CARLA BLEY Appearing Nightly CD
*** "Rich and robust performances of new Bley material with particularly stellar contributions by various soloists. Centrepiece of the album is the 25 minute title track commissioned for the Monterey Jazz Festival and heard here in a premiere recording."
THE BROKEN WEST Now Or Heaven CD
*** "The Broken West wrote most of this record while touring on their last record, still keeping with their Byrds-y vibe, but a bit less alt-country and more XTC pop."
CALEXICO Carried To Dust LP+MP3 / CD
*** "Carried To Dust is a return to form, incorporating many Spanish elements and further defining their dusty film noir soundtrack. Calexico have constantly imbued their music with an unparalleled sense of drama, calling upon the myths and iconography of the American West and its Spanish speaking neighbor Mexico."
CHILDREN OF THE SIXTH ROOT RACE Songs From The Source CD
*** "A lost-and-found 1973 recording of The Source family. SONGS FROM THE SOURCE is more r’n’b-grooved energy, with splashes of synth and organ, a female vocal chorus and streamlined fusion rhythms backing the uniquely Yahowan lyrical populism."
CRYSTAL ANTLERS ep CD
*** "So these sweet bros from Long Beach self released this EP last March. Kinda raging soul punk like. People like PITCHFORK fell under their spell and started flirting with them and they sold 3,000 copies via their myspace. Now on TOUCH & GO."
KIMYA DAWSON Alphabutt CD
*** "A collection of children's songs written by Dawson with her musical friends and their children, successfully leads a group of children in this sunny and energetic batch of songs with plenty of fun in the form of snapping fingers, clapping hands and stamping feet."
FAUN FABLES A Table Forgotten CD
*** Recent BONNIE 'PRINCE' BILLY collaborator. "Continuing from previous Faun Fables material, vocals are strongly featured throughout; surprising melodies, contrapuntal harmonies, breath and unison chants on the theme of age-old practices of tending a home and its immediate impact upon our day to day lives."
MICHAEL FRANTI & SPEARHEAD All Rebel Rockers LP / CD
*** "Franti's fiery protest music and thought-provoking lyrics backed by seductive elements of dub, infectious dance music, and irresistible hook-infused soul."
FUJIYA & MIYAGI Lightbulbs CD
*** ""Lightbulbs" is a journey littered with fragmented images, anecdotes from the sublime to the ridiculous, and blurry stories that you feel you shouldn't have overheard. Each track is an aural contamination set to itch your inner ear every waking moment. Truly contagious music that carves a niche all its own."
GROWING All The Way CD
*** "Kevin Doria and Joe DeNardo complete the conceptual arc initiated on their 2006's "Color Wheel", finally achieving a perfect balance of noise and pop. "All The Way" sounds like some sort of frozen urban chaos taking place at a superclub on another planet."
HUMAN HIGHWAY Moody Motorcycle CD
*** "A sound reminiscent to that of ‘50s/’60s soul and doo-wop (i.e. the Everly Brothers) created by ISLANDS members NICK THORBURN and JIM GUTHRIE. The album, which Guthrie says features "hot man on man vocal action," was put together in the course of one week at his house in downtown Toronto."
JESU Why Are We Not Perfect? CD
*** "On this five track EP, Justin Broadrick has set aside the heavy foundation of pounding guitars prevalent in past recordings and brought to the fore elements of texture and melody."
DANIEL JOHNSTON 1990 CD
DANIEL JOHNSTON Artistic Vice CD
DAMIEN JURADO Caught In The Trees CD
*** "Jurado took a full year to make this record, longer than ever before, as he ran away from and eventually found himself in his own songs -- an enigmatic world with an energy and intensity that is all-consuming."
MUSIC TAPES For Clouds And Tornadoes CD
*** "ELEPHANT 6's Julian Koster texturally rich sonic palette and songcraft with an almost religious devotion to the singing saw, and numerous contributions from other musicians in the Elephant 6 orbit."
THE NEW YEAR The New Year CD
*** "Former BEDHEAD brothers Bubba and Matt Kadane return! Several songs are built around the piano. Albini mans the helm as usual. Longing, loneliness, acceptance, resolve, all of our feelings are represented here."
OKKERVIL RIVER The Stand Ins LP / CD
*** "'"The Stand Ins" is the sequel to 'The Stage Names' -- part two of a staggered double album -- delving deeper into the story and theme of 'The Stage Names'. It is a full-length, fleshed-out, deeply ambitious labor of love."
PARENTHETICAL GIRLS Entanglements CD
*** "An orchestral song-cycle of grand sonic ambition! An eleven-song, linear narrative of ascendancy, adolescent sexuality, quantum mechanics, consent and other moral ambiguities! String-swept sentimentality borrowed from the likes of Van Dyke Parks, Scott Walker, Jack Nitzsche, and Burt Bacharach! Hues distantly reminiscent of names like Krzystof Penderecki, Philip Glass, and Gavin Bryars."
sBACH sBACH CD
*** "A.K.A. SPENCER SEIM, the man/creature who serves as the feral axe shredder of HELLA. Kitschy, stoner rock fueled archfiend chock full of bastardized jazz rhythms and chicken scratch electronica. With the grating jingles and chimes of an explosion at a pinball machine factory."
SHAKY HANDS Lung Light CD
*** RECOMMENDED "The current break out of the basement summertime jangly feel good band, already toured with the Shins, played Sasquatch, and recorded a Daytrotter session. A killer live band."
THAO We Brave Bee Stings And All CD
*** "These eleven diverse tracks make for a subtly powerful album concerned with admissions of guilt, life revelations, and failed domesticity. Thao Nguyen's music feels buoyant, even giddy at times, yet she endows her lyrics with a curious juxtaposition of gripping personal detail and saucy humor."
TRICKY Knowle West Boy CD
*** "Tricky is back with an album detailing the travels and travails of his youth, resulting in an eclectic aural history of his diverse upbringing. He reaches into post-punk, Two-Tone, reggae, hip-hop, and pop, twisting them into surreal songscapes."
DAR WILLIAMS Promised Land CD
*** "12 reflective songs that introduce a new Pop sound for Dar Williams. Lending support on the album are such renowned artists as Suzanne Vega and Marshall Crenshaw."