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Album Reviews
Monday, July 21, 2008

Seeing Things (Columbia/Starbucks Entertainment)

With the Wallflowers on hiatus, the band's frontman, Jakob Dylan—who happens to be the result of rock's greatest romance in Bob and Sara—attempts to find his own identity among the usual route of hushed obscurities and loosely finger-picked acoustic guitar. Seeing Things . . .
Album Reviews
Tuesday, July 15, 2008

Same Old Man (New West)

Along with the album’s country-leaning roots rockers, listeners of Same Old Man get a bit of the bittersweet, ripened wisdom of John Hiatt, whose voice registers somewhere between Philip Roth's aged sentimentality and Saul Bellow's caustic remembrances as he reflects on a life in love . . .
Album Reviews
Tuesday, July 8, 2008

City That Care Forgot (429)

Ever since his debut, 1968's Gris-Gris, there's never been a question about the exact source of Dr. John's sound. Now, though, three years after Hurricane Katrina, his amicable growl seems more poised than ever to be a musical/social/political voice for New Orleans. While City That Care Forgot isn't a likely catalyst for sweeping change, or even a musical high-water . . .
Album Reviews
Monday, June 30, 2008

Mudcrutch (Reprise)

The surprise, thrown-together reunion of Tom Petty's teenage band, Mudcrutch, unveils its full fruits here, with liner notes boasting, “made in 10 days, no headphones, Los Angeles… A lot of love.” While that says it all musically, the release also ends a widely misconstrued notion that the rocker was entering retirement, and offers his legion of fans a driving soundtrack for '08...
Album Reviews
Tuesday, June 17, 2008

7 (Platetectonic Music)

One-time Columbia recording artists Poi Dog Pondering return with their first studio effort in five years, seemingly entering a third stage of the group's 20-plus years on the road of rock ’n’ roll: Formed as a world-infused, folk-rock outfit in Hawaii, their following days in Austin, Texas, and Chicago yielded dance . . .
Album Reviews
Monday, May 26, 2008

Keep It Simple (Lost Highway)

Van Morrison's explorations into Americana continue on Keep It Simple, a follow-up to the jazzy What's Wrong With This Picture? and, more recently, the country escapades of Pay the Devil. And with residual elements of each—the B-3 organ of the former, the dobro twang of the latter—Morrison adds a Ray Charles-esque . . .
Album Reviews
Monday, April 28, 2008

Birds (Radium)

From the vanguard of Milwaukee's musical alchemy scene comes the latest brainchild of percussionist Jon Mueller and guitarist Chris Rosenau, a collaborative effort of playful droning and epic meanderings that bury the airy connotations of experimental music beneath fuzzy guitar attacks and resonating grit. Somewhat-restrained experimentation and just-enough indulgence allow all four tracks to take flight. A steady pulse brings each back to the ground . . .
Album Reviews
Monday, April 14, 2008

Let's Go Everywhere (MRI)

Once purveyors of traditional Jimmy Smith-esque, Verve!-era, dusty Hammond B-3 grooves, Medeski Martin & Wood (MMW) started down the avant-garde road of experimentation with 2000's The Dropper, dropped X for 2002's Uninvisible and had seemingly forgotten their organ-trio roots completely by 2004's End of the World Party. Which is maybe why a complete digression back to their musical womb—in the form of a children's album—shouldn't be that surprising. Instrumental interludes—gentle, curious, perfect segues between sleepy time and playtime—break up humorous tales ("Pirates Don't Take Baths") . . .
Album Reviews
Wednesday, Feb. 20, 2008

To The Trees (BusStop Records)

Bringing an indie edge to their brand of alt country, Milwaukee’s Juniper Tar handle dreamy three-part-harmonies and weighty poetic license with an ease belying their debut-album status. Sleepy melodi- cism mixes with droning guitars in brooding, late-night trips of Americana.