Posts tagged with "ISSUE NO28"


THE MOTHER HIPS Behind Beyond Californian to their core, the Mother Hips know that life is nothing to get hung about. No matter what earthly concerns harsh our mellows, “man is not the man,” and we all wind up “back in the ocean.” So frontman Tim Bluhm sings on “Isle Not of Man,” the leadoff track on their eighth album. These self-styled “California Soul” survivors don’t fear a return to the Pacific, and on these slightly... 


NED VAN GO Lost in the Trouble Carrying on the proud tradition of Southern Culture on the Skids, the Drive-By Truckers, and any country band that has dared to poke fun at Dixie living, Ned Van Go pack their fifth LP with gnarly cow-punk tunes (“Hog Rock Road”), silly-sweet country ballads (“Moon Shine on You”) and 95 mph bluegrass burners (“Copper Bluegrass”). “Where Ya Gone Virginia?” and “1000 Dollar Car,” meanwhile,... 


THE HAPPY HOLLOWS Amethyst In just one album, this female-fronted L.A. trio has done what it took similarly staffed East Coast superstars the Yeah Yeah Yeahs three records to pull off. They’ve gone from making garage rock to synth-pop, and while their transition has been less spectacular—they were never as explosive as the YYYs, and they’re not as experimental now—the change has been for the best. On tunes like... 


JANN KLOSE Mosaic A tune like “The Kite” might not sound dangerous, but the line “Let this kite take flight,” a seize-the-day metaphor for the heart or spirit of a fearful lover, is pure nitroglycerin. Had Klose handled those words incorrectly, he’d have blown his song’s credibility to bits and left himself with nothing but sap. But this German born, African-raised singer-songwriter does sentimentality with sincerity and... 


MANDO SAENZ Studebaker This Mexican-born Texas troubadour has a deep, dark secret. Before turning his life to music, he earned—gasp!—an MBA. Luckily, on his third album, the country singer-songwriter never sounds like some stodgy businessman playing cowboy. In fact, he doesn’t really sound like anyone. Saenz sings with mumbled twang—think Tom Petty if he’d landed in Nashville instead of L.A.—and on his best songs (“Break... 


MICHAEL AND THE LONESOME PLAYBOYS Bottle Cap Sky Why do they call Michael Ubaldini the “rock ’n’ roll poet?” First, he’s a solid lyricist. Second, he’s a fairly limited singer, and on songs about heartbreak, outlaws, trains and highways, he never threatens to overshadow his words with vocal fireworks. That’s not necessarily a bad thing, as this Californian grew up worshipping Hank Williams, Bruce Springsteen and Joey... 


MOON HOOCH Moon Hooch Amazingly enough, the last band you’d want to hear on the subway after a long day of work sounds pretty great on record. Known for impromptu performances at Brooklyn train stations, this trio lets ’er rip with two piercing saxes and seriously fierce drums. Sound like something cooked up at the New School for Jazz and Contemporary Music? It was, but there are riffs amid the skronking and grooves in... 

The Tomás Doncker Band

The Tomás Doncker Band Howlin’ Wolf EP Talk about a resume. A veteran of New York City’s avant-noisy No Wave scene of the early ’80s, guitarist Tomás Doncker has played with everyone from Bonnie Raitt to electro-dub producers. If anything links the various styles he’s explored, it may be the blues, and here, he covers five songs made famous by Mississippi legend Howlin’ Wolf. Doncker recorded the EP for a stage show called... 


VINYL SPECTRUM Cosmic Desire “Your mind’s always in the way,” sing these San Fran funkateers, honoring their city’s history of jazzy psychedelic rock. The title cut, with its surf-noir guitar, would be the highlight, were it not for the two sax jams toward the end. More of Dario Slavazza’s sweet honking, please.    Read More →


RADIO DIAL Word Painter The voice is Sam Ward’s, but Radio Dial is a songwriting outlet for Memphis multi-instrumentalist Michael Caserta, a riff-slinging, hook-hurling master of Top 40 hard rock. Stone Temple Pilots rockers? Staind-style power ballads? Caserta’s got both, plus “Fake Memories” a fist-pumper you can’t help but dig.    Read More →


ARIAN SALEH Undone On his full-length debut, this Brooklyn-based grandson of Iran’s “first lady of opera” joins forces with studio wiz Chuck Wild and an ace cello-and-drum backing duo. The sound: gypsy folk, reggae, twitchy electro-pop and more, served with a tasty side of Middle Eastern mystery.    Read More →


BILL KIRCHEN Seeds and Stems As leader of Commander Cody and His Lost Planet Airmen, this Telecaster master predicted cow-punk, psychobilly and today’s Americana scene. Here, he revisits Airmen and solo classics, truckin’ for yucks on the Cody cuts—“Hot Rod Lincoln” among them—and even getting serious on a poignant Dylan cover.    Read More →


FIREHORSE Pills From Strangers Brooklyn singer-songwriter Leah Siegel climbs back in the Firehorse saddle for this, a seven-song sophomore set spanning artsy electro-pop to acoustic folk and the sublimely Spartan drum-and-vocal sketch “Any Other Day.” Siegel goes “Doves Cry”–era Prince on “Good,” underselling with the title.    Read More →
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