Various Artists – C90

The 1990s was the rare decade that actually started on time – specifically, on April 8, 1990. That was the Sunday when everyone could go to the multiplex to see the latest John Waters comedy and get home in time to watch Matt Groening’s hit sitcom before turning the channel to ABC for a TV-movie… Continue reading Various Artists – C90

Game Theory – Across the Barrier of Sound

Game Theory’s run of hooky, heady and slightly off-kilter power pop extended from 1982-90, drawing the curtain with something that qualified as neither a bang nor a whimper. The quartet, which honed its attack using guitars and keyboards in equal measure, had always been a revolving cast of players centered on curly-haired savant Scott Miller.… Continue reading Game Theory – Across the Barrier of Sound

Je Suis France Get Back to Basics

On November 8, long-running Athens indie rockers Je Suis France will release their latest album, Back to the Basics of Love, on Ernest Jenning Record Co. Videos for two singles, “I’ve Got the Look” and “Looking for Someone Like Me,” premiered in October via the Raven Sings the Blues and Flagpole websites, respectively. Besides the… Continue reading Je Suis France Get Back to Basics

The Stoplight Roses Turn Blue

The Stoplight Roses play an assortment of what could fall under the umbrella of “old people rock”: jangly Southern power pop, high-octane garage rock, alt-country cowpunk, Bo Diddley-ish shuffles, subdued singer-songwriter heartstring-pullers… They’re named after a Nick Lowe song, so you get the general idea. The five-member Atlanta group recently released a 10-song CD titled… Continue reading The Stoplight Roses Turn Blue

Gin Blossoms – Mixed Reality

Of all the earnest jangle-rock bands to sprout up in the wake of R.E.M., Arizona’s Gin Blossoms are one of the few whose songs still resonate deeply with me. Though at the time I didn’t pay it much mind, I’ve since come to cherish 1992’s (eventually) inescapable New Miserable Experience as an unflashy yet genuinely… Continue reading Gin Blossoms – Mixed Reality

Various Artists – 3×4

3x4 Album Cover

The careers of the bands at the heart of the Paisley Underground found very different trajectories soon after the Los Angeles movement’s early 1980s heyday. Rain Parade quickly splintered, spawning a bevy of solid projects (Opal, Mazzy Star, Viva Saturn) while The Bangles became multi-platinum icons. The Dream Syndicate made its own lunge at the… Continue reading Various Artists – 3×4

R.E.M.’s BBC Archives Released

A generous batch of R.E.M. radio sessions and live concerts exclusively broadcast by the BBC will be released Oct. 19 via Craft Recordings. For completists, the 8-CD/1-DVD mega-box includes audio of a 1984 Nottingham concert, along with a ’91 session (promo tour for Out of Time) and ’95 full concert (the Monster tour), but the… Continue reading R.E.M.’s BBC Archives Released

Beaches Release New Tunes; So Do the Beaches

Beaches are sorta like an Australian Bangles, inspired by jangly paisley pop, garage rock nuggets, fuzzed-out psychedelia, sunshine soul and… Oh, wait a minute… that’s the all-female Toronto quartet THE Beaches I’m thinking of. But come to think of it, that all pretty much applies to Melbourne five-piece Beaches as well. And with their just-released… Continue reading Beaches Release New Tunes; So Do the Beaches

Song Premiere: The Good Graces “Porchlight”

The Good Graces, an Atlanta-based tune-making endeavor guided by singer, songwriter, guitarist and all-around multitasker Kim Ware, has been gently beguiling listeners since 2007 (or 2006 – accounts vary). Southern by the grace of God, Ware migrated to Atlanta from Wilmington, North Carolina with a knack for candid, unsweetened lyrics delivered with a winsome voice… Continue reading Song Premiere: The Good Graces “Porchlight”

The Shelters – The Shelters

Sorry, but I’m not buying the hype about Los Angeles based band, The Shelters. The (I think) prefab story is that Tom Petty discovered The Shelters playing in some L.A. dive in 2014, then invited a couple of members of the band to accompany him (and the Heartbreakers, of course) on the recent Hypnotic Eye… Continue reading The Shelters – The Shelters

Don’t All Thank Me At Once

Don’t All Thank Me At Once: The Lost Pop Genius of Scott Miller By Brett Milano [125 Books] “Scott Warren Miller, unsung master songwriter, chose to end his life on April 15, 2013.” That’s the first line of Brett Milano’s labor-of-love biography of Game Theory/Loud Family frontman Scott Miller. It’s some groundbreaking journalism, too. Until… Continue reading Don’t All Thank Me At Once

