Feature: Top 10 of 2003 (Delusions of Adequacy)

Top 10 of 2003 Originally published in Delusions of Adequacy 01. Pinataland – Songs from the Forgotten Future Vol. 1 An enveloping and seamless collection of collage-conscious indie rock, modern Americana and Old World portraits, this 10-track gem is one of the most brilliant debuts in recent memory. An intelligent work of breathtaking scope that…

Feature: 10 Records (2001)

Originally published in The Montclarion April 26, 2001 01. Slint – “Spiderland” (Touch and Go Records, 1991) The Rosetta Stone of post-rock, Slint’s “Spiderland” depends on the careful and subtle use of silence as much as it does on emotive, textural guitars and shape-shifting time signatures.  The dark side of the moon compared to the…

Review: The Twilight Singers – Twilight, As Played By The Twilight Singers

Originally published in The Montclarion Jan. 25, 2001 As a concept, side projects can sometimes be a tough pill to swallow. At their best, they are windows onto new landscapes, understated gems and experiments that show us unfamiliar facets of familiar musicians. At their worst, they are the lifeblood of watered-down B-sides and outtakes collections,…

Review: Tortoise – Standards

Originally published in The Montclarion March 15, 2001 If Tortoise’s first records were experiments in atmosphere, collage or dimension, “Standards,” their follow-up to 1998’s “TNT,” is a document in density.  Far from abandoning their stylized avant-jazz sound, Tortoise has pushed the envelope even further, churning out ten songs that are among their most refined and…

Review: The For Carnation – S/T

The years following the break-up of Slint were interesting ones for Brian McMahan. Born from the ashes of seminal punk rock outfit Squirrel Bait, Slint cut its teeth on intricate and inventive noise rock, releasing their first record, Tweez, on Jennifer Hartman Records in 1987. It was in the band’s later years, however, that Slint…

Review: Smog – ‘Neath The Puke Tree

Originally published in The Montclarion Feb. 15, 2001 At their best, most recordings put out by artists between major releases and projects are forgettable or excusable. In the past, however, Bill Callahan (a.k.a. Smog) has clearly proven more the exception to that statement than the rule, using a form traditionally known for its bland studio…

Review: Pinetop Seven – Bringing Home The Last Great Strike

Originally published in The Montclarion Oct. 12, 2000 The keyboards let out a sort of soft and gentle moan, a low rumble of emotion, as fingers walk slowly over the fret-board and strings of a banjo.  Darren Richard’s voice, bordering on almost a soulful cry, pushes out the words. “Outside the night’s asleep and the…

Review: Man or Astro-man? – A Spectrum of Infinite Scale

Man or Astro-Man? has been breaking through the somewhat-restrictive boundaries of what defines a surf rock band for almost ten years now, building a catalog of songs and sounds that are often as inventive as they are infectious. Following “Made From Technetium” (Touch-N-Go Records, 1998), the band’s boldest and most brilliant step away from the…

Review: Farm – Episode 113

Originally published in The Montclarion Feb. 1, 2001 Countless bands, from those performing for screaming legions at sold-out arenas to those establishing themselves at local venues, seem to suffer at the hand of weather-worn artistic formulas and conventions of commercial success.  Even artists clinging to the creative integrity of local or independent scenes are prone…