Everyone's a Critic

We pay up to $25 for CD reviews and up to $100 for concert reviews published in our print edition. Web-only publication pays $10 for CD reviews; $20 for concerts (+$5 for photo).

Capital Cities' spirited retro sound

Electro-pop act packs House of Blues and gets everyone moving

I got my introduction to the L.A.-based electro-pop band Capital Cities — beyond the megahit “Safe & Sound” — at Coachella this year. There I discovered their penchant for lazy hooks and lofty horns, which ...

Black Star Elephant, by Nico & Vinz

Nico & Vinz have crafted a pure, primal debut album that rejoices in the band’s chosen path while applauding others’ individuality. The reach of this singer/songwriter duo from Oslo, Norway, had touched several continents with ...

Dessert followed by veggies

San Diego Symphony ends the concert with the vegetable dish.

Sometimes we’ve gotta eat our veggies after we have dessert. I’ve never tried it, but it’s basically what happened during the last half of the San Diego Symphony concert on Saturday night. The first half ...

Lucinda Williams's Down Where the Spirit Meets the Bone

Singer/songwriter Lucinda Williams is an acquired taste. If you have it, Christmas came early this year with the release of her new double-disc Down Where the Spirit Meets the Bone. The set collects 19 new ...

Trip the Light Fantastic

Joy Division/New Order founding member Peter Hook has the floor

Erstwhile New Order member Peter Hook let his Light show shine in San Diego for the first time. It must have been a bitter pill when the band he cofounded reformed without him or his ...

Redeemer of Souls, by Judas Priest

A wonderful friend of mine, gay, wants to know what the new Judas Priest album is all about (lyrically). I tell him that (lyrically) it’s about blood, glory, bloody glory, steel blades, fighting and dying ...

Primus rocks the Chocolate Factory

Claypool and crew put on "kind of a play" at Cal Center for the Arts Escondido

“I know we’re Primus and we suck,” said frontman Les Claypool, to cheers from the packed California Center for the Arts in Escondido. “But if you want to yell and scream, get it out of ...

Run the Jewels put a beat on Porter's Pub

El-P and Killer Mike make for a weaponized rap attack

“This place is ratchet as f##k!" exclaimed a damp El-P to the Porter's Pub crowd, summoning cheers from the dank pit of restless angst. The recently formed duo Run the Jewels, an amalgam of former ...

We Are Nots, by Nots

Slow songs are overrated

Any band that says they’re punk but then tries to sneak in a slow song — imposters. If you’re looking for authentic, brazen punk, the four women in Nots have it. There’s a bold intensity ...

Johnny Marr's Playland

Since the demise of the Smiths, Johnny Marr has worked on collaborations with feverish intensity, so it was no surprise that it took so long for his debut solo record to happen, but it is ...

JW-Jones has got your blues right here!

Canada band heats it up at Tio Leo's

If you haven’t heard about Canadian bluesman JW-Jones, you’ve got to get out more. The Ottawa guitarist picked San Diego as the last stop on a ten-day West Coast romp and he made it perfectly ...

Skies clear as Switchfoot lights up Open Air

Alt-rock hits wind-down tour as they wind-up a hometown crowd

With a only a few stops left on their tour in support of this year’s Fading West record, alternative-rock band Switchfoot was embraced by their hometown crowd at SDSU’s Cal Coast Open Air Theatre. Not ...

Ariana Grande's My Everything

Pop singer Ariana Grande used her theater-kid talent to prove herself competent in her debut Yours Truly. Though her vocal chops were well represented, the singer played it too safe to impress. A year later, ...

Sister Angela

Opera production supports opera company.

Suor Angelica is not among Puccini’s most popular operas. On Sunday night, about 400 or so of us were wondering why, because it was fantastic. The performance was at St. Elizabeth Seton Catholic Church in ...

Experience Hendrix aligns the stars

The Experience Hendrix tour made a stop in San Diego county at Harrah's Resort in Valley Center, and the nearly three-and-a-half-hour show would've made Jimi proud. Guitarists Zakk Wylde (Ozzy Osbourne, Black Label Society), Kenny ...

Bite the Hand, by Three Minute Tease

Anton Barbeau’s second album with his Three Minute Tease (no hyphen) comes dedicated to his great friend and all-around under-hyped genius, Scott Miller (late of Game Theory, late of the Loud Family, late of the ...

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