The Fresh & Onlys

Embracing the Awkward: The Fresh & Onlys’ Forever Romance San Francisco’s Fresh & Onlys haven’t changed much in the past five years. It’s true that their latest LP, Long Slow Dance, offers a new, cleaner aesthetic in comparison to the distortion-heavy sound of their first three albums. Frontman Tim Cohen and bassist Shayde Sartin insist… Continue reading The Fresh & Onlys

The Vulgar Boatmen – You and Your Sister

The Vulgar Boatmen’s story is so unique it’s surprising they never got more traction. The product of an alliance between a jobbing Indiana musician (Dale Lawrence) and a University of Florida film professor (Robert Ray), the duo teamed with a passel of rotating sidemen to release three solid LPs. But since Ray had no appetite… Continue reading The Vulgar Boatmen – You and Your Sister

Game Theory – Blaze of Glory

Scott Miller spent the ‘80s creating brilliant college rock with Game Theory, and then he spent the ‘90s creating brilliant college rock with The Loud Family, and then he went into the new millennium being forced to use the Loud Family name for a shared 2006 pop project with Anton Barbeau before compiling some brilliant… Continue reading Game Theory – Blaze of Glory

Bill Pritchard – A Trip to the Coast

Remember Bill Pritchard? If so, you probably own too much vinyl and have a habit of boring your friends with Anglophile trivia. And you can probably dig out a copy of Three Months, Three Weeks and Two Days, Pritchard’s 1989 high water mark from the days when the Brit stood at the precise intersection of… Continue reading Bill Pritchard – A Trip to the Coast

Matthew Sweet & Susanna Hoffs – Under the Covers Vol. 3

Matthew Sweet and Susanna Hoffs – aka “Sid ‘n’ Susie,” as the booklet cover gently advises – pull off quite a hat-trick on the third installment of their Under the Covers series. We’ll get to that in a moment. Where 2006’s delightful first volume tackled ’60s covers from the likes of Beatles, Fairports, Velvets and… Continue reading Matthew Sweet & Susanna Hoffs – Under the Covers Vol. 3

Various Artists – I Need You Bad

Intended to canonize the garage rock and kindred offshoots of today’s Bay Area scene, I Need You Bad features acts both fresh and storied. It’s incredibly varied and, as far as an outsider can tell, a well-curated showcase of San Francisco, LA and Oakland’s best offerings. Prolific local Sonny Smith handpicked the 15-track collection and,… Continue reading Various Artists – I Need You Bad

Crystal Antlers – Nothing is Real

Despite seven years of sporadically stepping into the indie limelight, Crystal Antlers are a band I’ve never given much attention. For years they’ve been on my general radar, but only insignificantly. Truthfully, I’ve neglected them so thoroughly and for so long my mental dossier on them was unfairly meaningless and short. Indie rock – that’s about… Continue reading Crystal Antlers – Nothing is Real

Toy Love – Toy Love

Album cover Toy Love supplied for TimeOut.

Captured Tracks isn’t the first label to access the out-of-print archives of New Zealand’s Flying Nun label. In fact, Goner Records has already rifled through the same catalog, and came up with similar results: Both found a trove of forgotten Toy Love material. Goner, however, opted to release one of the embattled late-‘70s band’s final… Continue reading Toy Love – Toy Love

The dB’s

The dB’s Change (Just Enough) with the Changing Times What took so long? That was the first question I was itching to ask Peter Holsapple. After all, the “classic” lineup of his dB’s – four Carolina boys who relocated to NYC in the late ’70s and blazed the trail for a tuneful strain of indie… Continue reading The dB’s

Primitons – Don’t Go Away: Collected Works

A restaurant in Buckhead used to have graffiti complaining that the guys in Primitons said they didn’t have influences. Whoever wrote that had a point. The Birmingham, Alabama group had plenty of obvious influences. They released their 7-track debut on the Throbbing Lobster label in 1985, so their Byrdsian jangle could just as easily have been… Continue reading Primitons – Don’t Go Away: Collected Works

Those Darlins – Screws Get Loose

Bands always hate it when reviewers compare them to other bands, but what about when we contrast them with themselves? When played back-to-back alongside their self-titled debut, Screws Get Loose sounds like the work of a damn near completely other band. I’m having a hard time thinking of any other group that has demonstrated such… Continue reading Those Darlins – Screws Get Loose