On the Record

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Bruno Mars's immersion into the culture emulated

Dance-pop artist's 24K Magic is catchy but cliché

Bruno Mars embraces a lavish lifestyle on his newest release, 24K Magic. The album, with sounds from ’70s funk to ’90s hip-hop, contains synthesizers, sensuality, and sexism. Even when the tempo drops, this album retains ...

Collecting Belinda Carlisle

Belinda was back on track and could walk the walk and strut the strut to the songs that count

Belinda Carlisle will forever be associated with the ’80s, but that's not her fault. After hitting the ground running with the Go-Go’s, some thought Carlisle'd be barefoot minus her band. Tis true that some of ...

Jim James — tackling violence and hatred with love and peace

The My Morning Jacket frontman's latest is Eternally Even

Jim James is up to his usual tricks on his second solo album, Eternally Even, and it’s just what humanity needs. The My Morning Jacket frontman looks to heal the world through his latest collection. ...

Don't sleep on Turnstile, hardcore fan

Groove-core East Coast group returns with four-song sampler Move Thru Me

Groovy-hardcore group Turnstile has released a new EP, the infectious four-track banger Move Thru Me. The East Coast favorites opt for an if-it-ain’t-broke-don’t-fix-it formula, cranking out danceable riffs and mosh-worthy grooves in a manner as ...

Leonard Cohen gets darker

With You Want It Darker the boho folk-singer faces death

In a recent interview with New Yorker magazine, bohemian singer-songwriter Leonard Cohen stated that he was ready to die, that his health was shot and that he didn’t have much time left. His latest album, ...

Be Here Now — is it really that bad?

...the re-issued (and re-examined) 20-year-old third release from Oasis

The Emperors New Clothes, the musical starring five working-class lads from Manchester, mega millions, and an Escobar of cocaine recording at Abbey Road. What could possibly go wrong? Seemingly everything. Time has not been kind ...

Blond on Blonde

Frank Ocean continues to break the rules on his latest release

You can't put Frank Ocean — the artist or the man — inside of a box. Often credited as a soul crooner, Ocean spins traditional associations of the genre on their heads with his latest ...

Weyes Blood's spiritual wake-up call

You may squirm with A Front Row Seat to Earth, but you will be rewarded

Weyes Blood has created the perfect storm with Front Row Seat to Earth — a tropical storm, as there is a warmth coming from this harsh forecast that tears your guts out. Dancing piano leads ...

Ghost follows Grammy with a brief covers collection

Popestar hits with "Square Hammer," misses on a few of the covers

After winning this year’s Grammy award for Best Metal Performance, Ghost is back at it again topping the rock album charts with their new EP, Popestar. And this one is peculiar, considering it’s made up ...

Romp with the Pixies

This year's Head Carrier retains the alt-rockers' unique insanity

From forming in Boston in 1986 to being one of the chief influences on Kurt Cobain and scoring that last shot in David Fincher’s Fight Club, the Pixies have come a long way. Head Carrier, ...

Bad Suns return with Disappear Here

L.A. pop-rock band's sophomore record no slumper

Some bands have the talent, drive, and luck to build a fan base and media presence early in their careers. Such is the case with Bad Suns. Formed in Los Angeles in 2012, the four-piece ...

Nick Cave's latest a gothic ode from a father to a son

Skeleton Tree recalls the sparse beauty of 1997's Boatman's Call

Sometimes the most beautiful of art is created under the most tragic of circumstances. Such is the case with Nick Cave and his latest album with the Bad Seeds, Skeleton Tree. During the recording of ...

Out of the Redwoods, into the Midnight Pine

New self-titled record shows growth for the dark-Americana artists

The local Redwoods music collective merges the creative energy of the Elephant Six movement with the hired-gun musicianship of the Wrecking Crew. All the Redwoods projects, however, are anchored by the words of percussionist/lyrical scribe ...

Sluka releases his Introversions

San Diego's "gothic cavalier" finds his bright side, sort of

Christopher Sluka, a San Diego resident and a singer/songwriter/musician most commonly cast as a goth rocker, has released an album, Introversions, that seems to be an effort to expand his horizons beyond a half-melodic philosophy ...

The unpredictable Mild High Club

This year's Skiptracing is groovy psychedelia, with an indie sound that is soulful yet silly.

Skiptracing is a whiff of clear ’60s air, breathed out by Mild High Club. Their style is groovy psychedelia, with an indie sound that is soulful yet silly. The title and opening track peals with ...

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