Domenica Ruta grew up outside Boston as the brainy misfit daughter of a loud, buxom, peroxide-blonde Italian mother. A vain and mercurial “narcotic omnivore,” her mom loved and hated her only daughter with equal ferocity. Their home was full of contradictions. As a kid, Ruta was given OxyContin for headaches. Her mom worked extra jobs to pay for Ruta’s dance lessons, but refused to acknowledge that her daughter was being molested. As a teenager, Ruta ... Read More
Aside from his foxiness, gangly Kiwi singer Willy Moon has a lot going for him. Apple recently used his rowdy, retro song “Yeah Yeah” for its new ad (the one with all the bouncing iPods), and it caught the earballs of countless listeners. So is there more to this neo-rockabilly pop star than one catchy song and some very well-tailored suits? We’re happy to report that we've seen him live, and he is, in fact, legit. Moon played at Piano’s ... Read More
On their sophomore album, Portland-based Sallie Ford & the Sound Outside cull the best bits from music’s past eras, creating a mercurial hybrid of rockabilly, blues, country, and garage rock. Ford’s vocals have just enough of a worn edge to sound appropriately world-weary and jaded, but she’s smooth enough in her delivery to pull off sweeter, poppier tracks. Catchy “They Told Me” brings to mind the tight hooks of fellow retro rockers the Black Keys, ... Read More
Though she sounds melancholy on her beautifully solemn debut Ripely Pine, Aly Spaltro has something to celebrate. As Lady Lamb the Beekeeper, she offers up a winning new brand of Southern discomfort (though she’s from the North), with tastes of pop, folk, and Americana. The album begins with a guitar slowly strumming sorrow, as if Spaltro is quietly waiting for the pain to go away while offering up lyrics like, “Love is selfish/Love goes tick tock ... Read More
  It’s a truth universally agreed upon, at least among those of us who came of age in the 1980s, that Cyndi Lauper is one of the coolest, most interesting people in the world. Her songs made us want to dance and bop around and roller-skate. Lauper became a superstar for belting out “Girls Just Wanna Have Fun,” and, admittedly, she did have more than her fair share of good times, sometimes criminally great times. Now 59, she has the ability to ... Read More
Here’s a little-known fact about female anatomy: the clit we know and love is just the tip of the iceberg. There are bundles of nerve endings below the surface of your hoo-ha. Most vibrators use a powerful motor to vibrate a small, clit-size weight very quickly—hence the monotone buzz—but the X1 Orgasmatron (from geek-getdown purveyor Doctor Xtreme) uses a slightly more powerful motor to vibrate a weight equal in mass to your entire clit-nerve ... Read More
In ten clever and engaging short stories, Canadian author Zsuzsi Gartner explores trials of modern life imbued with the fantastical. Shortlisted for the 2011 Giller Prize, Better Living Through Plastic Explosives consists largely of characters that come from places of relative privilege. Gartner often skewers the ridiculousness of that privilege, but always manages to take her characters and their dissatisfactions seriously.  In “Investment Results May ... Read More
If any of you My Morning Jacket fans were expecting more of the same from your favorite frontman’s new record, there’s one hell of a surprise in store for you. Jim James’ first solo full-length, Regions of Light and Sound of God, is a heady, exploratory deluge that envelops the listener in an eclectic embrace. Over the course of the album, James incorporates everything from the romantic sway of a string quartet (“Actress”), to ... Read More
  Lisa Germano’s albums always remind me of a car accident—her lyrical stories contain elements that both attract and repel, like she can’t stop picking at certain wounds, even if it hurts a little. Her newest album No Elephants is rife with similar dualities. Germano’s breathless voice is simultaneously ecstatic and on the verge of a meltdown, especially when she sings lyrics like, “All is not well outside.” A ... Read More
   Since its beginnings in 2002, Los Angeles band the Bronx has incorporated a sunny element within its version of hardcore. Maybe it’s a California thing, but it’s hard to describe their explosive, melodic, pump-your-fist music, other than to call it pizza-party punk. Their latest effort The Bronx (IV) is lacking any form of anger, which feels weird for a band of their ilk. Still, songs like “Along for the Ride” and “Ribcage” are loud, ... Read More
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