Courtney Barnett Tells Us How She Really Feels

Indie rock’s most industrious slacker, Courtney Barnett, returns on May 18th with her new album Tell Me How You Really Feel. Not that the Aussie ever slowed up since her 2015 breakthrough Sometimes I Sit and Think and Sometimes I Just Sit, touring incessantly, running her own label (Milk!) and late last year issuing a… Continue reading Courtney Barnett Tells Us How She Really Feels

The Go! Team – Semicircle

The Go! Team’s career arc should be required reading for any classroom study of the 21st century music business. The story begins with Ian Parton’s Brighton, England science project, one that yielded 2004’s landmark Thunder, Lightning, Strike, which remains the gold standard for melding cut-and-paste culture with high energy indie rock (M83 fans, you know… Continue reading The Go! Team – Semicircle

Life’s a Riot with Yo La Tengo

Mark your calendars for March 16 – that’s when Hoboken’s finest, Yo La Tengo, return with There’s a Riot Going On. Despite the title there are no Sly Stone covers and based on early indications, YLT’s fifteenth album isn’t particularly riotous. If anything, it seems of a piece with the hushed tones of 2000 favorite… Continue reading Life’s a Riot with Yo La Tengo

Emperor X – Oversleepers International

Another month, another belated discovery. Chad Matheny has spent much of his life in Jacksonville and played Atlanta numerous times – the usual haunts as well as “some house, some other house, some other other house” he tells me by email. But it wasn’t until Matheny relocated to Berlin and released Oversleepers International – his… Continue reading Emperor X – Oversleepers International

New Lucy Dacus, Car Seat Headrest On Tap

The artists behind two of 2016’s best albums – both of whom cut their teeth in Richmond, Virginia and are now aligned with Matador Records – are poised to get 2018 off to an indie-tastic start. First up is Car Seat Headrest, whose magnum opus (so far) Teens of Denial was 2016’s finest hour and… Continue reading New Lucy Dacus, Car Seat Headrest On Tap

Superchunk Scream Helplessly at the Sky

The theory that political turmoil fuels great art will be tested on February 16. That’s when What a Time to Be Alive, Superchunk’s first new album since 2013’s I Hate Music, hits the streets. Earlier this year the Chapel Hill quartet unleashed the Planned Parenthood benefit 7-inch “I Got Cut,” which included the memorable line… Continue reading Superchunk Scream Helplessly at the Sky

Pere Ubu – 20 Years in a Montana Missle Silo

My faith in Pere Ubu as an ongoing entity was rebooted by their June 2016 EARL show. Touring behind a pair of box sets spanning their fertile 1975-82 period, the motley fivesome (Ubu Roi David Thomas being the only remaining founding member) delivered something verging on a theater piece, retaining the heart of the originals… Continue reading Pere Ubu – 20 Years in a Montana Missle Silo

Sharon Van Etten Upgrades Her Debut

It’s been three and a half years since Sharon Van Etten’s last full-length, the beguiling Are We There. Her silence hardly equates to inactivity– in the interim, she’s performed in a cabaret scene on the Twin Peaks reboot, had a recurring role in the Netflix series The OA, and collaborated with a slew of musical… Continue reading Sharon Van Etten Upgrades Her Debut

Courtney Barnett & Kurt Vile – Lotta Sea Lice

I’ve never been much of a fan of Kurt Vile, whose slacker aura has always struck me as contrived. I have been very much a Courtney Barnett fan, although I think the Australian makes better songs than albums. I did not have high hopes for their joint venture – my gut said his vibe would… Continue reading Courtney Barnett & Kurt Vile – Lotta Sea Lice

Trio of EPs Due from Belle and Sebastian

Longtime Belle and Sebastian fans will tell you (whether you ask or not) that the three EPs the Glasgow crew released following 1996’s If You’re Feeling Sinister represent the chamber pop band’s high water mark. Twenty years on, Stuart Murdoch and friends return to that album interruptus format with How To Solve Our Human Problems,… Continue reading Trio of EPs Due from Belle and Sebastian

Protomartyr

A Catholic Education Here Is the Thing: Protomartyr is Still in Ascent (Relatively Speaking) Protomartyr is the rare band that started from a solid foundation and improved on each of its first three albums. As much as I looked forward to the new Relatives in Descent, I didn’t dare expect the Detroit quartet to continue… Continue reading Protomartyr

