REVIEW: Crystal Fairy – S/T

Don’t get me wrong: I like Crystal Fairy’s self-titled debut, I really do. I just don’t love it as much as I think I should. The name on the spine says Crystal Fairy and there’s been lots of pomp & circumstance but the record, out last week, is less a document of a super-group in the making…

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: Jacob Duncan – “The Busker”

Pat Metheny and Charlie Haden’s pristine and bright-eyed collaboration on the 1997 Verve LP Beyond The Missouri Sky (Short Stories) is a decent point of departure for Jacob Duncan’s The Busker, a new solo outing by the Louisvillian alto saxophonist available digitally and on CD. Both recordings have a kind of organic richness, cool complexity…

REVIEW: Loscil – “Monument Builders”

A melancholy pall hangs over much of Loscil’s Monument Builders, a mysterious little nugget of an LP out since November on Kranky Records. Musician’s musician (and sole “band” member) Scott Morgan’s successor to 2014’s Sea Island sounds far grayer and more saturated in sadness than its predecessor and, for a miserable bastard like me, that’s…

REVIEW: Faith No More – “We Care A Lot” (Deluxe Band Version)

Let’s fold back the sheets on 2016, this death’s bed of a year, by focusing our attention on one of its brighter moments, an overlooked reissue that fills in the blanks about one of the biggest American-bred bands of the late 1980s and the budding 1990s. Coming now through bassist Billy Gould’s Koolarrow Records, the…

REVIEW: Tortoise – “The Catastrophist”

Tortoise’s The Catastrophist, the mighty Chicago jazz-rock outfit’s first record in seven long years, will leave longtime listeners – after 25 years, there are many – in two minds of themselves. First off, there’s some solid material herein and that’s easy to notice. Why? Well, part of it’s obvious. In 2010, take it away Thrill Jockey PR…

CONCERT REVIEW: Horehound/T-Tops/Del Rios/Old Dream – Gooski’s, 1.08.16

Welcome to the firecrackers-strapped-to-your-Rust-Belt column “Welcome To Pittsburgh,” as today we find ourselves entranced by stars yet lamenting another fine night of noise at the Polish Hill dive bar/cheap beer institution Gooski’s. It’s been a week and change now and we just barely got sober enough to write this ourselves. Well, there was no clear…

REVIEW: Kurt Cobain – Montage of Heck: The Home Recordings (Deluxe Edition)

Kurt Cobain’s first solo record – recently released 21 years after his 1994 suicide and paired with a suspect “documentary” film project of revisionist mythmaking and iconography – is a jumbled, scraping-barrel-bottom mess of an affair. It’s not to say that, for die-hard fans, there are not things to like about it. There are moments…

REVIEW: The Turbosonics – Tres Gatos Suave

Inconsistencies, dagnammit! I want to really, really like, to love, to adore The Turbosonics‘ new CD, Tres Gatos Suave, a meaty slab of surf from one of Pittsburgh’s mightiest purveyors of the form. But, for every track like opener “Ricochet,” a real classic 60s rocker, there’s a dud like the trying-too-hard-to-be-Floydian “Meat Slicer From Outer Space.” For every surprise…

REVIEW: City Water – 2

The so-to-speak “elusive” City Water clearly channels Walker on its noir-jazz-saturated 2, out now on Young Tobacco Records, but, though that’s a compliment, don’t rush to buy or download the thing just yet. “In Cielo Tutto Va Bene (In Heaven Everything Is Fine)” is a divine slice of somberness for a sax, and there’s plenty…