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…

Louisville-Born, Brooklyn-Based — PROFILE: David Grubbs (2006)

The classroom is empty, the students more than an hour away, but David Grubbs sits behind a console in an unassuming Brooklyn College radio laboratory, tinkering with faders and talking about the aesthetics of sound art as if one of his classes already was in session. In this performance space without an audience, he’s dressed…

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: 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…

REVIEW: Bonnie “Prince” Billy – Singer’s Grave A Sea of Tongues

Singer-songwriter Will Oldham, that old Palace ring-leader turned “Prince,” just has released a new collection of emotive acoustics titled Singer’s Grave A Sea of Tongues – and, hands down, it is easily the best record he’s done since Lie Down In The Light. The backbone of the record is reminiscent of 2001’s Ease Down The…

PROFILE: David Grubbs of Squirrel Bait

Originally published in Popdose on July 30, 2014 Before Louisville was associated with Palace, though after, I suppose, Hunter S. Thompson chronicled its seedy decadence during the Derby, there was Squirrel Bait, a nascent punk group of area teens churning out intricately layered but surprisingly accessible post-hardcore gems, a group of seemingly-always-do-wells who drew rave reviews,…

REVIEW: Slint – “Spiderland: Remastered”

Originally published in Popdose on May 6, 2014 Steve Albini once infamously offered up “ten fucking stars” in Melody Maker to the swansong LP of a then-unknown Louisville quartet named Slint. Twenty three long years later, much has changed, but those words still resonate and the praise still sounds more than justified. It’s prescient, even….