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Diane Cluck – Boneset

Diane Cluck – Boneset

I was in an obscure club on the Illinois-Iowa border in a dusky town that felt forgotten in the wake of American industrialism. A bearded, soft-spoken proprietor. Leftover snow. Cheap wine. An ecstatic young man on an upright piano. In a cracked voice and an acoustic approach, he began singing stories; his unplugged, unpretentious performance […]

Lyla Foy – Mirrors the Sky

Lyla Foy – Mirrors the Sky

Is music like sex and pizza? It’s been said that sex is like pizza; even when it’s bad it’s still pretty good. Does music exist in this same strange purgatory concerning criticism? This question has lived unformed, yet persistently lurking, in the back of my mind while writing many music reviews. Of all the arts, […]

Nickel Creek – A Dotted Line

Nickel Creek – A Dotted Line

Nickel Creek can sound like three different groups, depending upon just which member’s doing the lead singing at any given time. The trio’s A Dotted Line drastically changes direction from song to song, it seems. Also, it’s much more bluegrass-influenced, than strictly bluegrass. Then again, Nickel Creek has always defied easy categorization. It sounds to […]

Unwound – Rat Conspiracy

Unwound – Rat Conspiracy

In the recently released The Jesus Lizard Book, Pavement’s Bob Nastanovich recalls of that band: I remember seeing their afternoon 1995 Lollapalooza set…in Chicago with Unwound’s drummer Sara Lund, outstanding in her own right, and she watched Mac [McNeilly, drummer for the Jesus Lizard] admiringly and called him ‘by far my favorite drummer.’ I concurred.” […]

The National – Mistaken for Strangers (Film)

The National – Mistaken for Strangers (Film)

The National documentary, Mistaken For Strangers, was screened at L.A.’s Shrine Auditorium where the band also put on one of its consistently hypnotic shows shortly after the credits rolled. Made by Tom Berninger, younger brother to The National lead singer Matt Berninger, this film likely started as woebegone Tom’s clumsy attempt to present The National’s […]

Painted Palms – Forever

Painted Palms – Forever

Atmospheric, poppy, and psychedelic are three easily identified adjectives used to describe this debut LP Forever, by San Francisco-based duo Painted Palms. Released under Polyvinyl Record Co., Forever is by no means a bad record. Cousins Christopher Prudhomme and Reese Donohue are excellent at their craft. Their music is well written and catchy for the […]

Owls – Two (take 2)

Owls – Two (take 2)

A new record from Owls was bound to raise a few questions, but you wouldn’t expect the first one to be “is that…a bloodied Noel Gallagher on the cover?” And yet. Is it a random call back to the time the Oasis leader was assaulted on stage in the middle of a show in Toronto […]

Owls – Two (take 1)

Owls – Two (take 1)

Two comes thirteen years after one. After thirteen years, indie eccentrics Owls deliver on the promise of their beloved self-titled debut. In those interim years, the members of Owls have proven to be prolific. Frontman Tim Kinsella has delivered a sizeable catalogue under the banner of Joan of Arc. Kid brother Mike Kinsella—here postured at […]

Stoney – More Than Animals

Stoney – More Than Animals

All right, show of hands here: Who among you, if you heard an album where almost every song sounded different from the one before it, would think the album was a random mishmash of songs put together by an artist who just had no idea what he wanted the album to be? I’m assuming most […]

Stephen Malkmus and the Jicks – Wig Out at Jagbags

Stephen Malkmus and the Jicks – Wig Out at Jagbags

With Wig Out at Jagbags, Stephen Malkmus has released more LPs more under his own name than he did with his seminal ’90s slack-rock band Pavement. While Pavement’s indie legend status means that Malkmus’ “solo” output (no disrespect to backing band The Jicks) will be perpetually cast in the shadow of his earlier material, it in no […]