Thursday, December 30, 2021

The War on Drugs: I Don't Live Here Anymore

Philly's own The War On Drugs released a great record last October that has marinated with me off and on these last few weeks. I Don't Live Here Anymore is a deeply introspective effort that really showcases the many styles of the band. It's a great album!

Here is the opening track...

Monday, December 27, 2021

Silk Sonic: An Evening With Silk Sonic (Album of the Week)

Silk Sonic released their first album a few weeks ago and it made me so so happy that music like this was still being made. An Evening With Silk Sonic (aka Bruno Mars and Anderson.Paak) is a giant kiss to the funk and soul of the 1970s and it couldn't have come at a better time. We may be in a new golden age of soul with the likes of this group, Curtis Harding, Leon Bridges, Michael Kiwanuka, and Lianne Le Havas.

Turn down the lights. Find a loved one. Be romantic! 

Friday, December 24, 2021

Thursday, December 23, 2021

Sting: The Bridge

It's always nice when the winter solstice arrives and there's a new Sting record. It is his favorite season after all. The Bridge is a fine album that will make his fans quite happy and bring in some new ones. The dude is always aces for chill love songs that spark the soul.

Here is the opening track...

Monday, December 20, 2021

Elbow: Flying Dream I (Album of the Week)

Elbow's latest record, Flying Dream I, is the perfect soundtrack for our run-up to the holiday weekend. The Bury, Greater Manchester lads have really outdreamed themselves on this one. My mind went on all sorts of journeys the first time I heard it. Subsequent listens sent me down even deeper soundscape paths.

Here is a fine example...

Friday, December 17, 2021

Top 21 Albums of 2021

This year was a truly magnificent year for music. The records I've listed below saw me through the many highs and lows that are our modern life these days. I hope you enjoy them! 

21. Saturday Night, Sunday Morning by Jake Bugg

A return to form for this Nottingham native. He's back to the style to the style that made him. Along with some surprises...

20. In Another World by Cheap Trick

I'm quite pleased to see that these iconoclasts of rock are still making great music. More importantly, it's THEIR style of music and theirs alone.

19. How Beautiful Life Can Be by The Lathums

The next big band in the UK. These Wigan lads are northern souls through and through. 

18. The Beautiful Liar by X Ambassadors

I am completely addicted to this band. Their music keeps leveling up with each new release. They are just so so good.

17. Colors For Chameleons by Primitive Broadcast Service 

This Milwaukee outfit is at the forefront of the post-punk movement. This record is easily the best in that genre this year and would make anyone's overall best of the year based on the group's sheer audaciousness and lack of fucks left to give. Can more bands be like this? Please?!!?

16. The Quest by Yes

The journey of this amazing art-rock outfit, now in their seventh decade of making music, continues with another fantastic entry. And it's a double album! How miss double albums...


15. Scaled and Icy by Twenty One Pilots

It's been a real treat to watch this duo evolve into Gen Z's go-to pop band. Their latest effort pays quite a bit of homage to AM radion in the late 1970s. Amazing...


14. Big Colors by Ryan Adams

One of two releases this year from DRA. His ongoing deep dive into late 1970s/early 1980s pop music continues to be more and more fascinating.


13. In Heaven by Strand of Oaks 

I'd like to hire this band to make the soundtrack to my life...past, present, and future. Every note of this record is mystical and mind-expanding. And very autumnal which makes me most happy!


12. Keeping The Faith Series 3 by Amy Wadge

How can utterly depressing music be so beautiful and inspirational? I guess that's the magic that lies in the medium. Wadge did an amazing job on the last series of this compelling BBC drama


11. Querencia by Chung Ha 

The Queen of K Pop? How about the Queen of the fucking world? Chung Ha kicks all of our asses up and down the street. 


10. Free To Live In Colour by Pixey

Liverpool residents should be most proud of their new star. Pixey somehow manages to combine psychedelia with 80s pop. The result is extraordinary.


9. The Ultra Vivid Lament by the Manic Street Preachers

The many reasons why I love this band would fill up multiple posts. These Blackwood lads have been the soundtrack to three generations now. Their latest is a pure Brit-Rock treasure. 


8. Utopian Ashes by Bobby Gillisepie and Jehnny Beth 

Speaking of Brit Rock, a solo record from the Primals frontman is reason enough for celebration. Add in French phenom Jehnny Beth and it is dragon-level magic. 


7. The Blue Elephant by Matt Berry 

Matt Berry is a treasure to the world. Not merely an accomplished thespian, Berry is an extremely talented musician who just happens to dig the same genres that I do. This record just blew me away this year. I played it so much that it's in my soul forever. 


6. Wednesdays by Ryan Adams 

The other release from DRA this year came out very early on (the digital release actually came out the last week of 2020). It was with me all year like an older brother and a good friend. 


5. Stand For Myself by Yola 

Yola is the premiere artist of our time. She perfectly melds the genres of R&B with country while also adding in stellar soul and pop. 12 tracks of sheer perfection. 


4. A Muse In Sunglasses OST by Bill Patten

Minneapolis native Patten turned out an impressive score for the film A Muse in Sunglasses. The key track is a perfect summation of the Minneapolis sound in 2021.


3. Coral Island by The Coral

These Merseyside lads already have an impressive catalog of work that spans two decades. With this fascinating concept record from this year, The Coral are officially legends. The story told on this album is ageless and for every person. We all dream of places of wonder. 


2. Fat Pop by Paul Weller 

The Modfather rules all. That is all.

1. Future Past by Duran Duran

And the Album of the Year goes to Duran Duran for their ridiculously amazing return to their roots. It's a great album even for the casual fan. Every track is 80s pop gold. My sixteen-year-old self went completely bananas the first time I heard this record. An instant classic for any genre! 

Monday, December 13, 2021

Top 21 Tracks of 2021

The year 2021 was an interesting time period for music. I think the word "diverse" best sums it up. My top tracks of the year are honestly all over the place in terms of style. I find this to be most refreshing in my never-ending goal to be more curious and stretch my musical imagination.