Game Theory – Supercalifragile

The term “bittersweet” crosses my mind repeatedly when listening to this posthumous collection from Scott Miller. Miller, whose unusually heady brand of power pop was a reliable presence through the ’80s and ’90s as the mastermind behind Game Theory and later Loud Family, had become less prolific in his later years – his last release,… Continue reading Game Theory – Supercalifragile

Andrew Savage is a Busy Bee

Andrew Savage – better known as the surly member of Parquet Courts – is keeping plenty busy. His solo album Thawing Dawn – billed to A. Savage – arrives October 13th on his own Dull Tools label. Despite a couple stray tracks that might pass as Courtesans, most of Dawn aims for a low-key singer… Continue reading Andrew Savage is a Busy Bee

Ayo River Flows Through a Failed State

Ayo River takes its name from an inside Portlandia joke – a seriously misleading reference point, since the Atlanta act shares none of that TV series’ arch sensibility, and bears no resemblance to Sleater-Kinney either. Ayo River’s debut album Failed State is wholeheartedly earnest, and quite appealing. Similarities to early Death Cab for Cutie are… Continue reading Ayo River Flows Through a Failed State

Small Reactions – RXN_002

Small Reactions willingly embrace the “nerve pop” tag, a descriptor cribbed from the Atlanta quartet’s 2011 single. And why not? It’s a fitting statement of intent given Small Reactions’ edgy, off-kilter yet approachable melodies. Since 2014’s Similar Phantoms, Ross Politi has replaced Sam Jacobsen in Small Reactions’ lineup. The absence of Jacobsen’s full-time organist role… Continue reading Small Reactions – RXN_002

Torres Has Three Futures Approaching

Torres, the performing moniker for Macon-bred Brooklynite Mackenzie Scott, returns with her third album on September 29th. Three Futures marks another step up the corporate ladder, as Torres graduates to the prestigious 4AD label. Scott recorded Three Futures in England with longtime PJ Harvey collaborator Rob Ellis, as she did on 2015’s Sprinter, and nudges… Continue reading Torres Has Three Futures Approaching

Waxahatchee – Out in the Storm

Waxahatchee is a shape-shifting proposition. Katie Crutchfield still occasionally ventures out under the moniker on solo guitar – which was the project’s genesis – even after its evolution into a full band. She recently road-tested unreleased material as a duo, alongside longtime bassist Katherine Simonetti, opening for the New Pornographers. These new songs sounded sturdy… Continue reading Waxahatchee – Out in the Storm

Dasher

No Power/Raw Power: Dasher’s Kylee Kimbrough Changes Towns, Bands, Album Titles… But Holds Onto Her Intensity I somehow missed Dasher during their two-year run as Atlanta’s most incendiary live band. My first encounter with Kylee Kimbrough’s punk outfit came at last December’s Stomp and Stammer anniversary party, marking their first local performance in two years.… Continue reading Dasher

Helium – Ends With And

Helium, Ends With And</em

Mary Timony has ridden an unusual career arc. A key player in both the Boston and Washington DC DIY scenes, her band Helium was more demanding than Crooked Rain, Crooked Rain, not quite as knotty as Polvo, and featured pummeling guitars rivaling Dinosaur Jr. After releasing 1995’s second-shelf period classic The Dirt of Luck (on… Continue reading Helium – Ends With And

The Membranes – Everyone’s Going Triple Bad Acid, Yeah!

The Membranes made an unexpected late 2015 Atlanta tour stop in support of their first album in 25 years. Perhaps more unexpectedly, leader John Robb flagged Stomp and Stammer’s show preview – taking exception to my labeling Dark Matter/Dark Energy “a poor man’s Grinderman.” Leave it to a journalist like Robb – whose 540 page… Continue reading The Membranes – Everyone’s Going Triple Bad Acid, Yeah!

Allison Crutchfield

Separation Anxiety: Allison Crutchfield is swearin’, not Swearin’ Allison Crutchfield’s cellphone still sports the 205 area code befitting her Birmingham roots, even though she’s been gone from that city for most of the past decade, ever since her band P.S. Eliot began to raise a national ruckus. When she sings lines like “I think yer… Continue reading Allison Crutchfield

Priests – Nothing Feels Natural

At their most approachable, Priests evoke a dark danceability that recalls last year’s Savages album. Such namechecks could serve as a valuable calling card but to their credit, the Washington DC four-piece buries those grooves fairly deep into Nothing Feels Natural – they have headier pursuits in mind. Although this is Priests’ debut full-length, the… Continue reading Priests – Nothing Feels Natural