The Breeders – All Nerve

There’s always a sense of hesitation when a universally adored, classic band puts out new music after years away. The Pixies are probably one of the best examples. “Indie Cindy,” the 2014 post-reunion album that came after two decades of silence was… well, underwhelming. Expectations are just too high for most bands to meet. The Breeders, coincidentally made up of former Pixies bassist Kim Deal, may be one of the few exceptions. Continue reading “The Breeders – All Nerve”

The Yacht Rock Book

Ah, Yacht Rock – the guiltiest of all the musical guilty pleasures. That 1970s soft rock sound best associated with Southern California (though the bands were from all over). Think linen sportscoats and espadrilles; soft jazz, clean vocals, catchy hooks and maybe a little white boy R&B. Kenny Loggins? Yup; Hall & Oates? Sure thing; Christopher Cross? Are you kidding me? He had a song called “Sailing,” so, yeah; Rupert Holmes? The “Pina Cola Song” is the Yacht Rock national anthem! Continue reading “The Yacht Rock Book”

Reggie And The Full Effect – 41 (CD)

Emo bands never die… they just usually grow up and keep making the same records they made in the early aughts. In the case James Dewees (aka Reggie & the Full Effect), that means another so-so effort with hints of promise that ultimately falls apart after repeated listens. Continue reading “Reggie And The Full Effect – 41 (CD)”

The Fratellis – In Your Own Sweet Time (Cooking Vinyl)

Since their debut just over a decade ago, Scottish alt pop band The Fratellis have been churning out infectiously catchy pop, with enough jangly guitars and power chords to appease the indie kids, but also boasting a much wider appeal. And “In Your Own Sweet Time,” their fifth record, is no different. Continue reading “The Fratellis – In Your Own Sweet Time (Cooking Vinyl)”

Captain of Sorrow – Racetrack Babies (CD)

Captain of Sorrow is a pretty apt moniker for Danish singer Hans-Christian’s latest project. “Racetrack Babies” – appropriately enough the name of his band that initially started work on this album before they imploded – is a soaring, ambitious, though certainly moody collection of songs. Continue reading “Captain of Sorrow – Racetrack Babies (CD)”

Harvey McLaughlin – Tabloid News

Texas-based indie label Saustex Records has put out a wildly eclectic mix of punk rock and country albums and just about everything in between over the years. So, it seems rather fitting then that they would be the label to put out the equally eclectic solo debut from San Antonio’s Harvey McLaughlin. Tabloid News is ‘70s-inspired piano jamming at it’s best, pulling in influences like “Closing Time”-era Tom Waits, Randy Newman and even the pop savviness of Paul Williams, with a hint of Leon Russell’s Southern swamp boogie woogie. Continue reading “Harvey McLaughlin – Tabloid News”

J.D. Wilkes – Fire Dream (CD)

As frontman for The Legendary Shack Shakers, J.D. Wilkes has been one of the loudest and earliest voices in the Bluegrass/Americana revival going back two decades now. And while it finally seems the rest of the music world is catching up with him, he pivots slightly on his impressive and impressively experimental solo debut. Continue reading “J.D. Wilkes – Fire Dream (CD)”

Ruby Boots – Don’t Talk About It (CD)

One of the best new voices in Americana interestingly enough is Australian.

Ruby Boots (Bex Chilcott) made her way to Nashville from her native Perth years ago and has managed to record a remarkably powerful follow up to her 2016 full-length debut; the record is part Country, Southern Rock, Folk and Blues with plenty of attitude. Continue reading “Ruby Boots – Don’t Talk About It (CD)”

Luther Russell – Selective Memories: An Anthology

Throughout his musical career, Luther Russell has been many things, but predictable is not one of them. Since going solo in the late 1990s (after leaving the Freewheelers), he has flirted with funk and soul music, power pop, punk rock and even hints of blues. The proof of this eclectic resume is all over the stunning two-disc anthology “Selective Memories.” The set also includes Russell’s work with the Freewheelers and The Bootheels). Continue reading “Luther Russell – Selective Memories: An Anthology”

Dirty Sidewalks – Bring Down the House Lights (CD)

Sounding as if they collectively woke up from a decades-long coma, Seattle’s Dirty Sidewalks play as if they stopped listening to music even before The Jesus & Mary Chain’s first break up in 1999. Continue reading “Dirty Sidewalks – Bring Down the House Lights (CD)”