Nick Rubin



Detroit's Bonny Doon plays three area shows this summer. publicity image

Album reviews: Bonny Doon, Melody’s Echo Chamber, Rolling Blackouts Coastal Fever, Kingdom of Mustang and La Luz

Melody’s Echo Chamber Bon Voyage (Fat Possum) Melody Prochet’s 2012 debut was produced by Tame Impala’s Kevin Parker and shared many stylistic markers with Impala’s Innerspeaker, which was just peachy. Bon Voyage was co-produced by Dungen’s Reine Fiske, but while Fiske’s guitar and Dungen main man Gustav Esjtes’ flute are present here, they’re not exactly […]

Album reviews: The Voidz, Albert Hammond Jr. and Drinks

Album reviews: The Voidz, Albert Hammond Jr. and Drinks

The Voidz Virtue (RCA) Albert Hammond Jr. Francis Trouble (Red Bull) It seemed the Strokes had already endured the breathless-hype-into-vicious-backlash cycle even before its debut full-length, Is This It, dropped in 2001. The band’s momentum, attitude and simply perfectly simple songwriting blew through that milestone with authority. But since then, the band’s output has been […]

Album reviews: Kyle Craft, Lucy Dacus, Salad Boys and Marlon Williams

Album reviews: Kyle Craft, Lucy Dacus, Salad Boys and Marlon Williams

Kyle Craft Full Circle Nightmare (Sub Pop) Portland’s Kyle Craft is about to rock, and you may salute him. Craft writes perfect nü-classic rock songs with pounding piano, pealing slide guitar, and sucking-in-the-’70s horn charts—all present on “Exile Rag,” naturally. And a ubiquitous musical element that also happens to describe Craft’s constant state of hot […]

Album reviews: Xylouris White, Inara George, Carmen Villain and Khruangbin

Album reviews: Xylouris White, Inara George, Carmen Villain and Khruangbin

Xylouris White Mother (Bella Union) “Goats are mothers, Zeus was raised on Amaltheia’s milk, Black Peak is Mother Earth. …Mother Earth is the mother of everything.” Giorgos Xylouris thus explains his duo’s third album, the first two being Goat and Black Peak. It’s inscrutable and suitable. Cretan lutenist Xylouris and heavy-duty drummer Jim White (of […]

Album reviews: Camila Cabello, BØRNS, Reptaliens and Shopping

Album reviews: Camila Cabello, BØRNS, Reptaliens and Shopping

Camila Cabello Camila (Sony) I don’t exactly follow Fifth Harmony, and I missed the controversy surrounding Camila Cabello’s split with the group. Hope I’m not supposed to hate her because this is just great pop—glossy but not oversaturated—“All These Years” and “Real Friends” are even borderline minimal. And Cabello is a compelling, versatile performer worth […]

Album reviews: Girlpool, Say Sue Me, Novella and Sloan Peterson

Album reviews: Girlpool, Say Sue Me, Novella and Sloan Peterson

Girlpool Powerplant (Anti-) Philadelphia-by-way-of-California duo Girlpool released Powerplant in May, and it was probably a great summer heartbreak album, all intertwining guitars and fragile voices. Opener “123” comes in like a lamb and revs up to lion level at the chorus—but it’s a sweet, sad lion. The soft/loud ratio remains pretty constant throughout Powerplant, and […]

Album reviews: Mavis Staples, Sharon Jones, America and R.E.M.

Album reviews: Mavis Staples, Sharon Jones, America and R.E.M.

Mavis Staples If All I Was Was Black (Anti-Records) I haven’t been checking out the Jeff Tweedy- Mavis Staples collaborations of the last few years—apparently, I have been a fool. If All I Was Was Black is a nearly-miraculous alchemy of Staples’ gospel-soul and everything Tweedy throws at her. The swampy opener “Little Bit” includes […]

Album reviews: Jackie Shane, Tough Age, King Khan and Luna

Album reviews: Jackie Shane, Tough Age, King Khan and Luna

Jackie Shane Any Other Way (Numero Group) Any Other Way is an incredible soundtrack with a riveting story. Jackie Shane was assigned male at birth in 1940 Nashville, identified as female as a teenager, blew minds as a singer/stand-up drummer in various bands, moved to Toronto at the turn of the ’60s, sparked the city’s […]

Album reviews: Gyða Valtýsdottir, Omni, Deerhoof and The Babe Rainbow

Album reviews: Gyða Valtýsdottir, Omni, Deerhoof and The Babe Rainbow

Gyða Valtýsdottir  Epicycle (figureight) A veteran of Iceland’s experimental Múm as well as the St. Petersburg Conservatory, multi-instrumentalist Gyða Valtýsdottir delivers an absorbing hybrid of those two worlds on Epicycle. The instrumentation hews to the traditional, but the sensibility and choice of material are adventurous, as Valtýsdottir interprets Crumb, Partch and Messiaen alongside Prokofiev, Schubert and […]

Album reviews: James Elkington, TOPS, Rips, Beach Fossils, The Strypes

Album reviews: James Elkington, TOPS, Rips, Beach Fossils, The Strypes

James Elkington Wintres Woma (Paradise of Bachelors) When bashful guitar hero Steve Gunn played the Tea Bazaar in fall 2014, a lot of the crowd ended up buzzing about sous guitarist James Elkington, whose electric and lap steel provided endlessly dazzling settings and accents. On Wintres Woma, his solo debut, Elkington sticks to acoustic guitar […]

Album reviews: Dan Auerbach, Crescent, St. Etienne and Phoenix

Album reviews: Dan Auerbach, Crescent, St. Etienne and Phoenix

Dan Auerbach Waiting on a Song (Nonesuch) Gotta confess, The Black Keys always felt like a put-on, but Keys guitarist Dan Auerbach is starting to win me over. Last year he produced The Pretenders’ Alone, which was a pleasant surprise, and it’s possible that Auerbach’s other production gigs (Dr. John, Lana Del Rey, Ray LaMontagne) […]

Album reviews: Justin Townes Earle, Lil Yachty, Woods, Kevin Morby and Blondie

Album reviews: Justin Townes Earle, Lil Yachty, Woods, Kevin Morby and Blondie

Justin Townes Earle Kids in the Street (New West) Being Steve Earle’s son and Townes Van Zandt’s namesake unfairly provokes expectations of preternatural songwriting gifts. Happily, on Kids in the Street, oft-troubled Justin Townes Earle lives up to his lineage. It kicks off with the Stones-y stomp of “Champagne Corolla”—the band sounds great, horns nestling […]

Album reviews: Juana Molina, Penguin Café and Kweku Collins

Album reviews: Juana Molina, Penguin Café and Kweku Collins

Juana Molina Halo (Crammed Discs) Starting with her enchanting Segundo album, Juana Molina has cultivated such an indelible style that it might seem confusing if she deviated. Her music comprises repetitive acoustic guitar patterns, wavery keyboard tones, rubbery bass figures and rhythm tracks from homemade sources like hand claps and ticking clocks—and then, there’s Molina’s […]