Ron Gallo – Peacemeal

Ron Gallo started off dismissing it all (2017’s Heavy Meta), then he began to question it all (2018’s Stardust Birthday Party), now he seems to understand that the more you know the less you understand, and from there it’s about how content you are with such a bombshell. This year’s Peacemeal is Ron Gallo beginning… Continue reading Ron Gallo – Peacemeal

Liz Phair – Girly-Sound to Guyville

Liz Phair was one of the most divisive musical figures of the 1990s. Well before the term “hater” had entered the common lexicon, she had folks taking sides over her authenticity and rabble rousing. Fortunately, much of this drama was confined to Phair’s insular Chicago indie scene – the “Guyville” she enshrined in the title… Continue reading Liz Phair – Girly-Sound to Guyville

Frankie Cosmos – Vessel

Frankie Cosmos, aka Greta Kline, and her backing band are bland, pretentious, charlatan, bullshit non-artists that play soft, non-thinking, mind-numbing, safe-ass pieces of antiseptic rock ‘n’ roll, with lyrics about super-vague, nonsensical, intangible things that are supposedly supposed to invoke some type of emotion, but what we’re really left with are just dumb-downed, uber-boring, cardboard… Continue reading Frankie Cosmos – Vessel

Car Seat Headrest – Twin Fantasy (Face to Face)

For his 2015 Matador Records coming out party, Will Toledo updated the quasi-greatest hits from Car Seat Headrest’s self-released catalog and packaged them as Teens of Style. Missing from this collection were any tracks from Twin Fantasy, his 2011 opus that many longtime fans consider his masterwork. It took a few more years to understand… Continue reading Car Seat Headrest – Twin Fantasy (Face to Face)

The Thermals Cool It

The Thermals have decided to cool it. After fifteen years, the Portland punk-pop outfit has thrown in the gas-soaked towel. Spending most of its existence as a trio centered on frontman Hutch Harris and bassist Kathy Foster, The Thermals’ catalog probably peaked with 2006’s incendiary The Body, the Blood, the Machine. But they never lost… Continue reading The Thermals Cool It

Bark – Year of the Dog

A revered figure on the Southern music scene since way back in the early 1980s –his former band The Windbreakers still boasts a coterie of diehard devotees – Tim Lee keeps the indie flame alight with his latest project, a stripped-down, remarkably spry collaboration with long-time spouse Susan Bauer Lee. (She also logged time in… Continue reading Bark – Year of the Dog

Obnox – Murder Radio

Lamont Thomas squeezed out two more albums in 2017 than his hometown Cleveland Browns did wins. He’s got the Brownies beat over a three-year horizon, too. Recording as Obnox, Thomas is a one-man lo-fi cottage industry, ricocheting between damaged rock and reimagined basement hip hop, inciting an occasional collision between the two. Last May’s more… Continue reading Obnox – Murder Radio

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

Advance Base – Nephew in the Wind

Owen Ashworth seemed to signal a break from his Casiotone for the Painfully Alone past when he launched the Advance Base moniker for 2012’s A Shut-In’s Prayer. The Advance Base Ashworth was a tad more polished, somewhat more mature, and vaguely country inflected. Nephew in the Wild is surprising mainly for its slight reversion to… Continue reading Advance Base – Nephew in the Wind

Home Blitz – Foremost and Fair

In the late ’80s, mounting an impassioned defense of pet band Game Theory, I declared in a ridiculously obscure fanzine, “In ten years’ time, once you’ve all realized Scott Miller is the greatest pop genius since Alex Chilton….” This is not an I Told You So, because I was wrong – It took 25 years,… Continue reading Home Blitz – Foremost and Fair

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

Waxahatchee – Cerulean Salt

There’s something about the new Waxahatchee record that keeps me coming back. This “something,” however, is not readily apparent. After listening to this record nonstop since it was released and pouring over the lyrics and liner notes, I couldn’t quite figure out what was so alluring about it. Ostensibly, the record, the second solo effort… Continue reading Waxahatchee – Cerulean Salt

U.S. Girls – Gem

Meghan Remy, a.k.a. U.S. Girls, doesn’t pay bills or shop for groceries like everybody else,  she rides a glittery swan, wearing a jeweled turban.  Like Grey Gardens’ sublime designer Little Edie, U.S. Girls creates the best costume of the day with decrepit treasures. From her earliest live performances in mid-90s Portland, Remy advanced with a play-first-ask-questions-never… Continue reading U.S. Girls – Gem

Tyvek – On Triple Beams

In a season when labels stock shelves with market-friendly releases primed to capitalize on what’s left of holiday music budgets, In The Red has engaged in a glorious act of counter-programming. They’ve chosen to respond with arty, messy blasts of idiot savantry that strike the perfect chord. Last November it was Wounded Lion, and this… Continue reading Tyvek – On Triple Beams

Willis Earl Beal – Acousmatic Sorcery

What a third rail of a record – it’s hard to weigh in on Acousmatic Sorcery without venturing onto thin ice. The indie music world has grown accustomed to the eccentric bedroom artist, but Willis Earl Beal’s spirit seems more akin to the self-taught outsiders of the visual art community. This 27-year-old African-American’s babe in… Continue reading Willis Earl Beal – Acousmatic Sorcery