Nick Rubin



The Sha La Das. Publicity photo

Album reviews: White Denim, Ariana Grande, Amos Lee, and Sha La Das

White Denim Performance (City Slang) The new record by Austin’s scraggle rock standard bearers opens with the tumble of a spinning radio dial. It sounds ironic but it could also be a statement of purpose; on Performance, White Denim skillfully updates various ’70s rock styles from the jump, the horn-laden, glammy stomp of “Magazin” leading […]

The Babe Rainbow doubles down with "equal parts muzzy psychedelia and soft rock and soul." Publicity photo

Album reviews: Chromeo, Bebe Rexha, Dawes, Bodega and The Babe Rainbow

Chromeo Head Over Heels (Atlantic) Montreal’s gift to dancing frat bros returns with a phone book of guests, starting with DRAM, coming off like Biz Markie on “Must’ve Been” (as in “must’ve been high”). French Mon- tana and Stefflon Don follow up on “Don’t Sleep” and it’s clear Chromeo wants you to WOO PARTY! “Right […]

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 […]