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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.

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