Category Archives: rock

AWOLNATION – My Echo, My Shadow, My Covers & Me

Cover records are a tricky business at best and yet I find myself drawn to them. I’m never sure if it is for the train wreck or the diamond in the rough. In this case, it was mostly just nondescript rehashings. For the most part, what is good on this record is what was good in the original recordings. Where… Read more »

Nils Lofgren – Night After Night

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Nils Lofgren’s earlier band Grin had some teeth, but for the most part, I find his solo records to be lacking any of that. They’re not bad so much as they are just lacking in anything ecstatic. That makes Night After Night a bit of a surprise. Steven Kurutz at allmusic.com calls the record “not an inspired effort,” but to… Read more »

Nirvana – Nevermind: Is It a Great Album?

Album cover for Nirvana "Nevermind"

We were restless. We were young and passionate and starving for great music, music with an edge, music that expressed the turmoil of how we felt. It was 1991 and it was a difficult time to love rock. Hard rock was dominated by bands like Warrant and Extreme and Tesla, bands who could sell out arenas but were devoid of… Read more »

Loney Dear – Loney Dear

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Album cover for "Loney Dear"

I am rooted in songs filled with drive and urgency and yearning. I stray into other worlds—worlds filled with opera singers and dub basslines and experimental noises—but inevitably I hear an album filled with driving rhythms and urgent melodies and yearning lyrics, and I am drawn in and taken back to my roots. Loney Dear’s songs have drawn me in… Read more »

Van Halen – Fair Warning, Albuquerque NM, 1981

Album cover for Van Halen's Fair Warning

I’m hypnotized by the wall of used cassettes when the in-store sound system yanks me out of my reverie. The song is dark and aggressive and exciting. It makes me feel an urgency unlike anything I’ve felt before. I’m a shy kid. I’m chubby and have a lot of pimples and I don’t understand what to do with the mop… Read more »

J. Geils Band – Nightmares…and Other Tales from the Vinyl Jungle

There are more than a few instances of what is arguably a band’s best work being overshadowed by lesser later work that was hugely popular. ZZ Top is more associated with a ’33 Ford and long-legged women than they are with the fat guitar tones and loose Texas boogie of their 1970’s output. When most people think of Genesis, 80’s… Read more »

U2 – April 10, 1987, Pan American Center, Las Cruces NM

My first concert of 1987 was U2’s sixth date on their Joshua Tree tour. I didn’t know U2 beyond Under a Blood Red Sky, but “Where the Streets Have No Name” immediately captivated me. I intuitively knew this band, this record, and this concert would change my life. My friend David and I convinced our parents to let us make… Read more »

Peter Gabriel – 3 / Melt

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Album cover for Peter Gabriel 3 / Melt

Oddly, Passion was the first Peter Gabriel album that spoke to me. Although So eventually connected with me, his earlier records never did. With that in mind, I’m revisiting 3, an album whose supposed greatness always eluded me. As I listen with fresh ears, this album feels like Gabriel’s attempt to balance the head that ruled his earlier work and… Read more »

Michigander – Everything Will Be Okay Eventually

The thing about sadness is that it is not all the same, but too often artistic representations of sadness treat it is as a one-size-fits-all emotion. Sometimes, sadness can even be coupled with optimism. Not to beat the Covid theme to death, but with some hope on the horizon, mixing optimism into our sadness seems apropos right now and, at… Read more »

Review: Gaslight Anthem – American Slang

Released: June 15, 2010 Label: SideOneDummy Records The '59 Sound, Gaslight Anthem's 2008 release, got a lot of comparisons to Springsteen. That was fair enough as there is no doubt that the band's sound was influenced by the godfather of their home state's rock and roll scene. However, what seemed to get lost in those comparisons, was that weren't simply… Read more »