Posts tagged with "Quick Take"


LENI STERN Sa Belle Belle Ba Virtuoso guitarist Leni Stern continues to explore her fascination with the rich culture of the African continent, deftly blending vibrant rhythms, communal chants and exotic instrumentation with Western styles like jazz, funk and R&B.  Read More →


ROB MORSBERGER The Chronicle of a Literal Man On first encounter Rob Morsberger sounds like a Dylan wannabe, but the sharp air of defiance in the title track quickly upends preconceived notions. Morsberger’s literate songs are etched with irony (“Old Jolly Farm”), nostalgia (“Nebraska in Winter”) and recrimination (“Like Eating a Stone,” “Independent Movie”).  Read More →


THE GREEN PAJAMAS The Red, Red Rose Hot on the heels of the recent reissue of their psychedelic classic Book of Hours, this new EP by Seattle’s Green Pajamas suggests they haven’t abandoned the MO they established nearly 25 years ago.  Read More →


JOHN DOKES With The GEORGE GEE SWING ORCHESTRA John Dokes Sings, George Gee Swings Newcomer Dokes’ smooth tenor combined with the big band sound of veteran Gee’s swinging orchestra brings to mind the classic collaboration between Joe Williams and Count Basie. The musicians create a rollicking set, their infectious exuberance easily bridging the generational divide.  Read More →


ANDREW COLE Why We Wonder Canadian Andrew Cole arrives fully formed, armed with instantly engaging songs, sumptuous arrangements and an emotional investment in his material. Finding common ground between Paul McCartney and David Gray, Cole scores a mesmerizing debut graced by a voice that effortlessly soars, and sentiments that are always fully felt.  Read More →

STRIPMALL ARCHITECTURE + Feathersongs for Factory Girls

STRIPMALL ARCHITECTURE Feathersongs for Factory Girls Though the songs do bear a psychedelic feel, the enigmatic quartet that calls itself Stripmall Architecture generally defies categorization. Rebecca Coseboom’s dreamy vocals compete with weird sonic elements and akimbo melodies, but the end results are consistently intriguing.  Read More →

MILAGRES + Seven Summits

MILAGRES Seven Summits Milagres maintains a mysterious aura, a dark yet dreamlike sound that recalls the likes of the Moody Blues, Genesis, Ultravox and other cosmic contemporaries. Its debut finds the band fixated on a mountain-climbing theme, expressed through related tales of tragedy and intrigue.  Read More →

SARAH DASHEW + Where I Belong

SARAH DASHEW Where I Belong QUICK TAKE + Dashew’s emotive vocals and lithe arrangements make Where I Belong a formidable follow-up to 2006’s much-lauded Jealous Girl. The catchy title track and haunting “Anywhere” and “Almost Here” find her channeling a variety of emotions while still creating a coherent whole.  Read More →

JENNIE ARNAU + Chasing Giants

JENNIE ARNAU Chasing Giants QUICK TAKE + Jennie Arnau’s blend of vibrancy and vulnerability brings a fresh approach to Chasing Giants. Whether accompanied by the pluck of a banjo and a brace of fiddles (the cheery “For the Winter”) or simply ambling along contentedly (the assuring “Safe Tonight” and “No Guarantees”), Arnau is always appealing.  Read More →

ÓLAFUR ARNALDS + And They Have Escaped the Weight of Darknes

ÓLAFUR ARNALDS And They Have Escaped the Weight of Darkness QUICK TAKE + This 23-year-old Icelandic composer casts a haunting spell. These brooding, overcast tunes meander at a sobering pace before finally gathering momentum and building into a series of sweeping crescendos. This is beautifully crafted neo-classical music, with an emphasis on mood as much as melody.  Read More →

The Rubinoos + Biff-Boff-Boing!

The Rubinoos Biff-Boff-Boing! QUICK TAKE + Billed as a children’s album, Biff-Boff-Boing! moots the distinction between camp and kids’ stuff with a nostalgic tone that carries echoes of both bubblegum and Broadway. The power-pop veterans’ own kooky creations fit seamlessly alongside beloved novelty numbers like “Boris the Spider” and “Sugar Sugar.”  Read More →

Eric Roberts + My Brazilian Heart

Eric Roberts My Brazilian Heart QUICK TAKE + Titles can be misleading: First, no, Roberts isn’t the actor of the same name. And while this six-song EP dabbles in the occasional tropical rhythm, it’s really more about mellow jazz. Roberts, an accomplished guitarist, mostly cedes the spotlight here to superb ensemble performances.  Read More →

Ruby James + Happy Now

Ruby James Happy Now QUICK TAKE + Ruby James makes a striking first impression on Happy Now, bolstered by the production work of Charlie Sexton. The album combines sinewy ballads, sultry vocals and sensuous hooks into a very inviting package. Newcomers to this burgeoning talent will be impressed.  Read More →

Dick 50 + Late Show

Dick 50 Late Show QUICK TAKE + It’s reasonable to assume that the first “solo” set by Delbert McClinton’s backing band will be blues-based. It’s notable, then, that the band clearly doesn’t feel confined to any format on Late Show, with songs such as “Like You Did” and “2012” stepping far outside the roadhouse.  Read More →

Amy Cook + Let the Light In

Amy Cook Let the Light In QUICK TAKE + Having Alejandro Escovedo at the production helm of her new album is certainly an attention-getter for Amy Cook—but her own spirited vocals command respect regardless of his presence. Let the Light In is a compelling album full of tangled emotions.  Read More →
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