Author Archive

The Wild Feathers – The Wild Feathers

August 19th, 2013
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American Buffet

Ready your flag kitsch and shine your two-steppin’ boots! On the tails of Mumfordcore comes a new wave of Americana, led by a fresh crop of bands you’ve never heard of. Among them are the adorable collective of white dudes known as The Wild Feathers, making their self-titled debut on Warner Brothers, and currently traversing the US with Willie Nelson. If their Instagram is to be believed, these guys are having a bodacious time rockin’ out all over this great nation– and they’re probably a hop-skip and two festivals away from dominating your local rock station.
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By Maggie Levin Posted in Reviews

KT Turnstall – Invisible Empire//Crescent Moon

August 13th, 2013
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Unsettled Melancholy

If you look back at your life’s traumatic turning points: the moments before you’re told someone close to you is dying or dead; the day before a car wreck, divorce or miscarriage– do you remember if you felt it? Was there an uneasy tremor in your heart or your gut? Did the world look funny? Did you know it was coming? KT Turnstall went through some heavy shit in 2012: the death of her father and of her marriage. These events were poetically bookended by recording sessions in Arizona, forming the two halves of Invisible Empire//Crescent Moon.
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By Maggie Levin Posted in Reviews

Alela Diane – About Farewell

August 5th, 2013


No Fun Zone

Near the turn of the millennium, Beck went from the pink PVC pants and Prince impressions of Midnite Vultures to the mellow acoustified bellyachin’ of Sea Change. It was, in part, a return to the folksier form of his early days, but also a solid step in Beck’s ever-evolving sound. For a teenager of this era, said evolution was still confusing, even knowing the cause. So he got his heart broken? So what! We wanna dance! But alas. When you love an artist, you either grow with them or you give up.
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By Maggie Levin Posted in Reviews

Shelby Earl – Swift Arrows

July 28th, 2013


Coffeehouse Lite

Here’s the thing about female singer-songwriters: for the most part, they are boring, bland and indistinguishable. Wait a minute, you might say, is this not an unfair and broad generalization? Shouldn’t every record be judged in a vacuum? To put it bluntly, no. While there shouldn’t be anything inherently dull about a lady with an acoustic guitar, the ugly truth is that there are just too many of them. Just like there are too many dudes in metal bands, too many dudes in forgettable four-piece generic guitar rock bands, too many dudes in music.
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By Maggie Levin Posted in Reviews

Olivier Libaux – Uncovered Queens of the Stone Age

July 17th, 2013


Uncovered Melody

In the confused wasteland of the early aughts, when Nickelback, Fall Out Boy and The Fray reigned supreme, some important rock was quietly forged. One of the most overlooked records of this period was Queens of the Stone Age’s Lullabies to Paralyze. Though band founder Josh Homme has referred to the Lullabies era as QOTSA’s lowest, it is a record worth a second look, and a third and a five hundredth. Haunting and hard-hitting, it is a collection of highly radio-unfriendly songs that will glue themselves to the deepest parts of your cerebellum.
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By Maggie Levin Posted in Reviews ,

Dessa – Parts of Speech

June 27th, 2013


Niche Speech

In two years’ time, a multi-hyphenate artist like Dessa would be considered nicher than niche. The ittiest bittiest niche– like the inside of a sake cup or a walnut shell. This year, understanding of a rapper/singer/spoken word artist has been lubed up a bit by the meteoric rise of Macklemore & Ryan Lewis. While Dessa’s latest work Parts of Speech may still come off as alien to your average pop listener, it’s exciting to say that feeling won’t be borne from total ignorance of her mixed genres. More likely, questions will come from a more general confusion: is this really good? Or is she just dusting off Ani DiFranco’s abandoned pathways?
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By Maggie Levin Posted in Reviews

Eleanor Friedberger – Personal Record

June 19th, 2013


No Personality

For the most part, we can all agree that old rock n’ roll is generally awesome. But you know those hit records from the fifties and sixties that just… aren’t so amazing? The ones that good kids and their parents were probably into? Pat Boone, Dinah Shore and several other artists kept spitting out weird, white-bread covers of soul songs. They did an excellent job of keeping half of a generation half-asleep, while the rest of it let loose for the first time.
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By Maggie Levin Posted in Reviews

Savoir Adore – Our Nature

June 12th, 2013


Ooey-Gooey Summer Treats

The yin-yang formula seems to be working out well for today’s pop artists. Matt & Kim, Stars and Grouplove are making significant waves, and it’s never been a better time to release a duet (or, in P!nk and Nate Ruess’s case, a screech-off). With schlumpy style and syrupy-sweet melodies in high demand, Brooklynite boy-girl duo Savoir Adore picked the ideal summer to release their latest collection of “fantasy rock” songs. Though it’s a hair homogenous, Our Nature is a confident and charming record, and a decent addition to their respectable discography.
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By Maggie Levin Posted in Reviews

CocoRosie – Tales of a Grasswidow

June 4th, 2013


Scary Tales

Once upon a time, a fairy tale had a bit of bite. Although we’ve got our Sookies and other alternative versions of nice sprites, for the most part, the wicked little pixies of the grim Grimm days have been pasted over by Disney princesses. But perhaps Game of Thrones really heralds the return of the old-fashioned magical trickster. And if those classical fairies and goblins have a voice in modern music, they are most assuredly speaking through the throats of CocoRosie. Way back when, even the most beautiful fae creature had evil lurking within her—and CocoRosie’s latest record is a spellbinding collection of that very brand of gorgeous darkness.
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By Maggie Levin Posted in Reviews

JC Brooks & the Uptown Sound – Howl

May 24th, 2013


Not-So-Great Expectations

JC Brooks & the Uptown Sound have a reputation for wild and sassy performances and great songwriting potential. Their frontman oozes style and panache. Their latest record, Howl, has been unleashed with a promise to ignite, electrify and rock us all to the core. Alas. While Howl is not a whimper, it doesn’t quite deliver on a full soul shakedown.
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By Maggie Levin Posted in Reviews