Without further adieu, here are the best tracks of 2021. 

21. Mulberry Street by Twenty One Pilots

These Columbus, Ohio lads managed to craft a song that sounds like one I would hear in 1981 on my old AM radio. Nostalgia to the max!

20. Dancing Away In Tears by Yola 

Easily one of the most exciting artists of our era. A perfect melange of soul, R&B, and country music. Yola is every bit a massive goddess of music.  

19. Rodriguez For A Night by David Crosby 

With the help of Donald Fagan, Cros really knocked it out of the park with this Steely Dan-sounding track. Man, I wished they made more music like this these days. 


18. How Beautiful Life Can Be by The Lathums

The Lathums are the next great dudes with guitars band from the UK. I can't wait to see their careers blossom. 


17. Still Snowing in Sapporo by Manic Street Preachers

The Manics keep making great music and I keep buying it. The Blackwood lads are going from strength to strength after all of these years. 


16. Transparent Soul by Willow

This song just kicks ass. I can't express how truly happy I am that someone of Willow Smith's stature is making indie, post-punk music. She and her brother are consistently reverent to those who have gone before them...


15. Osian's Song by Amy Wadge

A good, echo-y folk number always gets to my heart in very deep ways. Wadge did the soundtrack to all three seasons of the UK hit TV show, Keeping Faith. Her best work was in the third and final season which aired this year. 


14. Birmingham by Ryan Adams

The best living American songwriter came back with two albums this year. This track is from Wednesdays. It's classic DRA...stories of real people living heartbreaking lives and facing gut-wrenching challenges. 


13. Fat Pop by Paul Weller

The Modfather is one prolific dude these days. He's basically on an album a year these days which is just fine by me because he's second only to John Lennon IMHO. This track is just fucking groovy. 


12. Billie Bossa Nova by Billie Eilish

I've been a fan of bossa nova music since I was a young child. It simply creates a great vibe. Eilish does an amazing job continuing the genre with this track. I feel like drinking gin and tonics when I listen to it. 


11. Worlds Within Worlds by The Chills

Is it 1966? And is psychedelic pop all the rage? Apparently, it is for this New Zealand outfit. Paging the Dukes of Stratosphear...


10. The Game She Plays by The Coral

Speaking of psychedelic pop, Merseyside's returned with a stunner of a record this year. This is the best track on Coral Island and that's saying a lot because all of the tracks are shovel to the head stunners. 


9. Summer Sun by Matt Berry

More psychedelic pop! This was a truly great year for fans of this genre. Berry's The Blue Elephant would have made The Yardbirds proud. And, likely, The Doors


8. The Summer Looks Good On You by Cheap Trick

Talk about a nostalgia rush! It's been years since I was in high school but this track brought me right back to this group's heyday. 


7. Babylove by Jam & Lewis

WHAT TIME IS IT?? Time for a Time reunion!! Thank god. This track is from the first volume of Jam & Lewis's latest offerings and collaborations with various artists. 


6. Masquerade by Chung Ha

The Queen of K Pop by far. Quake with fear at her power...


5. Just Move by Pixey

Dreamy melody soaked in UK brilliance. Yet another great artist from Liverpool. I really dig how danceable this track is. And the guitar:) It's also a great workout song! 

4. Bullshit by X Ambassadors

This track just drips of the swamp. You can practically smell it. It's a great "tell-off" song as well. 


3. She's Not Just One Of The Boys by Bill Patten

The Minneapolis native channeled his inner Roger McGuinn and Gary Louris for this gorgeous number. Taken from the soundtrack to the film A Muse in Sunglasses. 

2.  Anniversary by Duran Duran

I was grinning from ear to ear and singing along straight away the first time I heard this return to form for Duran Duran. An instant classic that ranks right up there with "Girls on Film," "Rio," and "Hungry Like The Wolf." 


1. Death By Rock and Roll by The Pretty Reckless 

I felt like kicking some ass this year and The Pretty Reckless helped me do it. An absolute banger of a tune and the well-deserved Best Track of 2021!

Thursday, December 9, 2021

Pip Blom: Welcome Break

Fans of indie quirk will love Pip Blom's record, Welcome Break. The Amsterdam natives are lo-fi on fire with this one. It's a great album to zone out to and contemplate your place in the universe.

Here is the opening track...

Monday, December 6, 2021

Curtis Harding: If Words Were Flowers (Album of the Week)

Saginaw Michigan's own Curtis Harding is back with this third long-player and it's an instant classic.  If Words Were Flowers sounds like it came right out of that classic soul era of the mid to late 1960s. And his lyrical introspection continues to blow me away. 

Here is one of my favorite tracks...

Sunday, December 5, 2021

Kasim Sulton: Kasim 2021

I've always had a soft spot in my heart for Kasim Sulton. He was Paul McCartney to Todd Rundgren's John Lennon. He even sings like Macca! 

I've enjoyed Kasim's solo output over the years, wishing it would be more voluminous. So, his latest record, Kasim 2021, is a most welcome addition to this calendar year. Honestly, it's nice to hear this kind of music being made in any year.

Here is the opening track...

Thursday, December 2, 2021

La Luz: La Luz

Los Angeles natives La Laz have managed to combine Astrud Gilberto with psychedelic pop in truly amazing ways. Their latest record, La Luz, is actually a great place to start for new fans. 

Here is one of my favorite tracks...

Monday, November 29, 2021

Geese: Projector (Album of the Week)

NYC's Geese are waving the post-punk flag high on their debut record, Projector. Some of the tracks even have a psychedelic flair to them. For example, the title track. 

All in all, a fantastic debut for a band that seems to have arrived in the wrong era. They should be playing CBGB's in 1979. But we get them in 2021. Thank god!

Friday, November 26, 2021

Black Marble: Fast Idol

Wistful walks down a cobblestone lane in morning dew soaked hamlet is what Black Marble is all about. And that scene is with a romantic interest is in the 1980s.  Fast Idol is the latest from the pride of Brooklyn and is replete with mind water colours.

