Gillian Welch’s partner delivers a sophomore jewel.
Recorded on analogue tape, Dave Rawlings Machine’s Nashville Obsolete blends timeless tones with classic songwriting that’s both familiar and surprising. Rawlings’ guitar work shines (especially in 11-minute-long epic “The Trip”), but his uncanny chemistry with Welch best exemplifies why they received a Lifetime Songwriting Achievement Award at the 2015 Americana Music Association Awards. –Eric Shea
Psychedelic threnodies and dismal euphonies.
On their third album, Windhand expand even further on the lumbering dirge-doom of their debut, crafting a songsuite of lysergic heaviness that often sounds more like a heavier, slower, female-fronted Alice In Chains. The molten metal of Grief’s Infernal Flower flows hypnotically beneath Dorthia Cottrell’s haunting croon, conjuring up a bewitching doom metal otherworld. –Andee Connors …
Like a lot of ‘80s kids, I was a big fan of synth pop, early hip hop, new wave and The Smiths, and I was obsessed with the radio. I was a bit of a weirdo growing up in mylittle Nebraska town, but music was evidence of an outside world where there were people like me—and radio was a connection to that world. When the weather was just right, I could dial in Omaha stations, catch “Rock Over London,” “Dr. Demento,” a hip hop show or weekend dance mix. Any chance I had to travel (marching band trip to Denver!), I’d obsessively record radio broadcasts on my little Walkman, and these tapes were my prized possessions. …
The late, great, self-proclaimed “first black hippie” gets a deluxe reissue.
Before his untimely death in 2006, Arthur Lee claimed that without him, there’d be no Jimi Hendrix or Sly Stone. Sure enough, the extended Black Beauty rocks loud and funks hard. By 1973, Love was a vacuum-tight all-black band. Vestiges of their early psychedelic sophistication surface in “Lonely Pigs.” –Eric Shea
Oakland’s Shannon & The Clams continue pioneering their distinctively fun sound.
On their fourth studio album Gone By The Dawn, Shannon Shaw and the Clams draw on doo-wop, garage rock and girl groups with dark, slick and soulfully emotive vocals. Opener “I Will Miss The Jasmine” features freaky Joe Meek-esque sonic beams, paving the road for one heckuva killer album! –Michelle Solomon
I‘ve chased music around nearly every day of my life. One of my earliest memories is running all the way home from elementary school to choreograph disco moves in our basement. At that same age my piano teacher generously made simplified arrangements of my favorite pop songs so that I could play them.
I have a favorite sound: wind. Maybe that’s why I’m partial to classical minimalism — waves of continual sound washing over you…. …
In reference to our new genre station Classic Rock Album Tracks…
“Classic” doesn’t have to mean listening to the same exact songs for the rest of your life. Hearing Steve Miller Band’s “The Joker” for the trillionth time inspired me to build Pandora’s Classic Rock Album Tracks station. Don’t get me wrong; I really like Steve Miller Band. But when my local classic rock radio station plays that song seven times a day…well, its sonic patina gets moldy.
I’m a dude who was born in the early ‘70s – classic rock was the soundtrack of my youth. I remember Jimmy Page’s fierce guitar riff from “Bring It On Home” cranking from my dad’s Camaro speakers; the magical accompaniment of turning over the engine of my very first car. Today, sadly, my local station thinks that playing the reggae infused “D’yer Maker” constitutes “Getting the Led out.” …
San Francisco pop/rock darlings Third Eye Blind are indicative of the ’90s, thanks to their household chart-topper, “Semi-Charmed Life.” Their vocal centric sound blends acoustic and electric rock instrumentation and…
Duran Duran is hitting all the right notes.
New Wave legends Duran Duran are killing it with this new album. I mean, guests including Janelle Monae, Nile Rodgers and John Frusciante?! The title? Paper Gods?! And that cover art! Perfect. And the songs back it up too. “Pressure Off” is a particularly tasty slice of old school Duran Duran vibes. –Diego Gonzalez
This is the sound of a band hitting their stride.
Stone Foxes frontman Shannon Koehler may not listen to George Jones, but with Twelve Spells, the raspy singer seems to have taken Jones’ “write about what you know” credo to heart. These roots-rockers muse on Koehler’s multiple heart surgeries, income inequality and biblical references – spun into timeless garage rock gold. –Eric Shea
• • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • •
When my mom told me she had hired a babysitter for the weekend, it stung my conflated 11-year-old ego. Thankfully she picked a cool one. “Hey man, I like your KISS shirt!” was the first thing Pam said to me. She wore black denim bellbottoms and parted her long brown hair down the middle. “I can bring over some records this weekend when we hang out.” Of course I instantly trusted Pam and her taste in music. The following Friday she arrived with a grip of vinyl including AC/DC, Queen, Led Zeppelin, Heart and Alice Cooper. Every song blew my impressionable young mind. As each track faded out, I couldn’t wait to hear what she would play next. …