The Rosebuds, Birds Make Good Neighbors

You know how sometimes you think to yourself, “Man, I wish I could listen to something just a little Shins-y but not quite so upbeat. A little Smiths-y at the same time would really hit the spot”? Okay, nobody ever thinks that. But if you did, The Rosebuds would fit the bill perfectly…

Orents Stirner, Our Names In Concrete

Albums like Orents Stirner’s Our Names In Concrete are why music reviewers find the word “stark” so necessary. Like Pink Moon with an infinitesimally larger recording budget, it’s built on a lot of acoustic guitar, a single voice, a touch of reverb…

The Jonx, The Return of the Death of the Legacy of the Revenge of the Jonx

Sometimes, you either get something or you don’t. That’s the conclusion I came to when I saw Houston rockers the Jonx play a few years back; after the first two or three songs, my wife was grimacing and shaking her head. “This sucks,” she grumbled, “let’s get out of here…”

The Goons of Doom, Bikey Zomby

There was a time when garage rock was considered a thing of the past. Fortunately for its fans, it was reborn earlier this decade with bands like The Strokes and The White Stripes. Since then, however, so many other neo-garage rock bands have emerged…

The Constantines, Tournament of Hearts

The Constantines sound like Bruce Springsteen if he and the E Street band had grown up listening to Fugazi — here, even the keyboard player is a punk rocker! Between the Constantines’ preference for anthems and the singer’s unique voice, they have a distinctive sound…

Various Artists, Otis’s Opuses

I should start by saying that I haven’t always been real impressed with past comps I’ve gotten from Kill Rock Stars. They’re good folks, and I love ’em dearly, but the sad truth is that I can’t get my head around three-quarters or so of their roster…

Walter Trout, Deep Trout: The Early Years of Walter Trout

I love the blues. There is nothing more comforting to me than the sad cry of a guitar and a heavy throaty voice joining in with its own distinct wail. I don’t know about you, but whenever I have blues going on the stereo, I just can’t help…

Son Volt, Okemah and the Melody of Riot

There’s something comforting about the Son Volt sound — it’s warm, ragged, and reassuringly familiar. The guitars rumble and scratch the way guitars are supposed to, Jay Farrar’s smoke-scarred voice climbs and falls, and the the band behind drives the machine…

Maia Sharp, Fine Upstanding Citizen

At first glance, the cover of Maia Sharp’s Fine Upstanding Citizen is as unremarkable as the album covers associated with many otherwise remarkable solo singer/songwriters. Sharp herself graces the cover, and in case we fail to recognize her, her name is printed in large, plain print…


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