Monday, November 22, 2021

Helado Negro: Far In (Album of the Week)

Helado Negro is a Ecuadorian treasure. His latest record, Far In, has taken deep root in my soul these past few weeks, and will never let go. The album has elements of soul, lounge, chill, and lo-fi. It's completely modern and fits perfectly into the 21st-century zeitgeist of music. 

Fifteen tracks of sheer is one of my favorites recently performed live!

Sunday, November 21, 2021

Fleet Foxes: Crack-Up (Autumn Music Series)

Seattle's own Fleet Foxes were the soundtrack to my leaf raking yesterday and it was amazing! I took in their third offering, Crack-Up, and it really captured that autumnal wistfulness that I crave this time of the year. 

Always those echo-y voices remind me of fall...

Wednesday, November 17, 2021

Parquet Courts: Sympathy For Life

NYC's own Parquet Courts latest record, Sympathy For Life, is an indie delight. The droning and buzzy guitars remind me of every glorious night I've ever experienced at The Entry. And all the ones I've dreamt of...

Monday, November 15, 2021

Yes: The Quest (Album of the Week)

Yes has been a part of of my life since I was a toddler in the early '70s. I can clearly remember my father playing The Yes Album and Fragile so loud in the basement that our kitchen floor rattled. So, the London art-rock outfit has had a special place in my heart for over five decades. 

The Quest is the band's 22nd record and the first without their founder, Chris Squire, who passed away in 2015. The current lineup is Jon Davison on vocals, Steve Howe on guitars, Billy Sherwood on bass (the person that Squire insisted take his spot if he passed away), Geoff Downes on keyboards and Alan White on drums. 

It's a fantastic record filled with music that is a rare find these days. Here is the opening track.

Saturday, November 13, 2021

Pinkpanteress: To Hell With it

The debut full length from Pinkpantheress is here and I am most thankful. The London native's lounge-y, chill club vibe is ridiculously cool. And by cool, I mean Kennedy era cool but for 2021. To Hell With It is bril!

Wednesday, November 10, 2021

Sam Fender: Seventeen Going Under

North Shields' own Sam Fender has dropped his sophomore effort and my guitar pop-soul is most happy. The best part is the opening track which fits perfectly into my autumnal playlist. The echo-y guitar and stories of yore...a shiver and a sigh...early November bliss:)

Monday, November 8, 2021

Primitive Broadcast Service: Colors For Chameleons (Album of the Week)

Milwaukee's own Primitive Broadcast Service is keeping the post-punk movement strongly alive with their latest release. Color For Chameleons is a stunning record that harkens back to the days of the first couple of 'Mats records. There are even quiet, contemplative moments such as this...

Frontman JD Morgan describes the track.

Murmur is a track that enters the album like a wandering mind set loose amid the noise and raw anxiety of the tracks around it and is a nice little break for a few minutes, though a dissonant one. It's a ghost (or dark spirit) story about a mysterious fire that destroyed a woman's house in 2003, though even this is not so clear, I am compelled to say. I'm not really sure what the song is about, and I don't believe the singer of "Murmur" to be a trustworthy narrator.

The band will be heading out on the road soon so make sure to check them out when they come to your city! 

Sunday, November 7, 2021

Finneas: Optimist

Sometimes downer music is hilariously wonderful. That's exactly how I would describe Optimist by LA's Finneas. The title is tongue in cheek, of course, and is a perfect commentary on millennial and Gen Z culture in 2021. 

Here are a couple of examples...

Saturday, November 6, 2021

Coldplay: Music of the Spheres

The band that refers to themselves as a fourth-rate U2 is back with a new record called Music of the Spheres. London's own Coldplay has gotten back a little of their street cred on this one. There are plenty of tracks to please the newer fans but for old ones like me who have been there since "Ode To Deodorant" came out as a cassette single in 1998, there are several tracks that harken back to those days of yore. 

Case in point, the album's closer. It could easily be on Parachutes or Rush of the Blood to the Head. It could also be a soundtrack for our galaxy:)

Thursday, November 4, 2021

Badbadnotgood: Talk Memory

I like music that challenges me. And that's exactly what Talk Memory by Toronto's own Badbadnotgood does. Is it freeform jazz? Fusion? Cinematic journies? All of the above...

It also reminds me of that friend you had who was a musician that would cajole you into going to his shows, even though you had massive trepidation. And then it was amazing! 

Monday, November 1, 2021

Duran Duran: Future Past (Album of the Week)

Duran Duran's latest record is perfectly titled. Future Past is exactly that. It hits all the right notes for the fans and sounds modern at the same time. Example.

I found my 54-year-old self cheering to my 16-year-old self back in 1983...singing along with all the do do do dos.

And then, of course, we have the classic 80s club dance number...

So many bands from the 80s have faded away. It makes me so happy that this band is still going strong!!!

Sunday, October 31, 2021

Hayden Thorpe: Moondust For My Diamond

Kendal, Cumbria's own Hayden Thorpe has released his sophomore solo effort and it's great to see the former Wild Beasts frontman showing serious growth. Moondust For My Diamond is a stellar record from start to finish even with its ever-present moodiness. 

Here is the opening track...

Saturday, October 30, 2021

Pond: 9

Perth's own psychedelic wonders Pond is back with nine tracks of sheer delight. The aptly title 9 is quite danceable and fun. It even has an 80s feel to it. Here is one of my favorite tracks...

Wednesday, October 27, 2021

Miracle Fortress: Awe (Autumn Music Series)

The autumnal beauty of "Awe" by Miracle Fortress unfolds upon hearing the very first sounds of the song. The echo-y guitar gives the listener that immediate image and feeling of the barren aspect of late fall which is quickly approaching. The keyboards that come in the middle of the track make it feel even more like winter is coming...

