Archive for the ‘Album Reviews’ Category

Album Review: Justin Townes Earle “Harlem River Blues” Bloodshot

Album Review: Justin Townes Earle “Harlem River Blues” Bloodshot

To get the bad news out of the way first, this is the first full-length from Earle without Cory Younts, the multi-instrumentalist who provided background vocals so good for Earle’s voice you might have wondered if they were family.  Younts’ voice, harmonica, mandolin, banjo and whistle have moved on to Old Crow Medicine Show.  He […]

Album Review: Sally Spring – “Made of Stars” – (Sniffinpup Records)

Album Review: Sally Spring – “Made of Stars” – (Sniffinpup Records)

Don’t let her petite and pixieish looks fool you. Sally Spring is a bold songwriter with rock-solid vocals. A veteran who cut her performance teeth on the coffeehouse circuit of the 1970s, Spring has played with such luminaries as the Byrds, Doc Watson, Guitar Shorty, Rev. Gary Davis, Taj Mahal and Odetta. On Made of […]

Album Review: Bloody War: Songs 1924-1936 – (Tompkins Square)

Album Review: Bloody War: Songs 1924-1936 – (Tompkins Square)

“War! What’s it good for? Absolutely nothin’! Good God, y’all!” The Temptations asked and answered that question, but it was Edwin Starr who made the song a hit. Springsteen covered it in 1985 on his “Born in the USA” tour, the title track of his hugely popular album, and another anti-war song. War is hell, […]

Album Review: Manda Mosher – City of Clowns – (Red Parlor Records)

Album Review: Manda Mosher – City of Clowns – (Red Parlor Records)

We wish Manda Mosher had run the title of her EP by us first. We might have said: “City of Clowns? Really? You sure?  Clowns are scary. Even kids hate clowns. Remember Pennywise from Stephen King’s It? John Wayne Gacy? The Joker? That cult film Killer Clowns from Outer Space?” Mosher’s five-song follow-up to her […]

Album Review: Carl Broemel – All Birds Say – (ATO Records)

Album Review: Carl Broemel – All Birds Say – (ATO Records)

Solo album by My Morning Jacket guitarist drops Aug. 31 At first listen, Carl Broemel’s album, All Birds Say, is a classically-based composition that definitely respects the acoustic fashion of Sir Paul McCartney. One could also easily relate the lyrics to the wise and peaceful philosophies of George Harrison. Although the influences may shine through, […]

Album Review: Allison Moorer “Crows”

Album Review: Allison Moorer “Crows”

As a lifelong, self proclaimed “Country Music Disliker” (couldn’t go as far as to say “hater”…I mean, who doesn’t love Garth Brooks a little bit?), I have generally avoided the genre. There are no country stations on my car presets, I haven’t ever been to a country concert, and I can’t remember the last full […]

Album Review: Miniature Tigers “FORTRESS” (Modern Art/ILG)

Album Review: Miniature Tigers “FORTRESS” (Modern Art/ILG)

If the movie Garden State had been made today, Miniature Tigers would be the band playing on Natalie Portman’s headphones when she hands them to Zach Braff: “You gotta hear this one song [“Egyptian Robe”] — it’ll change your life; I swear.” Miniature Tigers are sly and literate, with references to Stephen King, Nabokov, and […]

Charlie Louvin – Hickory Wind: Live at the Gram Parsons Guitar Pull, Waycross, GA – (Tompkins Square Records)

Charlie Louvin – Hickory Wind: Live at the Gram Parsons Guitar Pull, Waycross, GA – (Tompkins Square Records)

This review comes on the heels of some unfortunate news, as Charlie Louvin was recently diagnosed with pancreatic cancer. At 83 years of age, Mr. Louvin is expected to make a full recovery after surgery on the 22nd of this month, two days after the release of this album. When we spoke with him recently […]

Deer Tick – The Black Dirt Sessions – (Partisan Records)

Deer Tick – The Black Dirt Sessions – (Partisan Records)

Listening to Deer Tick’s third studio album, The Black Dirt Sessions, will undoubtedly pose the question: can I tolerate this vocal? You love it or hate it. Though, if you hate it, you’ll learn to love it. The classic instrumentation of these haunting tunes insists upon it. The actual recording quality of the album is […]

Luke Elliot – Death of a Widow – (Yerbird Records)

Luke Elliot – Death of a Widow – (Yerbird Records)

You don’t so much listen to Luke Elliot’s music as you absorb it — almost like a steaming aural shower that washes over you, and it stings a bit. The second release from Connecticut singer/songwriter (and fixture on the NYC performance circuit) is the five-song EP Death of a Widow, which features a full-on barrage […]

Gaelic Storm – Cabbage – (Lost Again Records)

Gaelic Storm – Cabbage – (Lost Again Records)

Gaelic Storm’s new album Cabbage is about as summery as it can get for a band whose members hail from the rainiest islands on earth. With a pinch of tropical drums for heat and a liberal splash of rum (or whiskey, whichever you’re feeling) the album yields a heady cocktail that tests the versatility of […]

Katzenjammer “Le Pop” Nettwerk Records

Katzenjammer “Le Pop” Nettwerk Records

Being new to the world of album reviews, I decided to just write whatever popped into my head while listening to Le Pop for the first time (not unlike anything else I write, ever). So: I generally love things with bells and accordion-sounding instruments, so this sounds really promising from moment one, and very eclectic, […]

Jack Rose with D Charles Speer & the Helix “Ragged and Right” Thrill Jockey

Jack Rose with D Charles Speer & the Helix “Ragged and Right” Thrill Jockey

In the spring of 2008, post-Takoma, American primitive guitarist Jack Rose set off on a tour with D Charles Speer and the Helix.  Along the way, they listened to a lot of Three Track Shack era Link Wray – especially the songs “Scorpio Woman” and his version of “In the Pines.”  Rose was so excited […]

Imelda May – Love Tattoo – (Verve Forecast)

Imelda May – Love Tattoo – (Verve Forecast)

Dublin-born rockabilly sensation Imelda May is further proof that the Irish are the European torchbearers of soul. Backed by a band that includes her husband Darrel Higham on guitar, she alternately growls, shouts, purrs and croons on Love Tattoo, her first major-label release. (Her debut, No Turning Back, was released under her maiden name, Imelda […]