REVIEW: Yes Selma – “Songs of Happiness”

When Chad Beattie, a 24-year-old from Baltimore, first told me about his bedroom project Yes Selma – a Dancer In The Dark nod – he referenced a lot of the Drag City musicians adored by those in the lo-fi singer-songwriter boom of the 1980s and 1990s. And, yes, listening to Yes Selma’s ambitious and ironically…

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: Papa M – “Highway Songs”

At first blush, Papa M’s Highway Songs LP is a mess or, at best perhaps, unbalanced. But first blushes, like a journalist’s first drafts of history, are frequently pockmarked with misconceptions and quotes demanding corrections. Many watched as Papa M’s sole member and primary muse, the Slint and Tortoise alum David Pajo, struggled with god…

REVIEW: Jim O’Rourke – “Simple Songs”

Jim O’Rourke can resemble a complicated musical chameleon. Since the late 80s, he has blended a patchwork career in the avant-garde with explorations into cinema, post-, folk- and alt-rock, and membership with acoustic-chamber heroes Gastr del Sol and “punk” purveyors Sonic Youth. In his recent years, as he’s retired to Japan, he’s been more off…