Review: The Lampshades – “Astrology”

The Lampshades, a trio of Pittsburgh-by-way-of-Altoona ne’er-do-wells, is nothing if not ambitious. It hasn’t always entirely been this way. Sunshine, its 2005 debut, was more of a catalog of by-the-numbers power-pop than the loose-limbed junk-rock these guys have perfected on records like Arena Punk and Numbskull Nothinghead. Even after a good number of outings, though…

Review: Ilyas Ahmed – “Closer To Stranger”

How this one flew under the radar is just beyond me. Released Jan. 26 by MIE Music, Ilyas Ahmed’s Closer To Stranger is a hazy-edged dream riffing on the notion of identity that is set at the intersection of singer-songwriter acoustics and avant-garde initiation rites, a bizarrely listenable and sweetly digestible record whose textures will…