Everyone's a Critic

Zoe Muth's World of Strangers

The line of musical soldiers widening the Americana trail continues to increase, whether the attack leans in a hard-hitting, bad-ass direction or concocts idyllic portraits (“Chopping wood and carrying water, everything was better”). Zoe Muth ...

Where punk rock and comedy commingle

Black Fag and Meatmen split a bill at Soda Bar

While watching the “absolutely fabulous” Black Flag tribute band “Black Fag” at the Soda Bar, the major flaw with the current touring version of Black Flag finally dawned on me. There is no joy in ...

John Newman's Tribute

John Newman’s debut opens with a slow string section, a voice that sounds like the singer reading out great acts of ages past, and an electronically whirl-winded “Crystal,” from the AT&T Natural Voices® synthesized voice ...

Thundercat brings Apocalypse to the Irenic

It should be within every budding musician's interests to play like Thundercat. The bass wizard Stephen Bruner could very well start a school, if he had any desire to. The six-string bassist got his start ...

Mac DeMarco's Salad Days

The third release from Mac DeMarco, a Brooklyn-via-Montreal singer/songwriter, depicts a man at a crossroads, surrounded with watershed moments and letters from home. The road previous was a laidback guitar-driven daydream, silly yet stunning, how ...

Lykke Li's I Never Learn

Heartbreak once again plagues indie darling Lykke Li. Previously, the singer expanded her break-ups into a larger-than-life drama. For her new album, I Never Learn, she wastes no time on fancy tricks, instead keeping her ...

Band of Skulls takes House of Blues, Himalayan style

Band of Skulls erupted at House of Blues with their edgy, high-octane blues rock that at times sounded like the love child of Cream and Black Sabbath. The UK trio rolled in, strapped up, and ...

Tom Jones sings the blues

Tom Jones’s House of Blues concert was a more stripped-down affair than his typical shows. It was billed as a blues show, but people expecting Jones to wail away on Chicago blues classics like “Sweet ...

Here and Nowhere Else by Cloud Nothings

On Cloud Nothings’ 2012 album Attack on Memory, producer Steve Albini scoured reverb and fuzz to expose singer Dylan Baldi's facility with bittersweet melody. With John Congleton producing, Here and Nowhere Else presents Cloud Nothings ...

Sufjan, Serengeti, and Son Lux are Sisyphus

The debut full-length from Sisyphus, an amalgamation of three disparate indie forces (Sufjan Stevens, Serengeti, Son Lux) commissioned by the Walker Art Center, is grounded in a thesis Sufjan relayed in a prerelease interview on ...

Diiv's waves of sound crash on Casbah

Casbah concertgoers gathered to see Brooklyn-based indie-rock poster children DIIV perform a sensory-soaked performance. Frontman Zachary Cole Smith walked onstage to tune his guitar and cheekily greeted the audience before plunging immediately into their debut ...

Debussy, Bartok, and Tchaikovsky at The San Diego Symphony

Concert master Jeff Thayer plays the solo while Debussy and Tchaikovsky pine and yearn.

There is something about Debussy's Prelude to the Afternoon of a Fawn that aches with nostalgia. When the piece started at the Jacobs Music Center on Saturday night, I settled in to experience a happy ...

Morning Phase by Beck

Ever since he lo-fi'd his way onto the radio in the early ’90s, Beck has been a musical marvel, a savant, a weirdo. But times change. People change. Some people, musicians especially, don't age well. ...

Blistering band, bleeding ears

Girls and boys, the Men!

Over their last three albums, Brooklyn band the Men have evolved from their punk roots to more traditional rock. In fact, their most recent effort, Tomorrow's Hits, feels like a classic-rock album covered by a ...

Fest faves Temples take to smaller stage

The Casbah, being a smaller venue, was an opportune setting to see Temples up close. Temples is an English psychedelic-rock band that has played major European festivals (as well as this year’s Coachella) and supported ...

Wasted Years, by OFF!

The second official LP by the blessedly angry OFF! is a hell of a ride. The group is taking the foot off the gas every once in a while, and the newfound dynamics pay dividends. ...

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