Album Review

Adult Jazz – Gist Is

On a loose, idiosyncratic, freewheeling debut,  Adult Jazz display a broad, virtuosic interest in packing as many musical ideas into an album as possible. The UK act combine the bobbing melodic panache of the Dirty Projectors with the lunging Afro-beat tendencies of Vampire Weekend and the slow-and-steady indie-pop momentum of a band like Beach House. They…

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Preview

Tonight: Jolie Holland

Jolie Holland‘s take on Americana is hardened and harrowing, a bracing brand of homegrown darkness. Injecting elements of jazz, soul, and rock n’roll into her country-noir folk songs, the Houston singer-songwriter embodies the sum total of our American music traditions. Tonight, Holland’s intimate performance at Babeville‘s Ninth Ward will demonstrate her range, precision, and passion….

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Album Review

The Antlers – Familiars

Since Hospice emerged as a narrative record of tremendous emotional force in 2009, The Antlers have consistently defined themselves through their weightiness. There is no hip posturing, no casual cleverness, and very little pop sensibility to the music they spin forth from what Isaac Brock might call “the dark center of the universe.” Although Burst Apart, The…

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Concert Review

Vampire Weekend at the Outer Harbor (6/9/14)

To begin with the obvious: last night could not have been a more beautiful evening for an outdoor concert. Though I apparently am Buffalo-illiterate, confusing Canalside with the Outer Harbor, a ride on the water taxi over to the event, shuttling me from one part of the harbor to the other, was more than pleasant given…

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Album Review

Parquet Courts – Sunbathing Animal

Parquet Courts might sound like punk slackers, barely capable of playing their instruments let alone organizing actual songs, but on closer examination such a judgment wouldn’t be quite accurate. In an interview with the Washington Post, the band reveal an astute understanding of classical music and the blues, as well as an orchestral background for co-lead…

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Album Review

The Orwells – Disgraceland

After getting mocked on Letterman for their dozy on-stage theatrics, The Orwells seem poised for the big time with their second LP. “Who Needs You” is already making its radio rotation rounds with gusto, and the Pixies punch of its rockabilly-garage-punk-Fourth-of-July-parading makes for a snappy firecracker of a single. For fans of the sound, Disgraceland…

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Album Review

The Horrors – Luminous

Names can be deceiving. In spite of their moniker, The Horrors are about as terrifying-sounding as a hot bath or a warm shower (which post-Psycho still might be scary for some). The band also isn’t light and effervescent enough to be described as Luminous, the title of its fourth full-length record. The weight, depth, and density…

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Album Review

Alvvays – Alvvays

Entering through the indie pop door by way of Vivian Girls and Best Coast, Toronto’s Alvvays have arrived on the tinny, reverb-loving scene with their first LP. Like CHVRCHES, Alvvays recognize the Google-friendly potential of the letter “v” when borrowing a common word and stylistically recasting it as a band name. Unlike CHVRCHES, Alvvays rely strictly on a…

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Album Review

Sharon Van Etten – Are We There

Sharon Van Etten has followed up the exquisite Tramp with another husky, dusky take on relationship devastation and persistence.  Are We There, the Brooklyn songwriter’s fourth album in five years, is dark and forceful as an expansive folk undercurrent lifts the music up alongside her simmering, rasp-inflected voice. Van Etten’s lyrics are spare, cryptic, filled…

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Album Review

Woods – With Light and with Love

With Light and with Love, as its creators must have intended, is light and lovely. Yet for an album offering semi-straightforward psychedelia that seems tamer than Tame Impala, there is a fair amount of sonic playfulness. Joy jumps from each note. Woods, a folk rock quartet based in Brooklyn, are an amiable act, cozy and accessible…

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