Brian Palmer



Album reviews: The Head and the Heart, Moby, The Avett Brothers

Album reviews: The Head and the Heart, Moby, The Avett Brothers

The Head and the Heart Let’s Be Still/Sub Pop The latest record from this folk/pop/rock band is a beauty. Thought-provoking, well- crafted with great melodies and variety, Let’s Be Still is easy to enjoy. “Another Story” is pleasing piano rock given greater power in lines like “tell you one thing/ain’t gonna change much/the sun still […]

Lee Koch's Whole Heart is the second album from The Voice contestant.

Album reviews: Lee Koch, Andrew Belle, and KT Tunstall

Lee Koch Whole Heart/Self-released Whole Heart is likable for a variety of reasons. Most of it has a calm folk vibe, and there is something refreshing about the way Koch gives equal weight to relationships with lovers, strangers, and God. The Americana track “Journey to Unfold” is noteworthy for its focus on living life intentionally […]

The Welsh trio strives to live in the moment during a very busy year.

Band on fire: The Joy Formidable

It’s been a busy year for Welsh alternative rock trio The Joy Formidable. In addition to touring North America virtually nonstop, they released their sophomore album Wolf’s Law in January, contributed to Record Store Day in April, and released an EP, Silent Treatment, in July. But they wouldn’t have it any other way. Bassist Rhydian Daffyd took […]

Ethereal and optimistic tunes.

Album reviews: Sarah Neufeld, Christa Wells, American Authors

Sarah Neufeld Hero Brother/Constellation With Hero Brother, Arcade Fire violinist and composer Sarah Neufeld has created a strikingly beautiful release. Ethereal and elegiac, this instrumental masterpiece transports you to another world and conveys its mysterious story in a unique way to each listener. “Breathing Black Ground” is a haunting piece of work that feels like […]

Travis returns with Where You Stand.

Album reviews: The Civil Wars, BT, Travis

The Civil Wars The Civil Wars/Columbia Records After going on hiatus last year due to “internal discord and irreconcilable differences of ambition,” Joy Williams and John Paul White have a new album that begs the question: How could something so beautiful have come from two people who don’t speak to each other anymore? The longing […]

Album reviews: The Mars Patrol, Shannon Curtis, Jenn Bostic

Album reviews: The Mars Patrol, Shannon Curtis, Jenn Bostic

The Mars Patrol Young Lovers/Self-released London-based sextet, The Mars Patrol, has been making undeniably catchy music for almost a decade, and its latest EP Young Lovers is no exception. The band’s trademark upbeat sound shines on the rousing opener “Here We Go,” while “Stop Pushing You Away” and the closing title track feature the driving […]

Album reviews: Slim Loris, Eluvium and Eisley

Album reviews: Slim Loris, Eluvium and Eisley

Slim Loris Future Echoes and Past Replays/Record Union Swedish indie Americana rock group, Slim Loris, has made one of 2013s most surprising albums thus far. Euphoric, humorous and bittersweet, Future Echoes and Past Replays is a success. The band ensnares you with the lively and whimsical “Fear of Flying,” or the subdued and contemplative “While I Breathe,” […]

Album reviews: Daughter, Dido, Xenia Dunford

Album reviews: Daughter, Dido, Xenia Dunford

The first full-length album from London-based band Daughter is a sonic and emotional feast. “Lifeforms” encapsulates the album’s sound, tone and content, with echoing, reverb-heavy guitars, singer Elena Tonra’s husky, lilting vocals, and her metaphorical lyrics about cleaning up after your dead. The ebullient “Human” focuses on recognizing self-worth despite our shortcomings.

The heartfelt tunes of Drew Holcomb & The Neighbors hit the Pavilion stage on May 9. Image: J. Clayton

ARTS Pick: Drew Holcomb & the Neighbors

Drew Holcomb & the Neighbors released Good Light in February and debuted at #84 on Billboard’s Top 200 chart fueled by the popular single, “Tennessee.” The album is drenched in southern sensibility with its easygoing rock and roll sound, and the authenticity the band infuses into their songs is sweet and beautiful.

Album reviews: eels, Quiet Fire and Matt Pond

Album reviews: eels, Quiet Fire and Matt Pond

Wonderful, Glorious attempts to continue this trend, but isn’t quite as successful. “Accident Prone”’s down-tempo guitars and Everett’s sedated, melodic vocals are beautifully unusual, and the way he channels Johnny Cash’s mumbling vocal on the dreamy guitar-driven ballad “On the Ropes,” is nothing short of eerie.

Album reviews: Flyleaf, Ari Hest, and Danielia Cotton

Album reviews: Flyleaf, Ari Hest, and Danielia Cotton

Love and longevity Flyleaf New Horizons/A&M Records Flyleaf’s Lacey Sturm is well-established as one of alternative rock’s more recognizable voices. Since she recently informed fans that she is leaving the band to be a full-time mother, it is fitting that this last album with Sturm is entitled New Horizons. The video that accompanies the title […]

Album reviews: A Fine Frenzy, Anberlin and Angel Snow

Album reviews: A Fine Frenzy, Anberlin and Angel Snow

Alison Sudol, a.k.a. A Fine Frenzy, has one of the most heavenly voices in all of alternative folk rock, and she puts it to good use on her third release, Pines. A concept album about a pine tree being given a chance to create a life of its own choosing, Pines takes you on a mesmerizing musical journey.

Images courtesy of the artist.

Album reviews: Tift Merritt, Muse and Mumford & Sons

If you have been a fan of folk or Americana music at any point during the past decade, the chances are good that you have heard Tift Merritt’s arresting vocals, beautiful musical arrangements, and insightful lyrics. Merritt has been casting a spell on audiences and critics since day one, but on Traveling Alone she demonstrates that she is not above tossing out a few surprises.

Images courtesy of Interscope Records, Tree of Hearts, and The Bloody Angle.

Album reviews: No Doubt, Paper Route and The Bloody Angle

No Doubt Push & Shove/Interscope Records From the mid-’90s into the mid-’00s, No Doubt was one of the hottest bands on the planet, and even when lead singer Gwen Stefani went solo she continued to burn up the charts. Now the band has released a comeback album, its first of original material since 2001 and it […]

Album reviews: Willie DE, Caitlin Canty, and Imagine Dragons

Album reviews: Willie DE, Caitlin Canty, and Imagine Dragons

Imagine Dragons created a buzz earlier this year with the release of its debut EP, Continued Silence. The six-track album featured rock and pop tracks that were heavily guided by hip-hop and dance undertones. On Night Visions, the first full-length release, the band expands on this framework to create one of 2012’s more textured and diverse albums.