Review: Landowner – “Consultant”

Landowner‘s second LP, Consultant, is a beautiful bundle of chewed-raw nerves, with intensely geometric post-punk motifs providing the razor to scrape back and forth over them. Vocalist Dan Shaw fronts the western Massachusetts quintet, bizarrely obsessed with cleanliness, mechanics, and symmetry, but instead blurts out lyrics about residential development, institutional racism, and testosterone-fueled idiocy like an…

Review: Exhalants – “Atonement”

This year has become a Groundhogs Day of Nightly News shitshows in much of the Western world, but 2020 (we’ll give it this much) has been at least a little rewarding for fans of good ol’ aggressive noise-rock. Now, just a couple months after Pittsburgh’s TRVSS offered up a venomous sophomore LP, Exhalants is doing…

Review: Skeletons – “If The Cat Come Back”

Matt Mehlan, leader of the self-described Skeletons b(r)and, has carved an underground career out of loose-limbed but densely constructed polyrhythmic rock-art that in its best moments of abandon feel like the musicians composing it are coming completely unmoored. For Skeletons’ first record in four years, a brooding, faux-winter departure in tone and construction called If the…

Review: Twisted Pine – “Right Now”

On Twisted Pine’s self-titled debut, from 2017, the Boston trio unfurled master classes in Appalachian balladry with folk gems like “Lose My Love.” On that track, frontwoman Kathleen Parks offered heart-aching laments like “I never said I loved you first … At least the days are getting longer, keeping nights at bay/ I’m just trying…

Review: Sam Prekop – “Comma”

Sam Prekop, he of post-rock acolytes the Sea and Cake and formerly of the esoteric Shrimp Boat, can write a mean, mean song with fluid guitar lines that will knock off your socks. On his masterful solo debut – a self-titled LP released via Thrill Jockey in 1999, some 20 years ago, if you can believe it…

Review: Tangents – “Timeslips”

While the Australian band Tangents most definitely unfurls its life-story with the heartbeat of a collective, drummer Evan Dorrian remains the group’s frontman, if one were to be had. Dorrian’s fluttery, extroverted style flirts with jazz, IDM, and post-rock, among other idioms, to fabulous, elastic effect. On Timeslips, the band’s fourth LP, Dorrian’s rhythms, resolutions and, yes, tangential…

Review: Bill Callahan – “Gold Record”

Whether or not you’ll like Bill Callahan‘s new record – his second in two years – depends, in good part, on your opinion of his voice. Callahan’s bassy growl always has tipped its hand at the timbre of late Leonard Cohen, but over the past few years, the tonal separation between that voice and the overly…

Review: Matmos – “The Consuming Flame: Open Exercises In Group Form”

Back in October 1939, storied British Prime Minister Winston Churchill offered comments on a BBC radio broadcast, in which he attempted to unwrap the Russian political motivations in the face of Germany’s bluster and war machinery. “It is riddle, wrapped in a mystery, inside an enigma,” Churchill said. “But perhaps there is a key.” In Churchill’s case,…

Review: H.C. McEntire – “Eno Axis”

The new H.C. McEntire record, Eno Axis, starts not with the country-fried guitars of her debut, 2018’s excellent Lionheart, but with the gentle pulses of a pipe organ. And here, the organ is accompanied not by an acoustic guitar (too obvious a choice) but by McEntire’s lament-filled croon and that croon alone. It’s a devastating and devastatingly to-the-gut…

Review: Less Bells – “Mourning Jewelry”

There is a visible, conscious process of decision-making, maybe even a brand of self-reflection, behind the constructions on Mourning Jewelry, the sophomore outing by post-classical artist Julie Carpenter, aka Kranky Records act Less Bells. Take “Fiery Wings”, the LP’s second track. Here, Carpenter unfurls pitch-perfect swarms of cello, occasional punctuation marks from breathy laments, and a resolute…