Nick Rubin

Sleater-Kinney's "The Center Won't Hold" is a bit of a letdown. Publicity image.

Album reviews: Heron & Crane, Vivian Girls, G Flip, Ikebe Shakedown, and Sleater-Kinney

Heron & Crane Firesides (Hibernator Gigs) Denizens of Charlottesville’s indie scene know Dave Gibson from power-pop exponents Borrowed Beams of Light and Weird Mob, plus synth soundscapers Personal Bandana. Here, Gibson and Columbus, Ohio, buddy Travis Kokas split the difference, with sweet results. The mostly instrumental Firesides is a fetching mélange of melody and texture, […]

Sugar Ray's Little Yachty is best served with a fruity cocktail. Publicity image.

Album Reviews: Flying Lotus, Gunter Herbig, The Young Sinclairs, Daughter of Swords, and Sugar Ray

Flying Lotus Flamagra (Warp) One of the most compelling post-Dilla beatmakers, Flying Lotus has collaborated with Kendrick Lamar and Kamasi Washington, among others, as his amorphous funk has spread throughout left-field R&B, hip-hop, and jazz. On Flamagra, FlyLo is abetted by fellow travelers like Thundercat and Robert Glasper, along with why-not guests such as David […]

Dennis Stoner is included on the anthology, Sad About the Times, a collection full of affable, earnest easy riders. Publicity image.

Reissue Roundup: ZZ Top, James & Bobby Purify, Various Artists

Various artists Lullabies for Catatonics (Grapefruit) The U.K. rock scene’s initial response to LSD tended more towards pastoral reverie than paranoid fever dream (not having a Vietnam War helped). But psychic unraveling quickly followed, as chronicled on Lullabies for Catatonics, a transporting crate-dig from excellent reissue label Grapefruit. Covering 1967-1974, this triple-disc set is lovingly […]

There's big buzz about When We All Fall Asleep, Where Do We Go? from 17-year-old Billie Eilish. Publicity photo.

Album reviews: Marvin Gaye, Ex Hex, and Billie Eilish

Marvin Gaye You’re the Man (Universal) The follow-up that never was is finally here—and honestly probably sounds better now than it would have in 1972. You’re the Man could hardly have matched the gorgeously sighing melodies, elegant textures, and memorable aphorisms of What’s Going On, and when it tries, it suffers in comparison. Leadoff track […]

Stella Donnelly delivers a series of sucker punches on Beware of the Dogs. Publicity image.

Album reviews: Mary Lattimore & Mac McCaughan, Solange, Stella Donnelly, Flamin’ Groovies, and Various Artists

Mary Lattimore & Mac McCaughan New Rain Duets (Three Lobed) Essentially a 40-minute jam divided into four segments, New Rain Duets brings more exquisite atmosphere from Mary Lattimore, and, in a somewhat surprising role, Mac McCaughan. Best known for cofounding Merge Records and fronting Superchunk, McCaughan supplies not guitar but guitar-like synthesizer textures and samples, […]

Restroy is at The Bridge PAI on Monday. Publicity image.

ARTS Pick: Restroy

Monsters of jazz: Led by former Charlottesville resident and current Chicagoan Christopher Dammann on upright bass, Restroy is a jazz sextet that combines electronic and acoustic resources to create a “traditional experimental” sound that’s endlessly rewarding. Also from the fertile Chicago jazz scene, James Davis supplies most of the melodic material on trumpet, and erstwhile […]

Park Hye Jin's IF U WANT IT will get you through the winter. Publicity image.

Album reviews: Tallies, Ultramarine, You Tell Me, Gnash, Kero Kero Bonito, Bunny Lee/Prince Jammy/The Aggrovators, and Park Hye Jin

Tallies S/T (Kanine) Tallies kicks off with a frosty amalgam of ‘80s and ‘90s atmospheric alt rock—the Bunnymen and The Cran- berries come to mind—and when “Mother” follows up somewhere halfway between The Smiths and The Go-Go’s, it becomes clear that the past is where Tallies live. Sarah Cogan’s vocals get a little yelpy, and […]

Album Reviews: 2018 box set recap

Album Reviews: 2018 box set recap

Before 2018 completely disappears in our rear-view mirrors, here’s a recap of some box sets released last year that weren’t The Beatles’ White Album or Bob Dylan’s Blood on the Tracks box. Tom Petty An American Treasure (Reprise) In 1995 Tom Petty released the 6-CD Playback box, and, especially because his career lasted two more […]

TUNES: Top Ten 2018

TUNES: Top Ten 2018

As always, there are too many albums I didn’t hear in 2018, but here are 10 favorites in roughly chronological order. Khruangbin Con Todo El Mundo (Dead Oceans) This was the runaway crowd pleaser of the winter, spring, and summer. Though they’re from Texas, Khruangbin’s hybridized funk invokes the musical reaction to ’60s soul that […]