10.22.2014

#reviewoftheweek / The Barr Brothers - Sleeping Operator

Leaving their jam band roots in the rearview mirror is easier said than done. While artsy and improvisational are virtually non-existent on their latest album, they've embraced the rootsy aspect of their previous musical life and delivered one of the year's subtly great albums. Bluesy roots rock seems to suit the Barr Brothers, who's previous band, the Slip, was rooted in improvisational jazz. "Half Crazy," the lead single from the album, bridges the gap from jam scene to indie rock with ease, showcasing the organic nature of their musical style, while exhibiting a sound that could be straight out of Nashville. "Even The Darkness Has Arms" is a cool introduction to the Barr Brothers' indie sound, but it's the second track on the album, "Love Ain't Enough" which separates their present from their past. It's great that the song is the first on the album to feature vocals (it's track 2) because it sets the stage for an entire album of mystery and excitement, capped off by a feeling of pleasure and joy upon completion. The Barr Brothers' music has transformed by leaps and bounds from their first album, and have proven that songwriting and musical skill go hand in hand when creating an album that combines both artistry and familiarity.

10.15.2014

#reviewoftheweek / Lucius - Wildewoman

It's hard to be a band that can do multiple genres, but to be able to make a cohesive album with multiple genres throughout is impressive. Lucius, fronted by a pair of female vocalists, has taken the indie rock genre and turned it on his head, exhibiting their ability to switch from folk to rock to pop from song to song, back to back. "Don't Just Sit There" may be the album's cornerstone, which is eual parts indie and pop, and potentially their most accessible. But, it's songs like "Go Home" and "Turn It Around" which are polar opposites of each other, sitting right next to each other on the tracklist. "Go Home" is Dylanesque, showing off their lyrical subtleties and the band's ability to almost completely strip down and unplug. "Turn It Around" is pure hard hitting indie rock and is the song you'd most likely hear on alternative rock radio. Judging by touring partners Bahamas and Chadwick Stokes, and the fact that he ladies sung backup vocals on Jeff Tweedy's (Wilco) solo album, it's no wonder that Lucius is sitting on the brink of superstardom, without even trying.

10.08.2014

#reviewoftheweek / The Beautiful Girls - Dancehall Days

It's quite possible that the Beautiful Girls were never going to make another album. Well, that's no longer true, and this one picks up right where their last one left off. The cool thing about this album is it visits another era in the roots reggae history of the band's influences. If their groundbreaking and critically acclaimed album "Ziggurats" showed off their eighties reggae and heavy Police/Clash influences then this album brings the band's influences firmly into the late 80s and early 90s. There's a lot of synth and piano driven beats mixed with incredible lyricism throughout the entire album. Their love and influence of dancehall reggae is evident, not only by the album name and title track, but by several other songs as well. Aside from the excellence of the title track, the other standout on the album is "Until My Kingdom Comes," which leads off about a minute of piano and keyboard driven instrumental, leading into smooth vocals combined with funky horns. The Beautiful Girls have been breaking the mold since their debut release, and keep reinventing themselves and their sound, keeping fans on the edge of their seats wanting more. This album is both a welcome addition to their catalogue and cool reinvention of their signature sound.

10.01.2014

#reviewoftheweek / Medeski Scofield Martin And Wood - Juice

When MMW combine their talents with John Scofield, it's a perfect match. It's amazing that these guys have only collaborated a few times over their careers. The combo is so good, it's almost as if it should become a permanent thing. That being said, this is the best of their collaborations to date, showcasing some funky jazz music that is both creative and mindblowing. Where they shine the best is the cover songs. They do Bob Dylan, Cream, and The Doors, and the songs sound just as good as the originals, but in many ways are not even recognizable as the originals. They have taken music that is heavily driven by the lyrics and translated it into a vocal-free world, allowing their instruments to tell the stories and sing the songs. Cover songs are the best when they aren't copies of the originals and the guys do it terrifically. "Sham Time" is a great funky number (also not an original). Their best original tune is "Juicy Lucy" which blurs genre lines and shows off how great these guys are at jamming out. The track truly shows how well this foursome collaborates. Improvisation is key for this group, and it's hard to showcase that on a studio album, but they are able to get their point across well throughout. This collection of songs is a true gem.

BURN THIS / October 2014









  1. The Beautiful Girls "Dancehall Days"
  2. Angus & Julia Stone "Grizzly Bear"
  3. Bahamas "Waves"
  4. Lucius "Don't Just Sit There"
  5. Jukebox The Ghost "The Great Unknown"
  6. Walk The Moon "Shut Up And Dance"
  7. Guster "Simple Machine"
  8. Daniel Ellsworth & The Great Lakes "Phantoms"
  9. Andrew McMahon In The Wilderness "Cecilia And The Satellite"
  10. Meiko "Be Mine"
  11. Will Dailey "Castle Of Pretending"
  12. The Jason Spooner Band "Fireflies"
  13. Nicki Bluhm & The Gramblers "Another Rolling Stone"
  14. St. Paul & The Broken Bones "Half The City"
  15. Ray LaMontagne "She's The One"
  16. Vance Joy "Mess Is Mine"
  17. Judah & The Lion "Scared"
  18. The Barr Brothers "Half Crazy"
  19. Wild Adriatic "Lonely"
  20. Benjamin Booker "Have You Seen My Son?"

