The Bombs – Black Butterfly (CD)

The White Stripes they aren’t. Though rock duo of Michael Van London and Rhiannon Jones may share the same stripped down guitar/drums lineup and gender makeup as The White Stripes, the comparisons pretty much stop there. The garage rock duo from Los Angeles can turn out sludge rock, but they hardly offer an original take on the genre. From the very beginning, with the rote album opener “Da Bomb,” the nine-track debut is mediocre at best. Continue reading “The Bombs – Black Butterfly (CD)”

I Hate New Music: The Classic Rock Manifesto

Dave Thompson is the Andy Rooney of music criticism.

Bushy eyebrows aside, Thompson puts his stake in the ground early on in his latest manifesto, I Hate New Music, with the outrageous claim that rock music stopped being good sometime around 1978. Seriously. Like the aforementioned 60 Minutes alum Rooney rambling on about not getting as much coffee in the can as he did in the good old days, Thompson rant dismisses everyone from The Clash to Nirvana, choosing rather to dwell on bands like Boston and Grand Funk Railroad. Continue reading “I Hate New Music: The Classic Rock Manifesto”

Frank Turner – Love Ire & Song (CD)

There’s something about acoustic guitars that draws former punk rockers like moths to a flame. Frank Turner, former member of Million Dead, unplugged after his band dissolved about three years ago and decided to go the route of Billy Bragg, writing lyrically smart, occasionally politically-tinged folk rock songs. Continue reading “Frank Turner – Love Ire & Song (CD)”

All-American Rejects – When the World Comes Down (CD)

It’s amazing how desperate label reps get in trying to sell you on their latest signings. From the moment they were added to indie emo label Dog House Records, folks tried to remake these Oklahoma teens into a pop/punk band. Though they put out catchy pop tunes, someone thought adding the suffix “punk,” to every reference written and spoken about the band was a great was to try and add a bit of a rough edge to this otherwise top 40 radio-ready group that had more in common with bands like Maroon 5 than actual pop/punk bands like Screeching Weasel and Green Day. Continue reading “All-American Rejects – When the World Comes Down (CD)”

Cowboy Mouth – Fearless (CD)

Eighteen years and still going for some unexplainable reason. New Orleans party band Cowboy Mouth have managed to take a handful of trite party songs, a strong word-of-mouth live show and shape a pretty decent career as second rate Jimmy Buffetts. On Fearless, their ninth full length, the band continues to confound. Filled with 12 mostly novelty songs about everything from big girls (Belly) to Kelly Ripa (Kelly Ripa), the record is notable only for its cynical appeal to the lowest common denominator. Continue reading “Cowboy Mouth – Fearless (CD)”

The Killers – Day & Age (CD)

Based on interviews alone, it’d be easy to dismiss The Killers as little more than naive keyboard rockers with laughably bombastic quotes about world domination or simply millennials who just discovered Depeche Mode and David Bowie and have a few more minutes left on their fame stop watch. Continue reading “The Killers – Day & Age (CD)”

Rivers Cuomo – Alone II: The Home Recordings of Rivers Cuomo (CD)

I’m certainly not the first to compare Weezer front man Rivers Cuomo to Brian Wilson, but the comparison is particularly apt with Cuomo’s second collection of home recordings released in just 12 months. The harmony-loving Wilson created some of the best pop records of the 60’s and Weezer took the stigma out of pop rock in the 90’s; the frighteningly talented Wilson has been rather prolific following a very long dry spell; Cuomo, both as a solo artists and a member of Weezer has been churning out records non-stop after a three year hiatus in the late 90’s; both Wilson and Cuomo can kindly be described as eccentric; and as if those comparisons aren’t strong enough, Cuomo covers the Wilson-penned Beach Boys songs “Don’t Worry Baby” on Alone II. Continue reading “Rivers Cuomo – Alone II: The Home Recordings of Rivers Cuomo (CD)”

Joey Cape – Bridge (CD)

Joey Cape is certainly not suffering for lack of musical outlets. As the front man for Lagwagon, he also bounces between Bad Astronaut, Me First and the Gimme Gimmes, Afterburner and The Playing Favorites. You can now add solo artist to his every-expanding resume. Though he had a split record with No Use For a Name singer Tony Sly a few years ago, “Bridge” is Cape’s first full length solo record. Continue reading “Joey Cape – Bridge (CD)”

Todd Snider – Peace Queer (CD)

Todd Snider has never made a bad record. Sure some have been better than others; some take several listens before they finally click and no two records are ever really the same, but none have ever been duds – his latest, the 8-song Peace Queer, included. Snider has always been comfortable doing his own thing, even when signed to a major label for his first couple of releases, he never felt the need to write music for the masses. Continue reading “Todd Snider – Peace Queer (CD)”