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…

REVIEW: Adam Gnade – “Life Is The Meat Grinder That Sucks In All Things”

Indie writer/musician Adam Gnade is a lot like Neutral Milk Hotel’s beautific, canonical “Oh Comely;” he makes you feel resilient and centered as life and all its context tries to beat you down. The “Oh Comely” comparison is apt, as Gnade dedicated his Do-It Yourself Guide To Fighting The Big Motherfuckin’ Sad, an indispensable literary…

REVIEW: Iron & Wine – “Beast Epic”

Much pomp and circumstance has been made about Sam Beam returning in 2017 to the form of his early years.  But while Iron & Wine’s Beast Epic, out today on Sub Pop Records, is certainly a stripped-down affair compared to some of Beam’s Warner Bros. catalog, it is still a highly polished outing, with Beam’s…

REVIEW: Pabst/Autisti – “Exciter” b/w “Dealbreaker”

There’s plenty of guitar fuzz and feedback featured on the Pabst/Autisti split seven-inch single, out next Friday on Crazysane Records. Pabst opens the proceedings with inviting grungy figures on guitar and a hooky chorus that call to mind The Leaving Trains. Their song can sometimes be ornate, if mostly for the cock-rock-inspired sing-song of the…

REVIEW: Wilt – “Hand Mirror”

Portland’s Taylor Malsey presents listeners with some warbled tunes and an inviting, warm blanket of melancholia on the excellent Wilt debut Hand Mirror, out now on Good Cheer Records. And, though it’s mostly a record for people who like their music with bumps and cracks in it, all in all, it’s pretty enveloping stuff. The…

REVIEW: The Lumes – “Envy”

There’s this moment on Envy – the new six-song EP from Rotterdam’s The Lumes, out soon on Crazysane Records – that you’ve gotta hear. It’s “Discharge,” the third song, and, part of the way through it, the guitar starts scorching and the drums throb with a kind of reckless abandon; after a brief lull, there…

REVIEW: Dead Cross – S/T

Mike Patton has never fronted a band like this. The Faith No More frontman, known by most of the populace alive in the 80s and 90s for a rap-rock song about masturbation (the epic “Epic”), has been at the helm of some pretty aggressive groups. His time in Fantomas and his EP providing vocals for…

REVIEW: Dale Crover – “The Fickle Finger of Fate”

Dale Crover is positively chameleonic – as if any of us would expect anything less – on The Fickle Finger of Fate, his “debut” solo full-length LP, out today on Joyful Noise Recordings. I use the annoying contextual quotes around “debut,” because Crover has been down this road before and we’ve been right alongside. San…

REVIEW: Alder & Ash – “Clutched In The Maw of the World”

The cello flirts lovingly with you, then roars and lunges forward, bearing its teeth. The composition in question is “A Seat Amongst God and His Children,” the second song and most transfixing moment on Montreal artist Alder & Ash’s sophomore release, the appropriately titled Clutched In The Maw of the World, out July 28 on Lost Tribe Sound. It starts…

REVIEW: IE – “Ark”

Ark, the new two-song, 39-minute opus by IE, takes about nine minutes to get cooking. And, when it does, it generates enough heat that you’ll pardon the wait. The introductory composition in question is “–|,” a long-form drone that gradually shifts the footing on its tone and tune with under-the-surface contributions from what sounds like…