Monday, October 25, 2021

Hovvdy: True Love (Album of the Week)

Let's start off this last week of October in a chill way. And, of course, in autumnal fashion. Pop duo Hovvdy has just released their fourth long-player and it's perfect for the fall season. True Love is about, well, true love, acoustically speaking. In some ways, it reminds me of what Monet might do if he were making records. 

Oddly, Lake June reminds most of autumn. 

Sunday, October 24, 2021

Poppy: Flux

From stadium bangers to Twin Peaks-esque wisps of the dream world, Poppy's latest record, Flux, is pure magic. There are sprinkles of 80's synth-pop intermixed throughout the album as well. 

Check out the title track...

Thursday, October 21, 2021

Alessia Cara: In The Meantime

Alessia Cara has found that sweet spot between sexy R&B and spaced-out chill music. Her third album is the best example of this synergy. The Mississauga, Ontario native has really reached a new level of cosmic wonder with In The Meantime.

Check out this fine example!

And this reminded me a lot of those Getz-Gilberto team-ups...

Wednesday, October 20, 2021

Savior Adore: Honestly (Autumn Music Series)

The gorgeous acoustic guitar on Savoir Adore's track "Honestly" (from 2009's In The Wooded Forest)  fits quite nicely with an October walk through the leaves. The alternating male and female vocals are just perfect...

Monday, October 18, 2021

Strand of Oaks: In Heaven (Album of the Week)

Strand of Oaks (AKA Timothy Showalter) is picking exactly where The Verve left off with his new album called In Heaven. It actually sounds in some ways what I imagine heaven to sound like. The Goshen, Indiana native is painting soundscapes with a broad brush these days. And it's quite autumnal. Perfect for the season!!

Here's a track that belongs more in the fall than the spring...

Sunday, October 17, 2021

Sufjan Stevens: A Beginner's Mind

Eternally awesome and preciously mellow Sufjan Stevens' latest record, A Beginner's Mind, is an absolute treasure of chill. Made with Angelo De Augustine, the album reminds quite a bit of some of Simon and Garfunkel's best works. 

Check it out...

Saturday, October 16, 2021

Slothrust: Parallel Timeline

Boston's own Slothrust fifth record is a power-driven 70s rock love fest. I was a kid during that era and this album brings me back to that amazing decade. Her singing and guitar work kick ass!

Here is a fine example...

Thursday, October 14, 2021

Heartless Bastards: A Beautiful Life

There certainly is more empathy and love than I would expect from the band Heartless Bastards. The Cincinnati outfit has just released their sixth long-player and it's the gem of their catalog. The chill lounge vibe is mos def working for them. 

Wednesday, October 13, 2021

Public Service Broadcasting: Bright Magic

London's own Public Service Broadcasting is back with their fifth offering and it makes me feel like I'm being introduced to a film that's familiar but I've never seen. The plot takes all over Europe and it's about love and travel. I can see all the characters and how they interact. 

I want to see this film that doesn't exist. 

Monday, October 11, 2021

The Lathums: How Beautiful Life Can Be (Album of the Week)

The Lathums are going to be the next great British band. These proud sons of Wigan in the Greater Manchester area have released an absolute corker of a debut record. How Beautiful Life Can Be is Dudes With Guitars perfect! I'm so so happy this genre is still alive and kicking. 

Here is one of my favorite tracks...

These lads are amazing!!

Sunday, October 10, 2021

Low: Hey What

It's always special when a band from my home state of Minnesota makes great music. Duluth's Low has been doing it for nearly thirty years. Their latest record, Hey What, is another deep dive into atmospheric slowcore and cinematic journeys. 

Here is one of my favorite tracks...

Coldplay: Talk (Autumn Music Series)

Coldplay always reminds me of the Fall. There's just something about their sound. It is mind horizon expansive combined with echo-y guitars and fading daylight. I suppose the fact that many of their albums came out in the fall or in the early summer with tours in the fall also plays into their autumnal quality. 

"Talk" from X&Y is one of their best Fall songs. The opening draws you into crunchy leaf and colder wind bliss...

Saturday, October 9, 2021

Julia Bardo: Bauhaus, L'appartamento

The Italian-born but now lives in Manchester artist Julia Bardo has just put out a completely fabulous record called Bauhaus, L'appartamento. It reminds me a lot of 90's alt-rock combined with lo-fi goodness. I love how women look at love in such a different way than men. Most refreshing! 

Monday, October 4, 2021

X Ambassadors: The Beautiful Liar (Album of the Week)

Ithaca, New York's own X Ambassadors continue their colossus-like dominance over pop music with their latest release, The Beautiful Liar. This record is just as stunning as their last one. Every track is brilliant and this time around they have a fascinating narrative that weaves its way throughout the album. 

Here is one of my favorite tracks...

Sunday, October 3, 2021

Common: A Beautiful Revolution Pt.2

The magnificent icon known as Common has done it again with A Beautiful Revolution Pt.2. He paints urban tapestry stories that hit right to the core. And oh those tasty..

The standout track features Pj. Check it out!

Saturday, October 2, 2021

Saint Etienne: Finisterre (Autumn Music Series)

The best fall album of all time is Finisterre by Saint Etienne. Released on 30 September 2002, the cusp of autumn, this record defined not only that time in my life but fall music at its core. Granted, not all of the autumnal styles I've gone on about these past few years are present but the storytelling, home, hearth, family, and villages are all there. 

The first few seconds set the tone with spoken word narration that queries, "Have you ever been to a harvester before?"

And from there we are off on a mystical journey to a forever hamlet filled with vibrant characters and multi-colored histories. The entire country of England bursts into life and the things I remember on my travels to that amazing place cascade in a flood of memories. All of this is mixed up with the colours of fall and a romantic. roaring fire with an amour. 

Example, the title track...

This is exactly where you should start your Autumn Music Series this year. 

Friday, October 1, 2021

Lindsey Buckingham: Lindsey Buckingham

Rock icon Lindsey Buckingham is back with a new solo record simply called Lindsey Buckingham. Fresh off his latest split with Fleetwood Mac, Buckingham has made a wonderfully beautiful record filled with upbeat and catchy pop tunes. It has a decidedly "McCartney" down home feel. 

