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)”

Tim Barry – Manchester (CD)

Based on the past few years, you’d think every grizzled punk rocker wants nothing more than to be a folk musician. Hot Water Music front man Chuck Ragan put his band on ice for a year or two to pick up an acoustic guitar; Bad Religion’s Greg Graffin went rootsy on his solo record last year; and former Avail singer Tim Barry has been unplugged for several records now. Continue reading “Tim Barry – Manchester (CD)”

The Tossers – On a Fine Spring Evening (CD)

You can go into just about any major city today, toss a bagpipe into a crowd and hit a band playing Celtic punk rock. Over the past decade or so, it seems like everyone wants to marry The Pogues use of traditional Irish instruments and themes with the driving beat and heavy guitars of The Clash. Though not as well-known as The Dropkick Murphys or Flogging Molly, the Chicago-based six piece The Tossers have actually been blending traditional Celtic instruments with street punk longer than most. Continue reading “The Tossers – On a Fine Spring Evening (CD)”