9.24.2014

#reviewoftheweek / Carbon Leaf - Indian Summer Revisited

Carbon Leaf have been making a name for themselves all over the nation, from their hometown roots to the radio play they've received for a handful of excellent tunes. Now, once again a true independent rock band, they have decided to rerecord, in its entirety, possibly the best album of their 20+ year career. "Indian Summer" was originally released in the summer of 2004 and features the hit single "Life Less Ordinary" which put the band on the mainstream rock map. It was also their first album released by Vanguard Records, who went on to released their next two albums as well. This album also features fan favorites "Let Your Troubles Roll By" and "What About Everything?" and bridged the gap from their roots as a Celtic rock band onto mainstream rock radio. Ten years later finds the band revisiting this classic album, showcasing its bare bones throughout the entire new release, mixing their mainstream sound with their rootsy beginning and indie band vibe. There's nothing new, nothing fresh, and nothing innovative about what they've done here. What this album is about is celebration, reflection, and remembrance. Carbon Leaf are back to their roots, and at a new crossroads as a band. What revisiting this classic album has done is show us that they are exactly who they have always been all along, at every moment throughout their history, and what they will continue to be to countless fans, young and old, new and seasoned.

9.17.2014

#reviewoftheweek / The Mattson 2 - Agar

The Mattson 2 are a unique musical act to say the least. First and foremost, they are twin brothers making music together. Secondly, they do so just playing guitar and drums. Last, they entertain us with a style of jazz music that is as every bit classic as it is innovating and modern. Hailing from the west coast, being from the left side of the country really comes through in each song that they perform. This EP is their most recent release and one possibly their edgiest yet. Only 5 songs long, it exhibits their ability to combine their innovative jazz with their indie rock energy. The 9 minute "Peaks Of Yew" showcases their ability to jam out and the best portrayal of their appeal to the masses comes on "Dif Juz." There are no other musical acts out there like these guys. This is a good introduction, but their back catalogue is nothing to be ignored.

9.10.2014

#reviewoftheweek / Benjamin Booker - Benjamin Booker

Benjamin Booker is one of the most exciting and talented new musicians to break onto the scene in recent years. Hailing from New Orleans, Booker blends his soulful roots music with blues and rock, and has drawn comparisons from everyone from B.B. King to The White Stripes. This album is not like what you'd expect from a new artist, and blows the roof off right from the beginning. "Violent Shiver" is the first single that has been making waves all over alternative rock and AAA radio for months. It's blend of simple punk-influenced rock and blues delivery, coupled with killer lyrics and an under three minute runtime, are the perfect recipe for a hit record that is catchy and edgy. Other tracks that define this unique and familiar sound are "Have You Seen My Son?" and "Happy Homes." You can tell throughout the entire album that Booker is both influences by everything from 90's grunge to southern blues and rock. Benjamin Booker, on the merit of this album is sure to be amongst the names mentioned come year end for all kinds of awards, from Best New Artist to Best Rock Song and Album.

9.03.2014

#reviewoftheweek / Tauk - Homunculus & Collisions

Tauk's two most recent albums are like part one and part two of the same album. They flow right into each other and can almost be mixed up and played interchangeably, which surely makes for exciting live shows. On the first album "Homunculus" (released in 2013) the bookends of the album are the standout tracks. Both "Dead Signal" and "In The Basement Of The Alamo" showcase the best of their instrumental/lyric-free prog rock that floats right between alternative and jam band music. Both albums are incredibly guitar driven, and in many cases sound like a string of awesome guitar solos. On "Collisions" (released in 2014) the standout tracks are "Mindshift" and "Sweet Revenge" and showcase the band's ability to make vocal free songs sound like radio-ready singles. Much like electronic music, Tauk's instrumentation is driven by rhythm and intricacy, and should wow fans of many different genres. Both albums were recorded in Jack Johnson's Solar Powered Plastic Plant studios, further adding to the organic and creative juices flowing through the album. While mass media and pop and rock radio may never play the songs from these albums, Tauk has solidified themselves as a live music force to be reckoned with.

9.01.2014

BURN THIS / September 2014









  1. Angus & Julia Stone "A Heartbreak"
  2. Mike Doughty "Light Will Keep Your Heart Beating In The Future"
  3. The Wind And The Wave "Raising Hands Raising Hell Raise 'Em High"
  4. Johnnyswim "Diamonds"
  5. Phillip Phillips (featuring Robert Randolph) "Fly"
  6. Needtobreathe "Brother"
  7. The Wild Feathers "Left My Woman"
  8. Marc Broussard "Man Ain't Supposed To Cry"
  9. Charlie Mars "The Money"
  10. Bahamas "Little Record Girl"
  11. Roadkill Ghost Choir "Slow Knife"
  12. Kina Grannis "Dear River"
  13. Madi Diaz "Stay Together"
  14. Sarah Jaffe "Lover Girl"
  15. The Dirty Heads "Sound Of Change"
  16. SOJA (featuring Anuhea & J Boog) "Easier"
  17. Iration "Burn"
  18. Giant Panda Guerilla Dub Squad "Steady"
  19. Rebelution "More Love"
  20. Nahko & Medicine For The People "Dark As Night"