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I have to admit, it's a little difficult to write a review about someone I have admired and followed since I first got into stand-up comedy. I still remember the first time I saw comedian Sarah Silverman perform live back home at a show in Manchester, New Hampshire, and I knew all her jokes and delivery by heart so well I could say them along with her. I recently watched Silverman’s HBO special We are Miracles (released November 2013) before getting to listen to the album version, which just came out September 23 in the US on Sub Pop. Read More
Our ethereal goddess is back. Zola Jesus has announced a new album due to be released on October 7th. Taiga, a follow-up to 2011’s Conatus, and is named after the Russian name for boreal forest. These forests grow both in her home of Northern Wisconsin, and in the place of birth of her ancestral origins in Russia. In a press release, Zola Jesus says that she feels like this album is her “true debut, because it’s the first time [she] has felt so open and liberated.” Taiga was written on Vashon Island, WA and mixed in Los Angeles, CA by Dean Hurley. Read More
  The hyped up new Katy Perry Album Prism dropped today following an IHEARTRADIO concert that streamed live on Yahoo last night. The pop star's previous record had five number 1 hits. No matter what you think of Prism, you can’t deny that Katy Perry is definitely doing something right. At first listen, I’m not enamored with Prism.  The tracks and the production on Prism are so similar that it is hard to differentiate between the songs. Maybe Prism is going to be one of those records that isn't about the singles, but about the collective vibe they create. Read More
  The title of Queens of the Stone Age’s new album will certainly provoke giggles given that this is their first new release since 2007, but it’s as if Josh Homme and company never left. …Like Clockwork is a welcome continuation of QOTSA’s syrupy groove, but the band also does all sorts of little things to establish a new chapter on this record. While the core of the group remains the same, Homme has widened his influence—there are guest appearances from Trent Reznor and Sir Elton John, in addition to usual suspects like Dave Grohl. Read More
Sean Tillmann, aka Har Mar Superstar, is a veteran musician who should be more famous than he is, given that he’s a stellar singer/songwriter with a sublime set of pipes. On Bye Bye 17, his fifth album under the Har Mar moniker, Tillmann takes a detour from 2009’s disco-infused Dark Touches and delves into full-on classic R&B, Sam Cooke-style soul, and early ’70s-era Al Green-inspired tunes. On the opener, “Lady, You Shot Me,” bombastic horns support Tillmann’s woeful tale of heartbreak. Read More
Actual pyramids are bottom-heavy, just like Brightest Darkest Day, the debut from a duo made up of vocalist Drea Smith and OK Go’s Tim Nordwind. The two concoct a range of sonic textures which sometimes captivate and other times get lost in the fray. Album closer “Nothing I Can Say” staggers under a feedback loop as dreary as a rainy day in Manchester. About half the album is bogged down in these kinds of post-punk genuflections—a pity, because Smith’s voice smoldered in the less forbidding climate of 2011’s Human Beings, the band’s poppy EP. Read More
  It wasn’t so long ago that Charles Bradley was a struggling James Brown impersonator, but after Daptone Records—Brooklyn’s answer to Motown—discovered him, the 64-year-old soul singer’s career finally achieved liftoff. On Victim of Love, the follow-up to his dazzling 2011 debut No Time for Dreaming, the R&B crooner sounds undeniably confident, trading his heartache for love and channeling Al Green more than the Godfather of Soul. 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 multi-instrumentalist, she accompanies herself on piano on many songs, and demonstrates her skillful violin work on “Diamonds. 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, brash, and annoyingly infectious. Read More
Wanda Jackson may be approaching her 75th birthday, but the Queen of Rockabilly shows no signs of slowing down. On her 31st album, Jackson goes back to her roots with the signature mix of rockabilly and country that made her famous in the late 1950s. Unfinished Business features five new tracks and five covers of tracks by artists from Etta James to Woody Guthrie to the Rolling Stones. Produced by established folk musician Justin Townes Earle (son of Steve Earle), this LP sticks to classic country ballads and upbeat R&B tunes. Read More
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