Everyone's a Critic

Sweet sates Solana Beach

Pop artist Matthew Sweet played a 15-song show and 2-song encore to a partisan, enthusiastic crowd that seemed to know the words to every song. Sweet has been a regular visitor to San Diego since ...

"The Last Time" for Exile on Kettner?

At first glance, the three-page set list that Mario Escovedo and friends followed during their annual “Exile on Kettner” show looked like little more than an intimidating list of randomly assorted Rolling Stones songs. But ...

It's Alive, by La Luz

Hailing from Seattle, all-girl surf-rock group La Luz conjures images of Washington fog with Dick Dale–era inspirations. The quartet’s debut, It’s Alive, shows off their ability to work the tricks of different eras into their ...

The Blood spills at Brick by Brick

Coagulating in 1980s London, the Blood is a unique punk band led by “Cardinal Jesus Hate.” This show did not disappoint, even though the crowd at Brick by Brick maxed out at 25 (including the ...

How My Heart Sings by Bill Evans

The bassist Scott LaFaro, whom Evans lost to a car crash prior to recording this, was staking out entirely striking counterpoint on his instrument, so anything without him was likely to seem a letdown. Evans ...

Kelly Clarkson's Wrapped in Red

'Tis the season for pop stars to release Christmas music. Kelly Clarkson, the successful first-season American Idol, has given America a musical gift. Her album Wrapped in Red consists of 14 songs plus two deluxe ...

Timberlake takes back the night

Justin Timberlake and the Tennessee Kids brought "crowd surfing" to a new level. Multi-colored laser beams gleamed throughout the arena as Timberlake and his crew opened the show with "Pusher Love Girl" and danced across ...

Bad Religion's Christmas Songs

If you want to put a little skip into Santa's step this holiday season, throw on Bad Religion's new album, Christmas Songs, to greet him as he slides down your chimney. You read correctly, Bad ...

Queens highlight this year's Wrex

The annual holiday event known as Wrex the Halls is a production of alt-rock radio station 91X. Usually composed of a smorgasbord of choice acts, 2013's Wrex was an exceptional bill. One attendee told me ...

Besnard Lakes — rock and roll at its chilling best

Not the first time the Besnard Lakes have been to town, but I can say with certainty that it was the best time. The Canadian indie-rock quartet has honed their skills to perform live a ...

Snow Globe, by Erasure

“Loving Man,” with its ecstatic gender-blurring one minute (“I’m A boy/I’m a girl/Who has everything”), bipolar furor at rejection the next, and frustrating refusal to climax musically, sounds dragged in from another project, matching the ...

Night Time, My Time, by Sky Ferreira

After several delays, starlet Sky Ferreira has released her debut. Ferreira gained popularity last year with her glossy single “Everything Is Embarrassing,” and the synth-pop singer/model/actress appears to have improved her songcraft with a new ...

Pearl Jamming Viejas, intimately

You know a band is gigantic when they refer to a concert at Viejas Arena as being “intimate.” When Eddie Vedder announced this to an audience of 12,000 fans, he was not joking. Circa 2013, ...

Ben Harper gets personal at the Copley

Ever wish you could host one of your favorite musicians in your living room, interacting and listening to your favorite songs? Ben Harper turned his show at the Copley into just such an event, dishing ...

Cage the Elephant's Melophobia

Many of my friends will give me grief for this review. Until the release of Melophobia, I loathed Cage the Elephant. Their previous songs were so unbearably cheesy to me that I dismissed this album ...

Julian Lennon's Everything Changes

Almost every rhyme, predictable. Almost every sentiment, common (hopefully). But I am behind this one, and you should be, too. For commonality and for predictability, actually. Because rock and roll has come around to the ...