On the Record

The Jeff Buckley mystique

Long-gone singer resurfaces with You and I

On the night of May 29, 1997, in Memphis, Tennessee, Jeff Buckley was set to begin work on an album of new material. While waiting for his band to arrive from New York, Buckley decided ...

Devil's charms

Coastgaard's Devil on the Balcony surfs the retro wave

Though Brooklyn-based indie rockers Coastgaard build their music on a foundation of surf rock, their approach is some distance from that of surf revivalists like Los Straitjackets. There's an upbeat, playful aesthetic at work on ...

Def Leppard does Def Leppard

...clichés tossed like salad, mixed like milkshakes

“He lost his arm in an arm accident,” as the noted futurist Mike Hamrick noted about Def Leppard’s drummer Rick Allen — but that’s left Allen stronger. Given pedals to cover his missing left appendage, ...

Rihanna's Anti is anti hit singles

Pop singer seems to have outgrown radio play

Listening to Rihanna’s new album, Anti, it’s obvious there’s no mega-smash hit — there’s no eletcro-pop gem like “Diamonds," no “Umbrella”-like anthem. Anti is not a particularly happy or uplifting album either. Rihanna’s emotions shift ...

Loving or hating #KanyeWest is a political act

West's Life of Pablo drops, finally

Just like the soul food on your dinner plate, loving or hating #KanyeWest is a political act. This is the man whose website features solely the-artist-formerly-known-as #MosDef rambling about the “World Passport” on his website ...

If you adore Savages, you might adore this

...otherwise, Adore Life pales in comparison to 2013's Silence Yourself

The sophomore album from London quartet Savages is a dark, powerful, estrogen-infused punk-rock experience. Opener “The Answer” sets the tone — “If you don’t love me, don’t love anybody.” As Jehnny Beth’s ghostly vocals trample ...

HITnRUN or HITSnMISSES

Our funky hero Prince stumbles on his latest

As a Prince devotee, I hold the diminutive artist up to colossal standards. While never losing respect for his creativity or willingness to take risks and push boundaries with each new album, I also recognize ...

Emotional Mugger makes for an unsettling, riveting experience

Ty Segall's latest takes you for a ride on the Big Dipper at Belmont Park

Emotional Mugger paints a picture of menacing clowns thrashing about in semi-trucks, a possible musical score to the demolition-derby video game Twisted Metal. Ty Segall inhabits a new persona on each record, and his latest ...

Are you a Belieber?

Pop star Justin Bieber makes his apology record with Purpose

He’s the bad boy you love to hate. Well, when Chris Brown isn’t around, anyway. And most of the time Justin Bieber easily earns that reputation. With Purpose, his fourth album, he wants to change ...

Bowie's Blackstar closes the curtain

An entrancing final act for the constant chameleon

Ever so strange and always unique is David Bowie. After 26 genre-jumping albums spanning over nearly 50 years, the constant chameleon released his 27th and final album, Blackstar, which landed on his birthday, January 10, ...

Open Mike Eagle and Serengeti join forces as Cavanaugh

...and press the right buttons on conceptual debut Time and Materials

For two artists who met back in the early '00s at Southern Illinois University and have undeniable chemistry as indie rappers with a penchant for exploring human sadness with wit and humor, it's surprising that ...

Crushing it with Octagrape

Locals drop a 19-song rock bomb with Aura Obelisk

The new Octagrape album is like a long run on a breezy day, twisting and turning around corners, through alleyways, main roads, and side streets. Despite shortness of breath and sore muscles, you feel cleansed ...

Tim Flannery gets Americosmic on Three Ring Circus

Former baseballer swings for the fences with his genre-defying latest

Three-time World Series champion Tim Flannery’s newest album, Three Ring Circus, is his best. His all-star band the Lunatic Fringe, featuring Douglas Pettibone, Dennis Caplinger, and Dean Smith, helps Flannery come into his own on ...

Music Complete a slow obsession

New Order still hooks without Peter Hook

They’re missing Peter Hook. Without his bass leading the charge or waiting to, everyone lays back. Cool lapsing into cold. Heatless — but seamless — groove slipping between disco, disco with electronica synth touches, razor-chop ...

And After That, We Didn't Talk

Hip-hop anomaly Goldlink's latest is a dancer

Goldlink was establishing himself as a thoroughbred in the Tumblr generation when he became a 2015 XXL Freshmen. With one previous release under his belt, the 22-year-old dance-rap artist has made a name for himself ...

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