PROFILE: David Grubbs (2017)

Five days ago, David Grubbs released one of the best records of his storied career and a real contender, especially in avant-indie circles, for Record of the Year. The LP in question? Creep Mission, a collection of eerily emotive, eerily intuitive guitar pieces punctuated with careful interjections from drums, trumpet and electronics. The whole record hangs together and…

REVIEW: Godspeed You! Black Emperor – “Luciferian Towers”

It’s starting to become the definition of stasis. Godspeed You! Black Emperor released a new LP, Luciferian Towers, the band’s sixth, today on Constellation Records and, while it’s certainly far from a dud, it sounds like the Montreal crescendo-rock ensemble is spinning in circles instead of moving forward in any tangible direction. Why? The buzz…

REVIEW: Aaron Myers-Brooks – “Conduits”

Experimental guitarist Aaron Myers-Brooks, on loan from Pittsburgh post-metal outfit Night Vapor, slants toward the “avant” in avant-jazz on Conduits, the third EP he has self-released in the past 14 months. Musical notes seem to trip over their own feet on the three-song recording, where Myers-Brooks’ angular guitar work is pristinely accompanied by piano, bass, synth and prepared…

REVIEW: David Grubbs – “Creep Mission”

It starts with the guitar and the guitar alone, amplified slightly but not distorted, its complicated figures as crystalline as frosted glass. It advances, carefully, with the occasional pitter-patter of percussion and well-placed interjections of bass, both low in the mix, letting the real star shine. Two minutes in, it climbs a scale, there’s the…

REVIEW: The National – “Sleep Well Beast”

For the better part of the last two decades, The National has been providing me and others like me with the soundtrack for our adulting. Now, I’m not talking, necessarily, about the world-weariness of the 9-to-5 or the trials, the ups and downs, of raising a family, though impressions of both sometimes sneak into the…

PROFILE: Black Wine (2017)

Black Wine is dead. Long live Black Wine! Everyone’s favorite New Jersey punk trio played its final show Aug. 13 at Brighton Bar in Long Branch, N.J., bringing to an end a run of calculated chaos chronicled in a stream of engaging records and bombastic live shows. “They felt like one of those bands that…

REVIEW: Radon Chong – “I Keep On Talking To You”

Captain Beefheart devotees, rejoice! Shape-shifter Don van Vliet might be deceased but his spirit – and that of his ever-evolving Magic Band – is alive and well in Pittsburgh. Local band Radon Chong channel the Captain with passionate precision, vibrant originality, and colorful flare on its nine-song debut, the mind bogglingly good I Keep On…

REVIEW: astrid & Rachel Grimes – “Through The Sparkle”

Man, that’s devastating! If the reverb-drenched guitar on this record’s second track doesn’t move you to tremble with tears, then the soaring strings on “M1” surely will. Pianist/composer Rachel Grimes follows up her best-of-2015 The Clearing solo outing with the magnificent Through The Sparkle, a seven-song collaboration with the French chamber ensemble astrid, out today…