On the Record

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 ...

Strut, by Lenny Kravitz

As the first song on Lenny Kravitz’s latest suggests, Strut is unabashedly about “Sex.” The funky album-opener’s driving beat and jangly guitar is a full-throttle introduction that awakens the senses. Two songs later, the carnal ...

Sleater-Kinney's No Cities to Love

The band that kept the heart of the riot-grrrl movement pumping is back, in a wicked way. Sleater-Kinney’s No Cities To Love burns bright and flames out on cue, blazing a trail for other punk ...

Girls in Peacetime Want to Dance, by Belle & Sebastian

There hasn’t been a new Belle & Sebastian record in five years. The Scottish pop group made good use of that time to develop fresh ideas for Girls in Peacetime Want to Dance. Sonically, the ...

Leonard Cohen's Popular Problems

“Slow” opens and sets the tone — not, oddly enough, a tone of “slow” but a statement of intense personal vision, with humor, with openness, but only partial openness. This is how I’m doing things, ...

In the Lonely Hour, by Sam Smith

Arguably 2014’s best (and most talked about) new artist, Sam Smith proves on his debut album that the hype is justified. While many first discovered the British singer’s now-trademark falsetto on Disclosure’s house hit “Latch,” ...

Heaven & Earth, by Yes

“Wimps,” Robert Christgau sneered, comparing them to Talking Heads — who were wimps, he proclaimed, without “vagueness or cheap romanticism.” But that was ’77; the Heads (whom I love) left us; and four Englishmen, fronted ...

Stevie Nicks's 24 Karat Gold: Songs from the Vault

The too-expensive deluxe version, which this isn’t, adds two of the most righteous songs, including one about a rendezvous with God; neither version omits the weakest cut, “Cathouse Blues,” an arched cat back before the ...

Black Star Elephant, by Nico & Vinz

Nico & Vinz have crafted a pure, primal debut album that rejoices in the band’s chosen path while applauding others’ individuality. The reach of this singer/songwriter duo from Oslo, Norway, had touched several continents with ...

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