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No one underestimates Buddy Holly’s contribution to rock ’n’ roll, but it is easy to forget that by his death in 1959 at age 22—in a career spanning just a year and a half­—he had created such a wealth of infectious pop songs. The 19 artists paying tribute to the coolest rock ’n’ roll nerd of all time on Rave On Buddy Holly (Fantasy/Concord Music Group) reads like a who’s who of pop music. Paul ... Read More
On Wit’s End (Domino), Cass McCombs shows us all that songs about debilitating sadness and unrelenting hopelessness can make for some pretty catchy tunes. Having cornered the market on bumming people out with 2009’s heavily instrumented Catacombs, McCombs appears to have moved on to making mascara run from the cheeks with just the sound of his voice and some accompanying clicks and clatters. While Catacombs provided what can only be described as a more ... Read More
Just in time for summer, Holly Golightly and The Brokeoffs deliver another round of dark Americana music perfect for your next moonshine tasting or impromptu back porch shindig—No Help Coming (Transdreamer). It has been four years, and four albums, since the duo consisting of Ms. Golightly and Lawyer Dave released their gritty 2007 debut, You Can’t Buy A Gun When You’re Crying, and the two don’t show any signs of slowing down. Originally ... Read More
If you've been to New York City's Terminal 5 venue, you know that it's essentially the cage in the apocalyptic film Mad Max: Beyond Thunderdome. Hordes of people are crammed into a two-tiered concrete arena with weird cable "fencing" on the 2nd floor to keep them from falling a few hundred feet to a live soundtrack. But it was actually not a bad place to see NYC-based band Cold Cave, now on tour to promote their sophomore album Cherish the Light Years (Matador). ... Read More
Fleet Foxes’ 2008 self-titled debut mixed down-home sonic cooking with present-day sensibilities. While the folky band’s introduction was a little rough around the edges, it did garner critical acclaim with SPIN Magazine naming frontman Robin Pecknold the Voice of the Year for 2008. Fast-forward two and a half years. Pecknold remains in SPIN’s good graces (he’s the current cover boy), and Fleet Foxes’ Helplessness Blues (Sub ... Read More
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