On the Record

The Desired Effect, by Brandon Flowers

The Killers frontman's new solo set looks for love in '80s dance pop

The second solo record by the Killers frontman Brandon Flowers is a revival of the sounds and sentiments behind the 1980s dance-pop genre. Inspired by the music of his adolescence, Flowers’s The Desired Effect bounces ...

Mark Ronson's Uptown Special

Super-producer can't keep up with that lead single

Rocketed to the top of the charts by the Bruno Mars–piloted hit “Uptown Funk” — with its Princely synths, Towering horns, and sly James Brown-isms (“gotta kiss myself so pretty”) — Mark Ronson’s latest is ...

A Fool to Care, by Boz Scaggs

I first saw Boz Scaggs in 1966 at the Matrix in San Francisco. He was playing in a jazz-rock combo with some cat named Steve Miller. Fast-forward 50 years and they are both award-winning senior-citizen ...

Death Cab for Cutie's latest turns up the synth

With its upbeat melodies buoying angst-filled verses, Kintsugi provides a familiar view.

“How could something so fair be so cruel?” Ben Gibbard asks on the lead single of Death Cab for Cutie's first studio release in nearly four years. With that question, “Black Sun” sets the tone ...

Neil Diamond's Melody Road

"Nobody dies. Nobody takes drugs. No sobs in the darkness."

“Would that make it a better song?” Lou Reed asked a caller into an NYC radio show. Caller wanted to know if the dead girl in “Street Hassle” was real. Lester Bangs didn’t print the ...

Evermotion, by Guster

Boston band drops out of college rock

Continuing to chip away at their college rock roots, Guster's Evermotion further obscures the band's acoustic guitar and bongo-backed beginnings. The opener, “Long Night,” provides an overture of sorts, lulling the listener in with dreamy ...

Noel Gallagher's Chasing Yesterday — to kick its arse

Elder statesman of British rock Noel Gallagher has ignored the speculation of an Oasis reunion to concentrate on making new music rather than backtracking. However, “Riverman,” the opening scene of the cinematographic Chasing Yesterday, is ...

Hozier by Hozier

With a chorus reminiscent of classic Elton John and viral video amassing more than 100 million YouTube views, “Take Me to Church” quickly placed Irish singer-songwriter Andrew Hozier-Byrne (aka Hozier) on America’s musical pulpit. While ...

Arcade Fired Will Butler has a new Policy

Butler brother's solo debut a whimsical mix of musical styles

On his solo debut, Arcade Fire’s Will Butler attempts to scramble out from the behemoth shadow of his indie-rock super group. But the dreamy rock feeling that flows so freely from his previous band does ...

John Mellencamp's Plain Spoken

That leadoff track adds up everything in its unequal-length verses, the pieces of a life, the happier bits fallen out, rotten pieces in a too-humid jigsaw — and every equation equals no peace. That’s the ...

Loons get loose

Local retro rock-rollers soundtrack your next head-trip

Kicking off the head-trip that is the Loons’ Inside Outside Your Mind, “Siren City” engages with its hypnotic riff and upbeat melody, cruising comfortably detached from the surrounding pandemonium. Snapping at its heels is “Moon ...

Then Came the Morning by the Lone Bellow

Brooklyn band's new one seeks and finds warmth this frigid winter

“Then came the morning.” Such a simple phrase with such a comfy feel to it. A lightness. The night may have tested their resolve...then came the morning. There's hope in that phrase. It sets the ...

Hot space and the Juice that gets you there

Medeski, Scofield, Martin & Wood will launch you from your seat with their latest record

Let’s talk about space. I could talk about the sticky funk (not stinky — funk’s already a mite impolite), the stickwork (Billy Martin so light on the skins I do believe he’s learned from writing ...

American standards for an American Standard

Voice of the anti-establishment pays homage to the Chairman of the Board — wtf?!

In the 1960s, Bob Dylan provided my peers and I the soundtrack of our times, chuffing famous lines like "How does it feel/ to be on your own/ no direction home/ like a rolling stone?" ...

Washed-out fame vampire

Marilyn Manson's latest pales

When Marilyn Manson first sauntered onto the music scene in 1994, he represented all the repressed fears and anxieties of white America. Gaunt, ghoulish, and grotesque, Manson reveled in the macabre debauchery and anarchistic devolution ...

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