Review: MELK – S/T

It’s really easy to drink the Spencer Kilpatrick Kool-Aid. The Reno-based singer-songwriter has an amazing, even intoxicating handle on pitch-perfect period strut – in most cases, Stax-infused soul – and a smoky, emotion-damaged croon that accents and accentuates it perfectly. While his voice sounds like a cross-hatching of a bluesy John Mayer and Bill Withers,…

Review: Rob Ford Explorer – “Buh Bye”

The reference points behind Rob Ford Explorer’s name ain’t aging that well. Yes yes, Ford in its capitalist wisdom has released a 2020 Explorer – the large print giveth and the small print taketh away, natch – but former Toronto Mayor Rob Ford died almost four years ago now and has largely faded from the…

Review: Adam Fitz – “Can’t Pardon Me”

There might be no better way to end 2019, this dog-eared novella of a year, and start the wondrous new Twenties than with ruminations on regret, redemption and hope. So, let us all join Pittsburgh-area singer-songwriter Adam Fitz when he starts 2020 bright and early Jan. 1 by self-releasing a two-song EP online that’s ripe…

MusicTAP Record of the Year (2019)

It’s an ugly, vicious thing for an ugly, vicious year. And, yeah, there might be bigger chart-toppers from 2019 or “better” market-researched deep-cuts out there polished to within an inch of their life, but I’m tipping my hat and giving my Hall of Fame vote this year to a series of explosions from Pittsburgh. 2019’s…

Review: MELK – “Listen”

There’s not very much that’s astounding about “Listen,” the one-song debut from Reno soul quartet MELK, released yesterday on streaming services. That is, there’s not very much that’s astounding about it, aside from the initiation of it all. “Listen” is pretty much a straight-forward, 4/4 Stax soul romp, complete with genre-pitch-perfect, reverby guitars and a…

Review: Rachael McElhiney – “Apricot Trees”

“You gotta bleed a little bit to put on the show,” Rachael McElhiney sings on a track from Apricot Trees, an EP of four, folk-soul demos she quietly self-released last week on Bandcamp. McElhiney knows the message well. As the frontwoman for Reno-based soul-rock trio Failure Machine – a band more amped up and with…

Profile: Microwaves (2018)

Microwaves is at a crossroads. The Pittsburgh trio, which has been soldering together noise-rock, no wave and art-metal for 18 years now, has a new record out September 28 – a barn-burner titled, Via Weightlessness on Three One G, a label run by The Locust’s Justin Pearson. And while the band has been down this road before…

Review: Exhalants – S/T

To call Austin’s Exhalants a bombastic noise-rock trio is to call Everest a molehill. These guys, who released an epic, self-titled full-length via Self Sabotage Aug. 24, write with acid and fire, and burn with the desire to spread their gospel. It’s might stuff. Exhalants don’t craft hooks, but hurl explosions. Their impact on your…

Review: Spencer Kilpatrick – “Lungs”

Fans of early Amos Lee – in other words: well-crafted acoustic soul – mustmustMUST tune into Spencer Kilpatrick, a Reno, Nev.-based songwriter who previewed the single “Lungs” on Soundcloud just this week. Like Lee, Kilpatrick – who’s getting primed to tour nationally, starting tomorrow – has an in indescribably smooth and endearing timbre, something transient…