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…

PROFILE: Christian Frederickson (2017)

It is May 25, 2006. You are sitting in a capacity crowd at Kaufman Center’s intimate Merkin Concert Hall in New York City, listening to Rachel’s perform their last show as an ensemble – though nobody knows that just yet. WNYC 90.3 FM, an NPR affiliate, is broadcasting and Greg King’s scene-setting film is being…

PROFILE: High Plains (2017)

For those who haven’t been paying attention, Cinderland — the debut LP from Scott Morgan and Mark Bridges, the duo known as High Plains — is a serious early contender for year-end Top Ten lists. It is elegiac and nuanced stuff, at once dreamy and funereal; the record just ebbs and flows from your turntable…

PROFILE: Kelley Deal (2017)

She’s finding herself in the now again. Kelley Deal has topped charts with The Breeders but her latest outing, R. Ring’s Ignite The Rest, is perhaps the most nuanced and writerly of her career. It is, at once, immediate, gutsy, clattering and beautiful, and, make no mistake about it, Deal and Ampline’s Mike Montgomery, who…

Louisville-Born, Brooklyn-Based — PROFILE: David Grubbs (2006)

The classroom is empty, the students more than an hour away, but David Grubbs sits behind a console in an unassuming Brooklyn College radio laboratory, tinkering with faders and talking about the aesthetics of sound art as if one of his classes already was in session. In this performance space without an audience, he’s dressed…

PROFILE: Rachel Grimes

Rachel Grimes knew how to play the piano before she learned to walk. “My dad and grandmother played, so I was always sitting beside them following along, watching and listening in wonder at how they could make that magic,” the composer/pianist told me recently from the home she and her husband, educator Alec Johnson, share…

Concert Review: Daniel Johnston – Nov. 22, 2008

Daniel Johnston Nov. 22, 2008 Good Folk Fest – Louisville, KY What can you write after you’ve seen a legend? You wouldn’t know very much about Daniel Johnston — underground icon, father of the lo-fi singer-songwriter movement, and outsider artist — by the way he shuffled onto the small stage recently at Louisville’s Mellwood Arts…

Concert Review: Sam Phillips – Sept. 12, 2008

Sam Phillips Club Café – Pittsburgh, PA Sept. 12, 2008 And now, 150 words on Sam Phillips’ first performance in Pittsburgh in 15 years: Spellbinding. Opening song on electric guitar, solitary at first, distortion filtered through a cloud of gauze. An evening of shuffling acoustics and plaintive ballads, odes to sadness, tear it all down….

Reviewer Spotlight: Calexico – Spoke

Originally published in Punk Planet May/June 2007 Knowing that this Tucson ensemble’s loyal following tend to break into fits of breathless poetry about desert horizons or sand-choked nights could lead the uninitiated to believe Joey Burns and John Convertino stepped fully formed out of some Arizona mirage one summer afternoon. Spoke, released before the incredible…

Reviewer Spotlight: The Melvins – Gluey Porch Treatments

Originally published in Punk Planet March/April 2007 I was, admittedly, in grade school in 1986 when Buzz Osborne, Dale Crover and Matt Lukin drove from Washington to California to record their first full-length record. By the time I did hear it, some five or six years later, the group was being courted by the majors…