien


Gerard Way Hesitant Alien (Warner Bros.) 4 out of 5 Former My Chemical Romance frontman Gerard Way has never been afraid to do things his own way, whether that means playing dark, theatrical rock when everyone else is playing poppy, radio-friendly material or  making a Brit-pop  record when the genre has long since disappeared from […]

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Robyn Hitchcock: The Man Upstairs


Robyn Hitchcock The Man Upstairs (Yep Roc) 3.5 out of 5 stars Robyn Hitchcock is one of those rare artists capable of creating anticipation merely through the mention of an impending project. Over the course of his 20 or so albums – not including his numerous compilations of rarities, outtakes and demos, or, for that […]

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Eric Clapton & Friends: The Breeze: An Appreciation Of JJ Cale


Eric Clapton & Friends The Breeze –An Appreciation of JJ Cale (Bushbranch/Surfdog) 2.5 out of 5 stars Eric Clapton wasn’t just the late JJ Cale’s highest profile musical admirer, he was arguably responsible for keeping Cale financially stable and professionally active through his hit covers of Cale’s “After Midnight” and “Cocaine.” Clapton also invited him to participate in his […]

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The Raveonettes: Pe’ahi


The Raveonettes Pe’ahi (Beat Dies/The Orchard) 3.5 out of 5 stars “Crank the distortion,” isn’t a direction you’d likely hear in most recording studio situations, but along with “make it sound like a record being played with a worn stylus” that seems to be what was expressed when the Raveonettes recorded this, the duo’s eighth album in just over […]

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Kelley Mickwee: You Used To Live Here

Kelley Mickwee

Kelley Mickwee You Used to Live Here (CEN/Red) 3.5 out of 5 stars The name may be unfamiliar to most, but just because this is Kelley Mickwee’s solo debut doesn’t mean she isn’t a veteran performer with thousands of miles and hundreds of shows under her belt. First as half of folk twosome Jed & […]

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The Last Hombres: Odd Fellows Rest

Last Hombres Odd Fellows Rest

The Last Hombres Odd Fellows Rest (Louisiana Red Hot Records) 3.5 out of 5 stars It’s unusual to kick off and close your first album in 11 years with the New Orleans funeral sound of the Hot 8 Brass Band. But little about  The Last Hombres follows any sort of blueprint. The quintet released their critically acclaimed […]

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Richard Thompson: Acoustic Classics

Richard Thompson Acoustic Classics

Richard Thompson Acoustic Classics (Beeswing) 3.5 out of 5 stars UK veteran Richard Thompson’s previous Buddy Miller-produced release was entitled Electric, so this oppositely named follow-up provides the unplugged response. But instead of new material, Thompson raids his existing bulging catalog to rearrange earlier tunes, adding a few obscurities, for solo acoustic guitar. Anyone who […]

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Louise Goffin: Songs From The Mine

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Louise Goffin Songs From The Mine (Majority Of One) 3.5 out of 5 stars It doesn’t seem to bother Louise Goffin that as the daughter of Carole King and Gerry Goffin, one of history’s most legendary songwriting couples, there might be increased pressure to follow in her parents’ giant footsteps. In fact, after an initial […]

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Jack Clement: For Once and For All

For once and for all jack clement

Jack Clement For Once and For All (I.R.S. Nashville) 4.5 out of 5 stars The late “Cowboy” Jack Clement was a lot of things — legendary country songwriter, Sun label engineer, talent scout, studio owner, song publisher and producer of everyone from Waylon Jennings to U2 are just some of the hats he wore—but a […]

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Phox: Phox

PHOX album cover

Phox Phox (Partisan) 3.5 out of 5 stars “Everything I do, I do in slow motion,” sings Phox frontwoman Monica Martin, in a voice that flutters from echoed lows to soaring highs with such ease that you forget there might be notes that exist in between. The song, “Slow Motion,” is layered with everything from […]

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Bry Webb: Free Will


Bry Webb Free Will (Idee Fixe) 4 out of 5 stars The Constantines – for all intents and purposes – were a punk band. They played big, noisy rock music heavily influenced by the likes of Fugazi and The Clash, and their live shows invariably found the Ontario-based group funneling all of their energy into […]

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First Aid Kit: Stay Gold

First Aid Kit

First Aid Kit Stay Gold (Columbia) 4 out of 5 Stars “We spoke of dreams that came to us when we were young/ But as the morning rose, we spoke with forked tongues,” sing Johanna and Klara Soderberg on their third album as the folk-pop duo First Aid Kit. It’s just one of many declarations […]

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