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Album Reviews
Monday, Dec. 20, 2010

Aqua (SPV/Steamhammer)

The South American influences that once colored Angra’s brand of symphonic power metal have grown more subtle over the past two decades, but with Aqua—the band’s first studio album in four years—these Brazilians prove they haven’t run out of ideas. Considering the genre’s limited creativity, which has kept it...
Album Reviews
Monday, Dec. 6, 2010

The Face of the Unknown (Time Divide Records)

It’s one thing to be Adam Young, the one-man electronic brainchild behind Owl City, composing Auto-Tuned tracks on a computer in his parents’ basement. It’s quite another to be Rich Hinks, the young U.K.-based multi-instrumentalist who helms the progressive-metal behemoth Aeon Zen...
Monday, Nov. 22, 2010

Book Review

The debate over which ’60s-spawned band is best has raged for decades, but renowned Chicago rock critics Jim DeRogatis and Greg Kot claim the question has never been the focus of an entire book. Well, now it is. In The Beatles vs. The Rolling Stones—an attractive volume loaded with rare photographs and...
Album Reviews
Thursday, Oct. 21, 2010

100 Bleeding Hearts (Arctic Music Group)

Portugal’s Raven Soul has made a name for itself in Europe with a catchy hybrid of progressive, gothic and stoner metal. Early tracks on the quintet’s U.S. debut—a 35-minute EP called 100 Bleeding Hearts that’s already been available in other parts of the world—recall The Mission, and Márcio “Mac” Caetano can...
Album Reviews
Monday, Sept. 27, 2010

Metafiction (Armoury Records)

A dark new breed of progressive rock has emerged in recent years, marked by doomy atmospherics and strong emotion, and starring such bands as Opeth, Porcupine Tree, Riverside and Anathema. Now add to that growing list Poland’s Votum, whose second album, Metafiction, practically defines the subgenre’s...
Album Reviews
Monday, Sept. 20, 2010

Common Ground (Provogue)

In press materials accompanying his latest album, Common Ground, singer/guitarist Walter Trout claims that “I’ve almost created my own genre.” While a comment like that smacks of narcissism, it’s also tough to argue. Over the course of two decades and 19 albums, the former member of John Mayall’s Bluesbreakers...
Album Reviews
Friday, Aug. 27, 2010

Intriguer (Fantasy/Concord Music Group)

Crowded House’s second post-reunion album—an elegant, mostly laid-back affair—finds the band continuing to eschew its earlier mainstream appeal and write serious alternative-pop songs for grown-ups...
Album Reviews
Tuesday, Aug. 10, 2010

This Can’t Be My Life (Wrong Records)

California-based singer-songwriter Ruth Gerson is the archetype of today’s creative do-it-yourself artist. A single mom, vocal coach, music producer and inventor of The Singingbelt—a bio-feedback device created to help teach singers diaphragmatic breath support, the proceeds of which she says “make it possible to be...
Album Reviews
Tuesday, Aug. 3, 2010

The Forever Endeavor

Some bands simply evolve more than others. Over six years and three albums, The Mighty Short Bus has come barreling out of Madison, touring the Midwest as one of the city’s hardest-working DIY groups while consistently redefining its sound...