Category Archives: 9

Review: Avett Brothers – The Second Gleam

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Label: Ramseur Records Released: July 22, 2008 The Avett Brothers’ breakthrough album, last year’s Emotionalism, was a work whose broad influences were felt throughout and whose quiet ambition made it both huge and intimate at the same time. The Second Gleam, while keeping to the Avett’s signature sound, doesn’t share its predecessor’s breadth. Instead, it focuses on intimacy and gentle… Read more »

Review: Mad Tea Party – Found a Reason

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Label: Nine Mile Records Released: July 15, 2008 There is an interesting revival of old-time music afoot. Tapping into vaudeville, string bands and vocal groups of the 30s and 40s, these bands’ strengths can also be their limitations, making many strictly revivalists rather a modern look at the past. A few, however, manage to break the bounds of revivalism to… Read more »

Review: Bigelf – Cheat the Gallows

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Label: Custard Records Released: August 12, 2008 Make a list of all the grandiose artists and albums in rock n roll history and you probably have a map of the influences on Cheat the Gallows. Bigelf manages to seamlessly move from one of rock’s big ideas to the next, making an impressive sound for themselves in the process. It’s scary… Read more »

Review: They and the Children – Home

Label: Kill Normal Records Released: July 1, 2008 There are angry bands and then there are really angry bands. They and the Children are the latter. Their latest offering, Home, cuts right to the chase, brimming over with outright rage from the very start. The intensity level is so high in fact that it’s quite a shock that the whole… Read more »

Review: Spitfire – Cult Fiction

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Label: Goodfellow Records Released: April 29, 2008 There are two kinds of anger: one based on love and one based on hate. I’ve always found myself more attracted to the former. New Model Army’s fury on “I Love the World” has always seemed both fuller and deeper than something along the lines of the Circle Jerks’ “World Up My Ass.”… Read more »

Review: Otis Redding – Otis Blue: Otis Redding Sings Soul (2008 Collector’s Edition)

Label: Rhino Released: April 22, 2008 Otis Blue is a widely accepted soul classic and for good reason. It finds Redding running through some great soul tunes, many made famous by others, yet it never makes you long for the other versions (even Aretha’s version of “Respect”). He’s just that powerful of a singer. “Satisfaction,” one of rock’s most overrated… Read more »

Review: Portishead – Third

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Label: Mercury Released: April 29, 2008 Lots of people are complaining that Third doesn’t sound like Portishead. These people are smoking crack. In fact, they’re probably trying to smoke crack through their ears, which means the crack smoke is blocking out the music. I don’t get the complaints of the crack smokers. Third sounds like Portishead. It is filled with… Read more »

Review: Social Distortion – Greatest Hits

Label: Time Bomb Recordings Released: June 26, 2007 I’m not usually that big on greatest hits collections unless they’re from a singles-only pop band where there is no real context on the regular albums anyway. Every now and then though, a collection can tell you something that the individual albums didn’t. Such is the case with Social Distortion’s Greatest Hits…. Read more »

Review: Strangers Die Every Day – Aperture for Departure

Label: This Generation Tapes Released: March 4, 2008 There are two approaches to marrying rock and classical. The first takes the worst of both and dummies them down for the least common denominator. Trans-Siberian Orchestra and Metallica’s S&M have more in common with those old Hooked on Classics albums from the early 80s than they do with either classical or… Read more »

Review: Sharon Jones & the Dap-Kings – 100 Days 100 Nights and Angie Stone – The Art of Love and War

Label: Daptone Records Released: October 2, 2007 Label: Concord Released: October 16, 2007 It would seem that the essential component of soul music (old school or new) would be the soul itself, yet that is often just what modern soul and R&B lack. Too often even a good R&B singer has a tough time overcoming assembly line songwriting and synthetic… Read more »