Album Review

Chad VanGaalen – Shrink Dust

As a newcomer to the land of Chad VanGaalen, Shrink Dust is quite the brazen introduction to the Albertan singer-songwriter’s musical ethos. Known for his imaginative lyrics, full of sci-fi world-building, offbeat preoccupations, and demented wordplay, VanGaalen is on his fifth full-length oddity with the Flemish Eye record label. A compelling cross between OK Computer-era Radiohead…

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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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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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Concert Review

Kerfuffle at Canalside (7/26/14)

Considering that Alternative Buffalo 107.7 is only nine months old, it’s a bit of a miracle that their inaugural one day festival was as much a success as it was. After gestating for three full trimesters, the fledgling radio station has given birth to something that should, realistically, become a part of Buffalo tradition. The…

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Preview

Tonight: Arctic Monkeys

Between the fact that the Arctic Monkeys remain one of the biggest acts in the world and that tickets to see them here at Artpark were ridiculously cheap, it’s no surprise tonight’s outdoor concert is sold out. For those lucky ticket holders (or those who can do some last minute scalping at inflated prices), the…

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Album Review

The Pains of Being Pure at Heart – Days of Abandon

When The Pains of Being Pure at Heart debuted in 2009, the band endeared instantly.  A song like “Young Adult Friction” felt wide-eyed and wistful, vividly realized and alive with youth. The tracks on Days of Abandon, the New York City act’s third album, are aged and exhausted in comparison, sleepy little getaways squatting on acres…

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Concert Review

The Hold Steady at Town Ballroom (4/8/14)

As advertised yesterday, The Hold Steady played the Town Ballroom last night. Cheap Girls opened (though I arrived too late to catch them) and dozens likely woke up with hangovers on this Wednesday morning. Though the band’s set wasn’t as strong as their harbor show last summer, they did pull off on an extended encore…

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Album Review

Cloud Nothings – Here and Nowhere Else

Cloud Nothings‘ face-crunching fourth album is a fearless, assertive follow-up to 2012’s Attack on Memory. Oscillating between a chaotic rush of existential howls and throaty but tuneful melodies, Here and Nowhere Else pounds its presence out through furious snare slams and clamorous cymbal crashes. For better or worse, Cloud Nothings are as foggy and nihilistic as their namesake implies. “You’re…

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