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Album Reviews
Monday, Nov. 22, 2010

Buzzard (Mariel Recording)

Supposedly deriving their name from Gwyneth Paltrow’s character as the daughter in The Royal Tenenbaums (actually, “adopted daughter”), Margot and the Nuclear So and So’s deliver a Wes Anderson-appropriate product that is broody, angst-ridden, occasionally dreamy, bittersweet and, of...
Album Reviews
Monday, Nov. 1, 2010

Never Stop (E1 Music)

Whether it's The Bad Plus’ album's worth of prog rock covers, snark-scented tribute to “Smells Like Teen Spirit” or straight-faced take on ABBA, it’s always been a bit hard to take the trio completely seriously as a jazz group. At least on the group’s latest venture of trancey, dancey post-bop, Never Stop, they lay it...
Album Reviews
Monday, Oct. 11, 2010

Harlem River Blues (Bloodshot Records)

Justin Townes Earle’s down-home blend of Americana so perfectly marries that genre’s most crucial aspects—indie singer-songwriter sensibilities, shitkicker stomp, rustic twang, Springsteen-esque blue-collar empathy—that his latest might well be served with a side of apple pie...
Album Reviews
Tuesday, Sept. 7, 2010

We Walk This Road (Warner Bros.)

Through three full-length releases Robert Randolph has strived, and mostly succeeded, for a seamless mash-up of gritty jam band funk, soul, blues and his own gospel roots. On We Walk This Road, though, the slide guitar guru wears those stitches on his sleeve. Six half-minute segues of archival footage break up the...
Album Reviews
Monday, June 28, 2010

The Wild Hunt (Dead Oceans)

Bounding, ebullient, fraught with youth, at once joyous and tortured: The diminutive Swedish whirlwind of songwriting energy known as The Tallest Man on Earth is back for a second full-length release. As on 2008’s Shallow Grave, Kristian Matsson reveals himself to be undoubtedly a man of the world...
Album Reviews
Monday, June 21, 2010

Brothers (Nonesuch)

In the beginning, it was all greasy riffage, lean beats and an unerring, angst-ridden crunch. Everything The Black Keys did reeked of sweaty adolescents getting off to Zeppelin in between frozen pizza rolls and Pabsts in a basement in Akron, Ohio. On the likes of Rubber Factory and Magic Potion, purists of...
Album Reviews
Monday, May 17, 2010

Last Call (Stony Plain Records)

Though the title of Jeff Healey’s third posthumous release hints at the barreling barroom boogie blues-rock that epitomized his brilliant cameo in the film Road House, Last Call actually focuses on the blind guitarist’s penchant for the 1920s Hoagy Carmichael-via-Django Reinhardt jazz he explored during the last decade of his career...
Album Reviews
Wednesday, April 28, 2010

Women Country (Columbia)

Following his two-decade journey from The Wallflowers to record-store discount bins everywhere, Jakob Dylan has quietly reinvented himself over two solo albums in the vain of Nebraska-era Bruce Springsteen. 2008’s Seeing Things painted the heir-of-a-voice-of-a-generation in surprisingly...
Album Reviews
Monday, April 5, 2010

Crows (Rykodisc)

Making a near-perfect B-side to Johnny Cash’s posthumous meditation on death, American VI: Ain’t No Grave, Allison Moorer's eighth studio release comes on like just another neo-Nashville croonfest, taking its time to reveal the brooding layers of grief, damage and ennui. Sure, Crows is occasionally lovely, and...
Album Reviews
Monday, March 22, 2010

I’m New Here (XL Recordings)

Chicago-born, Tennessee-raised, New York-schooled Gil Scott-Heron has made a career out of a decades-long fusion between poetry, literature, spoken-word jazz, old soul, slick R&B and a kind of precursory hip-hop. Simply, the man is an amalgam of arts, places and times—much like his latest, I’m...

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