Tag » tunes
   From Prince to Bob Dylan to Ray Charles, Mavis Staples has made music with a diverse array of great songwriters over the course of her 53-year career. She continues this tradition on One True Vine, her second collaboration with Wilco frontman Jeff Tweedy. The record is mix of covers and new songs, all performed with minimal instrumentation. A few tracks (including a striking rendition of Parliament Funkadelic’s “Can You Get to That”) ... Read More
Electronic dance music—otherwise known as EDM—sometimes gets a bad rap, but Miss Kittin’s new album Calling from the Stars is a nonstop dance party. The French femme fatale sounds as sharp as ever. Songs like “Night of Light” and “Tamarin Bay” find Miss Kittin experimenting with various pitches and tempos, all while using her voice as a flexible instrument. “Ballad of the 23rd Century” sounds more like a psychotropic call to action ... Read More
It’s been four long years, but avant-punk trio Yeah Yeah Yeahs has returned with a trippier-than-ever LP to feed your inner art-school weirdo. The psychedelia-infused album pays homage to the band’s punk roots while weaving in the raw intensity of Show Your Bones andIt’s Blitz!-like electronica/dance beats. Mosquito boasts 11 dreamy tracks fueled by Karen O’s fiery yelps, Nick Zinner’s striking guitarwork, and Brian Chase’s complex ... 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 ... 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, ... Read More
On their sophomore album, Portland-based Sallie Ford & the Sound Outside cull the best bits from music’s past eras, creating a mercurial hybrid of rockabilly, blues, country, and garage rock. Ford’s vocals have just enough of a worn edge to sound appropriately world-weary and jaded, but she’s smooth enough in her delivery to pull off sweeter, poppier tracks. Catchy “They Told Me” brings to mind the tight hooks of fellow retro rockers the Black Keys, ... Read More
Though she sounds melancholy on her beautifully solemn debut Ripely Pine, Aly Spaltro has something to celebrate. As Lady Lamb the Beekeeper, she offers up a winning new brand of Southern discomfort (though she’s from the North), with tastes of pop, folk, and Americana. The album begins with a guitar slowly strumming sorrow, as if Spaltro is quietly waiting for the pain to go away while offering up lyrics like, “Love is selfish/Love goes tick tock ... Read More
If any of you My Morning Jacket fans were expecting more of the same from your favorite frontman’s new record, there’s one hell of a surprise in store for you. Jim James’ first solo full-length, Regions of Light and Sound of God, is a heady, exploratory deluge that envelops the listener in an eclectic embrace. Over the course of the album, James incorporates everything from the romantic sway of a string quartet (“Actress”), to ... 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 ... 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, ... Read More
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