The strange thing about nostalgia is the surprise factor involved. For example, you can account for a certain song you listened to when you were dating a certain person to dredge up certain memories, but sometimes revisiting albums from the past barely stirs a passing thought. And then there's the stuff for which you can't even account - for...  Read more

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Later this year, when Radiohead's youngest member Jonny Greenwood hits the big four-oh, the members of the pioneering Oxford quintet will all be a bunch of forty-somethings. For generations of rock acts, this benchmark has signified the loss of cultural relevancy. At this same midlife juncture: Elvis Presley was a fat Vegas lounge act (and would...  Read more
The relevance of the term “singer-songwriter” is in inverse proportion to the frequency of its usage. It’s a ridiculously wide umbrella encompassing everyone from Amy Ray to Warren Zevon to that painfully earnest guy with the dreads who never misses Acoustic Open Mic night at the campus coffee shop. So take it with a grain of salt when Tristen is...  Read more
I don't know who this Simon Werner guy is, and I don't care, either. He's apparently been abducted or vaporized, or maybe he just split town. To know any of these details, one would have to see last year's indie French film, Simon Werner A Disparu, for which Sonic Youth recorded the score. Well, it's something like a score. A wordless soundtrack?...  Read more
You don’t hear the phrase “sort of like Björk” very often, in any context. Music’s most famous Icelander established such a distinctive sound that any artist veering too close to her formula risks being labeled a knock-off. Lately, though, more and more Björk-ish influences have been creeping onto the scene, with Sweden’s The Knife and Fever Ray...  Read more
There are some artists, like The Rolling Stones, whom you can count on for consistency. With others, like Prince in his heyday, you could expect one metamorphosis after the next. The career trajectory of PJ Harvey has proven far less predictable (or even predictably unpredictable). Her second album, 1993’s Rid of Me, was a sharp-edged...  Read more
Let’s get it out of the way first: no matter what clichés we love to parrot, we always judge a book by its cover. Covers are chosen carefully, crafted to visually represent the work and attract people to explore it. A Wall Street Odyssey (The City, The Country And Back Again), the new work by Epigene, is both a book and a two-CD odyssey-slash-rock...  Read more
Rachel Goodrich’s music is damn catchy— that’s the first thing to be said about it. You only need to get a couple measures into “Morning Light,” the self-titled album’s first cut, to realize that this is something a little special. It’s a sweet, happy song (on a very sweet, happy album) but it has this ‘60s-ish spirit to it that’s innocent and...  Read more
Maybe in the Ukraine you can't swing an axe without hitting a pagan black metal band, but it does seem strange that as somewhat obscure and specific a genre as the aforementioned would feature big releases in the last few months. Drudkh dropped Handful of Stars last year, promoting at least a few of us to dump praise on the Eastern European band'...  Read more
If there’s such a thing as lush sparseness, Dolorean has it nailed down. The Portland, Oregon-based quintet would have been pegged as country rockers in the ‘70s and alt country artists in the ‘90s, although neither term really captures the quiet majesty of the band’s best work. There country, alt and rock influences in the mix to be sure, but...  Read more
Charles Bradley: No Time For Dreaming
Any musical revival movement has to allow for varying degrees of authenticity. The current neo-soul revival, for instance, needed folks like Amy Winehouse and Solange Knowles to ease in neophytes with a blend of old- and new-school sensibilities. Thus reassured, young audiences could feel more comfortable moving on to more straight-up...  Read more

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