Here is one of my favorite tracks.

Wednesday, September 29, 2021

Kool And The Gang: Perfect Union

The pride of New Jersey, Kool and The Gang, have released their first new record in fourteen years. Perfect Union is, well, a perfect Kool and the Gang record with all the usual hooks and crazy danceability. I'm not ashamed to admit that I have been shaking it all over my living room to this album. 

Here is a taste...

Monday, September 27, 2021

Manic Street Preachers: The Ultra Vivid Lament (Album of the Week)

The Manics are back with a wonderful new record called The Ultra Vivid Lament. A return to form for certain, it's been sending me on a massive nostalgia wave for the last couple of weeks, remembering those classic records from the '90s. Most bands just don't make albums like this anymore. 

Thank god Blackwood's favorite sons do!

Sunday, September 26, 2021

Saint Etienne: I've Been Trying To Tell You

Love is pleading. Sometimes it just is that way. Saint Etienne knows this quite well and so they made an entire record devoted to this fact. The London band's latest, I've Been Trying To Tell You, brings me back to those pleading days when love was so much more complicated. 

And yet easy...


Friday, September 24, 2021

Lorde: Solar Power

Auckland goddess Lorde's latest record is completely amazing. Solar Power, her third offering, features a wide range of pop stylings, complete with her signature vocal mixes that are beyond gorgeous. 

Here is the title track...

Wednesday, September 22, 2021

Jade Bird: Different Kinds of Light

Hexham, Northumberland phenom Jade Bird has just released her sophomore effort and I am really digging it of late. Different Kinds of Light is a classic jangly guitar pop oriented album rooted in Brit Rock goodness. She is showing some amazing growth as an artist. Check it out!!

Monday, September 20, 2021

The Killers: Pressure Machine (Album of the Week)

Las Vegas's own The Killers have released a very interesting new record that deeply channels their inner Bruce Springsteen. They've taken departures from their signature sound before but this is crazy different yet in a good way. I found myself deeply fascinated by the stories they were telling on every single track. 

Americana, dark version. Wow.

Wednesday, September 15, 2021

Deafheaven: Infinite Granite

The pure pop sounds of Deafheaven have been in constant rotation in my house for the past couple weeks. Their latest record, Infinite Granite, is shoegaze dreamy at its finest. Every track is cloud, blue sky gold. 

Dream pop fans will love this one! 

Monday, September 13, 2021

Villagers: Fever Dreams (Album of the Week)

Dublin's own Villagers are back with a fantastic new record called Fever Dreams. The quiet, introspective style they are known for is present along with some lo-fi vibes which are quite refreshing.

I've always admired how this band uses echo in their songs. It seems a basic sort of effect but the way these guys do it adds in beaucoup nostalgia. 

Saturday, September 11, 2021

Wily Mason: Already Dead

NYC's Wily Mason is back with his fifth long-player and his upbeat pessimism is thanfkully still strong. Already Dead has some great high-energy tempos with themes that are quite dark. Love this combo!

Here is the opening track...

Thursday, September 9, 2021

Billie Eilish: Happier Than Ever

My daughter got me in to Billie Eilish and I'm very grateful she did. The LA native is a genius and her new record, Happier Than Ever, is a stellar sophomore effort. An incredibly wide range of styles are present on this album.

Here is my favorite romantic...

Wednesday, September 8, 2021

Torres: Thirstier

The groovy 60's fuzz pop sound of Torres's latest record (Thirstier) has been a recent obsession of mine. The Orlando, Florida native has been making great music for nearly a decade and her latest is my favorite. Dripping with modern nostalgia!


Monday, September 6, 2021

Jake Bugg: Saturday Night, Sunday Morning (Album of the Week)

The pride of Nottingham is not Robin Hood as many of us yanks might think. It's actually Jake Bugg. He's back with a very upbeat and soulful record called Saturday Night, Sunday Morning. His jangly guitar sound is present, of course, but there's much more to this album than his previous offerings. He's wandered into Miles Kane/Alex Turner territory with this one. Maybe he's always been there...:)

Here is the opening!!

Sunday, September 5, 2021

Bleachers: Take The Sadness Out Of Saturday Night

NYC's Bleachers has a fab new record out that is pure pop sugar. Take The Sadness Out Of Saturday Night is solid from start to finish. It reminds me a lot of an album that MTV would have promoted the crap out of in the early 80's. 

Here is one of my favorite tracks...

Saturday, September 4, 2021

David Crosby Joins Steely Dan

Well, sort of. The last offering from David Crosby, For Free, contains a collaboration with Donald Fagan. The track has a classic Dan theme and style. Back in the early days of Steely Dan, they had multiple vocalists. Maybe Crosby could join for a new round of this? 

Friday, September 3, 2021

Piroshka: Love Drips and Gathers

Super group Piroshka has released their sophomore effort and it's every bit as good as their first record. Love Drips and Gathers is dream pop goodness. I massively heart the places it takes my mind palace. 

Wednesday, September 1, 2021

The Goon Sax: Mirror II

Brisbane's own The Goon Sax third effort, Mirror II, is stellar. I'm in a very dark emo place these days and this record is the perfect soundtrack. A modern-day Joy Divison! 

Monday, August 30, 2021

Yola: Stand For Myself (Album of the Week)

The sweet buttered soul of Yola's third record, Stand For Myself, is my choice for this week's Album of the Week. In many ways, it reminds me of Ray Charles's experiment with country-ish sounds. That must be why iTunes lists it as a country album. 

The album, of course, is much more diverse than that. I hear strands of disco, yacht rock, and even southern rock. Check out the range on these three tracks.

This is a contender for Album of the Year!

Sunday, August 29, 2021

Wavves: Hideaway

San Diego's own Wavves are back with their seventh long-player and it's a breath of fresh air for end of summer listening. Hideaway is an indie-pop gem. I'm so glad there are still groups out there making music like this!

