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Luray – The Wilder

Luray – The Wilder

Luray is a town of about 5,000 people in northern Virginia, nestled unassumingly in the Shenandoah Valley. Luray is also the name of Shannon Carey’s family-heavy, bluegrass-shaded indie band out of Washington D.C. Currently, Carey and her troupe are dutifully on a intimate club tour of the eastern half of America in support of their […]

Beck – Morning Phase

Beck – Morning Phase

Beck’s Morning Phase makes a strong case for the continuing validity of full-length albums. Unlike so many other mere song collections dropped into the marketplace these days, this recording presents a consistent, appealing mood, start to finish. It’s similar in tone to Beck’s Sea Change. It differs in content from that one, however, in that […]

Karl Denson’s Tiny Universe – New Ammo

Karl Denson’s Tiny Universe – New Ammo

When first exposed to this album, I must admit that it was the name that initially caught my attention most eagerly.  Who is Karl Denson I wondered, and what sort of creations are hiding behind its vintage, circa-1800s styled artwork with a boldly-faced beagle clutching a saxophone in its mouth?  After listening to the single […]

Tristen – Caves

Tristen – Caves

Tristen’s sophomore effort, Caves, seems like it’s been done before several decades in a row. The dance pop effects on most of the album seem canned, flat, and better left in the ‘80s. This is most exemplified in songs like “Gold Star,” “Easy Out,” and “House of War” and clash with the sometimes shrill vocals […]

Liza Anne – The Colder Months

Liza Anne – The Colder Months

We’ve all been there. It’s February, Christmas has passed, and you’re sick and tired of snow by this point. Many people, although perhaps self-diagnosed, suffer from varying degrees of seasonal depression. Perhaps there is no better way to spend the days wallowing in your sorrows then with a rolling banjo, lightly fingerpicked guitar, and the […]

The Notwist – Close to the Glass

The Notwist – Close to the Glass

Germans tend to make things tougher than they need to be, but I think it’s because they like the challenge. Look at their language, filled with 21-letter words with sometimes complex, existential meanings. Even simple words are a mouthful: The German word for OK is Einverstanden. I wonder — does anyone ever win a German […]

The Hobbit: The Desolation of Smaug – Original Motion Picture Soundtrack

The Hobbit: The Desolation of Smaug – Original Motion Picture Soundtrack

Movie soundtracks have become, by and large, the postmodern version of classical music. While there are still plenty of conventional composers, our greater world is more able to identify works by such artists as John Williams or Hans Zimmer over against those from John Tavener or Julian Anderson. Howard Shore is another artistic voice that […]

Speedy Ortiz – Real Hair EP

Speedy Ortiz – Real Hair EP

There is nothing Speedy Ortiz can’t accomplish now. And the speed with which they’re producing and plowing through new material is dizzying. But, here’s the thing: anyone can be prolific, but not anyone can make it sound good and look effortless. What’s more, Real Hair, a nervy EP of just four songs, has Speedy Ortiz ironing […]

Alt-J – Summer Remix EP

Alt-J – Summer Remix EP

It’s in our character to fuss with our creations, I don’t believe human nature is ever satisfied. Admit it, do you ever stay on one TV station? No, you always want to see what the others have to offer. In music, this constant state of reinvention occurs through the remix, a subtle (and sometimes not-so-subtle) […]

Mike Donovan – WOT

Mike Donovan – WOT

Former Sic Alps man Mike Donovan is right at home on Drag City. For multiple reasons, most of them personal and nostalgic, Drag City will always be synonymous with Will Oldham, the great Bonnie Prince himself and Bill Callahan. Both troubadours of the American cultural landscape, both men have mined the depths of America both […]