Steve Kilbey – Painkiller (CD)

As bassist and front man for Australian rockers The Church, Steve Kilbey has had a hand in turning out some of the more influential psychedelic pop songs of the late 80’s/early 90’s alternative scene. On his latest solo offering, his sixth, however Kilbey is running out of steam. The Aussie rocker known for penning classics like “Under the Milky Way” and “Metropolis,” simply sounds conflicted with this uneven record. Continue reading “Steve Kilbey – Painkiller (CD)”

Ben Folds Presents: University A Cappella! (CD)

A cappella is not supposed to sound this good. The vocals-only genre exists solely for our amusement and ridicule, right? Andy, the dork from The Office was in a college a cappella group, so it’s gotta be uncool, right? Ben Folds may have finally made the oft maligned musical form hip with the release of Ben Folds Presents: University A Cappella! Continue reading “Ben Folds Presents: University A Cappella! (CD)”

The IT Crowd – Season One (DVD)

If you’ve yet to hear about the British sitcom The IT Crowd, just wait about a year. It’s only a matter of time before one of the networks here snatches up the rights to this series and tries to repurpose it for American audiences, only to cancel it after two episodes (NBC had originally planned to run it last year, but the show has yet to air). Continue reading “The IT Crowd – Season One (DVD)”

Life & Times – Tragic Boogie (Arena Rock) (CD)

Proving loud and beautiful can coexist, Missouri’s Life & Times has been able to live up to the hype surrounding their 2003 EP. The trio, including former Shiner founder Allen Epley, manage to sound a lot bigger than just three guys. Tragic Boogie, the group’s latest full length, though not perfect, is still a solid step in the right direction. With its swirling guitars and light industrial feel (Think My Bloody Valentine with a lot more restraint), the record manages to flaunt influences as diverse as Sunny Day Real Estate, Jawbox and the aforementioned My Bloody Valentine. You can even hear a band look the Foo Fighters in a track like “Let It Eat” (a moodier Dave Grohl, but Foo Fighters nonetheless). The album drags a bit in the middle, but the varied influences are a blessing, saving the band from getting too bogged down in the same sound. Though not for everyone, with elements of ambient to math rock, “Tragic Boogie” is bound to find an audience.

Top Tracks: “Let It Eat” and “Fall of the Angry”

Rating: 7.5 out of 10

Life & Times – Tragic Boogie / CD / 2009 Arena Rock / 12 Tracks / http://www.goodfriendsrecords.com

500 Miles to Memphis – Sunshine in a Shot Glass (Vinyl)

Cincinnati’s favorite sons, 500 Miles To Memphis, obviously have their share of Willie and Waylon CDs in constant rotation on their tour bus. Probably best described as country punk, the band blends the noise and energy of Social Distortion with the song writing of the Highwaymen. Continue reading “500 Miles to Memphis – Sunshine in a Shot Glass (Vinyl)”

Damion Suomi – Self Titled (CD)

If Billy Bragg, God forbid, decided to finally put his guitar back in his case and call it a day, rest assured Damion Suomi would be ready to pick up the slack. Playing the role of folksy, rock-tinged singer songwriter, Florida-based Suomi has turned in a fantastic debut. Comprised of just 10 songs, there is little filler on the self-titled record and plenty to leave the listener wanting more. Songs like the album opener “Archer Woman” and “What a Wonderful Game,” an ode to drinking and hooking up, best show off Suomi’s stripped down sound. Continue reading “Damion Suomi – Self Titled (CD)”

Great American Hypocrites: Toppling the Big Myth of Republican Politics By Glenn Greenwald (Book)

None of the arguments put forth by Glenn Greenwald in his latest rant against the Right, “Great American Hypocrites,” is going to come as a shock to anyone who has ever made a donation to MoveOn.org. But, that’s not to say it’s not highly entertaining read full of great argument starters. Continue reading “Great American Hypocrites: Toppling the Big Myth of Republican Politics By Glenn Greenwald (Book)”

In Treatment – Season One (DVD)

On the surface, the concept behind HBO’s drama In Treatment doesn’t seem to elicit the same excitement as say a show about Jersey mobsters or Hollywood hangers on, but given a chance the series is remarkably addictive. Adapted from a popular Israeli TV series, Gabriel Byrne plays Paul, a psychologist with his own emotional and family problems. Continue reading “In Treatment – Season One (DVD)”

Say Hi – Oohs & Aahs (CD)

Six records into his career, Eric Elbogen (aka Say Hi) has just turned in his best album in an already respectably solid cannon. Oohs & Aahs is insanely catchy, from start to finish. Up until a couple of years ago, the band once known as Say Hi to Your Mom, used a home PC to record their lo-fi, indie pop albums. Continue reading “Say Hi – Oohs & Aahs (CD)”

New Brunswick, New Jersey, Goodbye: Bands, Dirty Basement and the Search for Self by Ronen Kauffman (Book)

Those looking to Ronen Kauffman’s book “New Brunswick, New Jersey, Goodbye,” hoping to find a definitive history of New Jersey’s storied hardcore and punk rock scene are better served looking elsewhere. There are mentions and anecdotes of a slew of bands from the mid-90’s scene like the Bouncing Souls, Lifetime, The Degenerics and Endeavor, but the main focus is one man’s discovery and ultimately his passion for the world of underground punk rock music. Continue reading “New Brunswick, New Jersey, Goodbye: Bands, Dirty Basement and the Search for Self by Ronen Kauffman (Book)”