On the Record

We pay $25 for CD reviews and $50 for concert reviews.

Another One by Mac DeMarco

Indie hit's mini-LP burbles with drowning keys

Short and sweet is Mac Demarco’s Another One. Recorded in his New York apartment, you feel at home with melodic songwriting and romantic forget-me-nots. The eight-song “mini-LP” owns the typical joyful quirkiness of its predecessors, ...

Pageant Material by Kacey Musgraves

Country singer follows up her Grammy winning debut with wit and wisdom

Despite her sweet melodies, Kacey Musgraves wrote about one bleak way of life on her 2013 record Same Trailer, Different Park. The record brought her Grammy awards and with them the pressure to be the ...

Tame Impala's new Currents

Australian psych-rockers squeeze fresh juice from synths

Back with John Lennon-esque vocals and dreamy, psychedelic overtones, Tame Impala returns with their third LP, Currents. The Australian natives have a knack for creating music that is both retro and remarkably modern and relevant. ...

Wild Nights by Pins

British female band Pins pines for love lost by rocking a second solid studio effort

The British band Pins works the smooth and jagged angles that intersect dream-pop, shoegaze, and garage punk to create a stylized sophomore record. Wild Nights thematically glorifies universal moments of lust and danger; later, when ...

Ladies and gentlemen, Leon Bridges

Debut Coming Home is a triumph of Soul

Soul to soothe the soul. That’s what Coming Home, the debut album of 25-year-old Leon Bridges, is and does. When you listen to this album you can appreciate the sound of actual instruments being keenly ...

Drones, by Muse

Heady, heavy trio try their hands at concept rock

This is the album Muse was built to make. Bombastic, hard-hitting, and pretentious (in a good way), Drones takes the trio’s brand of paranoid space rock and brings it to an all-new level of science-fiction ...

The Ting Tings' Super Critical

Not too critical...it is disco

Disco! Disco! Disco! Okay, provisional disco. With Andy (of all people) Taylor of Duran Duran at the board and onboard with song scribbling, the world’s two most creatively obnoxious long-in-the-tooth juvenile miscreants spend a half-hour ...

A Space Modyssey

Paul Weller's latest finds the Modfather on a rock-and-roll rocket ride

Most artists 38 years into their career have long slipped into something more comfortable — classic album tours. Not Paul Weller, since 2008’s 22 Dreams he’s shown he doesn’t know what laurels are, never mind ...

Born Under Saturn by Django Django

British indie-pop four-piece does Beach Boys under black light

Django Django’s Born Under Saturn revels in the beauty of tranquil harmonies as it envelops new art-pop territory for the British quartet. The collection lands mostly in the realm of synthy dance music, but the ...

Bryan Ferry's Avonmore

Just for fun, try singing this set’s “Send in the Clowns” along with Paul Simon’s “Late in the Evening,” or versa vice. Pretty much the same song, yeah? Gets me each time around. Ferry, of ...

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 ...

Win a Pair of Tickets to
the Del Mar Races

Join our newsletter list

Each newsletter subscription means another chance to win!

Close