album reviews: the old 97’s — most messed up

Better late opinions than never! The 97’s play the Cradle tonight, 10/8, with David Wax Museum. I’ll be in ATL with Trav, but I saw them last week at Trans Pecos in Marfa, TX, and they fucking rocked. Much has been, is being, and will be made of every single place on Most Messed Up,…

album review: cory branan — the no-hit wonder

When Cory opened for Gaslight earlier this year, he told a story about a friend who occasionally covers his song “The Corner” and sings a line wrong; he sings down on the corner of what I want and what I intend to get, where the actual line is what I tend to get. They both…

album reviews: caleb caudle & fire mountain

A double shot from This Is American Music! You know I love those guys like whoa. Fire Mountain – All Dies Down: this is an album full of contradictions; it’s lovely but lonely. The rough vocals and the acoustic guitar driving the songs play against the electric guitars and piano that sound the way heat…

bloodshot records spring: bobby bare jr & dex romweber

Bobby Bare Jr. — Undefeated: once a year or so, Bloodshot’s new release schedule affords me the opportunity to dig into the back catalog of one of their artists, someone I’ve never really listened to before; this year it’s Bobby Bare, Jr., and it starts with his 2014 release Undefeated. It’s a gem of a…

album review: party dolls – love wars baby

I’ve decided to get rid of the phrases “side project” and “supergroup”. Henceforth if someone plays and / or writes for multiple bands, they will just play and write for multiple bands. Because, yes, technically, Party Dolls is both a side project — an outlet for Athens rockers the District Attorneys’ frontman Drew Beskin to…

album review: lydia loveless – somewhere else

If Lydia Loveless’s 2011 Indestructible Machine was a 38 minute punch of broken hearted and bitter but not down or out cowpunk, 2013’s Somewhere Else starts with a blast of guitars that can’t be mistaken for anything but rock and roll. “Really Wanna See You” has a typical Loveless theme: an ex who broke her…

album review: thea gilmore – regardless

Unless you hung out with a particular batch of Carleton College alums in the early aughts, and thus hung out with my badass friend Rosie, you might not know British singer/songwriter Thea Gilmore — you probably don’t, in fact. Rosie introduced me to Thea in 2003, with a copy of Loft Music — Thea’s excellent…

best of: my 25 favorite records from 2013

1. Ha Ha Tonka – Lessons: like the Tonk would break their own streak of topping my lists the years they release albums. This is a flawless record, comprehensively from start to finish, that packs an intense emotional punch and gorgeous harmonies. Probably my favorite band working right now. (Album review.) 2. Josh Ritter –…