Thursday, August 26, 2021

Jeff Lorber Fusion: Space-Time

Fusion jazz has always been a guilty pleasure of mine. Yes, it sounds like the music you hear when you check your local forecast on The Weather Channel. But it also has a distinctly 80s vibe to it that brings me back to the days of my youth. And it's just chill. 

Jeff Lorber has been fully committed to the genre for six decades. His latest, Space-Time, dished up more of the same wholesome goodness. Here is the title track.

Monday, August 23, 2021

Leon Bridges: Gold-Diggers Sound (Album of the Week)

The incomparable Leon Bridges continues to make truly amazing music. His latest offering, Gold-Diggers Sound, has an 80s vibe to it and that's on top of his magnificent soul sound. The Atlanta superstar delves deeply into romance on this record and it truly warms the heart. 

Here is an example...

Sunday, August 22, 2021

Chet Faker: Hotel Surrender

Melbourne's own Chet Faker is a treasure of the world. His fourth record, Hotel Surrender, dropped last month and it's been in constant rotation at my house. The chill vibe is perfect for those late August blues.

Here is the opening track...

Thursday, August 19, 2021

Inhaler: It Won't Always Be Like This

Dublin's own Inhaler has debuted their first long-player and it is a corker! It Won't Always Be Like This has some strains of that other great band from Dublin while still retaining its own personality, 21st-century version. It brings one's mind to some interesting places. 

Here is one of my favorite tracks...

Tuesday, August 17, 2021

Clairo: Sling

Atlanta's own Clairo sophomore effort, Sling, has been marinating with me for the past few weeks so I thought I would give it a shout out. If there was ever a legit heir to Joni Mitchell, it would be Clairo. In fact, if Joni had started making music a few years ago, she would sound like Clairo. 

Listening to her music is like listening to a wispy dream at the end of a warm, summer day....

Monday, August 16, 2021

Nicole Atkins: Live At The Turf Club (Saturday August 14, 2021)

My first show back after the lockdown was Nicole Atkins last Saturday night at The Turf Club in St. Paul. What an absolute stunner of a show! If you get a chance to catch her as she travels around the country, most definitely see this show.

Atkins does a fantastic job with style range throughout her show. She weaves in her older, Brill building stuff with her new, "AM Radio in 1979" chestnuts from the new record, Italian Ice

Atkins has a quite charming stage presence and engages the audience with various activities like slow dance contests and advice on where to hang out for fun in whatever town she is in. 

"AM Gold" and "Domino" were the two standouts for me from the show. Of course, those are my favorite tracks on the record so that's a bias. But they were both just fantastic to see live. 

The track she really nailed was "Captain." At several points in the song, I admit I welled up from its sheer beauty. It's that fucking good. This song seriously captures all that is the amazing wonder of Nicole Atkins

Please go see her live!!

Son Volt: Electro Melodier (Album Of the Week)

Belleville, Illinois's own Son Volt is back with a fantastic new record called Electro Melodier. There is definitely more rock on this album than alt-country. Perhaps Jay Farrar and the lads want to stretch their legs a bit. Regardless, it's 14 tracks of Son Volt goodness...

Here is one of my favorite tracks...

Thursday, August 12, 2021

Willow: Lately I Feel Everything

Willow Smith is a massive talent from a family of massive talents. That's a lot of pressure but, like her brother, she rises to the occasion and engages in Everest-like conquest. 

I'll admit I'm biased because she's playing my styles of music (alternative, pop-punk, psych-pop). Her latest record, Lately I Feel Everything, is a stunning achievement of diversity regardless of what type of music you like.

Here is the opening track...

Wednesday, August 11, 2021

The Go! Team: Get Up Sequences Part One

If you were a game show host from the 1970s or starting your own variety show around that time, the latest record from Brighton's own The Go! Team would be a perfect soundtrack. Get Up Sequences Part One is filled with upbeat, magnificent crowd-pleasers. 

The first track has me looking for Dean Martin in 1973.

Monday, August 9, 2021

Durand Jones and the Indications: Private Space (Album of the Week)

Soul music is my lifeblood. I listen to it every day and it doesn't matter what era, old or new. 

The recent resurgence of Soul has made me very happy. Leading that charge is Bloomington, Indiana's own Durand Jones And The Indications. Their third long-player, Private Space, is out now and it has every little thing I love about soul music including a most welcome step into the 70's era of this genre.

Here is one of my favorite tracks...

Sunday, August 8, 2021

John Grant: Boy From Michigan

Michigan's own John Grant is back with a "days of yore" stunner of a record called Boy From Michigan. The nostalgia of this record really packs a punch and reminds me of my time growing up across the way in Wisconsin. In terms of musical style, it's very synth heavy but that's just fine because it goes quite well with the theme of the record. 

Here is the title track...

Thursday, August 5, 2021

Bobby Gillespie and Jehnny Beth: Utopian Ashes

It's quite nice to see Primals frontman Bobby Gillespie delving into cinematic music with French artist  Jehnny Beth. Utopian Ashes is a true revelation for 2021 even though it sounds like it came out in the late 60s or early 70s, direct from some smoky Italian cafe. 

Here is the opening track. Put on your sunglasses...

Wednesday, August 4, 2021

Snapped Ankles: Forest Of Your Problems

London's own Snapped Ankles recently released their fourth LP, Forest of Your Problems. It's been marinated with me for over a month and it's now officially at deep soak. I've often wondered what Joy Division would have sounded like if they had been making records today and this is it. An absolute corker of a record.

Here is the opening and title track...

Monday, August 2, 2021

Prince : Welcome 2 America (Album of the Week)

Our favorite son Prince has released a vault record from 2010 called Welcome 2 America. A far superior record to his other release that year (2010), this latest release is eerily prophetic. It describes a world where race relations are at an all-time low, people of color essentially live in poverty, violence and fear and the USA is a really, really dark place.

This is the kind of honesty we need right now. 

