Review: Sloan – Action Pact

Originally published in Delusions of Adequacy Jan. 24, 2005 Play along with me for a minute. In a really, really reductive sense, there seem to be two minds out there, two distinctly different sets of ears, when it comes to the way 1970s sounds and culture permeate contemporary indie rock circles. The first set listens…

Review: Adam Richman – “Patience and Science”

The cover to Adam Richman’s Patience and Science seems all wrong and, come to think of it, Richman himself is what doesn’t fit. The radio-ready singer/songwriter sits before the listener in a half-sneering profile, little white lines scribbled in to draw attention to the staples of his look — the well-coifed black mohawk, the sideburns,…

Review: Corrina Repp – “It’s Only The Future”

The spare ghost-blues and carefully whispered refrains that are Corrina Repp’s stock and trade on the Hush Records disc It’s Only The Future are increasingly well-traveled terrain in the indie singer-songwriter genre, something that sadly seems to tap some of the vitality from projects that paint themselves in these very colors. Blame it on the…

Review: Primus – “Animals Should Not Try To Act Like People”

There’s a sample that turns up a few times on the newest record from Primus, their first offering since 1999’s dark and vastly under-appreciated Antipop: the low, bassy slurring of audio tape being looped in reverse. Slight as it may seem, it may just be one of the biggest defining traits of the record, which…

Review: Pretty Mighty Mighty – “Normal”

Look out, Frank Black. There’s a new set of pixies on the block. Hailing from Columbus, Ohio, Pretty Mighty Mighty craft the kind of alt-rock and four-minute power-pop songs that could get an entire crowd jumping and dancing in unison: guitar-driven gems that exhibit all of the required hooks and crashing choruses. But what may…

Review: Planet Janet – “Nice Socks”

It’s easy to hate pop music. As genres go, it can be all too safe, clean, and neatly wrapped, a product that seems to almost always serve up just what you’d expect. Even its more interesting specimens reveal colors and angles that are far too familiar, like the super-polished gems you’d find in a dime-store…

Review: Sam Phillips – “A Boot and A Shoe”

Don’t ask me how she does it. There are 13 songs on Sam Phillips’ A Boot and A Shoe and each of them feels flawless, impeccably performed and carefully put to tape, the ideal companions to the subtle atmospheres and acoustic gems of 2001’s frighteningly engaging Fan Dance. Phillips is backed on the record —…

Review: Hangnail Phillips – “Wit’s End”

How much is the quality or merit of a record dictated by the intentions of its author or authors? That’s the question that listeners may find rattling between their ears as they sift through Wit’s End, a peculiar collection of 13 genre-jumping tunes and lo- to mid-fi studio exercises from Newark, Del.-based solo artist Hangnail…

Review: Pan-American – “Quiet City”

There’s not a single note out of place on Pan•American’s Quiet City, Mark Nelson’s fourth record under said moniker. The most faint murmur of guitar or piano is pristine and plotted and precise, falling into the listener’s ear at just the right moment with just the right intention. Even the phonograph-needle static on “Smallholding,” an…

Review: PAK – “Motel”

If there’s a more dead-on 21st century successor to the mantle of D. Boon than the frenetic Brooklyn-based trio PAK, let them speak now or forever hold their peace. On an eight-song platter that sometimes feels more like a late-night studio session freak-out fueled by LSD and cigarette smoke than a calculated recording of free-form…