Review: The Talk – The Sinners of Daughters

Originally published in Punk Planet March/April 2006 This Charlotte trio offers a shimmering mass of pop rock that harbors all the vitality of edgy indie-rock while displaying an appetite for crunchy hooks and Beatlesque vocal melodies. With Brian Paulson working the faders, you’re guaranteed the record packs a sonic wallop lesser engineers would fail to…

Review: Miguel Mendez – My Girlfriend Is Melting

Originally published in Punk Planet March/April 2006 The title of Mendez’s latest disc seems to offer all the hints you’ll need about the music found within it: a touch of matter-of-fact sentimentality laced with a decent helping of mid-fi psychedelia. While fuzzed-out guitars, distant ghost-pianos and reversed tape loops all shimmy into the spotlight, it’s…

Review: Adam Gnade – “Run Hide Retreat Surrender”

“It is winter again and you are fighting with your woman.” So begins the sprawling and sometimes stream-of-consciousness narrative Adam Gnade unreels on this Loud + Clear Records disc, a surprisingly resonant pseudo-update of On The Road for the lo-fi singer-songwriter set. What’s amazing about the CD is just how much that narrative drives it…

Review: Ramona Cordova – “The Boy Who Floated Freely”

If the folks at Elephant 6 aren’t head over heels with this disc, there’s simply no justice left in the world. A concept record about a boy named Giver who wakes up on a distant shore and struggles with his love for an island girl, Ramon Alarcon’s latest is a tender and eclectic collection of…

Review: Chariots Race – “Existence”

A 7-song set of generic and accessible punk-pop that feels like much of the alternative fare that clogged college radio in the mid-90s. At its tightly wound best, this Milwaukee- and Chicago-based quartet sounds like Jawbox on autopilot. In case the pony-tailed A&R rep in the back of the club missed all those radio-ready hooks,…

Review: Blindfold – S/T

Atmosphere’s the name of the game on this lush, 12-song outing, recorded over the course of two years with a healthy dose of reverb and what sounds like a half-dozen different guitar effects pedals. Birgir Hilmarsson, who handles most the performing duties in the Icelandic group, has a clear knack for writing meditative and densely…

Review: Adult. – Gimmie Trouble

Sufjan Stevens may have taken his stab at depicting Michigan in song, but for my money, few acts may be painting the state’s automotive graveyards and factory wastelands in sonic terms as vividly as Adult., the Detroit trio whose studied electro-punk bears an industrial precision and claws at your ears with almost apocalyptic fervor. Gimmie…

Reviewer Spotlight: Pinetop Seven – Rigging The Toplights

Originally published in Punk Planet March/April 2006 Pinetop Seven – Rigging The Toplights For the better part of two years and change, I worked at my university’s underground radio station, and few records remind me of all those priceless nights and graveyard shifts spent in windowless Student Center bomb shelters like Pinetop Seven’s sophomore outing,…

Feature: Top 10 of 2005 (Delusions of Adequacy)

Top 10 of 2005 Originally published in Delusions of Adequacy 01. Slint – The Reunion (Bootlegs) The Louisville legend’s rebirth was the underground story of the year and the recordings that have surfaced from their long-anticipated reunion tour provide all the evidence for those who couldn’t witness it with their own eyes. Whether it’s documented…

Feature: Top 10 of 2004 (Delusions of Adequacy)

Top 10 of 2004 Originally published in Delusions of Adequacy 01. Tom Waits – Real Gone (Anti) What can you say? This eclectic mix of avant-garde jazz, dirgy blues, barn burners, tall tales, turntable-tinged sound experiments and heart-wrenching ballads could be one of Waits’ finest offerings in recent years. Real Gone is a reminder, not…