Saturday, July 31, 2021

Faye Webster: I Know I'm Funny Haha

Faye Webster has completely blown me away again with another record. I Know I'm Funny Haha is even silkier smooth than her last record. The Atlanta native lets you know just how much heart glow you are in for with the opening track. 

Wednesday, July 28, 2021

Lucy Dacus: Home Video

Richmond Virginia's own Lucy Dacus has released her third record and it's her most diverse yet. Home Video showcases a wide variety of musical styles ranging from acoustic think pieces to indie drone. The range is what impresses me the most. Check out the difference between these two tracks.

A must have, Summer 2021 record. 

Monday, July 26, 2021

Rose City Band: Earth Trip (Album of the Week)

Guitarist Ripley Johnson is quite the musical treasure. Between Wooden Shjips and Moon Duo, one would figure the dude has made his mark on the musical world. But the San Francisco native needed another outfit to get out some mellow, psychedelic vibes about his current home base of Portland. And that's exactly what Rose City Band is all about. 

Earth Trip is a gem from start to finish. I wish it were longer but the eight tracks that are on it are quite amazing. It's a perfect summer record.

Here is one of my favorite tracks, a perfect primer for the feel of the album...

Sunday, July 25, 2021

Hiss Golden Messenger: Quietly Blowing It

Americana Music has seeped into my soul over the last few years. Perhaps it's age or wisdom. Maybe both. But the genre is very connective and I love it. Hiss Golden Messenger is a shining example of why this style and music is a must in any serious collection.  

Their latest record, Quietly Blowing It, is a great primer for those who are beginners to the genre. Dive in, folks! This is a truly great band!!

Thursday, July 22, 2021

Steely Dan: Aja

The first time I heard Steely Dan's Aja I was 10 years old. It spoke to me very deeply not merely about the current state of the world in 1977 but about what my future might look like. It was a universe filled with cool vibes, cocktails, gorgeous women, and somewhat sinister men. All of this is perfectly captured in the third track, "Deacon Blues," the story of a complete loser who thinks he is the bomb. 

I really wanted to be this guy when I was younger. As I aged, I got what Fagan was doing with the lyrics (men's warped perception of reality) and while I didn't want to be him anymore, I did want to just be that vibe that I hoped was the song. "Deacon Blues" is really the heart and soul of the album and it's this track that is its core. 

The tone setter, though, is the opening number, "Black Cow." It warp speed sucks you into a red, velvet lounge with a Felliniesque cast of characters. The level of detail in the lyrics is astoundingly descriptive. You don't imagine you are there. You ARE there. 

Steve Gadd's drum solo on the title track is proof positive that there is a god. "Aja" is a mystical tune that sends you into that universe of cool silk and then becomes iconoclastic with his drumming, a tour de force in every sense of the word.


"Peg" is the big hit, not that Steely Dan needed another one at that point in time. This track is a perfect capsule of AM Gold in the 1970s. It gets overlooked quite a bit because of how much radio time its seen Truly, an amazing piece of music. 

"Home at Last" and "I Got The News" get lost in the shuffle sometimes The former is vintage Dan with its lilt and sway. The latter is the clear OG for Joe Jackson's Night and Day record. The bridge featuring Michael McDonald on b vox struts and moves like a Broadway show. 

"Josie" closes out the record in a hopeful and honest way. I imagine what this character is like and every listen for the last forty-four years has added a new layer to her. I can smell the colors of the five borough neighborhood in which she lives. 

Aja is seven tracks of sheer joy. When my dad was a radio producer in the late 70s, he would let me pretend to be a DJ in one of the practice studios. I would play every track on this record in my imaginary show and as I did, that little wide eyed kid in Kenosha, Wisconsin dreamt of the world of the Big City...

King Gizzard and the Lizard Wizard: Butterfly 3000

Melbourne dynamos King Gizzard the Lizard Wizard continue their dragon level output of music with Butterfly 3000. This record sees an expansion of their psychedelic pop explorations into futuristic synth sounds. There are also eastern influences heard throughout the record.

KG has become one of my favorite bands of the last few years. They show no signs of being anything less than awesome. 

Monday, July 19, 2021

Jam & Lewis: Jam & Lewis, Volume One (Album of the Week)

This week's pick for Album of the Week brings with it a profound sense of honor and deep joy. Jimmy Jam and Terry Lewis are hometown heroes for me. The Time is the greatest funk band of all time. It's been far too long since this duo released new music and now it's finally here.

80's and 90's R&B with STYLE!!

Volume One has a variety of guest stars and is completely amazing but it's really the last track that has me over the moon. Morris Day sings lead with Jerome Benton acting as his audio valet (as always). The Roots are also featured on this track. 

What Time is it?!??

Sunday, July 18, 2021

The Lounge Society : Silk For the Starving

The West Yorkshire outfit, The Lounge Society, has a massively wonderful debut EP out called Silk For the Starving. It's a pop and dance gift with a dash of basement thrash thrown in for good measure. 

I'll be keeping my eye on this band. They sound like all the other great Brit bands when each first started out. 

Here is the opening track...

Wednesday, July 14, 2021

Kings Of Convenience: Peace or Love

Bergen, Norway's own Kings of Convenience are back with a most wonderful record. Peace or Love has a cafe vibe that is suiting me quite well right now. Chill down, dudes. 

My favorite track is a song that makes me remember what it was like to be in love and not have that feeling returned. 

Monday, July 12, 2021

The Magic Castles: Sun Reign (Album of the Week)

Minneapolis has been home to many great bands over the years. It's also my hometown so groups that come from here are extra special for me. 

The next great band from Minneapolis will be The Magic Castles. I'm a sucker for psychedelic pop but their music goes well beyond that (in a similar way to The Verve). Their latest record is called Sun Reign and it's their best yet. 

Seriously, a stunner...

