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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
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
Sometimes I really hate feeling so much. As a recently divorced lady, I don't want to feel a goddamn thing right now. No, thanks. I'd rather work. That's it. So when I took my seat at Radio City Music Hall to see Explosions in the Sky on April 6, I had no idea that for the next hour and 15 minutes the past several years with my ex-huz would flash in my mind like a dusty old film projector spinning reels of the good, the bad, the end. Yes, Explosions' ... Read More
  They're young. They're super cute. And they're coming to a dance floor near you. Actually, Holy Ghost! is probably on the verge of taking over every club's sound system around the globe. Okay, not every club, but tons of them. I checked out the five-piece Brooklyn-based band Saturday night at Terminal 5, wondering how their infectious club beats would translate to a live stage performance. All I can say is: Holy shit! Holy Ghost! is one of my fave bands ... Read More
As blue strobe lights flashed and the loud speakers played thrash music from an anonymous metal band, The Mountain Goats stepped onto the stage for their second of three sold out shows at New York City’s Bowery Ballroom. For the uninitiated, this incongruous introduction might prove alarming, but veteran fans will know that the band have made a tradition of introducing themselves in this ostentatious way. This hyperliterate indie rock band—which ... Read More
Before I went to the Wild Flag show at NYC's Radio City Musical Hall Wednesday night, I checked out the band's Facebook page. Because I "like" them. Not because I enjoy staring at pics of Carrie Brownstein every day or anything. A post from the band read: "Hope Radio City is ready for the rough and the raw." Rough. Raw. Just how I like it. My giddiness jacked up to the 10,000th power. Wild Flag's line-up is nothing short of astounding. Carrie Brownstein ... Read More
Full disclosure: prior to watching British band Esben and the Witch play at Manhattan's Mercury Lounge last Saturday, I hadn't listened to their entire full-length album, Violet Cries. (It released on Matador in February.) This is shameful for 2 reasons: 1. Goth is in my blood; My black, brooding blood. When Esben first released the single "Marching Song" in late 2010 I listened to it for two days straight. This obsessive cycle was only broken by Sisters of ... Read More
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