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…

REVIEW: CALYX – “For To, Oh” EP

Contrary to the imagination of its title, CALYX’s Four To, Oh is not a testament to weed-fueled jam-band mythos or, this being Pittsburgh, a smoky-eyed homage to Wiz Khalifa. Instead, it’s a textured, even borderline-mathy, addition to this trio’s growing – and impressive – catalog. And it’s definitely worth the $2 download asking price. Sounding,…

PROFILE: King G and The J Krew

Twenty five years ago today, the beat was born. It was the sound of young adults from Louisville – a sprawling collection of collaborators, most of them close friends since childhood – surging with ideas, and busting out with a declaration that they intended to live an unfiltered, untethered life of art and music. It…

REVIEW: Heron – “You Are Here Now”

To hear some good reverb-drenched post-rock on the radio dial or the event horizon, you can do a heck of a lot worse than Heron, the Pennsylvania quartet that made its debut recently with the engaging and shimmering full-length You Are Here Now. On the record, which they self-released, the band situates itself comfortably near…

REVIEW: HC-B – “Rough”

It takes a great record to remind me how awkward it can be — yes yes, like dancing to architecture — to write about really good instrumental rock music. For the moment, the band putting me in said position is HC-B, the record is the group’s latest Hidden Shoal release, Rough, and both are terrific, sometimes bordering on breathtaking….

REVIEW: We Only Said – “Boring Pools”

It’s hard to believe We Only Said operates nearly 4,100 miles outside Louisville, once- and always-home of post-rock icons Slint and Rodan. They just sound so downright Louisvillian. But so it goes for the reigning post-rock champions of Rennes, France. The group – whose second full-length, Boring Pools, was released by Les Disques Normal earlier…

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…

REVIEW: Bedhead – “Bedhead: 1992-1998” Boxed Set

The single guitar note, all fragile and frosted glass, falls on the foot of the kick drum. And then, as the notes continue to unfurl and the metronomic drum spurs a succession, we first hear that voice, sleepy but somehow still resolved and engaged, lingering above a whisper and below a murmur. “More than ever…