Friday, July 9, 2021

Mammoth WVH: Mammoth WVH

Wolfgang Van Halen, son of the great guitarist Eddie Van Halen, has released a corker of a record with his new outfit, Mammoth WVH. It makes me so happy that people are still making guitar driven power pop. Fans of 80s hair bands will love this one. 

Seriously, good stuff! 

Wednesday, July 7, 2021

Bill Patten: A Muse In Sunglasses (Original Soundtrack)

Today I'm going to get very local and personal. I recently got back into filmmaking and had my friend Bill Patten compose and perform the soundtrack for the project. The album is available on Bandcamp.

And here is the film. Check it out!

Tuesday, July 6, 2021

James: All The Colours of You

James is an OG Brit Rock band in so many ways. Heck, they were an 80s band! And then they made glorious music in the 90s that stood up with all the greats of the official Brit Rock decade. 

Their 16th Album, All The Colours of You, just dropped and it's fantabulous. I actually chuckled a few times in thinking about how James was Coldplay before there was a Coldplay. 

Here is a live performance of one of my favorite tracks from the record...

Monday, July 5, 2021

Ryan Adams: Big Colors (Album of the Week)

Ryan Adams has released his second of a promised three albums for the calendar year 2021. Big Colors is an excellent continuation of his deep dive into late 70s, early 80s AM gold. I guess this is officially a genre now, right? I think Ryan actually started it with his self-titled 2014 record. 

This record is a lot more upbeat than Wednesdays, his late 2020, early 2021 release. Every track is pure pop heaven. Here is one of my favorites...

Thursday, July 1, 2021

Greentea Peng: Man Made

London's own Greentea Peng has essentially invented a new sound. Psychedelic R&B. My two most favorite genres of music! Her first full length, Man Made, just dropped in early June and it has been in heavy rotation at my house. Her music has taken me on many inner and outer journeys. 

Here is a live version of one of my favorite tracks on the record. 

Wednesday, June 30, 2021

Wolf Alice: Blue Weekend

London's own Wolf Alice is back with quite a dreamy record. Blue Weekend is their third long-player and the band is really coming into its own. The album sends the listener to many unexplored areas of the mind palace. 

Here is my favorite track...

Monday, June 28, 2021

Easy Life: Life's A Beach (Album of the Week)

Proud sons of Leicester Easy Life just dropped their latest hip hop R&B wonder. Life's a Beach is actually their first full-length record after a series of amazing EP's.

It's hard to categorize this group with a genre because there are so many styles present in their music. But that's a good thing, right? Perhaps we should call it "Easy Life" style music...

Friday, June 25, 2021

AFI: Bodies

Ukiah, California's own AFI are back with another delectable grab bag of  80s tinged pop. Bodies is their eleventh studio record. Wow! Has it really been that long?  

Feel nostalgic for current music that sounds forty years old!!

Thursday, June 24, 2021

Japanese Breakfast: Jubilee

I've always been a big fan of coda songs. The big anthem played at the end of the show is always mega. Michelle Zauner's outfit, Japanese Breakfast, closes out their latest record with such a track. "Posing Cars" is sheer anthemic perfection. Indeed, the whole record is lush pop goodness, dreamy and happy in a 1980's kind of way. 

The last track starts off quiet and unassuming and then builds to TITANIA. 

Tuesday, June 22, 2021

Biig Piig: The Sky Is Bleeding

London's own Biig Piig has just put out a corker of an EP. The Sky Is Bleeding has a soft indie buzz to it that is most pleasing to the ears. Six tracks of loungey emo-perfect! 

Monday, June 21, 2021

Crowded House: Dreamers Are Waiting (Album of the Week)

The purest of pure pop music fans can rejoice because Crowded House has released a new record. Dreamers Are Waiting is their first studio record since 2010 and the 12 tracks offered are well worth the wait. All the gorgeous harmonies and pop hooks that we've come to expect from the band are present along with some very welcome surprises. 

Neil Finn's sons, Liam and Elroy, really make the band sound stronger and more relevant to the 21st century. Both musicians' talent lifts the band to new highs as they are capable of playing any instrument in a highly skilled fashion. 

Here is the opening track...

And here is my favorite track, a classic Neil introspective think piece! The harmonies completely slay me...

Sunday, June 20, 2021

Jorja Smith: Be Right Back

The cool sounds of Jorja Smith have been hitting me in just the right spot these past few days. This Walsall, West Midlands native has just released Be Right Back, a salve for the soul, R&B variety of course. This is a great record to listen to while cruising around on a hot summer night with the top down!

Here is the opening track...

Friday, June 18, 2021

Gary Numan: Intruder

Most of the world knows Gary Numan from his early New Wave megahit, "Cars." But the dude has been making great music for the last forty years. His latest effort, Intruder, recalls those halcyon days of the 80s (for some reason, always summer soaked for me). It sounds like a soundtrack to a Mad Max film that was never made. 

Here is the opening track...

Wednesday, June 16, 2021

King Daniel: Yellow

King Daniel is one of the brighter stars to emerge from the K Pop Scene in the last couple of years. His latest EP, Yellow, is fantastic and well worth the purchase. "Antidote" is the stand-out track from the release. 

Monday, June 14, 2021

Twenty One Pilots: Scaled and Icy (Album of the Week)

Twenty-One Pilots have happily jumped on the late 70s, early 80s AM Radio musical style bandwagon and I'm so very happy they did. Their signature sound is still present, of course, but just with this added layer. 

The first track sets it all up.

Then we really dive deep into AM Gold.

This is just a record full of classic pop, folks. And it's amazing! 

Sunday, June 13, 2021

Waterparks: Greatest Hits

Houston's own Waterparks has released an album called Greatest Hits. In a very cool twist, this is not a compilation of their first three records. Instead, it's just a great 21st Century pop album that delivers on its title. 

Here is one of the many amazing tracks...

Saturday, June 12, 2021

Billie Marten: Flora and Fauna

Ripon's own Billie Marten has just released her third record and it shows some real growth for the artist. Wispy pop numbers combined with 90's drone make Flora and Fauna a great choice for summer listening.